my writing

One month, one book

So, I love books. I’ve always loved books – as a little kid, I would check out as many hardcover bandes dessinées and flimsy, illustrated chapter books as I could (conscripting my parents’ two library cards along with my own for MAXIMUM BOOK), and I read voraciously throughout my school years.

Then university happened, and grad school, and reading became that thing I needed to do in order not to fail my classes; still, fiction was my constant friend, and in my free time I devoured sci-fi and fantasy novels, manga, mystery.

But as time wore on, I eventually found myself in the situation of needing to work full-time (and then some) to make ends meet, plus writing a novel and some short stories and some educational Youtube videos because when the Sorting Hat landed on my head it said HOUSE HAMILTON so things have been noooon-stop.

I think over the past year I have read about five books. When that magical thing called “free time” happens to me now, I usually feel like I need and want to spend it writing; if I don’t have sufficient brain for writing, I’ll watch Bones or something on Netflix, or revisit Skyrim, or take a glorious nap. But this past weekend I went to NerdCon: Stories, and an idea that came up a few times in panels could be paraphrased as this:

If you want to write, read widely. 

Now I have in the past treated my writing like it’s a tenuous thing, like reading too much will irreparably damage my personal authorial voice and turn me into a pale copy of whatever I’m reading. I think, at this point, that this perspective is actually crap. Sure, I can tell in the revision stage of my novel which part I wrote while I was reading The Poisonwood Bible, earlier this year. But the result is not any less my writing, and it doesn’t even stand out unless you already know it’s there. Really, there’s never been a time when reading hasn’t improved my writing, overall. And reading – especially reading widely, diversely, reading perspectives and priorities different from my own – tends to make me feel like it improves me as a person, too. There’s really no downside, except TIME. 

Ahh, time. Given that the full-time-and-then-some-plus-myriad-projects life is still one I’m very much in, I don’t really feel like I have the luxury of reading as widely as those helpful NerdCon panelists tended to suggest. I would love to try reading things that will challenge me and delight me and make me grow as a writer and a human. But I also need to like, sleep, and do dishes.

Which is why I have decided to embark on the AMBITIOUS PLAN to read ONE BOOK PER MONTH for the next while. Maybe it’ll last a year, maybe less, maybe more. I’m not putting myself any limits on genre, period, age group, or topic. I’m not letting myself feel inferior to those cool cats who aim for fifty books a year or whatever. Twelve books will be more per year than I’ve read for a long time, and the idea is really exciting to me. So I’m just gonna read one book per month starting now, and see what happens. 

Also, to make this even more fun, I’ve decided that I’m also going to write something about each of these books right here. 😀 Probably something review-y, although I’ve never written book reviews before now. Certainly some kind of summary of my impressions. So keep an eye out for those posts – I will be tagging them one month one book on tumblr.

The book for October: Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older. I’m like 30 pages from the end, so expect a review soon!

Hook Me: Common Problems


I recently did another round of Hook Me, an exercise I do with my followers where they send in fake query letters and I critique them. 

A query letter is a short summary of your novel (a “hook”) that is used to pitch a novel to an agent or editor. Anyone who wants to get published needs to know how to write one.

So here are problems I saw in the majority, though not all, of the query letters I received.

1. My Story Is About…

Don’t use any of the following phrases in your query letter:

  • My story is about…
  • My story features…
  • This story is…
  • The main character is…
  • Throughout the story these characters encounter…
  • This story features themes such as…
  • This story has characters who are…
  • In a world where…

When writing a query letter, every word counts. Just jump right into it. Instead of starting with:

  • My story is about a spiteful, long-haired kitchen manager named Abbie who must track down the vampire who bit her and kill him to avoid becoming one herself.

start with: 

  • Abbie was just bitten by a vampire. To remain human, she must track down the one that bit her and kill him before the seven-day transformation can be completed.

And let the story speak for itself. Don’t just tell me that your story features the trials of friendship or that you have three lgbt characters or that it deals with heavy themes. Show me. In the manuscript.

2. Unnecessary Character Descriptions

I don’t need to know that the main character is a red-haired spunky teenager with three piercings and freckles and a knack for math. I don’t need to know these useless details.

