It’s the end of October again and National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWriMo] is on the horizon. Writers from all over the world have the opportunity to network with other writers or go solo in tackling the challenge of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. Word counters and charts on the website serve as tools to keep writers inspired, motivated, and accountable.

I’ve told myself for a number of years that I would participate, but an excuse always weasels to interference. I did participate for about a week in 2013, but my progress was halted when I decided to apply for my MFA in Writing, thus devoting myself to the application package. I also participated in 2015 because the challenge matched up with my Literary Novel class (although it poured into December too and hasn’t amassed 20k words yet). Today, I have far more writing knowledge and skill under my belt and even some published short stories to help spur my confidence. The challenge is only four days away and I haven’t decided or committed myself to participation yet. Studies, kids, health issues… I’m making excuses again, aren’t I?

For those who are committed to participating, here are a few good resources to check out for tips on completing the challenge.

  1. 10 Tips on How to Finish Your NaNoWriMo Novel
  2. NaNoWriMo Prep: 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days
  3. Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo
  4. and this exhaustive list, NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Read Two Years’ Worth of Advice in a Single Post

Every writer is different and utilizes different approaches, writing/editing styles, and techniques for translating their mental stories into words. For many writers, it takes a combination of many different components. Stephenie Meyer abandoned the linear approach and wrote scenes she felt most interested in at the time, regardless of their place in the plot. The biggest goal is to produce words–no matter how messy or inconsistent they may be–for the purpose of a first draft. Drafts can be edited, but there is no draft to edit if we do not first take the plunge and write.


Literary Fiction – What is it, really?

The literary genre is arguably the most misunderstood genre of writing of today. I recently saw a discussion on social media in which literary was described as “flowery and sophisticated words.” Sambuchino, editor of Writer’s Digest, described literary fiction as “requir[ing] the highest command of the language” and “not easily defined, and sometimes the premise is not easily explained.” Santi, editor of Our Stories named common misconceptions of literary fiction, “they assume that the reader is interested in continuous tags of dialogue, riddled with unimportant gestures and gesticulations” (cited in Allen). Because of this widespread misconception on the definition of literary fiction, writers’ “literary” stories receive swift rejections, and people continue to spread false impressions on what literary truly is.  Continue reading

Goodbye, March.

The month has culminated in three very exciting pieces of news: my MFA conferral, and two short story publications.

My experience at Lindenwood was incredible, allowing me to hone my craft in ways that were both direly needed and beyond my expectations. I have nothing but good things I say about the program. I will be forever grateful for my professors, who are among those named in my thesis acknowledgements, but hidden away in pages that no one will read. If only Lindenwood published student theses…

NoiseMedium will be publishing my short story, Crystal Ball, on May 9. I entered their inaugural contest and was selected as a finalist. I’m pleased to be a part of their publication. The story is centered on a teenage girl and her mother’s obsession with a prediction of her death.

Riding Light informed me today that they would like to publish my short fantasy piece, The Gold Curse, in their forthcoming fantasy-themed issue. It’s the only short fantasy piece I’ve written to date, although Sacrifice for Resonata has a somewhat fantastical horror element within the modern world. The Gold Curse is a standalone piece in its own special world of fantasy creatures, but focuses on the pursuits of one dwarf. I will update my publications page in the next month or two when it’s released in print.

Soon, I will began posting about craft and literary elements. I’ve enjoyed exchanging advice with other writers in the classroom or in writing groups, so perhaps my posts will be of us to someone. Stay tuned…

MFA conferral on the horizon

My thesis is due in just a few days, on Sunday night. I opted for a short story collection, as my two novels-in-progress are far from completion, and their stories require more pages than a thesis requires. My midterm reader had good feedback on my draft (Thank you, Professor Anderson!). I am finally gaining some more confidence in my short fiction, and better understanding where my strengths and weaknesses are. I’ve also been playing with different styles and techniques, which has allowed me to extend beyond my comfort zone, grow as a writer, and become more versatile.

I just completed a rather sizable round of submissions, as March 15 happened to be quite the busy day for submissions deadlines. I’m very familiar with rejection as this point, but I’m eager for that one surprise acceptance. Fortunately, I have the final weeks of classes to keep me occupied. Conferral is set for the end of the month, and I’ll be awaiting my thesis grade.

Is this the point where I finally call myself a writer?