Showing posts from June, 2012

In Which the Author, Tired of Bulletin Boards, Gets Crafty

So, a few chapters into my current revision, I realized that the necessary new structure was clear enough to me now that instead of just fumbling around with my pages, I could chart it all out on index cards. I did so, on my office floor... then realized that I didn't actually want to pick them up. I wanted to be able to see them just like that, spread out in order, my overall structure plan, the entire time I'm revising. But I can't really keep them in the middle of my office floor. It creates navigational challenges. AND, I'm sick to death of buying and hanging up bulletin boards. I'm always working on more than one project at once, and I already have SO MANY filled-to-capacity bulletin boards in my office. What I really need is an enormous magnetic wall, but since those can be tricky to come by, instead, I assembled: a skinny 36-inch-long aluminum tube and similarly-dimensioned wooden dowel (procured from my local hardware store); some fabric and quilting pins (p

"Why must it be a truthiness universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of an existence must be in want of a mate?"

A friend wrote that delightful, Pride-&-Prejudice -referential question to me in a recent e-mail. She was frustrated with the assumption in our society that single people are incomplete. Are in search of another person. Are waiting. Have failed in some way. Have been unlucky. Have all kinds of happiness in their future, as long as they're patient and never give up hope. Today, I would just like to point out quietly -- because hardly anyone ever does, and maybe it would be useful for more people to talk about it -- that while there are indeed many single people who are in search of a mate, there are also many single people who aren't in search of anything. Who've chosen to be single. Who have, in fact, found the secret to their own happiness. Maybe they have other dreams that take precedence, other priorities and passions. Maybe they love to be alone, cherish other kinds of relationships, relish in the freedom of being single. People are different. Announcement: Peop

An Interview, Plus Views of and from Manhattan

Award-winning fantasy author Helen Lowe sent me a bunch of great questions all the way from New Zealand, and I answered them.  They're now up on her blog.   Thank you so much, Helen!  Writers always ask the best questions (and never ask the worst ones ^_^). Now I need to go put Helen's books on hold. Also -- here are some photos from my BEA week. View from the Top of the Standard (Washington and 13th) looking south to downtown. From the Top of the Standard looking west (sort of) across the Hudson River to the lovely shores of New Jersey. Northish view from one the bathroom stalls at the Top of the Standard.  V. surprising bathroom stalls. Eastish view from the Top of the Standard... I enjoyed this little walkway with glass floor and glass banister.  I like vertiginous stuff. On a panel (I am on the right) with (l-r) Naomi Novik, N.K. Jemisin, and Catherynne Valente at the NYPL . Okay listen, I went to the Met and took a thousand pictures, but I&#

Some Tips if You're Revising

(Chinese cover of Graceling , published by Yongzheng --->) Have a manuscript that isn't working? Might these suggestions help? 1. Divide it into its smallest components. Print out your manuscript. Sit down with a big pile of paper clips. Then, start pulling the manuscript apart and dividing/clipping it by scene. (Is your beginning more of a mess than your end? If so, maybe start from the back and work to the front.) When I do this, I jot a little explanation in the upper left-hand corner of each scene, so that I can flip through my big pile of clipped pages and get a quick sense of what each section is about. Simultaneously, I work with a pile of index cards, jotting down each scene on an individual index card as well, so that I have an even smaller, more mobile way of flipping through my story. The idea here is to give yourself an easier way to see both the forest and the trees. Forest: if you divide your manuscript into scenes, suddenly it's easier to examine the str

Good Is The Enemy of Great

It's raining here today in Cambridge. I'm listening to DMX's "Lord Give Me a Sign ;" José González's "Storm ;" and The Cinematic Orchestra's "To Build a Home ." I wonder if there are any TV fans out there so fanatical that you can tell from these songs (and maybe from my subject heading) what I've been watching? I've been watching Friday Night Lights . I've fallen kind of hard for this show, for all these people, and I could blather about it for some time, but this post is about something else. In an episode I watched last night (S2E7), Julie's (kinda slimy, but anyway) English teacher told her that when it comes to writing, "Good is the enemy of great." I feel like this morning, at least for these few minutes, I have a grasp on one of the things we need to do if we want to plow past good and get to great. It has to do with acknowledging the possibility of failure. I'm working on some revisions right

Jay Smooth on What Isn't a Double Standard

I love what Jay Smooth has to say about language, communication, the "N-word," our society's rules about the use of that word, what a double standard is, and what a double standard isn't . Thanks to Jay Smooth for seeing the complications and expressing them well -- as he always does.

The Team

On the left is my stupendous agent, Faye Bender. On the right is my stupendous editor, Kathy Dawson. We are at the Penguin Young Readers Group cocktail party at the Top of the Standard, where the views are amazing. Hopefully I'll have time to put together a little post of New York views. It was a great party!