Teen Writers Bloc

A Blog by the New School Writing for Children MFA Class of 2012

new school Guest Blogger Ghenet Myrthil Responds to Marys Question of Low Expectations

I’ve followed Teen Writers Bloc pretty much since its inception, and what I’ve loved most about it is the variety of perspectives the bloggers provide on their experience as writers and MFA students. I graduated from The New School Writing for Children program in 2010, and it’s been fun to read their posts and reminisce about my own time there.

The question the bloggers are tackling this month has to do with whether this MFA program is worthwhile. After reading Mary’s response, I realized how different my experience in the program was compared to hers.

Some things haven’t changed. The program still has its benefits and drawbacks, which I’m sure is true of many graduate programs. Like Mary, I didn’t find the adult literature class I took to be very useful, and I was equally offended by the administration’s assumption that children’s literature writers aren’t real writers unless they study adult lit. What a load of crap!

Also, like Mary, the main reason I loved the program was because of the writers I formed a community with while there. The support I receive from them even now, two years later, is invaluable. Not all twelve of us keep in touch anymore, but the five that I do keep in touch with are awesome.

One point Mary made in her post gave me pause:

“Finally, there’s the problem of low expectations. If you wanted to, you could graduate from the program without ever having completed a novel. The thesis requirement is only fifty pages. You could literally write only fifty pages in the entire program and still graduate.” 

Here’s where I respectfully disagree, and where my experience in the program differed.

I agree that MFA applicants need to decide what their expectations are before entering a program like this, because a lot of it is what you make of it. However, I don’t agree with the idea that if you don’t complete a novel by the end of the program, your expectations are too low. It’s not so black and white. The creative section of my thesis was only seventy pages (18,000 words). I certainly wrote way more than seventy pages over the course of the program (since I started several projects before deciding to focus on one), but I didn’t complete an entire novel.

There were two main reasons for this. One was a lack of time. I had a full-time job while in the program, and was also planning my wedding, so I found it hard to write every day. Along with all of the other program requirements (reading a book a week, critiquing several submissions a week, attending readings, and of course attending class), it was a lot to juggle. Second, I had never written a novel before. I entered the program having only ever written short stories.

 

My personal expectation for the program was to learn more about kid lit (through the literature classes), improve my writing (through the workshops) and get as far into a novel as I could. I would have loved to finish an entire novel, and I wrote as much as I could, but a completed manuscript wasn’t in the cards.

 

Despite that, I was so proud of my thesis! And I’ve since finished and revised that book. What I really wanted out of the program was to kick start my career, and it did just that.So while I agree that you do have to think about WHY you want to get an MFA and WHAT you want to accomplish, it’s okay if you don’t end up completing a whole manuscript. In fact, I was one of many people in my class who only submitted portions of manuscripts for their theses and completed their books after the program ended. At the time, none of my classmates had agents or book deals. Many of us (myself included) are still working toward that goal. None of us are unmotivated. We were just at an earlier stage of our careers while at The New School. We took our time getting the pages we wrote for our theses right.

One thing that’s very clear about the Class of 2012 is that they are a very motivated and productive bunch. I’m seriously impressed by how they’ve supported each other and pushed one another to write so much. I’m sure they’ll have long and successful careers, and I feel the same way about my old classmates! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from getting an MFA, and being a writer in general, it’s that everyone follows their own journey and writes at their own pace.

Thanks, Teen Writers Bloc, for letting me share my experience!

me Guest Blogger Ghenet Myrthil Responds to Marys Question of Low Expectations

Ghenet Myrthil is a 2010 graduate of The New School Writing for Children program. She’s currently seeking representation for her contemporary young adult novel. You can find her blogging at www.ghenetmyrthil.com and tweeting @ghenet

Wuftoom: Book Release Events and Giveaway

Posted by Mary G. Thompson On May - 4 - 2012

9780547637242 hres 400x600 Wuftoom: Book Release Events and GiveawayHello Teen Writers Bloc readers! I’ve plugged it at every opportunity, to the point where you are probably thinking, yes, Mary, we know about the stupid book. But for realz, y’all, it’s almost here!