Only tell me what I need to know about this character. What is relevant to the plot? To their motive? One of the few descriptors that you can add that may not be entirely relevant would be the age of the main character.

3. Comparing Your Story to The Wrong Thing

Your story is not like Star Wars or Harry Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games. Nor will your story appeal to any of those audiences.

Those audiences have millions of people. Many of those people fall outside of the initial target audiences. Many of those people don’t particularly like fantasy or sci-fi or vampires or anything like that, but when something gets as popular as the series above, it draws all kinds of people.

Don’t compare your story to some of the biggest franchises in the world. This doesn’t tell agents or editors anything about your target audience. It can also show you don’t really know your genre. If you write a sci-fi and only compare it to Star Trek and Star Wars, then it’s likely you haven’t read a lot of sci-fi.

4. Vague Blurbs

I don’t need a blurb or a vague logline. I’m not sure why you would include one. Unless you’re writing a screenplay, you really do not need one at this stage.

5. Too Much

I need the protagonist and the main conflict. That’s it. Don’t give me the back story of every major character. Don’t tell me about subplots. Don’t tell me ¾ of the book.

And do not tell me the ending. Never tell the ending in a query. The point is to hook someone. You’re trying to get someone to read your story. You’re trying to intrigue them. Telling me the ending does not do that.

Also falling into this category is too many details. You need to learn how to cut down that background information into succinct sentences. Only give what is necessary. You shouldn’t spend a whole paragraph describing your protagonist and their world before you even mention the main conflict.

6. Too Little

In contrast with #5, some of you did not give me enough information. Or, at least, the information you gave was vague.

I need to know the plot. Describing the protagonist and the themes and some of the other characters and how their friendships might be in danger does not tell me anything. I don’t care about their relationships yet. I need to know the actual conflict.

7. Did Not Follow Directions

When writing a query letter or when submitting your writing, you have to follow directions

If you wanted a private critique, I asked you to put “private” in the title. I didn’t say to put it in the body. I also asked you to keep your submissions open so I could reply. Few people followed these directions.

It may seem nitpicky to complain about this, but you have to follow directions when submitting something. 

Some people ignore anything that ignores directions because they have a lot of submissions to get through and it’s an easy way to filter out people they don’t want a business relationship with.

Some people need certain words in the subject line so that submissions don’t end up in the spam folder or so the interns know which submissions to open.

Follow the directions. Show that you’re serious enough about writing that you took the time to read the directions.

8. Lack of Voice

Your letters need to have a strong voice. The mood and pacing needs to match the book. If you’re writing a query letter for a murder mystery, the voice should be suspenseful.

