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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘nanowrimo’

Countdown to Nanowrimo

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

So we have… eight days to go! I’m getting so excited about this year’s Nano. I have a new book to start FROM SCRATCH (newbooknewbooknewbook) – Fury was a new book, but it came out of Siren Beat, and came with the baggage and negatives of writing a sequel without the benefits.

But this one is newwwwwww and even though I first got the spark about it a year or more ago (possibly two? I think Iz was badgering me to write it for Nano last year) I have not let myself write any of it down.

What I love about new new new new new book is that it’s a challenge in so many interesting ways – it contains stuff I’ve never done before, and a few aspects of it terrify me. But in many ways I think it will make a better follow up to Creature Court than Nancy Napoleon – it’s not the same kind of book in any real sense, but it has a few tonal aspects in common. It can certainly be described as dark fantasy rather than urban fantasy, and I can see it being marketed in the same sort of way.

BUT OMG SO DIFFERENT, HOORAY!

The other nice thing, once I have wrapped my head around the idea that I’m starting a new novel in just over a week, is that I feel like I can start blogging about writing again. There’s something about the middle and second half of a novel where it’s hard to think of anything to talk about – without massively spoilering everyone for a book that isn’t even contracted yet. I mean, do you want to know that Nancy is decapitated in the second last chapter?* No, you do not.

*This doesn’t happen. Unless workshopping it takes the book in a radically different direction…

So I imagine I’ll be talking a lot about writing. This happens when I nano.

Plus, did I mention?

NEW BOOK NEW BOOK NEW BOOK.

If you are Nanoing this year, you can find my profile at tansyrr.

Bijou Friday Links.

Friday, July 15th, 2011

This one is small but elegant – which is unsurprising as it’s my second links post this week!

N.K. Jemisin wrote a very cool post about women’s roles in fantasy and the problematic nature of judging the strength and value of female characters by masculine standards – the conversation in the comments is interesting, as so many people jump in to talk about domestic skills and values in fantasy, and why giving a woman a sword isn’t the only way to make her a “strong” character.

Also, I’m on the fence about Google+ and expect to continue so until too many friends of mine are in there for me to ignore it any longer (was I not right about Google Buzz? Thankyew and goodnight) but this post by Mary Robinette Kowal about constructing writing dates & writer gatherings in Google+ makes me think I’m going to have to get my arse in there before this year’s Nanowrimo.

Meanwhile, over at Twelfth Planet Press, Alisa has revealed the gorgeous cover of the new Twelve Planets collection by Lucy Sussex, and info to tantalise you about this book from one of Australia’s veteran science fiction & fantasy writers. Alisa also revealed the titles this week of the next season of TPs, by Deborah Biancotti, Narrelle Harris and Kaaron Warren… and what titles they are!

But you know, when it comes down to it, the most awesome thing about this week was Noni Hazlehurst reading modern classic picture book, Go The Fuck to Sleep. Text Publishing hit on a genius method of publicising the fact that they are the Australian publishers of this instant classic for exhausted parents everywhere. Noni is a goddess as well as a national icon, and her performance of the book, including traditional Play School commentary & asides to the viewer, and a deeply authentic ‘going downhill rapidly’ emotional journey, is note-perfect.

The glee on Twitter as Noni’s reading was announced (you can keep your Samuel L Jackson, Americans!), the outrage as YouTube canned the video for offensive conduct (you know where you can go, YouTube…) and the joy as the video was re-released on other platforms… honestly, this is the most patriotic joy I think most Aussies have felt in years.

Go the Fuck to Sleep – read by Noni Hazlehurst from sswam on Vimeo.

In Other News, NaNoWriMo is still Awesome

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

As usual in November, the interwebs have been alight with Nanowrimo themed posts – from bitchery, eyerolling and sideswipes to unadulterated glee, professional encouragement and cheersquaddery, plus, you know, a LOT of wordcount widgets.

It does make me sad how many people are willing to criticise Nanowrimo without actually having taken part – when it comes down to it, apart from the poor agents who quite UNDERSTANDABLY get twitchy at the thought of all those half baked 50K mss being emailed to them on December 1st, no one is getting hurt here. It’s a fun group event – some people turn it into professional development, others are in it with a hobbyist mentality, and some are just plain typing with no other purpose in sight.

When I teach creative writing, like the Write Your Fantasy Novel course I taught last Saturday, I always try to emphasise the importance of figuring out what writing advice/work methods work for you. Figuring out how you can most effectively write the best book you can is the most useful thing you can do as a writer – and sometimes the easiest way to do it is just Try Everything and see what sticks to the ceiling. Nanowrimo is a great way to test out all kind of writing advice and techniques – and to figure out if you’re the kind of writer who can work under that kind of frantic deadline, or not.

Believe me, if you want to write professionally, you need to know how well you handle deadlines.

