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Archive for June, 2010

Break even

Posted on June 28th, 2010 by annakjarzab

On Friday, Mandy Hubbard posted a blog in semi-response to Dystel & Goderich agent Michael Bourret’s post about how authors should savor the time they have before they’re published, in which Mandy expresses respect for the sentiment, but skepticism about its actual value to unpublished writers. She’s right, of course. Published writers will nod their head at everything Bourret is saying, because they know what I know, which is that to write without expectations is the freest form of expression and that it’s impossible to capture once it’s gone, unless you, like, drop off the grid for twenty years and hole up to work on your great masterpiece–but of course you need the funds to do that, or you need the ability to live in abject poverty, neither of which I or most writers have in tiny amounts, never mind in spades.

But unpublished writers, unless they’re especially wise, patient, or disinterested in actually being published, aren’t capable of writing without expectations. They, too, feel the pressure, especially if they’ve told people that they’re writing and those people keep asking, “How’s the writing going? When can I buy your book?” as they tend to do. I think we published writers look back on the years we spent unpublished through a veil of stress-related nostalgia; amidst all the pressure we feel from editors, agents, fans, friends, family, or otherwise to write again, to write better this time, to write bigger this time, to make more of a splash, to make more money, to sell more–whether these pressures are real or perceived–we forget that, back in the day, before contracts and ARCs and in-store signings and BookScan numbers and BEA and ALA and the next book, we put that pressure on ourselves, and maybe it was better, but probably it was worse.

I think about it a lot these days. I think about how easy AUT was to write, when I was in graduate school and the only person I really respected who was reading my stuff was telling me it was both “good” and “publishable” (he has a new book out, by the way, you should go buy it), about how much I loved it and believed in it. I remember writing the book formerly known as MB, now known as sadly still untitled Book 2, how much I loved it and believed in it, how much it made me laugh. And then I compare that to the struggle of rewriting Book 2, and man, I wish I was back there, in that apartment on Kenwood, in my grandmother’s basement, in that apartment on Tiemann, writing the shit out of whatever I wanted and to hell with what other people thought!

But if you asked me to hand in the copies of AUT sitting on my bottom shelf, asked me to erase it all and start over again with that first manuscript, fresh as peeled skin, I’d refuse. I’d rather go forward than go back, even if it means uncertainty and disappointment and having to loosen my proprietary grip on what matters most to me in the world: the vessels of my expression, a.k.a. my books. Because I know–or I pretend to know, which is almost the same–that somewhere in there is a learning experience, a toughening, an opening wide of doors and windows to…something new, I don’t know. I’ll tell you when I do.

All along the watchtower

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by annakjarzab

This is Bear McCreary’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” (made famous by Jimi Hendrix, who covered it) that he wrote and performed for the third season finale of Battlestar Galactica. It’s very exciting, just the sort of music I love to write to, with a lot of drums and guitar and a real, heart pounding drive. The book I’ve been writing (the first in a planned trilogy, although we make plans and God laughs, right? What am I doing working on the first book in a trilogy when I haven’t even finished out my two book contract with RH yet?) is what I used to call a “quasi-post-apocalyptic pseudo-mystery” but which I’m now just calling a “supernatural thriller” because it’s not post-apocalyptic, quasi or otherwise, and it is more of a thriller than a mystery, in the way that The Da Vinci Code is more of a thriller than a mystery. I’m being necessarily vague here, but that’s what I’ve been working on. So I’ve been listening to a lot of hard rock and a LOT of instrumental movie-trailer-y type music, like the E.S. Posthumus song below:

And “Requiem for a Tower”, which is the Clint Mansel theme to Requiem for a Dream that was given a little oomph and used in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer:

And James Dooley’s “Trinity”:

Anyway, it’s been fun. I’d forgotten what it was like to work on a manuscript with no external pressure. I’d written the first eighty pages or something a long time ago, and when I went back to them I was shocked at how much I didn’t hate them (ALTHOUGH, that happened with Book 2 as well, and I ended up rewriting half of that book!). I actually thought they were really well turned out for a first draft, so after I sent my draft of Book 2 to Joanna I started adding on to them, and what do you know? Immediately I started turning out loosey-goosey pages. I knew I was just writing them to add to my word/page count, so that I could get to the good stuff, so that I could finish the draft, and then I was like, “Why?” For my own enjoyment, partially, but I had just written a terrible draft of a very important scene that serves as the catalyst for the rest of the book! What was I doing?

