Category Archives: Writer Profiles

Hugo Awards 2009 – Friday Link Love

This year’s Hugo Award. Correction: This is the Torcon 2003 award. Thanks, Geri! Guess I was a little slap happy after looking up all these links.

Below are the Hugo Award Nominations for 2009 without the television and movie stuff. The link love is that I’ve gone out and found every author/artist announcement post. Yeah, my GoogleFu is going to be sore in the morning. 🙂

If you see a little [?] next to the link, that means I couldn’t find the author’s official announcement and I’ve just linked to their blog/press site.

Best Novel

* Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK) [?] Seriously…. a .mac personal “site”? Dude, let me build you a website. Email me.
* The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK)
* Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen; HarperVoyager UK)
* Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
* Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi (Tor) [Note, Scalzi’s up for three (3) this year. Every link below goes to the same post on Whatever.]

Best Novella

* “The Erdmann Nexus” by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008) [Update that blog, Nancy! 🙂 ] * “The Political Prisoner” by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008) [I think CC and I are writing within half a mile of each other. Charlie, stop by Staufs and I’ll buy you a cuppa joe. Congrats!] * “The Tear” by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires) [Thanks for updating, Ian!] * “True Names” by Benjamin Rosenbaum [Ben wins best Hugo Nomination Picture Award in my book.] & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
* “Truth” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008) [?]

Best Novelette

* “Alastair Baffle’s Emporium of Wonders” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Jan 2008) [?] * “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
* “Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008) [? This piece was also shortlisted for the Nebula. I wonder if John would like my story Dating Prometheus? 🙂 ] * “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner (Asimov’s Feb 2008) [? Also shorted for the Nebula. I see a trend.] * “Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008) [IMHO, one of the best LJ community members around.]

Best Short Story

* “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Jul 2008) [FULL TEXT!] * “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick (Baen’s Universe Oct 2008)
* “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two) [Last year’s Campbell winner follows up. Score!] * “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two) [? I’m linking to the free podcast version of the story because I couldn’t find Ted anywhere. Really? ?] * “From Babel’s Fall’n Glory We Fled” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s Feb 2008) [Special award for funniest writer competition post… Resnick, can’t you get Swanwick to put up an LJ for you?]

Best Related Book

* Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press)
* Spectrum 15: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art by Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)
* The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold by Lillian Stewart Carl [?] & John Helfers, eds. (Baen) [? Umm. Updates?] * What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid (Beccon Publications) [?] * Your Hate Mail Will be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008 by John Scalzi (Subterranean Press)

Best Graphic Story

* The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle Written by Jim Butcher, art by Ardian Syaf (Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Publishing)
* Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio [? Update LJ! Beautiful Studio site though. ] , colors by Cheyenne Wright [? Sweet blog, update it! 🙂 ] (Airship Entertainment)
* Fables: War and Pieces Written by Bill Willingham [? Updates] , pencilled by Mark Buckingham, art by Steve Leialoha and Andrew Pepoy [?] , color by Lee Loughridge, letters by Todd Klein [?] (DC/Vertigo Comics)
* Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic Story and art by Howard Tayler (The Tayler Corporation) [Wow! An actual updated news site!] * Serenity: Better Days Written by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, art by Will Conrad [? Love Will’s work.] , color by Michelle Madsen, cover by Jo Chen [? Damn, Jo, that homepage image was intense!] (Dark Horse Comics)
* Y: The Last Man, Volume 10: Whys and Wherefores Written/created by Brian K. Vaughan [? cobwebs over there] , penciled/created by Pia Guerra [?], inked by Jose Marzan, Jr. [?] (DC/Vertigo Comics)

Best Editor, Short Form

* Ellen Datlow
* Stanley Schmidt [?] * Jonathan Strahan
* Gordon Van Gelder [?] * Sheila Williams [? Asimov’s not updated? ]

Best Editor, Long Form

* Lou Anders [Commented on this post Blogger asked me to confirm my comment with the word “cultocki”… Say what? 🙂 ] * Ginjer Buchanan [???] * David G. Hartwell [?] * Beth Meacham
* Patrick Nielsen Hayden [?]

Best Professional Artist

* Daniel Dos Santos [?] * Bob Eggleton [?] * Donato Giancola [?] * John Picacio [?] * Shaun Tan [?]