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Twas the Week Before Nano

Monday, October 25th, 2010

It’s now less than a week until the end of the month, which is a little scary for me as that’s when my book is due in. But that also means it’s less than a week until NaNoWriMo starts! As good a time as any to link to the post I wrote last year about The Myths of NaNoWriMo that are regularly perpetuated by writers who haven’t actually tried it…

I adore Nano. I love everything about it. I love the frantic pace of writing, the PRESSURE, the word wars, the playlists, the self-imposed deadline to end all self-imposed deadlines, the creativity, the pressure. I love making writing dates with my friends, those who write all year round (and I never get a chance to see otherwise) and those who only clock in with the writing thing at this time of year. I love carting my big fluffy monster laptop bag around to cafe after cafe and living room after living room and playing Lily Allen through my headphones on an endless loop because damn it that woman makes me write faster.

Last year, I wrote with a three month old baby on my lap. It was challenging, to say the least, but it was also an amazing step in proving to myself that I could juggle new motherhood and writing.

This year, the buzz is starting, and we’ve managed to lure new flies into the web (HEY MILLIE) which is super exciting. But… I won’t be old schooling it this year. It was a big admission for me to make to myself, that the full NaNoWriMo was not on the cards for me this time around. I’m looking at finishing the most intense book project I’ve ever worked on this Sunday, and even I am not crazy enough to launch into a 50K marathon the day after. A mad riot of new bookery is tempting, but it could burn me out for months. I’ve been swamped in deadlines all year, and this is finally a chance for me to breathe and catch up on other things. Including, um, some rather major copy edits for Book Two, which my editor was nice enough to postpone a few weeks to let me get the much-interrupted Book Three finally done.

On the other hand, it’s FREAKING NANO and there’s no way I want to be left out. Plus, I don’t want to miss the chance to harness the magical November vibe and get some serious work done before summer holidays hit me and I’m back to full time mummying. So…

I’m making a list and checking it twice. Instead of one big 50K project, I’m going to put several smaller projects together, covering different areas in my life that have been crying out for some serious attention. Call it the Month of Manic Multitaking Mama – MoMaMuMa! Heh okay, maybe we won’t give it a special name. But here’s my November plan:

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Writing While The House is Messy

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

There are people who at times express surprise at how much I manage to do. Looking after a small baby, a school-age daughter, writing books, blogging, running a small business, etc. Sometimes they ask my secret, and I say ‘well, I’m a really bad housewife.’

Jeff VanderMeer has cued up a discussion on women, writing, guilt, and domestic responsibility, both at the Booklife blog and on his own (the really good comments so far are on his own blog). Rachel Swirsky also comments on the issue at her own blog.

I’ve commented over on Jeff’s blog about my experience as the stay-at-home-parent-who-writes, and I know how lucky I am to have a partner who sees my writing as an investment in our future rather than something which takes away from time I should be spending on, you know, vacuuming. I’m sure he would prefer I spent a touch more time vacuuming, since we bought the robot vacuum cleaner and all, but he has always been remarkably non-judgemental about the whole thing, and shared the chores.

There are so many potential issues/problems/complications tangled up in the concepts of Guilt and Motherhood, Guilt and Writing Time, Balancing Paid Work and Writing, Balancing Unpaid Work and Writing, that I think it’s impossible for any person to sum it up in an all-encompassing way. I always find it interesting to read other people’s stories about how they handle that difficult balance, though, and how they deal with their own expectations, and the expectations of others, which often have a lot to do with gender.

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The Silly Season Begins

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Last night we gathered for a celebratory dinner with the Nano-chums, including partners and children and ended up being a 20+ group! Arranging the tables took some serious thought, and we ended up in three distinct sections: kids, parents, grown ups.

It was lovely to mark out our success (seriously only 19% of Nanoers completed, and we had something like a 60% success rate, how awesome is that?) and to include our long-suffering families (it being Hobart, most of the hubbies knew each other already). But the kids were all very excitable, and however pleasant the dinner was, it was kind of exhausting. There were no tantrums or injuries (never something to take for granted!) and they’re all great kids (heh especially MINE) but… pfeh.

After my third attempt to get from the restaurant to the car I confessed that – hell yeah, I made the right decision to not go to the Aurealis Awards. However wistful I might be about it – and I’ve been wistful about not going to this one since the last one, basically, when I had so much fun but knew I’d be babied up this time around – yeah. Sometimes just getting a meal leaves you needing a three hour lie down.

Speaking of the AA’s, [info] girliejones is rightly delighted that Twelfth Planet Press has scored seven nominations across the categories, and that every TPP project of the year received a nod in some way. She’s offering all the nominated works now with free postage (half postage overseas) for Christmas sales. If you’ve been meaning to pick up Horn for someone’s Christmas stocking (what else to do with evil unicorn fiction?), she’s getting low on copies, so grab one now!

Viktory!

