Writing Goals for 5780

It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, which means a new Jewish year is ahead. It’s a good time for me to do some “accounting” for my professional life, looking back at this past year and also planning for the next one.

person holding pen and planner

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This past year, I’ve made over four dozen submissions (most of which were rejections). I got some personal rejections along with some of the form letters, several of which were encouraging. A few of the submissions are still pending–there’s nothing for me to do but pray and keep writing at this point.  Continue reading

Returning from a Series of Misadventures

I decided to post today and realized that I hadn’t posted in months! I’m still researching the book I reported researching in my last post, but in between then and now:

  • I attended a great conference hosted by the Association of Jewish Libraries. While there I got super exciting, top-secret news and then was told not to share it. (G-d-willing, I’ll be able to in a few months.)
  • I figured out I couldn’t do the necessary research on that YA novel because my kids were home for the summer. I decided to shove the rest of the research off till fall.
  • I got a wacky new idea for a Middle Grade novel and started writing it.
  • I broke my arm. (Yes, my dominant arm.)

    man carrying backpack

    Fun fact: When you break the radial head, you don’t actually get a cast. But it still hurts like heck. (Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com)

  • I finished writing that MG novel, largely through voice-to-text and typing help from my husband and eldest son.
  • I sent that MG book out to beta testers. (Thank G-d, they liked it, and I got a slew of useful suggestions to improve the book.)
  • I got a rejection letter from the one agent who had the full manuscript of my adult-audience novel.
  • The kids went back to school.
  • I attended a great writing conference in Fallbrook at the library there.
  • And now, because I got so many useful tips about my adult novel submission and my MG novel submission, I’m shoving off my YA novel research just a bit more. Hopefully, I’ll get to it in October, because my plan for the moment is to write that book during NaNoWriMo.

What did you get not get done this summer? What happened instead? What are your fall plans? I’d love to hear the answers to these questions!

Researching my next book!

While I’m deep in the querying process for my first adult novel and my first secular picture book, I’ve started to research my next book. I began with digging out some old interviews I did for an article I published about the Jewish experience of the Cold War, and have acquired some reading material which should help.

And now I’m doing interviews!

Since my university background is in anthropology, I spent quite a bit of time learning how to do interviews for research purposes. It’s a little different than interviewing for an article, because you ask many people similar questions, and then look for patterns and anomalies in those patterns. It took a couple interviews to get into the groove, but now I’m having a blast, and learning a bunch, too.

saint basil s cathedral

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I love the way so many questions I ask lead to new questions, unexpected little journeys.

In case you are wondering, the topic I’m researching is living under Communism as a Jewish person. I’ve got many female respondents so far, and many people from Russia or the Ukraine. If you are Eastern European, from a Central Asian republic, or male, who was born before 1984 (so you have some memory from before the fall of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact), and you would like to be interviewed, email me at beccaklempner@gmail.com.

Want to Learn How to Write a Genuinely Helpful Book Review?

Someone pointed out to me that one of the reasons that people don’t write reviews is that they don’t know HOW to do so. And then another someone confessed she was interested in writing reviews, but didn’t know how.

So I made an infographic.

How to Write a useful book review

It’s a nice shape. If you printed it, you could probably make it into a nice bookmark. I tried to narrow it down to the most basic tips without overloading people.

Do you write book reviews? Do you find it hard? Easy? Do you have tips of your own? Share in comments.

Barbara Bietz’s interview of me, working on a new short story, and other news

It’s been a busy week, and I have a lot to share. First, the wonderful author Barbara Bietz (The Sundown Kid, Like a Maccabee) interviewed me for her blog. She posted the interview today, and you can see it here.

I’ve been meeting the last couple weeks with my editing clients, Ganit and Adir Levy, authors of the What Should Danny Do? series. They’re working on the third book in their series, which promises to be as good as the first two.

fashion woman notebook pen

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I’ve drafted my first all-new short story in a long time. Continue reading

Finally Turning the Corner on Seasonal Doldrums and Lots of Publishing News

person writing calligraphy style quote on table

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The last week of February, I had one of those nice “published four times in one week” moments last week. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice when it does. If you haven’t caught them up, I’ve got the links all lined up for you! Continue reading