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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.
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Posts Tagged ‘The A Team’

The sophomore slump

Posted on December 11th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I can’t believe this, but I signed on to WordPress for the first time in weeks (yikes, I’m not doing a good job keeping up with the blogging, am I?) to blog about a very specific thing and I’ve totally forgotten what that is. So instead of a thoughtful, collected post about an interesting topic, you’re going to get a brain dump.

I guess the first thing on my mind is my second book. I wrote it the summer before I got my deal for AUT (so that’s summer 2008), finishing it in August. I sent Joanna the first three pages, which is a prologue, and she included it in our submissions to editors in early September 2008. My editor bought two books from me, with the understanding that MB, of which she’d only read three pages, would be book 2.

Fast forward to this past summer. I revised the book myself, then Joanna had a look at it and she gave me an editorial letter, which I used to revise a second time. Then we sent it on to my editor. I’m due to get revisions back next week, and I’m nervous. I spent a long time writing AUT, and I revised it many, many times for many, many people. Joanna and I did two rounds of revisions, and then Danielle (Egan-Miller, the president of Browne & Miller, Joanna’s agency) looked it over and sent me notes, which I used to revise a third time. I revised twice with my editor, and then went through a round of copy edits and two rounds of pages (where the book was laid out in exactly the format it has in the ARC and finished book)–and I just remembered what I came here to blog about, stay tuned for that. It wasn’t a particularly long process for publishing, but it was a considerable amount of work and time and consideration. In each round of revision, I cut and added, and I think the book ended up being rather robust and meaningful, as well as exciting.

If you utter the words “book 2” to debut authors, you’re going to get a bunch of wincing and grimacing. It’s so hard to follow up something you’ve spent a long time crafting with something you haven’t spent a long time crafting, simply because your publishing schedule encourages publishing every year or year and a half, sometimes more. It’s not that the second book in its first draft is any worse than your first book in its first draft, it’s just that you have less time to turn it into something good and publishable. That’s where I am right now. My second book was written in months, where AUT took years. My second book has been revised twice, and AUT was revised five times that. It was hard to show it to my editor, who bought it basically sight unseen, but I did it anyway, and now comes the hard part–realizing that it’s not in as good of shape as AUT was when it left my hands, coming to terms with that, and doing what needs to be done to make it just as good–or better!–of a book as AUT was, in way less time.

I get now why there are a few authors out there whose second books are a long time coming. I thought that because I wrote my second book before I sold my first, I was safe from the sophomore slump, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that I’m not. I’m trying not to freak out about it. I’m trying to trust in my ability to do exactly what I did with AUT–take the skeleton of my first draft and carefully prune it where necessary, and add to it where necessary. I write bare bones first drafts. The introspection and explanation and deep characterization everything that goes into giving a book a story, not just a plot, comes later for me. I like to get all the action and dialogue down before I go for the meat of the thing. It’s just my process. But since I’ve only really done it successfully once, it’s hard to trust that process.

As I reach the end of CH (I’m quite literally down to the last fifty pages), I realize just how messy of a draft it is. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And the part of me that’s into organization and planning is stressed out by what a sloppy chaotic disaster of a manuscript it is. MB is obviously better, but maybe not very much so. But there’s another part of me, and I hope it’s a bigger part, that knows that the revisions process is so much more than fixing problems–it’s an opportunity to get to know better a narrative geography that you’ve mapped, but not yet explored. I think the next six months are going to be a lot of work, but MB will be better for it, and I’m glad, because I love MB, and I want my editor to love it, and I want readers to love it. If getting to that place is going to be hard and long and arduous, so be it–I’ve got time, and I’ve got endurance.

So, back to why I originally came here to post. My editor passed this along to me today. It’s an AUT chapter sampler! Okay, so it’s the same chapter I have on the site here, BUT this one is from the interior of the actual book, so it has the full design layout of the book that you’ll see in stores come January. It’s gorgeous. Go look at it!

Because when it rains, it pours, I’m headed over to The A-Team blog (it still exists! I promise I’ll post more! Moving kind of took the wind out of my sails) to talk about reviews (which you can always find here), because I’ve been getting some as of late. Join me?

