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.


  1. 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. 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 =-.

  3. Kimberly-
    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.

  4. Aisha-
    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.

  5. Rachele-
    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… :\

  6. 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? =-.

  7. 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 =-.

  8. Jessica-
    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Daniell-
    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.

  11. 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 =-.

  12. 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! =-.

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