Category Archives: Kylie Quillinan

Sunday Reads: 1 April 2012

Wow, another week has gone by already and we’re now 25% of the way through the year (you really wanted to know that, didn’t you?).  So once again, here are some of our favourite recent reads.

Looking forward to a writerly get-together? Kait Nolan discusses the etiquette of talking to writers.

Over at Romance University, Laura Griffin discusses chapter hooks.

Nathan Bransford talks about the war on ebook pricing.

And while we’re talking ebooks, David Gaughran goes through the basics of self publishing.

Wondering how the length of your current WIP matches up against expectations? Aaron Stanton discusses average book length for various genres.

At Writer Unboxed, Anna Elliott talks about the necessity of trusting your own instincts.

For a laugh: Word count envy

For fun: How fast do you read?

For inspiration: how will we obtain additional resources once we exhaust the earth’s supplies?

And just because it’s cool: over at The Accidental Author, our very own Joshua Essoe talks about working as an editor.



Sunday Reads: 25 March 2012

Welcome to our new feature, Sunday Reads.  This is a collection of the cool/interesting/thought-provoking articles we’ve read during the week.

I thought I was the only person in the world who hates chapter titles.  Apparently not, according to Navigating the Slush Pile.

Jami Gold made me laugh with her post Multiple Personality Disorder? No, I’m a Writer.

Over at YA Muses, they’re talking about how to create a satisfying end.

(And thank you to The Golden Haystack for drawing my attention to this post.)

Struggling with the difference between a pitch and a synopsis?  Check out Agent Kristen’s video.

Roni Loren has a great collection of books to cure a variety of writerly woes.

Over at Civil War Horror, Robert Walker talks about e-book pricing.

Magical Words has worldbuilding for writers who hate it (and it’s written by a fantasy writer!).

For a laugh: check out SlushPile Hell.

For fun: the sharpest teeth in the world.

For inspiration: real world locations for fantasy worldbuilding.

And just because it’s cool: an animated short of a post-apocalyptic world.

Happy reading!


Take a Spoonful of Stubbornness

I’ve blogged before about my New Year’s Resolution to write a page a day and, so far, I’ve done it. Every. Single. Day. That’s 75 days in a row, for anyone who’s counting.

Some days the words come out easily and I kid myself that it’s always going to be this easy now I’m in the habit of writing every day. But then there are the other days… The days when I’ve had less than two hours sleep the night before and I’m so tired, I’m almost falling asleep on top of the laptop. The days when I’m sick and can barely think straight. The days when I’ve already put in 12 hours in the day job and it’s 8pm before I haul myself to my laptop and try to convince myself that I really do care about writing tonight.

So what am I doing? Why am I forcing myself to sit here and write – something, anything – when some days I really couldn’t care less? On the good days, I tell myself it’s about forming a habit, about being professional, about making progress. On a bad day, it all comes down to stubbornness and that damned New Year’s Resolution. Maybe once we get a little further into the year I won’t care quite so much about achieving my page a day. Maybe I’ll even give myself an occasional night off. But right now, on this night, I will write my page. If stubbornness is the only reason I have today to keep going, I’ll take it.

We all have days like this. As much as I love writing and the thrill of creating a new world or of bringing a character to life, there are days when I wish I’d chosen an easier craft. Something that perhaps doesn’t take everything I have and then a bit more. And it’s on those days that it’s so important to have a reason to push on. Even if tonight that reason is only stubbornness. After all, if I’m stubborn long enough, I might just make it.

Where does your spoonful of stubbornness come from when you need it?


Checking In On Those New Year’s Resolutions

Last year was spectacularly unproductive for me. I started on a roll but the unexpected death of someone close to me left me shattered and barely functioning for the rest of the year. So on New Year’s Eve, I set myself some goals for 2012. I do this pretty half-heartedly every year. After all, nobody ever sticks to their New Year’s Resolutions, right? Only this time I meant it. Really, really meant it.

I had a big goal in mind when I set my resolutions: to finish the current WIP before World Fantasy in November. That meant some serious edits. As of New Year’s Eve, I had a mostly complete first draft. It had issues – some big ones. A flabby middle (which I’ve christened the FM), lack of relationship building between key characters, some subplots were little more than a suggestion. I had two viewpoint characters but most of the manuscript was written from the perspective of one of them. It had been suggested that I needed a third viewpoint character and although I knew exactly what I wanted to do, it was difficult and very unlike anything I’d ever attempted so I had been putting off starting. In short, I had a lot of work to do.

So with the new year, I had a renewed focus. However what bothered me about focusing on edits for the next ten months was that I wouldn’t actually be writing during this time. Although the edits were necessary, it seemed I was facing a year of lots of writing work but few new pages.

So my New Year’s Resolution was deceptively simple: write a page a day. Something. Anything. Even while editing. Regardless of how it happened, I would produce a page a day of new words, be they new scenes in the WIP, blog posts, short stories, whatever.  An additional benefit was that I’d be learning to keep two projects in my head at once, which is something I struggle with.

For a 31-day month, one page a day – assuming a standard 250-word page – comes to 7750 words. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But if I could consistently produce a page a day through 2012, it would give me 365 pages of new writing. I figured it was worth a try.

So four weeks into the new year, here’s how my resolution is panning out…

Week 1: Motivation levels are high. I’ve just had a week off work so I’m feeling somewhat refreshed. I’ve achieved my goal of one page a day every day this week. Word count: 3189 words, almost half of my goal for the month.

Week 2: Motivation is still high although I’m starting to flounder a little. I’ve spend some time this week on a new short story and a couple of blog posts. Not as much time on the WIP as I should have. Word count: 2616.

Week 3: This week has been almost easy. I feel like I’m developing a habit and I’ve worked on the WIP every day instead of letting myself get distracted with writing other things. Word count: 2988.

Week 4: Now it’s getting tough but I’ve not missed a day yet.  Work count is 1974 and the week isn’t over yet. I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long and am starting to think that maybe I can actually achieve a page a day for the whole year.


The big lesson I’ve learnt is that I can write every day, which I didn’t think I could do. My usual pattern is four days on then one or two days off, and I’ve never really tried to push past that before.  I might be tired and a bit brain dead or, like tonight, ill and having trouble concentrating, but I’ve found I really can do it if I want it bad enough. And I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a New Year’s Resolution that lasted four weeks.  Bring on February!

Okay, ‘fess up. What’s happening with your New Year’s Resolutions?