Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Find me elsewhere

I've officially decided to stop mirroring my blog content here on blogspot — sorry to all my subscribers on here, but it's just one extra step too many.

The official blog remains at www.maggiestiefvater.com/blog, and the unofficial one remains at Tumblr.

I'll leave the old posts up here as the critique partner finding ones, in particular, are still active.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Raven King Cover!

TADA. Here’s the cover for the last book in the Raven Cycle.
  The Raven King cover

Folks have been asking me what the actual release date is for quite awhile and I’ve been holding off until I got a definitive answer from Scholastic: it’s 4/26/16.

If you want to pre-order a signed book with an illustrated Something Extra (more about that later), Fountain Bookstore is the place to go: http://www.fountainbookstore.com/autograph-maggie.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

In Which Stiefvater Stops Being Such a ******e about NaNoWriMo

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 8.46.40 PM
Dear michiefen,

Traditionally, I have been somewhat of an ******e about NaNoWriMo. I began being an ******e about it in 2010, when I tried to use NaNo to write The Scorpio Races, and persisted in being somewhat of an ******e for years. We hissed at each other in the halls. NaNoWriMo stabbed my tires in the Target parking lot. I squeezed pimples into its Starbucks latte.

But this year I was driving along in my car shortly before it caught fire and I was thinking about NaNoWriMo, and in this blessed and liminal space I realized that my problem with NaNoWriMo was that I was too old. No, not too old. Too world-weary. No. Not too world-weary. It was just — I had spent too many years securely in the saddle to remember what it was like to be unable to even get a foot in the stirrup. I didn’t remember what it was like not knowing if you could actually finish a novel, because I had finished my first novel long, long ago (I was 11 or so. It was terrible. The first chapter was about dogs test-driving a car). I had lots of problems with my writing, but none of them involved the question of whether or not I could hit 50,000 words in a month. The question was not if I could make a word count. It was if I could make that word count story-shaped.

I probably still have that problem.

Anyway, this year, I can recognize that many writers are existing in that stage of still finding their stirrups, even if I will not be joining you in the official NaNoWriMo trenches. And in light of my early writing days, I do have a tip: don’t begin writing until you know one of these two things:

 1) your ending*

 2) why you’re writing this novel**


*If you’re trying to use NaNoWriMo to get better at writing, I’d recommend trying to write a complete story during the month of NaNo, even if it is less than 50k. I wrote a lot of fiction before I hit college, and the novels that taught me the most are the ones I actually made it to the end of. The one that taught me the least is the one I simply revised eleven times. As I learned from my time atMerry Sisters of Fate, my collaborative short story blog, you learn a lot more about story-making when you have to do all parts of it instead of just lovingly polishing the ugly seams out of something written by a less sophisticated version of yourself.

**Sometimes you don’t know the end of the story because you don’t know how the characters are going to play out and nothing you imagine for them feelstrue. You need to write it out. In this case, I recommend knowing why you’re writing the story so that you can return to that mission statement again and again as a touchstone.

After every chapter you write, ask yourself if that chapter has gotten you closer to 1 or 2. And if the answer is no, delete it. Start again the next day. Don’t be afraid to delete it just because you need the wordcount. A really inspired writing session can give you 10-30k words in a night. It’s always better to chase the story than the wordcount.

 And don’t get freaked out. If you don’t make it, you can always post a surly Dear John letter on the internet for the next three or four years. It worked for me.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Matt Sobel Set to Direct The Scorpio Races for Focus Features

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 3.44.54 PM

matt sobel


stiefvater normandy

  Details here!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tarot Deck Release

I always forget to update the site with the bonus stuff that accompanies releases, so I'm feeling pretty virtuous for remembering to do it this time.

My tarot deck comes out September 8th in the U.S., a month later overseas. I've done a bonus card that'll come with every order placed with my friends at Fountain Bookstore. A lot of my bonus stuff is for pre-order only, but every tarot order from Fountain will come with a card forever and always, but the pre-ordered decks (every order placed before the 8th) will have a signed card.

 I've never worked with this printer before, so I'm not sure how they'll turn out, but fingers crossed.

  Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.13.57 AMstiefvater tarottumblr_nlq5xy172k1rk5a9yo5_1280

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Look, Do You Want This, or Not?

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Dear jeschas,

When I was something that lived in the 80s, I used to listen to Everybody Wants to Rule the World and daydream about one day being grown up and famous. I’m only vaguely grown up now, but I’m only vaguely famous, too, so that’s all right.

