Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hard Parts and Easy Parts

I just finished an intense revision a few hours ago.

And I am nervous.

There is nothing like feeling like you "nailed it" to make you worry that perhaps you hadn't a clue after all.

Because the truth is, as an author, I am only bringing fifty percent (okay, fifty-five percent) of the meaning to the reading experience.  The other half comes from the reader.  The other half is what they bring to the reading experience, which is why some people like some books and other people hate them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am all about diversity in reading choices.  I love reading what I want to read. Other people don't have to read the same stuff as me. It's all good. But, and here is the BIG BUT, when you give your heart to something that you've written, you kind of really want people to "get it." (Even if they don't love it.  Maybe they could at least understand it, right?)

Honestly, I used to not care.

No, that is not true.  I have always cared if readers were connecting with my stories.  It used to be easier to know, that's all.  When I was writing books of less than 1,000 words and reading them aloud to kids, it was pretty easy to tell if there was a connection or not.  I would know QUICKLY if I had, indeed, "nailed" something.

But now I write longer things (okay, not always....but I cannot say anything about that, yet) and it takes TIME for readers to read it, and time for them to respond.  It is no longer the microwave method--Beep! The child is laughing at the funny part--of immediate feedback.

Now I am in the crock-pot of "wait", where I have to simmer and stew, wondering if my words will be understood...or not.

The waiting does not seem to get easier.

What does get easier is the actual work.  Revising, the unweaving, reweaving, snipping away, stitching together again of a story actually DOES get easier. The more you do it, the more faith you have that it CAN be done.  (Of course, the double-edged sword of this is that you ALSO know how much time and effort are involved.  Not for the faint of heart.)

So, I think I am going to paint my toenails while I wait.  I am thinking of a very pale blue shade, even though it will probably make my toes look frost-bitten. Or zombie-esque.  Oh well.

And I just finished this:

A cool, re-imagining of Les Mis by Marie Lu.
VERY well done.

Cannot wait to start this one! 

Heard many good things about this--looks like
I found my road-trip read!
So, it's not like I am going to be sitting here doing nothing while I wait.  I've got stuff to read.

Oh, yeah...and I've got another revision to tackle. Yikes!

So, what's got you simmering and stewing this summer?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stop the Summer Slide

Hi everyone.  Happy Summer!!

Just a quick note to say I'll be helping my local Barnes and Noble (Oceanside) kick off their Summer Reading Program this Sunday, June 23, at 11:00 a.m. There will be crafts and I'll tell a tale or two.  Of course, Elvis and Oreo are bound to make an appearance, as well a Baby Dragon and Anty.  Not sure which book I'll read yet, but I guarantee a fun time will be had by all.

And the best part is this.  If you fill out this little reading journal, you get a FREE BOOK from B and N!  All you have to do is to read 8 books.  That is an awesome deal, folks.


Here's the thing, kids, all of you have worked hard during the school year. Very hard.  If you read a few books over the summer, you are LESS likely to have a case of the dreaded Summer Slide.  (That's when your teacher asks you at the beginning of the school year to do something and your brain goes Wait! What? Hmmm...I used to know how to do that....ooohhh, what's that word?....DRAT!  WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER??)

Don't let Summer Slide happen to you!


So come and see me if you can on Sunday morning.  I might have a giveaway or two myself.  I mean, if B and N are going to reward readers, I should probably follow suit.  (Although everyone knows that reading is a reward in itself.  Duh.)


Saturday, June 8, 2013

June Goals

The first goal is simply to get through this next week.

End of school year.

Eight grade promotion.

College graduation.

Grandparent visit.

And right now I am sitting at my dinner table with the laptop open, looking at the messiest kitchen int he history of all kitchens, trying to open the website to finish my report cards (but not having any luck), smelling some dying flowers to the left of me and hearing the muffled sounds of a dog's teeth grating on a plastic bone to the right.

My brain is so clogged.

But I know I will be cranky all weekend if I don't make a teeny bit of progress on my WIPs.  And I will be even crankier if I don't get some goals made.  So here goes:

June writing goals:

1.  Write 40 more pages and a synopsis for this strange middle grade science fiction book I am playing around with.  I am working in reverse order, writing the synopsis before the book, but I enjoy trying things in different ways. The working title is HOW IT ENDS.

2.  Write 40 more pages of IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SELKIES.

3.  Begin a revision of KEELIE OF THE LAKE.  I have some chapters from a different point of view I'd like to insert.  I reread this book the other day and I really still love it. My timing on it was bad--as Trinket's primary editor left right after I finished it:(

4.  Finish a picture book with a title so awesome I can't mention it here, but its initials are TANDITB.  Think of it what you will.

I've got some summer things planned--a class for kids, a couple of appearances at junior author camps, a presentation for the NWP to put together--but really I just want to wake up in the mornings, pour myself into my chair, write until the ideas dry up, eat something, maybe run, write some more, pretend for a little while that I actually am the author I pretend to be, and not all of these little bits of a person pulled in so many different directions.

I think it is already June 8th!  Seriously.  Maybe my goals were a little lofty for 22 days...

Okay, so reduce everything by 1/3.

Hope your summers are starting off well.  I'll be joining you all soon!!