Holidaying in Sepia (part two)

December 16th, 2016 by Alec Spencer | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Holidaying in Sepia (part two)
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Most will not know who I am. Having started my part-time MRes in September 2014, the 27 months runs out about now. So, hello to the (by now not so) new MLitt course and farewell – though if you are interested in Penguins our paths might still cross.

My first ‘Holidaying in Sepia’ blog was written decrying the constant use of technology to which we are all subjected, probably subservient to, and upon which we depend. Relaxation for me involves a good book, preferably in warmer climes, and occasionally accompanied by a drink. So it is that, after a period of intensive work and dissertation submitted by due date, I find myself again enjoying relaxation in the manner described.

Books can resonate with readers, be page-turners and can be all-absorbing. They have the power to transport us and energize our minds. They can allow us to wind down, and dare I admit to the groupies of ‘Bloody Scotland’, that Ian Rankin and Rebus are great escapism, situated in the familiar locations of Auld Reekie and Fife.

But where was I? Oh yes, being absorbed by a good book. I was given one, recently published and signed by the author. I found it interesting, stimulating, absorbing, emotional, educational and even disturbing. This was, in the main, a biography. Like any good historical novel, best guess at what might have happened or what the thought processes were are interspersed with fact, documentation and archive material. The people had migrated and travelled, created new lives, and in this book one of the characters came under the scrutiny of MI5.

Time for dinner; time to stop reading, take a shower and to get changed. So civilized on holidays. My thoughts were still with the book until I realized that even though my watch might survive, the leather watchstrap had absorbed too much of the shower to remain of use. I suppose part of the reason for my absent-mindedness was that, written by a relative, the book’s central characters just happened to be my grandmother and my aunt!

I think I am less likely to have a mishap while reading Rankin.

The course at ‘Stirpub’ is great. Enjoy it and reap the rewards. I’m off to get another sangria.


In praise of serendipity

December 16th, 2016 by morven_gow | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on In praise of serendipity
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img_2140In praise of serendipity

Over this semester, we have all enjoyed learning at the collective knees of visiting speakers. They have represented all sectors of the publishing industry – bar one.  Best represented by the chaotic, Bernard Black of Channel 4 TV’s Black Books I confess a deep and abiding love for the mostly unkempt and tatty world of the preloved book.  Every place associated with a book is sacred and has the air of a temple. For me, there is no other book buying experience to top the emotional pull of a second-hand bookshop.

Crossing the hallowed threshold, it’s best to be in a state of mindfulness – open to the calls and vibrations coming your way from the waifs and strays on shelves, on tables or piled high in columns around you.  “What a load of tosh!” I can hear some of you cry out.  But others will agree with me.

You will discover exactly the book you didn’t know you needed or wanted on that day and at that time you ambled into the shop.  We behave quite differently depending on the reading material we require at any one time and, while a bricks/clicks-and mortar bookshop, or Amazon and others, can supply you with exactly what you know you want, their book shelf categories and algorithms cannot hope to compete with the happy discoveries which occur when the infinite random variables in your brain meet the ideas and thoughts bounding off the shelves, tables and columns.

If you are concerned about the ‘dark’, second-hand book economy, with authors, publishers and agents missing out on remuneration, as long as you remember to sing the praises of the books on sites like Goodreads, you will be playing your part in the book selling process, encouraging others to buy and read the books. You may even replace the preloved one with a new copy, if it’s a bit too tatty and it’s captured your heart.  In the photograph, there are some titles which called to me from shelves in Wigtown, Galloway; Arklow, Wicklow; Glasgow and Dunlop.  They have found their ‘forever home’ with me.

Go on.  Find your local ‘Black Books’. Bernard may even have a glass of wine waiting for you.

By Morven Gow

FutureBook Conference 2016

December 16th, 2016 by Puyu Cheng | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on FutureBook Conference 2016
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FutureBook is The Bookseller’s digital publishing conference. This conference took place on 2nd December in London, and it also hosted the annual FutureBook Awards and the BookTech Showcase. FutureBook Conference is also Europe’s largest digital publishing conference. The key themes of this conference were:

  •  How publishers can define and better take advantage of current trends in digital
  • How innovation has become ingrained
  • The new business models coming out of the start-up sector
  • Change management within established businesses
  • Trends emerging over the horizon.

