Pen Friends, welcome Jessica Jade, a fabulous addition to the Spinning Pen. She’ll be joining us for a few months, sharing her journey on becoming an author — tips on writing, querying, YA fantasy, rejection, success, book reviews, and more! You’ll want to connect with her on twitter (link below) and see her beautiful novel aesthetics on her YA fantasy that she’s querying at the moment!
When I first started querying over two years ago, I thought I was ready—the manuscript, the query letter, everything.
Oh, I was wrong. Embarrassingly wrong.
If you’ve hung around here at The Spinning Pen at all, you’ll know a fun fact about us that isn’t very surprising: we all LOVE to read.
Last week, Caleb talked about the Reading Only Challenge he’s embarking on, and I thought I would add a little writing tip to go along with his fantastic idea. Missed his post? Check it out at the link above. Continue reading
It seems like more and more, the holiday season is just jam-packed with wall-to-wall everything, and that can be both exciting and utterly exhausting. It starts in October and doesn’t really let up until the beginning of January.
And with everything that’s going on during the holidays, how on earth are we supposed to tackle our amazing TBR piles of glorious books, much less spend time with those novels we’ve been writing?
I’ll tell you what, Pen Friends, I’m staring at an absolutely insane schedule this week, between the day job, a very tight freelance deadline, rehearsals for a play, and getting ready for Christmas (say what?! Christmas is in less than a week? How did that happen?), and I’m sad to say there will be little to no time for books this week. So many tears.
But fear not!
If any of you are in a similar space with too much to do and not enough time for holiday cheer, I have a suggestion! Make time for it. I know, I know, I’m crying just thinking about how I can cram another thing into my schedule, but hear me out. I’m going to try to listen to myself, as well.
True bookworms find clever ways to do bookish things (and this can apply to anything you care about, even if you’re *gasp!* not much of a reader). Sneak the important stuff into the gaps of your day.
Even if you’re just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of activity swirling around you, you can–and should–take a few minutes to just sit and be quiet. Make a list of the good things that have happened this year while brushing your teeth. Plot out your antagonist’s troubled backstory while cleaning your house for the ugly sweater soirée you’re hosting. Sneak in another chapter during your lunch break.
Want to make a holiday gathering fantastically bookish?
Here’s my idea for making the season bright and nerdy. Let’s take a page out of my favorite Icelandic Christmas tradition: every year, most Icelanders get at least one new book as a Christmas gift. Since they traditionally open gifts on Christmas Eve, once everyone receives said new book, they then all spend time quietly reading together.
How wonderful is that? It might not be the most spirited way to start a holiday party, but it sure sounds like a great way to wrap one up. If you’re having a gathering, invite your friends/family to bring a book they love, wrapped up all pretty. Then, let everyone open one, and voila! New books for all! You can even trade around until everyone has one they’re excited about. Finish the night with some reading time. (Have a bunch of extroverts in your group? Stage dramatic readings of your new books for added excitement!)
Wherever you find yourself this holiday season,
I hope you have a chance to slow down for a bit and experience some of the joy that this season can bring. And of course, may you be filled to the brim with great stories of all kinds.
Dana, signing off to go find some hot cocoa.
Art in any form is prone to becoming a comparison game and, when it’s something as personal as your writing, it can be brutal. These questions can help you separate from the pack and become a healthier writer.
Pen Friends ~ Looking for a query critique or your first chapter looked over? Nova McBee, SP host (in charge of Author Interviews & Book Reviews,) is offering her 2nd out of 3 Giveaways in November. Don’t miss out. She does the majority of query critiques at the SP and has become really good at pinpointing just how to make a query successful!
Thanks for all of your support and being part of our writing community!
Check here for details: November Giveaway Part 2!
I’m putting my nerd hat on for this post, since I am using anime and manga as my primary examples. In all 18 years of reading and watching Japanese stories, there’s a character type their writers use that I don’t see utilized in American stories often: the friendly rival.
I feel like the only appropriate way to start this post is with a quote from George Washington in “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”
It’s one of those seasons for me where everything feels a little darker than usual. There’s a heaviness to the air, in my limbs, and in my soul. Yeah, it’s dramatic, but we’re writers. Drama comes with the territory.
I’m guessing most of you have been in one of these seasons, and if you haven’t, you likely will be at some point in the future. Especially for creatives, the dark seems to follow us around a little more.
So today, when I just don’t know if I can get the words out any other way, I have this bit of encouragement for you–and for myself. Continue reading
SEIZE TODAY blurb
Seventeen-year-old Olivia Dresden is a precognitive. Since different versions of people’s futures flicker before her eyes, she doesn’t have to believe in human decency. She can see the way for everyone to be their best self-if only they would make the right decisions. No one is more conflicted than her mother, and Olivia can only watch as Chairwoman Dresden chooses the dark, destructive course every time. Yet Olivia remains fiercely loyal to the woman her mother could be. Continue reading
Pen friends, if you’ve spent much time around here, you know how much we love the writing community! One of our favorite ways of learning and growing within that community is by participating in contests and mentoring opportunities, and today we are thrilled to chat with one of the founders of Author Mentor Match, the lovely YA author Alexa Donne!
*The current round of submissions for AMM is open now through October 24th, so if you’ve been looking for a mentor, now is the perfect chance to apply!
SP: Welcome, Alexa! We’re so excited to have you join us. Can you please tell us a little about who you are and what you write?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I am Alexa Donne, a YA science fiction & fantasy writer whose debut novel, BRIGHTLY BURNING, will be coming out from HMH Teen on May 1, 2018. It’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, set in space. Continue reading