Tag Archives: Emilie Staat

Sisters in NaNoWriMo

A photo of your bloggers, taken by Aimee's son

By Emilie

In 2007, I did NaNoWriMo for the first time. I sent out the e-mail the organizers suggest, warning friends and family of what you are about to attempt and asking them for encouragement and accountability. My sister Aimee got that e-mail and was my biggest cheerleader that year.

We wrote together as kids. It came naturally to us both to tell stories together and to write them down. I wrote about this experience going into NaNoWriMo 2009, never realizing how much it had formed me until the story flowed out of me.

Aimee attempted NaNoWriMo alongside me in 2008, but we both failed to write the full 50,000 words. However, we have now supported each other to TWO NaNoWriMo wins in 2009 and 2010. I’ve learned more from Aimee’s wins than I have from my own (and I learn a lot from my own). She gets behind every year and only her determination to keep going brings her across the finish line.

And we’re hoping to win again in 2011, but it’s a bit different this year. Because now we’re writing together again. We’ve been talking about a story for a few months and at 12:01 on November 1st, we began writing.

Our first word counts were modest, under 1,000 each. But we wrote hundreds of words in a half hour. We began construction on a world and a few people who hadn’t existed were born.

Despite the enormous hurdles that always come with this wicked and crazy challenge, I feel more excited than ever because I am writing again with my original collaborator. It makes me feel like a kid again and that all things are possible, if we only just get started.

By Aimee

As I sit here trying to write about NaNoWriMo (instead of writing for it), my son is lying next to me hot with fever, coughing intermittently, and breathing with difficulty.  This is my fourth NaNoWriMo beginning, and the fourth time my son has decided to be ill on Nov. 1.  Already wholly unprepared for it to be November again, I feel almost defeated before I’ve begun (okay, shortly after I’ve begun).  Almost. Because this year, I agreed to partner with my sister. Write a novel together. Just like when we wrote stories on notebook paper and No. 2 pencils. When Emilie used an eraser. Gasp. I was excited about it even. Until about a week ago. Sure, let me add one more deadline in the ocean of deadlines that is my life. Insecurity. Doubt. Panic. I haven’t prepared. I didn’t know it was November already. I’m not a writer anymore. I spend my days reading manuscripts, not writing them. It’s only Nov. 1, and I’m already exhausted. At least my son is finally sleeping.

Where was I? Oh, writing. I’ve thought about what the past NaNoWriMos have done for me and how Emilie has encouraged me, challenged me, inspired me, and kicked my butt to keep me writing. But as I write, what really matters to me this year isn’t any of those things (even though I am grateful every day for those same things—they’ve changed my future). When I think of this year’s novel—our novel—I see two little girls with No. 2 pencils. Two little girls in love with a good story. Who decided that they had their own stories to tell. I’m honored to be here with you again, Emie. But let me warn you, I’ve decided I won’t be writing this November. Thanks yet again for the reminder that it’s so much simpler. What is better than a good story?

Break out the pencils. I’m ready to tell a story.

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November 1, 2011 · 11:54 pm

Fess Up Thursday – Performing Arts

So, thanks to the Peauxdunque folks, I had a baby epiphany about an early section of my book. Just a little insert, but I’m excited about it. It’s even more remarkable when you consider I’d gone straight to our meeting from a 13-hour work day and I was beat (sorry, y’all!).

I guess I should do my due diligence and inform everybody that I’m reading for the first time in forever, as part of the LSU Day Celebration. Not only am I not alone, I’m in super-excellent company. The official lineup is thus:

Jamey Hatley
Chris Shipman
Emilie Staat
Claire Dixon
Vincent Cellucci
Ben Lowenkron
Ronlyn Domingue
Kristin Sanders

When: Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Allen Hall 102 (LSU Campus)

[5:20 p.m. edit: Oh, niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Two seconds after I do my due diligence and blog about my up-coming reading, the whole freaking LSU Day gets postponed till fall because of bad weather. Of course it got canceled–er, postponed. I was actually prepared, for once. 🙂 I thought I was an all-growed-up writer person, knowing what I was going to read and all that jazz. Then, the universe decided to BLAM! some weather at my best-laid plans. Well. The people on the roster above still rock, just FYI. Check them out if and when you can.]

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Filed under bragging on, Fess Up Friday, Friends, literature, writing updates

Getting to brag on some friends

On Wednesday, I opened up my e-mail newsletter of Publisher’s Lunch and read a hysterical blurb for a recently-sold book, realizing that the recently-sold book is by one of my first fiction teachers at LSU! We’d caught up a few years ago at AWP and through Facebook, so I got to congratulate her the old fashioned personal way (if not old fashioned face-to-face) and now I’m congratulating her publicly and *commanding* all of you to write down the name of this book, cause you’re going to love it:

Robin Becker‘s BRAINS: a zombie memoir, the first-person account of a college professor-turned-zombie who retains his sentience and recruits others like him on a heroic quest to fend off the living while searching for the meaning of un-life, to Gabe Robinson at Harper, in a nice deal, for publication in Summer 2010, by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary Management (NA).

Then, on Friday, it came to my attention that finalist results for the Faulkner-Wisdom awards were up on the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society website. Without further ado, congratulation shout-outs to:

Maurice Ruffin (short story finalist, still in the competition), Jenn Nunes (novel-in-progress finalist as well as short story semi-finalist), Jane Stubbs (novel-in-progress finalist), Susan Kirby-Smith (novel-in-progress finalist), Penelope Dane (novel-in-progress finalist), Mark Spitzer (novel finalist and husband to Robin Becker above), Missy Wilkinson and yours truly (finalists for the novel category).

In Maurice’s Facebook note “A Fine Time to Be a Teller of Tales,” he said something that really struck me:

…I think this news is proof that we have a strong community of writers in New Orleans. I also think that 100 years from now people will look back at the stuff we made and ask “what on Earth was going on in New Orleans?” “Jamey Hatley and Emilie Staat were coffeeshop mates?” “Maurice Ruffin knew Terri Stoor?” “Bartlett and Marston wrote a novel together…via the internet? That’s crazy.”

I’m so glad to be included in such a constellation of bright lights and so very proud of everybody, especially all those LSU folks. Jamey Hatley won the novel in progress award just a little while ago, as did my dear friend Mary McMyne, both of whose novels are *highly* anticipated. I can’t tell you how honored I’ve always been to be among such talented people, to get the chance to learn from them.

And then there’s Barb Johnson, who recently won the highly prestigious Gift of Freedom and whose book More of This World or Maybe Another is out in October. Write that title down as well.

And these are just a handful of the folks who have big, bright news about their writing at the moment. We have such a great community of incredible writers here in South Louisiana. I look forward to lots more news in the near and foreseeable future and I also anticipate seeing many of these folks at Words & Music and the Louisiana Book Festival, if not sooner. Can’t wait! Congratulations everybody!

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Filed under book news, bragging on, Friends, New Orleans