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The Unexpected Shape Café

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4 contributions to The Unexpected Shape Café
What are your main writing struggles right now?
I'd love to get to know you and your current work-in-progress! What's your current writing project, and what are your main struggles right now with that project? Struggles could be creative, could be life-related, could be body, mind, heart, soul — anything that's keeping you from making your envisioned progress.
New comment 29d ago
3 likes • Jun 3
I'm about to start the second draft of my memoir! There are significant changes to make from the first draft, which does feel a bit intimidating. On the other hand, my writer friend I asked for feedback told me not to take anything out, that they wanted more and not less, which is extremely encouraging to hear when you're writing about your own life, and not sure how interesting it is to people who aren't your mother! Anyway, I think the trick will be to pick away at it every day, to zoom in on the specific problems in the draft that I want to solve, and while I don't want to ignore the "big picture", to not procrastinate too much by thinking about it in the abstract, but rather get into the manuscript document and experiment with my big picture issues within the draft itself.
Debut Novel Available for Pre-order!
Hi folks, I'm happy to announce that my debut novel Dear Haider is scheduled for publication on June 1, 2024, by Baraka Books! It's one of those stories that came to me fully formed in a flash, as I was recovering from a severe mental health crisis. I was at the time in school, but had a break between undergrad and grad school, and wrote most of the first draft in that two month period. I wasn't fully satisfied with my draft however, and due to the demands of grad school, left the manuscript alone for almost 5 years. Then, a close friend of mine, who works as a medical copywriter, generously offered to edit my manuscript with me. It was the pandemic, so we went on Zoom every Sunday and worked on 2-3 chapters for a few hours at a time, for a period of four months. I will be forever indebted to her. Then, I think I did things quite backwards. Instead of trying agents and big publishers first, which I didn't have confidence to shoot for, I submitted to two small presses. One of them, whose founder happened to be my parents' friend and neighbour, immediately made an offer. And the rest is history. I'm happy to share more about my writing/publishing journey, so if you're interested, let me know and feel free to ask questions!
New comment Jun 6
1 like • Jun 3
What an accomplishment—congratulations on all your hard work!
What are you reading?
Right now, I’m reading and rereading Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail, which is a comfort read for me—a sapphic romance novel. It’s interesting to go outside of my usual genres; I never read romance novels until very recently. At the same time, I’m reading a forthcoming memoir by Morgan Parker. What are you reading, and how are you feeling/thinking about it?
New comment Jun 3
0 likes • Jun 3
I just finished "Molly" by Blake Butler and wow. Some of his stylistic quirks annoyed me at the beginning, but they grew on me over time. This one feels like it may become a classic, and I don't say that very often. Time will tell...
Struggling with Exploring a Specific Idea
Hi ya’ll! Life has been very chaotic lately. But there has been some relief in the past few days and my “weekend” has started. And I really want to write something! I’ve written several essays… but they feel very vulnerable. Well, tbh, nonfiction I find is a very vulnerable subject and I don’t want to bear my wounds, relationships, and the like to people. I have been interested in writing fiction, but I have no idea what to write. I started a few stories, but they don’t light me up and I’ve abandoned them. How do you guys find a story that lights you up consistently? I’ve thought about forms of stories recently too; how I don’t have to write a novel per se, it could be a novel in verse, short story collection, graphic novel. I’m reading as diversely and as often as I can to find something that resonates with me… but once again, I am not finding anything to inspire me to write. All I know is that I have something to say. I just don’t know what it is or how to start. Any tips would be great. Thanks!
New comment 29d ago
2 likes • Jun 3
I'd suggest choosing a question to explore through fiction. It should be a question that matters to you deeply, and one that will take some real work to answer. Sheila Heti wrote a novel in order to decide whether to become a mother, for example. I'm considering exploring what the line is between hope and delusion in a fiction project. Having a compelling core to your story allows you to choose settings, characters, POV and events through the lens of what will help you explore your question. Of course, you don't need to have an answer at the end—the goal is a story, after all. But I think the process of searching for answers can be a useful way to ground a fictional project. Hope this helps!
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Kier Gray
13points to level up
writer, podcaster, rabbit dad

Active 42d ago
Joined Oct 4, 2023
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