Monday, December 22, 2008
Amazed. Amazed. Amazed that THE NEW YORKER -- probably the most important literary magazine in the United States just tanked an article on YA literature. Their book bench reads, a section of the magazine that is always fun to browse, has a panel discussing HEADLONG, by Kathe Koja. The panelists respond to the novel, its meaning, and the "YA label." Here are some of the most interesting quotes:
The book totally surpassed my expectations. I tend to think of young-adult fiction as sort of facile—a straightforward style, uncomplicated themes and morals ..
When I was a teen-ager, I assumed that the label [YA] was synonymous with preachy and boring, a companion to sex-ed classes. I still can’t imagine kids Lily’s age actually reaching for this book over “Tropic of Cancer.”
Teen-age boys don’t read, apparently.
But I wonder if this is part of what demarcates young-adult fiction. Surely we demand of “adult” writers (or perhaps what I really mean is “great” writers) higher moral and philosophical stakes?
Well, of course we do demand of “great” writers—literary-fiction writers—higher moral and philosophical stakes. Like I said, I think the Y.A. genre is typically defined by very straightforward moral messages, ones that are deemed “suitable” for children, even if the subject matter deals with more grown-up topics (like sex or drinking).
Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh my oh my oh my oh my oh my. Part of me wants to be indignant, but the other part realizes that The New Yorker is guilty of what many are: perpetuating the idea that YA lit is second-rate and adolescent readers don't read complex novels. I'd like to say I'm surprised. Okay. I'm surprised THE NEW YORKER stooped this low. But I'm not surprised about the flippant attitude toward YA lit. I had a family member tell me, after my book was accepted for publication, that YA was just hack reading. Needless to say, he didn't get a free book. Granted, he will probably doesn't read anything other than the sports section of the paper anyway. Okay. Yeah. I'm miffed. Because if anything THE NEW YORKER who prides itself on being THE LITERARY MAG of the US dropped the ball and is, in my eyes, no better than that family member I mentioned.
So, THE NEW YORKER panel, let me introduce you to MT Anderson, Markus Zusak, Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, An Na, Walter Dean Meyers, Terry Trueman, Cormier, Spinelli ... should I go on?
Welcome to the world of great lit. I'll let it slide .. this time. But honestly, you ended up looking like a bunch of elitist putzes instead of real readers of real literature. What a shame.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Oh oh, missed the T-Day deadline!! Which means I’m suspended between Thanksgiving and Christmas like a gymnast leaping high in the air to do the splits. As if!!
On top of my thanks for health, family, love and work, I’m also grateful for beauty. This week the sky, seen through black and lacy branches was bands of purple fading to lipstick to apricot to blue. I’m nourished by the beauty of my house and garden. I’m grateful to New England ancestors who threw nothing away and so left me all their furniture and silver!.
Last night, at a church with walls of glass, I watched a choir of girls wearing long white dresses with crowns of lighted candles on their heads sing Swedish carols. It came to me that Light would be my word this holiday season. In writing and in life, I will seek out light where I find it. I’ll try to be a light to others. When I see light on the path, I’ll follow where it leads. Not a religious thing, just my personal revelation.
Peter Parkers, Clark Kents, and Bruce Waynes abound in the world -- they just don't have the cool gadgets and showy outfits.
So, I pose a better question, where AREN'T the heroes?
CNN's show on heroes gave me goosebumps. The lineup of "top heroes" included a runner, teacher, librarian, farmer, ex-convict, rescue worker, doctor and more -- regular people seeing where love, faith, and help are needed in this world. Ordinary people with extraordinary vision and a passion to help humanity.
So it made me think about my heroes because though I saw the difference each of CNN's heroes made in lives of thousands, each and every one of us has a hero or two. I hope. Because heroes challenge us to be better, strive for more, work harder. Heroes are the measure to which we can hold ourselves. My heroes don't wear "Super Capes" or have secret lairs. My heroes, each one, has taught me about how to be a better person. And I still have a lot of work to do to live up to their examples
The immortal words of Peter Parker's uncle: "With great power comes great responsibility."
But we all have great power within us. We sometimes have to sift through the muck to find it.