Best Semiprozine

* Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Neil Clarke, Nick Mamatas & Sean Wallace
* Interzone edited by Andy Cox [?] * Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi [?] * The New York Review of Science Fiction edited by Kathryn Cramer, Kris Dikeman, David G. Hartwell, & Kevin J. Maroney [?] * Weird Tales edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal

Best Fanzine

* Argentus edited by Steven H Silver
* Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer [??] * Challenger edited by Guy H. Lillian III [?] * The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia [Thanks, Kevin Standlee] * Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima
* File 770 edited by Mike Glyer [? Mike doesn’t have a specific post there about his nomination, but some great thoughts about the nominations in general.]

Best Fan Writer

* Chris Garcia [?] * John Hertz [?] * Dave Langford
* Cheryl Morgan
* Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist

* Alan F. Beck [?] * Brad W. Foster
* Sue Mason [Thanks, Kevin Standlee] * Taral Wayne
* Frank Wu [?]

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

* Aliette de Bodard
* David Anthony Durham
* Felix Gilman [?] * Tony Pi
* Gord Sellar

Whew!!! Yeah, it took awhile to get all these links together. Have fun!!!

Writing Superpowers Activate!


In the last post, I asked you to share your writing superpower. Thanks to the 23 wonderful writers who took the poll. If you didn’t get a chance, please feel free to share your own thoughts below in the comments.

After all, what’s the point of being a writer if you’re not going to put it out there for everyone to see!


The League of Superpowered Writers!

Dean La Douceur‘s superpower is:

I have the ability to capture my inner voice and let it out, before the critic and editor get in the way!

Alter ego: Dad. Publicist. Networker. Nice Guy. See this hero in action on Twitter

Matt‘s superpower is:

the ability to turn a phrase with piercing wit when it doesn’t count, and the ability to wreck any remotely good idea with flaccid prose when it does. =D

Alter ego: I play a lot of video games, mess around online a lot. I become an ubergamer computer geek. See this hero in action on Twitter

Ang’s superpower is:

The ability to come up with plots based on everyday items, like this morning’s protein bar for example. Kryptonite is trying to get those plots down on paper with dialogue and everything else that makes a story.

Alter ego: Office Minion fighting the good fight against the copier, Excel, and PowerPoint M-F. See this hero in action on Twitter

Meghna‘s superpower is:

Try writing like me! I can challenge you; it is impossible. (Secret— it’s even difficult for me sometimes to write just like me). I’ve a very special style which is un-copy-able!!

Alter ego: Reading See this hero in action on Twitter

Alex Fayle‘s superpower is:

having a muse that responds to requests for creativity promptly and without fail. I never need to write down things on scraps of paper or on my arm because when I want to write, the muse appears and the words flow.

My weakness? Brain fog: when the muse can’t get through. It can be caused by anything from a harsh critique to a sudden change in the weather. It’s unpredictability is my weakness’ greatest strength.

Alter ego: I’m the super excited second-language English teacher who bounces around the classroom like a geek excited by the difference uses of the Future Perfect Continuous. See this hero in action on Twitter

Cary‘s superpower is:

Writing about normal, everyday things in a way that seems to touch a chord in others, even though I am not a grammatical genius or writing professional.

Alter ego: Think about writing, read, talk to my dogs about writing. See this hero in action on Twitter

James Chartand – Men with Pens‘s superpower is:

… the ability to glance at a piece of website copy and know if it’s crap or not on first sight – AND know exactly what to do with it to make it better. Like breathing.

… the copyslinger focus to shoot off content that gets people thinking, stirs them into action, or brings them to tears. Kleenex not included.

… the word-cleaver power to create complete havoc and chaos with with one blog post and less than 350 words. Not really my fault – it just kind of happens.

Alter ego: I play a beautiful Yamaha FG720S acoustic guitar that was not only affordable but incredibly sweet sounding, high quality and blue.

Yes. That was the most important part. To own a blue guitar. Too bad Taylor didn’t have one available at the time I was forking out money. See this hero in action on Twitter

SpaceAgeSage — Lori‘s superpower is:

… being didactic.

Alter ego: Caregiver See this hero in action on Twitter

Whitney McKim‘s superpower is:

to name all of my main male characters with names that start with “L.” It didn’t begin as a serious thing, but I found that I was drawn to certain names… names that begin with “L.” Now it’s less of a habit and more of an obsession.

