Posted on October 17th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab
So I’ve mentioned a few times in the past couple of weeks that I was planning on attending the New York release party for Paper Towns, John Green’s new novel. Annoyingly, the event was in TriBeCa. I don’t know why this annoys me, but I think it’s just because I never go down to TriBeCa of my own free will and thus know of no good cheap bars down there. This is not true of the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Midtown, the Lower East Side, the East Village, and the West Village. Consequently, in the future I would like all my favorite writers to be sure to have their New York events in any of these neighborhoods KTHNXBAI.
Just kidding! What was really annoying was my inability to be there early, due to not being able to leave work until after 6 PM, and also having a fifteen minute conversation with my cousin who is visiting with her mother about our plans for today, and also that my closest subway station isn’t an express stop and thus I could not catch the 2 or the 3, dumbly forgetting that the A also goes to TriBeCa, so I could’ve taken an express train. I also forgot my camera. I am dumb!
Anyway, good thing Cambria got there early and saved me a seat, even though security was like the Pentagon and kept being like, “Wup wup wup, WE’RE AT CAPACITY!” and stuff. I got in a few minutes before the event started, and let me just say that 1. there were so many Nerdfighters there my head almost exploded, and B. the event was extremely organized, way more so than you would expect with so many people. So bravo Barnes & Noble, TriBeCa!
I would just like to say that I dragged Cambria to the event even though she’d never read a John Green book before, and though she’d heard me mention his name she wasn’t really familiar with Brotherhood 2.0 or Nerdfighters or anything, and she was just amazed at how many teens showed up and how incredibly enthusiastic they were about the book and the Green brothers and how they knew all the words to “Accio, Deathly Hallows!” It was a very inspirational thing to see, and John and Hank Green are to be wildly commended for fostering this huge community of intellectual, creative young adults, positively reinforcing their awesome, quirky, probably somewhat-underappreciated-in-high-school personalities and their ambitions and their thoughts and their emotions and their projects and their interests, and pursuing a love of literature with them. It’s just so cool to see! Do they give out Nobel prizes for this sort of stuff? Because they totes should.
The signing line moved really quickly, and John was gracious and friendly. I ended up buying the yellow cover, or “happy Margo” as people are calling it, because even though blue is my favorite color, I am instinctively drawn to things that are bright and multicolored. Nevertheless, the blue seemed to be far more popular at the signing, and in the bookstore where I bought it; they had about 10 copies on the shelf and I had to look through them all to find the one yellow copy they had. I wonder how they predicted that.
Posted on October 15th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab
I’ve come to realize that my books are starting to resemble children, and not in the way that some people say “they’re like my children, I couldn’t choose between them” or “it’s like giving birth to a baby” after a book is published. I mean, they all have these distinct personalities, and a lot of that is linked to what it was like to write them.
All Unquiet Things was the oldest child, the experimental one. (I wrote books before this, but they were terrible and therefore more closely resemble the ugly clay “vases” I used to make for my mom in kindergarten than children.) It’s the responsible one, the complicated one, the dark one, the one that sneaks out after curfew, the one I spent ten months teaching to drive just so it could crash my car, etc. It took a lot to get AUT in line, that’s for sure, and there’s still more work to be done.
MB is the high-spirited, mischievous middle child. Writing it was the literary equivalent of the four hours (JUST FOUR CAN YOU BELIEVE IT) my mother spent in labor with my brother (also the middle child). It’s funny and warm and romantic, but also dark and mysterious, because it learned a trick or two from its older sibling.
GR and SM? Okay, well, they’re like EVIL TWINS or something. They won’t sit still, they’re super stubborn, they refuse to do the things I ask or answer any of my questions. Very often I realize that I can’t do very much if I don’t focus, so I decide to put one child down to care for the other one, and then the one I’m ignoring starts whining and crying and demanding attention. WTF, evil twins? Can’t you be more like your older siblings? I mean, AUT was difficult but ultimately very rewarding, and MB was a dream, A DREAM!
This is why I should probably never have children. Also, probably why I should stop trying extended metaphors in blog posts.
My point is that I’m having a hard time wrestling GR and SM to the ground, especially GR, which refuses to budge. Usually when this happens I write a little bit, hoping that the act of writing will spur on revelations about the plot. NOT SO in this case.
Actually, I’m afraid of the POV I’m using in GR and keep second guessing myself, to the point where I wrote and rewrote the same paragraph ten times a few nights ago and then last night I erased it entirely. My past two books have been written in first person, but this book must be written in third person, or shifting first person, which…no. I did that in AUT and it was really hard and…hey, maybe I should write in shifting first! No, I really don’t think so, but I think I’ll have to write in shifting third close, because omniscient, which is what I’d planned on, doesn’t seem to work.
My other problem with GR right now is that it has tone, but no voice, or at least if there is a voice it’s really weak and not comparable to Neily or Audrey or Will right now. That’s probably the result of the omniscient third POV, so when I get home on…Thursday night? God, when’s my next free night at home? Sunday? Oh blurgh, anyway, when I’m home on Sunday I’m going to settle down, commit to shifting third close POV, and hopefully the voice will just flow right out. And then hopefully the plot will just flow right out, right into a nice tidy synopsis that I can then follow for the rest of the book. That sounds like it’ll probably happen exactly that way and require no pushing or shoving or begging or pleading or bargaining or thinking from me.
In other news, I bought my copy of Paper Towns today, and my copy of Let It Snow, even though one of those two isn’t supposed to be released until tomorrow. Oh well, I’m a big cheater. What are you going to do about it? I actually have an ARC of Paper Towns that I got through work, but I’d feel like kind of an asshat showing up to John Green’s signing tomorrow (7:00 PM! B&N Tribeca! Be there or be…somewhere else, I guess, I don’t know your life!) with a copy of his book I got for free and asking him to sign it. Someone has to keep Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy in kibble, you know.
Posted on May 13th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab
You know when the worst time to get your ARC of John Green’s new YA novel, Paper Towns, is? When you’re doing revisions on your own novel, and you’re only halfway done. Lesson learned! Also, loving Twilight this time around.