Although I didn’t go to the conference in person, I learned a lot by reading some articles from The Bookseller and the FutureBook’s tweets. I think this conference is very important for the future development of the publishing industry. There were four keynote speakers at the conference this year, including Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur; Ogilvy & Mather’s James Whatley; Anki Ahrnell, Bonnier AB’s chief digital and technology officer; and Eva Appelbaum, partner at Digital Talent @ Work. And after reading an article from The Bookseller, I was impressed by Eva Appelbaum’s speech.

Eva Appelbaum (twitter) is a digital strategy specialist at Digital Talent @Work. And the topic of her speech was “How to create the publishing people of tomorrow”. She said: “We’re in an awkward position, we have one leg in industrial, and one reaching forward to digital but we don’t know what the ground we’re stepping into is going to look like.” That’s right. Since twenty-first Century, digital technology has been widely used, and now more and more industries need to rely on digital technology to survive. And with the rapid development of digital publishing, publishing industry had a revolution.

Now the publishing industry is at an important turning point. Just like Appelbaum said, the publishing industry has one leg in traditional publishing, and one reaching forward to digital publishing. Maybe the development of digital publishing is a great threat to the traditional publishing industry, but at the same time, it also offers a broader development space for the publishing industry. With the rapid development of digital publishing, there is a severe hit for the sales of print books. But e-books and audiobooks sales are increasing, which gives publishers some opportunities to gain profits. So for traditional publishing, digital publishing is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity.

Appelbaum also said: “Publishers need to move away from thinking about digital as a silo and instead focus on cultivating the mindset and behaviours needed to thrive in the digital age.” I think the idea is profound. There is no doubt that digital publishing has great potential, but the development process will be very tortuous. Therefore, publishers need to actively explore new digital technology, while improving the development of traditional publishing, so as to make the development of the publishing industry in a stable state.

The Bookseller believes that “FutureBook is the must-attend event for anyone who wants to face our digital future from a position of power.” I agree with it. In my opinion, with the development of digital publishing, the FutureBook Conference seems to be more and more important.

You can find more information about FutureBook Conference 2016 on their website and twitter.

And you can read the article from The Bookseller about Eva Appelbaum’s speech.–‘Human revolution’ needs to be understood, urges Appelbaum

by Puyu Cheng

More and more Americans like to see the net fiction from China?

December 14th, 2016 by biyan_gu | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on More and more Americans like to see the net fiction from China?
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Recently in China, the growth of a new net fiction website is catching people’s attention – Wuxiaworld, a overseas website which was founded in December 22, 2014, and the current average monthly page views is over 70 million within less two years. It is indeed a remarkable achievement as the monthly page views of the original website – Qidian is only 580,000.

From Alexa, we can see that the traffic ranks has dramatically increased. The majority of the audience are from the U.S.A. The audience totals 100 million. As a simple fiction site, this should be a very good achievement. For the growing trends, it can be seen as explosion.

But it is quite hard to compartmentalize this kind of fiction, writers write the novels down chapter by chapter and publish them through the fic-website. If their works are really popular, some publishers will also help them to publish the real books for both the writers and readers. It is a kind like light novels from Japan, but most of them are seen as Pulp fiction. A great numbers of Chinese are wondering why these fictions are becoming so popular in the western countries.

Or in the other word, why Europe and the America do not have this kind of net fictions? Or do they have this kind of commercialization of the system?

Before the development of the network, Europe and the United States have established a mature mechanism for best-selling book. Formed readers, a well-developed publishing mechanism, and stable author groups & agencies.

This is the most advanced printing system, from the 18th century it bumped all the way to come over. When the network comes, this system seems not work well with the network.

However, compared with the network publishing system, this traditional production system is obviously slow and not flexible enough. A best-selling book can raise the profile of authors for a few years, but it would be eliminated if the text need to update in more than a week. Moreover, the best-selling author is very difficult to face the competition as the author of the net fiction, facing the reader – this work is often done by the editor. This relationship is not enough “flat”, the innovation is not fast enough, the grasp of the market is not precise enough.

This system has been defeated, in fact, as Fifty Shades of Grey was the fanfiction of Twilight originally, written and published on the Internet. At first some publishers do not want to make it real and it also have some problems about the IP right. However, the final market proved that this is actually the reader wants to see.

