Friday, June 08, 2007

Even Award-Winning Authors Miss Their Deadlines Sometimes!

Like mother, like daughter, they say. Well, Mom and I are different in lots of ways, but we both recently had to deal with deadline issues.

In school, our 4th quarter project for Language Arts was one of the best assignments I could ever imagine. We were to write a children's book about and for an important younger kid in our lives. I wrote mine for my cousin, Adam, the smartest and funniest five-year-old I've ever known. When we first found out about this project, everybody was really excited. About 3 or 4 weeks before the end of school though, we had still not gotten any information about the book. Mrs S., my teacher, assured me that the whole project would be done in school and we would have plenty of time.

Well, here we were in the last week of school when all heck broke loose. Everyone in my class freaked out because a) we had to finish up our project and didn't have nearly enough time and b) people were confused about the deadline. Our class voted to not watch The Outsiders movie Monday and Tuesday to work on our books. Then, Mrs. S. told us the book was due Monday. How could we have the book be due Monday but be working on it Monday and Tuesday? Confusing??? I think so!

Well I asked around, and people said they were just going to finish anyways for Monday, just in case. I didn't panic about finishing the book for Monday because I figured everyone else would have nothing to do in school and I would. I talked to my friend about this and she agreed. So, we both didn't finish our books for Monday. (Yes, I can hear you now, Mrs. S. "Look at the Homework Hotline if you're confused about deadlines." But I haven't looked at the Homework Hotline all year!)

Turns out, EVERYBODY but my friend and me finished their books. They were all laughing at us and telling us how much trouble we were going to be in. My friend decided we should just talk to Mrs. S. to let her know so we wouldn't get in trouble in front of the whole class later that morning. I was too scared, and I totally chickened out. So my friend went in to talk to her without me. She came in late to homeroom and mouthed to me, "We're screwed."

As we walked to her classroom, Mrs. S. came outside with a clipboard and didn't let us into the classroom until we told her whether or not we had our book. When my friend and I told her we didn't have our book, she told us to get our materials and wait outside. Then she sent us to the Principal's office!

I got really scared when we headed for the Principal's office because I thought we were going to get in a lot of trouble. It actually wasn't bad at all. We just went into a room and worked on our books. Even though my friend and I both finished our books by the next day, Mrs. S. graded us based on what we had completed on Monday. So guess what? I ended up getting a D+ on the book. She wouldn't even look at my rough draft.

My mom says that if she were the teacher she would have graded my rough draft and then marked me down a letter grade for turning the finished book in late. (Too bad Mom doesn't get to make those decisions.) It's not like I turned it in a week late. I turned it in the next morning! In another way, I'm okay with the D+ because as long as Adam likes it, I'm happy. But note to self for seventh grade... Be absolutely certain about due dates!

My mom is also having deadline problems. She was supposed to be done revising Jemma Hartman this week. She realized there was going to be no way she would finish on time. She e-mailed her editor and asked for an extension on her deadline. Her editor was NICE and gave her until the end of the summer. Now my mom thinks she will definitely finish on time.

When I told my mom about what happened with my book she said I could have told my teacher, "Even award-winning authors miss their deadlines sometimes!"

Important announcement: Sammy and I are going to camp for the summer. If anyone would like to guest-blog for our mom while we're gone, leave us a comment. Come on family and friends... you all have unique perspectives of Mom that you can share. Blogging is fun.

And one more announcement: Coming soon: Sammy is going with Mom to Arizona when she receives the Sydney Taylor Book Award, so he'll post all about it here!


Jenny said...

Aw, Faith, that's a bummer about the D+, but now you'll have a funny story to tell your grand-children about the only time in your life you ever got a D+. (Judging by your blog, I'm guessing you usually get pretty good grades!)

And have fun in Arizona to Sammy and Brenda! Say hi to Marcus Zuzak for me. (No don't really, he doesn't know who I am.)

Brenda Ferber said...

You're right about Faith's grades. And if I were grading her very well written, creative, and sweet book, I'd have given her an A.

Last night she gave the book to Adam, who loved it but asked why it was so sad. Another "like mother, like daughter" moment. I get that question all the time about Julia's Kitchen.

It's always hard to answer that question in the moment, and as I watched Faith try to explain, I thought about why I'm drawn to writing about sad or hard situations.

The truth is that sadness is a part of life. Reading and writing about sad things and hopeful resolutions is good practice for the real world Don't you think?

Micky said...

Faithy, I'm so sorry you got in trouble with the deadline. At least you have the next 2 1/2 months with NO HOMEWORK!!!!! Although, I hope you keep writing. Maybe you can email your mom an entry for the blog from camp. Hmmmmm..... and maybe you can actually write me a few letters!! :-)

I love you,
Aunt Micky

granny said...

I'd love to hear the story! Faith, care to share some/all of your book?

Aunt Audi said...

Faithy, Just read the blog! I', a little late. About the whole deadline just happened once. I tink your teacher was alitle harsh. But who knows, this could be a lesson that you will never forget. And when you're a famous author, like your mom, you will look back on this and thank your teacher.
Byt eh way, welcome home from camp. Did my letter get lost like Sam I am?
Love ya