Maintenance

Posted on July 13th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Sigh. We had some ish on the site that carried over into the weekend, which was fairly annoying. First, the site was down and I couldn’t even access the WP dashboard. Then, when we checked into it, Dreamhost said:

I’ve checked into why you’ve been receiving these internal server errors, and it seems your scripts have been getting automatically killed by our Process Watcher due to your sites going over Memory limits on the shared server.

Huh? I don’t even know what that means. We didn’t exactly know how to fix it, so Eric uninstalled all the plugins, including the reCaptcha which normally filters out spam, so I got tons of spam this weekend on the site. Blerg. I’ve deleted it all, but sorry if you saw any comments about NSFW things gifted to me by the spambots this weekend–reCaptcha has been reinstalled and all appears to be well in the kingdom.

aHm, okay, back to business. Apologies to Deltay, to whom I have still not mailed the AUT prize pack because it requires me to go to the post office and I am lazy. But I will do that soon! I promise. If it makes you feel better, I bought a retro flip clock on eBay and I wasn’t there when it was delivered to my house, so now I have to go pick it up at the post office, although God knows when I’ll have time to do that, since I can go to the post office near my work to ship but can only pick the package up at the post office near my house, where I almost never am EVER, at least not during reasonable business hours. It’s cute though, huh? Let’s hope they haven’t sent it back to Hong Kong already.

Um, what else? Oh, I answered Jacqueline C.’s AUT contest question on The A Team today. The question was: Did All Unquiet Things turn out to be the book you thought it would be when you first set pen to paper? The answer is: not really. For more, click the link and read all about it.

Weekend updates

Posted on July 6th, 2009 by annakjarzab

So…I’ve been kind of absent from this blog lately! Sorry about that. Things have been sort of crazy, what with people coming to town and page proofs to finish and other things, plus the giveaway, which went fabulously! Thank you so much for entering, you guys, it was very successful and I will be thrilled to drop Deltay a copy of AUT in the mail sometime this week (and Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag, if you missed this on The A Team, I have a little something–not an ARC, but AUT related–for you, too, for your timely Michael Jackson question!).

I will try to have another giveaway in the future (at this point I’m out of ARCs, for now), but now I have a huge repository of questions from you guys and Joanna and I will be answering them every week, including this week: the response to Deltay’s question, If you could meet any of the characters from All Unquiet Things, who would you want to meet and why?, just went up! (Note to self: Figure out a way to feed A Team posts into this blog post-haste.)

Because you asked (you didn’t! But I have to assume you might have), I had a great holiday weekend. Friday we went to a friend’s off-off-Broadway show, Hospital, at Axis. I love the shows that Axis puts on; they’re eclectic and exciting, never what you’d expect. The original stuff is especially brilliant (Randy, the artistic director, who writes the original plays, is big into symbolism and allegory, which is exactly my artistic sensibility), and I’m already loving Hospital, which is an episodic play about a man in a coma (they put it on every summer, but every summer is different). I’ve seen parts 1 and 2, but will miss part 4 because I’m going to California for a wedding. (Must get plane ticket…) This makes me sad, but the show is wonderful. I’m lucky enough to have made some incredibly creative, interesting friends in New York, because that’s how you find things like this.

nine_01Speaking of theater, I also saw 9 to 5 on Sunday, after an aborted plan to see Twelfth Night at Shakespeare in the Park. I’m super disappointed not to have seen Twelfth Night, as it’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays (like, FAVE-ORITE) and I like Anne Hathaway, who plays Viola. But we showed up at the park at 8:30 AM (they start handing out free tickets at 1) and there was already a mile-long (maybe longer, we never did find the end of it) line winding through the park. It looked like people had slept there, camped out there overnight which I suspect is illegal, and so we had no chance. We went to TKTS instead and scored 9 to 5 tickets, which was awesome because the show was maybe the best musical I’ve seen since I’ve moved here, maybe outside of The Lion King. It was nice to see Andy Karl again–he played Emmett in Legally Blonde: The Musical, which I saw with my sister last summer*. He’s adorbs. Allison Janney was AMAZING–I can’t wait to see the movie now, but I’m afraid it’ll be less awesome without the music.

Fourth of July was great, too. We went to Washington Heights to Jenny and Eric’s house, where we ate SO MUCH FOOD and played Wii and Scene It, then traipsed up to the George Washington Bridge to watch the fireworks, which turned out better than expected. Very laid back, traditional Fourth–I even got mosquito bites. FAIL.