It seems that the net fiction has strong life: the users product the content, the authors tried to form the perfect rules and settings again and again, and the following group of authors will share, inherit and develop these routines, styles and settings. And this process is very fast and flexible response.

Therefore, Chinese net fictions are becoming popular for foreign readers. This is the victory for the new media, new mode of production, against with the old media, the old mode of production. And for some national conditions and the accumulation of pressure and power, making this process particularly fierce.

Europe and the United States literature industry is well developed, but there is a gap between the authors and the readers. The author needs help from press to meet with the reader, the reader can only passively wait for works from the press. Harry Potter, Twilight, and so forth are liked by the masses, but because of their poor literary style they were rejected by many publishing houses.

The net fiction can avoid the disrupt from the publishers, authors can release their works on the internet, a simple truth, less risks for publishers but represent the masses needs.

Diverse Reads

December 14th, 2016 by marian_perez-santiago | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Diverse Reads
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Diversity, or lack thereof, is an important topic within the publishing industry. Representation is extremely paramount in both real and fictional worlds and, within each, the publishing industry could do better. However, there are some incredible diverse reads who don’t get the same attention as their non-diverse counterparts. Here are a few of my favorite diverse reads, both fiction and non-fiction. They are in no way all-encompassing nor are they in any particular order. Enjoy!


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This short collection of essays written as a letter to Coates’ son explores what it means to be African American in the US. Coates studies racism throughout history to present-day, even analyzing current tragedies like the racially charged deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. He discusses how racism is structurally ingrained and how the system wasn’t made with people of color in mind. A thought-provoking read, this book will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This is Woodson’s account of growing up as an African American girl during the 1960s Civil Rights movement and its aftermath. Told in verse, it explores Woodson’s childhood and her struggle to find her identity in a world that told her she was somehow less because of her skin color. This is a truly provocative read for all ages.


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This short essay doubles as a call to arms for both women and men. It explores the true definition of feminism through the lens of a Nigerian woman. Adichie uses personal experience to argue that feminism should be all-inclusive and rooted in cognizance. This read, although short, is so enlightening that it should be required reading in school. It’ll make you want to fist pump à la that one scene in The Breakfast Club.


Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

This is a fantasy fiction novel set in the Middle East which follows Amani, a girl who just wants to escape her hometown of Dustwalk in favor of somewhere she can be free. Destined to end up “wed or dead”, she, instead, uses her spectacular sharpshooting skills to get herself out of Dustwalk, only to discover a dangerous secret about her companion and herself. With fantastic world-building, a diverse cast of characters, and a grand adventure, this book is sure to keep you entertained!


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This is a novel set in post-war Barcelona that follows Daniel, a teenager who finds a book—The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax—and seeks out the authors other works only to find that someone has been methodically destroying all of them. Daniel goes on a journey to solve the mystery of the book burning only to discover dark secrets. Originally written in Spanish, this book has fantastic prose and an intriguing plot that will stick with you, even after you finish.


By Marian Pérez-Santiago

Faber Prize for BAME children’s authors 2017

December 13th, 2016 by yao_huang | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Faber Prize for BAME children’s authors 2017
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Faber & Faber, working together with the Andlyn Literary Agency, have recently launched an award to find BAME children’s writers and illustrators. The purpose of the Faber Andlyn BAME Prize (FAB) is for any unpublished UK or Irish children’s authors who come from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds. And the text and illustrations from authors have begun to be judged since 9th December 2016 by Davinia Andrew-Lynch, founder of the Andlyn Literary Agency, and three Faber members of staff. Four prizes will be awarded and all four winners will receive a selection of Faber Books. It will close on 6th April 2017, the winner will be announced on the1st June.

Andrew-Lynch said: “We know that young readers greatly benefit from books which reflect the society in which they live, and that such books provide a clearer understanding of the world around them. To meaningfully change the output of our market we need to reach out beyond the usual publishing spheres and directly find those writers and illustrators who may, for whatever reason, have not been given a voice within our industry.”

In my opinion this competition is quite meaningful, as more excellent BAME authors, stories, and illustrations will be found via this award. The number of new talents never decreases, they just didn’t have a chance to show their professional skills and passion. This competition can also be seen a platform to select talented BAME authors and illustrators for the publishing industry, that really makes sense.