Putting this here for later!~

Words to describe someone’s voice

adenoidal: if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
appealing: an appealing look, voice etc shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
breathy: with loud breathing noises
brittle: if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
croaky: if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
dead: if someone’s eyes are dead, or if their voice is dead, they feel or show no emotion
disembodied: a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
flat: spoken in a voice that does not go up and down. This word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region.
fruity: a fruity voice or laugh is deep and strong in a pleasant way
grating: a grating voice, laugh, or sound is unpleasant and annoying
gravelly: a gravelly voice sounds low and rough
gruff: a gruff voice has a rough low sound
guttural: a guttural sound is deep and made at the back of your throat
high-pitched: a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
hoarse: someone who is hoarse or has a hoarse voice speaks in a low rough voice, usually because their throat is sore
honeyed: honeyed words or a honeyed voice sound very nice but you cannot trust the person who is speaking
husky: a husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse (=as if you have a sore throat), often in an attractive way
low adjective: a low voice or sound is quiet and difficult to hear
low adverb: in a deep voice, or with a deep sound
matter-of-fact: used about someone’s behaviour or voice
modulated: a modulated voice is controlled and pleasant to listen to
monotonous: a monotonous sound or voice is boring and unpleasant because it does not change in loudness or become higher or lower
nasal: someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose
orotund: an orotund voice is loud and clear
penetrating: a penetrating voice or sound is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable
plummy: a plummy voice or way of speaking is considered to be typical of an English person of a high social class. This word shows that you dislike people who speak like this.
quietly: in a quiet voice
raucous: a raucous voice or noise is loud and sounds rough
ringing: a ringing sound or voice is very loud and clear
rough: a rough voice is not soft and is unpleasant to listen to
shrill: a shrill noise or voice is very loud, high, and unpleasant
silvery: a silvery voice or sound is clear, light, and pleasant
singsong: if you speak in a singsong voice, your voice rises and falls in a musical way
small: a small voice or sound is quiet
smoky: a smoky voice or smoky eyes are sexually attractive in a slightly mysterious way
softly spoken: someone who is softly spoken has a quiet gentle voice
sotto voce adjective, adverb: in a very quiet voice
stentorian: a stentorian voice sounds very loud and severe
strangled: a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
strangulated: strangled
strident: a strident voice or sound is loud and unpleasant
taut: used about something such as a voice or expression that shows someone is nervous or angry
thick: if your voice is thick with an emotion, it sounds less clear than usual because of the emotion
thickly: with a low voice that comes mostly from your throat
thin: a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to
throaty: a throaty sound is low and seems to come from deep in your throat
tight: a tight voice or expression shows that you are nervous or annoyed
toneless: a toneless voice does not express any emotion
tremulous: if something such as your voice or smile is tremulous, it is not steady, for example because you are afraid or excited
wheezy: a wheezy noise sounds as if it is made by someone who has difficulty breathing
wobbly: if your voice is wobbly, it goes up and down, usually because you are frightened, not confident, or are going to cry

Writing the Perfect Query Letter


The point of a query letter is to sell your story. 

Writing your query letter, your goal is to make the reader want to pick up the book. That is the entire purpose. We’ve all recommended books to friends before. It’s exactly that, except now that book is yours and the stakes are high. A query letter is, above all, persuasive. While writing your query letter, make sure you draw your reader into your story with every word. 

A query letter is not a creative letter; it’s a business proposition. 

Writing a query letter, don’t think of yourself as a writer, especially not of this particular story. You are now Don Draper. He’s creative, but not a creator. His job is to make the product appeal to the consumer. He’s not rolling the cigarettes. He’s selling them. You were the writer of your manuscript. Now you’re its ad man. An industry professional. Your task it to sell an idea to someone you want to sell your idea (the agent) to someone you want to sell your idea (the editor) to someone you want to buy your product (the reader). By querying your manuscript, you’re requesting a place in an industry. This means that you should follow some industry standards:

  • Use business letter formatting. 12 point font. Single spaced. Left alignment. No indentations. A space between paragraphs.
  • Don’t be familiar. This is a business letter. A formal letter. Unless you already have some sort of a relationship with the person you’re querying, if you’ve met at an event or corresponded in some other regard, write like you’re writing to a potential business associate. 
  • Write the letter as yourself. Don’t write as your character. Don’t write as your narrator. Don’t write as the historian who discovered your story 1,000 years into the future. It’s a risk that rarely pays off. On that point…
  • Don’t be creative with the form of your query. Save the creativity for your manuscript. Don’t think out of the box. Don’t quote a section in your opening lines. Don’t include a box of chocolates with it when you mail it off. Don’t be gimmicky. If you feel the need to resort to a gimmick, the agent is going to assume it’s because you don’t know how this works or your story isn’t strong enough to stand on it’s own. Play by the rules. Trust in your story. 
  • Keep it short. 250-400 words. Remember your goal: to get them to pick up the book, to spark their interest. Agents can read hundreds of queries a day. They don’t have time for wasted words. They’re looking for an excuse to go on to the next query. To get through their inbox. Get to your point as quickly as possible. 

Writing Your Query:

You don’t have long to tell your story. Just a page. This means you can’t include much more than the information that is absolutely vital to your story and the querying process. I’ve outlined the information, and separated it into paragraphs. You don’t have to divide it the way I’ve set out here, but these are the general lumps of Query Stuff. 

Each point I’ve bulleted should only be a sentence or two long in your query. If your reader wants to know more, they’ll read the first chapters and request the manuscript.  

