Monthly Archives: January 2012

reaching third base aka an excuse to talk about moneyball

moneyball has been my white noise of choice while working these past few days. such a smart, nuanced movie. there’s layers within the dialogue that slowly show themselves the more you watch it, and the funny bits actually get better, fuller. it’s impossible to work to at first, but watch it enough times and eventually it mellows out to a pleasant, underlying rumble. good company that doesn’t make you keep checking your watch.

also, because it’s got brad pitt in it. (when genius husband was told pitt was nominated for an oscar for his role as billy beane, he was a bit surprised, saying that as much as he likes him in the movie, he pulls the confident swagger thingy too often for most of his movies. my argument is that i totally bought him as billy beane, swagger or not. plus, he can eat a twinkie in two bites and still look cool.)

do you think jonah hill watches moneyball and wishes he’d lost the weight before filming? he just looks so entirely different now…i don’t know if his Peter Brand would work so well being so thin. then i think of him in superbad and it just blows my mind that seth is up for one of those little gold men, too.

to make this post about moneyball even remotely writerly, it’s where i feel i’m at right now in terms of edits. line edits–that slow crawl through the ms, line by line, 80,000 words. for the most part, they’re small changes, ie word structure, word choice, etc. but then you’ll get the odd change that will still end up having a cascading effect–where one change at one point means having it roll throughout.three days till deadline and i’m at third base with home in sight. brain is fried, but not in a bad, battered way. more like it’s been milked dry, squeezed, actually put to use.

the thing is, this baseball analogy can be applied to any part of the writing process. finishing that ms, getting that agent, getting that deal. for me, at this time, it’s the editing breakdown–self-edits, agent-edits, editorial letter (multiple stages), line edits, then finally copy edits. home runs happen, but how often? baby steps, then. bunts, walks, just getting on base and going from there.

random: listening to coldplay fix you, snowpatrol run, drake feat. rihanna take care. reading: ew oscar issue (heh). watching: MONEYBALL

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year of the dragon

all right, it’s nearly time to usher out the year of the rabbit. i’m a rabbit, and 2011 was an absolutely fantastic year for me in terms of writing goals. but 2012 is year of the dragon, the most powerful, luckiest sign in the chinese zodiac. dragons are ambitious, determined, full of passion for what they do. they love being independent and make great leaders. it’s all about energy, and forging a path instead of following. dragons also have bad tempers, so knowing when to pull back is important.

see how all this totally works for being a writer, too?

you have to be ambitious to want to write a book. nothing but determined if you are serious about finishing it. wholehearted passion to drive you. writing often means being alone for hours at a time, so you have to be independent enough to handle the solitude. learn to look for signs of burn out so you can take a breather. and just taking that first step towards publication is lighting that fire beneath your butt. to get out there and make your way.

i’m a bit torn, myself. sad to say goodbye to a year in which i realized not only was it all possible, but it was actually going to happen. so very excited to say hello to one that’s going to bring me that much closer to holding my book in my hands.

either way, i expect 2012 to be fun and memorable and a GREAT year. hope it’s the same for all of you out there! now go eat some dim sum to properly ring it in.

also, winners for our group blog launch have been announced. so if you entered, stop by at friday the thirteeners and see how you made out! don’t forget to check out the first dare, carried out by fellow (and fearless) ya author natalie whipple!

random: watching (500) days of summer, listening to gym class heroes feat. neon hitch’s ass back home, coldplay feat. rihanna’s princess of china, fun. feat. janelle monae’s we are young, reading stephen king’s 11/22/63, maggie stiefvater’s the scorpio races.

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books you wish you’d never heard of

…if only because you could read them again for the first time.

yes, those books. everyone has at least one.

when i start a new book, i never go in expecting not to absolutely love it. otherwise, why start (barring it being required reading, that is)? there’s millions of books out there and limited time (almost no time now, with writing. sleep was the first to go, but since it’s a biological requirement, a line must be drawn somewhere). so always, always, i’m hoping to stumble on that rare spark again, whatever it is that takes a book beyond mere plot expressed in words, punched out to fill a page. most of these books ask for nothing more of me than the simple act of reading–a satisfaction equivalent to clearing a show off your pvr queue for the week, or buying a shirt simply because it’s on sale and not because you fell in love with it.

but, those books. injested, absorbed, inhaled. where turning the last page means more than just shuffling it from one column to another, the ones in your head labelled “to-be-read” and “read”. because you’re left adrift now, no longer part of a world that captivated you for a few hundred pages, where the hours flew by like minutes. you cling to the characters like friends you don’t want to say goodbye to. you want more.