Anyway, CNN's heroes was a brilliant way to show how regular people lead lives of love and passion -- without looking for the spotlight.
I am humbled.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Whoops! Late giving thanks! What am I grateful for? You guys! And the birthday girl who introduced me into the wonderful world of critique groups nearly four amazing years ago. I am grateful to share my writing and my life with you ladies, as our children grow older and we do too. We've been through so much together—two births!—yet we've never officially *met*. (except Heidi and I) It's almost hard to believe, isn't it? When we do, we'll barely notice, I think. It'll seem like we've been sitting around each other's living rooms and kitchens for years, yapping.
Anyway, I am grateful for these women, my writing sisters, and my whole extended online writing community, which has mushroomed pretty far and wide. I am grateful for my children, husband and parents, who continue to support and cheer me on in my endeavors and what used to seem like Don Quixote wacking at a windmill, and doesn't so much anymore.
And lastly I am grateful for the incredible Catherine Drayton, (deep breath, who represents, yes, Marcus Zuzak, of the Book Thief), my agent, who first, unbelievably, gave a hint she liked my writing a year ago this Thanksgiving and is now, even more unbelievably, guiding my career and working with me on revisions of my latest book.
Okay..yep...grateful. That's me.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Every night before putting my daughter to bed, we say, "love, peace, health, happiness, gratitude."
At the risk of turning this into some Hallmark Hall of Fame "thankful" blog, I have to be honest. I am thankful. I am grateful. I am grateful for my health, family, friends, and job. Sometimes I get caught up with things, and then I look at my baby girl and watch her, how she is so amazed by the way a ball moves in her hand; the way a toy makes a noise. And I stop. I stop work. I stop everything to be grateful that I have these moments with her.
My deadline is looming.
My daughter is healthy.
The laundry is piled up.
We have food on the table.
The house looks like a tornado has gone through Toys R Us and deposited everything in one fail swoop.
I have a home.
And I have a job to buy those toys. And I have good mind not to replace the batteries in any of them.
I am grateful.
I wish you and your family love, peace, health, happiness and gratitude.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I know that my pic has nothing to do with my post...I just couldn't pass it up though. I love Pearls Before Swine and I often feel like pig does. He mirrors my emotions more than I'd like to admit.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I'll be a hamster to Trish's bird—a whole lot of effort with not as much to show as I'd like. Yes, I am making good progress, but not as fast as I think I should. I'd love to just have the remaining chapters pour out from my mind like golden honey, but instead the ideas are dribbling out in fits and starts. And right now, I'm kind of plugged. Maybe I should have posted an image of that already forgotten dude, Joe the Plumber.
Of course, like Trish's industrious bird, I'll get there, but sometimes I feel that for all the frenetic activity, I'd have more to show for it.
But this too, shall pass. Ah, if only books wrote themselves...but then nothing truly worthwhile comes without real effort. In the immortal words of one of this semester's graphic design students, "go hard or go home"...in other words, just get it done and get it done right (and quit yer whining).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Funny. You wouldn't think taking the time to write five minutes/week would be a task, but, alas, we entered the blog realm and so very quietly slipped away from it. But we're back and stronger than EVER.
Lisa, our resident artist has been offered representation! Christine and Trish are out there with amazing agents shopping their work. Mandy is ready to jump in and start querying. Yikes! And Jean, well, Jean is getting new eyes.
As for me, I'm up to my eyeballs in revisions for novel #2 -- still working with Jill Santopolo and HarperCollins (now with Balzer and Bray books).
But I wanted to take a moment to tip my hat to Laura Geringer. After twenty-seven years in the business, she decided to move on and is now going to write full-time. She's written loads of children's books under the name L.G. Bass. I've never met Laura Geringer, but I am so so proud to have had my first novel out under her imprint. And so grateful that she took a chance on me.
Laura Geringer is a gem in the business. She would take on projects and novels not necessarily because they'd be commercial successes but because she believed they were books that quite simply needed to be out there. And she's built a reputation by working with renown authors like Laura Numeroff, William Joyce, Richard Egielski. I am so fortunate that she thought FREEZE FRAME should carry the imprint those other books do.
