brittni in ink

a writer's blog

summer times

I took a bit of a break after finishing a first draft of my work in progress. It was good to have time to unpack my life a little, to slow down and focus on the day to day things.

One highlight was attending a reading my friend organized, FILR, at the Green Bean Cafe. Amazing poets and writers, a night that had a special kind of weight to it, the energy that says something important has happened here. Who knows what kind of important, maybe different for everyone. Connection, maybe.

Another highlight was taking a weekend to be by a lake with Peter. Having lived all my life in cities, I adore getting out of them. Finding new rhythms, waking up early to sit outside and listen to birds. Seeing more than three stars when I look up. Leaving my bike unlocked and the window open. A simple way of looking at these spaces, granted. But being in them gives me rest like nothing else.

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I’ve also had a ton of time to read. Breathing the Page by Betsy Warland, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin – all books lent to me, I’ve just realized! It is wonderful to read writers who engage with their practices of creativity, and live with the paradoxical nature of making stuff. Highly recommend all of them if you need words from someone on the path.

I’m getting back into writing – I’ve been tinkering with a couple of post-apocalyptic short stories (one including a robot <3) in the interim, but I’m itching to get back into a bigger project. Maybe about black holes, because they are fascinating. Do you know what they call the stretching and squeezing effect on matter that gets pulled past the event horizon? Spaghettification. Amazing.

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the book signing

A couple weeks ago, I was part of a book signing at Juniper Books!

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I got to spend the afternoon sharing a table and stories with Elizabeth J. M. Walker and Alexander Zelenyj, two fellow authors who are also super wonderful people.

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Elizabeth writes for middle grade readers up to young adults, and is the author of She Dreamed of Dragons, This Night Sucks, Slip Jig Summer, and most recently The Boy Who Owned the Forest.

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Alexander just released his new chapbook with Eibonvale Press, “Animals of the Exodus.” He is also the author of Songs for the Lost and Blacker Against the Deep Dark.

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Also spending the day with us was my husband Peter, who took all of the photos featured in this post – well, except the one of him, of course 🙂

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All around, it was a laid back, enjoyable time! Thanks to everyone who came by to say hello!

If you didn’t get a chance to drop in, no worries! All of these books are still available at Juniper Books, including The Patch Project.

first draft complete

After four months of research, interviews, writing, and editing, I am happy to announce that the first draft of my novel project is complete!

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Finishing a draft is kind of arbitrary. I mean, I could’ve kept working on the manuscript for weeks, months, years, and still not have declared it complete. Luckily, I had deadlines to meet, and an editor friend who was waiting for the manuscript.

The manuscript is 45 000 words – a little shorter than I would’ve liked, but I’m okay with it – and has been sent away for feedback. While I’m waiting, I want to spend time with people and catch up on all the things I’ve been missing. So if I’ve promised to meet you for coffee once this book is done, please remind me. My brain is still readjusting to an existence where I have free time.

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Even though the first draft is done, there is still work to do. I am so grateful for the support of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund as I worked on this project. Since this is a grant-funded work, I’ll be putting together a report on the process of creating it, from idea to interviews to holding the manuscript in my hands. Reflecting on writing this book will be a useful and happy exercise.

But for now, it’s time to enjoy the summer before it’s over!

 

*This project is possible thanks to the support of the City of Windsor and the Arts Culture and Heritage Fund

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novel update

First of all, open a new tab and watch today’s Google Doodle illustrating the events of the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago. It blows my mind that humanity has set foot on the moon. Also comforting to know that there’s hot coffee in space.

If you’ve been wondering where I am of late, it’s because I’ve been working on a first draft of my novel* and declared a social blackout for most of July. Also for July, a couple of friends and I made a writer’s pact to wake up every day at 6 am and write for an hour. Although I don’t always make it out of bed in time, having the intentional mindset for writing at the start of the day has been helping a lot.

