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Writing Space

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When we sold ALTERED, I knew that as soon as I received my advance, I would put some of it back into my writing space. It had to be comfortable and clean and pretty to look at. After all, I'd spend a good portion of my day in the space. I didn't want to like it, I had to LOVE it.

Here's my writing corner tucked into the room that's supposed to be the dining room but isn't. 

We eat in the kitchen, so what's the point of having a second table? I am not the kind of person to host dinner parties. It's not quite the same as having your own room. I would much prefer that. I find it hard to write during the day because there's constant chaos going on behind me. Someday I plan to have my own room, or even my own writing cottage like this one:

Google tells me this is Roald Dahl's writing cottage. I want it.

A close up of my desk:

Lookit all those pens and highlighters! I think I buy new pens like once a week. It's ridiculous. And I love having candles around. Lots of candles. 

But my favorite part?

My plant and my ceramic bird. They are my little writing friends, there to keep me company in the early hours of the morning. That probably sounds crazy. Actually, it is crazy, but when you spend a lot of time in one spot, working alone, it's nice having a little bit of life (the plant) and a mascot (the bird) to make you feel less like a hermit and more like an independent creative person.

What are your desk must-haves?

[Side note---The art I have above my desk I bought from Sherri Conley's Etsy shop. She's an amazing photographer and I highly recommend her if you're looking for art for your home.] 

How BOT WARS sold

Friday, September 16, 2011

I announced Wednesday night on Twitter that my awesome ninja agent, Joanna, sold my middle grade novel, BOT WARS. So I thought I’d share a little more about how it came to be.

After ALTERED sold and before the editorial letter arrived, I wanted to work on something new. I wrote some pages of a YA fantasy. Then I wrote thirty pages that were loosely based on the life of one of the ALTERED villains.

But then, one night, in the mood for something totally different, I dug up an old Word document named Robot Wars.

I had written a paragraph of this story over a year ago. Long before ALTERED was ever an idea. But that’s as far as I got. One paragraph was all I had. I didn’t even know what was supposed to happen in the story, or who the characters really were, or what caused the Robot Wars in the first place.

I had always loved the voice of the main character, Trout, and I knew someday I wanted to tell his story. So I started playing around with it, and before I knew it, I had close to 40 pages.

I sent an email to one of my good writer friends, Deena, saying, “Can you read some of this MG I’m working on and tell me whether or not it sucks?” Thankfully, Deena not only read the pages, she was also extremely encouraging and kind with her words. So I emailed Joanna and asked if she’d take a look. I think I might have said something like, “I have this MG I’m working on and I don’t know if it’s any good or not, so would you be willing to read to tell me if I’m crazy?”

We already had a scheduled phone call the next night for something ALTERED related, and during that phone call, Jo told me she wanted to shop BOT WARS. I worked on the submission package and we officially went out with it in June. Eight days later, I had a phone chat with Kate Harrison at Dial where I rambled about my ideas for Book #2.

That Friday, we had an offer. In that same phone conversation, I also found out about the German offer for ALTERED. It was a crazy amazing day. I will never, ever forget it. My boss told me to go home early, and while her reason was simply that she was happy for me, I think she worried I could not be trusted to accurately count money.

Jo and I talked deal points that night and we agreed that Dial was a fantastic place to be and that Kate was an amazing editor to work with. So I think I squeeed and said, “YAAAYYYY! I accept! I accept!”

The following Tuesday, it was official. BOT WARS was going to be a Dial/Penguin book!

And just a few weeks later, I put in my notice at the day job. My last day at the bank was July 18th.

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be writing full-time, that I’d have five books under contract, I would have laughed and said, “That’s crazy. You’re crazy. Those are pipe dreams, my friend.”

But I am here and I am doing those things. So if you’re still writing, if you’re unagented, unpublished, whatever stage you’re at, remember so much can change in such a short amount of time. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have, consider what may come in the next week, the next month, the next year. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating---If you quit today, you’ll never find out if tomorrow is the day everything will change.

Thursday, September 15, 2011
Do you know what today is?

For those who don't know (and if not, WHY NOT?!) The Vampire Diaries premieres tonight for it's third season. I am beyond excited. Lots of crazy shit happened in the finale and I'm curious to see where it all goes. 

There is so much to love about this show. Plotting. Characterization. Phenomenal acting. Good characters do bad things. And bad characters do good things. 

And one good character in particular is about to do bad things this season. I CAN'T WAIT.

The TVD premiere should be a national holiday.