Five Reasons You Should Write Today by Deidre Knight
1: Maintaining a habit of writing every day is the best way to keep writing. There’s a reason Stephen King writes every day, including Christmas, without fail. Once you take time off, it’s harder to get the engine cranking again. Even if they’re pages you wind up tossing, that regular rhythm of writing day after day creates a consistency and energy with your creative process that propels your manuscript forward. You conserve energy for the work, rather than spending it on simply restarting that proverbial engine.
2: There’s an old saying that if you go to bat and swing and strike out, at least you swung the bat. On the other hand, if you take no action it’s assured you won’t make a hit at all. By writing today, even if you wind up dumping the pages you write, you’ve stepped up to the plate. If you let procrastination, fear, stress, life, or anything else prevent you from writing today, you’re just stuck in the dugout.
3: Because what you have to say is important. Yours is a unique message that will reach other people, and you’re the only one who can tell this story in your special way. We write because we have to, but we also write—ultimately—because someone out there needs our words.
4: As Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art, when we commit to writing a story or any other magnificent project, Resistance mounts its army against us. Don’t know what Resistance is? Then you need to read Pressfield’s book. You’ll suddenly understand why simply sitting down to work can feel like a battle against the greatest inertia in the world. You’ll also recognize that all the things that conspire against you writing today—from work to family to insecurity to health, and everything else imaginable in between—are blocking you from realizing your goals and dreams. These things are all examples of Resistance. By writing today, you choose to win the battle and Make Your Words.
5: By setting a daily goal, be it word count or plotting or fixing a scene, you nail a stake into the ground toward finishing your manuscript. You move one step closer to fulfilling your objective. By not writing today—by telling yourself you’ll get to it later, maybe tonight, maybe in the morning—you allow Resistance to gain one more inch of ground. You can reach your highest self as a writer, one morning or lunch hour—one train ride or coffee shop visit or wherever and whenever it is that you make your magic—at a time. It’s your magic, your unique gift for the world, so make it a priority today!
Agents of the Roundtable
Please share your favorite story of meeting a client for the first time.
LUCIENNE DIVER: Years and years ago—probably more years than either of us wants to admit—I met Lynn Flewelling at Lunacon [an annual science fiction and fantasy convention organized by the New York Science Fiction Society] in New York. She was already a client, but this was the first time we'd met in person. I already felt a strong connection with her through her work and all of our communications, but when I met her in person, I had the shocking experience of coming face to face with my twin. Oh, we weren't exactly twins, but at that time we both had long, flowing hair. She was wearing an outfit I was certain I had duplicated in my closet, complete with colorful vest. We were so much alike that my boyfriend at the time nearly put his arm around her when he saw her from behind, realizing only at the last second that she wasn't me. That might have been awkward! We've been clicking along very well together ever since, mumble-mumble many years later.
When I checked in with Lynn about sharing this story, she had her own to add: "Among many favorite recollections of Lucienne is the first time we spoke. I'd been sending out queries for Luck in the Shadows for months and racking up the rejections. Then late one dreary winter afternoon I got a call from an agent who claimed to be interested in my work, but who then proceeded to tell me how tired she was and how using dreams in novels never really works so I should think about changing that even though she hadn't actually read any of those sections yet. By the time I hung up I was thoroughly depressed and wondered ‘What if that's the only agent response I get???’ A few days later the phone rang and when I answered that yes, this was Lynn Flewelling, a very excited and friendly woman named Lucienne Diver told me that she'd read my stuff and LOVED it and would REALLY like to represent me. By the time we hung up I couldn't even remember all that had been said but I knew I'd just said yes to representation with a real, New York agent, and that this was someone I was going to enjoy and be able to entrust my work to.”