To celebrate the release of Wuftoom on May 8, I’m having a public book release party at the fantastic McNally Jackson Books, here in Manhattan. Please come and bring your friends, family, children, and any random people you meet. Subterranean monsters are also welcome, though if they stink up the place, we’ll charge a special cleaning fee.

  • What: Wuftoom Book Release Party
  • Where: McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St. New York, NY
  • When: Sunday, May 13, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
  • Details: I will be reading from the book and having a conversation with The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands author (and friend of Teen Writers Bloc!) Kate Milford. Then we will be eating fun and gross worm-themed desserts, drinking wine/soda, and generally having a good time.

If that’s not enough for you, I’m also reading THIS SUNDAY, MAY 6 at Books of Wonder along with several fantastic teen sci-fi/fantasy authors.

  • What: Teen Sci Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian/Supernatural Event with me, Paolo Bacigalupi, David MacInnis Gill, Alethea Kontis, Galaxy Craze, Kate Klimo, and Elizabeth Norris
  • Where: Books of Wonder, 18 W 18th St., New York, NY
  • When: Sunday, May 6, 2012, 1:00 p.m.
  • Details: Come meet some fabulous teen sci-fi and fantasy authors, including Hugo and Nebula award winner and National Book Award finalist Paolo Bacigalupi.

Finally, I’m running a giveaway on Goodreads from now until May 15th. Enter to win a signed copy of Wuftoom!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

12351901 Wuftoom: Book Release Events and Giveaway

Wuftoom

by Mary G. Thompson

Giveaway ends May 15, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Cover Image courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Covers Race in YA from a Biracial Perspective    Guest Blogger Jean Paul Bass Weighs in on the IssueI grew up reading Barbara Park, Louis Sachar, Baby-Sitters Club, S. E. Hinton, Paula Danzinger, Beverly Cleary, the American Girls series, and Lois Lowry. Some of my favorite books from childhood are The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Just as Long as We’re Together and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume, the Anne of Green Gables series, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, and Betsy Byers’s The Summer of the Swans. So I had a pretty eclectic taste in books, but one thing never varied: pretty much all of the books and authors I liked focused solely on white characters. If there was a non-white character, s/he was usually around to teach the white kids a lesson on race or tolerance or just a peripheral character who happened to be ethnic, but usually not the main character. (Some of the authors/books/series mentioned above did feature non-white characters, but that was pretty rare and even rarer for the main character to be non-white.)

So I know I should be lamenting the lack of diversity in the books I read as a kid and how it made me think less of myself, but honestly, it didn’t bother me or affect my self-image growing up. I never read books looking for characters that were just like me because I didn’t want to read about me, a poor, biracial girl living with an abusive white mother in an economically-depressed and uneducated black neighborhood who was made fun of for attending mostly-white private schools. I knew that story inside and out and didn’t want to read about it while I was still living it. Books were my escape, my chance to see how normal people lived because my life was very abnormal.

I grew up seeing myself as neither black nor white, but as a mixture of both, and so it didn’t matter what race the characters were so long as they took me away from the problems of real life. But now, as an adult, I realize those books did have an impact on me. As a writer, it’s so easy for me to fall into the default white trap. Creating racially diverse characters is a conscious effort and I have to actively work to make sure that my stories represent people of all skin colors.

When I come up with a new idea, I generally don’t think about race. As I start writing and getting to know my characters, sometimes a light bulb goes off and I think, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if everyone was black or mixed-race like me? But why do I think writing a book about non-whites is a novelty? It all comes back to the books I read growing up. Even though I wasn’t bothered by the lack of diversity as a child, it subconsciously left an impression on me and made me prewired to assume my own characters are white, which is troubling since I’m not even fully-white myself.

