Word math

So. Snow. We’re supposedly getting a lot of it in Cincinnati today. This is Not Good. Normally it would be Okay, but today I need to fly to Houston for my almost-sister’s wedding. Snow + Roads and Snow + Planes both = Bad, apparently. Bad = Not Good.


In an attempt not to think (i.e., stress) about the snow, I’m going to work on a little story for Natalie’s contest. As much as I love her, I wasn’t sure I was going to participate, until Sonja brought up that I could think of both Natalie and Nathan’s contests as writing exercises and then post them here, like I did for my Kenyon Review workshop pieces. Since “exercises” are much less scary than “contest entries,” that’s what I’m going to do!

First up, my entry to Nathan’s contest:

Dear Diary,

Two minutes never felt so long.

While I sit on the toilet to wait (with the lid down, of course) I can’t help thinking of all the ways my life could be ended by a mere mathematical symbol. In two minutes, I’ll either see a plus or a minus. Suddenly tomorrow’s calculus test doesn’t seem so intimidating…

Read the rest of “Plus or minus” here.

Also, I recently had the honor of guest blogging on the Guide to Literary Agents website. My post “New Adult – What Is It?” went live yesterday, if you care to check that out. And greetings to any new readers who came here via there! New Readers = Fabulous.

20 responses to “Word math”

  1. Kimberly Franklin Avatar

    Kristan! You’re Nathan’s contest entry is so good! I love it. I did one, too, but mines more silly and not as deep as yours. I love yours!

    Anyway, I have no idea what the weather is like in Houston today, but DFW weather is…icy! Seems we’re under an artic blast! Oh YAY…no so much. It pretty much sucks and it supposed to be in the teens today…yuck!

    Good luck with traveling. I hope the weather is nicer in Houston than it is here. Have a safe trip!

  2. Todd Newton Avatar

    Hey, kudos for guest posting on the GLA, and your entry sounds great.
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: To Sum Up 2009 =-.

  3. Sonja Avatar

    I’m confused by the opening of the second paragraph of your diary entry: “If it’s a minus sign, my mother will kill me.” Didn’t you mean, “If it’s a plus sign”? Does the mother want her to be pregnant and will be mad if she isn’t? But then the rest doesn’t really make sense. It’s been over five years since I took a pregnancy test, but I’m pretty sure Plus = Pregnant and Minus = Not Pregnant.

    I also found your guest post to be odd (not to jump down your throat!). Basically, it seems like the terms “young adult” and “new adult” are synonyms to me! It’s funny that “young adult” actually means “old child” on the book shelves. I guess I’m revealing my advanced age with this opinion: a 16 year old is not a young adult, sorry, kids! But I guess that’s what publishers mean when they say YA, hence the need for NA (by the way, so awesome that NA can also stand for Narcotics Anonymous).

    I think the issue isn’t so much the age of the main characters but rather the writing style of the book. I think it’s probably safe to say that at least a third of the books in the “fiction/literature” section of the bookstore feature protagonists in the 18-26 age group. It’s a great age group to write about, exactly because of all the change-of-life stuff you mentioned. So the difference between New Adult and General Fiction boils down to writing style.

    Well, congrats on entering the contests! And feel free to let me know (privately or publicly) if all my nit-picking gets on your last nerve. :)
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: OMG it’s a new decade in the 2000s =-.

  4. Aisha Avatar

    I hope you don’t have any problems with your flight and make it in time for the wedding!

  5. Jon Avatar

    Kristan, congrats on entering the contests. Really, it’s always the entry that counts, but I’m sure you know that by now.

    Of course, winning would be nice. Good luck!
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Quickie Review: The Tonight Show =-.

  6. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks! Actually I wanted to be more fun/silly, but this wouldn’t leave my head. And yeah, Houston is supposedly cold but okay (like 50s).


    OH MAN what would I do without you?! Yes, that line is meant to be ‘plus’ not ‘minus.’ I think I got it right everywhere else… Rawr. (It’s too late to fix it and resubmit to Nathan. Oh well.)

    Also correct: a New Adult is really a *young* adult, but since the term is already taken, they had to come up with something else. I did mention that it’s mostly about voice since protagonists age 18-26 are nothing new, but I think having NA as a separate category could make some sense for the sake of shoppability.

