Sunday, December 27, 2009

hola

Sorry for abandoning you guys over the holidays. Hope you had a lovely time.

Sorry also for those of you who have emailed me and are still waiting for a response. I will write back, I promise.

I've starting working on a new project--not a book--and I'm having a good time with it. You can follow me on twitter if you want to track my crashing-and-burning process, because essentially I don't know what the fuck I'm doing.

Anyone have anything exciting happening in the New Year? I have a book going out on submission in a few weeks (hopefully!) I'm psyched.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to Contact Me

Do it!

You don't need a good reason or something. I'm not famous. Really. Right now I'm sitting on the couch in my jammies watching some a capella thing my mom TiVod for me (fuck yeah I'm on winter break.) Also, I'm watching the snowpacalypse outside my room (do you know what's going on in Washington D.C. right now? holy mother of...I mean come on now).


So basically, I'm doing exactly what any chick is doing in D.C. right now, I'm just telling you about it because I HAVE A BLOG.

Anyway.

The fact that I have a blog with which to rant about my exceedingly normal life and a few books in which I construct lives that are remarkably less normal than my own doesn't make me famous, and it definitely doesn't make me hard to contact. Here's how to get in touch with me!

Email's probably the easiest way to reach me. I'll get back to you uber-quick because I'm a loser like that. If you ask me to read a query letter, that might take a little longer (I have a few upstanding query letters in my inbox--I will get to you, guys!) because I need to set aside time to read and think about them, and clearly I'm too busy ranting about my life on the internet. My email address is until.hannah@gmail.com

If you something quick to say, Twitter is great. I always tweet back! @hannahmosk

Facebook is cool too. I have two pages on facebook--a fan page and a personal page. I obviously maintain both of them. You can totally friend my real page, just leave me a note mentioning you read the blog so I don't sit here wondering how the fuck I know you.

You may find me on myspace (I can't even remember) but I'm not really there. I don't even know the passwords. IT'S ALL LIES.

So you can can get in touch with me for any reason, seriously. If you have a suggestion for the blog, I'd love to hear it, or if you have any kind of question I can answer. I'd love to try to help. You can send me your query letters, but it does sometimes take me a little while.

Here are a few other guidelines:

--Right now, I can't read your manuscript for you, even a little bit, sorry, unless we have a previous arrangement. And synopses kill my brain, and it's distinctly possible I might ignore your email out of fear.

--If I don't answer you, try again. Sometimes I'm stupid and don't see shit.

--I have this complete inability to write long emails except in very strange circumstances. Please don't be offended if you write me a few paragraphs and I answer with a few sentences. Rest assured, I feel awkward enough.

--Call me hannah. Seriously. You can capitalize the first h if you want, that's chill. Don't call me Ms. Moskowitz. I'm like an infant.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Editor Appreciation Day!

This post is going to be lame and quick and not NEARLY what Anica deserves, but today is GTFO OF BROWN DAY so hopefully it will suffice.

Anica is my editor at Simon Pulse. She handled BREAK, and she'll also be doing INVINCIBLE SUMMER and whatever that third book turns out to be. And she. Is. Fabulous.

Not only does she do her job with humor, grace, and a hell of a lot of skill, but she makes you absolutely love eviscerating your novel for her. Not to mention, she sends me chocolate bars in the mail.

And every once in a while I'll get an email from her like the one I got this morning...

Do you need any books to read over break? Nothing Like You? Beautiful? The Hollow? Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood? Stupid Cupid? Other Pulse titles? Let me know what you want and I’ll send a package.

Like, are you kidding me? FREE FRICKIN' BOOKS???

I love Anica and I love Simon Pulse.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's Answer These Puppies

You guys asked some truly excellent questions. HERE WE GO.

At the moment, would you prefer to write for adults or YAs?

YAs. I just finished my first adult novel, and I'd LOVE to have a career in both adult and YA books, but YA is my passion and probably always will be.

Are you sick of writing for YA?


Nope. But there are things about YA books as a whole that frustrate me. Namely, the hype of fantasy novels to the detriment of contemporary, Twi-hype--I haven't read Twilight, so I have no judgments to make on the quality of the books, but you guys already know I object to the notion that it's the be-all-end-all of modern YA--people's attitudes towards YA and YA writers as a whole...I don't have any complaints you guys haven't heard elsewhere from tons of other people. But, by and large, I love YA and I can't imagine ever getting sick of writing it. I worry that people are going to get sick of me, because a lot of times--big secret here--I do worry that I'm writing different versions of the same novel over and over again. I just hope people disagree.

And I always say I could write about 15 year old boys forever. God, they're so beautiful and angsty. Love them.

What do your parents think of the "content" (gahhh, what a horrible, prissy word) of "Break", i.e. swearing and stuff?

Oh, they're totally cool with it. I learned everything I know from then, y'know? ;)

Plus, my three best friends--all teenage boys--basically live at our house, so they have firsthand experience that some boys really do talk that way.

Do you worry about sharing your writing? I'm not sure what the hard and fast rules are on sharing your manuscript, but I've got a friend who molts whenever I suggest putting an excerpt out on the internet. She is sure people will snatch it up and whore it out and I will be left penniless AND bereft of manuscript rights or something. So, can you spill on the proper pimping protocol of an unpublished, unagented, completely naked of rights novel?

First off, nothing you write is EVER completely naked of rights. Your words are copyrighted (I typed that as "copywritten" the first time. What.) the second you put the down on paper. And, worst comes to worst, there are ways to prove that--your word processor will tell you when you started a document, or if you emailed it to yourself, that's proof, whatevs.

But honestly, I think the chances of someone stealing your novel are really, really slim. And maybe that's naive of me.

i wouldn't suggest putting a whole manuscript online (unless you're doing a serial on your blog or something, and that's a whole different sack of potatoes) but a snippet? Sure.

Yes, there is a chance that someone might steal your idea. But who's left out there who doesn't know that the idea is the easy part? God, I can think of seven ideas for a book a day, but that doesn't mean I have to discipline--or the time--to sit down and write the books for them. And even if I did, it would be a completely different book from someone's based off the exact same idea, just because things always evolve differently, and there is so much variability out there.

And ideas are recycled and reused all the time. And books are similar to other books all the time. And that's entirely okay.

I'll give you an example. A few months before INVINCIBLE SUMMER sold, when the manuscript was already edited, polished, and going out to agents for round of querying numero dos, I started stalking publishers. Because that's how I roll. On Knopf's website, I saw an ad for their new book just out by Brent Runyon, one of my FAVORITE authors. The book? SURFACE TENSION, a coming-of-age about a boy over four summers.

So I basically shot myself and slit my wrists and overdosed on painkillers and told myself my book was never going to sell. And guess what? It sold. We even submitted to Knopf. And they didn't even mention SURFACE TENSION in the rejection!

I didn't steal the idea from Brent Runyon--I swear!--but the two books do have a sort of eerie similarity. They're not by any means identical; INVINCIBLE SUMMER, like most of my stuff, is very very family focused, while SURFACE TENSION is more romantically-based. But if you read descriptions of the two, they definitely sound alike. And they both sold. And, fingers crossed, we'll both be fine.

(Also, you should buy SURFACE TENSION, because I did as soon as I recovered from my wrist-slitting, and it's really good. And also you should buy INVINCIBLE SUMMER, but not for another year, which is annoying.)

Why do you hate Brown? DETAILS PLZ. :)

Bwahahaha. I'm so hard on Brown. To be honest, it's not Brown's fault. Brown is a perfectly lovely school IF you are willing to work your ass off. Which I am not. I want to lie around and write books.

Also, just personal stuff. I don't like being far away from home, and I don't like living in a building full of teenagers. I need my space sometimes. I'm a SENSITIVE ARTIST or some shit.

What's your favorite color? (boring question, I know)

Indigo, due in no small part to my obsession with Hilary McKay's INDIGO'S STAR, which you should also buy. It's MG. I think MGs are some of the best books out there.

How do you feel about YA books today compared to YA books in the past?

I'm crazy about YAs from the 80s and 90s--Joyce Sweeney, in particular. There's this certain kind of angry sitcom feel to them. Everything is super angsty and dramatic and affectionate and...you're not really the same after you read one of them. Stuff now is more realistic, I think, which is cool, but it some ways less fun. I lurve the drama.

Do you think there needs to be more edgy, true-to teenage life, f-bomb dropping books or do you think writers should continue to sugarcoat things?

Ha, I'm sure anyone could predict how I'm going to answer this one--fuck sugarcoating.

What's you favorite song at the moment?

"When My Boy Walks Down the Street" by The Magnetic Fields.

Have you always been a fast writer?

Nope. BREAK was my first fast-draft, and INVINCIBLE SUMMER and the book I just finished (working title THE ANIMALS WERE GONE--more about that in a minute) are the only ones I've written very quickly. Of those, INVINCIBLE SUMMER took the longest--8 days, and was also the shortest, with a first draft of about 23K words--and THE ANIMALS WERE GONE was the fastest and the longest--5 days and 40K words.

I love the ones I write quickly. They feel the most passionate to me, and they're my favorites, and maybe it's not a coincidence that they keep being the ones to sell. But some of my slower drafts turn into good books, too, I think. The first drafts of those generally take me about two to three months.

If you could have one writer, dead or alive, read and critique your work, who would it be and why?

He's not a YA writer, sorry, but...John freaking Irving. I love him so much. And he knows how to pack a punch like no one's business.

