Daily Archives: January 4, 2010

Carol: Serious Helpful Suggestions Wanted

I love this color pink. I think it’s great. 🙂

For the last several years–and I do mean several–I have been working on a dystopian novel. The idea came to me when I thought of a title and then imagined scenarioes to go with this icky possiblity. It’s about a girl and she lives in this weird world and there’s a boy and they find out this secret. . .

The deal is, this book is hard for me to write. I mean, HARD. Grueling. That’s why I’ve been working on it for years and I have less than (drumroll please) 100 pages.

This blog entry isn’t really anything more than a wondering today. Why? Well, I showed the first few pages of this piece to my agent some time back. He liked it . . . quite a bit, actually. “I think we can sell this,” he said.

Then I said, “I haven’t finsihed writing it. And I’m nervous about selling something I haven’t finished writing.”

Yes, I know how the novel is supposed to end. I have this plot in my head. The scenes. I think I even know the climax. And I know the almost 100 pages. But putting extra words down on the page–it’s hard. Really hard for me. I don’t understand it. Why is it such a battle?

Once, with my third book, I sent the first few chapters to my editor. She bought the book, sent me the first half of my advance (which I spent before I had even signed the contract, of course). Anyway, I couldn’t finish the story. Not right. Oh, I had endings. I rewrote and rewrote and rewrote the ending. It wasn’t until my editor and I talked for a long time in my car (she was out here for a conference I put on with Rick Walton and Cheri Earl–the very first one we ever did) that she said, “Here’s where you are going wrong, I think.” She was right. I made the changes, rewrote the ending two or three more times and finally got the novel completed. The result was The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson.

Recently my agent has been saying to me–quite a bit–I’d like to send this beginning of your dysotpian on to your editor at St. Martin’s.

And I’ve said, It’s not finished.

And he’s said, I think we could sell it unfinished.

And I’ve said, But I am scared to do that.

And he’s said, Well, you decide, but I think we can sell it.

So now guess what? Yes–there is more to this mothing story. I got my guts together in one wad and I said, “Go ahead. Send the beginning.” I wrote a SHORT synopsis (I stink at those. A lot. But that is another blog.). And then I said (this is the strangest thing) I THINK THIS COULD BE A BOOK WITH  A SEQUEL.

What was I thinking? Yes! It could be a book with a  sequel. But I don’t even have 100 pages of the first book completed. How am I going to get the 100 pages of the 2nd book done? Am I crazy?! Yes! Yes, I am!

Here’s the deal. This creating new worlds (dystopian or not, mind you) and making things scary and romantic and funny and sad and all that? It’s hard. We writers take nothing and create something from it. An idea, an emotion, a thought, some paper and we write a novel.

(Sigh) One of my goals is to get a rough draft of this thing done, soon. And there is only one way to accomplish that. I have to write through the fear (see Ann Cannon’s post that I keep quoting). The truth is, I just have to write, period. Had I written only one page a day (like my dear friend Claudia Mills does) I would have a book several thousand pages long. But no, I avoid it. Because it’s hard. And scary. And different from what I’m used to.

So there you have it. A blog about one girl’s fear about one book that she’s determined to finish though she’s not quite certain how.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

One step in front of the other.

Hand over hand.

A word at a time.

Line upon line.

Etc etc etc.

I do like this color pink.


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