At this time of year, the blogosphere is full of chatter about NaNoWriMo. Many writers love it. Other writers hate it. (Full disclosure: I fall into the former camp. This will be my seventh NaNo.) But what if you fall in between? What if you like the idea but you know there’s no way you can hit 50,000 words on a new novel in November? Here are some suggestions that might help, from least to most radical…
1. Do NaNo in another month. If you want to try a writing challenge but November is just a bad month, you have options! This year, the NaNoWriMo people put on Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer. They also do a screenwriting challenge, Script Frenzy. Other challenges have sprung up using the same model – NaNo-style challenges in most other months, National Novel Editing Month, National Novel Writing Year, and so on. Pick the one that works for you.
Imagine that for one night, your city is transformed into a strange and magical place. Art installations sprout everywhere, in dark alleys and concrete plazas and green parks, on streets, dangling in the air between buildings, projected onto the facades of other buildings, inside tiny galleries and indie shops. Huge crowds of people wander the sidewalks and block the roads, all experiencing and participating in a city turned art playground. For one night.
This is Nuit Blanche.
Siri here. I’m thrilled to introduce our very first guest blogger. Kat Anthony is a writer, editor, and founder of Crow Girl Publishing, as well as a student and an all-around smart woman. Today’s post has to do with two things that have always intrigued me: rainbows and mysteries.
We all know the legend of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow–and yet for me, the rainbow itself is the treasure.
The science of light and refraction is straightforward enough, but this doesn’t dispel my rising sense of wonder and anticipation, when I see the sudden brightening of the air in the middle of a rainstorm. The grey sky grows intensely vibrant, and the falling drops turn luminous: sparkling and ephemeral jewels of liquid and light. This exquisite spectacle might seem like reward enough, and yet, it is also the harbinger of the rainbow itself. Even now, when I see the beginnings of a sunshower, I go rainbow hunting. Once I’ve found it, I often as not stand staring, a silly grin pasted on my face (“double rainbow all the way!”), as others walk by, hunched and oblivious, anxious to avoid getting drenched in the downpour.
In India, when any of the adults would see a sunshower, and the glorious emergence of the rainbow, they’d smile mysteriously (as I remember it) and say, “Oh–the fox’s wedding and the monkey’s dance”. The observation would roll off their tongues, with a little bit of a singsong …
Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. I haven’t been in school for ten years, but I still love the sense of new beginnings. But at the same time, autumn also makes me wistful, because it reminds me that winter is coming (no, I’m not a Stark of Westeros – just a Canadian). It’s an odd dichotomy. Tell me I’m not alone?
If you’re the sort of person who feels left out of all the hustle and bustle, who struggles with the transition because you’d rather hibernate until spring (much like turtleducks), here are some ideas for embracing the season.
Hit the school/office supply stores. The tricky part of this is coming up with a good reason to be there so people don’t look at you weird. If you’re a parent, you have a ready-made excuse to go roam the aisles, ogle the shelves, and stock up on all the pretties – the lined paper on sale, the new pens and pencils, the notebooks, the Post-It notes… If you’re not a parent, maybe you’re a writer (or thinking about being a writer someday), which is still a good excuse. Even if you do all your writing and planning on computer. Ahem.
My mother is one of my heroes. Let me tell you why.
When I was very ill as a small child, and doctor after doctor couldn’t determine what was wrong, she refused to stop digging until she found the answers herself. (I was celiac, a disease that was almost unknown then.)
She went against convention and social pressures to raise my two siblings and me.
If you’re ever in Toronto, after you’ve visited the CN Tower and the other obvious places…or if you’ve just moved here and want to see what “here” consists of…or even if you’ve never been anywhere near Toronto…come take a walk through a neighbourhood. Any neighbourhood will do, they’re all different, but one of my favourites is Kensington Market.
If you’re taking the Spadina streetcar from the subway line, as we did, you enter via the bustle and strong smells of Chinatown – people hawking cheap t-shirts, designer knockoffs, herbs right on the sidewalk, sometimes pirated DVDs although none are to be found this time; there must have been a crackdown recently. Coming from the south, you turn off Spadina onto Dundas Street West, suddenly surrounded by quiet.
One short block later, you turn again and now you are in a different world.
(Disclaimer: This blog post reflects the opinions of the author, not of Turtleduck Press as a whole.)
This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article arguing that YA fiction has become too dark. It’s too violent, the author writes. It deals with situations and behaviours that could negatively influence young minds (she gives the example of self-harm, arguing that if a teen reads about it, s/he may want to try it – say what?). It’s too explicit. It uses too much “foul language”. The vampire trend is only another example of this depravity.
The blogosphere and Twitterverse (at #yasaves) exploded with rebuttals as readers and writers of YA weighed in. Today’s teenagers are already facing these issues. Statistics. More. Anecdotally, I know young people who struggle with mood disorders, with whether to come out to their parents, with the extreme pressures placed on them in today’s world. And I don’t know that many young people. Turtleduck Press’s own KD Sarge works in a school, and she sees a lot more than I do. Books aren’t putting ideas in their little heads, but giving them tools to deal with their realities. Books tell them that they are not alone, that #ItGetsBetter. Laurie Halse Anderson says it better.
I agree with these arguments. I believe in the importance of talking/writing/reading about self-harm, rape, abuse, bullying, …
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition (Twitter) which occurred just outside of Toronto.
(Steampunk in a nutshell is a revival of Victorian-era sensibilities, often with a rebellious (“punk”) edge. It manifests itself in fashion, music, and machinery, as well as in fiction.)
Unfortunately, I was only able to go on Sunday, so this is not a comprehensive review. From what I was able to see, the convention was well attended, the programming excellent, the dealers many and varied, the guests well dressed and very friendly.
I’ve long been interested in all kinds of dance and music. Over the years I’ve taken piano lessons, played in school bands, sung in choirs, gone to concerts and dance performances. More recently I’ve taken a variety of dance lessons, looking for the kind of dance that would speak to me.
Hip hop and salsa weren’t it. Flamenco was closer – all that drama and Spanish guitar, and the close attention to technique. Belly dance held some of the same attraction as flamenco, but I didn’t fall in love with either one.
Then I discovered contra dance.
I’m a writer, obviously, and I read blogs about the writing process. I’m also a knitter, and I read knitting blogs. Sometimes the two merge. For example, which one is this (telltale words omitted)?
I love the starting process just as much as finishing the project – and for me, with too many projects started and not enough finishing taking place, I would not get the joy of the full experience of being a … . I would only experience the starting part, the finishing remaining a mystery.