Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stuff in August and General Bookish Excitement


School has begun, which means that a LOT of things are picking up pace. Summer has changed, from slogging, hazy days that pass by in a trickling morass, and into days full of getting lost in hallways and meeting new teachers and seeing your old friends and gearing up for another school season.

Speaking of seasons...

Wow. There's a LOT of hype surrounding a book called The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon. TV shows, magazine articles--it's been featured in everything from the Today show (the very first pick of their new book club!) and the People magazine. I briefly saw Samantha Shannon back in June, at BEA--I really had NO idea that she was part of such an explosive series! 

And look at that cover...

Delicious, I know. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

But I'm also reallyreallyreally pumped for something else. 

Yup. You saw that. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. Coming out this Tuesday.

That has gotta be the most badass cover I've ever seen. 

I've heard people who managed to snag an ARC at BEA gush and froth at the mouth over it and say it's the best book ever and no, they refuse to read other fantasy books this year because nothing else can quite manage to attain the awesomeness of Celaena. 

I am SO. SO. excited. Like, jumping-off-my-chair-because-I-know-it's-gonna-kick-serious-butt excited. 

In other news, I'm taking a wee break from TeaNovel. But it doesn't matter, because my time will be occupied with piles of schoolwork and that timer that ticks down the days until Crown of Midnight comes out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beth Revis and her genius


Internet, author Beth Revis is an amazing kickass.

Because of this:

I had seen this video a while ago, maybe a year. At that time, it resonated with me, but not in a soul-shaking, revelation kind of way.

Beth Revis, the author of the New York Times bestselling Across the Universe series, talked about failure.

Before she wrote Across the Universe, she wrote ten--TEN--novels. But the thing is, she said--and this was the part that hit me the most--that she thought each of those ten novels was "the one". She edited them meticulously, poured her her love and her soul into each of those novels, and she edited the absolute crap out of them. Each. One. Of. Them.

None of those ten novels ended up getting published.

She showed the stack upon stack of papers that reached about two feet high, the legal pads full of notes and edit letters. She showed the three drafts, the thousand pages that made up the comparatively slim, small book of A Million Suns (her sequel).

And I saw a woman who gave everything she had into her writing. She took her energy and passion and tenacity and fragility and wove it into each and every one of her books. She didn't crank them out like scientific papers or magazine articles. She genuinely thought that each of them was the one. 

And that was the part the hit me and struck me and slapped me in the face.

I will admit a secret. This past week, in preparation for this online conference I was taking, I had rewritten an entire novel in two weeks, and two-thirds of that novel in one week. I wrote 37,000 words in the course of eight days. I set my alarm for 3:00 AM every night. I was working like a mad, crazy scientist on the brink of discovering a new set of atomic laws (well, as crazy and furious as I could get in the wee sluggish hours of the morning. )

I loved my TeaNovel. I loved it so much to rewrite it over and over again, four times and rack up about 300,000 words over it, to spend my days worrying about my plot and wondering if it would all work out.

And I was worrying that all this would go to nothing, all of it would slip away if/when my novel ultimately gets rejected.

And I'm still afraid.

I shouldn't do this. I should be a good high school student and do Stuff that Will Get Me Good Grades and Stuff that Will Get Me into College. I should go watch movies and go squee over Taylor Swift and go outside more and Get A Life.

I shouldn't be writing a novel. To tell you the truth, I'm breaking a lot of the rules I was wordlessly given.

And there is the question: is it all worth it? 

Beth Revis had asked herself that question. She said that if she knew it would all be this hard when she was just starting out, she would have said no. That it wouldn't be worth all the work, all the struggle and the angst and the heartbreak.

She says yes.

And her ending words are, "My name is Beth Revis. And today, I didn't talk about failure at all. I talked about success."

Thank you, Beth. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fear, Procrastination, Repeat.

So I've been working on this novel for a while. Let me just call it TeaNovel, because it involves tea in some aspect and that's what I've been telling my friends. It was my NaNoWriMo novel last year, and it has had me twisted in pretzels to make it work.

I have rewritten it about five times and each time, it gets way better. And each time, my morale pretty much sinks a bit.

I no longer have that super-shiny-novel-OMG-wheee! buzz. The plot still has problems. It has rounded out in many ways, and my characters have really developed, but it's still...I don't know. There's still a long way to go.

And I'm sitting here, at my desk, chomping at it. I want this ready for this online conference I'm attending. It's in six days. I need to write a query and a synopsis. It's supposed to be a 70,000 word novel.

I have 45,000 words. 25,000 of which were written in the last four days. Which nearly killed me. I need to write 25,000 more.

On the bright side, it's an incredible motivator. On the not-so-bright side, well, I can't write Thursday and the weekends are pretty off limits, so I have today, Friday, and Monday. You can do the math.

I am listening to everything from Celtic jigs to Lana Del Rey to Christmas carols.

It's the middle of August.

What's worst is that my inner editor won't shut up. It gripes about plotholes and inconsistencies and my nemesis; the too-convenient events. I love my inner editor sometimes. It makes beautiful prose. It gets me an A on my papers. But...not when I need to rewrite my novel in like, a week.

I am completely, totally, procrastinating right now. But I don't have time to even procrastinate. It's a self-made (well, conference-made, I guess) deadline that doesn't even give me room to breathe.

I...need to go.

See you in a week, if I make it through alive.