Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm revising right now. As I type this. Way to go, multitasking (read "procrastinating") me!

For those who are keeping up with my struggles (bless you few brave souls!) I feel like I've conquered the first chapter. I'm pretty sure that it was around draft five, but I could be wrong. And, there is always the possibility of more fine-tuning, but I finally feel like it is working the way it should be. Now, for the next 17 chapters...

Which brings me to a question: how does a writer (any writer...but I'm YA, so let's focus on that) decide on chapter length? I realize each chapter needs a plot, a purpose, but do you strive for even length chapters or do you let one behemoth stretch out to tell the story? If any of y'all are writers out there, I'd be intrigued to hear your answers. For me, I'm trying to make them similar lengths, with some of the later chapters a bit longer than the initial ones. 

Based on the news lately, it seems I've picked the worst time ever to try and sell anything--including a manuscript. On that note, I was reading literary agent Jennifer Jackson's blog the other day, and she posted (here) on the odds of getting an agent. She questioned, why an author would decide to brave such odds. I think, for me anyway, the answer is both complicated and simple. The complicated part is all about how I view my work and hanging on to childhood dreams, probably has something to do with my id or ego and perhaps my mother--isn't that what it usually is? But the simple part is that I think I'm the exception. Really. You know all the scary statistics? breast cancer, car accidents, identity doesn't matter, I always assume the odds are going in my favor. Funny though, this doesn't extend to random stuff like winning McDonald's Monopoly game. But, it does extend to my book. Because, let's face it--I think it's great. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I've got a few close friends and family reading my novel at the moment. I know it would probably be helpful to have another writer read my stuff, but this is where I'm comfortable at the moment. The people reading it are extremely well-read and intelligent, so I really value their opinions.

The problem is when things aren't working, but there isn't a really definable reason. Everyone makes general comments that this part was their least favorite, etc., but no one knows why. Like with my first chapter. I realize that this is a critically important chapter, both as I'm searching for agents/publishers, but also eventually for potential purchasers. The pacing works, I think, as does the characterization, logical development, etc. But, I still feel like something is off...and I'm having a hard time moving on to the rest of my book with that stupid first chapter hanging there. 

Writer's block? I suppose. I've revised the dumb thing several times, and it has improved, for sure. I've also been super busy with other life stuff. Hopefully, I'll be able to sit down tomorrow and sparkle it. (Yes, I made that up--"sparkle" is a noun. Way to go you grammar hound you).

Status: slightly loopy

Monday, September 29, 2008

And so it begins...

I haven't confessed to everyone this little secret of mine. I haven't opened myself up to the world and announced "look at me and laugh if you dare." I haven't handed out my dreams like napkins, for people to wipe their hands on and crumple. But, apparently I'm about to.

I am now in the 3rd draft of my first novel. I've spent lots of time researching the publishing business, reading other author's blogs, and getting alternately excited and discouraged. Maybe writing is like this for everyone--it gives me multiple personalities. One moment, I'm confident and sure that my book will be published, and I'll be able to continue writing with that label stamped across my forehead announcing I've made it. The next moment though, I'm sure it is trash and that it doesn't measure up to the worst YA books I've read, and I should probably save myself the misery of all the forthcoming rejections. 

Still, the larger, in-the-background voice that tends to be the real operations control center is convinced that I have read widely enough, studied and taught and am generally prepared...and my book shows it. 

With that in mind, I've started this blog. Because, eventually it will be my website, where readers will come and find out about me. And, it is always good to document a journey--even if in the end it is only for me.

So, here is my status, Day 1 (which isn't really "Day One" at all because this whole book thing has been in process at least six months now): I am revising both my manuscript and my query letter, doing research on agents and writing synopsis, and also trying to get my house clean so I can host book club tomorrow. The Twins (my terrible two-year-olds) are shaking the walls by bouncing in their cribs. They're supposed to be asleep. My sanity level is good. 

Further updates as warranted...