The Opening Lines: The Formalities

  • Address the agent. As this is a business letter, start with a “Dear Mr./Ms. [First Name, Last Name] or [Last Name]:” For example: Dear Mr. Tolkien: 
  • State your intent. In my research I’ve found this unecessary, but if you choose to do so you can say something along the lines of: “I’m submitting for your consideration my completed novel, [TITLE]…” 

The First Paragraph: The Introduction

The meat of the letter. You should introduce your story as cleanly as possible. It should be minimal, yet evocative. Specific to your story, but skimming the surface of it. The more set-up you give, the more complicated you’ll make things for yourself. 

  • The set up. What was life like for the character when the story began? Where does the story take place? 
  • The inciting incident. The “but when…” What set the ball rolling? This can be in the same sentence as the setup. 
    • The combination of the set up and inciting incident should work as a sort of tagline. 
  • Character motivation. What does your character want? 

The Second Paragraph: The Story 

I’ve made this a separate paragraph because shorter paragraphs make a page more inviting for a reader. In this paragraph, you don’t want to summarise the entire book; you want to show your ability to weave a compelling story. It should have energy. It should tell the reader just enough to get them excited.

  • Highlights of the first two acts. Give your reader the flavor of your story with the juiciest bits of the rising action. This part can be a few sentences longer than the rest. Make these specific. Don’t say Jane gets injured. Say Jane was caught in a swarm of flying tea cups. 
  • The central conflict. What is the main obstacle your character will face to achieve their goal? What’s at stake? 
  • The hook. The line or question that will make your reader want to read more. If you’d like, you make it it’s own paragraph. 

The Third Paragraph: The Details

Some people make this their first paragraph, but I’ve decided to put this after the introduction to the story. These are the formal details of your story, where it gets very Industry.

  • The title. You might have said it earlier, but it won’t hurt to say it again here. 
  • The word countgenre, & age range. All necessary industry information. Round your word count to the nearest 1,000. 
  • Comp titles. What books might this person have read that are similar to your own, either in tone/setting/story? This can give your reader a sense of the potential audience for your story. You only want to include one or two. 
  • If you really want, you can choose to personalize the submission here and say why you’ve queried this particular agent. If you only want to show that you’ve done your research, you should have already gotten this point across clearly with the summary, age range, and genre. But, if you really love this agent, if you follow their blog or twitter or love some of their authors, it won’t hurt to say so. 

The Fourth Paragraph: The Author

The last paragraph is usually set aside for a line or two about yourself. This should only include information relevant to writing this manuscript: awards, university degrees, writing conferences/workshops attended, expertise related to the content of the book. You should be able to summarise this paragraph with: here is why you should trust me to tell this story. 

If you don’t have any qualifications, say what else you’re currently writing/enjoy writing/have written. Let the agent get to know you as a writer outside of this one story. If you have qualifications, you can still save a line for this.

The Closing Line

Thank the agent for taking the time to read your query. A small but important consideration. 


  • Highlight your story’s strengths. If your story is funny, include the funniest moments in the short summary. If the writing is lyrical, your query should have a hint of that, too. You don’t want to drown the agent in your writing style, but you should splash them a bit. 
  • DON’T INCLUDE THEMES. Don’t say this is a story about “friendship and the power or love,” or “children will relate to this story of bullying.” A query letter isn’t a literature class. Don’t analyse your manuscript for your reader. Let the story speak for itself. 
  • Don’t sing your own praises. Don’t say that your mom loves your book, or that your little cousins devoured it. Don’t compare it to Harry Potter or any other best-seller. Don’t say you think the book will sell well. The agent won’t believe you. 
  • It’s okay if it takes you days and days to write your query. It should take days to write. Whether or not the agent even looks at your first chapter will depend entirely on this single page. You can write the novel of the century, but no one will look at it unless your query sells it. 
  • Have someone else look over your query before you send it out. Share it with the smartest person you know. Share it with your old English teacher. Share it on a writing website, like r/writers. Have them judge it on clarity and quality. Ask them where it can be trimmed. Ask them what they think the strongest sentence is. Ask what the weakest sentence is. Have them check for typos. 
  • Triple-check you’ve spelt the agent’s name correctly. They’re looking for a reason to toss this query in the trash. Don’t give it to them in the first line. 
  • Triple-check the agent’s submission requirements. Getting these wrong is another way to get your query tossed directly into the trash. 
  • Let them know if there’s a potential for sequels. If you’re writing a trilogy, don’t try to sell all three books at once. Use this query letter to sell the first book of the series only. Then, casually let the agent know that “[Your Title] has the potential for two sequels continuing [Your Protagonist]’s story.” An agent wants you to have more than one book in your arsenal, but this is a short letter. There’s only room for the one book in it. 

