Friday Fifteen and Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway for The Chance You Won’t Return this week! I liked hosting the giveaway so much, I ended up choosing two winners. They are:

Andrea T. and Julie R.!

Andrea and Julie, keep an eye out for my email so I can get your shipping info for your prizes. And everyone, thank you so much for entering. I’ll definitely do another giveaway soon, so keep checking in for your chance to win.

In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer:

Reading: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Felt more human and better crafted than Gone Girl; not a favorite, but intriguing.

Writing: They are my constant, from here to the end of the universe.
First draft of my WIP is done! Full steam ahead into the revisions!

The #14me Contest is Open! What Would You Tell Your Fourteen-Year-Old Self?

Me at fourteen:

  • Clunky shoes, carpenter jeans, wacky t-shirts, a different nail polish color on every finger
  • Fangirl for The Outsiders and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • New school–losing old friends, finding new ones
  • Writing a couple of really bad novels That Will Never See the Light of Day
  • Collages and quotes all over my walls
  • Not sure about this whole high school thing. Or growing up.

Sometimes I wish I could sit down with my fourteen-year-old self and let her know that it’s all going to work out (for the most part). To keep reading, to keep writing, to keep finding kindred spirits. That it’s okay she doesn’t really care about going to the cool parties. That she can maybe speak up more in class (in general) and not be afraid of her own voice. That she’s got some great stuff coming in a few years, so power through the stress and insecurity.

Wish you could talk to yourself at fourteen? The Fourteenery (a fabulous group of 2014 debut YA authors) is hosting a contest in which you’re invited to share a little advice to your four-year-old self. Share your funny/sweet/thoughtful/dramatic advice by reblogging on our Tumblr or tweeting with the #14me hastag. And you can win some seriously awesome (signed!!!) books.

Check out all the details on the Fourteenery and get brainstorming. The contest runs through midnight on Sunday, April 14. Spike’s excited:

So get reblogging/tweeting!

Financial Expectations for Working Writers

My friend Andrew has a great post up about the recent McSweeney’s comic contest debacle and why writers should take notice. In very short, McSweeney’s ran a contest in which the winner would get to run regular, bimonthly feature on Internet Tendency for a year (so 24 total posts). But there was no monetary compensation, and 24 separate comics is a lot of work. There was an uproar among comic artists, and McSweeney’s ended up pulling the contest. Andrew notes how this might not have happened for a writing contest:

“I don’t mean to suggest that McSweeney’s hasn’t done great things for the publishing industry, and for writers, and for schools, and for the community. But it seems like a dangerous precedent to admit that contests of the sort they run—hell, business models of the sort they run—can be “used for the purposes of exploitation.” If it’s exploitative to ask graphic artists to produce work on spec, why is it not exploitative to ask the same of writers? Are we not also creative individuals trying to make an honest living doing what we love?”

Frankly, I think this would be a great opportunity for McSweeney’s to look at how it acquires content and what it can do for its writers. Most writers, even really successful ones, don’t make enough money from writing to have it be their only job. Not that McSweeney’s can save the day, but they can certainly take a step forward in fostering artists of all kinds.

Links Galore

A few more links to close out Memorial Day:

  • The children’s literature world lost another wonderful voice this weekend. I didn’t know Peter D. Sieruta personally at all, but these posts about him are very moving.
  • Redivider, the literary journal I worked on in grad school, is celebrating their 10th anniversary with the Beacon Street Prize. Literary fiction and poetry writers, submit your work!
  • I think I need a writing treehouse (and other writing spaces).
  • Wellesley Books shares their picks for summer reads. (YA fans, see here.)
  • In other favorite local bookstore news, Brookline Booksmith is having a YA Debut Author panel on Saturday, June 2. Who’s going to join me?
  • Even more cool bookstore events: the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, VA is hosting an exhibit of two of my favorite photographers and their work for Beyond the Flavor.

I Have Cool Writer Friends

Since finishing grad school, I’ve been part of a writing group with some similarly literary-loving friends. One of these friends submitted his novelWhat Ends, to the Breakthrough Novel Award, and now he’s a quarter finalist. Way to go, Andrew!

You can download a copy of his first chapter here. I’ve read the first chapter in writing group, so I can vouch for its awesomeness. In very short, it’s about the personal struggles of a family living on a dying island off the coast of Scotland. Between last year’s The Scorpio Races and this year’s Brave, who wouldn’t love a little Scottish island literature?

Fifty First Lines, Part 2

I took part in the Accidental Novelist’s 50 First Lines Challenge, which was really fun. (It’s a great exercise on its own; seriously, try it!) Now it’s onto Round 2–and you can participate! The very brief details:

“If you did NOT enter the first round, your job is to write 5 First Paragraphs using the WINNING First Lines above. ONLY SUBMIT YOUR TOP THREE.”

For more on how and what to submit, check out the full post. At the very least, you get to do a fun writing exercise, and maybe you’ll have internet bragging rights at the end of it. So get writing, everybody!

First Fifty

Staring at a blank piece of paper can be intimidating. To get your creative juices flowing, The Accidental Novelist (Writes Again) is hosting a 50 first lines contest. The basics: write fifty possible first lines, then post your five favorites in the comments section by midnight tonight (Monday). Not much time, but it’s only fifty lines. You can do it!

If you want some examples, check out the 50 list by 4am Writer. Stiff competition! I might post mine here as well if I can get myself organized. Let me know if you end up taking part!