The End is Near…NaNoWriMo

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome author, Jennifer Leeper.  She’s here to motivate your through the final days of NaNoWriMo,

Jennifer has a new release, coming out tomorrow: The Poison of War. How great does this sound?

Two Mexican drug smugglers are murdered on Native American soil and the only clues left behind are two single arrowheads in this compelling page-turner of tribal secrets and distrust at the border.

When detective Frank Silva of the Tohono O’odham Nation arrived at the scene of the crime he immediately feared his investigation would require him to turn inward—to his own people—in search of the killer.

The End is Near 

THE END. These two words are a far-off promise—a mirage both figurative and literal, for many, if not most writers on day one of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). These two words represent the end of a 50,000- (or more) word purge that can drain away optimism, sleep and even hope, in more dire instances. 

By this last week of Nanowrimo, most writers don’t have the creative momentum they began with on November 1. The fortune-cookie wisdom and positivity floated by everyone within the Nanowrimo community during the first half of the month is deflated. In this spirit, I’m offering some end-of-the-line motivation to bathe the overworked, creative brains out there, and stoke the fires of Nanowrimo for just a few more days—or, in this case, a few more words. 

General Motivation

  • Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.
    ― William James
  • If you’re going through hell, keep going.

― Winston Churchill

  • It’s not about passion. Passion is something that we tend to overemphasize, that we certainly place too much importance on. Passion ebbs and flows. To me, it’s about desire. If you have constant, unwavering desire to be a cook, then you’ll be a great cook. If it’s only about passion, sometimes you’ll be good and sometimes you won’t. You’ve got to come in every day with a strong desire. With passion, if you see the first asparagus of the springtime and you become passionate about it, so much the better, but three weeks later, when you’ve seen that asparagus every day now, passions have subsided. What’s going to make you treat the asparagus the same? It’s the desire. — Thomas Keller, Interview with Mark Wilson

Writing/Nanowrimo-Specific Motivation 

  • [Writing] is like wrestling; you are wrestling with ideas and with the story. There is a lot of energy required. At the same time, it is exciting. So it is both difficult and easy. What you must accept is that your life is not going to be the same while you are writing. I have said in the kind of exaggerated manner of writers and prophets that writing, for me, is like receiving a term of imprisonment — you know that’s what you’re in for, for whatever time it takes. — Chinua Achebe, “The Art of Fiction, No. 139,” The Paris Review

Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back. Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. — Al Kennedy

  • Respect the way characters may change once they’ve got 50 pages of life in them. Revisit your plan at this stage and see whether certain things have to be altered to take account of these changes. — Rose Tremain
  • If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient. — Hilary Mantel

As for me, I’ve never conquered the beast called Nanowrimo, but I keep those two words I mentioned earlier at the forefront of my imagination each November. I hope you push on toward November 30th, even if you stumble away in defeat, short of your I targeted word count. I hope you’ll return next November and do it all over again, because it’s never been the word count that really counts. 


 

You can find Jennifer Leeper’s latest work, THE POISON OF WAR, a southwestern crime/mystery  here, or visit www.thepoisonofwar.com to follow her ongoing writing journey. 

 

Who is Jennifer Leeper?

 

Ms. Leeper is an award-winning fiction author whose previous or forthcoming publications credits include Independent Ink MagazineThe Stone HoboPoiesisEvery Day FictionAphelion WebzineHeater Magazine, Cowboy JamboreeThe New EngagementAlaska Quarterly Review, Falling Star Magazine and The Liguorian. She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Inwood Indiana Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, Prensa Press and Spider Road Press.

In 2012, Ms. Leeper was awarded the Catoctin Mountain Artist-in-Residency, and in 2013, Ms. Leeper was a Tuscany Prize Novella Award finalist through Tuscany Press for her short novel, Tribe. Ms. Leeper’s short story Tatau was published in the journal, Poiesis, and was short listed as a finalist for the Luminaire Award in 2015, and nominated by Alternating Current for Queen’s Ferry Press’ Best of Small Fictions of 2016 Prize. In 2016, The Saturday Evening Post honored Ms. Leeper’s short story Book of the Dead with an honorable mention in its Great American Fiction Contest.

Ms. Leeper’s short story The Bottle won second place in the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize through Spider Road Press. 

 

Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Leeper on the Emotions Punch Of Short Stories

Today on Mystery Mondays, we’re doing something a little different. Author, Jennifer Leeper is here to talk about short stories. I think this is the first short story collection I’ve hosted, so it’s a bit of a thrill for me. Enjoy!

Short, Not Small by Jennifer Leeper

515-HrYG7AL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Whether you’re a reader or writer of short stories, you know they can offer as much of an emotional gut punch or brain rock as a 300,000-word tome. Collections of short stories offer authors and readers the chance to quickly dive deep into the lives of characters and repeat this experience over and over between two covers. My latest collection, Border Run and Other Stories explores many characters within a relatively short word span, and I’m privileged to take you on a sampling tour here of these vastly different character worlds.

If the shoe fits

 In The Shoes, Carlos finds a letter from his abuela, who recently passed away, and in the letter she charges her family with conscientiously distributing her hoard of shoes. They can’t simply dump the house-sized pile of footwear at a thrift store, but must match each pair with the right feet. Not only does Carlos, his sister, and parents find it difficult to marry the shoes to wearers, but the result of hastily discarded pairs of shoes results in a horrific series of events that irreparably alters the lives of Carlos and his family.

The dead live on

In Book of the Dead, Violet Mora finds the “bucket list” Luca Barnes, the boy who bullied her in high school in the ashes of his family’s house that burned down after Luca fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his mouth. In the spirit of revenge, Violet decides to work her way through Luca’s list herself. Instead of revenge, however, Violet encounters Luca’s twin, Dominic, as she completes Luca’s objectives, and she experiences more than she bargained for when she took on Luca’s list.

 Take this job and shove it

In The Vortex, a man has been writing the same resignation letter in his head for years but he never actually submits it to his boss. Then, one day he decides to erase thousands of emails with one mouse click. He is set free and set off course all at once.

Though there are threaded themes of redemption, loss, and mortality across the 14 stories of this collection it’s the character development that allows each piece to stand apart. It’s not the word count that matters, but how words are used to bring lives on the page to life that counts.

Who Is Jennifer Leeper:

f792d207c31f8ddac4e71e9aaa583014_400x400Ms. Leeper is an award-winning fiction author who’s publications credits include Independent Ink Magazine, Notes Magazine, The Stone Hobo, Poiesis, Every Day Fiction, Aphelion Webzine, Heater magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, The New Engagement, Alaska Quarterly Review and The Liguorian.

She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Inwood Indiana Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, and Spider Road Press.

In 2012, Ms. Leeper was awarded the Catoctin Mountain Artist-in-Residency, and in 2013, Ms. Leeper was a Tuscany Prize Novella Award finalist through Tuscany Press for her short novel, Tribe. Ms. Leeper’s short story Tatau was published in the journal, Poiesis, and was short listed as a finalist for the Luminaire Award in 2015, and nominated by Alternating Current for Queen’s Ferry Press’ Best of Small Fictions of 2016 Prize. In 2016,

The Saturday Evening Post honored Ms. Leeper’s short story Book of the Dead with an honorable mention in its Great American Fiction Contest. Ms. Leeper’s short story The Bottle won second place in the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize through Spider Road Press.

You can find Border Run and Other Stories at Barking Rain Press: http://barkingrainpress.org/border-run/ and Amazon. You can find Jennifer  and her other fiction on Twitter @JenLeeper1 or at her author website: