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It’s November. Days are cold and nights are frosty. The cat wants in. And out. And back in again. It’s also the time of year for NaNoWriMo.

Yep, I’m doing it! My plan is to win (because of course) but most importantly, my goal is to get back on the regular-everyday-seriously-stop messing around writing train, and to practice a select number of specific writing skills. I haven’t gotten around to updating my official NaNo information, but I am working industriously away, so double handful of yay there.

Right now it looks as though the story I’m working on will involve superheroes and science fiction, but you just never know when a story will take a left turn. Will there be elves in the closet? Magic cotton candy machines? Or a secret bio lab planning to doom us all?!? One never knows:)

As I’ve mentioned in years past, I tend to be a pantser who heads to the keyboard and tackles the project head on, but I’m mixing it up this year.

Now I’m off to do some planning, some pantsing, and lots of writing:)

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The good folks over at The Verge have the list of 2016’s Hugo award winners, complete with links and the complete list of nominees. Lots of women and authors of color this round. All in all, this year’s award race largely shrugged off reactionaries and controversy, a real win for diversity and innovative speculative fiction. Enjoy!

Winner: Best Novel

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Today’s Thing I Like is nonfiction writing in general, and author Mary Roach in particular. If you aren’t familiar with her work, check out the books linked below or this interview with Seth Shostak at SETICon 2012.

Nonfiction can be a fiction writer’s best friend. At its best, it includes detailed, character-driven explorations of real-life situations and challenges, and can provide the sort of solid foundation a more speculative piece needs to succeed. I’ve mentioned this before, but avoiding abstractitis is key to good writing.

Specifically:

No matter how abstract your topic, how intangible, your first step is to find things you can drop on your foot.
— John Maguire

Nonfiction helps you do that, and Mary Roach is a great example of a quality nonfiction writer.

I have yet to read all of Roach’s books but Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void were terrific. Her books take a somewhat off-beat topic and delve in, deep. She’s also funny. The level of detail is satisfying and succeeds in painting an engaging portrait of her subject that is also educational. Packing for Mars, for example, is a great way for writers to familiarize themselves with the nitty gritty of space exploration, how we got to where we are now, and how we’ll get to where we’re going.

To note, if you’re interested in popular nonfiction about the intricacies of digestion or Mars exploration, check out Giulia Enders’ excellent Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ, and Steve Squyres’ Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet.

Read, then write:)

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In case you missed it this weekend, the winners of the 2015 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy have been announced. Women won big.

Given that, today’s free fiction will be a double-header. The winners for Best Novelette and Best Short Story are available to all online. Enjoy!

Find the complete list of winners and nominees over at io9 or SFWA. Congratulations to all!

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This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.
― Neil Gaiman

Thankfully, I have cookies:)

 

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Last week was National Library Week in the U.S. I’m coming to it late* but as far as I’m concerned, most weeks should involve a library:) Why, you may ask? So many reasons! And for those of us North of the Border, stay tuned because October is Canadian Library Month!

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.
— Ray Bradbury

NLW-banner_0

 

* I blame a hectic work schedule but mostly the glorious backlog of library books on my shelves, just waiting to be read:)

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Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
― Jane Smiley

Me too:)

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#books for days! 📚

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