Tag: novels

Self-Isolating? Camp NaNoWriMo is Here For You

Self-isolating isn’t just incredibly boring; it’s also lonely. The co-workers, peers, and friends you used to see on the regular are now tucked away in their own homes, with all social interactions suspended until further notice. If you’re a writer, your newfound free time might prove to be the best time to finish that novel you’ve been working on-and-off for years. But just because you’re in self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to write alone—Camp NaNoWriMo begins in just 13 days. 

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers from across the globe attempt to finish a 50,000-word novel—in just thirty days. While you’re encouraged to write at least 1,600 words a day, how you decide to go about writing is entirely up to you. It might take a lot of discipline to get to that 50,000-word finish line, but the experience is fun all the same. 

via nanowrimo

Camp NaNoWriMo is a little different in that, instead of sticking to a 50,000-word goal, you can go about your writing however you want. This means that you can choose a goal of 25,000 words, 250 hours, or 25 pages. Or, if you’re in the midst of the fourth draft of your work-in-progress, you can commit to revising two chapters a day. Essentially, your goal can be whatever you want. All that matters is that you have one.

 

The best part about Camp NaNoWriMo is probably the community. If you’ve participated in Camp before, you probably remember being sorted into a “cabin” of other writers based on things like age or the genre you were writing in. However, since Camp merged onto the same site as November NaNoWriMo, things have changed a little bit: you now have the freedom to choose your own “writing group.” Unlike Camp “cabins,” these groups won’t expire at the end of the month, allowing you to keep in touch with your new friends well after the end of Camp NaNoWriMo. You can also join as many writing groups as you want—or even make your own!

The NaNoWriMo team also hosts word sprints on their Twitter account and YouTube. This allows you to participate in writing prompts and challenges with other NaNoWriMo writers in real-time. 

via the bestseller experience

At a time when we’re facing separation from our regular communities, Camp NaNoWriMo provides the perfect platform to connect with others—all while getting in some much-needed writing time. Just because you’re in self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to suffer emotional isolation, too; there are people out there just waiting to connect with you online and read your killer writing project.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo starts April 1, but you can declare your project and join writing groups throughout the month of March. All you have to do is sign up here. If you’ve been pushing off your work-in-progress these past few months, you no longer have an excuse not to write. In the words of NaNoWriMo, the world needs your novel! So get writing, and stay safe!

featured image via susan Dennard

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Exploring Length in Fiction

As I learn more about fiction, I’ve found the different types of fiction very interesting. Normally, the “types” of fiction refers to genres: whether a piece is literary fiction as opposed to romantic or sci-fi. However, I’m talking more about length in fiction. There are about four general lengths in fiction: flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and novels.

 

 

Flash Fiction

Flash fiction refers to short works that are, usually, under 1,000 words. This includes Dribbles, Drabbles, and six-word stories. Flash fiction is like a burst of juice on your tongue; something short and sweet. These short, short stories truly pack a punch, somewhere between a sour candy and an actual hit, when it comes to their emotional toll. Stories like The Visitor and A Story of Stolen Salamis, by Lydia Davis are steeped in memory and care. They make you smile in a wistful way as you think of your grandpa or something you hold dear. Jamaica Kincaid also packs a heavy hit with Girl, the story of a young Caribbean girl and the lessons her mother gives her. You think of social expectations, whether you’re on the good side or the bad side of what your mother wanted.

 

Image via Genius

Short Stories

Short stories are, almost always, significantly longer than Flash Fiction, spanning from 1,500 to 10,000 words. These stories are like short films in their ability to tell a full, detailed story in a short amount of time. There fun to read on the go; great for snacking. Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff is just that. This compact little story, gives context to the death of a book editor and does a great job of giving you just enough. There’s just enough detail, just enough dialog, just enough of insight on the main character’s life. It’s a little bag of perfect.

