Monthly Archives: October 2009

Favorite Thing Friday

Today is Favorite Thing Friday . . .  also known as “It Is 11:42 PM And Kirsten Has No Other Ideas”.

But honestly, this is one of my favorite things:

Yep, I’m a hardcore Taylor Swift fan, and her music videos make my day. I know it made your day, too.

Happy weekend!

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The Analogy Machine: Hair

Normally T.A.M appears on Mondays, but I felt like blogging about it today.

My hair is weird. I supposed I’d describe it as naturally chaotic, always indecisive, mostly misbehaved (without a straightener or hair-dryer). So I like hair-product aisles. I like Herbal Essences conditioners (straightening! curling! anti-frizzing!) and John Frieda products (heat and weather protectant! shine-gloss! curl stuff!) and Pantene-ProV. Hair marketing gets me every time: walking down that aisle I have thousands of fantasies about my new, perfect hair . . . and how this product is going to change my life.

Does it change my life? Well, no. But that’s beside the point.

The process of revision reminds me of shopping for hair products. I have a million cool ideas (new ending! sizzling characters! awesome plot twists!) as I shop the aisles of revision-land. And every new idea seems so shiny and so full of potential.

And then I try the ideas, and not every idea works. Some ideas that claim to bring shine and snazz make the story as frizzy as my hair in the rain. Some ideas that seem like they’ll straighten out all the plot’s kinks and curls only make the story more crazy.

But.

Taming my hair is a constant process of trial and error. Maybe Herbal Essences doesn’t work, but I still have faith in John Frieda. Or…

The revision process is just like finding the right hair product. Trial and error. Shampoo and rinse and dry and — who knows? That new idea just might make your story PeRfEcT.

I’m working through revisions as part of The Call process right now. I think it’ll be a lot of trial and error, a lot of buying new ideas and trying them on for size (to mix metaphors). And it’s exciting. I think a lot of these revisions are going to make this story as sexy and irresistible as hair-model-hair on T.V.

How do you revise? Try new ideas? Make your story so bewitching that everyone (agents, readers, the whole world) just HAS to buy it?

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The Call (part three)

fireworks2

My mind... still!

With all this craziness, I haven’t had much time to reflect. But after about three years of waiting and preparing for this moment, I want to take a look backwards. How did I (romantic-dreamer-college student with a huge passion for writing) get here (maybe-almost-sometime-soon agented)? I think I can pick out a few defining moments.

I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It was called THE CAPTIVES, and was some sort of fantastical journey about this girl named Brin and a love interest named Prindell. His nickname was Prin, and while I don’t think I meant for their names to rhyme, they are certainly the strangest-named leading pair ever. Fax paus? I think so. Anyway, I don’t remember why I started writing (or finished writing) this novel. But it sparked everything. I was hooked. I was a writer. I was going to be an author someday . . .

Summer 2008 (with a lot more words and a lot more determination on my side), I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. My grandparents and parents generously provided the opportunity for me to go, and it changed the way I wrote forever. I learned that much more goes into a novel than plain talent and thousands of words. Craft and technique shape everything. I learned about Donald Maas’s book “Writing the Breakout Novel“, learned how to structure plot (Blake Snyder’s fifteen beats), learned how to ratchet up tension and pull out all the stops and create unforgettable characters. I had the terrifying and exciting experience of pitching to an agent and an editor… and got to network and chat with lots of other writers.

Then there were the millions (probably not an exaggeration) of hours I spent researching how to write a query, query, what to do once an agent is interested, what to say when you get The Call… also hours spent reading agent blogs, publishing blogs, Publishers Lunch, industry news… also hours spent stalking all those lucky authors out there who have publishing contracts and published books. And hours spent on Absolute Write. That website saved my life. I’ll talk more about it later, because I need at least one full post, possibly more, to explain how brilliantly helpful those people are.

So love, yes, for writing got me here. Obviously. Do I want to count all the hours I’ve spent at the keyboard? No. Only a certain, crazy obsession for writing books could cause me to pour so much of my life into this dream. But craft gave me the gigantic heave-ho that somehow got me this far. And I can honestly say that I feel quite prepared to face whatever’s next.

 

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The Call (part two)

fireworks

MY MIND!

Today went like this:

Morning: Class (why is the clock so slooooooow?)

Afternoon: Work and class (why is the clock even slooooooower?)

