distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Oh, Just a Little Creative Breakthrough

Oh, Just a Little Creative Breakthrough

On the outside, this happened:

I revealed the cover and plot summary for my new novel 17 & Gone—and I have a pub date: March 21, 2013!

If you are a librarian or a blogger or reviewer, you can request an ARC here, for when ARCs are available, which thankfully isn’t today.

And I need to update my websites once I get a moment.

But on the inside, I’m a strange jumble of nerves and yes excitement but more nerves, come from having something kept private for so long now being pulled up into the light. Do any other authors get this, too, or am I a complete weirdo?

I am also in the midst of a creative breakthrough that I can’t talk about yet. Partly it came from failing utterly at this writing experiment (which deserves a whole separate blog that I will get to) and also from needing to follow my heart right now. Needing to write what I want to write, and—no offense—not care what it is I think YA readers and the market and critics and anyone else might expect or want from me. 17 & Gone is very much me, it’s kind of ridiculous, and I love this book all the more for that, so I might as well fling myself off the deep end and keep going instead of wishing I could be more commercial, which is a flaw I have, like wishing I could be a flamingo when I’m actually an ostrich. I’m an ostrich, damn it!

I didn’t build this semblance of a life to try to be anyone other than who I am.

And thus ends the cryptic talk about my behind-the-scenes creative breakthrough! How many of these does a writer have to go through before it sticks?

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10 responses to “Oh, Just a Little Creative Breakthrough”

  1. The cover is so gorgeous, Nova. We would never want you to be a flamingo. More than anything, I love how your books aren’t commercial and are extraordinary, with plot lines, characters and prose that would be impossible to find anywhere else.

  2. Write what YOU want to write. And, write however works best for you. Period. You won’t be cheating yourself or your readers. I learned the hard way. I co-authored two novels that I really didn’t want to write and it nearly made me turn my back on writing long fiction forever. I’m working on my first novel in 8 years. I’m not doing it because I have a contract, I’m not doing it because my agent is pestering me, and I’m not doing it for my co-writers. I’m flying solo, writing what I want, in a completely different genre than I’ve ever been published. It feels good. It feels right, regardless of the eventual outcome.

    I’m a fan of your writing and look forward to all that you do, even if it is far flung from what I know of your books.

  3. I love your novels because they are real and raw, and because it’s so apparent to me, the reader, that you’ve poured so much of your soul into this beautiful & creative story telling, and then I get to keep that little piece of you forever. I realize that’s probably more creepy than actually helpful / supportive, but Imaginary Girls still haunts me some days when I’m driving or lying in bed or eating breakfast. I’ll get a flash of Ruby and Chloe, and that’s something special and real. Keep being an ostrich; I love that you’re an ostrich.

  4. You’re one of the writers I point to when people ask, “Well, how good can YA really be?” Authors like you and Maggie Stiefvater elevate the genre by refusing to do what everyone else thinks that teenagers want. I only wish books like yours had been around when I was younger–I turned to adult books as a teen because I was sick of being written down to.

  5. People talk about chasing the commercial ideas as if that’s a sure thing, as if we could decide to be hugely successful. But shooting for a commercial idea just because of external pressures is no guarantee of success–and if the outer success doesn’t come, then what is left? If we write what we’re driven to write, then we will at least reach people in the way we want, which is qualitative success. And sometimes those books are also the surprise quantitative successes, because people recognize their honesty and risk-taking.

  6. As always, thanks for sharing, Nova. Something that helps me when I’m wavering about what I’m doing is reading about other writers’ epiphanies about the process. Have you read anything by Natalie Goldberg? All of her books are helpful and inspiring–but the two I keep going back to when I’m stuck are: THUNDER AND LIGHTNING and WILD MIND.

  7. This is what I’m struggling with, too. I have to ignore that little voice telling me to write something sensible and follow my heart, which wants to write strange, crazy things.

    Good luck with it!

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