Tag: #writers

The Tribe: Faces Along the Journey

I’ve been publishing for almost five years now, and when I cycle through the photos on my computer, it’s amazing the people I’ve met while doing this writing thing. And while I tend to act like a hermit and write from the comfort of my local coffee shop, every person I’ve met along the way has had significant impact on my career. Most of these connections have humorous beginnings in which I wonder how the hell they put up with me?

From the, “Hey, I write zombie books too,” to, “You’re the fiercest woman I’ve ever met,” to “Let me sign your husband’s chest,” I tend to make an impression, thankfully writers are okay with the awkward or I’d have been dead in the water. Years later I see these folks more often than not and we run in such tight circles you can only go a month before you’re tabling next to them, meeting in their house, or in the rare circumstance, attending their wedding.

I transitioned from overseeing the Metrowest chapter of NaNoWriMo to overseeing an Science Fiction and Fantasy organization spanning all of New England. Fourteen writing projects later I’ve met some seriously weird and creative people. From the woman hiding at a convention behind a vendor table trying to avoid the crowd to a magical baker turned writer of witches, they’re not a dull point.

I guess what I’m saying in long-winded terms, the old adage is true. It does indeed take a village. In a career requiring an extreme amount of isolation, it’s the moments you poke your head out of your cave to interact with other that magic happens. It may take a while, and it may take dozens of failed friendships, but oddly enough, there will come a moment when you realize you have a tribe willing to bend over backward to support you.

Find your tribe. Writer or reader, geek or realist, they’re out there. Once you find them, you’ll know, cause despite your shortcomings, they keep sending you messages at 2AM on a Wednesday night.

Comics: A Transformative Medium

Comics. From comic strips to graphic novels, they have the power to transform a person. While they have become a pop-culture phenomenon, there was a time when the admitted love of comics branded you as a loser. Despite compelling stories, beautiful artwork, and ability to transport the reader to the far reaches of the universe, they were looked down upon.

If it were not for comics, I would not be a reader. If I were not a reader, I would not be a writer. I recount often how comic books were thrust upon me on long drives between North Carolina and Maine. The characters became familiar and the stories kept me hanging on the edge of my seat. Despite being too young to understand the adult themes, I found myself falling in love with this world where the impossible was not only possible, but the norm.

Years later, as my parents attempted to transition me from comics to novels, I was handed a set of X-Men novels written by Christopher Golden. The moment I reached the end of each book, I found myself amazed that novels contained a bit of the magic held within the glossy pages of comics. My love of reading starts and ends with comics but in-between, I have been exposed to fantastical worlds, galactic space ships, fearful tales of ghosts, and love affairs with vampires.

This story is not unique. I am not alone.

For the month of November, I am inviting creators to share what comics impacted them and how it changes their lives. Check back as the month progresses, find comics to explore for the first time or the hundredth.

A Month of Comic Geekdom In Review

What happens when twenty-three authors and artists share a love of comics? You get a month long event of amazing unique perspectives about the comics that shaped them in their youth and continue to shape them. From social commentary, to fandoms, to geeking out, I had an amazing time reading these articles and finding people who share my passion for illustrated stories. If you missed a story, here’s a recap of the last month.

Watchmen: A Darkness Witnessed in the Heart of Men by Jeremy Flagg
Extraordinary Assaults by Jeff Deck
Gold Age of Comic Book Movies by Thomas S Flowers III
The Resurrection of “Street Level” Heroes by Errick Danger Nunnally
Modern Heroes: Where Myth Meets Reality by Joshua Guess
Reality & Continuity, Or Why 9/11 Reveals Some Insights About Live-Action Superheroes by Lance Eaton
The Folly of Subcultural Gatekeeping, or WWXD? by Amanda Kahl
Once Upon a Time, We Were All Kitty Pryde of the X-Men by Jeremy Flagg
I get it, but it’s still okay to love Superman! by Eddie Jakes
Necessary Evils by Steve Van Samson
Again with the Superheroes?! A friendly, Well-Intentioned Rant. by Angi Shearstone
X-tinction Agenda, An Arc to End All Arcs by Jennifer Allis Provost
Escapism in Comics by Thomas Washburn Jr.
In a World of Heroes be the Purrfect Villainess by Cameron Garriepy
For the Love of Long Form Storytelling by Chris Duryea
Comics Aren’t Just for the Boys: Girl Power by Amanda Pazzanese Minaker
What Comics Taught Me by Chris Philbrook
Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Not a Hero Because of Powers by E.J. Stevens
Adventures in Babysitting, But More Mutants by Trisha Wooldridge
They call him DOOM by James A. Moore
What’s with all the Nipples? Female Sexualization in Comics by April Hawks
Son of The Demon – The Batman the DCEU Needs by Martin Campbell
Comic Characters Who Need Their Own Movie by Max Bowen

My Advice to Writers

photoI often see the quote, “To be a better writer, read more.” It made me start wondering what advice I would give to an upcoming writer who needed some pearls of wisdom. It dawned on me last night. While I was avoiding cleaning my apartment I realized there had been one major thing that had influenced me over the past few years. About three years ago, I joined a writing group.

The group started as a continuation of National Novel Writing Month. When we met for our furious word frenzies, we talked about doing something that lasted longer and was a little less stressful. It was rough going at times. There were meetings that I was alone and just plugged away at doing what I was doing. There were other times when we had so many people that we struggled to find space in our coffee shop. It eventually grew to “the usual crowd” where we would have five or six at any meeting.

In the group we have a technical writer, an english teacher, a graphics teacher, a special ed teacher, a stay at home mom, and a woman making writing a full-time job. Between us we have a variety of writers who are at different places in the process. We have a veteran author who has been published multiple times, a couple newly published authors and some still going. We have traditionally published, online, self-published, ebooks and the diversity continues. None of us have taken the same path, and that has become the most valuable tool amongst the group.

I can not stress how useful this group has been. At last week’s meeting I had the ability to discuss platforms, social media, editing techniques and how to work with beta readers. I don’t want to emphasize the importance of any one role as everybody had input. I frequently ask the veteran logistic questions about the industry and how things could be done. I also turn to the novices (myself included) and we brainstorm ideas of how to reach target markets. We’re serious about what we’re doing and because of life all have varying degrees of investment in what we do when writing. However, the supportive atmosphere has made this one of the best writing tools I’ve experienced.

I’ve been part of writing groups before, but this one has been the best situation for me. We meet for two hours every other week, talk for a half hour or so (sometimes the whole time, sometimes not at all) and then we write. There will be pit stops to share a funny quip or ask a question, but the goal is the same, we’re here to get a step closer to finishing that novel. I’ve begun sharing my goals as an attempt to be held accountable and sometimes I fall far short of achieving them. Instead of feeling pressure, there’s support to keep going and sharing stories about why it happened or what went awry.

If there is one piece of advice I could give a fledgling writer or even an experienced writer, genius rarely happens in a vacuum. Join a local writing group (or start one as I did) and after some time, it has the potential to be the support network that a solitary crafter needs to help keep pushing them forward.

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