Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How a backyard project is like editing a novel

You always end up doing and spending more than you thought you would.

You gasp in shock when you see those ginormous, ugly sentences that grew like weeds in your manuscript. You down a caraffe of coffee or sangria, then mercilessly rip them out, savoring your new-found power.

You find fresh, brilliant ways to clean your tome and yard, and search for meaningingful angles to unique paths that will maintain the integrity of your intention. Okay, that's a load of cow chips. Let's just say you plow ahead like Scarlett O'Hara, vowing to nevuh, evuh go hungry again. Then you trip on a rock and crack your head open. You have five epiphanies in a row (que up any Jonas Brothers song), go forth, and remove the rot. 


You scour the universe for the perfect words and trees for your novel and backyard. You refuse to give up until you've found them. Wait. Stop. You only want natives, not Swahilian pines. Don't want to confuse agents, editors and readers, do you?

Writer/gardner nirvana, baby! Choices! You're a choices-whore, too? Yay! But don't use too many $10 words when the dollar-ones will do. (Dollar-ones, get it? =p) You reread Strunk & White and return to the nursery with your buckarooski, aka, Golden Ticket.
Que Enya. Now you see unicorns. You see little green men with loads of story-telling potential. Precisely what you've been looking for. Remember, there's nothing wrong with funk and creativity. Don't religiously follow the rules lest your novel sound like the back of a Wheaties box. (Apologies to all WB Writers. I've been there, yearning to bash my clients' heads in. I know the blood, sweat, and shots that go into making a decent ad campaign with legs and steroid-chomping athletes.)
 When stumped and overwhelmed by feelings of stupidity, ask the cat. She is SAGE. She knows all. I'm not kidding. TBC...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Diamonds (and editors) are a writer's best friend

To all my 7,000, I mean, 7 awesome followers, I, erm, bought one of these today! Well, it was a gift from el husbando for years and years and years of love. Aaaah. I am blessed. But I promise not to type with it on. Plus, I don't have it yet because it's being set.

More soon. Suddenly, I feel like squeeing, but the only that would really make me squee is a book deal.

Have a happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To-Do list

Here's my to-do list because I don't have anything else to post right now. Hangs head in shame.

1. Rewrite The Book for SuperNova Agent as discussed. Changes should take a month. Tops. Go!

2. Develop proposal for exciting trilogy that SNA wants to send out very soon.

3. Write intriguing and beautiful, yet practical, heart-wrenching, but not sappy article for BRAVA section of awesome, shining diamond-of-a-friend, New York Times bestselling author, Beth Hoffman's, blog. Promise her you will not ruin her reputation with dreck.

4. Get ready for backyard to be dug up and recontoured. Patio to be built. Plants planted. Do not go outside until all is complete. Invest in good headphones to dim noise.

5. Prepare questions for author interviews to be posted on blog.

6. Figure out all there is to know about widgets, twitter, facebook and html. Don't laugh.

7. Finally get new computer.

8. Order new coffee maker.

9. Take cats to vet. All three. Get another carrier.

10. Learn meditation.

11. Look into shake weights. Do they really work?

12. Color coordinate closet.

13. Invest in Rosetta Stone so can learn French?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uberagents finding writers through their short stories

Strange things happen every day. Even when you think the only thing going on that day is the carpeting in your unvacuumed house has become it's own chia pet and Snookie's I.Q. has dropped yet again, I believe there are forces at work in the backgrounds of our lives (que the theme to Glee) and they're very, very busy.

No, I haven't been snorting LiLo's favorite candy, I'm just saying that stuff happen sometimes and we can't control it. Sometimes, it's even VG stuff. (Just ask LiLo). For example, last year when I wasn't looking for an agent at all--I got one. Actually five. Five agent offers. Yep, it's true. Agents were crawling through the woodwork. Knocking on my door and falling through the chimney (well, not really, but it felt like it.) CANDY for us writers, baby!