So, though I've never met her, I miss her.
And I will always be grateful that she took a chance on me.
Best of luck to you, Laura Geringer!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
I am a writer, I am all that you have hoped on
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
(And if you don't love me let me go)
And if you don't love me let me go
(And if you don't love me let me go)
And if you don't love me let me go
The Decemberists are my favorite band. I had the great fortune to see them this past Wednesday, Nov. 5 the day after the most amazing election in the history of the universe. I'm mainly mentioning this band, because, Colin Maloy, the wild and wacky lead singer and incredible genius behind this troop of geniuses claims he is a failed writer. I just want to send a shout out to Colin, because he is not a failed writer, but rather a writer who has managed to put a treasure trove of amazing stories to music. For the past three years, the music of the Decemberists has been an inspiration to me. I truly realized this at that performance Wednesday as they breezed through the songs that have been the soundtrack of my life as I struggled to find myself as a writer. Particularly the song above. I distinctly remember listening to that on my favorite radio station, (shameless plug here) WFUV, the non-commercial station out of Fordham U, on a fall day last year when I was feeling pretty discouraged. For some reason, those words, and the haunting melodies helped me resolve to plug on. Now here I am, one year later, agented by one of the best in the biz, Ms. Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Mgt, fresh off the Decemberist concert. It became a giant blue state celebration of the election of Barack Obama. So I guess, I'm rambling, but I just want to reflect on the two impossibilities that have actually come true this year: Landing an amazing agent and witnessing the election of the most amazing human being I can think of to lead this country. And...I'd like to mention: Mr. Obama is a published author, to boot. (and he can pronounce nuclear). It's been quite a week. Oh..and did I mention I turned 50?
In this economic disaster zone, it seems some folks are still bullish on the book market, and as someone who is still waiting (mostly) patiently for her agent to sell a manuscript, I hope to God they're right.
This article seems to think fiction is the way to go this holiday season.
Books are an inexpensive way for people to escape the not-so-wonderful reality around them. They're portable. They're easy to wrap. There are endless choices. I say, hit your local bookseller and you can be done with your holiday shopping in time to grab a gingerbread latte and read the first few chapters of the book you couldn't resist buying for yourself.
Looking for a suggestion? Try FREEZE FRAME, by our own Heidi Ayarbe, available now at bookstores everywhere (and also, of course, on Amazon.)
Friday, November 7, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Okay..it's official..we are slackers. But in defense of the other parts of The Brain— they've been really, really busy. Poor Jean has her eye stuff and mega-parties to host. Heidi is under the gun to finish her next book (Don't forget, Freeze Frame comes out this October—woohoo, Heidi! Christine (poor girl) is in the middle of a move with a toddler in tow, Mandy and and Trish have JOBS. So what's MY excuse, the lazy crazy professor of the Brain. Nada...I'm lolling round in our summer getaway, writing, writing, writing, chaffeuring my son from internship to girlfriend, girlfriend to internship. I'm logging miles and with gas at 4.20 a gallon, maxing out the old credit card. My daughter is still at sleep away camp.
But other than that...I have plenty of time..SO..hi! Everyone I know online now has a website or blog. This is mine...I figured, why not visit the poor neglected thing. Dust off the cobwebs on behalf of my busy colleegues and bring this thing back to life.
Well..there you have it. While another of my critmates from my other writing group, The Cudas, has landed an agent, (bringing the total from that group to four out of six) I am still without. I'm currently waiting on two requested fulls and the revised ms submitted to the Uber agent who ALMOST loved me. I'm still waiting to see if she loves me this time, or thinks I'm a lost cause. We'll see.
Meanwhile, the first draft of my WIP, Afterside is almost complete. I'm excited because it's garnered a lot of excitement from people who've read it so far. SO maybe, maybe if novel #2 goes down, three's the charm? I sure hope so. I'm getting old here and have been a bridesmaid at too many happy affairs, so to speak.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
RIF has been providing underprivileged kids with books since 1966. Please help RIF and the kids they assist by clicking on this link:
Just enter your zip code and easily email the president and your senators and representatives to voice your support of RIF.