I know this is a long post, and it may seem like too much information to handle. If it all seems impossible to accomplish in a single letter, remember: you’re recommending a book. That’s all. It just happens to be your book. 


/surreptitiously saves this for hopefully-early-2017

An Open Letter to the Wildly Inaccurate Version of Michael Chabon Who Came to Me in a Dream Last Night

Dear Dream Michael Chabon, 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy dream schedule to meet with me and tell me my novel in progress was all right. I’m glad that you liked the beginning, the ending, and the characters (and also my cat, who I brought along to our appointment because why not). 

I just wanted to say that thanks to you, Dream Michael Chabon, I managed to break out of two weeks’ worth of writing funk and get back into my book. So thanks. And I’m sorry that I only had the vaguest idea of who you were before waking up this morning and going “wait who’s Michael Chabon”; I’ll get right on adding Kavalier & Clay to my reading list, it sounds pretty great. 




@Lin_Manuel: These wonderful students got the last of my voice this morning. Worth it.

“Going with all the light you can manage, try to grab them


When I went to NerdCon last year, I got the chance to talk with one of my favourite authors, Lev Grossman, and when I asked him

about how to find the time to work on my book, he said: “The time you spend writing is time you take from other people”. 

If Lin and Lev agree, well shit. It’s a good thing to remind myself of when I’m struggling to make it happen.

Like they both said: your friends are still going to be there after you’ve done the thing.

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
  And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
  Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
  That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
  Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
  When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
  He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
  Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

John Keats (via meganwhalenturner)

My love for this poem is perhaps only equaled by my love for a particular flavour of frozen yogurt (Blackjack Cherry!) by a company that happens to be called Chapman’s, which I discovered when I was catsitting at my friend Moti’s house one day. I ended up eating all of it that was in his freezer. I wrote him this as an apology.


Much have I travell’d in the realms of sweets,
And many goodly snacks and dishes seen;
Round many supermarkets have I been
Which hordes of foodies brave to get their eats.
Oft of one sweet delight that nothing beats, 
That deep-bowl’d ice cream, I’d heard praises sung;
Yet did it never much impress my tongue
Till I ate Chapman’s frozen yogurt treats:
Then I felt like some watcher of the pies
When a new flavour rushes his palate;
Or like stout Cortez, when with all his guys
He took a bite of cacao – and the fate
Of snacks he pondered with a wild surmise –
Silent, with a mouthful of chocolate. 






so I’m looking at short story publishers (fantasy)