Um, I think that’s it. This week will be just as crazy (my brother comes to town on Friday, and I have a packed weekend planned for us), with people still in town, people back in town, and all kinds of other stuff going on.

*Okay, so even though the LB:TM Wikipedia page said he played the UPS guy, I think he played Emmett the night I saw it. I just feel like I remember him from that. Maybe the main guy had the night off and he understudied.

Crazytown, Population: Me

Posted on June 29th, 2009 by annakjarzab

First things first: Cynthea Liu, 2009 Debutante and author of The Great Call of China and Paris Pan Takes the Dare, is raising money for Tulakes Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There are many ways to help out: you can spread the word, buy Paris Pan and have Cynthea donate the royalties to charity, donate through DonorsChoose.org, or bid on auction items such as manuscript critiques from some of the best YA writers out there, as well as editors and agents. You can also bid on a full manuscript critique from me! So please check out what Cynthea’s doing over there.

Second things second: The All Unquiet Things ARC giveaway is still going strong! I’ve gotten so many great questions, you guys, I think I might have to randomly choose a winner because I can’t! pick! my! favorite! NOT ONLY THAT (so many good things), but now when you comment you have a chance to win ONE of TWO AUT ARCs! That is right. Joanna is donating her second ARC (she only got two, so you know she loves you) to the giveaway. So go ask some Qs!

Okay, also, you have to know, I’ve been keeping an Excel document of all the questions, because I’m ridiculously organized like that, and there are 90. 90! You guys rock. Let’s get it to 100, shall we?

Third things third: I’ll admit it, I was avoiding my pass pages. I was afraid that I would read them and cringe at my own writing. But last night I finally buckled down and worked on them (I’m about 1/3 of the way through at this point) and you know what? I’m totally enjoying it! I’m trying to take Dia‘s suggestion and read it as though someone else wrote it, and at first I thought that would be impossible, and in some ways it is (like, for instance, I will never be able to imagine what it’s like to read about Carly for the first time and form an impression about her based only on what I’ve written; once people have read the book, I would love some feedback on that, if only for curiosity’s sake), but as I get farther and farther into it I start to forget that it’s something I wrote and just enjoy it for what it is. Which is such a relief for me, I can’t even tell you. And I’m glad I’m getting this one last moment to read the book cover to cover, because after these pages are done, I probably will never read it again.

Fourth things fourth: Want to see where the magic happens?

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That’s my desk. I just cleaned it up yesterday, so I felt like I could show it to you without embarrassment. That desk is where I write everything, from emails to novels. I don’t ever go to coffee shops or the library to work. Sometimes I write on my bed, which is to the left, but mostly I just sit at that desk, day in and day out for hours at a time, writing. I need a bigger bedroom.

Those three piles of paper are my pass pages; the pile to the left is larger now that I’ve done more work. You know what is crazy making? The fact that it’s summer and I don’t have AC (welcome to New York City), so I have to use the fan that’s sitting to the right of my desk to cool off while I’m working, but also I’m editing a huge stack of papers so I have to use various items to weigh them down so they don’t blow away and get mixed up. That’s what the purple starfish is for; I have no idea where I got that thing, or if it even belongs to me (might be my sister’s), but it’s incredibly useful for making sure my pages don’t all blow away.

Oh, and on that computer screen? That’s Book 3, a.k.a. GR. I’ve got about 80 pages written right now, and though I seem to have hit a wall at the moment, I’m confident I’ll push through soon. Productivity!

As you can probably see there’s a lot going on. This is going to be a big week for me, as I have to finish these pages, get them to my editor, wrap up the AUT ARC giveaway and announce winners, plus my BFF Kim is coming to town on Wednesday (poor darling, taking a red eye and arriving at the crack of dawn) and it’s the Fourth of July! So as you can probably tell, it’s Crazytown, Population: Me right now, but all of it’s exciting. And I’m happiest when I’m busy, anyway.

Friday Five: To note

Posted on June 5th, 2009 by annakjarzab

1. Joanna and I both posted yesterday on our A-Team blog: J on BEA, and me on what I’ve been doing while I’ve been waiting for book stuff to happen–namely, figuring out how I’m going to do my book trailer. We’re working on a way to auto feed those posts into this blog’s sidebar (or something, E and I are still hammering out details), so soon you won’t need me to tell you every time a new post goes up, but I’ll keep doing that for the time being. If you have anything you’d like us to talk about on there, BTW, just hit me up!

