Monday, April 2, 2012

Writers and Their Superstitions

photo credit: Nicole McInnes

From writing longhand with a favorite pen to never allowing another person to see one's work until a draft has reached a certain point of coherence, the lines between superstition, ritual and simple habit can sometimes get blurry for writers.
Here on The Lucky 13's blog, we celebrated some amazing YA novels that were released in March, so it's to those authors we'll go for a look at some common and not-so-common superstitions.
Jill Hathaway, author of the newly released SLIDE, had this to say in her Lucky 13s interview with Debra Driza: "I'm super paranoid of losing my work, so I hit save like every five seconds and constantly email drafts to myself."
And Gina Damico, author of the newly-released CROAK, had this to say when Lucky 13s author Brandy Colbert asked her about her favorite superstition: "I like the one that says if your noses itches, you're going to kiss a fool. Then again, I'm constantly surrounded by fools, so that's kind of a given, isn't it?"
When Elsie Chapman asked the author of SEEING CINDERELLA, about superstition, Jenny Lundquist's response brought me right back to my childhood: "Did anybody play Bloody Mary during sleepovers with their friends? If you didn't, it's this game where you walk into a dark bathroom with your friends, stare into the mirror, and try to see if you can find Bloody Mary staring back at you. I played it with my friends, and it scared me to death. To this day, if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I refuse to look in the mirror." I'm right there with you, Jenny.
And I love what Elisa Ludwig, author of the newly-released PRETTY CROOKED said when Kristen Kittscher asked her the same question: "I have a metallic pine cone paperweight on my desk that my writing teacher Beverly Coyle gave me in college and I really like to have that close at hand. I'm fairly superstitious about which cafes I work in and which tables I'll sit at in those particular places...Either way, every step of the journey to publication pretty much feels like a lottery, so whatever kind of luck any of us can summon is helpful!"
When interviewed by Elsie Chapman, Lissa Price, author of STARTERS, said simply, "I try not to sit with my back to the entrance door." Which of course begs the question of whether she is or is not a YA author by day and an international spy by night.
E.C. Meyers, author of FAIR COIN, had this to say when questioned by Elle Cosimano: "I avoid walking under ladders or breaking mirrors, and black cats in my path make me a little nervous, but those don’t really affect my writing. I do believe in luck though, which helps me when I have work out on submission. I make the story as good as I can, and I do my research and put in the effort needed to get it out there, but then I accept that what happens to it next is largely out of my control."
So, what say you, Readers? What are some of YOUR personal superstitions - writing-related or otherwise?
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Nicole McInnes' Contemporary YA novel, BRIANNA ON THE BRINK, will be released Fall 2013 from Holiday House. Visit her at Nicole McInnes: The Blog and follow her on Twitter!








11 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?
    David

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  2. I type my MSS on the laptop, but any notes I make have to be done in black biro – a very specific type of black biro! This is because I wrote my first ever 'novel' with one when I was 13, and well… yeah. I know. I'm weird. ;)

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    1. Love it, Emma! I think it's great when anyone writes in longhand anymore.

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  3. I am not superstitious as a writer, but I was in a serious accident on Friday the 13th years ago. I just tend to stay home on those days, now!

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    1. Wow, that's awful. I don't blame you for acknowledging the date by just staying put.

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  4. Ever since I was a teen, when I finish a first draft, I sit in my kitchen all alone and drink a cup of tea. And I think about how good it feels to accomplish something big. Not a superstition, just a ritual I follow. It lets me know I'm done (for now!).

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    1. Claire, I think it's so important to mark accomplishments like that. Otherwise, things like draft completion can so easily get lost in the day-to-day shuffle. I may have to try your tea ritual when I have a finished draft of my current WIP. :-)

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  5. I'm another one who constantly hits command S every 5-10 seconds. I'm paranoid after losing a few files (some of them rather large) many years ago. Most of those files were lost or became locked because of disk bugs, but I still can't take any chances.

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    1. I do that, too, Carrie-Anne. I also email draft additions and revisions to myself and save them on an external hard drive. I know - paranoid much? :-)

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  6. Great round-up, Nicole! It's fun to see these all lined up.

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  7. Writers are so awesomely weird. We make the world a more interesting place. Or at the least, our households!

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