The Thrill of the New

My edits have been turned in, and I’m working on a new project until the next round comes in.  But see, here’s my problem with writing.  The one thing that makes my life a living hell, when I need to work on writing a book, or revising a book, or any one of the thousand other things that go into this life.

I’m in love with being in love.

See, its simple.  No idea is as beautiful (as shiny, if you will), as that Next Idea.  It hasn’t been tainted by your tendency to use big words, awkward phrasing, and actions that are full of too many dense, beautiful sentences.  It hasn’t been overcomplicated with all those plot strings that you just KNOW will make this the best book ever.  It’s a flawless, perfect, beautiful diamond of an idea.

I’m in love with the Next Idea.  When it finally comes time to write This Idea?  Suddenly the sheen isn’t as lustrous as I thought.  The color really doesn’t set off my eyes the way I thought it did.  Actually, I think it’s kinda flat.  There’s no BAM.  This idea, well, it wasn’t that Shiny New Idea that I thought it was.

Essentially, I have buyer’s remorse.  But you know, with books.  And characters.  And plot.  Oh plot, you evil harlot.  How you love to draw me in, seduce me with your endgame twists, your big reveals.  And then you’re flat like the can of Diet Coke I opened two days ago.  You sell me a bill of goods you never deliver on.

I’m in love with being in love.  No book’s as perfect as the one I haven’t written yet.  In my head, it’s a thing of glory.  The standard by which all young adult novels will one day be compared.

Later it’s…nice.  But it’s not quite as big as I hoped it would be.  I wanted it to be taller.  To be more popular.  To marry a nice chick lit novel and settle down somewhere, preferably after finishing college.

But alas.

So what about you?  What’s your writerly downfall?

Friday Randoms

So I owe a real blog  post, but edits and other things have EATEN MY BRAIN this week.

  • First, that thing you have to write that is similar to an outline and also summarizes your book?  It was decided by Twitter this week that the proper form of that word is synopsi. Technically, that would be the plural of synopsis, but I don’t think synopsis quite conveys the amount of evil that synopsi does.  Synopsi sounds like something slithery, like something that has tentacles, or tentacles with those gross sucker things attached.

So, y’know.  Just in case you didn’t know what to call it.  There’s also a hashtag.  #downwithsynopsi

Man, someone should really draw a picture of what a synopsi looks like in its naturally slimy habitat.

  • I saw this article earlier in the week, and thought it was just amazing.  You should go check it out.
  • And my Rebels video went up a few days early this week.  I talked about religion and morality in YA, and sadly had to cut out a lot of what I had to say to keep it under 4 minutes.  Sadsigh.  But check it out, and weigh on your opinion.  Should YA books have a moral lesson, or not?  Are writers responsible for showing that all actions have suitable consequences?

And your moment of zen:

Imaginary Friends Are Imaginary

Someone reminded me about my imaginary friend the other day, and it got me to thinking.  Most kids have at least one imaginary friend when they’re growing up, right?  So here’s mine.

When we moved into our first “real” house I was five or six.  It was just my mom and me, no dad to speak of, and it was the first house we actually owned.  Someone, either a relative or a friend of my mom’s bought me this giant anthropomorphic dog named Henry.  Henry was about my height (so figure about 3 feet tall or so) and sat on my bed.  And at night, I curled up with him. Now somewhere around this time, I became convinced that Henry was actually two people.  He was my stuffed dog, but he was also a really old ghost named….appropriately, Henry.  (Could you imagine being a ghost trapped inside a Henry dog and your name was really Frank?  How embarassing!)  Henry the ghost lived inside Henry the dog.  And Henry the dog never left my bed.  But Henry the ghost never actually liked to hang out the way Henry the dog did.  He was old and crotchety.

Note:  this picture of Henry is close (I remember him having his name stitched onto his chest) but it isn’t MY Henry.  My Henry was much bigger and cuddlier than these imitations.

So when I had a nightmare about a man hiding in our basement who was trying to kidnap me, and I was so terrified I actually went to our neighbor and demanded he investigate our basement, Henry the dog was there.  But when I had a dream about evil ghosts that lived in my house that wanted to steal my mouth (actually, they wanted to steal just my voice, but give me a break, I was six), it was Henry the ghost that kept me safe.  Henry the dog protected me from all the real dangers, and Henry the ghost from all the dreams and nightmares.