I read THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE when I was staying in a hostel in Florence on a school trip. I was alone in my room, devouring a box of Special K, when I got to the big scary twist. I had to crawl out into the hallway and wait for my best friend to come hold me. I want to do that to someone someday. I want to totally fuck up their lives with words in the middle of a box of Special K.

ooh and how about if they made a movie about your journey/success, who would you want to play you? :)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, if he doesn't mind the gender-bending.

So I know that your novel-that-hasn't-sold-yet, THESE HUMANS ALL SUCK, is kind of quirky speculative fiction. What's the difference, for you, between writing this kind of YA and contemporary? And which do you like better? And why?

Ohhh, THESE HUMANS ALL SUCK. sniff. I hope someday to bring that shit out of the closet. We'll seeeeeeeeee.

I'm trying to figure out if it feels any different. I think it's scarier for me, trying to write spec; it's like I'm dipping my feet into very unfamiliar territory. I never go very deep into the spec elements, because I'm sure I'm going to screw something up, and intense worldbuilding absolutely scares me. (Pop Quiz: Where is BREAK set? Yeaaaaaaah I don't know either.)

So I probably prefer writing straight contemporary just because it's less scary for me. Btu when the ideas come to me with spec in them, sometimes it's hard to excise out. But I try. Sometimes.

I do love magical realism, so as long as I can tell myself that's what I'm writing, it gets a little easier.

Could you give us a kind of outline of your favourite books that-you-haven't-sold-yet, like THESE HUMANS ALL SUCK and a couple of others? Whenever I read about you mentioning them, I'm always curious :P.

Absolutely. Are you ready? HERE WE GO. Big explanation of ALL MY BOOKS OF ALL TIME.

Warning: This shit is long.

Crash, Burn, Etc. (2005)--a story about a kid named Jason whose mom hangs herself in the basement. His sister tries to keep the family together. Lots of angst. So bad it hurts, but, guys, this was my FIRST NOVEL EVER so it was really exciting. I finished it at the end of 8th grade. I queries FSG with it. I'm so silly.

Color us Blissful (2005)--a boy named Jamie discovers a government plot to eradicate unruly teenagers when his best friend becomes a target. Pretty dumb. I loved it.

Craving Private Ryan (2005)--This was about two half-brothers who met for the first time and fell in love. I was obviously a precocious little thing. No plot, lots of angst. My main character was 19, which was weird, since I was 14. I subbed this one to small presses and got a few partial requests. That was pretty sweet for me. I didn't really know about agents at the time, because I was too busy writing about gay incest to do any research, I guess.

The Sublime (2006)--Jack gets stuck on a mysterious island with some mysterious people, mysterious things ensue. This came out on ebook with a small press. It's out of print now. My agent and I might do something with it, but probably not. We'll see. I like it, but it's very quiet.

Birthday Cake (2006)--The first draft of this one took me 6 months. That's my longest ever. It's been through like a zillion different drafts, and it was the first book I used to query agents. Unsuccessful! Probably won't ever see the light of day. It's cute but quite flawed. It switches viewpoints between 4 best friends the week of their eighteenth birthdays, when they've promised to give up their bad habits.

These Humans All Suck (2007)--So this is the first book I wrote that I think has any hope of being really good. Ian follows his adopted brother to D.C. where he meets his brother's pregnant virgin cousin and wonders if Noel might have been conceived in the same way. I...really, really love this book. I queried my ass off with it, and it's actually the book that got me my first agent, though we subbed BREAK instead and, well, you know what happened after that. We subbed this one after and it didn't sell. I'm not really sad about it anymore. It happens. (Published authors out there--hate to say it, but one book deal, or two book deals, or twelve book deals does not guarantee another.)

Singleton (2007)--This book is randomly pretty awful, which is kind of a shame. It's about identical twins, but it's also about, like, every single thing you could possibly imagine. It tried to do way too much and it didn't work. I stole lots of bits from this and used it in later books, though, so there's that. I queried this one, too (basically I was querying four different books at once) and I got all of two full requests for it.

Break(2007)--yaaaaaay. Originally called If It Ain't Broke. Jonah wants to break all his bones. My first novel, Simon Pulse, 2009, you all know the story. Tons of requests through querying, no offers for months, then suddenly three offers in a week. Wrote the first draft in six days. It was less than 30K--basically a detailed outline. The 2nd draft was much different, added major characters and subplots and things.

Pumpkin Patch Kids (2007-2008) Co-wrote with a really good friend of mine, Andrew Carmichael. I'm really, really hoping things will happen with this one. It's about two teenagers at a boarding school who have a fake romance and a very real pregnancy. I wrote a girl's POV for this one!

A La Mode (2008)--a sequel to Birthday Cake, mainly written just for fun.

Invincible Summer (2008)--Written in eight days of not-sleeping. Like I said, it's a coming of age about a boy and his big family that takes place over four summers. I love it. Break sold a few weeks after I finished this one. It comes out in Spring 2011. It's my second novel--do you see now how ridiculous the terms "first novel" and "second novel" are?

The Beekeeper (2008)--my first NaNo! I like this book okay, but my betas basically trashed it. As did everyone in the publishing world who read it. Haha, okay, I get it, it's not going anywhere. It's a cute romance between two boys at boarding school. Super innocent. 3rd present, switches viewpoints. I stole all the good parts for it and harvested them into The Animals Were Gone.

The Support Group (2009) -- really weird and teeny and...weird. And pretty bad, to be honest.

All Together With Feeling (2009)--drama centered around a high school chorus, told from the points of view of a soprano, an alto, a tenor, and a bass. I have hope for this one. I like it a lot.

A.P.D. (2009)--my first adult book. It's about a leper colony of sorts for people with a blood-borne illness that makes them turn into machines. It's pretty sick. And it has PICTURES. Stay tuned (hopefully).

The Animals Were Gone (2009)--finished this last week. It's about two teenage boys falling in love and staying in love over the course of the D.C. Beltway sniper shootings in 2002. I'm...sort of crazy in love with this one.

So there you have it.

It takes a lot of books to get a book deal.

It takes a lot of really shitty books to get a book deal.

It takes a lot of good books to get a book deal.

And most of all, it just takes tiiiiiime.

When you are hammering out a story at the speed of lightening, I'd like to know what's going through your mind. Are you just putting down whatever comes to mind and riding the wave or are you writing carefully from a well-thought outline in your head (or on paper)?

I don't outline. Generally, I won't start writing until I know the beginning, the end, and a few things that happen along the way. I keep the next big plot point in mind while I'm writing, but I give myself a lot of leeway when I'm trying to get there, and I basically just fool around.

What is your energy is like? Urgent or mellow?

Ha, definitely urgent.

How much do you edit your rough draft and when do you abandon? Do you feel that you edit your work to it's satisfying optimum or do you get scrambled at some point and feel like you aren't sure anymore if it is better or worse for the pen lashes? Do you struggle with tuning in on some of your characters? If a character is giving you a hard time, how do you get them clearer?

I actually only like to edit my first draft once or twice before I had it over to my agent, because I like to get feedback early on in the process. I don't want to burn out before I've done the work that it needs. And...this isn't going to win me any fans, but here we go. I'm not an editor. I'll edit to the best of my ability, but I'll be completely honest and say I do NOT have the ability to see or fix what's wrong with my story as well as, like, an editor. So while I'll clean up the manuscript the best it can, I don't edit the thing to within an inch of its life before I actually get editorial feedback.

Are there any themes or subjects in particular you feel you cannot tackle or feel very uncomfortable in doing so?

I have a hard time with race-related issues; I tried to incorporate some into All Together With Feeling and I'm not sure I was entirely successful.

As your next question says, I do a lot with gay teens, and I feel, to be honest, a little weird about that too. I absolutely love writing gay teens and I don't think I'm going to stop anytime soon, and honestly I'd be fine with that being my brand, of sorts. But there are so many GREAT gay men out there writing GREAT YA fiction about gay boys--David Levithan (I LOVE YOU) and Alex Sanchez come immediately to mind--and I don't want to be, well, the fag hag of YA lit. I'm not going to stop what I'm doing, but it does make me wonder if I'm doing the genre a disservice by stepping all over it with my straight girly feet. I just hope I do a good enough job that nobody minds that, no matter what, I will always be an outsider to the issue.

I do a lot with Jewish or partly-Jewish teenagers feeling ever-so-slightly at odds with their surroundings, and that's really the only minority-related issue I feel like I do well.

You've written about gay males more than once. Any plans for a lesbian or bisexual female protagonist/major character?

No concrete plans, but I do definitely want to have one at some point. The only reason I haven't is that I have so much trouble writing girls. A girl who falls in love with a girl means I have to write TWO GIRLS.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Money, Meet Mouth

Thanks for the comments, you kids rock.

Here's how we're going to put this new READER'S INITIATIVE thing into actions.

Between now and...whenever I decide, we're going to have TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH HANNAH here on the blog. Ask me anything you want--personal, professional, serious, funny, as many questions as you want. Just try and make them interesting? (if you answer me a question I get in every interview, I'm prolly going to give you the canned answer I give in every interview. I'm sorry, it's not personal, it's just there's only so many ways to tell the truth.)

So ya. Post them in the comments. Whatever you want to know. And if it's legal, I'll answer. Aaaaaaand go.

Edit--just to clarify, I'll be answering in a separate post once this one's collected enough comments. So HURRY UP. just kidding. kinda.

Monday, December 14, 2009

statement of purpose, I guess

Sometimes this blog annoys me, y'know?

I love you guys, you guys out there reading this right now, and that's entirely the problem. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO YOU. I don't want to just write a whole bunch of shit about myself, because wow that's boring, and if you honestly care about the mundane details of my life, I gotta say I might me judging you a bit right now. juuuuuudge

No but seriously. Obviously part of the point of this blog is publicity--selling books is good for the self-esteem and the bank account and all that, and if this inspires a few people to pick up a few copies of BREAK, yaaaay. But that's not the only reason I'm doing this.