What’s more, many publishers said that they were actively seeking authors from diverse backgrounds, so they may get some author’s information and acquire satisfying works by this time. It is a precious opportunity for children to look at books with different perspectives and cultures they have never read, which is good for them to understand the world from many kinds of views at an early age. In fact, the public want to hear diverse voices coming to express a variety of thoughts, and these voices are necessary for the developments of our society.


by Yao Huang


Should US authors be eligible for the Man Booker Prize?

December 13th, 2016 by shaunna_whitters | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Should US authors be eligible for the Man Booker Prize?
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Since the announcement in October that Paul Beatty had won the Man Booker prize 2016 there has been an influx of support from across the country. After all, he is the first American to win the award and the recognition ‘The Sellout’ has received is more than well deserved. However, in the last week several UK authors have voiced their concern over the eligibility of American authors to win the award.

The award was opened to authors across the world in September 2013 on the condition that their work is in English and is published in the UK. However, Man Booker prize winner 2011 Julian Barnes led the attack on the award claiming authors in the UK, Ireland and Commonwealth had lost a ‘valuable opportunity to make a name for themselves’ despite this being the first year someone out with the UK has won the award.

There has been a great deal of support for Barnes with fellow authors uniting in protest. There have been claims that there are enough literary awards across the pond and that there are by far more opportunities for creative writing in the US than in the UK. Also, the prestigious award, which was once exclusive to only the British, was one of few that remained without competition from American authors. Now there is a strong feeling amongst authors that it is now more difficult than ever to gain the recognition necessary to win any award.

So UK authors are feeling hard done by but is there enough reason to react this way?

In a way, yes. There are too few literary awards in the UK and now authors are dealing with more competition in winning one of the most prestigious awards by facing authors who have perhaps had more guidance or development in writing a novel. However, the award is specifically for English language works which has been published by a UK publisher – not a US extension or parent company – so as long as the book follows these specifications then why shouldn’t it be eligible?

One example is if an American born author spent half of their life in the UK and wrote a book which was published by Black and White Publishing –  should they be exempt from the award simply because they were born in America?

It may seem pedantic but if the book is published by a UK publisher and is in English then, in my opinion, there shouldn’t be any complaints. We’re at a point in publishing where at least once a day someone will say ‘print is dead’ so perhaps this is an opportunity to create more competition and demand UK authors to write more and better.

In the three years since the rule changed this is the first year someone outside the UK has won the award and the long list included six British authors so there is still recognition for UK authors. Regardless of the outcome of the outcry from authors perhaps this is also an opportunity to look at the number of literary awards available in the UK and build on that.

Buzzfeed’s fiction books of the year

December 12th, 2016 by mette_olesen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Buzzfeed’s fiction books of the year

A couple of days ago Buzzfeed Books released their list of the 24 best fiction books of 2016. The titles were not, however, “ranked” in any particular order, the books simply made up a list of books, that the editors of the popular branch of the Buzzfeed family, loved. As with the other branches of Buzzfeed, the Books division reaches a wide, diverse, and global audience, which is without a doubt also reflected in their choice of “Best Fiction Books of 2016”.

The list is supposedly representative of the broad term fiction, and it includes a variety of fiction titles, from “Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett, a story of a family and its legacy of mental illness, to the science-fiction-ish novel “Version Control” by Dexter Palmer that holds a distorted “mirror” to our world, and “reflects back something all the more truthful for its bizarreness”. Buzzfeed’s goal of achieving diversity in the titles posted is further confirmed by the various branches of fiction, that the list includes. For instance, the list includes the title “Some Possible Solutions”, which is a collection of short stories by Helen Phillips about the complexity of her characters struggling to connect to one another, while moving through life with problems such as knowing the exact date that they are going to die. There is also a broad range of authors, who originate from different countries, and who come from different backgrounds. There are 14 female authors on the list (and 10 male for those numerically challenged) which also creates diversity sex wise. However, 10 authors on the list are white, which is still a fairly large percentile.

Each novel presented on the list has its own little bio, and below has a link to where you could buy the book, which is, of course, a part of Buzzfeed’s business model.