MELISSA JEGLINSKI: I always love meeting my clients for the first time—and sometimes I have met them not knowing we’d end up working together in the future. But my most memorable first meet was with Cassie Miles. She was one of my first clients when I became an agent but I had known of her for more than a decade before, during my time as an editor at Harlequin. We’d been working together almost two years when we were both so excited to learn we’d be at the same conference in New York. Meeting her at the restaurant was so thrilling—we squealed like little girls. I have that image of her in my head every time we speak on the phone or email one another.
Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)
LUCIENNE DIVER: I'm looking for something so unique and wonderful that I won't be able to conceive of it until I see it. This regardless of genre (though I only handle young adult through adult).
MELISSA JEGLINSKI: I would love to see some romantic suspense project centered around family secrets with some good, larger-than-life villains.
JANNA BONIKOWSKI: I’m looking for a romantic suspense project that keeps me guessing, with amazing chemistry and strong characters. YA, either commercial or literary, with believable conflict—more real life struggle, less whine. Also women’s fiction with characters I want to have coffee with. And humor is always a bonus!
TRAVIS PENNINGTON: I'll look at anything right now except for High Fantasy. My biggest hope is to fall in love with the protagonist within the first page or so. If that happens, the genre won't matter much to me.
New Clients On the Block
Ella Quinn: Website | Twitter | Facebook
» Kati Wilde's GOING NOWHERE FAST, to Cindy Hwang for Penguin’s InterMix line, by Nephele Tempest
» Karen Booth's THE TEN-DAY BABY TAKEOVER, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin Desire, in a nice deal by Melissa Jeglinski
» Syndi Powell's CHANGING HER FUTURE, REBUILDING HER LIFE, and FINDING HER FAMILY, in a three book deal, to Kathryn Lye at Harlequin Heartwarming by Pamela Harty
» Christine Nolfi's WAITING FOR LINNIE, the first in a new series, to Kelli Martin at Lake Union Publishing, in a two-book deal by Pamela Harty
» Dakota Cassidy's WITCH SLAPPED, QUIT YOUR WITCHIN', and DEWITCHED, to Daniel Totten at Tantor Books by Elaine Spencer
» Dakota Cassidy's ACCIDENTALLY EVER AFTER and BEARLY ACCIDENTAL, again to Daniel Totten at Tantor Books by Elaine Spencer
» Christina Henry's LOSTBOY, to Rebecca Brewer at Ace by Lucienne Diver
» Microsoft Engineer, fashion designer, and Cosmopolitan contributor Dona Sarkar's SCATTERED ASHES, to Tara Gavin at Kensington, in a three-book deal by Elaine Spencer
» Lisa Childs's NANNY BODYGUARD, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin Romantic Suspense, in a nice deal by Melissa Jeglinski
» NK Jemisin’s THE FIFTH SEASON is a Hugo Award finalist.
» David Mack's 24: ROGUE and SEEKERS: LONG SHOT (Star Trek Seekers Book 3), Christie Golden's STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE, and Keith R. A. DeCandido's short story “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” (which is part of the anthology were nominated for Scribe Awards.
» SHADOW RITES by Faith Hunter is a B&N Bookseller's Pick for April.
» A GENTLEMAN'S POSITION by KJ Charles received a DIK (Desert Isle Keeper) review on All About Romance.
» Ginger Garrett, whose protagonist in her debut MG novel THE LAST MONSTER is an amputee and has a metal prosthetic leg, showed her support during Limb Loss Awareness Month by tweeting with the #ShowYourMettle hashtag.
» RED RIGHT HAND by Levi Black is listed on B&N's The Long Arm of Lovecraft: 8 Books that Probe the Mythos.
Susan Krinard became a writer in 1992 when a friend read a short story she'd written and suggested she try writing a romance novel. A long-time fan of science fiction and fantasy, Susan began reading romance and realized what she wanted to do was combine the two genres. Since then, she's written and published over fourteen paranormal and fantasy novels, including her latest, BATTLESTORM.
TKA: For those unfamiliar with the Midgard series, where did you first get the idea about Norse gods living in the modern world?