  1. Tor, cream of the crop. 25 cents a word. Stories can be read for free (YES). Slowish response time at ~3 months. Prefer under 12k, absolute maximum is 17.5k. Don’t bother if it’s not highly professional quality. SFWA qualifying.
  2. Crossed Genres. 6 cents a word. Different theme each month (this month’s is “failure”). Submissions must combine either sci-fi or fantasy with the theme. Response time 1 month. 1k-6k, no exceptions. SFWA qualifying.
  3. Long Hidden, anthology from CG. 6 cents a word. 2k-8k, no exceptions. Must take place before 1935. Protagonist(s) must be under 18 and marginalized in their time and place. Must be sci-fi/fantasy/horror. Deadline 30 April. Response by 1 October.
  4. Queers Destroy Science Fiction. Sci-fi only right now, author must identify as queer (gay, lesbian, bi, ace, pan, trans, genderfluid, etc, just not cishet). 7.5k max. Deadline 15 February. Responses by 1 March. You can submit one flash fiction and one short story at the same time. (My network blocks the Lightspeed site for some reason, so I can’t get all the submission details. >_>) Probably SFWA qualifying?
  5. Women in Practical Armor. 6 cents a word. 2k-5k. Must be about 1) a female warrior who 2) is already empowered and 3) wears sensible armour. Deadline 1 April. Response within three months.
  6. Fiction Vortex. $10 per story, with $20 and $30 for editor’s and readers’ choice stories (hoping to improve). Speculative fiction only. Imaginative but non-florid stories. 7.5k maximum, preference for 5k and under. (I kind of want to support them on general principle.)
  7. Urban Fantasy Magazine. 6 cents a word. 8k max, under 4k preferred. Must be urban fantasy (aka, the modern world, doesn’t need to be a literal city). 
  8. Nightmare. 6 cents a word. 1.5-7.5k, preference for under 5k. Horror and dark fantasy. Response time up to two weeks. SFWA and HWA qualifying.
  9. Apex Magazine. 6 cents a word. 7.5k max, no exceptions. Dark sci-fi/fantasy/horror. SFWA qualifying.
  10. Asimov’s Science Fiction. 8-10 cents a word. 20k max, 1k minimum. Sci-fi; borderline fantasy is ok, but not S&S. Prefer character focused. Response time 5 weeks; query at 3 months. SFWA qualifying, ofc.
  11. Buzzy Mag. 10 cents a word. 10k max. Should be acceptable for anyone 15+. Response time 6-8 weeks. SFWA qualifying.
  12. Strange Horizons. 8 cents a word. Speculative fiction. 10k max, prefers under 5k. Response time 40 days. Particularly interested in diverse perspectives, nuanced approahces to political issues, and hypertexts. SFWA qualifying. 
  13. Fantasy and Science Fiction. 7-12 cents a word. Speculative fiction, preference for character focus, would like more science-fiction or humour. 25k maximum. Prefers Courier. Response time 15 days.
  14. Scigentasy. 3 cents a word. .5-5k. Science-fiction and fantasy, progressive/feminist emphasis. 
  15. Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. 15 cents a word. 3k maximum. Any sci-fi/fantasy, they like a literary bent. (psst, steinbecks!) They also like to see both traditional and experimental approaches. Response time two weeks. 
  16. Beneath Ceaseless Skies. 6 cents a word. 10k maximum. Fantasy in secondary worlds only (it can be Earth, but drastically different—alternate history or whatever). Character focus, prefer styles that are lush yet clear, limited first or third person narration. Response time usually 2-4 weeks, can be 5-7 weeks. SFWA qualifying.

added some more!

reblog for my writer followers who sleep at night 😉

Clarkesworld has really fast turn around time and pays 10 cents a word for your first 4k, 7 cents a word after that, up to 8k and Kate Baker will read your story, which is a fantastic bonus.

Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show has a strict PG-13 rating guideline and pays 6 cents a word.

Interzone accepts stories up to 10k in length. Not sure what they pay, though.

Thanks! I added them to the post. 

(For people who want to save/reblog, that’s here.)

NaNoWriMo 2015 – I Won!

Well, I sort of can’t believe it, but I actually pulled it off. Fifty thousand words (or technically, 51,286 words) towards the first draft of my novel in progress, bringing up the total wordcount to 103,895. I’m feeling fairly giddy. This is a bit surreal.

I opened up my file this morning, and all the madness and joy of the past month sort of evaporated for a scary moment of clarity, and I realized: holy shit, I have most of a novel.

So I want to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who helped make it possible for me to wake up this morning with most of a novel, including the amazing team of organizers and volunteers and novel-ers at NaNoWriMo itself, my very patient and supportive friends and family, and, maybe most of all, my writing buddy @simongannon, who let me invade his living room and read him my crazy sentences about arrow wounds and incinerators and chase scenes while he told me about interstellar politics and brandy. I’m happy to say Simon also hit his 50K target today, so yaaay and congrats to us.

And congrats to everyone else who participated in NaNoWriMo this year! Whether or not you hit the target, those words you wrote didn’t exist a month ago, and now they do, and that’s something to be damn proud of.