Personally, I like the diversity of the list, and I have enjoyed reading several of the titles on the list, especially Zadie Smith’s novel “Swing Time”. When you have a company, like Buzzfeed, that prides itself on diversity it is important for them to have a list of the “Best Fiction”, which reflects this strive for diversity. Buzzfeed Books has 5 full-time employees and thus each person has contributed and voted on their favorite books of the year. Buzzfeed is, in my opinion, one of the major players in a novel becoming popular and the way in which the books that they choose to get marketed and talked about is amazing for future book sales and for name recognition for the author as well (they have links to the author’s twitter profile below the book bio).

Diversity in publishing is something we’re lacking, or at least that is what we hear in class and through the visiting speakers all the time, but looking at Buzzfeed’s list of Best Fiction, I think that the diversity is already out there. We just have to look for it. It gets buried in the branding and marketing by larger publishing houses who don’t for some reason choose to take on diverse authors and expand and diversify their lists. But luckily there are publishers and authors out there who help us see the world as it is. Diverse, different, and ROUND.

“Best Fiction Books of 2016” is only one of the lists the Buzzfeed Books staff has compiled. They also have a list of best YA books of 2016, and usually, they will compile a list of books being released in the new year.

Art fraud in publishing (?)

December 12th, 2016 by anna-corrine_egermo | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Art fraud in publishing (?)
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Vincent van Gogh, self-portrait

All publicity is good publicity. What prompted me to reuse this fabulously cliché phrase is the controversy in France over a book with 65 sketches allegedly by Vincent van Gogh. Publisher Editions du Seuil claims that they are previously unknown drawings, while the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam claims they are fake. By the sound of it, it is all a lovely mess.

One can imagine that publishers are careful when taking on an art book, especially when it makes a claim of containing previously “lost” sketches and notes. Editions du Seuil is not revealing where this sketchbook came from, but they did get two art historians, and internationally recognised authorities on van Gogh, to write the foreword and text: Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov and Ronald Pickvance. Nevertheless, experts have been fooled before.

It’s hard not to think of the great Vermeer forger Han van Meegeren, who was only found out because he could not say where the Vermeer he had sold to Hermann Göring originally came from. Perhaps the best part of the story is when van Meegeren’s very first “Vermeer” got the most eminent authority on Dutch baroque art to write that it was a “masterpiece”, and a “wonderful moment in the life of a lover of art”. It is possible that Welsh-Ovcharov and Pickvance had similar revelations.

Hermann Göring’s “Vermeer”. Photo: Croes, Rob C., Fotocollectie Anefo, Nationaal Archief NL.

At the moment, according to The Bookseller, there is still uncertainty as to who is right, but customers has so far preferred to err on the side of caution. Making this the sort of publicity one should like to avoid, unless, it can be publicly proved that the sketches are authentic.

Until it all is resolved I would like to ponder the words of Theodore Rousseau: “We should all realise that we can only talk about the bad forgeries, the ones that have been detected; the good ones are still hanging on the walls.” And perhaps, standing on our bookshelves.


Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook can be bought here for $85. If you think that is too much the Book Depository has it for £35.75. Grab a bargain!

A Retrospective on NaNoWriMo

December 9th, 2016 by isabella_pioli | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on A Retrospective on NaNoWriMo
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For those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo means, it is the National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November, in which people all over the world decide to write 50,000 words. During my undergrad, I would work on school-work during November trying to retain some semblance of motivation as the semester dragged slowly to a close. My roommate, on the other hand, would begin to write a novel. For four years, every November, she would write a novel; and I would sit on the other side of the room resisting the urge to slam my head into my desk and begging the Finals Gods to grant me one more moment of academic inspiration. My roommate, who for the purposes of this post shall be called Calliope, managed to balance four classes, hockey, her job, various extra-curricular activities, and a novel. She is what NaNoWriMo participators call a pantser, meaning she starts writing without thought or plan, she writes as inspiration comes and a novel is the end result. I hope you can feel my disdain for this woman, she’s my best friend and I love her, but in this month, I loathe her.

So, I talked to Calliope about her process and why she does it. It seems to be that writing and not looking back is the main task. Editing while writing is a no-no, so you should probably just turn off the function in Word that tells you that everything that you do is wrong. Two of my current grad school roommates decided to participate this year, one a native Scot (Caitlin) and the other an Italian (Marta).


