Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Point of No Return

I just passed 10,000 words on the manuscript I'm working on (All Together with Feeling, still.) Generally, I consider 10,000 words to be my point of no return. It's where I've invested too much in a book to give up on it.

Granted, this isn't foolproof--I've given up on books at 15K, 40K, 52K, but usually if I reach 10K, I'm in it for the long haul.

Do you have a wordcount that works as verification that the ms is going to work? Or are you one of those freaky people who finishes everything she starts?

Monday, April 27, 2009

BREAK love

My friend bought one of the BREAK ARCs online (and the money went to help AIDS! woo!) and just sent me this picture...

After August 25th (or even before if you can get your hands on another ARC) anyone who sends me a picture of BREAK with their cat gets their copy signed. But you have to pay for postage. I'm about to be a broke college student, people. (So buy my book!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can you tell I'm trying to post more often?

My best friend Alex, a FANTASTIC we designer (he designed and built my site, check it out if you haven' just launched his new website, and it looks fantastic. Check out if you need any website designing done...

He's pretty incredible. I thank him in my acknowledgments for Break. (See how I worked a mention of Break in there?)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What We Strive For

I've been having a hard time with writing lately because I feel like I'm trying to figure out my place in the writing world. Not my current place--I know where I am currently. I'm a kid with a novel coming out; I'm in the dug out waiting for my turn at bat, and we'll see how I do. I understand that, even if it's haaaard to be patient sometimes.

I mean as a writer at large. I've been reading so much about the publishing industry lately. That probably isn't a good idea. I've been reading about literary fiction vs. genre fiction, debut novels vs. second or third novels, selling a book vs. succeeding as an author...and I've read so many things about how good, honest, literary fiction is dying.

It's hard as a YA writer. In some ways, it's just plain hard to be a YA writer, the same way it's hard to be a science fiction or a romance writer. There's still that stigma that I'm not a "real" writer--that my books are more formulaic than contemporary adult literature, that I'm just churning them out. And I wonder, in a lot of ways, if that's true.

How do I reconcile my desire to feel important with my desire to accurately portray the honest life of a teenager?

I don't want to sacrifice good story for a message. More than that, I'm not sure I have a message yet.

I feel like a hack a lot lately. And I'm blogging about it because, in bitching about that to my friends the way that I do, I'm finding I'm not the only one. Is this a universal thing? Does everyone feel like they're striving for something they can't reach because they don't know who they want to be?

I'd like to be important as a writer, but I don't know what type of important I want to be. I want to be remembered and fresh and original, but not gimmicky. I want to be serious but not morose. I want to be funny without being a joke.

I wish I knew where the line is that divides real writers from unreal writers. I don't think it's publication anymore.

Monday, April 20, 2009


My query was featured in Nathan Bransford's Agent For a Day contest. You should check it out if you haven't already.

I was surprised at the number of people who were misinformed about the foundations of YA books; people picked at my word count, my subject matter, etc. I think there's definitely a disconnect between how the publishing industry works and how authors think it works.

I think we're so used to following guidelines for how to write query letters, how to format our manuscripts, how to use dialogue tags and adverbs, that we forget how much of it isn't a rule. We forget how much of our success is dependent on being original and being honest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I have no willpower

Aaaaand here's what I started tonight.


SOPRANO: Etta is a not-chubby-just-curvy racial minority chirping her way through the high notes, despite her maturing voice trying to push her down an octave. She sweats too much, laughs too much, and has a penchant for parties and Oliver Hayes. Too bad he’s gayer than a Liza Minnelli playlist.

ALTO: Bianca isn’t ambitious, per se…she just knows her strengths. And her main strength happens to be that she’s the best damn singer in the chorus, and her director knows it. If only Julian weren’t holding her back, trying to get her to sing those drippy duets with her. Doesn’t he know she should be the one calling the shots?

TENOR: Julian’s not jealous of his girlfriend’s relationship with the choral director. He’s not. He’s just worried Bianca’s being used. And worried she’s getting in over his head. And worried that being a tenor really does mean he’s one ball short of a home run.

BASS: Oliver thinks he has it all in the beautiful, unobtainable jock who sits in the back of the choral room and moves his lips to the words. Too bad he’s not so unobtainable after all, and Oliver’s going to have to face exactly why he doesn’t want a real relationship. Alternatively, he could see if his fling with his director pans out.

In ALL TOGETHER WITH FEELING, a 50,000 word YA novel, four seniors in a high school choral group tell the stories of their quests to out-sing the competition—both on the stage and off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I can't tell if I'm moving quickly or not at all

I thought of a new idea that I can't wait to write. Problem? I'm still in the middle of this manuscript I've been trying to finish for the past two years...I'm NOT going to abandon it again.

But damn it, I want to write this new one...

How do you stay on task when something else is calling you?

(new book is going to be about a chorus, hence the "I want to be a singer" tag).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's been awhile...

...and Baby Ghost has been long abandoned in favor of an old, previously abandoned manuscript! I'm about 51,000 words into it thus far.

Today is my eighteenth birthday! I'm a teenage writer no longer.