Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stepping off a cliff

The minutes crawled before I rappelled for the first time.

It took forever to get to the cliffside. I watched while ropes were secured, harnesses checked and doubled-checked, gear adjusted. (I swear it was in slow motion.) I nodded (also in slow motion) while the whole process was explained to me.

But the entire time, part of my brain (probably the part devoted to Survival) kept returning to the fact that I was going to step backward off a cliff. A cliff that looked much, much taller now that I was standing on top of it.

I was about to step. Off. A. Cliff.

Which is sort of how I feel about NaNoWriMo. I am so not the sort of person who pounds out prose and then thinks I'm finished once I type "The End". Or that it's revised if I spell check it.

I'm the one who obsesses over what I write, who loves revision.

Who hasn't finished this completely new plotline of my novel because I take so long writing. Who has been very busy these past few weeks with her new job, and has a perfectly legitimate excuse for just going to bed instead of writing. Whose brain has whispered every day this week that I have committed myself to writing over 1,500. Words. A. Day.

Who, ultimately, can't revise until she's got new material to revise.

So I'm gonna do this whole NaNoWriMo thing, just like the rappelling. When I rappelled, backing over the edge of that cliff was the hardest part. The rest of the trip down felt like flying.

I think committing to NaNoWriMo will be the easiest part- I don't expect much flying after that. I am however, at the top of a cliff looking down. I might not love the trip before me, but I'm already anticipating the moment when my feet touch bottom.

November 30 can't come soon enough. December 1, I start revising.

How about you? Do you have to push to write new material? Or does it start to feel like work when you edit?

And what do you do to keep going?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest

I just found a link to the Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest. Here's the description from the website:

Serendipity Literary Agency, in collaboration with Sourcebooks and Gotham Writers' Workshop, is hosting its first Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition for a chance to win a one-on-one consultation with one of New York's leading YA literary agents!

The contest is open the entire month of November in honor of NaNoWriMo.

So, are you going to enter? Let me know...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lately, I Feel Like a Writer

Because I don’t get paid to do this all day long, I often don’t feel I have the right to call myself a writer. But lately, I lay full claim to that title. Why? Because I’m earning it. For the past two weeks I have had my butt in this chair every day for at least a couple of hours. (I do have a job and a toddler.) And I’m not browsing the internet. (Haven’t seen a post from me in a while, have you?) I am sweating and bleeding onto the page. I am toiling over words. It feels fantastically awful and awfully fantastic, depending on when you ask me.

I’m feeling like a writer because I’m pushing through the tough parts. A few days ago, I plunged into the next chapter of revisions and found I had to rewrite an entire scene. I sat down and wrote it, and it was really, really bad.

Usually, I would be so discouraged by this initial failure that it would take me a few days to face the page again. But this time, I went right back to it the very next day. I worked it. Then I moved on. And it’s better. Not perfect, but better. I can live with that.

I’m feeling like this is my job that I go to every day without question, without stalling, without excuses. Inspiration doesn’t make me feel like a writer. Working at it every day does. Hey, I may finish this novel yet!

When do you most feel like a writer?

I hope all of the NaNoWriMo participants out there will also feel like writers very soon, if you don’t already.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Plan B it is

Today I talked through the NaNoWriMo stuff with my husband. He convinced me that Steph and Joan may be right. I trekked down to the basement and found the diary and scrapbook, as well as a couple of other things from that fifth grade event. So I'm going to try writing that story. From two points of view. One will be a fictionalized version of my own POV, and the other of a friend who was there. We'll see what happens.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Google readers versus following blogs

Just out of curiosity, how many of you follow blogs in Google Reader? Are they the same blogs you follow publicly, or are they different?

I follow a bunch of blogs, but also have them in my Google Reader. I also read or at least skim a lot more in Reader. Some I'm just checking out for a while and have yet to decide whether I like enough to be a follower. Others are in a format that's easier to follow that way because they are LiveJournal or something other than Blogger accounts.

