The first thing I noticed about Kameron Hurley is how incredible her laugh is. She has a laugh that dares you not to join in, to enjoy the conversation and what she has to say. I hope you enjoy it, because I did- I absolutely adored it. Kameron is a two-time Hugo award winning writer and yet, she still holds a solid day job. This is the truth of a writing career, even one as well-awarded and Kameron Hurley's.
I so enjoyed talking about what it was like to dive into the underpinnings of geek culture and write an essay about it, as well as what it does to your awareness to write about a society whose rules you have created entirely yourself, only to discover that you're still playing into tropes and social expectations of your own world. Kameron and I dig deep into what being a feminist writer means and what the process of breaking down your writing does when you try to subvert convention. It was so fun to explore with such a self-aware guest. I know you'll learn a ton from her. Happy listening!
Have you ever been writing away, actually building some momentum in your writing only to have these sorts of fears creep in: "Is there enough detail? I'm only writing plot, how is anyone going to know what anything looks like??" Or perhaps yours is "I need to do a LOT more research before I write this. I have no idea what the dating customs of medieval Mongolia actually are. Guess it's back to the drawing board for the next six months."
I have suffered from these fears, as have the members of the Coffeeshop Writer's Group and when Megan joined us recently as a guest expert, we all started to feel a lot less freaked out by simply getting on with a draft knowing that everything will not be answered the first time around.
I had Megan on to talk about what you should worry about in the first, second, and final drafts of a project, and what you can set to the side for each of these drafts until the next time around. Finally, we talk about when it's time to get an editor involved and what you should look for when seeking one.
This promises to be an episode you can return to again and again as you progress through your projects. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. And... woohoo for 60 episodes! I cannot believe we've gotten to such a big number. Thank you all for listening and supporting the show. It means so much that this project makes you as happy as it makes me.
Most often, we hear from writers right when their book has just come out. They go on book tours and radio shows and NPR, if they are well-connected. I have been thrilled to talk to writers in this stage of the process, but the longer I work on this show, the more curious I am about the other parts of the writing journey- before the book is finished, or after it has gone out in the world and taken on a life of its own or, as in this case, when one book has sailed and the next has not yet fully formed.
J. Ryan and I talk about the impact of Kitchens and what it's been like writing a new book. He's still in the middle and making big decisions about structure and isn't at the point of sending a finished manuscript off to the publisher. This next book is still becoming, and so the conversation is looser, more organic. I like that about this episode- we can't talk in easy platitudes when the book is still a possibility and things could still change. For those of you mucking around in the messy middle, this episode will be right for you. It's not an easy thing to write a book. What I learned from this talk was that, even if you've completed one book and done extremely well by it, the next book will still be an entirely new experience. I find this hopeful, since it's easy to walk away from things that become predictable. After talking to J. Ryan, I'm even more confident that writing never will.
After recording nearly sixty episodes of The Secret Library, I realized I had a full catalogue of interviews with experts. People who were at the end of the writing journey, in some way. They had either published books as the writer, publisher, or had engaged in the process already and were looking back in order to discuss it.
This began to feel like a disconnect between the guests and the listeners I knew were out there taking the show in. So many people write in talking about the story they are working on now, the one they aren't sure they'll be able to figure out how to finish. I knew there was a different conversation that needed to happen on the show.
Dal Kular has been my noveling winglady for quite some time. She has been a social worker, a laughter yoga instructor, and an amazing blogger before a novel snuck up on her and has been pushing her to write it every since. We check in and talk about our writing regularly and share how it's going as we inch our way along through our books. Recently, I managed to talk Dal into coming on the show so we could talk about this stage of the process- the one at the very beginning when you don't know if that story you're working hard on will ever turn out to be a real book. This conversation was such a relief to have, and I think many of you will relate to it. Enjoy listening. I felt such relief talking about the scary aspects of writing from inside the process. Here's hoping it is of use to you. Plus, you get to listen to Dal's lovely accent- a major perk this episode, I must say.