here are just some of the books i wish i could rediscover again for the first time:

his dark materials–philip pullman
watership down–richard adams
lord of the rings trilogy–j.r.r. tolkien
the millenium series–stieg larsson
the eyes of the dragon/the stand/the body–stephen king
outlander series (1-4)–diana gabaldon
harry potter series-j.k. rowling

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introducing friday the thirteeners

being a part of the young adult writing community is a pretty awesome thing. there’s something special about a group of people who embrace you simply because you do the same thing they do–write books for teens. the amount of support blows me away, and i feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it.

first there’s the amazing lucky 13s. home to YA authors making their debut in 2013, the talent pool is vast as hell and getting bigger by the day. i joined back in october, and i 100% blame them for getting me on twitter and perfecting the art of mucking around online reading fun writing blogs and calling it “research”. heh.

and now i’m super excited to be announcing the launch of friday the thirteeners, a brand new blog featuring a small group of YA authors making their debut in 2013! it’s a little different than most writer blogs in that we’re asking readers to drive much of the content. so you get to ask us to do weird stuff. seriously.

AND THERE’S PRIZES, FOLKS!!! so come say hello!

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oh snap

it’s that time. i’m biting the bullet and finally getting an author pic for DUALED. i’m giving myself a week or two to sweat about it.

this is another one of those roads that are riddled with potholes, loose shoulders, slow-moving moose. travel at your own risk.

an author pic might elicit one of these reactions:

1) possibly ruin a book for a reader because you’re so ugly they’ll forever associate your face with the book’s main character/side character (and it’s not remotely the face they had in mind).
2) possibly ruin a book for a reader because you’re not ugly and they’ll forever associate your face with the book’s main character/side character (and it’s not remotely the face they had in mind).
3) you’re older than they would have thought.
4) you’re way older than they would have thought.
5) you definitely look like one of those pale, crazed, talking-to-yourself, holed-up-in-your-house-with-your-two-cats, not getting-enough-sleep-because-you-have-duffle-bags-underneath-your-eyes, not-getting-enough-exercise-because-you-have-bloat-face, living-on-caffeine-and-white-carbs-because-you-have-duffle-bags-under-your-eyes-and-bloat-face, writers.
6) it must have been a bad hair day.

or

7) you look…normal.

and because i’m a dork, i googled “how take great author photo”. came to the conclusion that there is much more not to do than there is to do. a mental list of what to avoid:

prop
props
fireplace
armchair
tea
coffee
mug
lenseless glasses
too casual
too stiff
crazy smiles
gummy smiles
no smile
cat
cats
head leaning against hand
head at an obviously unnatural tilt
nostril shots

it’ll definitely be an interesting experience.

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so i got an e-reader

my hubby got me a kindle for xmas. which, surprisingly, i’m actually using. not because i ever had a thing about e-readers one way or the other, but i’m the walking definition of the term creature of habit. i just really, really love the feel, weight, tangibility of a bound book in my hands. the satisfying crack of its spine, the creasing of a corner to mark my place, the way it gets fat and fluffy from its pages being ruffled and read. water damage, too, in my case. (i used to get upset when a book started to show its wear and tear, but not anymore. it just means its been well loved. that, and there’s no point with the kids around. i do draw the line at manga, though, since the story is told through visuals and artwork.)

the ipad never worked for me outdoors because of the glare, so the lack of a backlight on the kindle is perfect. which is pretty ironic, considering that the new kindle fire goes on about having that backlight so you can read in the dark…which leads to that same issue of glare while outside in the sun…which is exactly what amazon railed about for the ipad.

(but i don’t think the fire is even available up in canada. so, y’know, moot point and all that…)

anyway, i’m already looking forward to loading up my kindle for vacations. no more buying books halfway through because i didn’t bring enough to read–again.

and the screen’s already really dirty–mostly toothpaste spatters since i read while brushing my teeth (gross, i know). i guess it’s pretty much the e-equivalent of creased spines and dogeared corners. apart from travel, it doesn’t replace bound books for me (*looks around at all the piles everywhere*). but it’s a great option.

the house will be empty tomorrow. back to school, back to work. which means i can start writing at 8 in the morning instead of 11 at night. cannot. wait.

OH. it’s 2012 and i can finally say DUALED is coming out next year! crazy, surreal, somewhat frightening! happy new year, y’all!

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