I've noticed our follower numbers are about the same in both Reader and on here, but I don' t know how to account for the overlap. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Did anyone notice

the NaNoWriMo widget in the right margin? I have signed up. Last night at our meeting Sarah tried to convince me to put in one of the word count widgets. We'll see. I told her I'd do it if I'm not the only Slushbuster with one up there. She says she'll sign up.

I've been struggling with changing one of my picture book stories into a MG novel. I've thought up new characters, a structure, and new events to help it build. But the writing hasn't gone that well, and I keep second-guessing myself. I've written about four different versions of a first chapter, but haven't gotten much beyond that. So I signed up for NaNoWriMo to force me to just write it and stop thinking about it. I'd put it aside and let it go, but it's a story that's been in my head for 20 years, and I'd like to get it out of there and into the world.

Last night, Steph and Joan were trying to convince me to write a completely different story. I don't even remember how we got on this subject, but I was telling them about a major event that happened to me as a ten-year-old. The more I told them, the more they were convinced it should be a story. I have a lot to work with, including a diary I kept at the time, and somewhere, a scrapbook my mom made. I don't have a plot exactly, but there's potential. So I guess this may be NaNoWriMo for next year. Or this year if I remain stuck on the first chapter of my original plan.

Anyone else signed up?

Monday, October 19, 2009

2K9 Interview: Megan Crewe

Another installment of the 2K9 author interview series right here on the Slushbusters’ blog:

Photo Credit: Chris Blanchenot

Today we are interviewing 2K9 member Megan Crewe about her YA novel, Giving Up The Ghost, which was released September 15, 2009.

First: Megan Crewe’s Bio, from
Megan Crewe lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two cats. She works as a tutor for children and teens with special needs. In her free time, she reads everything she can get her hands on, practices kung fu, and speculates about the ghost that may or may not be living under her bed. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Brutarian Quarterly and On Spec. GIVE UP THE GHOST is her first novel. Visit her online at

Give Up the Ghost synopsis, from
Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...

Slushbusters’ Interview:

Why this book? Of all the ideas you have for possible stories, how did you decide that this was the one you would commit to? (Do you have drawers full of ideas, half-finished novels, or completed manuscripts?)

I have lots of ideas, but I can usually tell when one's ready to be (and worth being) written. If the story continues to intrigue me, and more and more details come to me when I think about it, then sooner or later I'm going to write it down. With GIVE UP THE GHOST, I think the most important factors were the main character, who had such a strong voice and so much emotional turmoil that I wanted to see her through, and the different take on ghosts--having them as friends, getting gossip from them--which I thought would be fun to explore.

How different is the final product from your first conception or first draft of the book?

Not very! All of the important elements have been there since the beginning. Some of the details changed--a few minor characters were taken out or replaced, scenes were expanded or trimmed or set in different locations--but the main characters, their struggles, and how they dealt with them have remained the same.

Were some of the scenes or themes harder to write than others? Tell us about some of the trickier aspects of writing this story and how you were able to overcome them.

I think the hardest scenes to write those when Cass was on her own. I find it much easier to keep the characters engaging and the plot moving when there's dialogue and interaction happening, but sometimes she needed time to contemplate what was going on. The way I dealt with it was by having her doing something else while she was thinking, and to keep her thoughts as focused as possible--not to drag those moments out.

Did you outline all the plot points and themes that run through the story from the beginning, or you did you go back later and add in, for example, Cass’s storyline with her absent mother or her lack of fashion sense? What about the world building of the ghosts -- did you make up details as you needed them or plot everything out ahead of time?

The most important things (like the characters' relationships with each other) I knew ahead of time, as part of my planning and outlining. But a lot of the details came as I wrote--whatever seemed natural in the moment. Picturing Paige in the first chapter, for example, I knew the kinds of things she would say, and it seemed to fit that she would brighten and fade depending on her mood, and that she'd have trouble with her memory. But I didn't know any of that until I wrote the scene.

As you know, the Slushbusters are primarily a children’s writer’s critique group. Did you use a critique group for your book before you sent it out? If so, describe how your group works and how they helped you.

