Thursday, May 31, 2012

before and after

okay, i'm going to tell you a secret.
or i'm going to make a confession.
or maybe it's both.

writing is harder after you sell a book.

not for everyone, i'm sure. and not forever, i hope.
but for me, it's been a difficult year for writing.

when i wrote BUTTER, i had no idea obesity and suicide were risky topics. no one had told me yet that "boy books don't sell." i didn't know my grammar wasn't perfect (truly, i thought it was. silly, silly me.) and i was still clueless about the "rules" in general.
i just wanted to tell a story. and it all worked out.

when i wrote BILLY D & THE BULLY, i knew a few more rules, but i had just sold BUTTER, and i wasn't yet fully initiated. i didn't know anyone would call what i was writing "disabilities YA," because i had never even heard of such a thing. i certainly didn't know that i had a year of revisions ahead of me, because i didn't know what i was doing wrong in that first draft. again, it all worked out anyway.

but by the time those revisions were done, i was in a different place as a writer. somewhere along the path to publishing, i had stopped thinking of writing as a hobby and started thinking of it as a job. suddenly, i couldn't just explore any old idea that delighted me. first i had to make sure the idea hadn't been done. then i had to rewrite every paragraph 40 times to make sure it was as polished as my other books are in their final drafts. then i had to outline the story to assure myself i had a direction and wasn't wasting my time, y'know... just having fun. because who has time for fun when you're writing for work?

the joy is still there. i still love love love writing. but the joy got a little buried under something else... pressure.
i was chatting with some of my fellow 2012 debut authors tonight, and i asked them if they found it harder to write now. i was comforted by a chorus of "yes!" followed by that word... pressure. i think a lot of new authors must feel that - a sense that everything you write has to have the potential to be published.
for me, it was paralyzing. i took weeks off writing. then, after a few false starts on new projects, the weeks turned into months, until finally i'd forgotten how i ever made time for this at all.

i'm getting my feet wet again - revisiting some of the ideas and pages i abandoned this past year out of fear - and i'm rediscovering the joy.
but i wanted to share the struggle here in case anyone else can relate. and i also wanted to share this much that i've figured out:
the only one putting that pressure on me was ME. and the only person i need to please when i'm writing is ME... because i'm writing for the joy of it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

best lines - Patrick Ness edition

here it is! proof i have not abandoned Best Lines, the way i abandoned this feature, or this one, or this one. (what can i say? short attention span.)

for the second time, i'm featuring lines by author Patrick Ness - this time from The Knife of Never Letting Go. this book is relentless with its action and pace, so i know i raced by many great lines without marking them, but here are the few i absolutely had to stop and note.

The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.

Then the girl speaks up and says that thing that suddenly makes me think of her as Viola and not the girl anymore. 
"He saved my life."
I saved her life.
Says Viola.
Funny how that works.

His face and his Noise are as blank as I remember but the lesson of forever and ever is that knowing a man's mind ain't knowing the man.

this book is full of more like those. i can't believe i waited so long to read it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Thank you SO MUCH to everyone running the YAmazing Race who took the time to stop on this blog and enter the contest to win an ARC of BUTTER.

Your comments all made me so HUNGRY! Needless to say, I found myself craving a lot of buttery foods this past week.

So without further delay, we have a winner! I used to generate a random number from all the posts and bonus entries.

and the winner is.................................

Alicia Marie!

Alicia Marie, I saw you included your email in the comment, so I'll be shooting you an email here momentarily. Congrats! I hope you enjoy BUTTER!

Thanks again, everyone!
Remember to check the Apocalypsies blog tomorrow to see if you won any of the Grand Prize packs! Good luck. :D