Lord. How long is it until November, again?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I've just started reading the second book in Libba Bray's Great and Terrible Beauty series; Rebel Angels with the third one, A Sweet Far Thing, lined up and waiting. I only finished GTB a week ago and took a rest to read Cassandra Clare's Book 2 of the Mortal Instruments series: City of Ashes. I should probably talk about that, because I still can't get it out of my mind. But instead, I'll talk about Libba Bray's writing; the incredible beauty of her images, her sense of place, character and time. The writing is so lovely and at the same time biting it makes me ache. The uppity British school her main characters attend, their bitchy rivalries, their pent-up frustration against a proper woman's place in society, set against a back drop of wild, dangerous, magic and sensuality. AHHHHHH! It's YA heaven to me. After reads like these, I'm very worried about what to read next. I'm thinking of a book called a Certain Slant of Light (can't recall the author's name) but it's a ghost story with a twist. Also a possibility: Wildwood Dancing
Personally, I wish there were two of me. One who can read around the clock and the other who can write. Make that three. There's got to be one who lives the rest of my life. I know Christine says she never reads in the genre she writes, but I live, eat and sleep YA and feel like I'm missing something if I'm not reading it.
I find I don't have a problem with reading it while I write it. The characters in the books I read feel very distinct from the ones I invent. And you know what's REALLY scary?
They are all seem real to me.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
First off, I would have to have lots of windows and interesting things to look at on the walls – when I write, I spend good stretches of time staring off into space, and it’s nice to have something to stare at. I wouldn’t have a desk – just some comfy chairs that I could sit in with my laptop, and an ottoman for my feet and a little table for a drink and the baby monitor (I write while my son naps – it’s actually great motivation. If I don’t write then and write fast, I miss my chance for the day.)
Really ideally, my writing room would have a door that opened on to the back yard, where a nice dirt path winds into the woods, makes a 1.5 mile circuit, and dumps me back at the house. This path and back yard and woods are not attached to my current home, but I’m fantasizing here, people. Anyway. That would be perfect, because I like to walk when I’m stuck for words.
There would be a stereo and a little T.V. in the room. Sometimes I like quiet, and sometimes I like music and sometimes I like the television on but turned down too low to hear while I’m working. So, include all of those things, too.
What else? I’d like Internet access, but not wireless. I’d want to have to walk over to a specific chair and plug in my computer to get access to the ‘net. I read a great quote that pretty much sums up my reasoning for this . . . “Being a great writer is 3% inspiration and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet.” I have no idea who said that. If you do, leave a note in the comments section, will you?
Those are all my necessities. Maybe someday I’ll win the lottery . . . speaking of which, I wonder what J.K. Rowling’s writing space looks like?
For me the perfect creative space is all about this quaint little Canadian costal town. In the mornings, I could walk to the market and by my groceries for the day and then head back to my little house on a hill. I'd like to have an attic room with two bay windows, one showing me the harbor and the other facing the forest. It should be a soft neutral color and have two big comfy chairs for reading and chatting with a friend. My desk would sit in a corner, though I'd probably spend most of my time in my fluffy chair with my laptop. Book shelves lining the other two walls with all my favorites including my Wordslingers shelves, that would have pics as well as their brilliant works. It would have to have an awesome stereo system. I like to take writing breaks and dance around the room. Hardwood floors but with a couple of well placed rugs, cause I'm sure it'll be a stinker to heat. That's my spot. I wish I was there right now!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
If I could create any space to write and money were no object.... Hmm, first it would have a huge bay window facing South, where most thunderstorms blow in from in this area. I would have a soft couch in muted colors, one wall would be pale blue with thousands of my favorite quotations written in calligraphy. Along another wall I would have a large black and white photo, probably of trees, and the other wall with custom shelving for all of my books--and a special display shelf for Wordslinger books.
A small desk facing the window to give me the opportunity to slack and daydream. Let's not forget the collage of inspiring people...like Mr. McAvoy, here.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
But there is one subject I have more books on than others (besides writing)...the paranormal. I have always been interested in ghosts. I read and watch just about everything I can get my hands on about them. My house has actually been investigated, but that is a much longer post....