I have both an in-person critique group and critique partners online, and they all helped get GHOST into shape. My in-person group meets every other week to discuss short stories or a few chapters from members, so from them I got more focused comments on specific sections of the book. They helped me see when I was on the right track and when the story was confusing or wandering, and they also caught details that were contradictory or implausible. My online critique partners read the whole book at once, and gave me feedback on big picture factors like plot, characters, and themes. They let me know what worked for them and which didn't quite, and how I might strengthen the latter. I'm incredibly grateful to all of them--I don't think I'd be at this point without the help of my critiquers.

Is this the first book you have ever submitted to an agent? How many submissions did you send out, and how long before your agent took you on?

The first book I ever submitted to agents was the YA novel I wrote before GHOST, but I only queried three and then started to feel the book wasn't quite ready yet. (I might still go back to it.) With GHOST, I queried about 50 agents over the course of six months, and got about 15 requests for more material. Right after I'd sent out the last round of queries, my agent called and offered representation!

How did the revision process go? Were there any surprises, difficulties or major changes?

The most major change was that I took out an entire subplot (that consisted of three scenes in the book) and replaced that material so that the scenes fit the overall story better. But that wasn't a surprise--I'd actually always had the feeling the subplot didn't entirely fit, but I was hoping it was just me being paranoid because I wasn't sure how to fix it. ;)

The most difficult part was that I disagreed with my editor on a major change to the ending. But after discussing it and hearing my suggestions, she understood my point of view. I made a few changes that I think do make the ending stronger, but was able to keep everything that was important to me.

What are your thoughts on creative inspiration vs. discipline? How do your family and loved ones fit into your writing life?

I think it's a lot easier to be inspired than to write a book! Seriously, I have tons of ideas, but only a few of them have become actual novels. And that's because not every idea, however inspiring it might feel, is actually going to make a good book, and no idea is going to make any sort of book if you don't find the time and energy (and determination!) to sit down and turn it into one. I adore inspiration, and the feeling when I see something from a completely different angle that seems brilliant. But I would attribute most of my success to the fact that I'm disciplined about sitting down and getting those words out, and then trying to make them the best words possible in revisions.

My family, thankfully, has always been supportive of my writing. I used to spend hours in my room tapping away on the computer as a teen--I even had an old laptop I brought along on family vacations so I could keep going with my stories--and my parents never complained (in fact, it was my dad who helped me find and purchase the laptop for that very purpose). My husband has his own creative endeavors, so he totally understands the odd schedules and emotional ups and downs that come with this kind of career.

You have said in your author’s bio that you have never met a ghost. Are there any parts of this story that are semi-autobiographical?

The closest parts of the story to my life are not actual events or people, but the settings. I borrowed a lot from my high school in describing Cass's school, and the lake and the park nearby look like Lake Ontario and the Beaches area of Toronto in my mind.

There are scenes of alcohol abuse by teens, drinking and driving, and references to specific sexual activity in your book. What are the rules for dealing with sensitive topics in this genre and for this age group? Did your editor change any of these scenes?

I'm not sure that there are any specific rules! My rule for myself was to try to deal with those issues in a way that was true to life--including the consequences. Some of the issues I touch on in GHOST are pretty serious, and I made sure to treat them that way. My editor had no problem with that content and it's changed very little from the earlier drafts.

What have you learned from your first publishing experience that might be helpful to those of us still trying to get there?

The most important thing is to keep at it, and keep writing. I wrote several books before GHOST that I knew weren't ready yet, so I just kept writing until I reached the level where I felt comfortable sending my work out into the world. If I'd given up because my first, or second, or third book wasn't quite there, then I wouldn't be here talking to you right now.

What are you working on now and can you give us any ideas when we might see the next book by Megan Crewe on the shelves?

I can't give you an idea because I don't know myself. I can tell you that I've been working on a couple of different YA novels involving ghosts (among other things), but ghosts of a different sort than you see in GIVE UP THE GHOST!

