Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Writer, A First Draft, and a Plot Bunny

A writer, a first draft, and a plot bunny walk into a bar. Why? Duh. To get a drink.

I totally understand why writers need to drink now that I've FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT. That's right, it's done. An entire mediocre book is sitting on my hard drive, waiting to be revised and polished into a totally kick-ass book.

When I first started writing, I had no idea the amount of work that occurs once the book is actually "written". So I'm in the midst of a re-read, making little notes about the places where I totally copped out and the ones where I just didn't know my characters well enough yet and the ones where the reader will be all "WTH are you smoking?" And it's actually kinda fun, but also kinda daunting.

And then it happens. Just in time for NaNoWriMo (which is like crack for writers), a sexy little plot bunny sidles up to me. She's wearing MAC lipstick and Louboutins. She oozes "pay attention to me."

Shhh... I'm hunting Revisions.

So, I wrote the plot bunny down. I tucked her away in a nice little folder and told her I promise I'll pay attention to her once my revisions are done.

I really, REALLY like her Louboutins, though, so I better revise quickly. NaNoReviseMo, anyone??

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Motivation for the Home Stretch

I am almost done with my first draft. Give me a second to process that. There is roughly 90% of a book on my hard drive. That I wrote. And in a few weeks, it'll be 100%. Of a book. That is mine.


I wanted to share what is motivating me for this last leg of my first draft.  A while ago I saw a quote on twitter. I normally ignore all of the uplifting quotes and motivational blurbs that make their rounds on social networks, but this one struck me. (I don't come here to be uplifted, people! I come here to mock!)

It felt really fitting in the overall scheme of my book, so I made it into a desktop background. Now, when I'm writing, every once in a while I'll hide all my windows and this is what I see:

Adium Yoda approves.

I may not have any laundry folded, and I may hot have any dishes done, but this background and I will have a BOOK FINISHED in a few weeks. Wish me luck. (And, if you're writing too, I'd love to hear what's motivating you right now.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trends, Agents, and Other Scary Things - Lessons from the AWC

I have SO MANY things to say about my trip to the Auburn Writer's Conference this past weekend. I got to see a ton of amazing writers and panels, workshop with hilarious Rachel Hawkins and her agent Holly Root, and take my picture with the infamous Archer Barbie, courtesy of conference organizer Chantel Acevedo. (Archer is from Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall and the upcoming Demonglass.)

Archer is full of WOE! I am not. Oops.
While talking books is fun, I was really impressed with how much I learned about the business side of writing. Rachel's morning workshop "Are You There Ghouls? It's Me, Buffy," covered the hows and whys of writing a paranormal coming-of-age story. We talked about fun stuff and her process and all sorts of good info. (Did you know that vampires represent SEX? Let me tell you, we discussed the heck out of that.) *wink* I'm not going to tell you the rest because she might ban me from reading her books if I give away her secrets. And then both Archer and I would be full of woe. WOE.

Of course, we also touched on market trends, completely freaking me out. You may not realize this, but a book that's coming out right now was purchased by a publisher roughly two years ago. So if the current trend is "YA Books About Skateboarding Koalas!" you can't say "Well, that's FAB because I'm writing (or should write) a book about a skateboarding koala!" You've already missed it. UNLESS your book is fresh and new and amazing and defies trends anyway.

(We're going to pretend that my book is the latter, and luckily there are no skateboarding koalas in it.)

So what's a writer to do? In Rachel's words: "Write the damn book."

Then I was lucky enough to take a query seminar with Holly Root, Rachel's Agent of AwesomeTM.
Rachel Hawkins and Holly Root
Holly went over some of the workshop participant's query letters, gave us all pointers, and was basically the most excellently accessible person EVER. She was sweet, funny, honest, and - most importantly - not scary. I know, I was shocked. I mean, she doesn't look scary, but agents are these amazingly powerful people who laugh at your manuscripts and rip you apart on twitter, right? Uh, no.

Agents are normal people. Well, as normal as people eat, sleep, and breathe books can be. The most important things I learned from her? Holly said that she strongly believes that "Talent will find a way." That good agents respect you as a writer. They want you to be the best you can be, so that they can sell the best book possible. If you hear 'no', it's not necessarily 'no' to you - just not the right book, not at the right time. Prove that it's the right book at the right time by being you and using your voice.

If you're lucky, which I believe Rachel is, you get exactly the right person to be part of your team. If you want proof as to just how normal an agent really is, get her to admit what the last book she read 'just for fun' was. No, I'm not going to divulge her secret, but trust me. She's normal. 

So what did I take away from this conference? A desire to write the best damn book possible, and faith that it'll find its way. But I'll leave out the skateboarding koalas. (And maybe vampires too.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Falling in Love (With A WIP)

Okay, so I've been sick. Like, feverish-can't-get-out-of-bed-call-in-reinforcements-SICK. After spending all day in bed yesterday, though, I had to sit upright today. And while I was sitting upright, playing stupid FB games and thinking about napping, my brain started to do that irritating thing that Writer's Brains do where it fires off convos between characters. And once it starts, it generally doesn't SHUT UP until you write them down.

So, in the interest of getting better (and getting to take a nap), I did. And the most AMAZING thing happened: It works. I suddenly understood one of my characters so much better. And after all this time writing, plugging along happily and thinking "Wow, this all is clicking SO WELL," it finally, really, TRULY clicked. I GET it. It WORKS. And I'm in LOVE with my WIP. Big pink fluffy hearts of love. (and doom, because part of what I love is this new aspect of DOOMINESS I'm working in.) So, if you'll excuse me, my WIP and I will be skipping through flower-filled meadows and taking long walks on the beach. And then maybe we'll take a nap.