In my own writing, I sometimes get a bit heavy-handed with my character descriptions. I feel like I have to shove it in the reader’s face that these characters are not white because if it isn’t explicitly stated, then people will just assume everyone’s white. And, frankly, I’m tired of reading stories exclusively about white people as if people of color don’t exist. We do, and our stories need to be told, too. I now recognize the importance of including a racially diverse cast of characters. Nowadays, I get excited when I find a book with a biracial main character and if the character is female, it’s even better. It feels good to be represented in literature.

Guest blogger Jean-Paul Bass recently decided to quit her job to focus on writing full-time and she swears she doesn’t miss having a regular paycheck at all. She is currently working on her MFA in fiction at The New School and writing a memoir about growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.   

Photo Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Viking, Dell Yearling, and Puffin

Holstee Manifesto 300x251 Spring Cleaning: Ambers Making Peace With That Critical Voice In Her HeadSo I was going to write about the bad writing habits I need to get rid of for this month’s topic, Spring Cleaning, but every time I started to write something I felt like a broken record. I’ve mentioned my tendency to procrastinate and to be distracted by my non-writing obligations, i.e. my full time job and other outside commitments, many times before. So writing another post about it doesn’t seem all that useful.

What I really want to write about is something that I’ve been afraid to bring up. It has to do with something that I wish I could easily forget but can’t for some reason — a harsh critique that I received last semester in workshop from my professor.

I won’t say what that critique was. All that I’ll say is that it has stayed with me through this semester, especially because I’m still working on the same piece. The problem is that I still have my professor’s voice in the back of my head, making me second guess whether I should even bother working on what I’m working on. I mean, I am working on it, because I’ve made major changes to it since the critique was given, and I lucked out and got a really encouraging and helpful thesis advisor. But it’s been hard, nonetheless. Even though I really believe in what I’m writing.

Here’s the deal: Our thesis is due in the beginning of May.  And while I must say that I’m extremely grateful for the amazing feedback I’ve received along the way because it’s made me a much better writer than I was before and, honestly, I have loved this entire experience overall, part of me is looking forward to having the ability to breathe again after graduation. I’m ready for the chance to feel like I’m writing the book that I want to write instead of the one that will appease my professors and, though I love them dearly, my classmates. Even if that book might not be the book. You know, the one that sells.

It’s a process. I’m still pretty young, and with all that I’ve learned from my talented peers, and yes, from my experienced and usually quite wonderful professors, I think eventually I will get the hang of this writing thing, once and for all.

Or so I hope.

Image of the ‘Holstee Manifesto’ Courtesy of HOLSTEE.COM/MANIFESTO

Trailer and Book Cover Reveal for Lisa Amowitz’s BREAKING GLASS

Posted by Dhonielle Clayton On April - 27 - 2012

BreakingGlassFRONT 409x600 Trailer and Book Cover Reveal for Lisa Amowitzs BREAKING GLASSOur good friend Lisa Amowitz, graphic artist who created our wonderful banner, has big news today. Her book Breaking Glass has a cover and a book trailer.

Check it out the synopsis:

“On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or he become the next victim himself.”

Head over to her blog for a snippet of the forthcoming book. This book layers of intrigue and mystery, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, turning the pages to find out what comes next.

Also, take a peek at her awesome book trailer!

Spring Cleaning: Alyson Quits Scrubbing Bubbles

Posted by Alyson Gerber On April - 25 - 2012

hoover65 lg 426x600 Spring Cleaning: Alyson Quits Scrubbing BubblesI love spring cleaning, any kind of cleaning, really. Whenever I have a bad writing day, or I’m not sure what’s going to happen next in a scene, out come the yellow rubber gloves, Windex, and Clorox.

The thing is, I know exactly what is going to happen if I scrub the kitchen counters and meticulously vacuum and mop the floors. They are going to sparkle and shine, like it says in those 1960s Hoover advertisements. Plus, cleaning is the perfect distraction from writing and re-writing a scene that could end up being absolute trash. And I’ve managed to rationalize it as a perfectly reasonable alternative to actually working. I’m still being “productive.” I’m outlining in my head. I’m thinking through dialogue. I need a break to digest what I’ve written. Lies. All lies.  I am procrastinating.