I also knew that my imaginary friends wouldn’t leave the house.  Some of the kids I knew had imaginary friends that traveled with them, playing outside or down the block, but mine never did.  Apparently, my imaginary friends were nesters.

The other thing I remember is knowing the whole thing was absurb.  I was a somewhat annoyingly perceptive kid.  Here I was, with two imaginary friends, and yet I knew instinctively that they didn’t REALLY exist.  I knew they were only in my head.  Just like I knew that people always tried explaining things to me that I already understood.  And yet the Henrys stuck around until I didn’t need them anymore, and maybe a little longer than that.

So what about you guys?  Any fun imaginary friends from when you were a kid?

I Know Exactly What You’re Thinking

The bright side to writing your blog posts well in advance is that you don’t have to think about blogging for days and days.  And then you have something you want to say, and you forget what it’s like to actually WRITE a blog post all in one sitting.  That would be today.

So what’s been going on in my life this week?

I’ve been tackling things on my To Do list all week, and I’ve gotten down to what I think are the last 4 “main” items that need taken care of soon.  Two of which are relating to my edits and deadline things (which isn’t until July, but really I’m almost done anyway).  One’s not really a MAJOR thing that needs done, just something I want to check off so that I’m not always thinking “gee, I really need to get that done so I stop thinking about it.”  Yes, in my internal monologues, I use the word “gee.”  I also use “humdinger” “nifty” and “boss.”  As in “this book is really boss.”

My internal monologue is clearly written by a seventy year old man.

I cannot stop sneezing.  I’ve been sneezing for two days.  I think it’s safe to say I’m either allergic to author questionnaires, or the finale of book 1 (which I’ve been tweaking a little).

I finally – FINALLY – finished editing my video for Villains week on the Rebels.  That’ll go up sometime tomorrow, and I’ll post something with a link in it tomorrow.  I spent far, far, far too much time working on this video.  Now I’m just thankful that I’m done with it. 🙂

Supernatural and Vampire Diaries ended last night.  I’m way more depressed that TVD is done, though, since I think in terms of overall seasons, TVD had a WAY stronger season overall.  Supernatural this year was so hit or miss that it really bums me out.  The last two seasons of Supernatural had finales that had me buzzing for days afterword.  This one was simply…okay.  Plus, Vampire Diaries had a MUCH cooler final twist.

I got the final, signed, totally final version of my contract back yesterday.  That was so awesome.  Not only does it have MY signature, but it’s also signed by the President of Llewellyn, which is the bigger company that Flux is a part of.

And finally, a snippet of a scene from a book that I haven’t really started writing yet (okay, there’s a first chapter, but it’s still a little fragmented).  But this stretch of conversation popped into my head this morning, so I HAD to drop everything and write it down.  You know how it is.

“Looks like you need some help,” he said, flashing me his Wheaties smile and twirling the stick in his hand.   “But let me take care of our friends here, first.”

The zombies continue to advance.  Up close, I realize they all look identical.  Really old, really desiccated.  They could have been triplets.  Except no one had ever heard of triplet zombies.

It took me a minute to recognize the weapon he was swinging around so confidently.  “A hockey stick,” I ask, aghast.  “You’re going to fight them off with a hockey stick?  Are they Canadian zombies?”

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

Edits are like…

Because I’ve been jumping back into WITCH EYES over the last month, I’ve been constantly thinking about edits, and making comparisons. Edits are kind of like fruit. Edits are kind of like Ford. Edits are kind of like oh crud did I forget to pay the phone bill? No? Oh, I did? Whew.

Then this morning, it hit me.  Your novel is like a  house.  Edits, in all their different forms, are upgrades to that house.

The Massive Changes – There are cracks in the foundation, the wiring needs to be completely ripped out, and that hot water tank won’t last through another bubble bath.  Edits like this are severe, massive things that not only require a lot of brute strength, time, and a heaping of stress, but they also require a lot of foresight and mental power.  Once you start ripping out walls, part of your brain has to remember where that wall goes for when you’re done.  And that can be taxing.  But at the end of the day, the book is stronger for it.