Alter ego: When I’m not writing I’m reading, voraciously. And maybe tweeting (but wait, isn’t that writing?). See this hero in action on Twitter

Chris Brogan‘s superpower is:


Alter ego: Thinking about writing. See this hero in action on Twitter

Joanna Young‘s superpower is:

focusing on my writing intention. What it is that I want to express, communicate or share. I focus on that and then let the words come out.

I think I’m also blessed with a natural inner editor who cuts and slices as I go (sans criticism) so the words come out crisp and clear.

Something for which I’m extremely thankful.

Alter ego: Walk in the west highlands of Scotland. Breathe in beauty, wilderness, spirit, self.
Take photos as I go, trying to capture the essence of the moment and the place. See this hero in action on Twitter

RhodesTer‘s superpower is:

I think humor, although that’s just me because when I’m at work, or should I say, when I WAS at work, because I was laid-off but that’s neither here nor there, fellow employees would sort of smirk and roll their eyes at me when I’d tell a story or something, which led me to believe I wasn’t in the least bit entertaining, but really kind of annoying, but maybe that’s because I was telling it instead of writing it, so I really think my writing superpower is humor but my telling superpower sure isn’t, if one is to go by all the eye rolling and smirking.

Oh, and commas. That’s my other writing superpower, yes, it its, or should I say, they are.

Alter ego: I’m not always writing. What do you think I am? I have to use the bathroom at times and there’s nothing in there to write with, but maybe I should do something about that. See this hero in action on Twitter

Karen Swim‘s superpower is:

My ability to rock a pair of boots, oh wait you didn’t say dress like a superpower, never mine…Um, my writing superpower is the ability to see connections and weave stories and life lessons from the seemingly ordinary.

Alter ego: My not writing alter ego is constantly in motion – running, pilates, weight lifting, jump roping, dancing. See this hero in action on Twitter

Erin‘s superpower is:

herding more plot bunnies than a single human could ever have time to deal with. Also, I’m really good at juggling multiple ideas simultaneously. I know some people can’t, but to me, it seems no more difficult than remembering plot lines on more than one TV show. Or which of my friends is expecting a child and which had a fight with his boss at work and which of my brothers I think needs a kick in the pants this week. They’re different people in different stories.

Alter ego: I cook. I bake. I listen to writing-related podcasts and spend entirely too much time on the Internet. I freelance (indexing, proofreading, and copyediting). I garden. I knit. I crochet. I raise two kids and spend time with my spouse. I care for a cat and a dog. I deal with laundry and dishes and more cooking and cleaning. I watch probably more TV than is good for me. You know — the usual. See this hero in action on Twitter

–Deb Boyken‘s superpower is:

I can take snippets of ideas and expand them almost indefinitely, because one of my lesser powers is babbling. It may not be good writing but I can string words together that go on for miles! Some editing may be required for it to be “good,” but the initial thoughts? I can ramble for quite some time, just to get something on paper! (The hard part–the kryptonite, if you will–is getting the first few words out to get it going.

Alter ego: Reading, naturally. If I’m not writing, I’m reading what other people have written. Or I’m knitting. Or spinning yarn to knit with. Or playing with my dog. Or baking. … Or taking pictures of my baking. Or pictures of my dog. Or pictures of my yarn. Or pictures of my knitting. Or pictures of my books … See this hero in action on Twitter

Belynda Cianci’s superpower is:

My writing superpower is the ability to know which names my sister is going to like, and use them in my second novel. We’re trying to come up with a new name for one of the nieces in “Crossing Clouds” and we’re three for three on names SHE selects that I have to veto because they are already in the draft of the second book. We also invariably go for the same items on a menu at any restaurant. It’s freaky!!

Also, because one super-power is boring… I’m managing to edit my manuscript while working 40 hours a week and not getting fired, and schooling three accelerated online courses without landing myself on the academic probation radar. Huzzah for sleep deprivation!

Alter ego: I’m editing. No, I wish I were kidding.. I’m at work, on my lunch break, editing the manuscript and getting it ready for queries (wish me luck!).

Oh.. alll of my co-workers? Their superpower? It’s seeing me hammer away on an open keyboard with a turkey on white sticking out of the side of my gob, and still thinking this scene is an invitation to ask me what I’m doing…

I tested one guy, whose name has been withheld to protect the innocent.

Me: “I’m editing the book I wrote last year, because this is the only time I have to write between work and school.”

Co-worker: “……………… OH that’s cool! What are you taking in school?”