So there you have it, too many interests and not enough time.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Like Jean, I am a victim of my own overheated brain. Too many ideas, too many subplots and tangents.
As far as writing habits, writing is my bad habit! I write every chance I get. It's possibly an illness. I think my tendency toward the manic can often be detrimental, as I don't allow my ideas to simmer and gel. Actually, I have a confession: posting on forums has been the main impediment to writing. I've slowed down and have gotten much more done.
On reading the same genre, I find, it's best for me if I don't read something with a similar plot or character, but I'm okay with YA. It's mainly what I enjoy reading and often I find it helps me to work out the kinks in my writing.
I'm actually a lot happier camper when I am writing than when I am querying. That makes me nuts, a crazed chihuaha on a hamster tread.
I study books that have both a simple plot line and lots of emotional appeal. I applaud them. But when I try to produce something straightforward, little by little those complications creep in.
Curiousity can be both a good and a bad trait. In real life and in my writing life, I'm afraid I've been either cursed or gifted by snoopy christening fairy who hopped through the window when nobody was looking and handed me a double dip.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This week, we're talking about BAD WRITING HABITS. And mine seem to come directly from my own writer insecurities and "issues." Yikes. So here's a list of things I think you SHOULDN'T do while working on your next best seller!
Doubt yourself -- you'll have plenty of time to do that AFTER you finish your first draft.
Over edit, killing your voice, losing the spontaneity and magic of the trade.
Read the same genre you're writing in EG. I'm a YA writer. When I read, while working on a new manuscript, I don't read YA. I read adult, biography, historical .. and mostly in Spanish. It's really easy to pick up another author's voice and style.
On the same note, if you read the same genre while working on your own MS, if you're anything like me, you'll probably freeze and think, "This is bloody genius." And being genius, you'll look back at your 20000 words and think it's drivel. The books we read are EDITED, REVISED, EDITED, REVISED and have been through a lot before getting to the "bloody genius" stage.
We write because we have stories clattering around in our brains. Don't let anybody tell you your story isn't:
Original (none are .. really .. it's all about HOW you tell it)
Something you are capable of telling
Basically, don't listen to the "great voice of negativity". People will always be there telling you you CAN'T. But you can. You will. Just keep at it.
Good luck! Keep writing.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I wish I was one of those writers with a recipe-box full of ideas (coughtrishcough) – but I’m just not. I usually have one or two ideas beyond my work-in-progress, which is enough to keep me from assuming that when I’m finished with the current work I won’t ever write again.
A lot of my ideas come from what I would call “tangential research.” When I’m learning about whatever my current subject is, there will be a little mention of something else that I find intriguing. Once in awhile, those little mentions stick with me, like a splinter that I can’t quite pull out. And that will sometimes start a series of what-ifs. The “what-if” stage is important – that’s when I know I’m really hooked, and that a story will probably come out of it. It doesn’t always happen – sometimes the what-if’s fizzle, or I just can’t get excited enough to pursue it, but that’s the general pattern of how my story ideas are born.
It would sound so much more wonderfully mystical to say that I dream things that I write about, or that the characters start whispering to me in my head. I would love to get ideas that way, but if I’m being honest? It’s just plain ol’ curiosity taken too far that gets me another story. As long as they keep coming, though, I’m not complaining!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
So where DO writers get their ideas? Great question, and one that is really hard for me to answer. I'm bombarded with ideas every day, but it's not getting the idea that's the problem, it's getting the idea that grabs me. Because once I commit to an idea, it's going to be at least a year or so (actually .. OR SO) of developing it. Imagine knowing that one drink at a bar with a stranger would be at least a two-year relationship? You'd think pretty hard about who you were going to drink with. Ideas are the same.
With FREEZE FRAME, I got the idea from a poetry group. A woman came and said her grandson had asked, "Hey, Grandma, which way is tomorrow?"