Thanks, Megan, for a great interview!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm pretty sure this is it

I don't want to go on forever with all my JRW conference notes, so I'm going to condense and pick out some of the bet bits.
  • From Clay McLeod Chapman: If you lure people in with humor, you can do anything.
  • Scott Nelson said he writes his inner critic's POV, telling him the worst he can think of. Then he locks that in his hard drive and moves on.
  • Find a way for the characters to tell the story. Get different characters if you have to. Don't use tricky plot devices like letters found in an attic. Don't cheat.
  • From David Robbins: Concoct villains that make sense to people. Create motives for them to behave the way they do.
  • From Michael Knight: Most readers are sympathetic toward flawed characters.
  • Katherine Neville's suspense technique allows the reader to know information just before the character finds out. But she doesn't wait too long for the character to discover it, because otherwise they seem stupid.
  • Wish list from the editors' panel (Richard Ernsberger, Jennifer Pooley, Paula Squires
    Moderator: Virginia Pye): Original stories, ones that look at the world in a different way, through different eyes. An emotional experience and connection to the character.
  • Pet peeves from the editors: spelling mistakes, wrong name on a query, sloppiness, tardiness, sending work back too soon after proposed edits
  • Endings should "bookend" a story, reflecting the beginning, and showing the whole theme of the book.
  • Sub-plots can be tied up before the very end, but save the central problem for last. Then wrap up so the ending doesn't feel tacked on.
  • When you re-read your work, if you don't feel some emotion, it isn't right.
  • Authors research lots of topics that don't make it into their books.
  • A writer who gets excited about edits will be successful.
  • Action in a story should mirror what's happening internally for characters.
Unless Sarah, Joan, or Alison has more to add, that should do it for our JRW posts. Watch for Alison's interview with debut YA author Megan Crewe in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tenderfoot attends first writer’s conference

James River Writers Conference Oct. 9 & 10, 2009

Attending my first writing conference felt like an initiation. Though there were no ceremonial rites into this community akin to joining a sorority, fraternity or secret cult. I was not required to streak across campus naked or prick my finger to mix blood with another. But after the conference, I felt I could now consider myself a serious writer. As with any new club membership I have responsibilities: to treat all other writers with the utmost respect, to give honest feedback when asked and to lend a hand in tasks that advance our community.
The James River Writers put on a very professional, exciting and worthwhile conference, especially for a greenhorn. As I sat only a few feet from NYT bestselling authors, I was in awe. I felt like a kid at his first firework display. Plus the speakers were so accessible; you could walk up to any one of them and strike up a conversation. Not that I had the guts to do this, but I could have.

Pearls of wisdom flowed from the speakers: the setting is like a fragrance, the story arc needs to include dabs of emotions, and your first chapter is like the infant version of the last one.
I, as a new recruit, would recommend this conference to anyone. And the food wasn’t bad either.

A few gems I mined from JRW

One of my favorite parts of the James River Writers Conference has been the first pages critiques. This year's panel was made up of Elizabeth Evans of the Reece Halsey Agency, Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management, Molly Friedrich of the Friedrich Agency, and Ken Wright of Writers House.

Most of what they said about the manuscripts was specific to each piece of work, but I noticed a few issues that came up again and again. Several of the manuscripts relied on cliches. The agents said that either the language or the character was too familiar, not fresh, even if it was well-written. Another mistake more than one writer made was in making their language unclear. In one example it was caused by overwriting. There were so many words the meaning was lost. The agents felt the author was trying too hard. The opposite problem occurred when someone wrote too few details, and again the agents were lost as to what was happening in the story.

They summed up by saying that this is a subjective business, and you have to keep trying and submitting in spite of rejections. Molly said she would have rejected one of the sample manuscripts simply because she'd just sold a novel with a similar premise. Paige commented that the way an agent is trying to shape her list will often affect what she chooses to represent.