Susan: I’ve always loved Norse mythology, and I just liked the idea of bringing them into an urban fantasy setting. Surprisingly, what I ended up with was less typical urban fantasy than urban epic fantasy, which just seemed to arise naturally out of the big drama of the Norse gods and their grand-scale battles.
TKA: Were you already familiar with Norse mythology when you started writing, or did you have to do a lot of research? What's involved in your research process?
Susan: I already knew enough to get started. I did a little research on specifics of the various tales and legends, but ultimately I did my own take; for instance, I played up more negative traits in some of the gods to show them as more “human,” though the Vikings themselves did give the Norse gods very human qualities. I particularly enjoyed coming up with my own take on Loki, making use of his mythological traits as a shapeshifter and a gender-swapping demi-god.
TKA: Without spoiling anything major, what were your favorite and/or most challenging scenes to write in the series?
Susan: The most challenging scenes were definitely the battle scenes. I’m not a fighter and didn’t have a source to rely on, so I had to make it exciting while not leaning too heavily on blow-by-blow action. I always imagine my books as movies when I write them, so I envisioned action movies when I wrote the action scenes.
TKA: The characters in the Midgard series are very vivid and practically jump off the page. For writers out there, what advice could you offer on character development?
Susan: Thank you! As a writer, I’m perhaps most proud of my character development. The advice I’d give is pretty obvious: make your characters well-rounded, including the villains. If your character has an outstanding quality, he or she probably has the opposite quality somewhere inside as well. Draw deeply from inside yourself. Most of my characters have some quality of mine, perhaps exaggerated or altered.
TKA: Tell us a bit about your early writing career and how it came about. Which authors have had the biggest impact on you?
Susan: I’ve been writing fantasy romance (in the romance genre) for over 23 years. I started writing romance because a friend read a short story I’d written and told me I should try writing a romance novel, even though I’d only read SF/Fantasy up until then. My very first romance novel featured a non-cursed werewolf hero, the first of its kind in the genre. I sold it to the second publisher I sent it to, at a time when paranormal romance had not yet entered its first wave of popularity. I rode out that wave, and continued to write that kind of book even when it became unpopular again and then through the current wave. I had wanted to write SF for years and years, but it took me a while to develop the courage. My first attempt was the Midgard series, and I sold MIST to Tor as part of a three-book contract.
Probably my biggest influences in the SF/Fantasy genre are the authors I read when I was quite young, like Anne McCaffery and Andre Norton. My biggest influence from later authors has been C.J. Cherryh. In romance, it was always the writers who did very unusual, challenging romance novels.
TKA: Is BATTLESTORM the last of the Midgard series? If so, what's next for you?
Susan: Yes, it’s the last. At the moment, I’m out of contract, and will be working on a new book to send around as soon as I’m finished with my last contracted romance novel (post-apocalyptic vampire). I hope I can say at this time next year that I have a new contract!
Visit Susan's official website and become her friend on Facebook.
Author Tip of the Month
KJ Charles lives in London and is the author of the Society of Gentlemen series, including the latest, A GENTLEMAN'S POSITION.
Everyone tells you, "Don't give up!" Keep on writing, keep plugging away, however fast or slow that is; get those words down even if they feel utterly uninspired; treat it like a job. Keep going.
Well, yes and no. Writing is a job, and sitting around waiting for inspiration is like sitting around waiting for unicorns. But if the words really aren't coming, and all your unblocking tricks (exercise, distraction, jigsaws, absinthe) have failed, it's worth being sure your subconscious isn't trying to tell you something. I recently spent two months grinding out 20K words on a contracted MS. I finally gave up, threw it out, replotted with new characters, started again, and have written 30K of the new book in a week and a half.
So don't be afraid to give up if you've gone wrong: it can be the best thing for your writing. Though I admit, it sounds better if you call it a "tactical retreat."
To learn more about KJ Charles, visit her official website.