Storyboarding. Started out as a post-it. It has grown.

Marta decided to write her NaNoWriMo project in English as she thought it would be a good way to practice her English. It was her first NaNoWriMo experience and she got to 3000 words while balancing a very full class schedule. She decided to write a dystopian fantasy and had drafted a plot-line as well as some character descriptions. She put some thought into the world she was building and set forth to write whenever there was time and whenever inspiration struck. Only, time is very limited during the month of November in a grad program, and inspiration is a cruel and flighty mistress. All in all, Marta said that she enjoyed the experience and would do it again, only next time there would be daily word count goal and hopefully less stress.

It was also Caitlin’s first time writing in NaNoWriMo. Caitlin started the process with an outline, characters, and had written 10,000 words prior to beginning NaNo, so she didn’t start from scratch. To clarify, those 10,000 were not included in her final word count which was 32,000; she also counted an additional 5,000 words for school assignments. Caitlin initially set aside an hour or two a day once she had finished with her classwork for that day. As the month continued, she discovered that it was hard to find motivation and began to use the weekends to catch up in her word count. However, by week three, she realized she wouldn’t hit 50,000, but had begun to average 1,000 words a day. Caitlin felt pleased with her progress as she had more at the end than when she had started. She may not have ‘won,’ but she was glad to have taken part in the experience anyway, regardless of the outcome. Similar to Marta, Caitlin said she would do it again, when she wasn’t in grad school and therefore, less likely to be so stressed.

I made the decision to attempt to do NaNoWriMo this year. Why? I have NO IDEA. Because grad school isn’t hard enough? Because I’m apparently both a sadist and a masochist? Because I love a challenge? Because I thought, “This is the perfect time to write the content of my Publishing Project?” All of the above, but mostly the last one. And what did I learn from this experience? It is really hard to write an essay, let alone a novel. I don’t think being an author is in my future. However, I also recognize that authors write over a period of time, not in a rush of 50,000 words in a month. Sure, there are times when your muse visits for longer than an hour and in those gracious periods of time words are written in incredible amounts. Chapters finished, characters killed, plot moved, but then the will to write ceases. My muse likes to visit when I’m busy with other things, and especially when I lack paper. My arms have witnessed a lot of ink this month. Still, I failed horribly at the target word count. Sure, if I counted all the words I wrote for my class essays and my text messages, I probably would be closer to 25,000 words, but still nowhere near 50,000. I honestly only made it to 8,000 in my novel.

I didn’t put aside a set hour every day. I didn’t really take the challenge all that seriously, because once I reached 6,000 words I realised that I had more than enough for my publishing project. The thing is – the story won’t leave my head. I have a wall in my room covered in paper that lays out the book’s timeline, I have character biographies, and a family tree. I have an idea of how this world I’ve built will end. I think the thing that NaNoWriMo helped me discover is that I cannot write a story without plotting ahead of time and that my imagination is nowhere near as dead as I thought.

Overall, I think the main thing that I realized is that books are written by many types of people. The author writes the words and maybe they are good, maybe they have the potential to be good, and maybe they will never see the light of day. We all have a story inside of us, but only some of us set aside the time to put pen to paper and let the words flow outside of our internal monologue. I hope that I continue to write my story in spite of the fact that November has come to an end. I hope that we get a November that proves friendly to writing a novel, a month not filled with due dates and stress, but let’s be honest, stress and due dates don’t stop with school ending. But hey, look at that I’ve written another 1000 words and somehow it came easily. If anything, this experience has taught me that looking at the word count is somehow easier than looking at a page count. Oh, and that it helps to have a good writing playlist (mine was a combination of Florence + the Machine, Sia, Electric Light Orchestra, and Cat Stevens). So, plan ahead, if that’s your thing. Write whatever comes to mind. Just have a bit of fun, and don’t judge the random meanderings your mind takes at 4 am when inspiration strikes and your computer is close enough that you can just roll out of bed, burrito yourself in your duvet, and squint at the blinding screen as the nagging voice in your mind finally makes itself known even though you only have five hours to sleep before class…no, I’m not speaking from personal experience at all.

by Isabella Pioli