Tag Archives: Spalding University

NaNoWriMo and my burfday!

Most of you in the writing world have heard of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who haven’t, it’s a month long stab at writing a novel, or at least 50,000 words of it.

NaNoWriMo started in 1999, but I didn’t hear about it until middle 2000s. It’s gained in strength and popularity each year since it began and I’ve thought about doing it nearly every year since I heard about it. You see, the idea isn’t that you complete a 50,000 word draft of the next best thing, ready to be published right then and there. The idea is that you get the words on the page so that you’ll have something to work with, to revise.

It’s a great idea for those who like to call themselves “writer” but do no actual writing (I’ve known quite a few of those people in my day!), or for those who write, but have problems with the “solo” aspect of it and need the deadlines and the encouragement. And by that I mean the idea seems particularly geared to those sorts.

It wasn’t until last week that I realized the “rules” for NaNoWriMo are actually quite flexible: you can have your work “plotted” out as long as you haven’t actually written any of the actual text. Of course, there is no real way to adjudicate that…and there are no “prizes” for those who are successful except the feeling of success and accomplishment.

As I said, though, the thought of being pushed through an entire month (though why they chose November, with THANKSGIVING stuck there at the end confounds me) and watching the word counts of your writing pals rise…has been intriguing.

And so after my fellow Spalding alum and writing pal Kat Shehata tossed out the gauntlet…eh, I picked it up…and so I’m giving it a try this year. In fact, I should probably be writing on it now instead of writing this. If you’re participating, my username is rolandmann. Send me a buddy request and I’ll cheer you on as well.

And oh. It’s my birthday. Those of you on Facebook saw that my wife hacked my account! I’m hoping to be able to get back on soon!


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Spalding reunion the first

I had the fantastic opportunity to return to my Alma Mater this past week and what an incredible time I had. First, I was honored to take part in a panel of Young Adult Alumni on the Care and Tending of Books. Also on the panel was (my good friend and fantastic writer) Marjetta Geerling, Cory Jackson, Kelly Creagh, Edie Edith Hemingway, Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. There were six of us total and each of us had a slightly different story to tell. Dunno if they were just being kind, but several attendees mentioned they thought it was one of the better of the residency.

Those who frequent this spot know that I highly recommend the Spalding MFA program for Writing (Yes, I also teach in an MFA program, but we teach Writing for Entertainment and don’t even cover prose or poetry…so it’s very much non-competitive kind of thing). My experience there was a far better experience than I had with my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. Spalding has a very “nurture the writer” mentality, not smash them upside the head and make them feel horrible one.

Rebekah J. Harris, me, Marjetta Geerling

As part of my trip there, I got to participate in the Homecoming festivities for the MFA program. While it was my first homecoming, it certainly wasn’t the first homecoming for the university or program. Part of the festivities includes what’s called the SPLoveFest, a short period of time when Alumni get to set up at a table and peddle their wares—mostly recently published books of one sort or another. I set up at one of the tables and displayed several of my comic series, including the graphic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Ever the classics, they were popular amongst my more literary brethren at Spalding. I was further excited that several asked about my as-yet-to-be-published The Interns. No news on that yet, but stay tuned.

A couple of you noted that I did not blog last week. I apologize for that. We are trying to sell our home in Oxford so that we can effect a move to Orlando and the task of continually keeping the house ready to show just caused me to let that date slip right on by me. I’ll try not to let it happen again. I’ve got more material for Writer’s Mistakes in the not too distant future, weaned, of course, from my students and just from around the internet.

I’ll be appearing at the Gideon Media Festival again this year August 11-16. There is a comic contest available (as well as some other contests if the dates haven’t already passed), so go check it out. Additionally, I’ll be appearing at the Karitos in July (12-14) [like them on FB here]. Still working out the details for this one, but I’m looking forward to them both. Check them out!

Photo is YA author Rebekah J. Harris, me, and Marjetta Geerling, courtesy of Rebekah.

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Some upcoming fun!

So I promised this a couple of weeks ago and I’m delivering so that I’ll be good on my word. Most of you know that I try to keep myself busy attending comiccons and writers conferences (as speaker and sometimes attendee) and this year is shaping up nicely. I mentioned MidSouthCon in Memphis last week, and I had a great time. If you missed it, you missed a fun time.

A fun thing I’ll be doing this coming weekend is reenacting at the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Shiloh. Brett will be going with me and it will be his first “major” reenactment (by major, I mean there are over 5000 reenactors signed up, and about 117 canons will be booming!). If you have an interest in this period of our history, I urge you to come out and watch. It’s incredible to see an event this big—you’ll feel like you’ve time traveled. If you come out and look for me, I’ll be wearing grey on Saturday and blue on Sunday.

Then on April 19-21, I’ll be mentoring and leading the 2nd annual Spring Hemingway Writers Retreat at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Education Center in Piggott, Arkansas, where Hemingway briefly made his home. This is a great way for writers to escape for a bit and focus on writing. Not laundry, writing!

On May 24-26, I’m going to return to my alma mater Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky to participate in a panel on author promotion on that Thursday, and then what’s called the SP Love Fest on Friday. The LoveFest is a showcase of the creative works of Spalding students and alum. This is the second time for the event, but the first time I’ve been able to participate.

In July, I’ll be one of the faculty members at Karitos, a Christian Media Arts Conference at Wheaton Academy in West Chicago. I’ve never been there before, but an old college buddy of mine, Justice Carmon, is also part of the faculty and I’m very excited to be a part of it this year.

In August, I’ll return to the Gideon Media Arts Festival in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I’ll be part of the faculty in the…actually, I’m not sure what the section is called now. It was Graphic Arts last year, but it’s been slightly reorganized and retitled to accommodate the growth of the conference. Hopefully one of the organizers will read this and correct me and help me out. I had a blast there last year and met many talented folks.

Whew! But I’m looking forward to all of them! Hope to see some of you at some of them! Come say hi!

MidSouthCon report next time.


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