And the thing about cleaning is that everything just ends up getting dirty again.  If you like to dust and organize as much as I do, you can find dirt to wipe up anywhere — at any time, like on a Saturday afternoon when I should be writing, finishing my thesis, and catching up on Publisher’s Marketplace. Or at 3:00 a.m., when I should be sleeping. In fact, cleaning has become the very bad habit I have to give up, because my shirts don’t need to be folded or color-coordinated again. But as I edit the final scenes of my manuscript and get started on the next one, I can’t seem to stop myself from rearranging everything around me.

The problem is I’m cleaning the wrong thing, and I know it, even as I take the Scrubbing Bubbles out from under the kitchen sink.

What I need to do is de-clutter my life. I have to clear out space in my mind and make more room to think about my books. So this morning, I woke up early and worked out, for the first time in longer than I’m willing to admit, even to myself. I had time alone, away from my Swifer Wet Jet, to think and brainstorm and not worry about anything except my characters. I got to go somewhere else, a land I invented where there is no such thing as dust.

Photo courtesy Hoover

mousewheel Spring Cleaning: Dhonielle Must Pull Back on the Day Job and Stop Spinning Her WheelsAlas … the dreaded day-job — well, really, afternoon, early evening, and weekend job — is cutting severely into my productivity. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to make a dent into my on-going, never-ending to-do list. I try and try to get up earlier, take a shorter lunch, sit in Starbucks, but I can’t seem to get it all done. I always have to create a worksheet for a kid or I’m running to make photocopies of test prep material or scooting up to the Upper East Side at rush hour, fighting through the crowds to get to Madison or Park or Fifth Avenue.

It’s a never-ending loop. You could say, “Dhonielle, you have your whole day all to yourself.” YES! I do have that. I can get up leisurely and write. But I’m always preparing or behind, so I need to get caught up so I can use my day-time hours more efficiently. That, and going to bed at a decent hour. I get home from tutoring and decompress with a little TV, and then try to do more work. By the time I’m finished it’s 3 a.m.

And at the end of each day, even if I’ve checked something off the to-do list, I still feel like there’s a mountain on top of me and I’m spinning my wheels.

My list of bad habits that need to be kicked this spring are:

  • Staying up past midnight
  • Eating past midnight and thus fueling myself to continue working
  • Staying in bed past 10 a.m.
  • Taking on new tutoring clients
  • Ignoring my thesis!

But here’s a sample of what’s on my plate to justify my whining:

  • Editing and cleaning up my thesis!
  • Completing the last 50-75 pages my current w-i-p MG novel — smoothing it, editing it, giving it to Amy Ewing to read — to turn a full into the agent
  • Finishing a massive edit of a collaborative project
  • Launching a website with Jess Verdi — details to come soon
  • Slowly working on another collaborative project with Lisa Amowitz
  • Reading and critiquing
I know what needs to be done. And I plan on getting there.

Photo Credit: Secretary of Innovation

Spring Cleaning: Corey Wonders What REAL Focus Feels Like

Posted by Corey Haydu On April - 20 - 2012

4097914782 35bd96c858 Spring Cleaning: Corey Wonders What REAL Focus Feels LikeI blogged last month with The Lucky 13s about my overly rigid habits as a writer. That I “can’t write” unless I’m at a certain cafe at a certain time drinking a certain drinks in a certain way. I wrote about how prohibitive that process can be for me, how it blocks me from taking advantage of all available writing time. That’s certainly one habit I’m working on curing, in baby steps. In fact, this past weekend I wrote all Saturday night — at home, no less! It was a big step.

But the real Spring Cleaning that needs to happen for me has to do with that elusive work-life balance. It’s a bit of a cyclical problem: if I’m ONLY writing and not experiencing life, I feel deflated and have have nothing to write about, I feel uninspired. But if I spend too much time living life, being social, having adventures, then I don’t actually end up doing any writing.