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
50048 / 50000

Big day today – had horde of ravening NaNoites at my place from 10-2, munching biscuits and chocolates and grapes, drinking endless cups of tea and typing like maniacs. Special shout out goes to Melandering Abbott, who rid herself of her own children for the day and came along to be a support person and babywrangler.

I managed 2000 words.

After that we decamped to Mures for a further writing session, bolstered by fish, chips, salad, coffee and ice cream. [info] godieva hit 50K first, with me and Zarisson hot on her heels. With Clare Renshaw & [info] looneymoth happy with their not-trying-for-50K-that’s-crazytalk totals for the day, we all downed tools, ate celebratory treats and basked in general smugness.

I made 1000 words at Mures to reach the 50K which brings today in at 3000 words, by far the most productive writing day since baby Jem was born. It can, apparently, be done. Thanks to a great group of people. it was also one of the most fun writing days I can remember.

YAY US, AND YAY NANOWRIMO!

30 Days, No Excuses

Saturday, November 28th, 2009
46857 / 50000

Almost there, almost there. You can tell when a group full of people have been doing NaNo too long, because the following seems hilariously funny:

- I always said they should make a reality TV show of Clarion, but what about NaNoWriMo?
- You could totally do that.
- Give twelve lucky people a chance to live in a big house with unlimited writing time and space, away from their real lives, the only down side is that they all have to produce 50,000 words, and obviously they’d all go insane. Screened live 24 hours on the web.
- Can there be a Big Brother style voice that gives them annoying writing exercises and tips like ‘write a scene with a robot zombie’?
- Does the winner get published? No matter how bad their book is?
- Ha, people would buy it anyway
- NaNoWriMo the Series: 30 Days, No Excuses
- Give them everything that writers say they need: hardware, time and space to do nothing but write, separation from jobs and family
- People would kill to get in there
- There would have to be catering, really good catering
- Do we vote people out?
(quick vote in room decides no voting people out)
- We want them to have to stay until the bitter end
- Maybe we evict them all as soon as they hit 50K
- So what, you end up with thousands of people watching an empty house with one person typing
- I’d watch that!
- Put all the books up on Lulu.com and they can all be published!
- Did you know that the average number of copies sold of a self-published book is 47? Or was it 9…
(conversation is derailed in order to discuss Harlequin Horizons)

Me: Okay the bad news is I’ve been here half an hour and written nothing, the good news is I know what I’m blogging about tonight.

EDIT: I totally forgot to include the part of the conversation where celebrities tape encouraging messages and writing tips to be beamed into the house – and Nathan Fillion opens buttons on his shirt to encourage high wordcounts (writers who don’t meet their day’s target are sent to the naughty room so as not to see Nathan opening the button on his shirt)

- so the house is only open to women and gay guys?
- no, but if straight men aren’t inspired by Nathan Fillion they will just have to dig deeper and use the experience of watching another man undress in their fiction. Grist for the mill! Grist for the mill!

EDIT EDIT: I also forgot the part where someone pointed out that there is always one who managed to complete NaNo in the first 3 days and I announced this was no longer a theoretical exercise and had become a murder mystery waiting to be written…

Ah, Metropolis

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
40121 / 50000

First, take a moment to admire the shiny word counter above. Is it not bee-yootiful? I am so relieved that I took this NaNovember to write the beginning of Book 3 – I already know a lot of things that will change about Book 2 because of it (and my fingers are itching to rewrite Book 1 – sadly TOO LATE, TANSY)

This morning was surprisingly lovely. I had a doctor’s appointment (my long-delayed post-baby check up) and decided to meander through town for the rest of the morning so I could meet my honey for lunch.

Oh yes, I was in TOWN. Town being the centre of Hobart, now a place so distant, rare and exotic to me that it instilled the excitement of a shopping weekend to Melbourne. (I have never done this) I trip-trapped through Pumpkin Patch, resisting the gorgeous $50 dresses (really SO beautiful, I was very restrained) but managing to stock up on lovely baby things on the grounds that Jem isn’t old enough to appreciate her first Christmas, so all her presents should be indulgences for meeeee… (cough, and Raeli-sized shoes and hats were on special)

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Mama Writer: the Nanowrimo edition.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
38727 / 50000

Every now and then I have to stop and remind myself “…with a three month old baby.”

For everything. It used to be “…with a newborn” and then we were counting week by week, but somehow now we’re at “…with a three month old baby.” (she’s three and a half now, but who’s counting)

In the last month and a half or so I have completed major edits for Power and Majesty, my first adult book with a major publishing house in, um, ten years. (I was busy!) I wrote several new scenes for said book. I finished the draft of book 2. I have written nearly (tomorrow!) 40,000 words. I am (ha, just barely) keeping up with the demands of a small business.

“…with a three month old baby.”

When I express frustration about how I’m not writing as fast as I’m used to, or not getting enough done, or dropping any of the dozen balls I have in the air at any one time, someone whether it be my honey or one of my very good friends, reminds me that, you know, there’s a baby there. And she’s entirely dependent on me.

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