Monday, 31 December 2012

TMI Monday - Resolutions

Welcome to the final TMI Monday of 2012, in which I make 6 writing resolutions for 2013.

  • I will finish writing TRANSPARENCIES and at least 2 other manuscripts. I have one story simmering away in the back of my brain (it's been percolating for a while now), so I hope that will be the next one. Of course this depends on things. And stuff. But either way, 3 MSs WILL BE COMPLETED.
  • I'm going to stop taking on extra beta reading/projects when I don't have time to do them. I feel like I've upset a few people this year because they've asked me to read their manuscripts and I've taken ages about it (there are 4 I have yet to read and I've had them for MONTHS) but this is because I just haven't had time, not because I'm not really excited to read them. So there it is: I feel bad, they feel bad. And it will stop in 2013 - I will just say "I'm sorry, I don't have time right now, but I'll let you know as soon as I can!" Clean slate time, yo.
  • I will go to a writing con - hopefully World Fantasy Con in Brighton in October. Awkward Kat time, here we come!
  • I'm going to read more YA sci-fi (because that's where my heart lies) and broaden my reading horizons: I'm talking YA contemp, historical, thriller, mystery. These aren't my usual groove, but I do believe that being a well-rounded reader will make me a better writer.
  • I'm going to blog less frequently, but make what I blog about better, more relevant and not what's been written about a billion times before. Quality over quantity (I hope).
  • Lastly, and most importantly, I'm going to be the best CP I can possibly be to my awesome CP group, and I hope to continue making new writer friends and exchanging words and experiences with the brilliant writing community on twitter. In other words, I will continue to tweet like a nutter, swoon over my awesome CPs' manuscripts and go Darth Kat with my editorial lightsaber.
What resolutions are you making for your writing in 2013? 

Monday, 17 December 2012

TMI Monday: Kat's Christmas List

For this special mini-edition of the brain-splurge that is my regular Monday post, I will share a few things for the festive season...

  • I've been asked about short stories a few times recently. I haven't written many (3) and am certainly no expert, but I've had a couple of small successes with them in contests and one will be published in an anthology next year. So I thought I would share one of my stories with you guys - it's called GLIMMER, and is not at all festive. 
  • I have fulfilled all my CP obligations until the new year, and so I'm back to focusing entirely on my WIP, TRANSPARENCIES. I wrote a post about it if you'd like to know more. Hopefully the next few weeks will see the completion of the first draft, and it won't entirely suck. 
  • As the year's drawing to a close, I'll be posting my highlights of 2012. It's been a real year of change for me - in all good ways! So I'm looking to 2013 and hoping it will continue that way, and would love for you guys to tell me - what would you like to see more of on this blog in 2013? Another contest? Pitch workshop? More writing-related ramblings? Interviews? Other? Let me know what you would like to see, and I will put on my Santa hat and do my best to provide.
  • Finally, what festive post would be complete without a Christmas song? (OK, so this is the weirdest Christmas song of all time, but...)

Happy holidays, everyone! May yours be a happy and relaxing one ;-)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Interview with the Fabulously Fizzy Summer Heacock!

Summer Heacock, a.k.a. @FizzyGrrl, is the twitter writing community's darling - beloved by agents, editors and authors alike. And rightly so.

Her blog is here, and it is filled with writerly wit and general awesomeness.

Check out this vlog (my first!), in which I share a drink with Fizz and ask her a few important questions...

If you have questions of your own, the time to ask them is NOW. The place to ask them is IN THE COMMENTS BOX BELOW ;-)

TMI Monday - The Post-Apocalypse Edition

OK, so it was more of a holiday than an apocalypse. But it meant leaving my blog alone for 3 weeks, which was surprisingly difficult. [Looks earnest] I missed you guys. [Coughs awkwardly] So. Here's what's been happening.

(For anyone not familiar with TMI Monday, it's basically a weekly offloading of 6 things from my brain.)