2. Also, on the hidden content: I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback from people who’ve found and liked the HC! I’m so glad you guys think it’s cool. I plan to do more of it (I’ve got a nice collection of things to post), but gradually, so I don’t flood the site with it all at once. Just in case, I feel I should point out that eventually all the dolls on the site will be optimized, not just the “hidden” ones on inside pages, and some of them already are. Hint hint.

3. That said, something else just went up. A little thing.

4. Oh, and Dia Reeves, one of my fellow Tenners and author of Bleeding Violet (January 5, 2010 y’all!), created a Listmania! of Tenners books on Amazon (the ones that are up; more will be added as they go up for preorder). There are so many awesome books I’m looking forward to reading, I really can’t wait for 2010 to roll around.

5. The word on the street is that AUT ARCs are coming next week! Of course I’ll be out of town, because the universe is totes on my side, and I don’t yet know how many I’m getting, but I know what I’ll be doing with them: giving them away right here on this site! Okay, not all of them. But some of them! And some of them I’ll be giving away on other sites! I have a very organized plan for this (I have no plan, but I believe one will come to me).

Vacation prep

Posted on April 30th, 2009 by annakjarzab

First things first: new post up about copyedits at The A Team, check it out.

Next: My tailbone hurts…why? I haven’t fallen down any marble staircases on my butt recently, at least not that I remember (that is a possibility, it has happened before).

Thirdly: I am going on vacation! Actually, that is a lie, it is a very short jaunt to California for a wedding, as I have previously mentioned like a bajillion times. But I’m leaving New York for the first time in four months, and that needs to be celebrated because I seriously never leave this island and I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic.

There are things that I know I should do to prepare to go out of town tomorrow. I should pack, first and foremost, but all my clothes are dirty. A sensible person would do laundry, but this morning in the shower I decided to go a slightly less economical route and just buy new clothes for my trip. This seems lazy and stupid, and it is, but also I was going to try to buy a new dress for Carmen’s wedding (way to leave that to the last second, self!) anyway, and I do need new summer clothes because I tend to wear things out rather than spend time and money to replace them, so, really, it is also very practical, albeit for impractical reasons. Also, I’m only going to California for two days, so really I only need, like, a new shirt in addition to the dress.

I don’t really care about packing for trips. I know there are some people who get excited by picking out and planning the clothes they’re going to wear, but I don’t. What I get excited about is what books I’m going to pack. I always take way too many because I never know what I’m going to want to read on the plane. I have so many options. I’m definitely bringing Mahbod Seraji’s Rooftops of Tehran with me–not only are Mahbod and I agency-mates, but he lives in the town next door to my parents’, which is an interesting coincidence. Then there’s the long-ago reduced bound manuscript of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, lent to me, along with the ARC of Fire, by a friend. I actually have a ton of YA ARCs accumulated from various sources that I want to read, so I could take any of those with me.

Speaking of YA ARCs, I finished Justine Larbalestier’s Liar a few days ago and it was SO SO SO GOOD. I love YA that is edgy and pulls no punches, and Liar was that for sure (another example of a book I read like that recently is Courtney Summers’ Cracked Up to Be, which was wonderful–also, Michael Northrop’s Gentlemen took some risks that surprised me and worked out really well). I adored it, and I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out in late September. I can’t even really talk about it here because I’m afraid I’ll spoil it if I do, and, while I already knew the major twists and turns of the story before I read it and I think I loved it the more for it, Justine’s asked that nobody whoops such things on the Internet and I respect that. I’ll probably be posting a similar plea when All Unquiet Things ARCs start floating around, although the person most likely to commit such a sin is myself, because I love spoiling people and being spoiled.

Back to book packing, I picked up a couple of Simon Doonan’s books in pb a few days ago, too, and I might take Eccentric Glamour, which appears appropriately whackadoo, with me just for kicks (for I doubt it will make much of an impact on my style).

Anyone else got suggestsions suggestions*?