Recently, during Teen Author Week, author Ellen Hopkins talked about writing for 8-10 hours a day. I was at once insanely jealous and totally positive that that would never work for me. When she’s working, she’s WORKING and nothing else. That kind of intense focus, that total disregard for the life outside the computer screen — that isn’t my style.

You know why I write in a cafe? Because in a cafe I know that something exciting could happen. Life could happen, while I’m sitting and writing. I could meet someone! There could be a brawl! An impromptu party! An awkward first date or breakup conversation to eavesdrop on! I need those things. I need the promise of excitement, I need to be constantly working AND living life, in tandem. Talking about writing when at drinks with friends. Hoping for a friend to drop by while I’m deep in writing or revision. But I’m not sure these desires are reasonable, or even making me happy/keeping me productive. I’d like to try JUST writing, or JUST living. I’d like to be focused on my friends when I’m with my friends, to talk about things other than writing when I’m sharing french fries with a writer-friend. And when I’m writing, I’d like to have a taste of Ellen Hopkin’s razor-sharp focus. I’d like to be only thinking of my characters and nothing else.

I’m not sure it will happen. I can’t seem to get writing out of my mind, even at the best, busiest, most delicious wine bar. And I can’t seem to forget about the wonder of Real Life, even when I’m deeply entrenched in the creating of a Fictional Life.

Photo Credit: Savvyblogging.net

Spotlight: Kate Milford’s KickStarter Campaign and The Kairos Mechanism

Posted by Dhonielle Clayton On April - 19 - 2012

The Boneshaker Spotlight: Kate Milfords KickStarter Campaign and The Kairos Mechanism My good friend Kate Milford is embarking up a fascinating journey — using self-publishing to accompany her traditionally-published novels, The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands (Clarion, September 2012). She is one of the most talented writers I know, and I love all the things she writes. Plus, she’s always up to something. Most recently she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her latest book (which is wonderful and imaginative and everything I love in a good book).

We caught up with her about her latest endeavor.

Here’s the big idea in her own words describing what she’s up to:

I’m publishing a novella companion to release this fall with my second book, The Broken Lands (Clarion, September 2012). I want to experiment with self-publishing as a way to promote and enhance traditional releases by providing extra content to readers in the form of complete, related tales. I also want to use resources that support independent bookstores. It’s my hope to release a self-published novella alongside as many of my forthcoming hardcover releases as possible in an ongoing effort called the Arcana Project, which is why it has the optimistic subtitle.

The novella is called The Kairos Mechanism (Arcana #1), and it’s a story about characters from my first book, The Boneshaker (Clarion, 2010). It’s also related to the events of The Broken Lands

 

Synopsis: 

September, 1913. The crossroads town of Arcane, Missouri, is a place where strange things happen, and lately those strange things have a habit of happening to thirteen year-old Natalie Minks. It’s Natalie who first encounters the two boys who arrive in town seemingly out of nowhere, carrying a dead man between them. Odder still, a few of her older neighbors immediately recognize the dead man as a fellow citizen who’s been missing for fifty years–and who doesn’t appear to have aged in all that time. When another newcomer, a peddler called Trigemine, arrives in town, Natalie learns why the two boys and the peddler have really come to Arcane. And, of course, she realizes she has to stop them.

Like The Boneshakerand The Broken Lands, The Kairos Mechanism is a moderately frightening folklore-based fantasy. If you have read The Boneshaker, you’ll find the novella full of clues as to what’s coming and bits of history about characters you’ve already met. If you haven’t read it, don’t worry. You’ll fall in love with Natalie and Arcane right away.

I caught up with her to ask a few more questions about her project and how she creates as a writer.

TheBrokenLands Cover 1 166x245 Spotlight: Kate Milfords KickStarter Campaign and The Kairos Mechanism 1. How did you come up with the whole idea for having this novella? Are companion novels and novellas something you’ve always wanted to create as a writer?

