It’s been three weeks but for once I have a good excuse for my failure of updating: writing and reading.
As in the BEST of excuses.
In the past three weeks or so, I’ve been hammering away at my manuscript. I am paaaaainfully close to finishing this first draft. I’m excited and horrified because I feel like it’s a disastrous mess. Because of my hand injuries, I got terribly off track with this book. I had an incredibly clear vision for it, and the writing of it was actually going as smoothly as I’ve ever experienced until I had to take a break from writing because of hand pain.
When I jumped back into it, suddenly I had completely lost my characters’ voices. I’m 99.9% sure the entire last third of the novel is going to get scrapped because it’s terrible. Honestly, I’m crossing my fingers that when I go back for the first major revision (likely beginning next week) I’ll realize it’s not quite as terrible as I suspect… but for now, I’m just drafting, drafting, drafting. You can’t fix a blank page, right?
I’ve also been reading. Recent faves include:
FROI OF THE EXILES by Melina Marchetta. I read FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK earlier this year, and have just ordered QUINTANA OF CHARYN because OMG QUINTANA, and if you’ve read it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, then you SHOULD.
LOVE WARRIOR by Glennon Doyle Melton. If you are a human being, you need this book. It’s sort of about marriage but mostly about love and pain and this whole human experience. I will say it’s particularly relevant to women, but my husband read it too and he really got a lot out of it. I struggled to read it slowly because it was so beautiful, and failed at reading it slowly because this book just GOT ME.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. Yikes, has this script been controversial or what? All I will say is, if you don’t read very many scripts (or haven’t read a play since your high school compulsory read-a-long of ROMEO AND JULIET) keep in mind that it’s intended for the stage–and as such will seem choppy and fragmented in written form. Personally, I really enjoyed going back into the world of Harry Potter… and I loved Scorpius.
In other bookish news… last weekend was the Decatur Book Festival, which is an annual massive meet-up of authors, booksellers, etc. It’s amazing. I had to work most of the weekend, so I only got to go to one event… but I picked the right one (obviously) because I got to meet Victoria (AKA V.E.) Schwab.
Also she hugged me, so no big deal or anything. If you haven’t read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC yet, DO IT. It’s fantastic. It was one of the books that I read and it made me say, YES. THIS. THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BE A WRITER.
Victoria was so sweet and friendly, and her “Dark Fantasies” panel with Lila Bowen (WAKE OF VULTURES) and Sarah Beth Durst (THE QUEEN OF BLOOD) was very interesting. They talked about their writing processes, what they’re working on now, and diversity in literature…
This post is really long already, and quite frankly everything I have to say about diversity has been said more eloquently by other people, but here are my two cents. They’re short and sweet and you should take them to the bank.
Fellow white people: Diversity matters, period. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. Be allies. Be honest. Recognize that the very same mechanisms in society that serve to privilege you also serve to blind you to that privilege while they disadvantage others. These are bad mechanisms established by our ancestors and they suck and they make our world worse. Rip the blinders off and confront these issues with honesty. Try harder. Write diversely. Support diverse authors. Create as much support and signal boosting as you can of these authors and their stories. Buy their books. Review their books. Don’t make excuses for yourselves or others. You can and should write diversely. You can and should read diversely. Above all, listen to understand. Listen to other humans when they speak of their experiences and truly seek to hear them and understand them.
OK, it wasn’t so short. But the world of books that we love so much can be better, and we all have a role to play in making it better–whether it’s how we write our stories or how we engage with others or how we spend our dollars.
And to that end, let’s stretch the post out a biiiiit farther…. with some diverse book recs! I really encourage you to check out the We Need Diverse Books website — especially their resources on where to find diverse books, which links to a bunch of sites chock full of recommendations.
Here are some of the ones I’m excited about:
There are TONS more — this is just a sample of the ones I’ve been excited about.