Later in the morning I attended the panel discussion called "Putting Words in My Mouth: Dialing-up the Dialogue." Panelists included Frankie Bailey, Colleen Curran, and Jonathan Miles, moderated by Irene Ziegler. Here's some of what they had to say:
  • Use "said" in dialog tags for seamless dialog
  • The functions of dialog are to convey character, accent and mood, move the plot, set a rhythm, and provide exposition. Good dialog does at least two of these things.
  • Dialog shows. It is action. A narrator tells.
  • People often have two different conversations at once. Each person anticipates what the other will say, rather than listening to what is actually said.
  • Dialog doesn't have to be a volley. Just use the best parts.
  • Keep the dialog short, generally three sentence or fewer. If a character is long-winded, it's okay to say, "and then she went on for twenty minutes about what she ate for lunch."
  • Men are more likely to speak in incomplete sentences, while women speak in complete sentences.
  • Don't forget about subtext. People often say other than what is true. You can show this by their actions while they speak.
  • Use jargon sparingly when writing about a subculture. The same is true of dialects. A little goes a long way. It is better to use only a bit to convey character rather than confuse the reader and pull him out of the story.
  • As a rule, it is better to use the character's name before the word "said" in a dialog tag. People tend to skip over it, so the name needs to be right next to the dialog. "Dorothy said," not "said Dorothy."
  • Instead of adverbs, use physical acts to show how something was said. If a character says something timidly, for example, have her look at the floor.
  • There are no rules for inner dialog, but avoid quotation marks. You can use italics, but keep them brief because people don't like to read them.
That's a lot of notes, and we're only just getting to lunch time on Friday! You can see why we were so tired when we got home.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A winner and pictures

Congratulations to Amy, who is our winner! I find it fascinating that so many more people stopped by than commented. Maybe I need to pick different prizes. Anyway, Amy, email me your address at michellebe(at)embarqmail(dot)com and I'll get your notebook in the mail. Use the email address in the traditional way. Writing it out on the blog is a tip I learned from Tess to prevent phishing and spam.

Although we're often about words here, I'm going to let the pictures do the talking today. We'll be posting more about the James River Writers Conference throughout the week.

This is what we saw when we arrived in the morning. The folks who put on JRW are incredibly organized. The conference is held at the Library of Virginia. This is a wing off the lobby, complete with a large lecture hall and smaller meeting rooms for breakout sessions.

The food was excellent this year. The conference committee chose to serve local food as much as possible. Joan, Sarah and Alison are grabbing some breakfast before our full day of sessions. Note the aforementioned swag hanging from Joan's shoulder. We got messenger bags full of goodies.

And here we all are, ready to go. That's Alison's mom on the right. She writes historical fiction and generously hosted Alison, Sarah and myself Friday night.

There was so much going on in the seminars and panel discussions that I'll need to dig through my notes to mine the gems for you. When I find them, I'll post them, as long as I can read my own handwriting!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We're going on a road trip, so let's have a contest.

I'm getting myself together for our road trip to the James River Writers Conference tomorrow. The first time I went I brought a whole bag of stuff with me: notebooks, pens, manuscripts (hey, you never know!), envelopes, postage. It was a virtual office in a bag. I've since learned to pare back. JRW gives swag to conference attendees. Everyone gets a tote bag with all the essentials right there: notebook, pens, conference schedule, and a few other goodies. All I really need to bring is my Slushbusters button and a few business cards to trade.

If you'll be at the conference, so will Joan, Alison, Sarah and I. We will be sporting our Slushbusters buttons, which look like this:
I know they're kind of cheesy, but you wouldn't believe how many people we meet who are just curious about them.

So in honor of our first road trip in a long time, (When was the last one, anyway?) and the fact that I'll be away from the computer for a few days, (Remember, I'm traveling light!) we're having a contest. Leave a comment on this post any time between now and Monday morning. Once again, we'll be giving away a Moleskine ruled notebook. I'll draw a winner at random from the commentors. If JRW can provide swag, the least we can do is offer a little something as well. I'm hoping you all continue the conversation in our absence, so I'm turning off comment moderation. To get you started talking among yourselves, here's a question: have you been to any writing conferences? If so, which ones, and what did you get out of them?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last night's meeting and upcoming events

It's been a while since we wrote anything about what we're actually doing as a group. We had one of our regular meetings last night. Bridget and Sarah couldn't make it, so Steph, Joan, Alison and I propped the laptop on the end of the table and Skyped in Lisa. Or what I'm now referring to as "talking to Virtual Lisa."