The great part about it was that I could just get rid of it. I’m under no deadline and have no pressure, so I just excised that part and rewrote it last night in a different way. One of the things that makes this draft of that scene better than my first draft of that scene was that I knew my characters were going to come face-to-face with some pretty unbelievable stuff, and I wanted my main main character (as opposed to my handful of other main characters) to believe it almost immediately. What I hadn’t figured out was why she would believe it. She’s a pretty sharp, cynical person, so it doesn’t seem to fit her personality, until you take into account her back story and what it is she’s been through in the last year or so of her life, and then her ability to buy what she’s being sold makes a lot of sense. Again, super vague, but when I made that realization, the whole scene blossomed out. It’s sort of lovely when that happens. I’d started to think I’d never know what it felt like to write a book organically again.

This is the sort of blog post I write where I get to the end and realize it has no real point. Usually I delete those. I probably delete three blog posts for every one post that goes up here, which is why I don’t post very often. But I’m going to post this one, without a point. Because why not?

Oh, and this third book? I’ve referred to it before as GR. I’m going to start referring to it as TGD now. Good day to you.

Writer’s commentary, AUT: part 1

Posted on June 19th, 2010 by annakjarzab

So one of the things I love to do is watch director’s commentary on movies and television shows that I love. If I own a movie and have watched it more than once, I’ve probably watched the director’s commentary. I get mad when there isn’t one. I watch it for the same reason that I spoiled myself entirely on BSG before I even started watching it–because I enjoy deconstructing narrative, looking at how it works and its various parts, intentions v. actuality, intentions v. audience reaction, etc.

I think there’s something really interesting about a creator commenting directly on their work as it’s happening, or maybe it’s just interesting to the creator, but I don’t think so, or at least that hasn’t been my personal experience. So I thought I would take pieces of my own book and do some writer’s commentary on it, so you can see the story behind the story, so to speak. I’m just going to start with the excerpt for now, and do commentary in pieces, but I think if people are into it I’ll lift some stuff from other parts of the book and comment on those, too.

By necessity, it’s going to be a little long. Sorry!

***

Chapter One

Senior Year

It was the end of summer, when the hills were bone dry and brown; the sun beating down and shimmering up off the pavement was enough to give you heatstroke. Once winter came, Empire Valley would be compensated for five months of hot misery with three months of torrential rain, the kind of downpours that make the freeways slick and send cars sliding into one another on ribbons of oil. On the bright side, the hills would turn a green so lustrous they woud look as if they had been spray painted, and in the morning the fog would transform the valley into an Arthurian landscape. But before the days got shorter and the rain came, there was the heat and the dust and the sun, conspiring to drive the whole town crazy.

This is probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever written; Northern California, where Empire Valley is, is really exactly like this, and I’ve heard from people who are from this area that they recognize it immediately. Empire Valley is basically the Pleasanton/San Ramon/Dublin, CA area outside of Oakland, where I was living when I first wrote this paragraph. There was another paragraph describing the town, which I LOVED, but eventually I deleted it on my editor’s advice because it was slowing down the narrative. You have these things from time to time, and I guess that’s what people mean by “killing your darlings”, which is advice I hate, but whatever–you have these things that you love that you don’t need, and you could keep them or not keep them, I don’t know that the blanket “kill your darlings” advice is really helpful. But the general wisdom is that the less explaining you do up front, the better, because you want to get into the action, so even though I loved it, I cut that paragraph because it was just coming at the setting from a different angle, which ultimately we didn’t need. I miss it, but I think it was right to cut it.

School was starting on Monday. I had two more days of freedom. I hadn’t slept very much since Wednesday night; my palms were sweating, and everything ached with the ache that comes after a long hike and a couple of rough falls. My mother wanted to take me to a doctor for the insomnia, so the night before school started I didn’t go home. Instead, I went to Empire Creek Bridge, where I thought I could clear my head. The bridge was a small, overgrown stone arch, a mimicry of ancient Roman architecture that was more about form than function and could only accommodate one car at a time going one direction on its carefully placed cobblestones. A narrow, slow-moving body of water ran beneath it, and clumps of oak trees rose up near its banks. The bridge was almost useless, but very picturesque, and this was where I lay down so that I wouldn’t get run over, and closed my eyes. I needn’t have bothered. All night, not one car passed. I could have died on that bridge and no one would have noticed.