Here's a secret about me that is probably not a secret at all: I really, really like unpublished writers. Almost 100% of the time, I like unpublished writers best of most people in the world.

Because I still feel like one of you all the time. I still feel like I need help and I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing. And that makes blogging even more awkward, because what the fuck, I don't have words of wisdom, I just happen to have a book deal, y'know? It's just luck and numbers.

But if I can help you, I want to.

So the purpose of this book is basically to ask--how can this blog be the most useful to you? In an ideal world, what kind of things would I blog about? What would I tell you?

If you want to know more about my personal stuff--publication or otherwise--that's totally cool, I can blog about that (but I think you're weird and/or are confusing me with a celebrity). I could talk about (to an extent) what I'm working on now, and what my general writing process is. If you want more query contests and stuff, I can do that to. If you want more ranty advice posts, or more publishing-news type stuff...if you want me to have more attitude, that's easy, or less attitude, which is a little less easy, but still possible...hit me up, guys, how can this blog be the best it can be for you?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dedication and Acknowledgments

I'm doing this post because I know how badly I'd LOVE to see other authors do it.

I adore dedications and acknowledgments. They're some of my favorite parts of books. Mine were fairly short, as far as I know, but I thought I'd do a post demystifying them nonetheless, in case anyone was curious.

First, my dedication:

To the Musers, who know this was a group effort.


The Musers, The Musers, The Musers. I would be absolutely nowhere without them. the Musers are a writing group I've been a part of since its conception something like two and a half years ago, maybe longer. We were in full, intense swing when the time the idea for BREAK rolled around, and they were absolutely vital to getting it finished. They named the characters, the helped me with the ending (as many reviewers have noticed, endings are not my strong suit), they read draft after draft after draft. They were unbelievable.

And I am SUCH a strong proponent of writer's groups. Find a good one. And I strongly believe that a good group has writer's from all steps of the process. My group has published authors--(Bethany Griffin, of Handcuffs, and Suzanne Young of The Naughty List series), writers currently on submission, writers actively seeking agents, writers working to improve their craft before they look for an agent, and writers who couldn't give less of a shit about getting an agent. And that amount of perspective is unbelievable.

BREAK was absolutely, one million percent a group effort, as emphasized by the acknowledgments:

The ever-fabulous Jenoyne Adams and Anica Rissi, Amanda K. Morgan, Chris, Alex, Emma, Galen, Seth, Abby, Mom and Dad, Motion City Soundtrack, Alexander Supertramp, and Chuck Palahniuk. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jenoyne Adams--my first agent, who sold BREAK.

Anica Rissi--My unbelievably amazing editor from Simon Pulse (more on her next week.) She edited BREAK and will also be doing INVINCIBLE SUMMER and my next book after that (and hopefully more...?) I love her. To pieces.

Amanda K. Morgan--One muser in particular who was instrumental in getting BREAK to be the best it could be.

Chris--Chris is the boy. We've been together for almost three years. BREAK's just about the only book he's ever read. He says he likes it. Thanks, darling.

Alex--my best friend. He reads everything I write the second it's off my fingers. He tells me it's fantastic waaay before it's anywhere near good.

Emma--another best friend, the only female of the bunch. One of the smartest people I've ever met. She sat down with me about halfway through BREAK and helped me plot out the whole thing.

Galen--another best friend. He keeps me fed.

Seth--another best friend. He keeps me sane.

Abby--my beautiful sister.

Mom and Dad--I think this is pretty self-explanatory. They and Abby had very little to do with BREAK or its publication, but they get credit for raising me and stuff.

Motion City Soundtrack--possibly my favorite band of all time, and their angsty energy was a perfect soundtrack to BREAK. I've already shared "Time Turned Fragile" as the song that really echoed the plot for me.

Alexander Supertramp--the codename Christopher McCandless used when he escaped to Alaska, documented in the book and movie Into The Wild. This sounds weird, but he inspired Jesse's character, and I thought of the book just after seeing this movie.

Chuck Palahniuk--hello. He wrote Fight Club.


Hope this was interesting, and if you have acknowledgments and dedications you decide to elucidate, leave a link in the comments so I can see!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Iiiiiiiiiiit's Agent Appreciation Day!

So I have this little agent, I made him out of clay, etc.

Anyway, his name is Brendan Deneen.

When I made the decision to split ways with my first agent this summer, I was completely terrified when no new agent snapped me up right away. I was published! I was hot shit! Blah blah blah. After two aaaaaagonizing months of querying (I know, I know) I finally got an offer from one Brendan Deneen.

I told the other agents what was up, and it eventually came down to a Western-style showdown between Brendan and another agent. I spoke to her on the phone too--she was a big name, very sweet, obviously a complete master of her domain. She knew the publishing world inside and out. There's no way I would have regretted going with her.

And then I talked to Brendan.

"Yeah," he said, speaking of INVINCIBLE SUMMER, "This is going to be a rough sell. I mean, can you imagine someone going into the bookstore and being like...I want a really depressing little book with no plot?"

And I was laughing my ass off.

Brendan sold my book in under a month, I'm pretty sure. And when he called to tell me the news and I didn't have my phone (I was out with my mother, opening a Checking Account. Ain't life grand?) he called the house, talked to my dad, got my mom's cell phone number from him, and tracked me down on my mom's phone. That shit is dedication.

Brendan knows exactly when to tease me and exactly when to tell me I'm a rock star. His emails consistently make me laugh. He has easily the most beautiful baby girl in existence. And he's the only person I've ever met who says "fuck" as much as I do.

He's a rock star, and he's exactly what I needed.

But I want to point out real quick that he was my second agent. My first agent sold BREAK. And things were great for awhile. And then, as sometimes happens in relationships of all kinds, they weren't.

I want to point out that I didn't stick with my first agent when things got too difficult to manage.

Because if you are an agented writer and you're sitting here going, "Shit, my agent isn't NEARLY as cool as Brendan, and s/he would never call my mom/curse with me/tell me I'm fantastic," be open (like I wasn't, for a long time) to the possibility that you might need a new agent.

There are a TON of great agents out there. There are a TON of great writers out there. And there are a ton of ways great agents and great writers can match up that, for whatever reason, don't work. If your relationship with your agent isn't working for you, it really is OK to try again.

The fact that I'm transferring out of Brown next semester doesn't mean it's not one of the best schools in the country, y'know? It's not an insult to Brown. It just means it isn't right for me. (Also, I hate you, Brown, but that's not the point.)

Find an agent who makes your soul sing. Find your Brendan.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OH DEAR AN ANNOUNCEMENT

YOU SHOULD BUY A COPY OF BREAK FOR YOUR WINTER HOLIDAY OF CHOICE!

YOU SHOULD BUY EVERYONE YOU KNOW A COPY OF BREAK FOR THE HOLIDAY OF THEIR CHOICE!

BREAK FOR EVERYONE!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

QUERY CRITIQUES WOOOO

Dear XYZ:

In a world with two socially divided classes, made up of genetically-enhanced "gens" and the now substandard bio-originals, or "subs", the classes clash. 

Ruby is a circus star ordered to train on the flying trapeze. She’s appalled to find her partner-to-be, Jobe, is a sub. Everyone knows that subs are incompetent; putting your life in one of their hands means certain death.

Jonah is a sub with a whole different set of problems. He travels to the circus hoping to find solutions. Instead, he finds complications; he finds Ruby. He's drawn to Ruby the first moment he sees her, undeniably attracted to someone who undeniably hates him, and all like him.

CONTORTED is a love story set in a futuristic world where a new kind of class division makes that love forbidden. Written in alternating points of view, the complexity of discrimination is presented by characters on opposite sides of the issue. CONTORTED is complete at 75,000 words.

I chose to submit this novel for your consideration because XYZ.

I have pasted the first pages of my manuscript below per your submission guidelines. I am prepared to send the full manuscript or synopsis if desired. I would like to note that this is a simultaneous submission.

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as well as an active member of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN. At the Loft, I have taken classes from such people as Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda and Brian Farrey of Flux. I attended the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop in December 2008, the Loft’s Festival of Children’s and Young Adult Literature in April 2009, and the SCBWI Conference in LA in August 2009.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,

ZYX


I think the problem here is length—you've got a 300-word-plus query, which isn't a humongous problem, but it is indicative of a letter that could use some trimming. And yours could.

Your second paragraph is great: full of action, directly to the point, wham bam bam. Excellent. The first and third really linger where they don't need to. And the additional summary after the summary isn't necessary; it's just telling what you've already shown.

Jonah's paragraph takes a lot of words but gives us no new information beyond his attraction to Ruby. It could benefit from some strong specifics—give us his problem and his solution, and show us how Ruby gets in the way. I think the “and all like him” is a bit awkward, too, since at first read it's unclear if “like” is a verb or not (clearly it's not, but whatever, I STUMBLED OK??)

Beyond that, I'd like to see more of what the gens and subs have to do with Ruby and Jonah's individual cases. Is she genetically-enhanced to be a good trapeze artist? Anything like that would be a sweet tidbit to throw into that already tight 2nd para—just don't mess up the great flow!

(also, no need to say it's a sim. sub. They assume for queries.)

Here's my rewrite:

Dear XYZ:
In CONTORED, a YA novel from two viewpoints, Ruby and Jonah clash in a new kind of class war between the genetically-enhanced "gens" and the now substandard bio-originals, or "subs.” Ruby is a circus star ordered to train on the flying trapeze. She’s appalled to find her partner-to-be, Jobe, is a sub. Everyone knows that subs are incompetent; putting your life in one of their hands means certain death.

