Monthly Archives: November 2012

Announcing the Hear the Hapax Contest!

“A Hapax is a word that occurs only once, ever…”

As most of you have probably figured out by now, that’s the driving conflict behind Hapax. The Word of creation sounded only once, and no one heard it, so now it’s gone forever.

I’d prefer that were not the case with Hapax-the-Novel.

And so, I’m announcing the “Hear the Hapax” contest.

What do you need to do?

Here’s the deal: we’re looking to get this Word out. Every review (Amazon, Goodreads…) you write, every promo you play, every blogpost you craft, every link to the Amazon or Chapters page you post, counts as one entry in the draw. Just send the link to whatever you’ve done to ktbryski@gmail.com, so I’m aware of it. As with all draws, the more entries you have, the better your odds.

What’s up for grabs?

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One World-Ending Grand Prize

A Hapax poster, designed by Erin Scothorn (a lady of many talents who, among other things, gave Hapax its initial critique), and signed by the author and podcast-cast. If you’re a long-time listener, you may remember this image as the working cover, before the official one from Dragon Moon Press was ready. So far as I know, it currently exists nowhere else, and it will be the only one in the world (kind of like the Hapax… :P)

Plus, a CD with the entire podcast – pure story, no Hapax Chats or Story so Fars between chapters…and some exclusive bonus material. 😉

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Two CDs of Apocalyptic Audio

Two more CDs containing Hapax-the-Podcast in its entirety, along with bonus material.

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Three MCBs (Magical Candy Bags)

Tasty, tasty treats from the Great White North.

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Timeline: there may be seven days between Candlemass and the Final Day, but since the Ecclesiat does everything in threes, I’ll give you three weeks. The contest opens at 12:01 am EST(’cause that’s how we roll) Saturday, November 24th, and closes at 11:59 am EST on December 15th. Winners will be announced on this blog on December 16th.

Recap:

Our mission: help the world hear the Hapax, so that it doesn’t echo in the Void for eternity, unheard and unknown.

Leave reviews, send tweets, spread the word, and then let me know.

Questions, comments, links, feedback, and awful puns all go to ktbryski@gmail.com

All right, pals, we’ve got three weeks. Without you, the Hapax cannot be heard. Thank you, and good luck!

Why I Don’t Do NaNoWriMo

If you watch NaNoWriMo: The Musical really closely, you can see me as an extra in the first and last episodes. It was fun to be on-set for an afternoon, but upon learning that I’m a writer, the other extras, the cast, and crew immediately asked, “Are you doing NaNo this year?”

“No.”

“Have you ever done NaNo?”

“No.”

They all seemed surprised by this, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about since.  For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is “National Novel Writing Month,” in which people try to write 50,000 words from November 1st to November 30th. In some quarters, it’s surprisingly controversial. Arguments for range from, “But it gets people to pick up a pen!” to “It’s all good fun!” to “It’s the community!” Arguments against range from, “It cheapens novel-writing,” to “Come December, the markets get flooded with unedited, unpublishable NaNo pieces,” to “Fifty thousand words isn’t even a novel.”

I’m of two minds about NaNoWriMo. On the one hand, I think it can serve as a launch point: for people who have never tried writing, or never finished something, having  a clearly defined goal and extensive community support can provide the initiative to just do it. I know the rules state no pre-writing, but for more established writer-types, it’s a good boost to get 50,000 words on a project.

However, I understand the other side. Now, I would never, ever discourage someone from writing. If you have a story, go to it. But NaNo isn’t for everyone, and as it stands according to the official “rules,” it’s not for me.

Here’s why.

Fifty thousand words is not a novel.

I’ve read that technically, a novel is 40,000 words and up. Realistically, a saleable novel runs from about 80,000-110,000 words (maybe 120k). Hapax is 84,000, and frankly, it’s on the short side for a fantasy.  Using NaNo to add 50,000 words onto a project-in-progress or to start a novel is not inconceivable to me, but I would be upfront about the fact that I’m not “writing a whole novel” in one month.

Timing never works out.

I write in the late spring and summer. I edit and rewrite through the fall. I rest in the winter. I research, worldbuild, and outline in the spring. And then I write in the summer. I have done this almost every year since I was fourteen. Obviously, it follows the school year—I primarily write in the summers because that’s the time I have off. I’m excited to see what happens when I graduate and school is no longer an issue.

But, the fact remains that when November rolls around, I’m typically in the middle of edits and rewrites. The same holds true for this year: I just got back my beta’s comments on The Next One. I reckon I have about two months for rewrites before I hand it in. I have ideas and plot threads and world-building coalescing for a novel after TNO, but realistically, I know I have to wait until later this winter/spring—NaNo just never falls at the right time for me.

I write anyway.

Some people need the community and excitement of NaNo to push them into actually keeping their fingers on the keyboard. For hobbyists, that’s fine. If you want to do this as a career, I think your motivation needs to be a little more internal.

Again, I’ve been writing seriously, consistently, since fourteen. While doing grad school essays, I’ve been thinking about why, and the answer seems to be boiling down to, “Because I have to.” I can’t not do it (yes, I know that was a double-negative…).  Some people need a push; some people don’t.

Communities exist beyond NaNo.

Many writers are solitary, introverted creatures. I am. And yet, many of us thirst for community, for belonging, for people that get it. NaNo certainly offers that, but it’s not the only way to achieve it.