So this version of AUT has always started with this scene on the bank of the creek, but it went through a lot of drafts–ramping up the melodrama, dialing it way down, that sort of stuff. It’s a pretty self-centered scene for Neily; he’s in a place of feeling sorry for himself, really wrapped up in his own pain, his loneliness. Still, most readers tell me they love this scene. I think that’s interesting, considering that you don’t really know what’s making Neily suffer so badly (I guess you do if you read the flap copy, but whatever)–you just feel sorry for him because he’s so sad. This paragraph changed a lot from first to last draft (is it sad that I can remember most incarnations of specific paragraphs? I usually can’t even remember where I put my glasses). I think the mention of specific days of the week is awkward, but they were added towards the end as a way to orient you in time, just like the subheadings (the “Senior Year” stuff), which I don’t entirely love, either, but which may have been my idea, so I can’t complain too much. The stuff about the bridge was also added in later, to give you a more vivid picture of the setup of this first scene.

Another fun piece of behind-the-scenes information is that the word “overgrown” was a capitulation to Random House. After we got the cover image, someone high up at RH, who was very supportive of the book, took issue with the fact that she’s lying in the grass when really she was found on the bridge. I wasn’t willing to move Carly’s body physically in space, so we compromised on saying that the bridge was “overgrown” to give the idea that there was grass on it, so that C could reasonably be on the bridge in that cover shot. Everybody seemed happy with that, and it didn’t bother me at all, but it was cool to know that there was someone thinking about this in an even more detail-oriented way than I was!

This is not to say that I wanted to die. I wasn’t–and have never been–suicidal. The valley was blanketed by a late, torturous heat wave that made the shadows the only decent place to sit during the day, and the dry winds kicked up the dust, making me uneasy. I had grown up Empire Valley and was used to these uncomfortable summers, but this time I had begun to feel a restlessness reverberating through my bones like the persistent hum of cicadas.

Whenever I read this scene aloud at a reading, I always realize that the first sentence of this paragraph doesn’t fit very well with the rest of it. I think we deleted something here, combined two paragraphs or something. We probably could’ve cut that first sentence. It bothers me so much now, but oh well.

The book is set over a couple of months when the weather in Nor Cal really changes, and at the end of the book you get that rain I promised in the first paragraph, so I felt the need to tell you what the atmosphere is like at the beginning, so that you see how the stifling summer air eventually gives way to this relief at the end of the book–relief that comes with its own messiness, because rain chases away the heat, but it also causes its own problems (i.e. the cars sliding around the freeway, per the first paragraph). I hate heat of all kinds–dry, humid, whatever–so when introducing uncomfortable weather, that’s where my mind goes.

It had been a long, slow summer. I had spent most of it reading massive Russian novels on my porch, playing video games, and sleeping until noon. I didn’t have a lot of friends and I didn’t see much of anyone apart from my parents. I had plenty of schoolwork, too–my class schedule for the upcoming year promised to be brutal, with six AP classes and college application season right around the corner–but nothing seemed to be able to occupy me for very long. My mother had an easy explanation for my agitation–it was my senior year, and I was under a lot of pressure, especially from my father, to chart my future–but it was more complicated than that.

I remember that this was a paragraph we introduced near the end of the revisions process with Joanna, my agent. One of her questions was, “What was Neily doing all summer?” I gave it some thought and was like, well, he doesn’t really have any friends, so he was alone most of that time. I like the idea of Neily having this goal of reading all of Dostoyevsky’s books over the summer, just to have something to do, but I thought that stating that would be a little ridiculous and hammer home too hard what a brain he is, so I diluted it. I feel like, he’s sort of depressed, so he’d sleep a lot, and read these sad novels about violence and pain and loss and unhappiness–and he’s a teenage boy, so he’d also play video games. Sort of a high-low guy, our Neily is.

There was another reason I had come to Empire Creek Bridge. The year before, almost to the day, a girl I loved had died on this bridge, shot in cold blood. The police considered the matter solved–there had been an arrest, a trial, a guilty verdict–but Carly’s murder retained an air of mystery for me and so did the place where she died. I had so many questions, but nobody except Carly seemed capable of answering them, and by the time I had found her body she was already dead. Despite all the effort I had put into blocking that night from my mind and trying to forget, the murder still haunted me. I didn’t know what good spending time at the bridge would do, but I had been drawn there throughout that boiling summer, and I thought it was best to go with my instincts, even though they never seemed to do me any good.