Jonah is a sub with a whole different set of problems. He travels to the circus hoping to find solutions (here's where we need some more specifics). Instead, he finds a complication: Ruby. He's drawn to Ruby the first moment he sees her, undeniably attracted to someone who undeniably hates him.

CONTORTED is complete at 75,000 words.

I chose to submit this novel for your consideration because XYZ.

I have pasted the first pages of my manuscript below per your submission guidelines. I am prepared to send the full manuscript or synopsis if desired.

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators as well as an active member of the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN. At the Loft, I have taken classes from such people as Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda and Brian Farrey of Flux. I attended the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop in December 2008, the Loft’s Festival of Children’s and Young Adult Literature in April 2009, and the SCBWI Conference in LA in August 2009.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,



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Dear Agent:

What happens when four teens become entangled in a love square?

Kyle is afraid of love. He does not want anything to do with girls. However, when Rosabelle, the girl he liked growing up, and he become friends again after the end of their friendship in seventh grade, he finds he is starting to fall for her all over again.

Rosabelle has a boyfriend, Chase. They have been dating for one year. Now that Kyle and her are friends again, she realizes the feelings she had for him throughout her life had never left her all this time.

Chase is madly in love with Rosabelle. He never wants to lose her, so he warns and fights other boys he sees as competition, but he keeps this a secret from Rosabelle. When he sees that Rosabelle is friends with Kyle, he struggles with himself not to fight him.

Jeanette is Rosabelle’s best friend. Her own secret is her love for Chase. She is jealous of her best friend that has a perfect life, a perfect GPA, and the perfect boyfriend. She wants to be something more than the most popular girl’s best friend.

As junior year progresses, conflicts threaten to break apart old friendships and relationships. It's their choice to break free from old bonds or to stay in their current situations. But both sides of the decision have their positives and negatives. And if they're not careful, all four of them could walk out of this brokenhearted.

I am seeking representation for my multiple-perspective young adult romance novel, LOVE SQUARE, complete at 75000 words. I have a synopsis and the full manuscript available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Karla

This query is very clear, but it lacks voice. Voice is so huge in YA, and it's really what's going to set your manuscript apart.

Unless your manuscript is told in a very plainspoken, adult, un-nuanced voice, don't write your query in that way.

I'm sure you've heard how many agents hate rhetorical questions (hey there, Nathan!). Personally, I'm not bothered by them a bit, but it's something to keep in mind.

I'm not going to rewrite this because I don't know the voice of your novel, but I'm going to suggest that, for an experiment, you write the query in first person. Switch 1st person narrators for each paragraph as you switch from character to character. Then go back and switch it back into 3rd, but see if you can keep some of each character's spunk in the transition. Cool?


-----------------------


Dear Agent:

Princess Sadie might have a face that can enchant a crowd, but a goddess wants her head. 

When Sadie receives a prophecy that she must marry a creature even the gods fear, she’s sure that Venus is finally taking her revenge. Sadie has no idea that her intended groom is really Venus’s handsome son, Cupid, who intends to wed Sadie without Venus finding out. Following a wedding procession more appropriate for a funeral, Sadie is left on a hilltop, swept away by the West Wind, greeted by invisible servants, and ends up married to a man whose only visible feature is his enchanting blue eyes. Then, as if overnight, Sadie finds her fear washed away by the unexpected kindness of her new husband. 

As she spends her evenings recounting every detail of her life to the most doting man she’s ever met, Sadie succumbs to the contented bliss of love. That is, until her jealous sisters convince Sadie she’s been tricked by the monster foretold in the prophecy and killing him is her only escape.

When Sadie nearly kills her beloved and, in doing so, learns his true identity, she realizes too late all she has thrown away. Cupid flees, forcing Sadie to journey alone through Greece and come face-to-face with Venus if she wants to reclaim his immortal love. On her road to redemption, Sadie finds the strength to take on the gods and challenges the ancient adage: you cannot escape what is destined.

Complete at 94,000 words, “Destined” is a YA historical romance novel and a modernized retelling of Greece’s most captivating love story, that of Cupid and Psyche. I am a member of SCBWI and was a classical studies major in college. 

As per your submission guidelines, I am enclosing the first ten pages of the novel with this e-mail. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully working with you.

Sincerely, 
JLH

Definitely a well-written query, but I think there's also a bit of a voice problem. I'm really familiar with the story of Eros (if you're saying this is Greek, make sure you use Eros, not Cupid; Cupid is the Roman name) and Psyche, so I was reading this going “okay, okay, this is Eros/Psyche...what's the difference?”

I need to see exactly how this is a modernized retelling, because right now it just feels like you're telling me the story of Eros and Psyche. I think voice could be your savior, here—if the query sounded more modern, I'd be more inclined to believe you.

I'm worried that “historical” and “modernized retelling” might be a contradiction in terms, too. Make believe this really is modern and really is different from the original! Show how you're different.

I'd suggest ending the query at “killing him is her only escape” and using the space you save from deleting the last paragraph to add uniqueness to your query. I'd also restructure the query to edit out most of the mentions of Venus—keep it focused on Sadie/Cupid's drama and save Venus for the book.


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Dear [Agent Name],

The year is 1985, and seventeen-year old artistic genius Anna Sokolowska struggles to balance a growing artistic obsession with what is a consistently violent father-daughter relationship. 

Her father’s unexpected disappearance and a chance opportunity to attend a prestigious art conference force Anna to make a decision: Her obligation lies in providing for her mentally fragile mama, but her desire is to take a chance and risk joining the ranks of the famous, freeing herself in the process. Her decision will determine not only her future, but that of her mother and brother, as well as the boy that might just be her savior.

WHERE THE DOVES FLY is a 76,000-word literary YA, marked by the culturally unique 1980s Poland. I'm querying you because [of XYZ].

I’ve been published in New Moon, Teen Ink, Alive, and multiple Creative Communications anthologies, and I currently write for Pol-Am, Minnesota’s Polish-American newsletter. I also serve on a sub-council of Minneapolis' Loft Literary Center and have interned with acquisitions editor Brian Farrey of Flux.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
WJ

The wording in this query is pretty awkward--”what is a consistely violent father-daughter relationship” reads clunky (how about “her consistently violent relationship with her father”?)--and the “force her to make a decision” construction is overused.

I feel like this story is so cool but I'm not seeing any of it because it's tied up in the language. 1980s Poland is so entirely wicked cool and it's SO interesting, but I'm not seeing anything unique in your query. Family obligations, main character with a talent, a boy.

I'm going to suggest rewriting this. Don't make it pretty, make it very plain and clear and make it focus on the parts of the story that make it really interesting. Show us what about this story was cool enough to make you write it.


--------------------------

Dear Agent:

THE BEAST'S APPRENTICE is a YA steampunk re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast," complete at 95,000 words.

Growing up, Faye had no interest in her mother's bedtime fairy tales, as all her time were spent trying to keep herself and her ailing mother alive on the cold and ruthless streets of London. She never imagined that one day, she would have to seek help from the Beast, a vain and prickly creature who cares only for himself. If given the choice, she would rather die of starvation and frostbite than to do menial work as an apprentice in his rundown and dangerous mansion.

However, the Beast needs to have his curse broken before the winter passes, and Faye needs his magical expertise to stage a revenge on her father, the cause of her mother's death. Their bargain: Faye will find him his true love and he will teach her enough magic to topple her father's prosperous magical artifacts and potions business. It is the perfect arrangement.

The arrangement slowly crumbles, however, as Faye finds herself drawn toward the Beast and entertaining the thoughts of being the curse-breaker herself. Except she has already kissed him. And failed.

The synopsis and the full manuscript are available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,
Sandy

I'm sold on this one. I'd request.

Quick question, though—isn't the original Beauty and the Beast kinda steampunk? I'm totally going off the Disney movie, but I remember the things her father invented gave me that sort of impression...and I don't see anything particularly steampunk in your query, so I might leave that out.

I'd revisit your second summary paragraph and work on making the wording a little clearer, but yeah, I think this is really good. Full of voice!


---------------------

Dear [Agent],

Ricky Marquard and his girlfriend, Sofia Bowen, are gifted, to say the least. He can control the earth’s elements while she’s got full control of people’s minds. Quite the dream team, right?

You’d think so, but then some guy tries to kill Ricky’s mom at a football game, so Ricky has to fry him to death in front of 90,000 people watching on the Jumbotron. Nobody hurts Mama Marquard and gets away with it. No one suspects a thing—who’d believe he murdered someone with lightning?—but he decides to lay low for a while.

That is, until Weather and Isochronal Natural Disasters International, or W.I.N.D.I., shows up. W.I.N.D.I.’s members dictate the world’s weather patterns and natural disasters, and boy, are they thrilled to have finally found the hilarious wisecracker who decided it would be nice for Orlando to have its first white Christmas last year. Better still, they don’t even care about the dead guy. 

Ricky is shocked there are others like him in the world (Sofia’s a tad peeved there aren’t more like her), but his excitement quickly downgrades to alarm as he discovers W.I.N.D.I. is as crooked as a tree in hurricane-force winds. Political gain and big money are the bottom line for the organization with six billion lives in its hands, and when W.I.N.D.I. spies its newest member’s quavering loyalty, it charges him with a rather difficult task. 

Whip up a natural disaster to destroy tens of thousands of lives, or lose his own.

W.I.N.D.I. is a young adult novel complete at 66,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
RYI

This is strong. But I think the voice gets a little too wink-wink-nudge-nudge in places.