6:15: Dinner at the cafeteria. (oh. my. gosh. what if agent calls?! what if my phone buzzes but I can’t feel it? what if I say something dumb? how do I still have friends when all I can talk about is AGENT?)

6:25: Time for some different food. Like ice cream or something sugary. My friend and I walk back into the cafeteria from the patio, chatting.

6:27: Phone rings. I don’t recognize the area code.

Me: Ooooooh my gosh–

Friend: Girl, you got this —

And then I run out of the cafeteria.

Me: Hello?

Mystery caller: Hello, this is AGENT.

. . . and then I talked on the phone with a real, live agent who loves my book. And I had to sit down on the ground because I was so shaky. And then I ran back into the cafeteria and all my friends started screaming, and I think everyone thought we were crazy, but that’s okay. Three big thoughts:

  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
  2. I’ve been dreaming of this for three years — and it’s happening!!
  3. I wish I was home to celebrate.

More updates to come, so stay close. I’ve been running on adrenaline these last few days and now I’m crashing big time — so before I hit bottom I think I’ll do some homework to celebrate. C’est la life of a college student.

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The Call (part one)

Maybe I’m being presumptuous by labeling this Part One. But sometime in the next 24 or 48 or something hours, I just might be talking to an agent on the telephone.

Email: Wow — this is phenomenal. Are you available to talk on the phone sometime?

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

So today: seven cures for the endless wait.

7. Write a paper. Well… only if you have to. Yesterday I was so CRAZY that I would write one sentence and then check my email and then dance around my room, and then . . . But I did get the paper done, don’t worry.

6. Obsess over a new song, blast the speakers and dance. My song: Fireflies by Owl City. I think I listened to it twenty times yesterday while I *wrote* my paper.

5. Eat chocolate (Wrapper: Buy yourself flowers today. I didn’t, but — anyone?)

4. Lie in the parking lot beneath the streakiest, wildest sunset in the world (with the silliest, bestest friends in the world) and make up emo song-titles about the colors (we got: bruised sky, bleeding clouds) . . .

3. Revel in thousands of butterflies every time your phone rings.

2. Laugh.

1. SCREAM! The possibilities are endless 🙂

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News Part II

Dude, you guys, my life is insane. Today I got an email from the agent who asked for a partial after she saw my query on the Kidlit blog contest — and she wants a FULL now! (And I quote: “Your sample pages are intriguing. I’d love to see the full manuscript.”

All these requests are kind of scaring me. I think I know what I’m doing; I’ve done tons of research; and I know this is what I want. But it’s what I’ve been dreaming about for three years, three whole years non-stop, and now… eeek!

And I was going to post something content-y today, but it didn’t happen. So come back tomorrow for an analysis of ENDINGS, the part of the book where you should be begging for more. And changed for life. How? Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow.

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You’re Invited!

THIS could be yours.

THIS could be yours.

Who: all YOU writers. Written something? Never written something? So what! Sign up! NaNo will change your life.

What: National Novel Writing Month. A.k.a. November, the month that’s made for writing novels. Think about it: it’s raining outside and it’s cozy inside. Your kitchen has coffee mugs and coffee machines and tea bags and chocolate. Your living room has a couch. And you have a blank Word Document that’s just waiting to be filled with 50,000 beautiful, crazy, hastily-written WORDS.

Fun fact: 21 people participated when NaNo started in 1999. In 2007, there were 100,000 participants. I’m sure there were a lot more in 2008 (or at least one more because 2008 was my first year) but the site has no numbers.

Where: Anywhere, of course! But headquarters is www.nanowrimo.org. Check it out.

When: Sometime in the 720 hours between Nov. 1st and Nov. 30th, 2009. I know that 720 hours doesn’t sound like a very long time (I did the math twice, though, so I promise it’s right; you have 720 hours to write in November). It seems even shorter when you consider the goal: 50,000 words. But do the math.

That’s only 69 words an hour.

Only 1600 words a day.

Only 12,500 (roughly) words a week.

Not bad.

Why: Hm, funny how that’s the question I’ve been asking myself these last couple days. I guess I have a few reasons:

  1. I miss writing. NaNo will make me write.
  2. All these sequel-ideas are taking over my head by force. NaNo will get them out.
  3. I really miss writing.

I’m not sure if these are good enough. Considering. But.

How: I have no idea. Let’s find out, hm?

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