Vlog: All About Binge Writing

What is binge writing? And how do I use it to fit book stuff into my overly-packed schedule? Today I'm talking about momentum, time, and figuring out what works best for you.


Are you a binge writer?

Twitter-sized bite:
What is binge writing? And how does @Ava_Jae use it to fit book stuff into their packed schedule? #vlog (Click to tweet)

Writing Taught Me About Myself

Photo credit: Kamil PorembiƄski on Flickr
I've been thinking, lately, about how much of myself I put into my characters.

It used to be more subtle. With Eros, I put a lot of my own struggles feeling between cultures as a pale Latinx person navigating Cuban and Mexican identities while benefitting from light-skin privilege, and frequently being assumed to be white. With Kora, I put my own experience of feeling overburdened with responsibilities as a young person, and what it's like to live with that kind of pressure.

With the projects I'm working on now, it's not so subtle. And I like it that way.

I'm currently juggling three projects that I'll be tackling in different stages after The Rising Gold is completely done. All three of them feature Latinx, trans masculine protagonists. Their stories, personalities, worlds and experiences are all different, but they have that in common and I'm delighted that they do.

But long before I'd come to terms with my trans masculinity, writing was quietly teaching me about myself.

Before I began actively questioning my gender identity, I gave myself "permission" to learn about trans masculine people by writing a manuscript about a trans guy. It was a terrible manuscript and will probably never come out of the trunk ever, but at the time I needed that excuse of "this is research for a book" to feel safe enough research and learn.

Around that time I also wrote a Mulan-esque "girl disguises herself as a boy" story, in which the protagonist realizes she's much more comfortable with a masculine presentation than she ever was with a feminine one. That's another WIP that will stay trunked for reasons, but I wrote that WIP—and most tellingly, a scene where she cuts her hair off, looks in the mirror and really sees herself for the first time—something like six months before I did that very same thing myself. Before I was even actively considering cutting my hair so short.

I look back at my writing and laugh because so much of what I was unconsciously keeping quiet was there in my work, completely unintentionally. Writing gave me permission to explore boundaries that felt off-limits in my everyday life, and for that, I'm incredibly grateful.

Writing taught me about myself long before I knew just how much there was left to learn.

Now my choice of characters and themes are absolutely purposeful. But it feels good—really good—to put the things that have been not-so-quietly living in my head on the page. And I hope, one day, others like me will get to read it and think look, it's me.

Has writing taught you anything about yourself? 

Twitter-sized bite:
Has writing taught you anything about yourself? @Ava_Jae opens up about how their writing helped them discover their trans masculinity. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: THE RISING GOLD Cover Reveal!

Surprise! BEYOND THE RED 3's cover is here! And it is glorious! 


Twitter-sized bite:
Have you seen the cover for @Ava_Jae's third novel, THE RISING GOLD? (Click to tweet)

How Many POVs Are Too Many?

Photo credit: Ram Balmur on Flickr
Judging by the various critiques I've done over the years, point of view, it seems, trips a lot of writers up. It's easy enough to understand why—when you come up with a great cast of characters, it can be tempting to think the more perspectives in the story, the more readers will connect with characters—and therefore, the story. Furthermore, exploring different character perspectives can be a great way to get to know the characters, which then makes it much easier to write them as fully realized people in your novel.

Only problem is too many POVs in a novel can make a story confusing, unfocused, and leave writers connecting with no one at all. But how many perspectives are too many?

The truth is, there isn't a magic number, because it's going to vary novel-to-novel. But the key to figuring it out is answering this question:

Whose story is this novel?

This requires paring down to the core of your story. It means thinking about what the story is really about and who the story is really about. Usually the answer will be one, maybe two characters, but sometimes the answer will be a little bigger than that. That's fine, the key is to just be honest with yourself when you answer the question.

Remember, when it comes to novel-writing, readers rarely need the perspectives of various periphery characters in order to understand the story. Sometimes—I'd wager many times—a minimal approach really works best.

How do you determine who your novel is really about?

Twitter-sized bite:
How many POVs are too many? And how can you tell? @Ava_Jae breaks down this common WIP problem. (Click to tweet)

Fixing the First Page Winner #42!

Photo credit: Clever Cupcakes on Flickr
I am ridiculously sick! With the flu! Which is why I am doing what I said I wouldn't and using a Friday post to announce the winner of the forty-second fixing the first page critique.

(Sorry, guise! There will be a real post next week.)

Anyway, congrats to


Yay! Congratulations, Yevhenii!

Thanks again to all you wonderful entrants! And for your patience! And things!
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