I think you should cut Sofia out of the story entirely—she's probably awesome in the book, but here she's just taking up space. Focus it on Ricky.

Start your query as close to the actual jumbotron murder as you can. “Ricky can control the elements, which seems like a pretty cool power until some guy tries to kill his mom and he's forced to...” etc. That gets you into into the meat of the story quickly and cuts out the grating bits of the query's voice.

But I really like this, and I think your story sounds siiiick.


---------------------

Dear Agent,

It’s not like sixteen-year-old Skylar Jones’ druggie mother ever came round for a cup of tea when she got out of jail. Maureen never wrote, emailed, facebooked or phoned. So when mommy dearest roars into town on the back of some guy’s Harley and demands to see her, Skylar has no idea what to do.

She wants to forgive and forget, but the puckered scars on her stomach from when Maureen burned the house down make her hesitate. “Sorry” just doesn’t cut it when you nearly kill someone, especially when it comes ten years too late. Prompted by her aunt, Sally, Skylar reflects on the six years she spent with Maureen, looking for a grain of truth. Her mother’s motto “Heaven on Earth” permeates her childhood. If she can find heaven, she decides, she can trust her mom. 

Obsessed with beauty, Skylar reckons she can get blissed out on “Beautiful Places” like her mother did on drugs. For her, heaven’s just a particularly stunning colour palette. She makes a list of places she finds magical and tears through it, but heaven's yet to appear, and the guy on the Harley just revealed the reason Maureen finally came back: She wants to see Skylar before the cancer she’s refusing to seek treatment for kills her. 

Time is running out for Skylar to decide whether to see her mother. But she's holding out for heaven, despite the pull she feels towards Maureen. If there was no mother-daughter relationship before her mother took off, Sky doesn’t see why they should fake one because Maureen’s dying. 

SKYLAR’S STORY is a contemporary YA novel complete at 45,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Vee

So I'm kind of confused about what actually happens in your story, and how “heaven on earth” can really be a motto, per se. Is Skylar traveling? Because that's cool, and I want to hear about it. How is she “tearing through” this list? What is she doing?

Trim the fat—the guy on the Harley, facebooking, her aunt Sally—and focus on what actually happens in your book.

I'm going to suggest writing a synopsis, if you haven't—I know, I know, I hate them too—and using that to write to your query. Don't forget to add voice and a hook at the end, but use that to pick out your most interesting plot elements and include them, because I feel like this query is all set-up and I don't know what your book is about.

(Don't let anyone tell you your book is too short.)


--------------------

Dear :

With a family primed for Doctor Phil and a job involving a toilet brush, Daniel Cole realizes he's twenty-one and he has nothing to show for it. When people hear Dan's name, they think of his dropout brother- a candidate in the Board of Education election who destroys his opponent's lawn with thousands of anchovies and some stray cats. When Dan meets Aidan, a heartthrob guitarist for a local band needing a drummer, he has an epiphany: music, his long lost love, will bring him friends, girls, and popularity.

Instead, chaos ensues. With songs like "Fluffy Didn't Run Away (Your Parents Lied to You)" and "You Looked Better on the Web," joining Lincoln's Navigators doesn’t give Dan the aura of coolness he expected. With a front man who meditates to Enya and a crybaby bassist trapped in the body of a WWE wrestler, Dan's band mates are even more bizarre than their music. Just when Dan thinks he has found his equal in Shannon, a film-school dropout and a seasoned musician hater, he learns she is the lead singer’s sister, and the reason why Aidan has been ignoring his groupies. Dan can either win Shannon and get kicked out of the band for screwing over an unexpected new friend, or he can follow a dream he never knew he had. Because for Dan, growing up and growing a pair might just be better than getting a record deal AND the girl of his dreams.

This was in the new adult contest, yeah? I remember reading it and loving it.

But I think your whole query needs to be your second paragraph. And I think you need to ditch some of the lists, as cute as they are. And I think Dan needs to do something. A lot of this query seems to happen to him by coincidence
There are a few parts I don't understand—his brother's a drop out who was a candidate for the board of education? Definitely strike him from the query. Why is Aidan ignoring his groupies? I don't get it.
Simplify your query—streamline it, make the plotline easier to follow. Focus on your story. But I think your story sounds awesome. I hope you find a place for it—I don't have to tell you that a 21 year old protag is hard. Good luck!


------------------------

Dear [Agent],

When 18-year-old Anne Marie Gessner goes in search of her deceased mother's past, she instead tumbles - literally - into the life of a distant relative, Charlotte Corday. After Anne is shipped off to Paris to live with her grandmother, she tries to sort out the lies about her mother's death that have been propagated by a cold grandmother and a distant father. She also turns to the diary of Charlotte Corday, a French revolutionary woman who sacrificed herself for the good of France, and someone Anne's mother once considered a hero.

But strange things start happening with the diary, and Anne time-travels to the French Revolution and becomes Charlotte, a seemingly calm and unpretentious woman who is known in history for having murdered Jean-Paul Marat. 

Her two realities become increasingly intertwined. From back home in Chicago, her father nags her about what she plans on doing with her life since she doesn't intend to go to college. A new friend of hers, Pierre, tries to bring her in touch with her mother's past, while dealing with his own present troubles that revolve around the riots ravaging the Paris suburbs in November 2005. Her best friend Lisa, attending college in Illinois, is still mad at her and refuses to respond to any of her emails. And, as Charlotte, Anne struggles in deciding whether or not to follow through with what Charlotte considered her destiny: killing Marat, killing one man to save 100,000. 

THROUGH CHARLOTTE'S EYES is a 55,000 word YA historical fiction novel. I wrote a version of this story for my Masters thesis at [redacted], where I also received an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Emerging Writers Series for Fiction. 

While publishers have previously strayed away from protagonists 18-years-old who are no longer in high school, I've noticed a new trend for "New Adult" literature that targets this age group, with decisions and themes that are central to THROUGH CHARLOTTE'S EYES. Anne is trying to figure out what it is she wants to do with her life, while reconciling that with her place in her family.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this work. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Sincerely,
Liz

Cut the paragraph after the credentials—agents know the market better than you do.

I want more specifics on how exactly her realities get intertwined, and I want you to cut basically everything that comes before the time traveling. Give me the first sentence—she tumbles into her life—and then open the diary and have her fall in. Mother's death, cold grandmother, distant father—that can all really go for the purposes of the query.

This query needs voice voice voice all over it—it's reading very old. You know that there are time travel books out there—what makes your special? The part about killing Marat sounds so cool, but you barely touch on it. Either make the stuff in her life at home sound more interesting (and therefore connect her two lives better, because I don't understand how she's living them both at once) or concentrate on her life as Charlotte. Good luck!


-----------------------

Dear Agent,

There are seven people who could have murdered Margot Matlin.
There’s Jenny. The best friend: obsessive, unreliable, two-faced and desperate.
There’s Ethan. The boyfriend: loving, jealous, violent and lost.
There’s Marisa. The nurse: sweet, kind, twisted and secretive.
There’s Naomi. The stepmother: hated, hateable, shallow and ruthless.
There’s Adam. The stranger: enigmatic, mysterious and bizarrely omnipresent. 
There’s Cameron. The conflict of interest: fiercely intelligent, analytical, down-to-earth and lying through his teeth.
There’s Jonah [now, how’s that for a weird coincidence?]. He’s the detective. He’s the narrator. He’s Cameron’s best friend. He’s telling the truth. 
Isn’t he?
As Jonah and Cameron travel through their small town, listening and interrogating, they must unravel the stories and the truth. There are seven people who could have murdered Margot Matlin. There are seven stories, seven endings and seven murderers. But the truth can be adjusted. Who is telling the truth? And who can Jonah and Cameron trust, when they can’t even trust each other?
FULL STOPS is a Young Adult mystery, complete at 50,000 words. I believe you would enjoy this novel because...etc. etc.
I am a member of the Poetry Society (UK), one of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2009 and have published a short story, THE GREATER GOD, in Cantaraville Nine.
Thank you for considering my query. I look forward to hearing from you.

I'm so in love with your story and so hating on your query.
Start with Jonah and Cameron investigating a death, and why. The character profiles don't work because no one is going to remember the last one by the time they get to the next.

So expand the paragraph about Jonah and Cameron investigating and make that your query. Give us some specifics about what happens in the story—you've done a GREAT job with voice and setting the mood, now give me a good reason to really be invested in your story. Give us some exciting plot points.

And once that paragraph's done, THEN throw in the twist about whether or not Jonah's telling the truth. 'Cause I like that.

Oh, and I love your title.

Also, if you could shoot me an email, that'd be sick. (nothing to do with your query.)


--------------------

Leila Lefley is awkward. While the rest of the students in Eastbay High are panicking over prom and college applications, Leila struggles to come to terms with the real meaning of idioms, people’s lack of interest in van Gogh’s disfigured ear, and the need to wear heels. Why would someone willingly risk a bunion the size of a golf ball? Leila resigns herself to drooling over her crush Neil from a distance. What would the insightful, heartthrob want with Loony Leila? Especially since Leila has Asperger’s syndrome.

Then she bumps into the Thor, literally. He tells her that he is a nymph and she is his charge. His mission is simple-- make Neil fall in love with Leila. Welcome to Dating 101. As a nymph, Thor is a master of seduction. A simple look from Thor and the school’s ancient Latin teacher is ready to drop her pants. But this nymph has his work cut out for him since Leila is different. Cue uncomfortable silences, unnecessary rambling and cringe-worthy situations.