I guess it started with the Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture website. I love cities and towns, and I love the idea of exploring a fictional city the way you’d explore a real one, by poking your nose into different streets and alleys and shops at random to see where your wandering takes you. So I started building a fictional city, Nagspeake, online. I’ve sort of always been interested in the ephemera that are hidden around a place or a story, just waiting to be discovered.

Ultimately this is why I started thinking about writing some companion pieces to my books. It was an idea I’ve been kicking around since the year after The Boneshaker sold. At that point, I had the idea for the project that would become The Broken Lands—it was just the tiniest bit of an idea, but I was thinking about what Jack the Drifter might’ve been up to before he wandered through Arcane. At the same time, I was beginning to think about a bigger story, something that would pit Natalie Minks against Jack. I thought it would make for a neat bit of backstory, something that might tide readers over until I began the big Natalie/Jack series. Fortunately, my publisher thought The Broken Lands would make a better full-length novel, and she was right. But I never stopped thinking about what I could do with all the extra little ideas I had floating around, and how I could use them to provide extra content for readers to explore the world of The Boneshaker.

Also I had about a year where I wasn’t sure what my next contract was going to be, and a girl’s gotta stay busy. At least, I do. Otherwise I go a bit crazy, and my husband likes it when I’m not crazy.

 

2. When you created the world of The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands, did you know you had several more stories within the world to tell? Did you always plan for this? Give us a little insight into your world-building.

Originally, I had envisioned The Boneshaker as a stand-alone novel, but once I added Jack, I started thinking about it differently, and by the time I was done, I knew I wanted to bring Jack back to Arcane. And I started wondering about what he might’ve been up to. Jack is an extraordinarily powerful creature looking for a place to make his own, and for this purpose he needs a place with a powerful crossroads. It occurred to me that before he settled on a small crossroads town like Arcane, he might’ve tried for someplace big first. From there, I started tracing his efforts backward, so now I know of several places he turned up before Arcane.

What happens with me is once I get really immersed in a place or time, I keep getting ideas. I fall in love with my characters (even—maybe especially—the villains), and I know where they all come from and where they all were at different times. And since the world of The Boneshaker is populated by a number of ancient wanderers and a number of powerful crossroads, I started thinking about those, and about their histories and about how the roamers might’ve crossed paths and where, and when…and things evolve from there. Plus, I’m an obsessive researcher, so as I get to know an era better and better, I start thinking things like, you know, Liao (a character in The Broken Lands) would’ve been a boy right about then. What might he have been up to? And Jake Limberleg (the villain of The Boneshaker) would’ve been youngish then, too…I wonder under what circumstances they might have crossed paths? This is where most of the ideas I have stockpiled away for the Arcana came from. It’s also where most of the ideas for the full-length projects I’m working on right now come from, to

I did seed certain things into The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands that I knew I wanted to come back to. Two characters in The Broken Lands spring to mind, for instance: there is a nameless woman with a violin, and a girl with silver eyes. They are not physically present in the book the way the protagonists are, but they are mentioned in a crucial story that one of the characters tells, and they’re characters in future books. But that’s often as far as my planning goes. I know I’m coming back to them, and why, and I usually have a vague (but sometimes only the vaguest) idea as to what their untold backstories are. But I don’t always know the specifics.

 Spotlight: Kate Milfords KickStarter Campaign and The Kairos Mechanism 3. Without spoiling the wonderful plot of The Kairos Mechanism, can tell us how this book is a bridge between The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands? Or how do you intend it to function?

The Boneshaker takes place in Arcane, Missouri, in 1913, and it’s about a girl named Natalie Minks. The Broken Lands takes place in New York City in 1877, and although two characters from The Boneshaker turn up, the cast is otherwise entirely different. It’s a bit of a prequel, in that the events that take place in The Broken Lands relate to The Boneshaker, but it’s basically a stand-alone story. So The Kairos Mechanism is meant to do two things. Firstly, it’s a Natalie story, to tide me (and any Natalie-fans who are out there) over until I get to come back to her and to Arcane. Secondly, it provides some extra clues as to how the two books are related, some clues to what’s coming for Natalie, and some history for readers who, like me, want to know more about the world and the characters. And it’s a self-contained story in its own right.