Why God, why?! See this hero in action on Twitter

Scott‘s superpower is:

the ability to take a cliche and sharpen it into a story killing katana. I’m not sure this is a good thing…

Alter ego: IT Support See this hero in action on Twitter

Liz Strauss‘s superpower is:

I know how to write in the spaces between the words.

Alter ego: My Not Writing Alter Ego is having butter pecan ice cream with hot fudge. See this hero in action on Twitter

A. B. England‘s superpower is:

I have a knack for natural sounding dialog. I suppose it comes from being the quiet child and simply listening to how everyone around me spoke. I simply hear it as I write, almost like an experienced musician learning to anticipate the next measure upon catching the melody of a piece they’re playing for the first time.

Alter ego: I’m a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and an infant, which unfortunately, hasn’t left a huge amount of time for writing lately. See this hero in action on Twitter

David Niall Wilson‘s superpower is:

I can write poetry – rhymed, free verse, haiku, Dr. Seuss, sonnets – in a very very short amount of time. It also works with song lyrics. I can leap into a form or style and nail it. This also explains, I think, why I seem able to write at any length from fifty words to 150,000.

Alter ego: I play guitar and spend time with Trish, my kids and my dogs. See this hero in action on Twitter

Kevin Blake’s superpower is:

I must not have a super power since I’m here not writing

Alter ego: I’m mild mannered Thinking About Writing.

Bond. James Bond.’s superpower is:

I write great action scenes.

Alter ego: Medical doctor.

Linda Thieman‘s superpower is:

I think my writing superpower must be my sense of humor. I just cannot hold it back. Luckily, the kids get it. There’s this scene in Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story (for ages 7-10) where Katie falls off a bridge–sort of. Her leg gets stuck and she’s hanging upside down. For the first time in the whole book, Katie starts to panic. She’s screaming, “My hair’s in the river! My hair’s in the river!” and Kimble says, “It’s not a river, it’s a stream.” Yup, that’s my sense of humor all over the place.

Alter ego: Marketing. Although, I can hardly believe how much writing is involved in marketing. I also take an editing project from time to time. But all the writing for marketing has the effect of pulling me back into the stories so that I’m rarin’ to go to get back to writing book 3. See this hero in action on Twitter

Oh, and MY superpower?

I used to think that my ability to come up with strange ideas was my superpower, but I’ve learned that this is actually a subset of my real gift which is the ability to tell visual stories. When I’m working on a story, I see it unfold in front of me like a movie. I see each glistening drop of sweat, the dust under the chair. I see the characters not as actor but as real people in a universe to which I’ve suddenly been invited.

As a writer, I use words to draw pictures of what I see. I make the reader “see” what I feel and experience. The downside of this ability is that I often go way too far into those details. I lose the sense of story and replace it with pretty picture after pretty picture. I need to learn to be more selective.

That’s why I practice every single day… 🙂

Bread Winning: A Writer Profile

Today’s Writer Profile comes from Matthew Rowe, who has a website with a URL that makes him a good fit for How Not to Write. 🙂

Now there’s a happy writer and his book! Congratulations!

Matthew Rowe is a recently short-haired, neurotic lay about who is currently unsure of his place in the world. He hopes his book of short fantasy, horror and comedy stories, Not All Of Them About Zombies, available very cheaply through Amazon, will go some way to asserting himself somewhere. He has written a lot and he wants to share it all, but no one with the money or power has let him as yet. He’s only in his late twenties though so he remains foolishly optimistic. Some people think it is endearing. He would also like you to know that he has a shiny new website ( where he blogs (almost) daily and a Facebook page with not enough fans.

Bread Winning

Writers face a lot of problems in their eternal struggle to shape some dirty marks on paper in an emotionally and intellectually satisfying arrangement. I couldn’t possibly go into them all and emerge on the other side with a coherent selection of sentences so I’m going to talk about my biggest problem: Life. Now, don’t get me wrong; I may be relatively young, but I’m not one of those whiny Emo, grunge kids that pollute our gene pools nowadays. It is simply that there are aspects of life that keep getting in the way of writing.