 

 

Image via Goodreads

Novellas

Novellas are usually around 15,000 to 60,000, even though the word count is not set in stone. Think of them as a dinner plate; it’s enough to fill you up without making you full. Novellas are satisfying in that way. They’re full of detail, all without dedicated pages to setting or description. John Steinbeck seems to be a good chef when it comes to novellas. He wrote Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, The Pearl, and Lifeboat, with the first being his most famous Novella. Of Mice and Men is the perfect example of what a novella could be. It presents a full, satisfying story that is, like a short story, easy to read wherever you are.

Image via Amazon

Novels

Novels are the most common form of fiction around, the full course meal of fiction. These stories can stretch from around 50/60,000 words onward, even though readers usually prefer novels that don’t pass 250,000 words. Everyone has their own favorite novel, but every good novel has one thing in common: it’s extremely engaging. Because a novel has to keep a reader’s attention over a longer coarse of time, it’s more important they are engaging from the beginning. Another thing about novels is that they give you the room to build an entire world. It is perfectly acceptable to spend a significant time on setting and world-building. Take the Harry Potter series for example; those books are long and spend a lot of time setting up the scenery. That works in a novel because it gives depth to the world and keeps the story interesting.

 

 

Now that you’ve gotten to see the full spread of what fiction has to offer, go out and read. Have a novella on the train; read a short story with breakfast; enjoy the variety of fiction because it is truly endless.

 

Feature Image via HGTV.

 


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Enter to WIN 50 Romance Books for Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day is just around the corner, and we’ve got just the thing for you— What do you mean you have plans?! Well you won’t once you hear what we have in store. Seriously! Your other half’s rose petal-strewn proposal will pale in comparison. Ready?

 

We’ve got fifty (YES, FIFTY, 5-0!) roasting hot romance novels to give away. That’s right, these romances, valued at over $500, are so supremely sexy they’ll have you cancelling any plans you had for Valentine’s Day 2020, and beyond. And not only that, but many copies are signed by the authors!

Enter for a Chance to Win 50 Romance Novels! (Contest on Hive.co)

 

titles include:

 

  • Loki Ascending – Asa Maria Bradley

  • From Duke Till Dawn (signed by author!) – Eva Leigh

  • Duchess By Design (signed by author!) – Maya Rodale

  • Reverb – Anna Zabo

  • Wrong To Need You (signed by author!) – Alisha Rai

  • You May Kiss the Bride – Lisa Berne

  • Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (signed by author!)  – Sarah MacLean 

  • Deadly Obsession – April Hunt

  • Lady Claire Is All That (signed by author!) – Maya Rodale

  • The Way Back to You – Sharon Sala

  • Forget Me Not – Brenda Jackson

  • A Cowboy Never Quits – Cindi Madsen

  • Texas Destiny (signed by author!) – Lorraine Heath

  • Second Chance Cowboy (signed by author!) – A.J. Pine

  • Risk It All – Katie Ruggle

  • Forget Me Not – Brenda Jackson

  • What Ales the Earl (signed by author!) – Sally MacKenzie

  • The One for You – Roni Loren

  • Their Perfect Melody (signed by author!) – Priscilla Oliveras

  • Make Me Yours – Katee Robert

  • Springtime at Hope Cottage (signed by author!) – RaeAnne Thayne

  • Touch the Sky (signed by author!) – Kari Cole

  • The Trouble With Cowboy Weddings (signed by author!) – Nicole Helm

  • Project Duchess (signed by author!) – Sabrina Jeffries

  • Dominate Me (signed by author!) – Stacey Lynn

  • Claimed – Alexa Riley

  • Cowboys & Harvey Girls: Pathfinder – Anna Schmidt

  • The Wish – Patricia Davids

  • The One I Love to Hate (signed by author!) – Amanda Weaver

  • Relentless (signed by author!) – Elizabeth Dyer

  • Flirting With First (signed by author!) – Sophia Summers, Heather B. Moore, Rebecca Connolly