The rules are straightforward. Follow Thor’s instruction, don’t look like an idiot and most importantly, don’t fall in love with the nymph. Some things are easier said than done. The closer Leila gets to Neil, the more she finds herself longing for Thor. But, Thor's mission comes with a timestamp, and with it, his own expiration. Leila has to make Neil fall in love with her fast, or she'll lose Thor forever.

So I'm going to give you the same advice it seems like I'm giving everyone—lose your first paragraph. Leila has Asperger's syndrome and her crush on the football star (or whatever) looks hopeless, until she bumps into Thor. Bam. There's your start.

Your query is adorable, but the first paragraph is really unnecessary (we don't need a sentence and a half about high heels! Your query is not about high heels!)

Does Thor only die if the mission fails, or is he screwed anyway? If it's the first, make it clear, because right now it doesn't seem like seducing Neil is going to help Thor at all.

Cut the first paragraph (have I said that enough times?) and I love it.


-----------------

Dear [Agent's Name],

Jenna knows the sound of her mother's voice when she's buzzed, knows the angry defensiveness when she's drunk, and knows to make the morning-after coffee strong and black.

For years Jenna and her mother have been each other's only family, leaning on each other for everything. However, as her mom's drinking habit has gotten worse, Jenna's gotten stuck cleaning up her mother's alcohol-laden messes. It's been going on for too long and now, in Jenna's last month of high school, she's not sure how much longer she can handle it. Her boyfriend Brady is her most solid ally, the person she runs to when she needs to get away from the tiny apartment she shares with her mother. Unlike life with her mom, the relationship she shares with Brady is stable and reliable; she finds herself spending more time with him as graduation nears, trying to get away from the life she has cleaning up her mother's many messes. However, when Jenna comes home late one night to find her mother unconscious, passed out from a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills, she ends up in the ER waiting room, pulled back into her mother's orbit by the powerful mother-daughter bond she doesn't know how to escape.

With weeks left until graduation, her mother's drinking getting increasingly worse, and her boyfriend moving at the start of the summer, Jenna must find a way to separate herself from her mom in order to make her own life and stop the horrible, dizzying anxiety that comes from her mother's dysfunction. THE EMPTY BOTTLES is a 46,000 word young adult novel set against the backdrop of motherly love and dysfunction.

Sincerely,

Jordyn

First thought—is making coffee black really a skill? Don't you just...not do anything to it?
You have a ton of “is” constructions in this query—count the number of this you say some “is” or “has gotten” or “is growing,” etc. Use stronger verbs.

Beyond that, I feel like this query takes three paragraphs to say the something very simple—Jenna's mother has a drinking problem, it's disrupting her life, and she runs to her boyfriend for help. Cool. But what happens in your story? What does Jenna do? What is this story beyond the premise?

I need to know what happens in this book and what makes it different from other books about children of alcoholics. Right now, your query reads pretty generic.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jonah

Seems to be a popular name.

Almost done with the queries, guys.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Update

Free query crits are now CLOSED. I'm going to finish the crits and get them up ASAP, hopefully by tonight!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

General Query Advice

Keep submitting to the post below!

I just wanted to give some general advice, based on what I've gathered from reading a few of the entries so far.

Voice.

I am a whore about voice. I want more voice, always, all the time.

I will choose strong characters with strong voices over plot any day of the week, which I know works better for some genres than others--YA benefits hugely from characters and voice, SFF needs more of a backbone in plot and worldbuilding and other un-voicey stuff.

But ALL GENRES OF QUERIES NEED VOICE.

ALL OF 'EM.

Your voice is what sets you apart. You have to understand that you did not stumble across a wholly original story that isn't at all like anything else out there (and if you did, no one will be able to sell it ;)) Your voice is what makes people sit up and take notice. It's one of the only ways left to be truly original. Take advantage of it! FILL YOUR QUERY WITH THE VOICE OF YOUR SOULLLLLLL.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Query Crits!

Have I mentioned I love query letters?

Go ahead and post your query in the comments section, and next post I'll dissect all the ones I got and explain what I think works and what doesn't!

I'll cap the comments if I get an unprecedented amount, but until then, spread the word and keep them coming.

Two DISCLAIMERS:
--Your critique (and query) WILL be published for all the world to see. I will not be cruel, but I may be a little candid. Be prepared.
--You may ask--Why should I take your advice? Uh, GOOD QUESTION. There is no real reason to take anything I say about query letters seriously. I am not an agent, I am not an editor, I am a barely-legal writer who likes her some letters. (That said, my queries did get ridiculously good request rates.)

Go go go!

EDIT: I'm going to aim to post the crits THIS THURSDAY, so make sure you submit before then!

EDIT AGAIN: It probably won't be 'til Friday, guys. Thanks for the subs, keep 'em coming!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ho ho ho

So all this holiday cheer has me thinking that I write a lot of books that are centered around--or highlight--a holiday. For BREAK, it's Halloween, which worked metaphorically in retrospect; a lot of the book is about concealing true feelings (oh my god HANNAH YOU ARE SO ORIGINAL) and pretending to be something you're not (HANNAH YOU'RE BRINGING ME TO TEARS HERE--I know guys, I know, just try to keep it together.)

One of my manuscripts that I love but might never see the light of day centers around the Fourth of July, and it is, in large part, a book about pregnancy and independence and how those two coincide and contrast. INVINCIBLE SUMMER, about a boy growing over four summers, centers around that character's birthday each year, from his fifteenth to his eighteenth.

Not all of my manuscripts fit this model, but I thought it was interesting. Anything similar show up in your books, timing-wise?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for all you beautiful people.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If You Think BREAK's Language is Inappropriate for Teenagers

As 90% of my teenage reviewers haven't mentioned the language and 90% of adult reviewers have, I'm going to say that if anything, the language is inappropriate for adults.

There should maybe be a warning on the back? WARNING: This book may not be suitable for readers over 21.

(Like, are you kidding me? What the fuck do you think they hear in high school?)

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Open Letter To Writers Looking For An Agent

Dear Writers,

Please never, never make the mistake of thinking you're having a different experience from anyone who's sold their book.

I queried four different books before I got an agent. I got form rejections and personalized rejections and partial requests and partial rejections and full requests and full rejections. I went through it all. It sucked.

I haven't forgotten it. I'm never going to forget it.

We're only different because we've had luck you haven't had. You could get an agent tomorrow. You don't know. Hell, I didn't wake up the morning I got my agent with some feeling that something big was going to happen.

When you work hard, success falls on you no matter if it's an up day or a down day or a Saturday or a Tuesday. You have to believe it will come. You have to not think I'm some level you're not.

You're the reason I blog. Because, Jesus, can we lift the veil and show you that published authors don't sparkle like vampires? We're just you, but lucky. And you NEVER KNOW when you'll be one of us.

Believe, believe believe. DON'T LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN. Especially when those bastards are us.

Love you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Open Blog!

Feeling lazy. So the comments section is now your playground--any questions for me? Anything you'd like to say to me at all? Go go go.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fitting in/Standing Out

A NOTE: This post talks about writing as a craft and a business. It talks about the business of selling writing. If you're looking for praise of art for art's sake, look elsewhere. I'm a commercial writer, let's just put it out there--I have my literary moments, but I write for you and you and you, damn it, not for The Sake Of The Written Word--so advice from me (fuck what I'm giving advice??) is going to come from a commercial standpoint.

A lot of the problems new authors face, whether they're on their first manuscript or their tenth, base around the problem of fitting in vs. standing out.

Benefits to fitting in:
--Your audience is built right in. That's huge. You know where your book will go and who will pick it up.
--Easier to find an agent. Look at what they've sold until you find one that's sold a book like yours. Query them. Then query some more people. If you're good, you'll get lucky. And if your book fits into the current market easily, an agent shouldn't have much trouble placing you.
--You are instantly your own brand. Readers will know what to expect for your next book, and if your first was the type they liked, they'll be loyal.

Problems with fitting in:
--Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
--You're asleep
--Your readers are asleep


On the other hand...

Benefits to standing out:
--Bam pow zap! There's nothing like a shock to get people's interest.
--Books that stand out are the ones that become big deals. No one ever got famous overnight from a ho-hum book.
--This is how things get started, y'know?

But problems with standing out:
--Good luck selling. You're a risk, and that's going to make it a hard road.
--Unless you do something quirky really well, you risk looking like you're trying too hard.
--The WTF factor. Expect people to question your sanity.


So you want to do something innovative and original without doing something that can't blend into the current market.

My solution to this dichotomy is this--write to fill the holes.

Don't try to start a new genre your first time around. You do have time to be a revolutionary.

But don't write the same book everyone else is writing because you think it will sell. (No Wuthering Heights and Witches, in my friend's words)

Don't write what's already out there, but don't write something that doesn't have a place. Look at what books are in your genre (which you should be familiar with) and look what could easily fit in that isn't yet there.

BREAK (surprise!) is a pretty decent example of this. YA books about self-injury are not new. I knew there was an established market for them. What is new? Books about a self-injury from a male perspective. So I did it. And it made sense, but it still had a touch of that Bam Pow Zap, this is different.

In a larger sense, I write largely YA, and I use a lot of the genre conventions because I LOVE YA and I love the conventions and I love selling books, so I'm not going to write a book about, you know, a tadpole and try to say that's YA. (Someone is trying that now. Stop.) But while a lot of YA is friend/romantic relationship focused, I put a heavy emphasis on family life and the relationships my characters have with their parents and siblings.

Find your genre. Love your genre. Meet the expectations of your genre. And add something new.

Fill some holes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hey JOHN GREEN

In response to this video:

First of all, I'm in love with you.