I think this whole first part works really well to establish a bunch of stuff that’s important early on. You get a good snapshot of who Neily is, how he feels about his life, what’s haunting him, what he’s doing about it (i.e. not very much), and the sense of unrest in him that is the foundation for his willingness to team up with Audrey to figure out who killed Carly. He’s not yet able to vocalize exactly what it is that’s bothering him about Carly’s murder, and he doesn’t trust himself at all, which is a big character arc for him, and he’s retreating from the world because he doesn’t know what else to do. I’m proud of the intro because I think it establishes exactly what it needs to for the book to work, for you to buy the premise and to sort of plug you into the story. You know who, what, where, when, and why the story is happening. It took a lot of editing to get it to that point, but aside from that one sentence I would cut if I could go back, I think it’s the tightest it can be and very much does its job. I also think it’s pretty in places, the language, but I’m going to try not to pat myself on the back too much for that. 🙂

Comments are the worst

Posted on June 19th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Hey guys, as I learned when Shannel emailed me yesterday, the comment tool is still wonky and trapping real comments in the spam filter. Sorry! Eric and I will work on fixing this. In the meantime, I promise to be better about checking the spam filter. I like getting comments! I wish people would comment more! Although I realize being treated like spam probably prohibits that somewhat. Anyway, I’m working on what I think is a cool post but may not be, so stay tuned for that! (I really sold it to you hard, huh?)

Waiting for this

Posted on June 8th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Guess what today is, guys? It’s the day that Hanson’s new album, Shout it Out, drops! I’m so excited! I want to stream the album on my computer, but even though I downloaded the Flash update I supposedly needed, it still isn’t working. I’m hoping that’s because TOO MANY HANSON FANS are overloading MySpace’s music player. If you can get it to work, Hanson’s MySpace profile is right here.

shout-it-out-profile

Meanwhile, you can stream “Thinking ‘Bout Something” (remember that awesome video they made for it that I posted recently?) on their website, and you can also download the non-acoustic version of “Waiting For This” for free. It’s not SUPER different from the acoustic version of the song that was on the Stand Up Stand Up EP, to be honest it sounds the same to me, but whatever, I’m not exactly the expert when it comes to the subtleties of music. Anyway, enjoy!

Hot child in the city

Posted on June 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

DUDES. It is SO HOT IN MY APARTMENT. Because I’m poor and I live in New York, my roommate and I have an apartment that has no cross breezes (because all the windows are on one side) and no air conditioning. So as soon as the temps started climbing into the eighties, we broke out the fans and I’m now sitting in front of my computer with two trained right on me so that I don’t melt while I’m typing this.

I look ridiculous, too. I’m wearing a white camisole and this pair of giant man sweatpants I picked up at Target last weekend because I’d forgotten pajamas when I went to Long Island. They are the most comfortable things I’ve ever warn, and I have to be told that no, Anna, you cannot wear them out to dinner or to the movies or to work. I did wear them to the grocery store, but I checked with my roommate first before I left the house, just to make sure. “It’s hot, people get it, right?” I asked. She just laughed and laughed and laughed at me.

Otherwise I will default to never taking them off, ever. But they’re really too warm for this weather. So I now have them rolled up to above my knees. I’ve been walking around cleaning my room because I’m expecting an impromptu visitor, which also requires laundry, which requires me to walk through the living room where my roommate has been reclining on the couch for several hours watching Step Up and fanning herself. She took one look at me and died laughing. She’s dead now. The funeral is on Monday. Psych! She didn’t die, but she did laugh, for a long time. These pants are making me a joke in my own home! Although, they’re still comfy.

What else am I doing besides laundry and getting mocked by my roommate? Watching BSG (OF COURSE), and writing! With Untitled Book 2 off my plate for at least the next couple of days, I have turned to Book 3. I spent yesterday rereading what I’ve already written, and I kept thinking, “This is so good!” It’s nice to have that feeling after, um, not having it for five months (almost six!). Today I started writing more of it. I’m not rushing it, I’m just writing what I want as much as I want to. I’m loving this book so far–whether others will love it, well, that’s for me to find out later.

So Say We All

Posted on June 2nd, 2010 by annakjarzab

So recently I started watching, on several people’s recommendations, Battlestar Galactica (the reboot, obvi) and I FREAKIN’ LOVE IT. I’ve been known to get obsessed with TV shows, but that hasn’t really happened recently. I like a lot of TV shows, but I’m not super into them the way I was super into The X-Files back in college, or Joan of Arcadia back in 2007 (I know if you do the math, that wasn’t while either of the shows actually aired, so this late BSG obsession shouldn’t surprise anyone–I’m not great with the waiting week to week). I actually left work on time yesterday so I could get home to my newly arrived BSG season 3 DVDs from Netflix, because I knew there were going to be some great Sharon/Helo episodes and I had to WATCH THEM RIGHT NOW. Seriously, look how hot they are.