These are usually the big picture things. Maybe your plot needs an overhaul, maybe your themes got a little muddled, or maybe that B plot you had such love for doesn’t reach a satisfying conclusion. These are the renovations that are going to take the longest, because moving the kitchen to the other side of the house isn’t going to get done in a day.

The Remodel – The structure’s alright, but all that wallpaper and carpeting has GOT to go.  And we’re definitely ripping out that tiki bar you put in the basement.  These remodels aren’t quite as mentally tasking – you’re not tearing up the walls or foundation of your novel, you’re just making a lot of changes to each of the rooms.

So your plot is okay, the direction of your novel is fine, but maybe that character growth is lacking, or the villain is coming off far too “70s floral chic” instead of “classic modernism” like you were hoping. Where in the massive changes, you may have a ten point list of all the major things that need reworking, here its more like 300 tiny things. None of them are particularly taxing or hard to incorporate, but its just a lot of work all the same.

That Fresh Coat of Paint – And let’s not forget the theoretical “this house is absolutely gorgeous, but can we do something about the paint color.”  Maybe your edits aren’t serious at all, and maybe all you need is just some real easy tweaks and adjustments to make the house really shine. If so, I think I speak for most writers everywhere when I say that we hate you for it. 😉

This is when the discussion about ‘minor’ edits comes into play. Maybe your endings the only thing that really needs some tweaks, or maybe that crucial scene with the hyena-people needs less dialogue, but this is the Holy Grail of edits, and also the Most Terrifying. Because as writers, we are constantly striving to make our stories better. So when someone comes along and says “there are only four things to tweak and you’re done” then we start worrying. Was that the right wall color? Should we have moved the den downstairs? Are the kids going to like their new rooms?

And then of course, you’re done with the remodel, and by that point you’re just so happy to be DONE that you don’t even think about it. Until you wake up in the middle of the night, and you realize the bedroom walls don’t match the hallway. And wouldn’t that vase look much better in the foyer, where more people could admire it?

A book, like a remodel, is never done. But we still have to give it up and let it go out into the world. Just like we have to keep living in our homes.

More about Series

So last time I wound up focusing mostly on trilogies.  I figured that this time, I’d focus more on series books, and things to think about or look at.

I feel like there’s really two kinds of series books.  There are the stand-alone series, and the metaplot/contained series.  The former are books that follow a certain character with continually changing circumstances.  Each book is self-contained, and while it may build upon things that happen in previous books, the changes in character or situation may not be as dramatic or significant.  The draw here is that people can see something in the main character that keeps them coming back for more.  You always want to know about what crazy hijinks they’re getting themselves into.  This is more like the Hardy Boys, the Babysitters Club, and several big mystery novelists following a certain hero or heroine.

Continue reading

Random

Today has been an utter crapshoot with writing, so I figured I would do something productive.

A post about Random Thoughts (yay!)

I’ve been thinking about what my agent’s going to say when she reads the final draft of this book.  Since it’s new, and she’s only seen a couple paragraph summary so far, I figure I’ve got a 50/50 shot.  Mostly because it’s annoying me a little bit right now, and this is (kinda?) fun distraction.

Of course, in that vein, I probably shouldn’t talk so much about what I’m doing on Twitter, because I will inevitably say something like:

“I’m the Michael Bay of YA.  I swear when I get bored I have to have car accidents, crashes, or people thrown from cars.”

Because then she will send me back something like:

Scott, I read your Twitter.  7 car related events?  The main character gets hit by a car while he’s still recovering from being HIT BY A CAR.  Srsly.

And then I come up with thoughts like:

Wow, I wonder what would happen if I send my new book to Yon Agent….and she sends me this back:

Thank you for your query.  I’m afraid, however….etc etc etc

(And an interesting note.  You want to know what comes up when you do a google search for “Colleen Lindsay form rejection”?  An interview with yours truly.  Yeah, that’s not a sign or something).

So yeah.  That’s been my day.  Living the dream.  🙂