She was never more virtual than last night. (Sorry, Real Lisa!) She had a new camera, so her picture was often frozen, and kind of blurry or broken up as well. We could hear her, and were still able to critique. We're looking at the revisions of the early chapters of her WIP, the first draft of which we've read all the way through. It turns out some of what I thought was new wasn't. It had been so long since I'd read it that I'd forgotten details. Then there was the problem of not being able to un-know information. I know what's going to happen, and how the MC is going to learn bits of her own history. But now when I read stuff early on, I see it in a completely different light because my brain can't help but fill in the blanks. I'm not sure how to get around this as a beta reader. I know I can't do it with my own work. And just as we were discussing all this, Virtual Lisa disappeared. Our call was dropped, and worse, irretrievable. I couldn't get Lisa back online, either with video or instant messaging. So we moved on.

We critiqued Steph's chapter. We talked about the James River Writers Conference. Alison, Steph and I have been before, but this will be Joan's first conference. Sarah is going for the first time this year as well. We'll be blogging about it, although not in real time or anything. I'm not prepared to lug the laptop around with me all day. But I do promise to take good notes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I saw this this morning on my embarq news page:

"LONDON (AP) — When we left them, Christopher Robin was going away, and Things were going to be Different. Now, more than eight decades later, a rumor is sweeping the Hundred Acre Wood. According to Owl, who heard it from Rabbit, who heard it from Piglet, the adventures are about to resume. It falls to the bear to pass on the news to Eeyore. "It's Christopher Robin," said Winnie-the-Pooh. "He's coming back."
The drama (and for the Hundred Acre Wood, where life is lived gently, this qualifies) unfurls in the first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's classic children's tales. Called "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood," the book by author David Benedictus goes on sale Oct. 5 and picks up where Milne's "The House at Pooh Corner," first published in 1928, left off."

Wow. This is big news to me, and I don’t know whether to feel offended that someone would try to "steal" Pooh and make a buck off of him, or excited that another installment of my favorite children's book EVER is coming out.

What I REALLY feel like doing is yelling "Why didn’t anyone tell ME they were looking for someone to write more Pooh books??"

You see, I'm English, not that you can tell by speaking to me. We moved to the USA when I was four and so it is understandable that my British roots may be well hidden. However I did grow up in an English household, even when that household was located in the American midwest. And so I grew up on Pooh. NOT Disney Pooh, but REAL Pooh. Real Pooh, read to me by my Mum in an (authentic, mind) English accent. Not to mention all of A.A.Milne's poetry as well. (John's got great big Wellington boots on, John's got a great big waterproof hat.....well, okay, just believe me. I could go on…)

Naturally I abhore Disney Pooh. Naturally I read REAL Pooh to my own children. I have the Gund Classic Pooh stuffed animals. I even read the Pooh books as a child to my own tattered beloved stuffed rabbit, aptly named Bunny. Yes, I still have Bunny today…you can ask him.

Okay so not only do I have the credentials of a true fan, but I have actually been burning to publish a Pooh story since I was 9. This is my first memory of wanting to publish a story. I didn’t actually WRITE this specific story, but when you are 9, details like that are not especially important. My Mum wrote this story. “In Which”--- all Pooh chapters start with “In Which” – “In Which Piglet gets the Chicken Pox.”

I was 9. Miserable in bed with chicken pox. Couldn’t sleep. So my Mum made up a Pooh story on the fly in the middle of the night, and told me the above story at my bedside in the dark. I was captivated. Inspired. Amazed. Completely forgot about my itchy pox – I had suddenly realized that not only could you READ great stories, you could WRITE them too! I was on a mission to get my Mum’s story published. Why not? It was sweet, used the same tone and rhythm, and would fit right in with the Pooh stories I had grown up on.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned about copyrights and licensing and plagiarism.

All these years my Mum and I have been sitting on the perfect Winnie-the-Pooh sequel, believing it to be impossible to ever publish, and now along comes someone who has permission to publish a sequel. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US????

By the way, my Mum’s story really is a very good Pooh story, even through my more knowledgeable adult eyes…just ask Bunny.