Personally, I love cons. My experience with them is still limited, but so far, I’ve absolutely loved them (draining as they are). It’s a short, intense burst of sociability and community, and then it’s back to work…hopefully with online relationships strengthened through actual face-to-face time.

If you look around, communities are everywhere. It’s just a matter of finding the one that suits you, whether cons, writers’ groups, forums, or NaNo.

Ultimately, I like the basic idea of NaNoWriMo…by which I mean, the basic notion of, “I wonder if I can write 50,000 words in 30 days.” I just think that people need to remember:

  • Writers don’t just write in November. Any month can be NaNoWriMo. Heck, EVERY month can be NaNoWriMo!
  • If you want it to be a “novel,” plan on writing more than 50,000 words, whether the additional words come before or after.
  • Whatever you produce will likely need the heck edited out of it. Not that you wouldn’t do that anyway…right? 😉

And just to be 100% clear: I’m not bashing NaNoWriMo. Some people really take to it, and good on them. They’re writing, and that’s awesome. I will cheer, and applaud, and support.

But I don’t do NaNo.

The Other Side of the Table: World Fantasy Round-Up

It’s hard writing blog posts after cons. Mostly because the whirlwind of sight, sound, emotion, and experience defies compression into words. This is especially true of WFC2012, given that it was my first con as an author with a book actually out. Nevertheless, I shall try to recapture the weekend…not necessarily in any coherent way (indeed, I am indebted to Chuck Wendig’s portrayal of World Con).

Thursday

  • My dad and I haul books inside. No idea where to pick up badges, where the dealer room is, anything. But, look, it’s Gabrielle! I found my editor – I’ll be ok!
  • Have a badge, but still stopped by organizers as I run in and out of the dealer room. “Dealer room’s not open yet.” “It’s ok, I’m with Dragon Moon.”
  • Oh hey, Dragon Moon authors are awesome! Here’s looking at you, Leah Petersen, Clint Talbert, Marie Bilodeau, Erik Buchanan. Ed Greenwood is cool too.
  • Erik Buchanan lives two blocks from me! Huzzah for carpooling!
  • Service at the Fox and Fiddle is slow. Hungry…
  • Back in Leah/Gabrielle’s room. Ed is smart. Ridiculously smart. I bask in his wisdom.
Friday
  • Refining Hapax’s elevator pitch. Dealer room is slow, but we have candy.
  • Leah fights gravity by falling off a stage. Her ankle is blue and swollen. Gravity: 1. Leah: 0.
  • Selling books is like interpreting at Black Creek. After enough exposure, I learn the spiels for other people’s books. People wander by looking confused. Their confusion confuses me. Books are sold! And signed! Huzzah!
  • Madeline Ashby is reading! She lived in the apartment under me for six months!
  • Robert J. Sawyer is reading! But I have to leave early…
  • Watch out – Marie Bilodeau might “bitch-slap” you (grinning all the while).
  • Spicy Thai food. Much Twittering. Absolutely exhausted.

Saturday

  • Leah’s ankle is still swollen. We still have candy.
  • Con organizer Peter Halasz is a very, very nice man. He tells me not to be nervous.
  • Finally make it up to the Con-Suite. Into what magical land have I stumbled? People lounge on chairs (or the floor), eating free food and drinking free pop. There are nachos! And cookies! And best of all – root beer.
  • Hey, it’s J.M. Frey – we’ve talked online, but it’s awesome to meet her in real life. Especially as she organized tonight’s shindig.
  • Clint lends me his room for an hour. I practice my readings for tonight’s launch party, realize I’m practicing readings for a launch party in a hotel room at World Fantasy Con, and feel slightly rattled.
  • Haul books over to pub. Set books up. Try to eat pizza. Fail to finish pizza. DMP authors are lovely and kind and supportive and I feel all warm and fuzzy
  • OMG WHAT? PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY COMING TO THIS THING?!
  • My roommate arrives with my rescued necklace, and proceeds to chat with writers, con-goers, etc., like a pro.
  • Tony Pi is cool. He works at U of T. My friend Cat was his work-study student. The world is so small.
  • OMG THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE HERE NOW.
  • Reading the scene wherein Serafine explains to young Praeton exactly what a Hapax is. Missing my cast like crazy, but imitating Syd and Blythe as best I can.
  • OMG PEOPLE ARE BUYING MY BOOKS AND I’M SIGNING THEM.
  • My grandmother reads the dedication and chokes up. I choke up watching her choke up. Gabrielle chokes up watching us both choke up.
  • Go home with grandparents and roomie. Sit up for a while chatting and reading When the Hero Comes Home.

Ed, his hat, and Hapax.

Sunday

  • Late start. Slow dealer room.
  • Tweet from John Mierau – “you still at WFC this morning?” John Mierau? Author, podcaster, all-around good guy? Trying to figure out how John Mierau knows me.
  • Selling books, following tweets on World Fantasy awards.
  • Hey, it’s John Mierau! We know the same people! He reads my Twitter feed and has heard my promo! I’m stunned. “Can I bend your ear and steal your soul for ten minutes?” “Ok!”
  • Chat with John Mierau!
  • More books. Goodbye, Clint. Goodbye, Ed. Pack up table. Chat with folks at Bakka Phoenix bookstore. Return to Gabrielle/Leah’s room to divvy up money and have champagne and chocolate.
  • Go home and die on the couch.

And the best part? Next Sunday, I get to launch Hapax all over again!

-KT