Ideally, I would like to write non-stop, forever. Nothing makes me happier than to be in control of my own little world where all the characters are my friends, even if they are ego-maniacal geniuses with plans for world domination and problematic love lives or undead monsters recently crawled out of a too-shallow grave and looking for a pet dog that died in the car accident with them (Ooh that would make a good story. Dibs!). Unfortunately though, I have to eat, I have to sleep and in order to successfully manage these other two main goals in life, I have to provide money to buy food in the first place. Writing doesn’t do that. It could, because (like most writers) I truly believe there is a market out there just waiting, dying even, for my special brand of supernatural comedy fantasy and biting, satirical dark fiction, but my exasperated jumping about and arm-waving has failed to attract the attention of any bigwig publishers as of yet. So, I have to look for an alternative way of earning money, and balancing this other career with my ‘true’ career as a writer is difficult. I’ve been trying for several years and still not figured it out.

At the best of times, I have long periods of productivity in my writing that is then broken by a long period of bread earning. At worst, I become so exhausted earning bread that I do not do any writing, and so at last we reach my key point. Worse than Writer’s Block is the emotional torment of trying to start writing again after a long period of inactivity. Sure, I may write each day in some basic or creative way (my blog, for example, or an idea for a short story might strike me, in which case I start writing the intro or a key scene immediately), but if I don’t keep working on my novel, or whatever my current main project is, it becomes a nightmare to try and get back to it.

I love writing, I really do, but I have wasted endless hours sitting at my computer, thinking that whatever I write is bound to be crap because I haven’t written properly in ages, or that I’ve lost whatever little subconscious ideas were floating around in my brain just waiting to develop into the zygote of a plot point all those weeks ago and I don’t want to start until I get them back. Inevitably, I do write, maybe an hour later, maybe several days later or longer, and always after much mental torture, but I always feel bad for the break in the flow and wonder what direction my project would have taken if I had carried on with that initial burst of enthusiasm. Then there is the anguish as I force myself to sit at the computer to try and get something else only to give up with the same excuses, or perhaps I do write something and wonder if it is good enough to continue.

It could be argued however that this time of inactivity is useful, if difficult, because I have often become aware of brick walls that I cannot climb even when I know what goes on beyond them and the time away has allowed me to dwell on this, dig around in my shed for a ladder and return to the wall to prop the trusty ladder up against it. Yet I have to return to the work the instant I solve it, because if I don’t, I’m back to that unproductive void which could be likened to pouring distilled boredom into my ears and waiting for the punch line.

That, dear reader (and, indeed, I presume, writer) is why I hate life. If it wasn’t for life I’d be able to work on my novel until I finished it, happy, content, satisfied, but alas, probably dead from starvation, if not dehydration, in a very disgusting puddle of my own lazy excrement…..

Still, I ask myself which eventuality is better.

So here I am, guest writing on someone else’s website, asking you lovely people how you balance your life with your writing. I always feel that I often give into peoples’ expectations of what I should be doing with my life (and by ‘people’ I mean ‘my mother’) and that this has greatly delayed my progress in writing. Should I have concentrated more on completing my novel or was it a smart move to go to university, for example? Also, I ask myself now, having just completed a TEFL course, if concentrating on finding a position teaching English abroad is going to detract too much from completing my second novel. In one respect I think I am stretching my last chance to earn anything with the debts I have incurred and I am unsure of any other way to earn money, feed myself and stay alive to be able to write, but I don’t want to go another long period without writing much. Certainly then, if the job hunt doesn’t keep me away, adjusting to life in another country probably will. Perhaps this is a skill that comes with time, or maybe I need to shout “Buggerit!” buy a big padlock and not come out of my room until someone comes knocking with a publishing contract/movie deal/Booker Prize/lots of beautiful women who get turned on by successful writers/all of the above. After all, it is called ‘bread winning’ so can’t someone just hand me all the damn bread and leave me in peace to churn out another potential bestseller? No, apparently not.

The worst part is, thanks to all positive reviews and feedback, knowing there are people out there who would buy my work, and that it could be really successful, but having to make this decision anyway. Part of me wishes someone would just tell me one way or the other if I’m ever going to get noticed. If I do then great, I can look forward to a day when I don’t have to have two careers. If not then I wouldn’t stop writing, but I wouldn’t worry so much about prioritizing it when I could make a really successful business for myself teaching small foreign children the meaning of “By’eck, Nora, I could murder a cup’o tea cos it’s brass monkeys out there”.

