shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


words big, writing hard, tree pretty

Every morning on my way to work I drive past a farm where they have cows, but also buffalos and llamas. The llamas are my favorite; they like to preen next to the road. I always mean to mention this, but always forget. So there it is.

Yesterday I finally really started a process I've been (mostly) putting off for months, for no good reason, which is the final pass cleaning up my first book. It's a young adult novel called Girl's Gang. I'd known it wouldn't actually be that bad, but there's something dire about the time before diving back in to something so big. So many words. So many pages. The immensity of it is daunting and this is a medium-sized book at around 70,000 words. Anyway, it's going well -- I made it a third of the way through already -- and that means pickings will be slim around here for the next few days as I tuck my head down and let the wind fly past and finally finish this damn thing. It's interesting to watch what was once very fluid take on a more solid shape, become something more like what it will ultimately be. And this with mostly tiny changes. Anyone who has recommendations (or warnings) about agents who rep YA stuff are welcome to send them to me, as I'm in the process of making a list of people I want to try and get to look at it.

And, you know, I think that starting the new book was what finally kicked my ass into gear. Pardon the French. Which is always the case with me so I don't know why I took so long to do it. Oh well. It's been a busy year.

Matthew Cheney has an excellent post this morning on beginnings, an endlessly fascinating topic to most writers. It reminded me of Carol Emshwiller's excellent pieces "Writing Rules I Like to Break" on Fantastic Metropolis. The first one was on "opening with a bang" and she says: I like to sneak into a story. I think it's a cliché to start with action -- with a shout as if trying to wake up the reader. I think the reader will get hooked by lots of things. Even with a bit of philosophy or a nice description. And then goes on to say: I like stories that fool you. You think you're reading action and yet you're not. You think there's a story and it hasn't even started. She gives some excellent examples and advice. It's worth looking at. (It's Carol Emshwiller after all!)

Back to my bunker.

Sidenote: Just got a nice phone call from a mystery writer friend telling me she's buying The Jane Austen Book Club for all the women on her Christmas list. Yay!

UPDATE: The Rake has an interesting dissection of a Salon column on the upcoming collection of Nick Hornby's Believer columns. As you may have noticed, I don't really talk about books I don't care for here. I don't really plan to either, unless said books are particularly egregiously terrible. Life's too short to dwell on bad books. Or at least, mine is, but I'm more than happy to read other people's opinions. I guess I just prefer my help more on the navigating to good stuff than avoiding bad stuff side of the river. Even if it is sometimes less fun to read about.


  • At 2:44 PM , Blogger chance said...

    I'd be interested in your list of agent prospects if you are willing to share - I'm trying to put together a list of prospective agents for my YA novel right now too.


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