Archive | November, 2017

National Novel Writing Month is Ending…What Now? #NaNoWriMo Unsolicited Advice.

30 Nov

Hello kittens

Today is November 30th which means tomorrow is December 1st.

To some of you that means something more than the start of the quick slide into the holidays. I means you have only a few hours left to finish a 50,000 word novel.

I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month for a couple reasons. One, I’m a slow writer. Two, deadlines stress me out. Three, word count isn’t usually a motivator and four, I write every day all year long so I’m sort of doing NaNoWriMo all the time. Regardless I think one of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that it gets your butt in the chair every day putting down words and that is the only way novels get written.

To quote Neil Gaiman

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As we are in the waning hours I have some thoughts:

First off CONGRATS! Writing 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat. If you didn’t finish, also CONGRATS! Trying to write 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat.

Because more than finishing you STARTED something. And truth be told that is the hardest part of writing. The starting. But you did. You started a story that only you can tell. This is huge.

So now what?

Now the work continues. First things first you need to rest your creative brain. Get some sleep. Go for walks. Read and read and read and read some more. Put your book away.

Let it hibernate and percolate. Let yourself forget some of the finer points. Let the characters voices fade. Let the stress of writing a novel in one month go.

Then when you’re all rested and recharged take it out and read it. Then read it again. Then read it again. Then read it one more time just to be sure. Then edit. Then read. Then edit. Then read. Keep doing this for as long as you can. Then put it away again.

Then do the whole process over again. Read and edit. Read and edit. Trust your gut to know when it’s ready. Publishing is a sloooowwww business. It rewards patience. Let someone you trust read it. Make sure they’ll be fair and honest. Listen to them.

If what they say sounds right, make some changes. You’ll know it’s right because your gut and heart and brain will tell you it’s right even if it means killing parts you love. Don’t be afraid to go there. If you don’t think what they’re saying is right move on. This is your book. Rip it apart. Then stitch it back together.

Then read it. And read it again. And read it again. Then edit. Keep doing this over and over again until you’re done. You’ll know when you’re done. You’ll know because you’ll be exhausted and wrung out but also pleasantly satisfied because you created something from nothing.

Then read it again. Then write a query letter. Then rewrite that query letter. Show it to other people who have read it. Does that query sound like your book. Is it precise and careful. Is the voice YOURS? Rewrite it again and again.

Research agents. Really research them. Learn what they publish. Spend time on to learn more. Your agent is going to be your champion. You have to find the perfect one. Send out your query. Wait. Wait. Some more.

While you’re waiting, start another book.

Because the only thing you have control over is how hard you work. Work hard. Make art. Do again. Do it in July. Do it in August. Do it all the time. Keep reading. Keep writing. Everything else will is out of your control.

Work hard.

Make. Good. Art.

Make good art.Make it on the bad days Make it on the good days too.-Neil Gaiman

Congratulations, kittens.

You’ve just finished 50K words and you’ve only just begun to write a novel.

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

 

Book News!

16 Nov

Lordy it has been a long time since I’ve blogged.

So we have much catching up to do!

First and foremost, I’m so excited to share that my new poetry book FITTING THE OCEAN IN YOUR MOUTH is now available from Blue Hour. It should be up on their site soon and I have a box full of copies that arrived. If you’re interested in getting one my email is on the about page.

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I’m really excited because working with Blue Hour has been something I wanted to do for a long time and because I think the poems in here are some of my strongest.

Here’s a few excerpts if you’re interested:

and I wonderon such a moonless, starless night,on a stark unholy, un-kissed night,what song is itthat will save our lives-Because tomorrow I will go to the doctorand he will listen to my heartand I will think about dying.Because that is what we think about when someone listens to our heart.Think about the hI cannot think of love as a constant.It must, for me, wax and wane,the way a wave comes to the shore but is still always part of the deep.I have to think of it this way – as somethingI want to know what time I can be awakewhen no one else is, what second of what hour can I find myselfthe only thing fully aware in this world,eyes openin day or darkfeeling the groaning

In other writing related news, I recently published an essay with Drunk In A Midnight Choir. It’s called “Off the Rag: The Story of How I Got Cancer, Lost My Period and Found My Way Back to Womanhood”

Here’s an excerpt:

Rousseau spent a lot of time musing about the body versus the mind. What was the mind? Where did it live? Was it your soul? Was it your brain? He did as men are apt to do and prescribed the mind to be the realm of man. The mind was clean and logical and precise. It calculated and mused and did the sort of things like philosophize about the body vs mind dualism. The body on the other hand was messy, wet, sticky, and damaged. Capable of dying. The body, according to Rousseau, was womanly. He could not keep these two things together.  For Rousseau they were distinct and separate. There was the perfection of the mind trapped in the imperfection of the messy doomed body. The body’s mortality would destroy the mind’s potential immortality.

I wonder sometimes if I ever thought about these things before the cleaving. Before the doctor with the soft voice, before all the needles and blades that would cut me open, scoop me out and sew me back up. Did I spend much time thinking about where the mind lived? Did I consider my body and mind to be one thing that made up what I called woman? This person called Ally? Did I ever even think about it before the hatchet of diagnosis came down and separated the two? Before I became, like Rousseau, a mind trapped in a dying body.

And I also had the pleasure of being the Writer of the Month over at Drunk Monkeys.

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It’s their Trump themed issues so prepare for me having all the feels and the angers.

Speaking of Trump, to all my creatives out there, remember John Grochalski is still going strong with WinedrunkSidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland

If you’ve got images, photos, paintings, rants, essays, poems, whatever you’ve cobbled together send it his way. Putting art into the world during these horrible times is RESISTANCE.

Hit him up at winedrunksidewalk at gmail dot com.

Yesterday was, horrifyingly, Trump’s 300th day in office. On a brighter note it was also the 20th anniversary of my first date with Mr. Grochalski which is crazy. Look at us! BABIES!

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I remember a month or so later when I was home for Christmas I told my mother he was “the one.” She raised a skeptical eyebrow, understandably, I was 20, but I knew the way you know about a good melon.

 

And finally my agent started subbing my novel Palimpsest 44 days ago and my face has basically been like this the whole time.

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Hold me.

Peace, love and Starburts

Ally

 

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