Interested in sharing your profile with other writers? Find out more here. Oh, and please leave a comment on this post, cause you’ll want others to return in kind when your smiling face appears on HNTW, right? 😉

Shut The Hell Up And Write: A Whiner's Guide and NaNoWriMo Profile

As part of my NaNoWriMo Halo Giveaway, I offered all of the folks who signed up a chance to write a guest post for How Not To Write. I think you’ll be amazed as I was at the variety of people who have submitted posts. I know I am. I’m also proud to share their words here and I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment. — Jamie


Today’s post comes from Liz C.

Liz, according to her boyfriend, enjoys collecting competencies, which means that she tries new things then dumps them when she gets bored. By day she sits at a desk in front of a computer and answers tech support phone calls, which has enabled her to write probably 75-80% of her novel at work. She is enjoying her first NaNo, and when November ends, she’ll go back to writing on her five blogs and dreaming about maybe taking some writing classes before next year.

You can find her main blog at, where she whines about all sorts of things, including her 25 year old daughter and 9 year old son, neither of whom read her blog.( Although her ex-husband and boyfriend do.)

Shut The Hell Up And Write: A Whiner’s Guide

I admit it: I’m a whiner. I like to try new things, and even though in most cases I do all right, I always whine a lot about it along the way. I blame this mostly on my Protestant ancestors, the Greek chorus that sits in the back of my mind reminding me not to be boastful or get too full of myself. Whining about how hard everything is and how I am sure I am going to fail is my weak attempt at modesty. Sometimes I do fail, but most of the time I come out OK.

I blog, therefore I whine in public. As you can guess, I’ve been whining a lot lately about NaNoWriMo. It’s my first. Yeah, it’s been a challenge, but I hit 50K on the 20th and still have a shot at 75K. And I may even finish the story, although that’s still in doubt. Is it any good? Well, I think the basic premise is cool, although since I haven’t written anything remotely fiction-like since Mr. Johnson’s creative writing class over 30 years ago, I’m making quite a hash of it. But I’ve won NaNo, and that was my goal. I’ll postpone my dream of agents beating down my door until I get a clue.

In today’s blog post I complained about how everything was falling apart and how miserable I am. Then I cranked out 1600 words and went to lunch. Back at my desk, it was time to catch up on my blog reading before diving back in. I read many blogs: food blogs, humor blogs, writing blogs, and a few personal blogs.

So there’s this woman I know. I don’t know her well, although we’ve met a few times in recent years. She is funny and witty and clever and… eccentric. She has ‘deficits’, as she puts it, but she embraces them and celebrates them. They are all part of what makes her funny and witty and clever. And eccentric.

She also blogs, although ‘blog’ is a lame word for what she does. I blog; she slices off a piece of her heart and sticks it on the screen. I love to read her blog, and when a rare post from her pops up in my Google reader, I hoard it, saving it until I have read everything else, like a tiny bag of Peanut M&M’s at the bottom of the plastic Halloween pumpkin.

Today, after she blew my socks off*, she ended with this quote from Thornton Wilder:

“When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.”

That hit me upside the head like a cold, wet sponge, causing me to completely cease whining for a good ten minutes.

I think it’s time for me to Shut The Hell Up And Write. November will be over soon enough, and then where will I be? Safe at home, whining about how I wish I was having an adventure.

* Note: That is both hyperbole and cliché. There were no actual socks blown off.

Interested in sharing your story? I’ve opened up the writer profiles section to submissions from any/all writers. Read on for “guidelines”.

NaNoParaNoia: A NaNoWriMo Profile

As part of my NaNoWriMo Halo Giveaway, I offered all of the folks who signed up a chance to write a guest post for How Not To Write. I think you’ll be amazed as I was at the variety of people who have submitted posts. I know I am. I’m also proud to share their words here and I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment. — Jamie


Today’s post comes from Whitney McKim.

Whitney is a 2nd time NaNoWriMo participant. With nearly two NaNos under her belt she’s decided it is her calling in this life to spread the wonders of month-long noveling to the world – or maybe just Northern Virginia and Maryland. Whitney feels like writing what you know is for the birds! If fiction is for escapism, step outside your comfort zone and explore uncharted territory!

Other than noveling, Whitney can most often be found behind the lens of any number of cameras (a Nikon, a Fed 5, a Pentax K-1000, a Holga, or a Kodak Duaflex IV), haikuing, or running her beautiful Dalmatian, Magnolia, in flyball.