Second of all:

Here is something I've learned about about writing.

Sometimes things take a lot of time.

Other times, things do not take a lot of time.


First draft of BREAK: 1 week
Subsequent revisions: 3 weeks
TOTAL TIME SPENT ON NOVEL BEFORE SALE: 1 month of work, 5 months of getting the agent/the editor/chewing my fingernails.

First draft of INVINCIBLE SUMMER: less than 1 week
Subsequent revisions: 8 months on and off.
TOTAL TIME SPENT ON NOVEL BEFORE SALE: about 8 months of work, 4 months of getting a different agent/the same editor/chewing the same fingernails.

First draft of ALL TOGETHER WITH FEELING: 4 months
Subsequent revisions: 2 months so far and a loooooong way to go.
TOTAL TIME SPENT ON NOVEL BEFORE SALE: bitch please no one wants this thing and no one will for a looooong time.

Sometimes, things take a lot of time.

Sometimes, other things take a lot of time.

Sometimes, things do not take a lot of time.


Also, there are no hard and fast rules.

EVERYTHING IS SUBJECTIVE. THIS IS AN IMPERFECT UNIVERSE.

p.s. John, if Sara ever leaves you, hit me up. Seriously had a period of mourning when you got engaged. You and Ned Vizzini. I'm still bitter about this, guys. My boyfriend barely knows how to read.

What is INVINCIBLE SUMMER about?

Everything bizarre in Chase McGill’s life can be blamed on his four siblings. Between screaming baby Lucy, perpetually naked Claudia, Deaf but ASL-impaired Gideon, and wanderlusty Noah, Chase has his hands full trying to hold everything together. But during the summers, everything is perfect. Every year, they return to beach to revive their passions for sand, salt, and Camus—everything that will keep them young and beautiful forever.

And they will stay innocent. Chase is their anchor.

But Chase is slowly cracking. Noah’s never around to hoist him up. His parents are divorcing. How’s Chase supposed to resist the pull of adulthood as his eighteenth birthday creeps up and his whole family’s succumbing to the adulthood disease? Claudia’s promiscuity explodes, Gideon’s learning to sign, Noah’s talking about college whenever he’s not on one of his escapes. Even Lucy’s using full sentences. Chase thought they’d be invincible as long as they were together. But they’re not invincible. And after one horrible night, they’re not even together.

INVINCIBLE SUMMER is a YA family saga complete at 40,000 words.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Non-Writing Related Note

Some of you may have noticed that Halloween is coming up.

If you've read BREAK, you know it takes place over Halloween. The climax takes place with two of the main characters in costume. And making out, but that's a different story.

You also know that one of the main characters in BREAK, Jesse, has multiple life-threatening food allergies.

So Jesse isn't real--I know, SHOCKING--but there are tons of real kids out there with real food allergies who deserve the safe Halloween Jesse never got to have. Food allergies are becoming increasingly more prevalent--chances are, whether or not you know it, there is at least one child with food allergies in your area or who may come to your house on Halloween.

If you are supplying candy for trick or treaters this year, please consider making it peanut free. Please consider having the bags available for children and parents to check ingredients. If you're going to have peanut candy, keep it separate from the peanut-free! I hope BREAK taught you something about cross-contamination...

And hey, you could always give out stickers or something...it's not like they're not getting enough candy, y'know?

Everyone deserves a safe and happy Halloween. Hope yours is spectacular.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh Yeah...

I'm on Twitter, did I mention? Go ahead and follow me, it makes me feel loved.
http://twitter.com/hannahmosk

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More on the Word Count Myth

So I hinted a few posts ago that word count isn't nearly as big a deal as a lot of writers would like to believe. I thought I'd elaborate on that, so you know that [this time] I'm not talking out of my ass.

BREAK is 272 pages. This would make you believe that it's a reasonably average sized novel, yeah? 272 pages, that sounds about normal for a YA book. It's not huge--huge is like over 400, right? And small is like 150 or under, yeah? So BREAK probably hits what a lot of people site as the YA word count sweet spot--60,000 to 80,000 words.

Yeah, no.

BREAK is roughly 42,000 words. It was about 44,000 when I handed it over to my editor. She cut that extra 2K because the story didn't need them.

Dozens of writers saw my query letter and told me that my book would never get me representation, let alone an editor, if I didn't beef up the word count. I was in Nathan's "Agent For a Day" contest, and a ton of the people who rejected me said they did so because the word count was too low.

And I got a ton of rejections for agents. And I got my fair share of rejections from editors, too.

Not a single. One. Mentioned the word count.

My next book, INVINCIBLE SUMMER? About 42K. God knows if my editor will chop any of that off. I'm sure any writer would tell you an editor would have to be insane to make a 42K book shorter.

But the only think that matters with words is this: does the story need them?

Here is your ideal word count: Exactly how many the story needs and not a single one more.

Don't freak out. Write a good book and no one will give a shit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TO EVERY REVIEWER WHO SAYS (S)HE LIKED BREAK ENOUGH TO EXCUSE ITS WEAK ENDING

Thanks. Me too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Massive Playlist for the WIP

Working on something new. You'll get a query teaser later, but first you get the huge playlist...

Monster Hospital--Metric
All That's Known--Spring Awakening
Rent--Rent
Boston--Augustana
How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns--Paul Simon
Octopus's Garden--The Beatles
Bleed Like Me--Garbage
I'm Just a Kid--Simple Plan
Never Be Ready--Mat Kearney
This is Why--Say Anything
Where I Belong--Motion City Soundtrack
Life Support--Rent
Walk Away--Kelly Clarkson
This Is Not an Exit--Saves The Day
Quiet As a Mouse--Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
Tic--Loch Lomond
Can't Break Her Fall--Mat Kearney
An Insult To The Dead--Say Anything
Talking in Code--Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
Waiting On The World to Change--John Mayer
Sons and Daughters--The Decemberists
Everyone I Know--Mat Kearney
Falling Awake--Gary Jules
Walter Reed--Michael Penn
Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and Be Loved)--Bright Eyes
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away--The Beatles
Virgin Mountain--Loch Lomond
I Don't Want to Die (In the Hospital)--Conor Oberst
For No One--The Beatles
Say What You Will--Damhnait Doyle
See The World--Gomez
Same Old Stuff--The Feeling
Train Under Water--Bright Eyes


Listening to this now, trying to figure out WTF actually happens in this book.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

College and Writing

Still trying to figure out if the two coexist.

For those of you who don't know, I'm currently in my freshman year at certain University (6,000 undergrad, its name can also be an adjective used to describe cows, belts, and suspicious stains, it's right there on the sidebar if you need help <---) and It's been a little rough so far. One of the main sources of difficulty, I think, is I've been basically unable to write since I got here.

I've written some--maybe 2,000 words total? But there are a few things keeping me from being productive:

--other things I have to do. This one's pretty major. I'm in class a lot. When I'm not in class, I'm doing homework (something I didn't really do in high school, so there you go). When I'm not doing homework, I'm usually staring at my TV trying not to think about homework.

--lack of time to think about anything. Let's face it, if I could just daydream through my classes the way I did in high school, I'd have a million ideas of what to write about by now. But my classes here are hard, damn it! So I don't have that luxury anymore.

--the assumption that if you're just sitting in your room by yourself, you're doing something wrong.

That's the major one.

So this post is really an open letter to all the people in my life who think I'm unhappy when I'd rather be by myself. Maybe you can use it for people in your life, too.

Guys.

It's okay.

Sometimes I need to get shit done, and sometimes that shit is something you don't understand, and that's okay, but it means you shouldn't make me try to explain it to you.

It's not that I don't love you, it's that sometimes the people in my head really are more interesting. (They're also more likely to make me money than you are. Sorry. Go buy me a sandwich).

Sometimes I really don't care about my Human Development homework because I'm trying to care about something that isn't real.

Sometimes I can't read the beautiful literature you assign me because it makes me too goddamn intimidated to write anything down.

Sometimes I just want to go home and go back to my real writing spot--in my basement, under a blanket, cat on my lap, watching Project Runway reruns.

That's how I roll. So far, this really isn't.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm Serious.

Agents don't give a shit if you use Times New Roman or Courier.

They don't care if you do underlines or italics.

They don't care if you space between your ellipses.

They don't care if your margins are an inch or an inch and a quarter.

They don't care if your book is a few thousands words shorter or longer than the guidelines writers quote like the Bible.

Your readers don't care if you have a bit of telling instead of showing.

Your readers don't care if chapter one isn't your absolute strongest chapter.

Your readers really don't give a shit what your query letter looked like.

You have to believe me. The writing world is full of archaic rules and guidelines that only exist because writers preach them. WRITERS preach them, and they are the ones who do.

Don't let this bullshit infiltrate your mind. Get a few beta readers, but for God's sake go easy on getting critiques from other writers. Writers know every rule in the book and they will tell you every single one. Which is awesome. If you want your book to sound like everyone else's.

Read agent blogs. Read editor blogs. Find out what's going on in the agency.

Listen to readers.

For God's sake, listen to readers.

But remember to cover your ears sometimes when you're talking to writers.

We don't know as much as we think we do.

If you ever believe anything a writer says, believe this: Writing is all about the readers.

All about them.

And that's all it is.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

:)

Sorry for being all crazy MIA and abandoning you guys. If you thought reality TV was a timesuck, try college.

If you've missed the melodious sounds of my voice, you should DEFINITELY check on Blogfest--it's a very cool S&S project where 40 authors sound off on some different topics---and guess who's one of the 40? Stay tuned for a few more posts there from me in the next few days, but my first one's already up!

http://www.simonlittlegreen.com/blogfest/

Definitely check it out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

WIN WIN WIN

From Publisher's Marketplace...