I loved that phrase! I loved how he thought of time as a place he could travel. And I began to think about what a teen would ask. "Which way is yesterday?" In fact, FREEZE FRAME was originally titled FINDING YESTERDAY (then THE MEMORY KEEPER, SHATTERED, SUPPOSE, 10:46 .. and a slew of other titles until my editor really nailed the right one .. in my opinion!)
My latest book idea began with a character. That character doesn't exist anymore. In fact, the original concept of the book was peeled away until I met my MC and created her dilemma. My idea and I came to an impasse, though, and I felt really stressed because I wasn't sure which way to take the novel. So I set it aside, and the other night I realized what I needed to bring the novel to a darker place -- a simple change in the first few chapters. I've only been with this idea since October. We've already had our first big tiff. But I'm ready to go back to it, work out the kinks and move forward.
Grasping at straws?
Kind of ..
Just grasping at ideas .. until the right one sticks.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Well, I've been frantically re-imagining my second novel with more Druids and a less convoluted plot in hopes that the agent who loved/hated it might give it a second chance. I worked like my fingers were on fire through the month of January, while on winter recess from my professor job. Now, it's back to work and I understand a bit how Trish feels. Of course, my life is much easier than hers! I don' have a nine-five job, but time is much scarcer and once you lose that momentum, it's so much harder to pick up the threads and keep weaving.
I'm grateful I made so much progress in January. I'm far from done, but considering that at the beginning of the month, I no idea whatsoever to do to help my poor ms, I feel very inspired and positive I am on the right track.
I will confess something about myself. I am a compulsive writer. If I didn't HAVE to have a life, ie: feed the kids, go to work, socialize (reluctantly and under threat) I'd just sit at this computer and write all day, preferably on a nice sunny porch with the leaves rustling. I think, the privilege of having that life some day, is what motivates me more than anything. Not fame, not money, not even the idea that people will read what I do, but the thought that it's okay to write 24/7.
Yes, my fellow Brains already know I am this kind of a nut. It's probably because I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to writing and now I write the way I used to do art. Obsessively and compulsively. Hey, it beats, drugs, gambling, smoking or alcohol, right? (I typed, write, btw, and had to correct myself)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Since Mandy mentioned food....
I am trying to finish up Shadow People, my wip. It has been a year now and boy am I ready to finish! So why is it so hard to force my butt into the chair? I enjoy revising very much. But right now I have to completely rewrite my end and tie up many loose ends. It reminds me of baking and decorating a HUGE cake. I have all of the layers there and the frosting but none of the pretty flowers and extras.
I just need to sit and DO it! I hit a rough spot and find millions of excuses not to do it. In the meantime my agent is waiting for it! Arrrggghhh. Not to mention that after working all day, doing laundry, making dinner and supervising homework and teeth brushing I am TIRED! I need a week...a writing retreat to rest, relax and put those roses on my twelve-teared cake. Anyone care to fund it?
I'll finish eventually. Then I am taking a break!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
But why bother? Thousands of entries. A set theme. And most of us can use a good 1000 words if we write about lacing our shoes in the morning -- being limited to 800 words for a WHOLE STORY is seemingly impossible.
And that's WHY I think writers should enter contests, apply for grants, and try different mediums. The best way to become a better writer is having to meet deadlines while writing under specific "limitations".
Because when the revisions requests come for your novel, nobody's going to hold your hand, and it feels like you've been thrown overboard without a life jacket. Practicing. Writing. And complying by contest rules is a great way to get your brain working under "pressure." I NEVER write futuristic things. And writing the story for Highlights was a challenge and fun! It was like coming up for air after being bogged down in the dark world of YA.
My story has been sent off. And now it's back to my novel (Which will end up being around 60,000+ words. Sigh.)
So next time a contest comes up. Try it out. Create a "writing contest" calendar and meet those deadlines. It' a great way to wrinkle your brain.
For guidelines or additional information, check out the Highlights Website:
Sunday, January 20, 2008
On the other hand, I definitely see the point of this strike. Nobody knows what the future will bring in this fast changing business. Writers, paid less than others in the entertainment business, gave away residual rights two decades ago when the future of DVDs was unclear. They have paid dearly for that. Who can blame them for trying to negotiate future rights in order not to get kayoed again?