One will never get famous surfing Pinterest or Tumblr.

This is how I get myself to my writing place: I take myself there and I do the work. Sometimes I picture it as a movie. Sometimes I narrate it to myself. Sometimes I play music. Sometimes I write it longhand; sometimes I do it standing on my desk; sometimes I recite it out loud to myself while driving in the car. Sometimes I scratch it into my hand whether or not I have a pen. I do whatever trick I think I have to take this abstract thing and turn it into a concrete thing.

 Here’s the thing about being a writer, or a musician, or an artist, or any sort of creative person. The ones who make it are the ones who make themselves do it. They’re the ones who practice even when it seems like they aren’t getting any better. They’re the ones who open up their work-in-progress when their friends are going out hey-are-you-coming-with-us — even if they know that thisnovel is not the one that will be good enough to get published, because they know that practice is the only way to get to the one that will be good enough to be published. They’re the ones who send out query letters and hear no and they send out more query letters and they hear no again and they send out query letters and they hear no again. They’re the ones that hear no as not yetand nothing is ever a failure, it’s only a complicating plot point in the arc of their life. They’re the ones who realize that there’s no point tricking your way into publication, because the point is to write something other people fall in love with; that’s what being a successful storyteller is. They’re the ones who are hungry for it. No, they’re the ones who are starving for it.

They’re a little unhinged.

Everyone else is everyone else.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On Being Quite a Character

question for stiefvater 
Dear bleep-blop-bedroom-pop,

When I was a small and angry child, I used to pass my time in a variety of creative pursuits: making masks out of paper plates, writing stories with names like Bone at the Pound*, making paper dolls of my family, digging up the entire side yard and terraforming it into a miniature mud-and-stick village for one inch tall inhabitants, and grooming my terriers into the ridiculous shapes that the American Kennel Club mandated for show-readiness.

*this sounds like it should be the kind of fanfiction one can easily find on Tumblr, but I swear it was actually about a dog actually at a facility for lost animals.

The creative activity I’d like to call your attention to is the making of paper dolls. There were many iterations of these over the years. The early ones were fanciful and looked nothing like my family, the middling ones looked precisely like my family, and the final ones merely used my family’s faces for models. By the time I got to the last set that I can remember — a rather elaborate extended family entirely appareled in clothing accurate to 1910-1920 — I had learned to use what I could from reality and invent the rest as it suited the greater good.

This is how I tend to think about the concept of putting yourself into a novel. My early novels were about characters who looked nothing like me, the middling ones were characters who accidentally looked too much like me, and the final ones occasionally had characters with a quite strong and intentional resemblance to myself in them.

The important word in all of this is intentional.

You can put as much or as little of yourself into a novel as you would like so long as you are aware of what you’re doing and are able to make yourself into an actual character, not merely a biased facsimile of yourself. This can be a harder task to accomplish than it sounds; we humans are not very good at being objective about ourselves. It’s far easier to steal someone else’s life or personality and realize which parts you can edit out because they aren’t useful to the narrative. It’s also far easier to realize why someone else might be the way they are. Oh, you say to yourself, it’s obvious that this other person has developed an aversion to authority because of the influence of this other person in their childhood! Far harder to search your own soul and realize why you are the way you are — to realize why you have your most basic guiding principles. The analysis, which you’ll need for creating any character, asks for a somewhat awe-inspiring level of self-awareness if you’re talking about stylizing yourself.

You also need to be able to chuck the parts of you and your life story that don’t serve the story. It doesn’t matter how important they were to your life. If they don’t fit the story, out they come. If you aren’t able to think of yourself as a character, to stylize, to shape yourself into narrative, and if you aren’t willing to edit and change that character until the youness may indeed be unrecognizable, don’t do it. Save it for your autobiography (mine will be called EVERYTHING MUST GO: THE MAGGIE STIEFVATER STORY).

The final thing I will say is to be certain you are making only one character into you, otherwise you’ll end up with an entire paperdoll family bearing your face and they’ll all look the same when you dress them up in their World War I uniforms for that riveting game of Let’s Play Everyone Gets Trench Foot.

Also, I suggest changing your name, unless it really is an autobiography. Otherwise everyone will say, “Bleep-blop-bedroom-pop, did you base bleep-blop-bedroom-pop on yourself?”


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