Showing posts from June, 2008

In Which I Change

ALA was a transformative experience. How can I even explain it? I went to dinner with seventeen lovely people, professionals in the children's lit field, all of whom have read my book. As we ate, all around me, people were talking about the book. They were excited about the book. They loved the book. Is there any way to explain what this was like? How much do I love Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for throwing a dinner and inviting all the people who love my book and no one who hates it? I am so lucky to have had the experience of this dinner. I will never forget it. And I hope I'll get the chance to meet everyone again and talk more -- what an awesome, funny, interesting group of people (and no, I'm not just saying that because they like my dumb book)! Thank you, everyone who was there! And then, next morning, the signing. Oh my goodness! I kept reminding myself of the examples of the Dalai Lama and my father (who reminds me a little of the Dalai Lama, except he d


Folks, I'm really sorry, but I've got nothing today. I'm all tapped out; I'm beyond overwhelmed. Instead of trying to come up with something clever and interesting to say, I'm going to shut my blinds and turn off my phone and turn off my computer and stick in some earplugs and take a little nap in my armchair. I'll be back on Monday with a report from the adventure of ALA, which begins tomorrow. In the meantime, happy reading and happy writing. :o)

In Support of a 26-Hour Day

I have a complaint about Earth: it rotates too fast. Normally, I'm all for Earth. I get all weepy when I see pictures of Earth from above and I adore lunar eclipses and I hate people who kill sea turtles and all that. Earth is my home. However, the fact is that at bedtime I don't ever want to go to bed; there are too many fun things I want to do; I could easily stay up for another two hours, then get my 8 hours of sleep, and wake up to another day of the same schedule. Why can't I have 18 hours to be awake and then 8 for sleeping? Earth rotates just a bit too fast. Am I the only one who feels this way? Don't the days seem too short? What are we to do? If I had two extra hours a day, I would use one hour to read Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and one hour to eat ice cream and listen to music I've never heard before. What would you do? Incidentally, are all of you acquainted with Lord Peter Wimsey? In case you're not, I will now take it upon myself to acquaint

In Which the Author Loses the Plot

So, needless to say, the team of my iMac and me are not about to break out as the next great thing in photography, and I probably could have combed my hair, but I thought I'd post this anyway to give you a sense of what my books look like as I'm writing them. This is from very near the beginning of the first draft of Graceling -- the end of Chap 1 and beginning of Chap 2, to be specific -- and also looks to be my first attempt at a map of the Seven Kingdoms. Writing longhand can get messy, but it's the way I love to do it -- I love to be able to touch what I'm writing. Digging this up was a blast from the past. Pictured is Notebook #2, and the date in the corner of the righthand page is 9.17.04. I'm currently writing in Notebook #11. The phone call with Famous Movie Studio has not yet occurred, but may instantly occur at any moment. In the meantime, the whole thing has got me thinking about the movies, and all the ways our society constructs and regulates

In Which I Discover My Destiny

So, first, the important news. I have learned from a recently played game of MASH that it is my destiny to marry Jason Bourne . We will have 32 kids and live in a house in Alpha Centauri , and we'll drive a sparkly, polka-dotted duck boat . I will spend my days as a fire eater, and live happily ever after. Personally, I'm a little surprised about the sparkly, polka-dotted duck boat. It sounds a bit conspicuous for Jason's tastes, not to mention rather unmaneuverable when the inevitable high-speed chase occurs. I can only assume this means that once Jason moves to Alpha Centauri he'll begin to feel like less of a hunted man, and have the chance to lighten up a bit. Good for him. He deserves a break from constant pursuit by politically-motivated and highly-armed head cases. Also, I'm totally psyched about the 32 kids, because, well, have you ever seen a baby goat ? They are the cutest animals ever, and I'm sure that as they mature, Jason and I will find good home

A Woman, a Plan, No Canals: Bitterblue!

A curious Owlet has asked me to say a bit more about my book plan for Book 3, so I thought I'd do that here. Don't worry, no spoilers -- I'm not going to tell you what's in the plan, I'm just going to talk about how the plan works. (By the way, if you're not interested in process, this is liable to be the most soporific post ever . You might want to skip down to the one about Cordelia in the bathtub.) I said in my last post that the book plan is 20 typed, single-spaced pages. Actually, it's 17 typed, single-spaced pages and six stapled pages of handwritten notes -- and 50+ grocery receipts, post-its, torn pieces of envelopes, etc. which reside in various parts of the apartment, such as on my desk, on my bedside table, on my coffee table, in books I'm reading, and in the bottoms of about five different purses. This is not an ideal book plan situation, but it seems to be the way it has to be with this book. I have never had such a big book plan before an

The Most Dangerous Game

This post is brought to you by wise things other people have said. Here's what Natalie Goldberg says in Writing Down the Bones : "Right before you are planning to write, a good preparation is to become an animal. Move slowly, stalking your prey, which is whatever you plan to write about, no matter what else you might be doing at the moment -- taking out the garbage, walking to the library, watering the garden. Get all your senses intent." I'm done with my revisions, and that means it's time to start writing again -- Book 3, the protagonist of which is a 16-year-old girl named Bitterblue. It's hard to shift gears from one project to another. I come back to Bitterblue not entirely remembering what the book is about, forgetting the essence of what I'm trying to do. And looking at the 75-or-so pages I've already written is slightly horrifying, because it's so tight, so over-controlled... it needs some serious loosening. And so, I've been stalking

In Which Cordelia Does Not Drown

My sister Cordelia (all names have been changed to protect the innocent) and I have differing religious philosophies, but we've always agreed on one thing: neither of us has ever wanted to be visited by the Virgin Mary. When I was little (and actually believed in the Virgin Mary) I was terrified of a visitation, mainly because the last thing on earth I ever wanted to be was a nun, and I just knew the Virgin Mary was going to appear before me and tell me it was my destiny. Cordelia, on the other hand, wasn't worried about anything the Virgin Mary might say to her. Her worry was that the Virgin Mary would visit her while she was naked in the bathtub, which would be embarrassing . So, this brings us to midnight last Saturday. Here's the scene: Cordelia, sadly, has the flu and is feeling achey and cold. She decides to take a warm bath, staggers into the bathroom, gets the water running, and starts splashing around. In the meantime, I stand at the kitchen counter mesmerize

My Ideal Home Has Cupcakes

My ideal home is on a hill in a forest that has tall deciduous trees, deer, small black bears rarely seen, and giraffes. There's a cliff nearby that overlooks the ocean, and in the ocean are dolphins and whales, and occasionally nice people in boats and helicopters who are scooting around making sure the dolphins and whales are well protected. My friends live in various parts of the forest, and it is wonderful to have them near, and they all understand that the "Do Not Disturb" sign I sometimes have on my door is not personal, and also that it is not always there. There is a grocery store, a drug store, a hardware store, an independent bookstore with a cafe, a library, a few restaurants (maybe a deli, a sushi place, an Italian place, and a cupcake place) in the forest, within walking distance. There are no hunters in the forest and no one keeps mean dogs in their yards on frayed leashes. Perhaps there is the occasional extremely shy and nonthreatening white tiger and