Whitney’s progress can be followed via Embarking on 30 Days of Literary Abandon (apologizes for the hyperlink, it’s an abbreviation for the “old” title to her first NaNovel: 10-90: The Life and Times of an American Bank Robber.)


It happens around 40K, sometimes as early as 30K. You’ve passed that half-way marker. You celebrated at 25K. You are happy to see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s true, NaNoWriMo Stardom is in your future. You are going to make it to the finish line! 50,000 words in 30 agonizing days will be an achievement that you can brag about for years to come!! You are going to be an author.

Wait… what was that? Didn’t you see it? It was just right there! Look!! There it goes again!!! No, I’m not crazy, It’s out there. Suddenly every bump in the night, every heavily cloaked man-who-fits-the-racial-profile-of-a-terrorist-suicide-bomber, every eye-shine in the night on your drive home from a write-in, every whine of your hard drive is a disaster waiting to happen. You are convinced that everything is out to get you.

It’s OK, take two aspirin and Tweet me in the morning.

You have a bad case of the NaNoParaNoia. It’s a condition that strikes WriMos when they least expect it. It’s not mentioned on the forum boards and you won’t find it in No Plot? No Problem! There are several strains of NaNoParaNoia.

Computer Pahocytosis NaNoParaNoia

Many people experience NaNoParaNoia as a nagging sensation that their computer will suddenly start to phagocytize their NaNovel while they sleep. Common manifestations of the Computer Phagocytosis NaNoParaNoia can be backing up your novel in every known location on the face of the planet including, external hard drives, USB flash drives, various online storage locations, emailing copies to yourself every 20 words, printing hard copies and stashing them all over your house, or actually drafting portions of your novel in permanent ink marker on your dog.

AgraphobiaAgoraphobia NaNoParaNoia

Unlike the previous strain, AgraphobiaAgoraphobia NaNoParaNoia can either be manifested by feeling as though onlookers are attempting to steal your brilliant NaNovel idea for their own or you could experience the aforementioned Terrorist day terrors. You’ll be sitting in your local coffee shop, minding your own business and suddenly you’ll be convinced that the old woman with the large, over-sized carpet handbag is really packing a sawed-off shot gun that’s got your name written all over it because you failed to stop and let her cross at the cross-walk near the grocery store last month and the old broad has been following you around for the last month, tailing you until she found the perfect moment to blow you away. Or, you could start to have a panic attack every time you see anyone resembling a member of Al-Qaeda, thinking that today could be the next time they try to stick it to America by planning to kick us where it hurts; right in our espresso, double shot, tall, no skim, double chocolate Latte loving hearts. Then every guy who walks through the door of the coffee shop wearing a winter coat and who looks like his name could be Ahmad you will believe is the next suicide bomber. After all, if you backed up your novel in every space-saving, internet-loving place known to month-long novelists everywhere it’s not gonna matter if you get blown to smithereens.

Odocoileus virginianus NaNoParaNoia
More commonly known as: Deer-hittith-carith NaNoParaNoia

This particularly specific strain of NaNoParaNoia is less common than aforementioned two. Deer-hittith-carith NaNoParaNoia affects those WriMos who have to drive long distances to Write-Ins in the dusk hours and find themselves on the constant look out for the seriously over-populated White Tailed Deer who like to stand like a deer-in-headlights on highways all across America plaguing unsuspecting WriMo motorists. Commonly, WriMos who are afflicted with this strain will often load up on extra doses of double shot, no skim, double chocolate lattes thinking that this will help keep them alert for the drive home. The ultimate fear is not that the crash will cause hospitalization, for mere broken bones will not impede one from reaching the finish line even if the laptop was destroyed in the crash (internet backups are a lovely thing). Rather, the fear is that the head trauma sustained could cause a brief comma that would end on December 1st, just hours after the window to verify those last few hundred words has closed.

It is possible that there are other strains of NaNoParaNoia out there. Scientists are discovering new symptoms every year. The most important thing to remember is that this is a very treatable disease. It is temporary and it seems that all patients are completely alleviated of all symptoms once their eyes are fixed on that beautiful purple Winner’s Bar and they are able to post Winner’s Icons to their blogs. Hang in there WriMos, NaNoParaNoia will pass.

[Editor’s note… While preparing your comments, you might want to visit the Phobia List so that you too can be as witty at Whitney. 🙂 ]

Interested in sharing your story? I’ve opened up the writer profiles section to submissions from any/all writers. Read on for “guidelines”.