Saturday, June 7, 2014

Writing News, Sites that Help Me Write that I Read to Avoid Writing, and I’m Practically a Gardener!

I have some exciting writing announcements before we commence today’s official post: One, I have reached the 200-page mark on my novel, (59,000 words!), and two, the anthology “Recession Depression and Economic Reflection: Poetry of The Economic Crisis” is now available on Amazon! It contains two of my poems from my chapbook, “The Acme Employee Handbook”, and some great work by poets all over this economically (and emotionally) depressed nation of ours.

I have nothing in particular to blab about around my own rather ho-hum, workaday life at the moment, so in celebration of hitting a milestone with my novel, I thought I’d share some links to writing sites that I’ve found really helpful in encouraging me to be courageous, wild,  and most importantly, tenacious in my writing.

If it weren’t for Absolute Write, I might have given up on the novel a few months ago when I hit a really gnarly mid-point slump. But the AW community was really supportive and assured me that the mid-point is notoriously the worst part of writing any novel, and that I should keep going and just fight my way through it. It really helped! I haven’t posted there a lot, but I want to increase my participation in the community, hopefully  more as a supporter than the perpetual supportee that I am now. And there are rumors that actual, real, famous-type writers (ahem, Stephen King) post there under pseudonyms on a pretty regular basis.

Chuck Wendig’s novel-writing manifesto on Terrible Minds is like Red Bull for your muse. It’s my go- to when I need a little shot in the arm, or when it’s time to re-energize my work with some power, grit and swagger.

I haven’t had much time to explore the stellar She Writes, but I plan to soon. It’s a gold mine of support and advice from women, for women. I haven’t experienced feeling marginalized or condescended to for being female on other writing sites, so  I don’t feel a special need to be on a woman-orientated site, but there’s something about being in an all-female space that just makes me feel more at home and at ease. Women are fun. Same as in real life, getting together in a virtual place with other women to talk shop is revitalizing.

One of the main culprits responsible for my plodding novel progress is not my own lack of discipline and easily distracted mind, it’s TV Tropes. It sucks me in, man, and once I’m there, I’m powerless against it’s hilarious labyrinth of stock characters (Forgot He Was A Robot), over-used plot devices, (Which Wire Dilemma) and hackneyed narratives (Big Ego, Hidden Depth.) I don’t write my novel a lot because of this site.

On the fuddy-duddy grammar scold front, we have 20 Common Grammar Mistakes that Almost Everyone Makes. It’s not fun, and it’s cringe-inducing when you realize how badly you slaughter the English language on a daily basis, but it is a useful and practical article.

And finally—this isn’t a writing advice site, but it’s helped me enormously with my work in progress. 80’s heavy metal bands are my main character’s lifeblood. She figures that almost any activity worth doing is worth doing to a shatteringly loud soundtrack of face-melting metal. But I started cycling through all the known 80’s bands too many times, and I needed to mix it up with some imaginary band names. Behold, the Heavy Metal Band Name Generator! It’s been a lifesaver. I don’t know what applications it would have other than literally helping you name your heavy metal band should you happen to form one, but I’m just putting it out there as resource. Enjoy!

Here’s one semi-exciting thing from my personal life—I planted a garden! Okay, it was more of a container with six little pots that my friend gave me that I planted some seeds in and set out on the deck in gardening “park and pray” mode.  This morning, one of the pots had a few adorable little sprouts in it. I’m practically Ciscoe! Once many years ago, a self-proclaimed psychic told me I could have had a shining career as a botanist. I think my little pot of sprouts is irrefutable evidence that she was, like totally spot on!

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

John Socrates said...

Another great post. And congrats on getting two of your poems accepted and published in the anthology Recession Depression... Very nice. I went and took a look at it, by the way, and notice there are no book reviews there. This is not good. Very bad, in fact. Without reviews, most every book is a beached whale, to say the least. Reviews are critical. And I see the book is selling for over $14. So it's going to be hard to sell copies, especially without even one review. So if you can, you might let the publisher or author know this. They got to start sending out review copies to lots of reviewers.

I also see that your book is still published with the Australian publisher. If you decided to stay with them, I respect your decision. I would say, however, that Australia is perhaps your only market unless you start marketing here, now, on your social networks, craigslist and elsewhere. I might suggest that you do a search for "australian social networks" and find the top two there are. Then join them and build up a network with Aussie people and then start marketing your book to them. New Zealand, too. I can give you lots and lots of book marketing tips to help you sell copies of your book. You need to get reviews, too. There are over 10,000 bona fide book reviewers on, and they are free! If only you can get your book listed on That's if you want to really sell copies and even work toward critical acclaim or a bestseller. Are you on Goodreads and have an account there? I'd like to help you. And I now I can. And it's free. But you have to let me know, my dear.