18-year-old author of BREAK Hannah Moskowitz's INVINCIBLE SUMMER, the story of a young man who tries to come to grips with his family's slow dissolution while also finding himself in a chaotic love triangle, pitted against his own brother, which plays out across four summers, again to Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse, in a two-book deal, by Brendan Deneen at FinePrint Literary Management.


:D

I haven't forgotten about you!

I'm just so busy it hurts.

I will have some BIG NEWS in the coming days/weeks whatever, however. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quick post...

Check out these two reviews!

http://thedreamereader.blogspot.com/2009/09/break-by-hannah-moskowitz.html

http://tencentnotes.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/debut-review-break/

I'm still waiting for the "WTF THIS BOOK SUCKS" review. Lemme know if you see it before I do and I'll prepare myself emotionally.

(the second site also has an interview with me, check it out, I'm pretty sure I say something funny--and some of the stuff I say every interview, but ya know.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh Dear God Education

So I'm leaving for college on Thursday. This means I'm paaacking and paaaacking and marathoning America's Next Top Model (because I mean obviously this is really important).

So. Expect sporadic (or no) blogging until this weekend. I hope you all are having a lovely lovely week.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just when you think...

...you'd kill yourself before you'd start another first draft, when you think you're SO GLAD you're on the second draft of your WIP and you NEVER WANT TO START ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN...

...a new idea comes along and slams you across the head.

God. Damn. It.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

HEY LOOK A BOOK REVIEW

http://www.libraryloungelizard.com/2009/08/book-review-break-by-hannah-moskowitz.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Problem is Borders Is Not a Goddamn Toy Store.

So if you read either Pimp My Novel or Editorial Ass (and come on, you should) you might be panicking a little bit for the well-being of Borders.

I know I am.

I'm no expert. I'm a girl who likes to buy books, and the nearest Borders to my house is a full ten minutes closer than the Barnes and Noble which means that, essentially, I'm a Borders-girl. (Guys, don't even talk to me about indies. If you have lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, you may chortle along with me here. Chortle chortle chortle.)

But I completely agree with Pimp My Novel--the problem with Borders is the damn toys.

This Borders Ink thing--have you seen this? It's a perfect symptom of a larger problem. basically, they're mixing teen merchandise in with the YA books.

So this means, in the current publishing climate, that you have to wade through three layers of Twilight lunch boxes to get to the YA books.

Show of hands of people who find this annoying, please.

I don't have a problem with Twilight. I haven't read the series, so I think it would be odd if I did. But correct me if I'm wrong, but apart from the moms who are buying the Twilight dildos, aren't most of Twilight's rabid fans relatively young girls? YA, maybe, but definitely on the younger end. People around my age like it, but I'm not sure many of them are enamored.

I'm not saying the books shouldn't be shelved in the YA section. As far as I can tell, they fit all the requirememnts of YA. The protagonists are the right age (or the one who isn't twenty billion is, at least) the pacing is tight, it has coming-of-age elements.

But can you really imagine anyone older than fourteen (or, God forbid, a BOY) carrying a Twilight lunchbox?

Reading the book and wanting to advertise that you are a groupie of the book are two different things. Completely.

FOR EXAMPLE. Do you remember about four years ago, when suddenly anybody who was anybody liked The Doors and ACDC? I swear ever fifteen year old girl I passed was wearing an ACDC shirt. (Except me. I had a Death Cab shirt because I am a BAMF.)

A music store frequented by those ancient, grungy, hardcore rockers would not be so stupid as to stock those sparkly t-shirts emblazoned with ACDC. It's the same band. It's a completely different market.

We don't go to Borders to buy Twilight lunchboxes.

We go to Borders to buy books.

Or maybe we'll start driving the extra ten minutes to Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's heeeeeeeeeere!

Please excuse my mother's horrible photography skills.

Signing copies at B&N. That's my dad grinning in the background.



Sunday, August 23, 2009

WE BEAT BEAR FEELS SICK

That is all.

(unfortunately we're still #6. The elephant with a peanut allergy snuck in and stole #5. I don't feel I can complain, since BREAK has a peanut allergy as well, and it's really the reason we're on that list. THOUGH WE'RE MORE THAN JUST PEANUTS BITCHES)

Rule the World

BREAK is now the 6th bestseller in the category Bestsellers > Books > Children's Books > Science, Nature & How It Works > Health > Diseases > Fiction

we need to beat BEAR FEELS SICK before we can proceed to number 5.

COME ON GUYS. WE CAN BEAT BEAR FEELS SICK.

Though I'm not going to lie to you, it sounds pretty effing sweet. It rhymes. And it has a twist ending. BREAK has neither of these things. Guys, we might be fucked. I'm thinking 6th might be where our reign ends.

But it was fun while it lasted.

(Also, 33,000th bestseller compared to ALL THE BOOKS EVER. That's up from 200some thousandth last night. Seriously, thanks. I can almost taste the monies).

This is why I shouldn't blog at three in the morning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

!!!!

FACE OUT!?!?!

Time Turned Fragile

This is the song that inspired BREAK. A nice little song from Jonah to Jesse.

Clicky (audio only):



Tiny hands, recycled cans, the metal bands I could not stand
The time you cried and threw your crayons across the floor
These are the things I think about when I'm alone without you
I wonder about your wherabouts and hope like hell you're happy where you are

You used to say that you're just fine, but I still wonder all the time.

Hockey games, medical claims, police reports, terrible grades
J, I'm so proud of all the things that you have done
These are the things I think about when I'm alone without you
I wonder about your wherabouts and hope like hell you're happy where you are

I'm all right.
I'm all right.
I can see through everything you say, and all the lessons I never learned.

You used to say that you're just fine, but I still wonder all the time.

Do you still believe in the stories told to you by my friends and I
When you were four years old?
How it got so cold, our words just froze
We had to wait until summer to find out what was said
One of the best times that we had.

I know I say that I'm just fine, but I hope you wonder from time to time.

I was nervous from the start that the muscles might tear us apart--Are muscles tearing us apart?
From the words that carve our lives, to the words that take us by surprise--I was never taken by surprise.
From the sounds that disappear, to the changes we begin to fear--I can hear you clearly.
One day I'll fail to breathe, and all you'll have are memories--All we are are memories.

--Motion City Soundtrack

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh HEY Break!

You can now get Break from B&N.com, Amazon.com, and a few brick and mortar stores. More will start stocking it as the 25th draws nearer...

Right now, BREAK is the 42nd bestseller in the category: Bestsellers > Books > Children's Books > Science, Nature & How It Works > Health > Diseases > Fiction

I KNOW

42ND

GUYS

I AM SO FRICKIN' FAMOUS

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FINISHED

words left: 0

days left: 6

yessssssss. I did it! 58some thousand words, and it's all done! And I'm actually pretty happy with it, yay. And I have tons of ideas for edits.

Now I want to see if I can get a 2nd draft done before BREAK comes out. Clearly I am insane.

My release date is "soft," which means it's possible there's a copy of BREAK in your local bookstore RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. SOMEONE ELSE COULD BE BUYING IT RIGHT NOW. ARE YOU GOING TO STAND FOR THIS?

Ugh, when did I become such an annoying little publicitywhore?

But you guys love me anyway, right? (say yes)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh dear lord single digits

Words left; 3,500

Days left: 9

It's getting sooooooooo close.

I have nothing constructive to say.

It's sooooooo close.

You've pre-ordered your copy, right? Good.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ooooooh

I got a real copy of the BREAK in the mail today!

It's so much cooler than the ARC. It's got back cover copy (the same blurb from my Amazon page, in case you were wondering) and the binding is nice and thick, and it smells like a BOOK.

I luuuuuuuurve it.

keep on truckin'

words left: 4,000

days left: 11

Thursday, August 13, 2009

12 days

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Love My Editor

Have I mentioned my editor? Because oh my God she is fabulous. If I haven't yet convinced you to buy my book, here's another reason--because it will make her happy, and she is like my favorite person in the world I would loooove you to help me make her happy.

/gush

IN OTHER NEWS

words left: 6,000 (didn't cheat this time, I swear.)

days left: 13 (still. am I posting too much? I'm so bipolar with this blog.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lalalala first draft cheating...

Words left: 8,000

Days left: 13


move along, move along, nothing to see here...**sweeps words under rug**

In other news

I can't count. Damn it.


Words left: 16,000

Days left: 14

damn iiiiiiiiiit. This is looking less feasible.

Ho shit!

It's past midnight!

You know what that means!

TWO WEEKS UNTIL BREAK!

In honor of the occasion, I have two links for you. Here's the first. It's an interview that I did! http://lucidconspiracy.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-hannah-moskowitz.html

Here's the second one! It's the Amazon link to my book. Because have you ordered this yet? You should order it! It's how I get paid! http://www.amazon.com/Break-Hannah-Moskowitz/dp/1416982752/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1249963398&sr=8-4

Have an awesome Tuesday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Progress report

Words remaining: 12,000

Days remaining: 15

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Goals and Things! My Teachers Would Be Proud

SO here's the plan.

My outline for All Together With Feeling says it will be 68,000 words.

It is currently 45,000 words.

Here is the goal. Finish the 1st draft of All Together With Feeling before BREAK comes out.

Can she do it???

(Also, BREAK got a great review today! Check it out. http://kidslit.menashalibrary.org/2009/08/08/break/)

So how are you guys? Life is good?

Oh hey, are you a fan of me on Facebook? Because I'm pretty awesome, even on Facebook.

Hannah Moskowitz on Facebook