Month: January 2010

They’re dynamic, and they’re a duo, but they don’t do spandex

Unfortunately I am neither a Dr. Pepper-fueled writing machine nor a ninja cyborg, but fortunately they both have blogs so I can read all about them and live vicariously through their success!

(And when I say “all about them,” I mean ALL about them. Over the last few weeks, I’ve read their entire archives, or about 1,000 posts between the two of them. Yeah, productive, I know.)

Seriously, BFFs Kiersten White and Natalie Whipple are the awesome-est. Like, I should just delete my blog now because it will never live up to how funny and talented and wise they are. (But I’m not gonna do that, because I like my blog. Good blog. Pat pat.) Both Kiersten and Natalie write YA, but their advice is applicable to writers of any genre. I won’t link to ALL the posts that I favorited from their blogs, but here are a couple gems from each:

“The Weight of Words”

I feel as though I carry around the weight of all of my words, books written and unwritten, edited and unedited. Some days it’s overwhelming. And some days there is nothing better than being the shepherd of words, guiding my little flock of nouns and verbs to become characters, actions, stories.

I love these words, this mess and mass of meaning. Because just as often as I carry them, they seem to carry me.

“Ideas”

Many aspiring writers have this belief that there is an idea out there. Not just an idea–THE Idea. The Idea that, if they just found it, would be the key to everything. Things would magically fall into place. Agents would call, sobbing, begging to represent them. Publishers would trip over themselves to buy it.

The Idea is everything. Find it, and you are set.

You really want to be a writer? Your Idea isn’t going to sell. Your WORK is going to sell.

“Some Musings on Subjectivity”

I think we as writers sometimes focus too much on the “magic formula.” We want everyone to like us, which is totally impossible. And we want so badly just to be told what to do to get published, how to become a best-seller, and on and on that we lose sight of how awesome subjectivity really is.

Here’s why: Subjectivity means there is a place for you, or several, if you so chose.

“Energizer Bunny”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing and attempting to publish, it would be how much stamina it takes to push through. See, it’s not “Oh, I tried once and failed, so it’s over.” It’s trying. A perpetual state of TRYING. Trying to find a good idea. Trying to finish that WIP. Trying to get all the revisions right. Trying to get an agent. Trying to get a book deal. Trying to get readers. Trying to write a sequel. Trying not to go insane. Try, try, try.

It’s exhausting. It really is—there’s no way to sugar coat it. It’s like running a marathon, but you don’t know how long you have left.

See, awesome? Now go enter Natalie’s contest, and/or her agent Nathan Bransford’s contest. Yes, that’s right, Natalie is represented by THE rockstar agent Nate B. And Kiersten’s debut book (1 of 3) is coming out in Sept 2010. What’s that? AWE. SOME.

Writing transforms

A few days ago NPR did a story on “How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing.” I don’t think I’ll ever attempt a Twitter novel or a cell phone book (um, I can barely text “hi how r u?”) but I agree that technology is affecting the way people think, and thus how we read and write. Actually, Twenty-Somewhere was partly an experiment to tap into that — could I write short, fun episodes for the web? I could, and I did. But I’m glad to say that 20SW turned into something much more, at least for me.

20SW reminded me that writing should always, always be fun. If I’m not laughing along with my characters, or naming inanimate objects after them (my iPod Touch is Reggie!), then how can I expect readers to enjoy them or care?

20SW helped me realize that right now, I am more in tune with and affected by issues that people face in their teens and twenties. There’s so much that happens during those years, good and bad. I’ve always thought it was a pivotal time (hello, being an RA?) so why not use my writing to convey that?

Best of all, 20SW became a way for me to connect with people. One friend emailed me to say she’d absolutely cracked up at my jokes (which was a great boost to my self-confidence ’cause I’m not that funny of a person). One friend chatted with me about how to make certain aspects of the story more believable. My mom told me she thought 20SW was the best writing I’d done (at least that she’d read). Lots of people just nagged me (in the best possible sense of the word) to put up more episodes already. (Sorry!)

Each of these interactions really enriched the process of writing 20SW for me, and brought me closer to people in a way that I definitely didn’t expect. Maybe those people didn’t all feel the same way, but I know for a fact that a couple of them did. That more than anything else makes 20SW special to me.

Technology might be changing the way we read and write, but as long as reading and writing still have the power to change us, I think we’ll be okay.

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Happy New Year, y’all!

I genuinely hope 2010 rocks your socks.

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