Like I mentioned, I really love when, as a reader, I get to explore a world in more depth and really get to know it. But I want to be able to explore it while I’m reading the story it relates to, and I particularly love when I find extra content that isn’t just extra content, but something that actually changes the way I read the story. Obviously this is a fine line—if it’s not in the book, it almost can’t be critical to the story (unless that’s the point, I guess). And the extra content can’t be spoilery—for instance, I don’t know in what order people are going to read The Kairos Mechanism and The Broken Lands, and there are probably going to be people who read one of those two before they even read The Boneshaker. So I’m having to be very careful about what’s fair game to include, or refer to, or reveal. It’s very tricky.

4. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, which we know it will be, what are your plans for the rest of the Arcana? Can you give us a little insider information? Or a sneak peek of your vision for them?

My pie-in-the-sky dream is to release an Arcanum novella alongside every hardcover release. I have a list of projects I’m saving up for them—basically for every full-length proposal I’ve written in the last year, I have a plan for a novella to accompany it. And one of the coolest things I’ve planned for the project (if I do say so myself) is that each one will be available in a digital version illustrated by young artists, one artist per chapter. The group that’s assembling right now is so diverse in terms of styles, I think it’s going to make for an amazing collection of illustrations. (And for what it’s worth, as of 1pm EST on Wednesday, I am still in need of one or two more artists.)

 

The Kairos Mechanism Kickstarter campaign’s off to a great start, but it still needs backers in a big way. Plus, if we exceed our goal, I’ll be able to bump up the artists’ compensation. Plus plus, if we REALLY exceed our goal—and it can happen, there’s still time—I may be able to finance the second Arcanum on this campaign. That would be amazing. I’d like the project ultimately not to require crowd-sourcing the funds, but that’s a long-term goal, obviously. It won’t happen on the first few installments.

 

 

Spring Cleaning: Mary Denies Her Problems

Posted by Mary G. Thompson On April - 18 - 2012

12406pgephldncy Spring Cleaning: Mary Denies Her ProblemsOkay, this month we’re supposed to write about bad writing habits or problems. What, me problems? Because I’m a subscriber to Scientific American Mind, I know I’m not unique in bearing this psychological trait: I’m sure that none of my problems are really my problems. Which is to say, they’re not my fault. Which is to say:

I’m not lazy, I’m just tired.

I’m not procrastinating, I’m percolating.

I’m not surfing the Internet, I’m researching.

I’m not sleeping, I’m active dreaming.

I’m not reading, I’m learning my craft.

I get headaches, so sue me.

Do you have any Excedrin? I’m out.

I said, do you have any Excedrin?

I SAID, DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCEDRIN???

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

It’s not my fault you didn’t give me any Excedrin. I really can’t be held responsible for my actions. For example, why has my nice book about some kids prancing around in a fantasy world suddenly turned into a senseless bloodbath involving body parts and spurting guts? Possibly it has something to do with the way THIS COMPUTER SCREEN IS GIVING OFF SO MUCH *&(#*& LIGHT!

[Four hours later.] In all seriousness folks, I could work more. I know that some people think I already work a lot, but it’s not good enough. I still spend way too much time being tired, percolating, researching, active dreaming, and of course, learning my craft. I could blame the headaches, insomnia, distractions, work-work, or my stuffed pink pig. But the truth is, I should just try to buck up and work more. Probably that means I’m going to have to start getting up earlier. Also, I should actually do the things on today’s to-do list instead of just moving them to tomorrow over and over again. Finally, I should work more. There aren’t really any gnomes inside my head making me forget what I’m doing and play ping-pong with them. That’s just a story I made up to avoid writing another 1000 words today. But now that you mention it, I think I will play another game.

Image Credit: Simon Howden

pixel Spring Cleaning: Mary Denies Her Problems
Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: