SCBWI Metro NY Tuesday Professional Series

If you’re in New York City, I’d love to invite you to a talk I am doing for the NY Metro chapter of SCBWI on Finding Your Own Unique Voice on June 9. You do not need to be a member of SCBWI to attend.

Here are the details:

scbwi metro ny logoTuesday, June 9, 7:30–9:30pm

SCBWI Metro NY Tuesday Professional Series

Finding Your Own Unique Voice: Taking Risks and Being True to Yourself as a Writer, with Nova Ren Suma

How do you find your voice as a writer—a voice distinct to you and only you? In this crowded publishing market, we must find ways to stand out, and it’s not about chasing trends or trying to please everybody—so much of it is about being honest, brave, and distinctly yourself. In this talk, YA author and writing instructor Nova Ren Suma will share how she came to write her latest novel,The Walls Around Us, for herself first and the risks she took along the way. She will give craft advice on carving out a unique voice for your story and practical advice on building a career that is most true to you. Q&A to follow.

Location: Anthroposophical Society, NYC  | Tickets

For more information and to order tickets see here.

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Mondays with Me: Some Upcoming Events

If you don’t follow me on Twitter or see me around Facebook, you may not know that I have some events coming up. They all happen to be on Mondays. Is that my thing? Bringing the creepy to Monday nights?

Anyway, if you are in the DC/Maryland/VA area, New York City, or Northern California, maybe you’ll come see me this month or next? Come spend a Monday with me…

Bethesda, Maryland
Monday, May 18, 7pm
The Walls Around Us Book Event & Reading
Bethesda Library, in conjunction with Politics and Prose
7400 Arlington Rd
Bethesda, MD
I’ll be visiting the Bethesda Library to read from The Walls Around Us and talk about the book, for this event supported by Politics and Prose, who will be selling books on site.

New York City
Monday, June 9, 7:30pm
SCBWI Metro NY Tuesday Professional Series
Finding Your Own Unique Voice: Taking Risks and Being True to Yourself as a Writer
Anthropological Society
138 West 15th Street
Ground floor, between 6th Avenue & 7th Avenue
New York, NY
I’m speaking in the SCBWI Metro NY chapter’s Tuesday Professional Series on finding your voice as a writer—a voice distinct to you and only you. In this crowded publishing market, we must find ways to stand out, and it’s not about chasing trends or trying to please everybody—so much of it is about being honest, brave, and distinctly yourself. Q&A to follow. You can book a ticket and reserve your seat now. You don’t have to be a member of SCBWI to come.

Palo Alto, California
Monday, June 29, 7pm
NYMBC Presents YA Thrills & Chills
Books, Inc. Palo Alto
74 Town & Country Village
Palo Alto, CA
I’ll be doing a Not Your Mother’s Book Club YA event with Katie Coyle (Vivian Apple at the End of the World) and Lauren Saft (Those Girls) at the Palo Alto Books, Inc. Panel and book signing.

I’ll also be at the ALA conference in San Francisco this June, though not on a Monday. More details on that will be on my website soon!

 

 

 

 

The Great Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Giveaway

Slasher_Comp_2All this talk of short stories, and did you know after a long drought in the short-story department, I am having one published? And it’s freaky and bloody and twisted? You’ll find it in the Slasher Girls & Monster Boys horror anthology forthcoming from Dial/Penguin this August.

It contains stories not just from me but from Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, Marie Lu, Carrie Ryan, Megan Shepherd, April Genevieve Tucholke, Cat Winters, and more more more!

And now we have ARCs… so we’re holding a giveaway!

The lovely—and absolutely twisted—April Genevieve Tucholke has just posted the details

Enter! Scare us! Enter! Freak us out! Enter!

The Great SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS ARC Giveaway

(US-Only, ends Monday, May 18)

Slasher-arc-pic

HOW TO WIN:

We want to see you at your creatively slashiest. Show us your macabre side and post a pic of something scary to Instagram or Twitter, under hashtag #SLASHERGIRLSARC 

SCARY PIC SUGGESTIONS:

1. Hold a seance

2. Read a horror story in a cemetery

3. Recreate a horror scene from film/tv

4. Play light as a feather, stiff as a board

5. Say Bloody Mary 3 times in a mirror at midnight

6. Show us your Slasher boyfriend/girlfriend/platonic friend–Pinhead, Freddy, Xenomorph Queen…

7. Draw a chalk outline of a body on a sidewalk. Possibly yours.

SUPER SPECIAL ENTRY: Dig your own shallow grave. Anyone who goes to this much trouble will

be placed in their own pool, i.e. your chances of winning are extremely good. Shallow grave

guidelines: Be safe about digging. We’ll not be responsible for bodily injury due to spade

mishaps, digging near power/gas lines, or digging on a too hot day, etc. Keep it safe, keep it

shallow. On a beach, perhaps. Or in your garden.

