Tags: Wordstock

You’re a Big Deal…or Not

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: December 5, 2013
Comments: No Comments

flb-times-adWay back at Wordstock in October, I had the good fortune (thanks to Ooligan Press), to share a presentation slot on stage with Francesca Lia Block. Yes, the same Francesca who is featured in this ad from the New York Times. A friend on Facebook commented: “With Francesca Lia Block! You’re a big deal!”

Ta da! I became a celebrity by association. I will say that Francesca was thoughtful and supportive, despite her hectic schedule. She spent most of what little time she had at Wordstock with her many fans, who were clearly thrilled to see her. Every one of those fans stayed to hear my portion of the presentation, an action that, frankly, surprised me.

I will also say that it is highly unlikely I will ever be as famous as Francesca. No one will make a big deal about my wearing a Space Mermaid ring, although I must say I am hankering for Space Mermaid’s whimsical little bird ring.

Would I like to be as famous as Francesca? Yes and no. In my fantasy life, I would like thousands of readers to devour my books. I would like to get so much in royalties that I set up a charitable foundation. I would like to enjoy the writer’s fame that author Fran Lebowitz is credited as saying is the best. “It’s enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.”

Then again, I would like to be “a big deal” only one week a month. The rest of the time, I would like to go about my life unrecognized and unpressured. I’d like to have oodles of time to write and revise (and revise and revise), and watch Netflix in my pajamas, and enjoy my family. Would I feel the same way if I were 30 years younger with a career’s worth of writing ahead of me? I can’t honestly say.

In the meantime, while I wait for further enlightenment, I’ll end this meandering post here and get back to crafting the world for my next book. I wonder. Will anyone there wear a Space Mermaid ring?



NaNo: Will You Take Up the Challenge?

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: October 30, 2012
Comments: 1 Comment


A couple of weekends ago I attended Wordstock, Portland’s annual literary festival. Catch it next year, if you’re in the area. It was good, Saturday especially. I reported to ScrivaNicole that it felt like a writing conference but without the hefty price tag ($10 for two days’ admission, plus $35 or so per writing workshop).

One of the fun Wordstock writers was Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus. What is your writing process like, she was asked. Messy, she answered. She writes a lot more than she uses while figuring out the story. And she mentioned how NaNo helped her years ago to just write.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo) takes place every November and is open to anyone. It’s a simple challenge: write a 50,000 word novel during those 30 days and you’re a winner. It doesn’t have to be a good 50,000 words. The novel doesn’t need to be completed. It just needs to be 50,000 new words you write between November 1 and midnight on November 30. The idea is to make an awesome start on a novel that you can later finish and polish. Some writers, Erin Morgenstern among them, have gone on to publish novels started during NaNo.



At Wordstock I ran into a new friend from Oregon’s Literary Arts. She is a poet who’d once mentioned writing for young readers. How is that going? I asked her. She e-mailed me a couple of days later. Thank you for your question, she said. It had prompted her to revisit work done in the spring and discover she in fact had written an entire outline for a novel. She decided to write that book during this November’s NaNo.



Inspired now by her as well as Erin, I looked at my own work-in-progress, a novel in three parts. Could I get myself in gear to press on and WRITE OUT a good chunk of it during NaNo? I’ve done NaNo once, so I know I have it in me. But I’m weighing priorities.

This is where I stand. For Part I of my novel, I have 16 polished chapters and 8 bad ones. These are chopped out of previous drafts, spit out and slapped together so I have a place from which to keep going. Ideally, I’d first revise these chapters and then kick out Parts II and III.

How will I use the writing month of November, when words waft on the air as writers galore type away? Revise those eight chapters? Or officially participate in NaNo–for which new words must be written–by moving on to a rough draft of Parts II and III? Either will mean significant progress.

What about you? What will you write this November? If you decide to take up the NaNo challenge, here is a pep talk Erin Morgenstern herself wrote for NaNo 2011 participants to get you started. Find more pep talks and nearby NaNo events, plan your novel and track your progress, via the NaNoWriMo website.

-Sabina I. Rascol



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