My Very First NaNoWriMo Book Tag

895e4a3b359759098a07a1196a5341ae1873229517.jpg

I’ve known about National Novel Writing Month (Novel-ember) for a few years; most writers are familiar with the concept but for those who are not, NaNoWriMo is a 30 day high intensity month of writing nationwide. Writer’s start on November 1, working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. I’m not surprised that there is a book tag for this one and since this is my first year actually participating, I thought I’d celebrate with this post.

7b2fe4eacb4807fb62f7fe37173ebc281850610784.jpg

Don’t get discouraged if you think 50,000 words are a lot. The community of writer’s participating are super supportive and you can even find yourself a writing buddy.  This particular tag came from our all-knowing Google overlords and a blog called The Bookish Underdog. The original creator is said to be Kristina Horner.

Jumping In!

 

b7940dd4eec5c45af134e084a432177a1404374221.jpg

How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This will be my very first year participating. I started writing for it on my birthday, (NOV 7) as a means to finish my grad school writing sample. That and I’ve always wanted to try it but haven’t always had a story in mind. This year I had both a need and an idea.

3c657d9ff55a8f047a272556eccf7d8e160693074.jpg

How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo?

I’m almost positive I saw a tweet about it a few years ago, though it could’ve also been Facebook. Most likely it was some form of social media, having never heard the acronym before, I did some research and learned all about it.

fefa51acebf1e187f217b8a096799d9e1975819165.jpg

What was the name of the first novel you attempted with NaNo?

I don’t currently have a title. I like to name my books once they’re written and I haven’t finished writing this one just yet. I was thinking of calling it Damsel. For now it’s saved as Untitled W.I.P. for NaNoWriMo on my computer.

14ba52a4ad20512a60d536c5a95860651960894445.jpg

Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you’re writing this year.

Red Riding Hood, Alice (from Wonderland), The Swan Princess, and Goldielocks go on a quest to rescue Thumbelina and wake Snow White’s Kingdom from a curse. 

c58612bd688327e1045951b455e29b001097671311.jpg

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

“If You Continue to Procrastinate Someone Else Will Write Your Story”

I looked everywhere and unfortunately couldn’t find it but basically it’s a pinterest quote from an author who may not have been identified. I am a chronic procrastinator with the attention span of a gnat. My biggest struggle is completing projects and this quote is a real kick in the butt. For me it reminds of two very important things. I’m not the only writer in the world and also that my ideas no matter how innovative or entertaining will eventually be thought of by someone else, whether or not the world sees their version before or after is completely up to me. Something that helps me when I really need to focus.

704455f6ed7f7af702e208debd8971301148373297.jpg

Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?

I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo before this year so every year before this one would be my break I guess. I have taken a break from  I plan on doing this again next year and every year from now on if I can. This seems like a great way to actually finish some work.

9e03e73dc88cad032050826dbea7ba07891789633.jpg

What’s your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?

Life itself has always been a pretty big inspiration. Different things have inspired different stories. The story I’m working on this month came from my love of Once Upon A Time and the discovery of The Lunar Chronicles. I haven’t read that series yet but I hope my story is much different.

 

Read us the first sentence from one of your novels.

“Roselyn pulled her crimson cloak higher, concealing her raven hair.”

5a7fcfc6a5fa5203d5511c2c871eec6e1648726666.jpg

Why do you love writing?

The short answer is, I love writing because I love reading. I’m infatuated with books and the worlds those books create. Creating those worlds and being a part of a profession that allows me to do so on a consistent basis has always been a goal of mine. The much longer answer is that I’m a creative being who enjoys the ability to express my emotions and ideas through words. I love being able to connect with someone through my writing and knowing that there are people who can relate to either my characters or myself.

 

Advertisements

For Writer’s – Releasing Your Inner Muse

I am proud to admit it. I enjoy a good Ted Talk. Specifically the ones the writers on writing but I enjoy them nonetheless. I am newly converted but there seems to be a video on everything.


I came across a heading, “Your Elusive Creative Genius”  This particular video featured author, Elizabeth Gilbert who penned the critically acclaimed Eat.Pray.Love.

This discussion, insight into the pressures she experienced afterwards. Gilbert offers a  light hearted look at the impossible requirements we place on artists and geniuses.


Suggesting that these individuals instead of being the source of the magic and wonder we admire are merely conduits for the divine that we see and experience through their work. Gilbert paints an alternative view to the doomed and destructive artist. wp-image-1863437916

Referencing ancient civilizations and cultures that believed a divine spirit, (daemons, genius, muses, etc) charged with assisting with the creation of work.


The muse was a way to remove individuals from the true beauty of the work, therefore successes or failures were a joint partnership between artist and the divine.


A brilliant idea, I’ve always believed in muses and believe that my gifts are indeed a gift from the divine.


The video is deep. You should give it a watch!

Featured Author – Octavia Butler


“Why aren’t there more SF Black writers? There aren’t because there aren’t. What we don’t see, we assume can’t be. What a destructive assumption.” Octavia E. Butler, in “Octavia E. Butler: Telling My Stories.


I myself discovered this author because I was asking the same exact question. I am a black woman and a writer of fantasy. Yet, when I go to conferences or awards ceremonies for fantasy the genre I write, I cannot find many like me.


I’ve met wonderful friends not of color who are amazing fantasy writers. But clearly I’m not the only one. So a few Google searches later brought me a list of authors. Octavia Butler was at the top of that list.


A career that spanned 36 years, Ms. Butler has been awarded both the Hugo and Nebula awards as well as being the 1995 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.


It started in the culturally blended community of Pasadena, CA. Her mother a housemaid, she’d witnessed firsthand racial inequalities between her mother’s employers and the staff.


A shy girl she sought solace in books and sci-fi magazines at her local library. Her writing career truly began in 1974 with the Seed to Harvest series. 




At age 13, her well-intentioned aunt Hazel conveyed the realities of segregation by telling her, “Honey … Negroes can’t be writers” Butler persevered in her desire to publish a story anyway, even asking her junior high school science teacher, Mr. Pfaff, to type the first manuscript she submitted to a science fiction magazine.


Her first work published was Crossover in the 1971 Clarion Workshop anthology. She also sold the short story Childfinder to Harlan Ellison for the anthology The Last Dangerous Visions.


“I thought I was on my way as a writer,” Butler recalled in her short fiction collection Bloodchild and Other Stories. “In fact, I had five more years of rejection slips and horrible little jobs ahead of me before I sold another word.”


I’d been advised that the best of her collection is Kindred. I am owner of a copy and it has proven to be one of her most awarded novels.


Kindred, is all about Dana, an African-American woman transported from 1976 Los Angeles to early nineteenth century Maryland. She meets her ancestors: Rufus, a white slaveholder, and Alice, a black freewoman forced into slavery later in life.

I won’t spoil it for you but there’s a reason why she’s so well known.


In 2006 Butler was found outside her home after years of struggling with depression possibly caused by medications for hypertension, she had a stroke.


Prior to her death she’d continued writing despite struggling with writer’s block and taught at Clarion’s Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop regularly. In 2005, she was inducted into Chicago State University’s International Black Writers Hall of Fame.



What’s your favorite Octavia Butler novel?