Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What It's Really Like to Be an Author:

It's fun.

1. It's going to see other authors speak.
Last night I took my niece to see Lisa Yee speak at Vernon Area Library. Lisa is the hilarious author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius, and lots of other great books. I love going to author presentations because I'm always looking to improve my writing and presenting skills. Why not learn from those who are doing it well?
Lisa introduced me to Peepy, and I introduced her to my latest addiction, Skinny Pop

2. It's making an impact in children's lives.
Today I visited a fifth grade classroom that had been reading Julia's Kitchen for read-aloud. I read them the final chapter and stayed to answer all their questions. The reception I received was so enthusiastic and energetic that I felt a bit like a celebrity. Have I mentioned lately that I love fifth graders??
Ms. Gordon's fifth graders and me

3. It's waiting to hear if your agent has sold your latest book.
Okay, maybe that's not always fun. There's definitely a dimension of anxiety with this one. These days publishers are not doing backflips when they see a middle-grade coming-of-age story cross their desks. But here's the thing... I only need one publisher to fall in love with my newest book. And it is kind of fun to imagine who that publisher will be. It's definitely fun to dream of a bright future for my manuscript!

4. It's developing new characters and stories.
I'm working on a new YA dystopian novel because I figured if you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em, and besides, I had this absolutely amazing story idea fly into my brain a couple of weeks ago, and I decided not to talk myself out of writing it. I'd been speeding along, writing faster than I normally do, when my agent reminded me that it can't be all plot. There has to be a compelling character with a distinct voice. Oh yeah, that. So now I'm thinking about this character I'm creating. She's sort of like a paper doll at this point, and I need her to be more flesh and blood. So I'm doing things like journaling from her point of view and imagining all aspects of her life. It's totally fun to create a character. Slowing down to do this important character work will definitely pay off in the long run.

5. It's curling up with a good book.
Yes, reading is a huge part of being a writer. I learn so much from other authors. I often re-read fabulous books to see how the authors crafted their stories. Currently re-reading Feed by M.T. Anderson. If you haven't read that book at least once, you are missing out big time!

So there you have it. Writing may be hard. But let's not forget how much fun it is, too.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Full Steam Ahead

So the Big Idea I wrote about two weeks ago? It's still big and bright and beautiful! I've outlined the entire book and written two chapters of it. And the best news is that I brought the first chapter to critique group on Monday and received a very enthusiastic response. One of my critique buddies actually predicted my agent will pee in her pants when she reads it. :-)

I don't know about that, but I am loving developing this story. Lots of writers are doing NaNoWriMo this month (where you try to write an entire novel in one month). I know I can't do that. I'm just not comfortable enough with writing so much crap, and believe me, if I tried to write a novel in a month, that's exactly what it would be. But I am trying to write A LOT. If I can write 100 pages by Thanksgiving, I'll be thrilled. Heck, if I can write 50 pages by Thanksgiving, I'll be thrilled.

Meanwhile, here is my new favorite song. Enjoy: