Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Heart Vermont

As most of you know, I am pursuing my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It's a butt kicking low-residency program where I write, read, and get my butt kicked to become a better writer. All joking aside it's one of the best places on earth and after the devastation of Hurricane Irene in Rhode Island, I started to hear through the grapevine that Vermont was in rough shape. Really rough shape. I started to feel pretty silly that people were complaining about having no power here in Rhody.

I had no idea what had happened. None. It wasn't on the news enough nationally for people to care. I don't usually do this but I really think it's important to get out there EXACTLY what has happened.

One of my school mates, Peter wrote an incredible blog about his experience and the sadness of Vermont. Please check it out.

http://peterpatricklangella.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dialogue and Why I Was a Jerk

Ok. So, this could potentially be the most boring post in history but I thought I would share what I have been thinking about while I am knee deep in revisions. My book is due to my editor in a month or so, so I'm really mining through the text trying to figure out what kind of dialogue furthers the story and what doesn't. There was a moment in my life yesterday, which really illuminated the kind of dialogue I am looking to create.

I was at the post office waiting in line to send out some dresses back to Modcloth.com, which as a side note, is one of my favorite online dress shops. I just needed a different size. ANYWAY, so I'm waiting and waiting and getting annoyed because of COURSE there is only --ONE!-- person working. I'm tapping my feet, checking my phone, and generally wishing everyone standing in line before me would be struck by a big laser beam of hate so I could be next. Then the man who is at the counter, who is causing this traffic jam, turns around to leave.

And it's then I realize I am the biggest jerk on the planet.

He has a cane and wearing a nice button down shirt. His belt is real leather with a nice silver buckle. I'm thinking this guy is old, old like my grandpa Harry who wore a three piece suit even in 80 degree weather. But then I get to his face and he's not old. Maybe late 40s or early 50s. His face has been so badly burned he has wavy lines of scar tissue all over his cheeks and neck. He had a nose once but it's not there now, just a thin bone and two slits for nostrils. The skin around his eyes stretches so thin it's like there isn't enough of it. He has no hair.

He looks down the long line of people and says,

"Sorry about the wait,"

Immediately, everyone shuffles on their feet and says, "Oh, no, it's no problem. It's no problem."

And he starts walking toward the exit. As he passes me, he says quietly,

"I'm not...I mean...I used to be right handed."

I was crushed. Not because of what he said but because of what he didn't say. And isn't that what good dialogue should do? Tell us about our characters without them telling us about them outright? I learned so much about this man in a span of seconds. It stuck with me all day. I may even write a short story about it.

What will your world tell you about writing today?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh hello there!

Oh! Hello...

Yes, yes, this post is shamefully overdue. I have been working!! I promise! Yesterday, at approximately 8 am I sent another draft of my sequel to my editor in the UK. While I wait for her responses, I will continue to draft and write.

Writing this sequel has been an interesting ride. In fact, for my critical thesis for Vermont College I wrote about sequels and the differences in artistic approach when writing a sequel. For instance, in a sequel there is a dual audience: the audience who has read the first book and those who have not. Because of this duality, when I first sat down to write the sequel, I thought I needed to pick right back up where I left off in the first book. I was really tied to that and had some trouble, artistically, figuring out how to open my sequel when the original novel ended in the middle of action. Do you complete the action? Do you just start somewhere else? I think I finally came to the conclusion that really, you owe nothing to the original material except for the characters. Sure, previous plot points matter and believe me, in terms of Stolen Nights everything that happened in Infinite Days has meaning. But I was left with a million questions. I have known all along how i want this series to end but getting there is part of the artistic experience of being a writer. Needless to say, I have learned so much and really love this series. I hope come early 2012, my readers do as well.

ANYWAY

So that's where I've been. And I'm feeling good. I'm incredibly happy with Lenah at the moment. Don't get me wrong she's done some really really dumb, unexpected stuff in this sequel but I'm proud of her emotional journey.

More later!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Takin' my time...

Hey everyone.

I've received a bunch of e-mails over the last few weeks asking about the publication date of Stolen Nights. The honest answer? I really don't know. Hopefully soon. I need more time. As my editor says, second books are always the most difficult. And she is 100% right. Lenah, Rhode, Justin and Vicken are in my head dictating this wonderful story but I need more time to try to write the best possible book I can. So the answer? Soon, I hope. Sooner than soon.

Sooner than sooner than sooner.

Thanks so much for your e-mails and keep them coming! I love talking about Lenah's story and as I work away please know that I will get this story to you as soon as I can. Sooner than sooner than sooner.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Extra Content

While I revise and revise and revise (ad nauseum).

A Haiku for Lenah - written by Tony Sasaki:

Lenah is so smart.
Knows all about the body
Why we get all As.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010/Reviews/Sequels

Oh, sequel (or for my friend Elizabeth: Schmequel). How you have tormented me. How you have laughed at me, tossed your head back and drank your whiskey with glee.

BUT I HAVE SENT YOU TO MY EDITORS. I have temporarily won. Temporarily because it is now up to the editing Gods whether or not this is the sequel that shall be printed. I have to admit, it's much more action packed than Infinite Days.

So, after a year reading reviews of Infinite Days (some good, some bad) I'm sort of at a zen place with them. At first, I was reading Goodreads reviews all the time and Amazon reviews, biting my nails and hoping people would like the book. I am over it now but as a debut author, it is very easy to become OBSESSED. But that's just it. I'm a debut author...I mean, I DON'T BARTEND ANYMORE! Sorry, just had to put that out there. Yay!

But overall, the reviewing process was pretty painless. I was most excited about my Kirkus, School Journal and Publishers Weekly reviews and then...after many months...I realized it didn't make a difference what people said. Because writing is an art - it's subjective and you have to hope you can structure a novel together to make it cohesive and entertaining. So that's kind of where I'm at now. I love great reviews, bad reviews I try to ignore, and well the rest is left up to fate.

So what am I doing in my time off? Two things. The first, is I am spending some time at Vermont College where I will meet my third semester advisor and will work on my realistic project. The second thing I am doing is compiling my SONG OBSESSIONS OF 2010. Everyone has a "best-of" books list but I am reading so many for school it's too hard to choose. So here's my top 10 songs I have played ad nauseum for the last year. Yes, I know some of them are from the 60's but if you know me at all, you know I am OBSESSED with The Doors and my obsession began in about April.

10. "Five to One"- The Doors



9. "England" - The National

8. "Off the Hook" - The Rolling Stones

7. "Pursuit of Happiness" - Lissie's cover of Kid Cudi

6. "Sweet Chariot" - My Jerusalem



5. "Wild Goose Chase" - Dark, Dark, Dark. (This woman's voice is incredible)



4. ANYTHING NIKI MINAJ because I love her and think she is awesomesauce.

3. "The Stable Song" - Gregory Alan Isakov

2. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National

1. "Look Away" - Lissie

Here's a link so you can listen to it: