April 6th, 2015


Six years!

Six years ago today I started a writing chat room colloquially known as the War Room. Its purpose was to create a space where the writers I knew could log in and encourage one another to write. The idea is basically a chat room where you don’t chat, you just shut up and write, but in the presence of others, so that there’s some accountability. It’s a way of creating a work environment for a job that often expects you to get it done with nothing but your own self-discipline ruling you. We generally do 30 minute sprints, aka “word wars,” at the end of which we return to report our wordcount, admire one another, stretch a little, and do it again.

I had a book–one of the Walker Papers, maybe DEMON HUNTS–that desperately needed finishing, and I started the war room in the hopes that it would last six months or so, long enough to get through the book, at least, and maybe help a few other writers get through their projects of the moment.

Six months have become six years, and a startling number of the original Word Warriors still log in almost daily. There have been long stretches where I haven’t been able to be in there regularly at all, and it still kept going. We bounced through a bunch of locations before my friend Merlin offered us a Forever Home, and it still held on through all the uncertainty. We have new writers come in regularly, often with an air of excitement.

I’m really proud of the War Room. I’m really happy to have created a virtual place where writers can come to do their work. I’m really grateful to all of the writers who log in, who encourage each other, who share advice and woes, and who (most of the time) shut up and write together.

So Happy Birthday to the War Room, and thank you to Di Francis, Laura Anne Gilman, Michelle Sagara, Mikaela Lind, Karina Sumner-Smith, Chrysoula Tzavelas, Earl Miles, Robin Owens, Patricia Burroughs, and at *least* half a dozen more people I’m forgetting while I’m writing this post, for all of the words and the writing and the wars. I’m so glad you’re in there with me. ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


Picoreview: Insurgent

Picoreview: Insurgent: A lot better than Divergent.

This is damning with faint praise, as I thought Divergent was pretty awful, or possibly even worse than “pretty awful” in that you could see where it could possibly be good but MOSTLY what you saw was how it Wasn’t Hunger Games.

Insurgent didn’t have as much of that This Is What It’s Failing To Be feeling to it, so that helped a lot. It’s–pretty predictable, although there were a couple of nice twists, particularly with an unexpected action at the end that left me going “OH NO!”

You know what I think is maybe really nicest about it? There are so many female characters acting from, in, and outside of positions of power. There’s a pacifist who is no less strong or certain for her pacifism, there’s a megalomaniac and a dictator, a betrayed friend and the lead, Tris, who is a little too obviously The Solution (more so than Katniss; Katniss is The Solution because she’s thrust into an untenable position and bulls her way through, whereas Tris is literally genetically special), but who is consistent about taking on responsibilities and choices even when she’s clearly scared half to death.

So I thought–yeah. I liked this one a fair bit, really. I hope they make the rest of the series into movies. That said, if they don’t, it’s not a *bad* place to leave the story, and I can always read the books to see how it all ends up. :)

(Also, this one didn’t make me come home and write a proposal for my own post-apocalyptic dystopian young adult fantasy, which is just as well because nobody wants to buy the one I did write…)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)