Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We've Moved!

In an effort to make your reading lives simpler, we've migrated ZOVA's blog posts so that they can share the same space as the ZOVA catalog. Please feel free to scan through the website and let us know what you think. And be sure to add the new site to your readers, as this one will be closed soon enough!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

National Novel Writing Month, now known colloquially as NaNoWriMo, is less than a week away. We know many of you will be participating this year, and some for the first time. So we've been putting together some words of advice and inspiration and scattering them around the internet - on our tumblr, our twitter, our Pinterest boards - to help you on your way.

For those who don't know what we're talking about, NaNoWriMo is a month (November) in which you commit to writing 50,000 words of that novel you've been putting off for who knows how long. You can sign up on the official website, which is run by the fabulous people at the Office of Letters and Light. Once you've signed up, you'll be cheered on by a host of fellow writers in the same bizarre boat as you are. It's thrilling, productive, and inspirational.

There are so many ways to get prepared for a month of solid writing. Helpful Twitter folks have compiled a list of suggestions at the hashtag #nanoprep, along with links and words of encouragement. But the most basic elements are obvious:

1. Know your story. You don't have to know how it ends, but you do need to know if it's a mystery/fantasy/coming-of-age story about a spunky detective/space wraith/baby gorilla who buys a haunted house/finds love/breaks out of the jungle.

2. Know your characters.
The truth is, you'll get to know them as you write. But you need to at least meet them beforehand. Give your characters a personality test. Make a list of all the ways you and your protagonist (or antagonist - no one's judging) differ. Write a scene from your character's perspective that has nothing to do with the story just to hear how they talk. Put your character in your favorite movie/novel/TV show and see how they react. And don't forget your secondary characters. If they feel flat, so will your story.

3. Know your audience. If you're writing for kids but haven't met a child since puberty, it might be time to meet a few. And take a look at some things they're reading. Maybe you want to share your novel with your support group. Maybe you secretly wish you were Robin McKinley. There are so many different kinds of readers, and you can't write for everyone. When you know who you're writing for, you're free to not write for all those other people. So you don't have to impress all the Borges readers of the world. Or include a five thousand year history of your fantastical kingdom. Write for your audience.

You have six more days of prep before NaNoWriMo begins. Once the clock strikes on day one, the most important thing won't be arranging your outline or developing character hobby lists. It'll be putting words on the page. Whatever has kept you from that in the past, now's the time to get over, under, or through it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Scripts & Scribes Interview with Molly Lewis

Our own Molly Lewis was interviewed by the phenomenal team from Scripts and Scribes at the Southern California Writers Conference. Take a look at the video here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Scripts and Scribes!

Between the Big Orange Book Festival and the Southern California Writers Conference, this was a busy weekend for readers and writers alike in sunny Southern California. ZOVA was at both events, selling books here, critiquing manuscripts there, meeting book lovers everywhere.

One phenomenal resource we came across over the weekend was the dynamic team at Scripts & Scribes. Many of you are familiar with them thanks to their great interviews with several ZOVA authors at the LA Times Festival of Books earlier this year.

You can take a look at their interviews with Vanessa Fewings, Jessica Therrien, and Wes Albers through the links, and keep an eye out for more from the Southern California Writers Conference in the next week or so.

Scripts & Scribes is a free resource for writers, so be sure to support them by sharing the love with every hopeful writer you know. Follow their website, and follow them on Twitter. It'll be worth it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ten Tips for Writers

ZOVA is headed to the Southern California Writers Conference in Los Angeles this weekend, which means we've got writing on the brain. September is a good month to research writing tips and tricks, as we're a hop, skip, and a jump away from NaNoWriMo, that most inspirational of international writing movements which dawns each November. Here are a few tips for writers we've synthesized over the years:

1. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. Picasso taught us this.

2. Know your audience and write specifically for them. Yourself, family and friends, your future children, or complete strangers - whoever it is, know them and write for them alone.

3. Contrary to popular workshop advice, the passive voice is sometimes okay. Like, for example, when it's the only grammatically correct option.

4. And while we're at it, know your grammar.

5. Swear in your novels if you must, but never on your social networking sites.

6. Learn the difference between loose and lose, led and lead. It will save someone a lot of grief.

7. Whatever works for you, be consistent about it. The one habit all successful writers share is making writing a habit.

8. When submitting a manuscript, keep your font simple (i.e. Times New Roman). But when you're writing, use whatever inspires you.

9. Never promise to put a friend or family member in your novel.

10. Self-awareness (not to be confused with self-consciousness) is the greatest asset any writer can have.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Big Orange, Comikaze...here we come!

If you're looking to see ZOVA books in the flesh, this is a good month for you. We'll be hanging at a Comikaze panel this weekend, sharing books at the Big Orange, and sneaking around the Southern California Writers Conference in Newport Beach. We may find ourselves at a few other events, as well. If you want to find us, our books, or our authors at any of your favorite literary gatherings in the coming months, let us know and we'll add it to our list of events to consider. You'll be the first to know if we're coming your way!