Happy Good Friday! Hope you’ve been having lots of Easter chocolates and enjoying the time off with loved ones.
This week finds me still struggling with the last several pages of the first edit of my current work-in-progress. When I wrote my first draft, my main goal was to just get words down on the page, no matter how messy or imperfect. This means lots of untidy sentences, plenty of malapropism, and probably about 200 more adjectives than anyone needs. Ah, adjectives.
Also, as I was writing my first draft and getting closer to the end, I was just so darn eager to get the conclusion down on the page that a lot of scenes toward the end have come out really garbled and hell messy. I cringe to read them over. I pray no one will ever find them and read them. But I knew it was the right way to go. Once I got the words down, it was just a matter of some serious rewrites. Serious rewrites.
All this, of course, rather daunts the writer in me, the same way a big mess in a room daunts the happy-slob-who-knows-she-really-ought-to-keep-relatively-tidy in me. And like my messy rooms, I decide the best way to go about this is to attack in small doses. And some small rewards such as these Ferrero Rocher Easter egg treats I dole out to myself each time I’ve made it through a section of rewrites. I’m getting there, slowly but surely, and with the help of chocolate!
In the meantime, to inspire all the struggling writers out there, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite writers’ blogs today. Because we’re all voyeuristic and love to peek into the lives of the people we admire. You know it.
Gail Carriger – if you love Gail Carriger’s books, you’d love her blog. She updates fairly often (and is also a prolific Twitter user). Gail writes alt-Victorian steampunk and on her blog you’d find all kinds of interesting facts on the Victorian era, some steampunk lovin’, book reviews, and all sorts of goodies for her fans such as deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes looks at her writing/publishing process. Plus, pictures of parasols, steampunk/Victorian/Edwardian fashions and tea cups galore!
Chuck Wendig – a prolific blogger who shares plenty of great advice for writers, plus writing challenges and interviews with other writers. This is a man with lots of strong, bold flavour in his words. A great place to interact with other writers.
Robin McKinley – her updates are rather sporadic and I have to admit I have a hard time following her posts sometimes as she tends to ramble and includes a heap of footnotes. I just scan through to the good bits! But I love getting an insight into Robin McKinley’s life – I mean, she’s Robin McKinley. She talks about her hell hounds, her roses, her bell-ringing activities and every now and then you get to hear about her husband, author Peter Dickinson. So you kind of get two authors in one blog! Plus, there’s a free fiction serial that will serve the whet the appetites of all McKinley fans as they wait eagerly for her next book!
Neil Gaiman – Neil doesn’t update as much as, say, Gail or Chuck, but when he does, it’s well worth reading. There’s updates on upcoming publications, events or tour dates (not much on now as the Gaiman household recently welcomed a new baby and is understandably occupied), links to articles and interviews and cool stuff like this recording his wife, singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, made of a conversation she had with Neil while he was sleeping and played over an animation by Avi Ofer. A constant source of inspiration to the artist in us all.
Kameron Hurley – If you’re looking for an honest and upfront look into what life really is like as a writer, warts and all, Kameron Hurley’s website is what you’re looking for. (Although, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about your odds of becoming a bestselling author who won’t have to worry about relying on a day job to pay the bills or if you’re recovering from a series of rejection letters, you might want to give it a bit of time before you hop on. Maybe just until you’re feeling more positive.) Having said that, I first came across Kameron’s blog through a video where she sifts through the pile of rejection letters she received (15 years’ worth!!) before finally getting her book, God’s War, accepted for publication. If there’s ever an incentive for writers not to give up, this is it!) Kameron definitely doesn’t mince words. Read her posts on honest publishing numbers and what she actually gets paid for her novels. And most definitely, read her essay, We Have Always Fought, on the true role of female soldiers in history versus what we’ve always been told to believe (it’s not actually a post on her blog but a guest post on another site, but this is definitely worth reading). In fact, read all her posts for insights into writing, the publishing industry, and the portrayal of women in media and books. Kameron tells it like it is, no sugar coating. Gritty, honest and refreshing, just like her books.
Marjorie Liu – Now if you want a more optimistic look into the life of a writer, Marjorie Liu is the one to go to. She and Gail Carriger – and probably JK Rowling – are living the dream writer life I’d love to have, and I enjoy these voyeuristic glimpses into writer tours, conference rounds, publishing launches and the like. It’s the dream that one day might come true! Plus, I have a serious case of awe-and-envy for her gorgeous Monstress comics with their absolutely beautiful covers. It’s like, “Damnit, why didn’t I come up with that??”
Carolyn Jewel – Carolyn Jewel is an award-winning paranormal and historical romance writer. She also has a great section for writers on her website where she offers invaluable advice on writing and publishing. During my previous experiences trawling the ‘net for online writers’ resources, I have found romance writers to be some of the friendliest and most generous with their advice for aspiring writers, and Carolyn is a prime example of this. Do check her out!
Nathan Bransford – Nathan started out as a literary agent for — and his archive of posts hold a wealth of information for writers looking to make it past the pearly gates into the Paradise of Those Who Have a Literary Agent. He has long since left off being a literary agent to make a career as an author of children’s books and while he still regularly updates, he doesn’t blog as often as he used to. But trust me, those back archives are a treasure trove definitely worth delving into.
Gretchen Rubin – Everyone knows Gretchen Rubin as the author of the bestselling Happiness Project and if you’ve read the book, you’d know she also runs a highly interactive blog. Naturally, most of her blog posts are devoted to the pursuit of happiness, but it’s also a great place to get tips on being organized and productive and finding the right work/life balance, all matters of interest to the aspiring author. It’s also a great example of how a writer can pitch her website towards her target audience – Rubin started blogging about the pursuit of happiness at the same time she researched and wrote her book and during this process garnered a huge audience who were eagerly awaiting the book even before it was published.