How this affects those of us whose publishing dreams aren't linked to movies and TV, I can't say. But as a matter of solidarity, I'll always hang with the writers. Even if it means no more Medium and House for a while.
Friday, January 18, 2008
The Golden Globes passed without a blip, really, and I realized that writers have power. Nobody wants to cross their line because their words are the basis for everything that happens on TV, in the movies, in the theater .. everywhere. There's the old adage "she who rocks the cradle, rules the world." In popular culture, it's "she who holds the pen (laptop, actually)".
So how does this effect us: children's writers, illustrators, novelists, and the publishing house realm of the written word? I think it's brought to light the "forgotten" ones. The writers, the crew, the ones who work behind the scenes to make stars shine. And maybe people will be more aware of not only how much depends on writers but also how hard writers work to create worlds in which we get lost on the Big and Small Screens -- as well as between the covers of an old book.
I'm not educated enough on the issues to debate them. But I'll be paying close attention to see what might happen in Hollywood and if there are any ripple effects in the children's writers' world.
You can read about it here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA/ref=amb_link_6050242_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_r=125Q9YPPVDYVMMMWC6J7&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=358859701&pf_rd_i=507846
I’ve gotta say, this thing kind of freaks me out. I think of all the times I’ve fallen asleep with a book open on my chest, or read a book in the bathtub, or thumbed through a novel someone’s lent to me and noted with interest which pages were dog-eared, or what passages had been underlined. None of that seems likely to happen with a “wireless device.” I mean, if I drop a ten dollar paperback in the bath – well, that’s not great, but it doesn’t exactly wreck my credit card statement for the month. And a hard plastic box isn’t exactly what I want to curl up with before I go to sleep.
What’s wrong with books as books? Paper and glue and ink? I’m probably not the best one to judge, since I have strong antediluvian tendencies as it is, but I just can’t make the leap from turning pages to clicking to the next PDF section. I think it’s depressing.
I wonder if people grumbled about the same thing when man made the leap from chiseling on stone tables to scribbling on paper?
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Okay. Don't ask me to explain that picture. Certain folks know what it means. Let's just say it represents me, duking it out with my second novel and its strange journey through the query process. I was close to getting an agent. I thought I'd landed that knockout punch, but well, not close enough.
I've been invited to re-submit the manuscript if I do some MAJOR revisions. Which I have started. So, all of my earlier plans to push ahead with the WIP have been shelved so I can slash and burn the older novel.
I'd really wanted to finish novel 3. I was hoping to get more disciplined about it, but now it looks like I have an excuse to mess with my darling earlier work a bit more. I had a hard time letting go and I can't let the chance that a huge agent may actually want it and is coaxing me along to make it shine slip by.
So for the foreseeble future I'll be ripping.
And boxing with kangaroos.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Well, I fibbed. I said I wouldn't get carried away with December's festivities but somehow forgot about the Colombian Party Vortex and how December is like the eye-of-the-tornado for socializing down here.
So .. my writing took a backseat, I mean WAY BACKSEAT, to dancing, bunuelos, natilla, birthdays, Christmas, New Year's, and all the other social engagements in between -- which are too numerous to name. (They're all a blur now.)
So now that I've worked my way out of the rubble of December, it's time to get serious, and get writing. Two years ago, I read that if you write it, it will happen. (If you build it, they will come.) I like Shoeless Joe and that philosophy, and I did a month-by-month, trimestral, and semestral writing goals calendar.
And, it worked.
So, at this time my first writing goal is to set up a calendar of concrete goals. It goes like this: By April, I will have XXX. By July, I will have XXX. By October, I will have XXX. And by January 2009, I will have XXX. Then I tack it up where I see it every day. And it haunts me. And it helps me with the "butt-in-chair" tactic.
Again, I'm going to do month-by-month and trimestral. The short-term goals always build up to the long-term goals.
Some of those goals will include: number of chapters I intend to write, writing contests and their deadlines, applications for grants, finding more freelance writing projects, and finishing that Website!
I hope this year is a year of health, happiness, wonder, and success for everyone. And writing.
Write .. write .. write .. write .. write!!