newsletter issue #5; hello, october

tanvi berwah
Hello everyone, welcome to my birthday month! Yes, all of my brain’s nonsense comes from being a Libra sun. Everything you might ever want to know about me is literally on those [5 signs this insane person is a Libra] lists. I’m a stereotype, unfortunately.

UPDATE
Even by my standards, September was ghastly. I had a dip in health, and a depressive spiral which I’m still recovering from. At the end of every month, ever since I started doing these letters, I automatically tend to take an inventory of my writing. I was so sure it was gonna suck this time.
Except I re-wrote the short story I had finished earlier. I have a better, more cohesive draft, and really like the overall idea. I tend to focus on themes a lot more when dealing with short stories. Without that kind of cohesion, I think, short stories tend to float in space. Like an extracted chapter from a book, a sort of vignette that says nothing. ANYWAY not to digress, this isn’t even about short stories. Just the fact that somehow I did some actual, real work.
I also did a whole lot of work on the synopsis of Book #2, which I hope to send off to my agent and editor /soon/. See, I have Big Thoughts™ about the world in which MONSTERS is set. But those plans are entirely dependent on how Book #1 does, and my publisher, and well, you (no pressure). MONSTERS is a standalone, by the way. I’m very super inspired by the way Rory Power does stories: characters first. So for me, the character arc is the primary factor in any good story. But still!!! I just really want to write stories, maybe inter-connected, in this world for the immediate future. Yeah, we’ll see how this actually goes. The way you need so many factors out of your control working together to make a book. Smh.
Anyway we’re back to diving into edits this month. MONSTERS, having gone through so many levels of edits before, in its current state is the book that makes it deeply mine. Rage-y heroine et al. I’m very excited to dial that up to 100 and go into full YA mode (the short story was definitely not YA :thinking emoji:) with stupid things I absolute go feral over like pariah girl and golden boy! Angst! Holding a knife to throat! A ball! Of course there’s a ball! Argument over who’s a bigger idiot! Almost confessions in dark corners!
And my favorite: maybe-could-have-been-childhood-friends-to-rivals-to-friends-to-lovers!
As you can probably tell, not being able to talk in concrete details is killing me because I love this book so very much.
tanvi berwah
Meet MONSTERS BORN AND MADE's Koral of Sollonia and Dorian Akayan, contenders in the chariot tournament that takes lives but also grants glory. She's a pariah, desperate to save her family; he's a golden boy, ready for this day since he was a child.

GR: https://t.co/QO9KnzPMPE https://t.co/7mKm3HtILu
LINKS
  1. Kim Stanley Robinson: a climate plan for a world in flames: So, first, if you haven’t picked up a book by Kim Stanley Robinson, you absolutely must. He writes incredibly well-researched and detailed climate fiction, and advocates for fiction writers to think creatively, like did Ursula K. Le Guin, so we might inspire a world that can avert the crisis staring us all in the face. This article is a great introduction to his thinking.
  2. Velocity, Volume, Interval, and the New York Times Bestseller List: Veteran literary agent Kristin Nelson explains, or rather, shares the confusion we all have behind the inexact science of NYT Bestseller List. It’s a good read for authors and anyone wanting a look into what makes a book list. (Spoiler: who the fuck knows.)
  3. The shifting sands of COVID and our uncertain future has a name – liminality: Hate to talk the panini, but I feel like, with the seasons turning, mental health still all over the place for most of us, knowing what we are still dealing and the in-between space we are in is always helpful, whether as a person or as a creator.
Not knowing what next week will look like and finding ways to “tolerate ambiguity” is where we’re at right now. We can help ourselves by finding daily routines within our control, small moments of the day where we connect with a person, nature, or an activity that reminds us where we are and who we are.
SHOUTOUT
Congrats to my agent-sibling Amber McBride for making the 2021 National Book Awards longlist! If you haven’t picked up her novel-in-verse ME (MOTH) yet, please do. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking story of loss, grief, first love, hoodoo spiritualism and ancestral memories.
RECS
  1. To Break A Covenant by Alison Ames: Hello, do you want an absolutely chilling sapphic horror? Set in an abandoned mining town? This is literally one of the best YA fiction I have read. And if that’s not enough, it’s comped to Wilder Girls and Sawkill Girls. Like, please. What else could you ask for?
  2. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray: Did you somehow miss Ayana on Good Morning America on Tuesday? If you did, here’s me telling you: PICK UP THIS BOOK. It’s got magical beasts and a deep, horrifying jungle! I’m reading this right now and the world is so incredibly immersive. This is a must-have for anyone into YA fantasy.
Finally, many thanks to everyone who ignored the buckets of typos in my last letter, by the way. Y'all are way too nice lmao. Also, we cracked 500 adds on Goodreads!! THANK YOUUUUU!!!! Idk how many of you I owe a first-born now heh :)
Love and light. Take care <3
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah
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tanvi berwah
tanvi berwah @tanviberwah

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