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In terms of the novel (a speculative fiction book about body and gender), I’m in the final stretch. I hope to finish the first draft by Monday, put it through a quick edit of my own, and then send it off to  a professional editor. Working with this deadline (of my own making) has been oppressive at times, but with a few days still to go, and plenty of time on the weekend, I think I’ll make my word count goal – through-the-door-right-as-it’s-closing kind of make it, but make it nonetheless!

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Thanks again to everyone who sat down with me at the start of this project, and for everyone who’s offered encouragement, or allowed me out of my usual schedule to work on this. See you in August!

P.S. Speaking of August, I have a book signing with the marvelous Elizabeth J.M. Walker and Alexander Zelenyj coming up!

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*This novel project is possible thanks to the support of the City of Windsor and the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund.

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interviews

A couple weeks ago, I put out a call for people interested in discussing topics around body and gender. The response was immediate and more than I could have hoped for.

I was actually pretty nervous about this part of my novel project (Phase Two: Conduct Interviews), but it’s six interviews in now, and I never want it to end.

Whether with people I barely know or with good friends I’ve known for years, each conversation has given me new insight and understanding about the complex intersections of body and gender.

Already I’ve had to rethink concepts and language I’d planned to incorporate in the manuscript. Thanks to the openness of the people I’ve interviewed so far, I’ve learned more in the past two weeks than I did in a month trying to research body and gender on my own (Phase One: Read materials on body and gender).

Oh right, I forgot to explain what my project even is! I’m working on a speculative fiction novel around the topics of body and gender. I have a working concept and a start to the manuscript, and I have until mid-July to finish a first draft.

After a few more interviews, I’ll be jumping into Phase Three: Review interview notes and ruminate on them for a while. This will involve lots of walking and reading, probably some journaling.

Come the first week of June, I’ll be diving into the manuscript with a lot of new ideas, and a better understanding of what I’m writing about (hopefully!).

So that’s the plan!  Thanks so much to everyone I’ve sat down with so far to talk about this project with and to everyone I will sit down with, whether in interview form or not. Talking about body and gender is important, we need to be talking about these topics, creating safe spaces for these conversations.

 

 

 

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(This project is possible thanks to the support of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund.)

 

 

 

a good secret

So I’ve been keeping a secret from you all, which is why I’ve not been posting here very much over the past little while. It’s a good secret, which made it even more difficult to keep.

But now that the period of silence is at its end, I can happily announce that I am one of the recipients of the Windsor Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund!

The ACHF is a grant given to local artists in all kinds of mediums working on all kinds of amazing projects. (You can find a full list of the recipients on their website.) I never thought I would actually receive funding – applying for it was kind of a long shot. I’m super grateful for this opportunity to work on a novel with the support of this grant.

If you’re a writer, artist, creator, or community builder, you should check out the next round of applications (in August/September, I believe). Once applications open, you can apply online, which I found super convenient.

I’ll write more about my project next week. For now, I’ll just say that I’m excited to be starting a new novel!

Also, I have to remember to add this to all posts related to this project:

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Windsor’s a pretty cool place. Just saying.

 

wonderful authors

The Windsor Small Press Book Fair was this past Saturday! I had a great time sharing a table with fellow authors Elizabeth J.M. Walker and Alexander Zelenyj!

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If you haven’t come across Alex or Elizabeth’s work before, you should definitely look them up. Not only are they super chill and thoughtful people, they are wonderful authors.

Alexander Zelenyj’s newest collection, Blacker Against the Deep Dark, weaves together terrifying melodies, counterbalanced by the distant note of a better world. His books are for adult readers and blend literary, horror, and science fiction styles into his weird and wonderful stories.

Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s new book, The Boy Who Owned the Forest, is a collection of illustrated short stories about many magical places, incorporating thoughtful reflections on creativity and belonging. Nicholas Beckett’s illustrations are whimsical and striking, and add another layer of the fantastic to each story. Her books range from middle grade to older YA fiction.

The Book Fair was super fun overall – I met a couple of new authors, visited my author friends at their tables, and picked up a few neat things – including The Neon Heart by Ben Van Dongen!

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Thanks to everyone who came out to support on Saturday, and thanks to ZED Press for organizing the event!