Bits of Writing News

My friend Aud has some exciting news: the cover of her upcoming book, Frama-12, has been revealed! Go check it out on her blog. I’m so excited to see Frama-12’s progress toward coming out into the big wide world. Aud shared the YA novel with our critique group in short sections over many months, and I got to know and love the characters and the predicaments they got into. I guess I kind of feel like a proud aunt or something, and my niece or nephew has just shown me their costume for when they make their debut on stage!

Aud’s blogpost is also about the  moment before pushing the “send” button. I think Aud nailed it. That’s a fraught moment that a lot of us can really relate to, especially writers.

I recently hit the “send” button for something less momentous than cover art, but still with a tingle of excitement: the Pennwriters Annual Writing Contest. I’ve entered different pieces over a number of years, and for me the great part is getting honest feedback from writing professionals. I’ve always gotten useful, thoughtful, thought-provoking insights. (The prizes I’ve won twice were quite a thrill, too.)

This year I submitted the first ten pages of my fantasy novel in progress. I followed the advice given by Nancy Springer at a Pennwriters Conference years ago, to start a novel as late as possible, when your character is in the thick of things. Aud gave me similar advice in our critique group, as we chatted about in our joint blog about last year’s Pennwriters Conference. To be honest, when Aud said, “This would be a great place to start your novel,” I listened and took notes for future reference, while inside I thought, “Egads! That sounds hard!”

But this past fall, a great opportunity came up to put Nancy’s and Aud’s advice into practice: a Pennwriters online course on Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, taught by Babs Mountjoy. Babs’ course was fun, useful, and informative, and the feedback from her and fellow students really helped me. So did the feedback from my two critique groups when I shared the new first chapters this fall.

So when the Annual Writing Contest opened this January, I gave the new start another readthrough and polish. And then I hit “send.”

Now I’m going forward in my novel to write new chapters. I hope to finish the first draft this year. The climax is in sight!

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