Adam Israel

Adam Israel

An economy of words.


3-Minute Read

There are now four days until the Clarion write-a-thon begins on June 24th, where I will continue work on my novel-in-progress and attempt to add 30k new words over the course of six weeks.

It’s been a busy lead up to the write-a-thon because, frankly, I’ve been unfucking a few things structurally. Writing a novel feels a bit like building an engine from scratch when your only previous experience is with watching someone else do it. Sure, you know the processes and what’s important but putting all the pieces together in the right order is daunting. I’ve finally worked out what this novel needs, though, and started reorganizing what I have

It’s important that I have my workspace cluttered appropriately. Since I work and write in the same space, having familiar things around helps me slip into a creative mindset when I’ve spent a day doing other things. Among them are:


  • On Craft, Structure, and Career
    • Steering the Craft, by Ursula K. Le Guin
    • Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass
    • Booklife, by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Research, inspiration, or interesting and relevant:
    • Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchini: The Secret Female Pope, by Eleanor Herman
    • The Complete Book of Baby Names, by Lesley Bolton
    • The Magick of Aleister Crowley by Lon Milo Duquette
    • A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits, by Carol and Dinah Mack
    • Dark History of the Popes, by Brenda Ralph Lewis
    • Book of Lies, edited by Richard Metzger
    • The Dictionary of Mythology, by J.A. Coleman

Random things:

  • My favorite dice:
    • 1 d4
    • 2 d6
    • 2 d10
    • 1 d20
  • A mostly empty package of chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, and various art supplies
  • A bunch of notebooks filled with various notes and ideas.
  • A desktop-sized scratchpad
  • Graph paper
  • Dueling Eleventh Doctor figures w/TARDIS
  • Headphones
  • An empty bottle of Hakutsuru draft sake
  • A lot of 3×5 index cards
  • A cork board with notes from friends, inspirational quotes, and the Norse Crisis Flowchart
  • A map of Chicago
  • A map of the neighborhoods of Chicago

You might pick up on a few things about what I’m writing, based on what’s around my desk. If you like dark urban fantasy, tattoos and magic, secret histories of the church, angels, demons, and a good story, all I can say is, maybe you and I should be friends.

If you’re thinking of participating in the write-a-thon, we have nifty teams this year to egg you on encourage you when you’re feeling crestfallen. Also, and alternatively, you can sponsor me or one of the many writers. All the money goes to the Clarion Foundation, which uses the tax-deductible donations for things like student scholarships. It’s not too late!

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This website is the digital home of software engineer, author, and genealogist Adam Israel.