  7. Kristan Avatar

    Haha, thanks, me too. I think we’ll just be delayed… {crosses fingers} Thankfully the wedding it Sat and not tomorrow, but we DO have things we’re supposed to be doing beforehand.

    True that! And thanks. Yeah, Sonja’s suggestion made me realize that I should just do it and not worry, because writing the entry is a benefit all its own. Winning would just be icing on the cake.

  8. Rachele Alpine Avatar

    Great post about New Adult fiction…I’m excited about the new catagory of writing! Good luck with Nathan’s contest (and getting out of Cincy!).
    .-= • Recent post by Rachele Alpine: Blast from the Past! =-.

  9. Eric Avatar

    Good going, getting that post up. And good luck with your contests.
    .-= • Recent post by Eric: Writing & Music =-.

  10. Michelle Avatar

    Ugh, good luck flying to the wedding. I always hate taking plane trips where it’s critically important to arrive on time for this very reason.
    .-= • Recent post by Michelle: So many firsts already this week! =-.

  11. Kristan Avatar

    Me too. Maybe I’m biased since I AM a New Adult, but I feel like this such an interesting and important time in life, and I would definitely enjoy reading more stories about it.

    Thanks. I don’t care that much about winning (that sounds worse than it’s supposed to) but deadlines always help motivate me.

    Yeah, fortunately the wedding’s not until Sat, but as Maid of Honor I do have some things I need to do beforehand… :\

  12. Les Avatar

    I like word math, it’s the only math I’m good at =)
    .-= • Recent post by Les: Vacation Overdose =-.

  13. Jessica Avatar

    So I live in Houston and I just went for lunch and it was not bad at all. No more rain, no ice on the roads and a brisk 42 degrees. I hope you have a safe flight and enjoy your time in the great state of Texas!!!

    .-= • Recent post by Jessica: How Observant Are You? =-.

  14. Dara Avatar

    Hey, I found you through Natalie Whipple’s blog. Your entry for Nathan’s contest was much better than mine! Mine was silly and loosely based off of one of my own journal entries from my teen years.

    You live in Cincy? I’m up in Dayton. We got a little more than four inches here–here’s hoping your traveling went ok!
    .-= • Recent post by Dara: Working Out =-.

  15. Kristan Avatar

    I made it here, and I’ll take 42, lol! That’s twice what it is in Cincy.

    Hi! Yeah, I thought about entering a real teen entry, but all my journals were at Houston-home instead of Cincinnati-home, so I had to do like usual and resort to fiction. ;P

    Woot Dayton! A guy who is freelancing for the company I work for lives in north Dayton. We let him stay home today, hahaha.

  16. Daniell Avatar

    Hi Kristan!
    I found you through the blog about New Adult, and I think it was great. That first paragraph about where home is to a young twenty-something was amazingly dead-on. Every sentence = me, lol. I can’t wait for New Adult (which I’d actually never heard of but just realized have always been looking for on book shelves) to find a place in Barnes and Noble. Maybe I’ll try my hand at writing NA someday (I write YA now).

    PS – I live in Florida, and the forecast is calling for snow flurries tonight…I’m pretty excited.

  17. shelli johannes wells Avatar

    new adult is an interesting genre – where will it be shevled?

  18. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks! I’m glad it resonated with you. And yeah, I write YA right now (other than Twenty-Somewhere) but lately I’ve been turning over a few NA ideas in my head…

    Good question. The best answer I can give is what I wrote in the article: ideally it would get its own shelf (or shelves) but for now it will probably go wherever it best fits… So if it’s got a more literary voice, it will probably go in General Fiction. If it’s a scifi story, it will probably go in Scifi. Etc.

  19. Mike Chen Avatar

    I saw the first paragraph on GLA without realizing who it was. I thought “This sounds familiar”…duh! Nice guest post. Let’s hope NA takes off, for both of our sakes!
    .-= • Recent post by Mike Chen: 10 vs. 1 =-.

  20. Meghan Ward Avatar

    Kristan – Great guest post on GLA! I think my book qualified as New Adult, but I completely missed that contest. I hope they publish yours!
    .-= • Recent post by Meghan Ward: Contest! =-.