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newsletter issue #1; how i got my agent part 1

tanvi berwah
Hello!
Exciting news! I have a newsletter!!!
So, as someone who loves newsletters, this is pretty nerve-wracking lmao. I must remember to use proper caps and punctuation, which is a very unhinged practice in my opinion. Do you think Akbar the Great cared about proper grammar? No. (He couldn’t read, actually.)
For those of you who are new here (here as in @ me, bc I’m sure pretty much all of you are new to this rambling), HI I’M TANVI (tan-vee). I used to cover pop-culture for media outlets, especially focusing on The Hunger Games and it was the coolest whole f-ing decade of my life, and now I write stories. I mean, I always wrote stories, now I also get paid to do it!
Anyway, in my announcement for this newsletter, I made some lofty promises, and I Shall Deliver.

For writers
How I Got My Agent, Part 1
So I went back and forth between writing an essay about getting representation and something to lead into it, finally settling on this format. Age has been a weird contentious issue on writing twitter, where you constantly see younger demographics freaking out over not having achieved something by the time they’re 20, 21, 25. It is extremely unhealthy and unfortunately very common.
I have been there, as this list explains. And for what it’s worth I’m finally at a place where I know that at 30, I am actually not old at all?? Ageism is not good for anyone, and I hope this slightly helps with that.
  1. Age 7 - Write my first short story about a birthday girl who devoured all the chocolate cookies before her party begins. My dad edits it, teaches me how some words can mean two different things and how much power a single well-placed word can hold. As someone who doesn’t speak English at the time, this is a miracle.
  2. Age 10 - Meet Harry Potter. Find a sense of self within those books, realize that real people write books, and maybe I can be one of those one day. [Later, cry into pillows late at nights wishing the creator wasn’t as evil batshit as she turned out to be. But understand that these books still mean the world to me and always will, that hag will not take my sense of self away.]
  3. Age 11-14 - Spend all the time writing in every single spare second at home and at school. Work on my English.
  4. Age 16-18 - Tentatively start learning about publishing in America.
  5. Age 19 - Finish Nanowrimo novel, make a mock cover, and dream big dreams. Promise myself I won’t quit–aren’t all the ones who make it people who persevered?
  6. Age 23-24 - Get my Masters and start decolonizing my education, my literature, my language.
  7. Age 25 - Write an assassin fantasy that I still love. Query it to everyone. Get some interest, even an R&R! Figure out I don’t actually know shit. Try PitchWars, don’t get in. Get sad, but really don’t understand how much as a brown non-American woman I will be gatekept. For a while, wonder if I’m too late–I haven’t made anything of myself and I’m already 25 (??), I have nothing to show for all the dreams I’ve always had.
  8. Age 26 - Write a The Wrath and the Dawn-inspired romantic fantasy, get in Author Mentor Match, and learn that what I thought was my biggest writing strength is only surface level. Learn about worldbuilding, specifically. Find out publishing only wants one of a diverse thing. Get madder, but get a better understanding of how capitalism works. Mental health starts spiraling and I’m unable to figure out how to protect myself. I don’t think it’s for publishing reasons, but I’m sure the lack of progress isn’t helping matters.
  9. Age 27 - Write another fantasy with a very cool world, that I realize later isn’t executed as well as the idea really deserves to. Try PitchWars, get requests, get personalized feedback. Super encouraged! Mental health still spiraling. Feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff. All I’ve had is rejections, and look at all the other shiny debut writers! Clearly they’re all better than I will ever be. Maybe I should quit. Or pull back, at least. But I can’t. I promised myself I would persevere. Small voice at the back of my mind asks: and what if this was never for you? What if all of this is futile?
  10. Age 27-28 - While fighting inner demons, struggling with my mental health, wanting to quit, wanting to persevere, wanting to disappear, get the idea for the world of Monsters Born and Made.
Part 2 Next Time: The process of writing Monsters Born and Made and how it was different from the previous manuscripts.
For readers
My updates for MONSTERS are definitely going to be sparse for now because I’m not allowed to share most of it, rip.
What I will confirm is that as of now, it is a standalone. From the beginning (January 2018, holy shit) this story was strange; world-heavy, but focused entirely on this one girl. What does that mean? It means that this is a world that can have countless stories, it’s a lived-in well-worn world. As I mentioned above, it was the world of Ophir that came to me first. But the soul of this particular story is in this girl.
This is a story of struggling with the status quo, being afraid of change, and finally breaking chains. It’s not clean, in fact it’s ugly, and the heart of my main character is a confused place. But I really hope you like what I tried to do in this narrative.
Here’s the PM deal report in case you haven’t seen it.
Links
  1. Our desert islands: Matt Bluemink likens our pandemic isolation to desert islands across the seas, and how we might learn to connect as we step into the future.
  2. For Torrey Peters, Beauty Is a Perpetual State of Discovery: Detransition, Baby author Torrey Peters wrote a wonderful short essay on encountering beauty.
  3. YA Anthologies Bring Diverse Voices Together: Editors and writers discuss the rise of YA anthologies and how they go about producing these interesting collections.
If we are formed by isolation, then we must ask ourselves what comes after isolation? As we emerge from the pandemic, we have to decide what kind of islands we will choose to live on in the future.
Shoutout
Congratulations to Rachel Griffin on her book birthday!! The Nature of Witches hits bookshelves today, January 1. I’m so excited to pick it up!
Tor.com
We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from @TimesNewRachel's THE NATURE OF WITCHES — a YA fantasy about a climate maintained by magic, publishing June 1st with @SourcebooksFire https://t.co/teHjoUSD7W
Recs
Books:
  1. Dial A For Aunties: This is the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a while. This story read like the perfect mash-up of comic exaggerations from Asian shows, while also exploring themes of family and identity. It’s also a murder mystery. You have to read this to find out why and how.
  2. Fire: The second book in the Graceling series, and I know I’m extremely far too late about this. I’m not sure why I never got around to reading the rest of the books in the series at the time, but whatever, I’m so glad I picked this up. It fired up my fantasy-loving brain after so long. The pandemic changed my reading tastes, as for a lot of us, and finding a book that re-ignited my love of high fantasy makes this one of my all-time favs now. If you, like me, somehow missed this, I highly rec checking it out.
Shows:
  1. The Way of the Househusband: In short, an ex-Yakuza leader is now a house husband, and it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen. Right now there’s a bunch of short moving-manga type animated episodes available on Netflix, and the live action should be coming soon too!
  2. Ragnarok: A Norwegian fantasy show set in a remote town with gorgeous cinematography about the continuing war between Norse gods and giants in the contemporary world. Super engaging, and just beautiful to look at. And for the original Skam viewers, you’ll recognize familiar faces in this!
Okay that’s it for now! See you next month!! Tell your friends about this if you want and I’ll owe you my first born!!!! (I don’t know what possible use witches make of first-borns but you do you!!)
Love and light. Take care <3
(Also, I guess I’ll just say it: I promise not to spam because ew.)
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Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah
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tanvi berwah
tanvi berwah @tanviberwah

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