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.

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Photo by Julius Silver on Pexels.com

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.

They’re here….

Finally, my copies of Adina at Her Best have arrived! (<— You can click that link to purchase it so you can hold your copy, too.)

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They got lost in transit, so my publisher sent out a second shipment. Continue reading

Adina at Her Best finally up for sale!

adina cover-3While I have not gotten my copies yet (they are in transit, and they arrived in NYC on Thursday), Adina at Her Best is indeed on sale on the Menucha Publisher’s site.

In other fun news, I just posted a second video about writing picture books. This one is broadly applicable to all writing, especially narrative forms. It’s about getting into the heads of your readers and into the heads of your characters. You can view it here.

And I just got great feedback on some changes I made to the adult novel I’ve been trying to snag an agent for. (Thanks, Cy and Daniel!) I’m hoping that as soon as all the craziness surrounding the release of Adina is done, I’ll be able to get that query all polished up and out to some more agents.

 

I’m a NaNo Loser and Proud of It

It’s now four days into December, and NaNoWriMo is all wrapped up. The goal was to write 50,000 words, and I will tell you straight up: I did not make it to 50,000 words.

But, the good news is, I wrote about 39,000. That’s great! I’ve never written a number of words anywhere near that big in any other month, ever. I’m glad I signed up for NaNo, because had I not, I’m pretty sure I would have written zero words of that book.

I’m hoping to work consistently on that manuscript throughout December. If I do that, I should have a complete first draft around January 1st.

Working through the ups and downs of NaNoWriMo taught me a few things, and reminded me of a few others.

  1. When I’m going “off outline” and start to panic, if I keep writing, sometimes I come up with something better than what I originally outlined.
  2. Forcing myself to write daily meant that sometimes I wasn’t in the mood or was distracted or was just plain tired by the time I got some time to sit by myself and write. But occasionally, those very “I’m not in the right headspace” moments turned into my most creative. Weird-but-cool stuff would come out that if I’d been calm and in my usual efficient state of mind, I probably would never have dreamed up.
  3. That little “Project Target” widget in Scrivener is priceless. All I wanted to do from the moment I clicked on it each day was watch it turn from read to green as I approached my targeted word count for the day. Also, I can see that the Project Target is getting closer and closer to green, and it’s making me persist past November 30th.
  4. Pushing forward without editing is helping me just keep chugging along. It’s so hard to fight the desire to just fix, fix, fix to perfection as I move along, but I’ll never finish that way.

Anyway, I’ve got a few short pieces I’ve been wanting to work on, and I think I’m just pushing them off until January (excepting those due back to my normal employers, because: deadlines! paychecks!) so I can finish this novel. I have a bad feeling that if I stop now, I’ll never, ever finish.

Now, some questions for you:

-Did you do NaNoWriMo?

-If yes, did you “win”?

-If you didn’t win, what lessons did you learn?

-And if you did, what’s your next step?

closeup photography of loser scrabble letter

Photo by Shamia Casiano on Pexels.com

New Edition of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out and more

As usual, my absence on this blog means I’ve been busy someplace else. While I’ve been getting feedback on the novel I finished a couple months back, and digesting it, I’ve been completing revisions for Menucha Publishing on the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo. (I’ve also been brainstorming new titles — the working title was unpopular, to say the least.) G-d-willing, that book will be out later this year. And I also revised and created a new cover for my book, Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. I decided the old one wasn’t engaging enough, so I put a girl on the cover who could pass for Mazal looking right at the viewer. I think it makes a big difference. What do you think? Mazal's new cover

And, of course, there was Purim…and Pesach.

Basically, it’s been busy.

Anyway, I’ve got some goals for the next few months. Continue reading

At last! (Cue to triumphant music)

sunset-summer-golden-hour-paul-filitchkin.jpgAfter five years, many blog posts, and a whole lot of griping, I finally finished a complete first draft of my first ADULT novel. I feel exhilarated!

I also feel…strangely empty. As I was telling my friend Merri earlier today, I had my characters’ voices talking in my head for the last five years. Every once and a while, they would go away (particularly if I was knee-deep in another writing project), but they always came back.

They are now silent. Like, REALLY silent.

When I told this to Merri this afternoon, she asked me if I talked to the characters. I kinda feel like I should let them be, at least for the moment. Perhaps, when the time comes to revise, I’ll ask them questions to see if they respond.

It’s very weird feeling. My head is like a vacant apartment. Last Friday was the first day I had no fiction projects in the works in half a decade. (I am, however, working on another large, non–fiction book and several articles.)

My husband suggested I just ride this sensation out. Maybe in a few days, “someone” will start talking to me in my brain, and a new story will start.

In the meantime, he’s going to read my book, and then I’ll move on to a couple of beta readers. The novel is far from perfect, and I’ll need lots of feedback to guide my revision. But this is definitely a huge accomplishment, and I’m ready to celebrate!

PS — I forgot to share another article a few weeks back. This one is a personal essay about confronting struggles from a position of faith. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.