helo-1

Sharon and Helo are by far my favorite characters on the show. People keep telling me how great Roslin and Adama are, and yes I have great fondness for Adama, but Roslin lost me when she stole Hera away from Sharon. I’m pretty attached to all Number Eight Cylons, partly because I think Grace Park is such a great actress and brings so many subtle differentiations to the different versions of her Cylon model (you can tell most of the time whether a Number Eight is Boomer or a random Eight just by the way she walks, and Athena and Boomer couldn’t be more different, even though they have the same face–now that’s acting!), but also because I feel so horribly sorry for them. First, Boomer is a sleeper Cylon on Galactica (oh, this post is going to be full of BSG spoilers, so…go away if you don’t want to hear them), but she thinks she’s human and it’s the only thing she’s ever known. Then she shoots Adama because her secret Cylon programming kicks in–not her fault! And then Cally shoots and kills her! Stupid Cally. I thought I was going to be all over the Cally/Chief ‘ship, but I’m not. I’d rather Boomer get less crazy so that she and Chief can be together again, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon.

And of course she’s crazy! After Cally shoots her, she has nowhere to go except to the Cylons, who she doesn’t fit in with because she lived as a human for her entire life (and honestly, I sympathize with them in a general way, but I think living as a Cylon, or with them, would be less scary than just plain boring–they’re so dull when they’re by themselves), who try to knock her personality out of her. Then she and Caprica Six totally FAIL SAUCE their attempted occupation of New Caprica by letting Cavil and Doral and D’Anna even get involved, and Cally kills her again (figuratively) by refusing to accept her attempt to forgive her and help her, so now she’s totes bonkers because what does she have left? She’s not a human, she’s not a Cylon, the humans refuse to forgive her, the Cylons refuse to accept her as she is so she’s constantly toeing a fine line with being boxed…Jacob from TWoP (I’ve been reading the recaps to fill in the gaps between my DVDs arriving, which I get is nuts) says it so right when he describes what Boomer must be feeling whenever she’s forced to confront the existence of Athena–that Athena has everything Boomer ever wanted: the love of a good (human) man, the respect of her military peers and Adama, a child (even though it’s being stolen away from her every five seconds by people she trusts). And if I were Boomer, I’d think I deserved it more than Athena–Athena, in a lot of ways, just stepped into Boomer’s shoes using her memories and skills that Boomer learned, picked up the threads of relationships that BOOMER formed with the folks on Galactica. Of course Boomer is losing her fraking mind! It’s so monumentally unfair, what she’s going through.

But then Athena, man. What she must’ve been going through on Caprica, once she realized that she was A.) in love with Helo, and B.) carrying his hybrid alien baby. Can you imagine having to betray your race to follow your heart, even though you know it’s basically leading you into the lion’s den? Even Helo, who loved her, shot her when he found out what she was, and then Starbuck tried to kill her. And the way she was treated when she first boarded Galactica–Roslin tried to shove her out an airlock, then she was shackled in a cell and verbally abused by everybody except Helo and I guess Starbuck. Ugh, that episode where they use her to get rid of the Cylon computer virus from the Galactica‘s computers, and they lead her into the CIC with her hands bound and that collar around her neck? I almost cried, you guys. Then they tried to abort her baby, THEN they stole it and told her it was dead, and even though she eventually became a commissioned officer in the COLONIAL FLEET, they STILL kept her baby a secret and let it get captured by the Cylons! AND SHE STILL HELPED THEM. She only sort of betrayed them that one time, and only because she knew that Cavil wasn’t going to get farther than the hangar deck before someone realized he was a Cylon (thanks Chief!). And then Helo had to SHOOT HER so she could get her baby back? I mean, come on. How much can one person be forced to put up with?

helo-sharon2

But the saddest thing is, even with all that Athena went through just because she loves Helo and her child and chose the humans over the Cylons because of that love, Boomer would still rather have Athena’s life than her own. That’s how bad Boomer’s situation is.