Enter the giveaway as many times as you want (but dig your grave only once).

The Special Pool entries will be given priority.

And don’t let us hinder your slashy creativity. If you have other ideas, let’s see them! Tweet us

your fave horror quotes! Show us your…scary dogs? Just keep it legal. And don’t forget to RT and use

the hashtag #SLASHERGIRLSARC

(US-Only, ends Monday, May 18)

Filling the Well

the well

I hear this advice often—I think I read it first from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, one of the books I borrowed from my mother’s bookshelf way back when. Artists need time to “fill the well,” or replenish our creative resources, especially after we’ve completed large, all-encompassing, energy-draining projects such as novels that have taken huge chunks of our hearts, heads, and souls to get on the page.

How do you fill the well? You take in inspirations. You let yourself ponder and wonder and think. You take a look at the world and collect (people, ideas, fragments, overheard conversations, images, notes, pieces, pebbles, seeds).

So maybe this post is about this need and this process.

Or maybe this post is about that moment after you’ve published a book and the pressure that comes to write the next book.

And how this moment can expand into days. Weeks. Months. Years? (Help me, I’m quoting The Walls Around Us—that’s how connected I am to that book still and proves it’s been hard to move on and let go.)

This is me: I just published a new book. My fourth. I’m proud of it. It feels complete. There was the fear of what would happen when people started reading it, and I survived that, and the nerves of what would happen when it got published, and if it would change my life (we writers, no matter how realistic and jaded we get, still hold the secret hope that the next book will be the one to change our lives), and I think it did, in an internal way that feels very personal and wonderful, but I don’t necessarily think it did in the splashy ways most people ask about or expect.

This is a two-book contract, I should add. And the second book on the contract is a whole new novel, completely unrelated to Walls. It’s a creation from scratch. And it’s due.

This winter, after a short stint at an artists colony, I turned in a very wobbly and paper-thin first draft of my next book, and then got feedback, and was set off on a course to rewrite and reimagine it. I agree with the feedback. I know there is a lot of work to do—I love hard work. But even as I knew all that, The Walls Around Us was coming out, and there were promotional things to do, online and in-person, and I kept going away to conferences, and I kept telling myself I would really dig in deep when I got home, and I slipped in work in between things and time kept passing without much progress made.

What I needed was for time to stop. I needed permission to take a little break from trying to get the novel into shape and just close my eyes and let the shape nudge itself together in the darkness.

Lately I’ve been thinking about all of this. And I discovered something:

When forcing yourself to hit an arbitrary word count every day doesn’t help… And when guilt-tripping yourself into a stupor doesn’t help… And when comparing yourself to the productivity and publishing schedules of other authors doesn’t help… And when effectively tying yourself to your desk chair doesn’t help…

Know what helps me? Doing something tentatively connected to writing that has nothing whatsoever to do with this novel.

The first thing has been my teaching and the private manuscript critiques and mentoring I’ve started doing. I love working closely with other writers, and digging in deep to their novels even when I’m feeling faraway from mine. Somehow that’s helped.

The second thing has been a project I’ve been doing for the month of May, or Short Story Month. I’ve been reading a short story every day—if you want to see which stories, here is the list I’m keeping updated. Pressure-free reading. It’s working wonders on my head.

The stories don’t take long to read. And most of the stories I’m choosing to read are not YA, so I don’t have to think about the industry. I just have to absorb. Admire. Experience. Fill the well, I guess.

It’s been a wonderful experience so far. Inspiring. I feel lighter. I feel happier. I feel less tied to my author-self and more connected to my writer-self, the one who just loves words.

I’ve learned this about myself: I need time in between books to not be writing the next book. I always need this time, and I always fight against needing this time. I always feel bad about myself. I always force the work, and this takes me on detours, and ends with me having to undo what I forced.

If this always happens, you’d think I’d have this figured out by now, but I’ve also learned that I’m a work-in-progress and still learning.

Next time, I would like to remember this and give myself the well-filling recovery time I know I’ll need. Now I’ve had it, these new ideas are percolating and my heart is beating fast again and I can see the end of this novel glimmering in the distance and I want to run to it. I have the energy, once again, to run.