  • Dirty Damsels (signed by author!) – Peggy Jaeger

  • Hot to the Touch (signed by author!) – Jaci Burton

  • Acting on Impulse (signed by author!) – Mia Sosa

  • Blood Surfer (signed by author!) – Debra Jess

  • Let the Good Times Roll (signed by author!) – Melanie Greene

  • The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

  • When We Left Cuba (signed by author!) – Chanel Cleeton 

  • All Your Perfects – Colleen Hoover

  • The Amish Christmas Letters (signed by author!) – Patricia Davids, Sarah Price, Jennifer Beckstrand 

  • A Princess in Theory – Alyssa Cole

  • Dalliances & Devotion (signed by author!) – Felicia Grossman

  • Blood Hunter – Debra Jess

  • A Secret Rose (signed by author!) – Debra Jess

  • Bayou Vows (signed by author!) – Geri Krotow

  • Hard Night (signed by author!) – Jackie Ashenden 

 

 

So what are you waiting for? Enter now for your chance to win your reading material for the next year!

 

Enter for a Chance to Win 50 Romance Novels! (Contest on Hive.co)

5 Books by Black Female Authors

Before 1919, when women were given the right to vote, women weren’t respected as apart of mankind. Black women had it worse as many were assaulted by white slaveowners, and were less than deserving of anything but to bear children. This, however, did not stop the aspiring black authors to write in a time when blacks were forbidden to read or write. Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson, written in 1859, become the first book to be published by an African American woman. This book gave women the opportunity to have the courage to continue to have a voice and publish their own books. These are five books that have continued to be a highlight in the world today.

 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

 

Image Via Kobo.com

Published in 1961, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is among the few existing slave narratives written by a woman. This autobiography is an account that follows the life of Harriet Jacobs and how she managed to escape from servitude in North Carolina, to freedom in the North. Jacobs writes about her life as a slave and the trials she endured through her escape.

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Image Via Amazon

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a must-read as it deals with the life of Janie Crawford as she sets out to be her own person. Independence was a huge feat for a black woman in the 30s. This leads her through three marriages and, as the blurb states, “into a journey back to her roots.”

 

A Raisin in The Sun

Image Via Chicago Public Library

Lorraine Hansberry’s, A Raisin in the Sun, is an award-winning drama that speaks on the hopes and dreams of a working-class family in the South Side of Chicago. The title originates from Langston Hughes’ poem Harlem, with a line that reads “dry up/like a raisin in the sun.”

 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Image Via Goodreads

Sent to live with her grandmother in the South, Maya and her brother Bailey are faced to endure prejudice and abandonment from their mother. When she is eight years old, Maya is abused by her mother’s boyfriend, a man who is many years her senior. Many years later, Maya learns to love herself and to be free from the horrors of the past.

 

Song of Solomon

Image Via Amazon

Toni Morrison’s, Song of Solomon, is a coming of age story that follows the life of Milkman Dead, who attempts to fly off a rooftop. Milkman lives the rest of his life trying to fly as he hurdles through his family’s origins.

 

For more books written by Black female authors, check out The Zora Canon.


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Featured image via Free Pik 

The Bell Jar’s Influence: Anniversary Edition

The first line in The Bell Jar is a hook: “It was a… sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.” The person speaking is Esther Greenwood, a smart, straight-A, dark-humored and, as the story goes on, depressed protagonist.

The book was published in London on January 14th, 1963 under a pseudonym Victoria Lucas, one month before the actual author, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide. People had to wait almost a decade for its publication in The United States. It is the only novel Plath ever wrote.

image via vintag.es

The story itself is a coming of age tale about a college girl who is figuring out what she wants and who she wants to be. She wins a contest to write for a “girl’s” magazine called Ladies’ Day in New York. She takes the opportunity and moves to New York for the summer along with a group of other young women, and they all live in a hotel/dormitory called the Amazon. This is where the book begins. The experience is less than Esther expected it to be. Her editors give her uninspiring pep talks, and her friends lead her into dangerous situations where she is almost, at one point, raped. She feels lonely most of the time. Upon getting stuck in a room where one of her friends, Doreen, is getting close with Lenny Shepherd, a man they met by happenstance one night on the town, Esther says:

“There’s something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It’s like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction – every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it’s really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and that excitement at about a million miles an hour.”

