Go Vote!

Hey Pudding Shot readers,

Today’s post is just a quick message to encourage all American citizens among you to get out there and VOTE. It’s one of our most important rights as human beings, not just Americans, and it’s completely up to us to decide the results of this tumultuous election. Let’s make it count.

Sending love and strength to each one of you.


-The Pudding Shot Staff


NaNoWriMo: Tips and Tricks for Staying Alive and Typing

Completely unbelievably, this is my eighth year participating in the slightly horrifying, always interesting, yearly tradition known as National Novel Writing Month. For my first three years, I took the challenge very seriously and hit 50,000 words every November; after that, I felt I’d learned what NaNo was meant to teach me and became what is known as a “rebel” by setting my own goals. If you think you might be interested in writing a novel this month, here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Make a pact with yourself to not care about the quality of your novel.

This is the most important rule. NaNoWriMo invariably produces messy first drafts, not pristine manuscripts ready to be sent off to agents, and that’s why I always recommend this challenge to friends who are having trouble getting past their inner editors. If you’ve never finished a novel before, finishing NaNoWriMo will prove to you that you can do it, which is invaluable knowledge for anyone with bookish ambitions. It will also prove to you that writing is a process, and Stage One of that process is going to be (as mentioned) slightly horrifying.

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Three YA Books to Curl Up with for Utmost Autumn Hygge

Hygge, a Danish word that is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, is a concept that basically means “huddling up in front of a crackling log fire with a fuzzy blanket, a purring cat, and a bowl of cheese fondue, whilst rain patters outside, scented candles fill the house, and your favorite atmospheric music plays in the background”. That feeling of being totally, contentedly, hedonistically quiet, because that is your reward for living in a place where it gets cold during the year. Hygge fits in very well with the bookish life.

Here is a list of three young adult novels that embody the autumn spirit—perfect for a day off or a blustery November evening.


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On Writing, and Starting Fresh

I finished the final draft of my first “proper novel” (a phrase which here means “something I didn’t hate”) back in March. Although I’m really happy with it, for various reasons I’ve decided to stop querying it and concentrate instead on writing a new novel. Which… I’ve found… is a lot easier said than done.

Writing Proper Novel was kind of like being possessed. (Not that I ever have been possessed, cough cough whistle whistle, but I feel I’ve read enough fiction to know pretty well what it might be like.) Point being, the protagonist jumped into my head when I was only sixteen, immediately inserted herself as a side character in the (terrible) novel I was writing at the time, and refused to stop appearing in things until I wrote a novel about her. Which I eventually did. And now, I think, she’s finally happy, because she hasn’t shoved her way into anything ever since.

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Expecto Patronum!

Having unintentionally become Pudding Shot’s Harry Potter correspondent, I thought I would keep up my streak and discuss the much-anticipated Patronus quiz that blew up the Internet this week.


Like many childhood midnight release party attenders, I have a fairly distrusting relationship with Pottermore. From the news that the Sorting Test was rigged to keep any one house from getting overcrowded, to the endless teasers that didn’t usually result in much, to the sudden rehashing of the site that mostly meant lots of listicles, I’ve always felt it lacked a lot of the potential it had as the online home of Harry Potter news.

And yet. I love personality quizzes, the nature vs. nurture debate, and any kind of theory about what makes up our characters. I’m a hardcore MBTI enthusiast and have a wealth of thoughts about the Enneagram, although I’m a bit skeptical about its accuracy. The personality quizzes, beyond anything else, are what keep me coming back to Pottermore.

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Libby’s Boston Bookstour


I’ve just moved from Boston to the Washington DC area, where I grew up. While there are many things that excite me about returning home, there are also lots of things I’m going to miss, and perhaps the biggest of these is the bookstores. Boston’s independent bookstore scene is beyond incredible—almost every suburb has a books mecca of its own. Being a good former English major, I managed to stop by almost all of them. Here are my thoughts on some of the best places in Massachusetts to get books if you’re looking to support small businesses.

(Credit for this idea goes to my Denver Publishing Institute friend Zoe, whose wisdom, warmth, and love for stories took us across New York City on my first-ever bookstour. She’s blogged about one of our favorites, Books of Wonder, here.)

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