Anyway! Everybody I know who’s into BSG loves Starbuck, or Adama (either one), or Roslin, but ugh, those people. Honestly? They’re constantly causing their own problems and then whining about them. Okay, maybe not Admiral Adama, but everyone else…Starbuck especially. She annoys me. I get that she’s “complicated” or whatever, but I can’t get there with her sometimes. And it wasn’t until she had that Scully-ripoff storyline with that baby and being kidnapped and held prisoner by crazy Leoben that I started to feel sorry for her, but then she frakked that up by being so mean to Anders after. I’d rather watch Sharon and Helo 100% of the time than anyone else. I also liked Billy, but then Dee dumped him for Lee (?) and he died. Boo 🙁

This is just one big BSG ramble, I know, but I just wanted an excuse to put up some Sharon/Helo pictures and gush about how much I love Athena/Boomer/Number Eight and Helo. It’s my blog, I do what I want. 🙂 I’ve been ambushing my friends with a flood of thoughts and stories about this show, and they’re all like, “SHUT UP WE DO NOT CARE!” Thanks for listening to me, Internet.

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Fait accompli

Posted on June 1st, 2010 by annakjarzab

I did it. I finished the second draft of my second book. It seems to have taken FOREVER, but really it’s only taken five months, although for a revision that’s sort of rough. I admit, for long stretches of time during that period, I didn’t work on it. I actively avoided working on it for weeks at a time because I was just a little bit (meaning A LOT) scared of it. The problem with doing such a massive rewrite without knowing specifically what people (at this stage my agent and editor) want to read is that you could work on it for five months like I just did and still fail, not only in execution, but in concept. And the scary thing about failing in concept, at least for me, with this book, is that I don’t have another idea, or I don’t feel like I do, which is basically the same thing.

I had dinner with Alex the other week and I was telling her that I was having a hard time making a final push to the end of the book because of XYZ plot snag. Alex asked me to give her an idea of what the book is about, because although we talk about her WIP and my third book, we’ve never, I don’t think, talked specifically about my second book, probably due to the aforementioned fear on my part. So I explained the plot of the book to her as simply as I could, with as little rambling as I could, and when I was finished she was like, “Whoa, you’ve given yourself quite a challenge there.” Which broke my heart, because I didn’t think it was a big challenge when I originally conceived of it, and I started thinking, Well, what if it’s so big of a challenge that I can’t possibly do it? But of course I don’t have the luxury of thinking like that because BOOK DEAL and ADVANCE, so I had to press on, and Alex’s suggestion of how to fix the snag worked! Who knows what will happen to it in edits, but it helped me get over that final hump and actually make it to the finish line–which I did, on Thursday, at midnight.

109,000 words. 378 manuscript pages. That, if you’re a numbers sort of person, is about 20,000 words more than AUT, maybe a little less. It’s also about 60 more manuscript pages than AUT, maybe a little more. And furthermore, it’s DEFINITELY almost 100 more manuscript pages than this book was when I originally sent it to my editor a year ago. (Oh my God, a year ago.) I was working my way through the revision, and I told my roommate, “I think it’s going to be 100 pages longer when I’m finished.” She was like, “Oh, that’s impossible, your math has got to be wrong.” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re right,” because 99.9% of the time my math is completely wrong because I’m a math idiot! Guess what, though? I was right. I think the original ms of this book, back when it was called Murder Burger (a title that makes me cringe now), was about 289 pages. And I’m no Stephenie Meyers, you know–I’m a skeletal writer, and often during revisions I get notes like “expand on this” or “explain this” or “add scene to show this?”. There’s not a lot of cutting involved in my revisions, at least not to date, although, yeah, it’s only been one book so far.

What kind of LOLs me is that there’s stuff I know I should’ve added in this revision that I didn’t. My editor specifically asked me to mention where one of the characters plans to go to college–I didn’t. Not because I don’t know (I do) and not because I don’t think it should be mentioned (it totally should)–I just couldn’t find a place to slip it in. I will eventually do that. There are places I know I’m going to have to add, and there are places I know I’m going to have to smooth, and then there’s the dreaded standard criticism of a book with two narrators–“Not differentiated enough”–that I’m sure I’ll have to grapple with at some point. And even though I was able to wrangle him in at the last minute so that I could end the damn thing, my slippery second  main character remained slippery and will need further taming, I’m sure. At this point, I feel like it’s all there, I just have to make sure all the pieces are in the right place and form the right picture.

Or maybe I’m wrong. That’s the scary part. What if I did all this work and it’s unpublishable? What if I did ALL THIS WORK and it’s worse than it was before? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, and I hope I don’t ever have to find out the answers, but it’s still hard not to worry, or to doubt myself, or to be distracted by the fact that I sort of want to move on to a new project. Standard authorly neurosis type stuff, you know the drill. See? When I write about writing, it’s so doom and gloom! I’d rather write about Glee.

Oh, and Book 2 still has no title. AWESOME.