*Yes, I suggest you learn to spell “suggestions” right. Also, if you’ve come this far, there is more hidden content up on the site today, and there will be more in the following days, so remain vigilant.

Welcome!

Posted on April 8th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey hey hey, look who’s here! I trust you found the new blog okay, then. Do you like it? I hope so. It was a lot of work, not necessarily on my part but certainly on Eric‘s. We’re still fixing things up around here, so if you have any comments, concerns, worries, questions, suggestions, recipes or limericks, I’d be happy to hear them. I’ll be putting up a post at The A Team tomorrow about just how we did the site and what I plan on using it for (sneak peak: hidden content!), so definitely stay tuned.

(The comment form is wonky, I know, we’re on it.)

A-Team post

Posted on March 20th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey guys, I’ve finally put up my A-Team post for this week. It’s a Friday Five, not publishing or writing oriented, unless you count my ramble about The Decemberists’ new album as having something to do with the idea of narrative. Calc-u-later! (Shoot me.)

New post up at A-Team and other random things

Posted on March 13th, 2009 by annakjarzab

This post actually went up last night, but I forgot to put a link to it here. Now I did! Go read it and come back, I’ll wait.

Okay, so I’m officially done with AUT revisions. That is a sweet, sweet thing to be able to write. I sent my revised manuscript to my editor via email on Monday (this was the second round), and God bless her she’d had the whole thing read by Wednesday afternoon, when she emailed me with three questions/clarifications. It took me about fifteen minutes to do those and shoot back an email on Thursday morning, and by the afternoon she’d sent an email saying that the ms was going to copyediting early next week.

Now it’s time to start working on something new…

LOL “working on something new”! Since my editor expressed interest in seeing MB after AUT went to copyedits, and since I told her that MB was “ready” (check out that diction choice–notice I didn’t say “finished” or “done” because I know there’s probably some rough revision time ahead of me), now I have to make sure that it is ready. I mean, I think it is, since I sent it to J in October and she sent me an editorial letter of things to change back and I made most of those changes, but it could still use a once- or twice-over, since I haven’t really worked on it seriously since November. That’s what this weekend is about. And then something new!

The annoying thing about “something new” is that I have two books on the docket (is that the correct usage of the word “docket”? Probs not) and my brain likes to alternate between them as if it expects to work on them at the same time, which, let me tell you, brain, ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. Pick a side! For now I’ve been going with it, but that’s going to need to change soon if I want to be at all productive.

It’s business time

Posted on February 26th, 2009 by annakjarzab

  • First of all, this, JIC you didn’t catch the reference. I’m not the world’s biggest Flight of the Conchords fan, but this is pretty funny. Also, “Jenny”.
  • Second of all, I have a new post up at The A Team. Go read it!
  • Third of all, sorry my posts have been kind of lame (although very informational, right?) this week–like I said over at The A Team, I’m in the midst of revising AUT according to a deeply line-edited manuscript I picked up from my editor last week. As a result, I spend all day staring at a computer screen at my day job, then I go home, eat dinner, and spend two or three more hours staring at a computer screen, typing in changes and threatening to kill Microsoft Word’s track changes feature. So, I’m tired and cranky and headachey. But I’m over halfway done, so hopefully I’ll finish this weekend. Next stop for AUT after that: copy edits.
  • Fourth of all, I’m 9,176 days old today according to this handy calculator which I found via fellow Tenner Irene Latham. Fun fact!
  • Fifth of all, I gave up Diet Coke for Lent. This will not go well.
  • Sixth of all, my friend Eric is taking me to IKEA this weekend so I can get a damn bookshelf, which I badly need because, as I told my mom a couple of days ago, all the books in my room are a hazard to my health. I’m pretty sure someday one of the huge stacks I have will topple over and smother me to death. Also, I need a new dresser, because the bottoms are falling out of the drawers in my current dirt cheap IKEA model. Sigh.
  • Seventh of all, I’ve been watching a lot of 30 Rock while I work and before bed and so have had two dreams about Liz Lemon recently. In one of them, she and Pete Hornberger were buying a house in my friend Kim’s parents’ neighborhood.
  • Eighth of all, Gossip Girl has been renewed for another season! This is such good news! I call for rejoicing in the streets! All men should wear ascots and purple velvet jackets in honor of this truly momentous occasion!

GOSSIP GIRL