To back up, I was sitting here minding my own business writing short stories. Whenever I'd finish a story, I'd look up which markets would be best for that story on Duotrope, then send it out. I got tons of rejections. Then I'd send it out again. A few poems too. Believe me, just because you're seeking publication in an ezine, ezine/print combo, or a small print publication DOES not mean the competition is hack. Au contrairee-poo. The competition is fierce.

But I actually sold (got some money) six short stories and two poems! I was even nominated for the 2010 Million Writers Award by the editors of one of my stories. I should have won, but I'm not bitter or anything.

What does this have to do with agents? Everything. Because one of my stories prompted a very well know agent from a VERY prestigious boutique shop in New Yawk to actually email me and ask if I had a novel. Omigod, I was being discovered and I didn't even have to lower my standards and go on The Bachelor.

Yes, I had a novel that I'd been working on, but it wasn't in her genre. However, she told me to send it to her colleague. A week later, said-colleague called me! Seriously. I mean, SERIOUSLY-hello?, things like this don't happen in real life. But they did to me. Squee, squee, squee.

So then said-colleague wanted me to finish the novel, which I did. By this time, I decided to query other agents, and while said-colleague was awesome, I ended up with five offers of representation, and even more requests for reads, which I turned down because each offering agent was glorious and I didn't need more. (Desperate as we are for agent-love, we writers must know when to be gracious and bitch-slap our inner-hogistas).

Anyway, I decided on Super-Nova-Agent for many reasons. I loved her vision, her reputation, the way we clicked on the phone, how our birthdays were only a week a part--very important--and that she got my voice.

So the point of this post is that if you happen to write short stories, it could also bring you some agent offers, too. Or maybe it won't. No guarantees, right? Just ask LiLo.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Agent interview

Here's a link to today's post at WriteOnCon by my agent Catherine Drayton.

Catherine talks about how to become to a career author in this very tough and changing market. Check it out. Did I mention that Catherine is brilliant? She reps Becca Fitzpatrick, Marcus Zusak, Beth Hoffman, even agent Nathan Bransford!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What I'm excited about and what gives me hives

Dear one and a half readers:

And now for a list:

Things I'm not excited about:

1. Revisions! Ba da bing. I could say I'm thrilled to do revisions and the words flow right off my fingers with perfectly formed sentences, but I would be lying. I do like the after-glow though, so yay.

2. The 200 mosquito bites all over my legs. Don't ask.

3. Writing two novels at once. A novel and a series, actually. Well, I'm sort of excited, but mostly scared to death and ready to dive under the covers with a bag of Skittles and a bottle of tequila.

Things I'm very excited about:

1. Revisions! Yes, I'm Schizo. I mean, sometimes revising for the three-hundreth time is fun. Plus, if it makes the novel better, then I'm all over it.

2. I've lost another three pounds. Yee ha. I'm not fat, but I have this sick, sick goal of wanting to be a just a bit underweight, so then I can eat here and there and not feel disgusting if I've gained a few pounds. I'm sorry. I know it's completely wrong.

3. My Ipad. It makes me happy, okay?

3a. The $101 refund I just received from ebay for the enormously over-sized fake sneakers from China.

4. The YA series I'm writing that Super-Nova Agent, Catherine, just loves. It's super-secret and promises to kick ass. I don't exaggerate. I'll reveal the name of it in another post. Oh, but then it won't be secret. Hmm. Must. Think.

5. WriteonCon, starting tomorrow. Yippers. I'll be lurking, but I'm excited about this great online conference organized by Elana Johnson, Laura and Lisa Roecker and many other brilliant authors who I know and others I'm hoping to get to know. Plus, Super-Nova agent will be making an "appearance."

Here's a description of the really cool happenings from the website:

WriteOnCon is an online writer's conference for kidlit writers. For more details you can check our about page. Write On Con will take place Tuesday – Thursday, August 10 – 12, 2010.
Interested in working with the writers of WriteOnCon for the conference? Check out our contact page. Finally, if you have any questions, hop on over to our FAQ section or shoot us an email at writeoncon at gmail dot com.

And a link to the schedule in case you need more convincing, but I know you don't:

Well, I have to keep this one short, people. Gotta write that rock-the-publishing-world-series, you know! So do tell: what are you looking forward to?