3 exciting reasons not to feel lonely in 2014

3 exciting reasons not to feel lonely in 2014

I’ll be honest. I miss you all. Just a couple months ago, we had our fifth–and I think, best–Crossroads Writers Conference and it was chock full of awesome, but now I’m lonely again. It happens every year. I just never get used to it. This time, I decided to do something about it. That’s why I’m happy to tell you about three things we’re doing between now and the next conference that gives me a great excuse to talk/text/email/pester you.  (Yes, you!) #1) the Wordy South podcast Do you like things that are free? I do too! That’s the deal with podcasts. Download ’em for free then go workout, take a walk, stream it in your car on long rides. You may think they’re soooo 2005 but I love ’em. That’s why we’re launching our own on Thursday, December 19, 2013. Every week, there’ll be a new installment featuring some of our favorite guests from past conferences, members of the Crossroads family and writers new to the whole Wordy South thing. You’ll find each episode online, via iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and whatever else we can get set up. Our first guests include Bernice McFadden, Adam Mansbach, Carrie Howland, Delilah S. Dawson and Cat Scully. We’ve got a couple of surprise guests and dozens of cool folks from the five previous conferences so this is going to be fun.   #2) Webinars, tweet-ups and Hangouts, oh my! Early in 2014, we’re re-launching this website. The idea is to keep regular blogs with tips, advice, insight, prompts and whatever else we can think of to help keep you motivated. But we’re also working...
Is Your Story Getting in the Way of Your Writing?

Is Your Story Getting in the Way of Your Writing?

  So, a couple weeks ago, I started re-reading a book called “Redirect” by Timothy D. Wilson. It promotes the “story editing” approach to life, which should be perfect for a writer, right? But Wilson isn’t offering insights about writing, per se. His book is about psychology and neuroscience, not novels. And still, it is about narratives. Here’s an excerpt from Wilson’s interview with Scientific American: We all have personal stories about who we are and what the world is like. These stories aren’t necessarily conscious, but they are the narratives by which we live our lives. Many of us have healthy, optimistic stories that serve us well. But sometimes, people develop pessimistic stories and get caught in self-defeating thinking cycles, whereby they assume the worst and, as a result, cope poorly.  You (and I) have heard a bazillion times that “writers write” so get off your butt and just write. So why aren’t you (or I) writing? After the conferences and workshops and talks and great blog posts and all that motivation… why aren’t you writing? Once you’ve rocked out (or not) for a month doing NaNoWriMo why aren’t you still writing in December or January, February, March, etc.? Could it be the story you tell yourself about who you are? Maybe it’s because you’re looking at your stumbles and thinking, “I’m just not supposed to be a writer.” Or, maybe it’s because you’re telling yourself bad stories, like the situation has to be right, that you must first be inspired, that you will as soon as… But, Chris, there’s not enough time in the day. Believe me, I...
X-O Manoawesome: interview with Robert Venditti

X-O Manoawesome: interview with Robert Venditti

Rachel: How does working in digital, something you did for the first time in The Surrogates: Case Files, change the collaboration of a writer and artist? Is it essentially the same process or are there some aspects that alter? How does it improve upon the traditional methods? ROBERT VENDITTI: Brett Weldele and I have a done two graphic novels with each other, so our process is pretty established.  It also helps that Brett handles all of the art himself—even the lettering—so it’s really just the two of us working with Chris Staros at Top Shelf (publisher of The Surrogates).  I will say that the content of The Surrogates: Case Files lends itself well to the digital format, and Brett’s style, particularly his unique color palette, really shines on a screen.  There’s this one page in the first issue where he draws a dusting of fall leaves, and the colors really pop.  It’s one of my favorite moments.   Rachel:  You recently began publishing your first month by month, working on X-O Manowar.  How does this sort of quick production and historical sci-fi/fantasy aspect change your style of writing? How does it determine your research process? VENDITTI: Writing for a monthly book is a big change from the graphic novel writing I’m accustomed to doing.  There are always multiple issues in various stages of production, which took getting used to, since I tend to be a linear writer.  With a monthly book, there’s also a need to reorient the reader every issue—without making it read like you’re reorienting them—and I’m still learning how to do that as effectively as I...
Christina Ranallo: Write a Book No One Can Put Down

Christina Ranallo: Write a Book No One Can Put Down

You are in the middle of novel, you dive deep into the plot with a character you care about, worry about, maybe even fantasize about and you carry that book around rife with the anticipation of opening page after page to more scenes, more succulent words to bring you deeper, closer to the resolution you (and that character) long for. You hear your stop coming up, and you leave the book on the train. Didn’t it feel like you left somebody on the train? WANT TO HEAR CHRISTINA IN PERSON? REGISTER WHILE THERE’S STILL TIME! No matter who is the main character in your novel, the symbols of your own life and experience come through. The same positive and negative extremes you apply to your own ethics and morals will be the ones your characters embrace. It is as inevitable as what you see in the mirror. That’s why the hero’s journey is more than a model for writing; it’s a model for life. A reflection of life. And because of that it breathes life into your writing. Joseph Campbell studied and taught religion and mythology for decades and his remarkable book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces is the basis for what writers and psychologists call the hero’s journey. Campbell recognized the commonality of all myths no matter where in the world they originated. There is universal phenomenon of any story that follows the hero’s journey. It’s the book we can’t leave behind. TO READ MORE OF CHRISTINA’S BLOG AT PENPAPERWRITE.COM, CLICK...