It is with similes like this one where we get a deep look into Esther’s intelligence and ability to discern the truth about what it means to be young and still forging your identity.

 

A lot of the novel is about forging identity, but Esther’s identity is so tied up with her depression that she has trouble separating the one from the other. After New York, she heads back home to Boston and spirals downward until she finds a crawlspace to hide in, and tries to commit suicide. This lands her in a sanitarium. She is eventually sent to a private hospital in the countryside paid for by the woman who sponsored her scholarship, Philomena Guinea. It is there where Esther is really attended to for her illness. She is given insulin, analysis, freedom to go into town with improvement in mood, and is treated with electric shock therapy; all of it leads her back to wellness. How do we know she’s well? She says, just before her dismissal, “There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice – patched, retreaded and approved for the road.”

This novel also gave Sylvia Plath a way to confront sexism and convention. Throughout the pages, Esther mentions how many times her mother has at one point told her to learn shorthand. “The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.” Esther doesn’t know how to cook, either. She doesn’t know how to dance. She can’t sing a note. “The one thing I was good at was winning scholarships and prizes…” In other words, Esther succeeds at competing with men.

image via sylviaplathinfo.blogspot.com

Plath’s writing style can be interpreted as dark, but also as darkly comic, elegiac, honest, and nostalgic. “When I was nineteen, pureness was the great issue.” This is both a joke and an admittance. After Esther finds out Buddy Willard, her boyfriend, has already had sex, she is filled with resentment over the hypocrisy he embodies but also feels a competitive edge. She rejects his proposal. He is a fraud in her eyes now, and it brings her a step closer to knowing something about herself: she cannot succumb to promises of chastity until marriage. Esther ends up losing her virginity to some guy named Irwin she meets on the steps of the Harvard Library. It leads to a slight hemorrhaging mishap that lands her in the Emergency room; what she loses in blood she gains in experience and independence. She is even fitted for a diaphragm with the encouragement of her female doctor. “I was my own woman.”

 

Esther also ponders a life of wifely duties with children and husband as her primary purpose in life and she grows deeply afraid. “I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard’s kitchen mat.”  While this characterization of family life may be exaggerated, Plath is pointing out the inherent gender inequality and unfair expectations society has for women.

Image via Lagan Online

The bell jar itself symbolizes Esther’s mental illness in all its stifling, alienating inescapability: ”…wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” The bell jar warps reality, but there isn’t much difference, at times, between the distortion and the truth, as Esther discovers. On the day she is due to leave the hospital, Belsize, where she lived during her hospital stay, she wonders “what was there about us, in Belsize, so different from the girls playing bridge and gossiping and studying in the college to which I would return? Those girls, too, sat under bell jars of a sort.”n

If you’re curious as to how closely this novel relates back to Sylvia Plath, she did indeed have a guest editorship at a magazine called Mademoiselle. Philomena Guinea is based on a real woman, her literary patron named Olivia Higgins Prout, and Plath did try to commit suicide, and was sent to a hospital as a result. She even had Electroconvulsive Therapy just like Esther.

 

In 1979, there was a film adaptation starring Marilyn Hassett and Julie Harris. It did not do well with audiences or critics. There is a Showtime tv series (originally slated to be a film) starring Dakota Fanning based on the book supposedly in the works.

image via storenvy

The response to the book was positive, but Sylvia’s mother didn’t want it to be published in the United States because of the comparisons people made between Esther’s family and her own. It finally made it here in 1971, and fans did hyper-focus on the autobiographical similarities, though the NY Times gave it a positive review. The New Yorker’s review was mixed. In the end, it became one of the most influential novels of the 20th century.

Featured image via Deskgram


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