  1. Where I went and what I saw (right).This is the Florida version of Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom, in case you were wondering, and the site of the most awkward Dr Who-related conversation I have ever managed to get trapped into. 
  2. I was put up for auction a few weeks ago (or at least my critiquing skills were) to raise funds for Sandy Relief. The auction was organised by the amazing Jen Malone, and I was honoured to take part. Also, my critique was won by someone whose work I'm really excited to read. *Happy bounce*
  3. I just went on the mother of all reading binges. For me, at least (slooow reader over here). Having loaded my e-reader FULL of awesome manuscripts for my hols and packed a few published novels, I managed to read a bunch of fantastic stories and cut my TBR list down to 4 manuscripts. OK, so that's a lie, but that's all I'm committing to reading over the next few weeks. Beyond that and completing a final line-edit for one of my CPs, I'm taking myself out of the reader pool for a while. It's time to WRITE again.
  4. TRANSPARENCIES, my current WIP, has been calling to me again. I've reached the halfway point with the first draft (reached it some time ago, to be honest) then hit the usual brick wall where I started to question everything. So I did the only thing that seems to work for me when that happens: I took a complete break from it. Cold turkey, no writing. And it was goooood. So now I have fresh eyes, I don't hate my WIP, and I'm ready to nail this thing. [Eye of the Tiger starts playing...]
  5. HOW THE HELL IS IT NEARLY CHRISTMAS?? I've realised with some horror that it's only 2 weeks away. Which means the following week I'll be doing a round-up of my year, and it only feels like a few months since I rounded up 2011. Eep, you guys. EEP.
  6. This was my holiday driving song. Thanks to Jani Grey all the way over in South Africa for introducing me to Chevelle, and providing a weird moment of international existential wondering while I was in the  States.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Interview with the Delightful Dahlia Adler!

Dahlia Adler is a contemporary YA and NA writer who is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger. Dahlia is an Assistant Editor of mathematics, a Copy Editor of romance and a contributor to YA Misfits. She is also highly skilled at manuscript stalking.

Follow Dahlia on twitter if you aren't already, because she is definitely one of the most canny, smart and hilarious writer tweeps out there. You should also go ahead and check out Dahlia's blog, where she has more helpful tips, resources and information than you can shake a stick at. 

So naturally, I turned up at her house in New York late one night, knocked on the door, and asked her these questions... (Or, in fact, emailed her.)

It's no secret that YA contemporary is your baby. What is it about the genre that you love so much?

I'm a little obvious about that, huh? My love of YA contemporary is actually due to a couple of different factors, but the big one is this: I grew up with a pretty restrictive religious upbringing, which I guarantee probably looks nothing like you're picturing. I went to parties, had no curfew, definitely did not have overbearing parents or anything like that, but I just felt like I was missing out on "real life." In "real life," people went to public school and ate things like cheeseburgers and shrimp and wore bikinis and miniskirts. They're tiny little things, but the way some people read/write fantasy or sci-fi because they love alternate realities? That's what contemporary has always been for me in that way.

If you had to pick another genre to write, what would it be and why?

Part of that whole "religious upbringing" thing involved my studying a looooot of Old Testament, so I have a major fondness for biblical characters and I love coming up with story ideas revolving around them. If I thought I were remotely capable, I'd probably write historical epic fantasy biblical retellings.

Which parts of the writing process do you love/hate? 

Drafting is really hard for me because I've become such a perfectionist since CPs came into my life. I didn't use to have people reading along the way, and now I feel such pressure to have things be in ship shape before I subject my CPs to them. (Don't get me wrong - my CPs are incredible. This is my own insanity.) As such, I really both love it and hate it at the same time, because I find it to be such a struggle, but a rewarding struggle for sure. My favorite scenes to write are the ones that involve either kissing or fighting. Those make everything worth it!

You're mentoring in Pitch Wars at the moment, and I've seen the competition getting pretty fierce between writers AND mentors. How are you whittling down your submissions to just one?

Oh God, it is so hard. I've actually been passing on some of my top choices first, because those are the ones I've thought about the most. One thing I did was request quite a number of partials, because it's always challenging to know if the first pages hold up. Those have helped make my decision a lot, especially in cases where I felt the query wasn't an accurate representation of the story itself. There are also a few I think have a lot of promise but most likely won't be done in time for the end of Pitch Wars, and I'm hoping the authors will want to work with me on the side to polish those up!

I love reading the Perpetual WIPs section of your blog, which covers issues a lot of querying and agented writers wonder about. Will you, perchance, be adding a published writers' section sometime soon?

I hope to! I've actually spoken to a pre-pub writer about this, and at the time, I only had a handful of writer friends in this stage I felt comfortable asking, because obviously, these are pretty personal questions and people are fairly protective of their anonymity (for good reason). Now, awesomely enough, I have enough writer friends in this position that I'm hoping to do this at some point after Pitch Wars, maybe February or March 2013. It's more time consuming to compose than it looks!

What will your next writing project be? Will you be flying the flag for NA?

I've actually already flown the flag for NA! My very first queried ms was the first in an NA series. I stopped querying early but I finished the series for fun. Now I'm probably going to stick with straight-up YA for a while. My current WIP is contemporary YA, and nearly everything I've got on the backburner is as well, with the exception of one chick lit I'm 66K into and need to finish at some point, if only for myself!

Most importantly: When one of your novels is turned into a film or TV series, will you make a cameo appearance??

Definitely not - I am so not meant for camera! Oh, wait, do I get to touch the pretty actors? Then yes, yes I'll be there.


And with that, Dahlia Adler reinforces her eternal awesomeness with a flourish. Got any questions you would like to ask her? Comment at will!