Sunday, April 25, 2010

How Soon is too Soon?

I just finished my middle grade novel, and I'm itching to start another project. I have an idea in mind, and I've been tossing it around in my head for a few days, thinking I really should start writing some of this down before I lose the muse. (I normally never talk about the muse, because I think it is a silly cliche, but I really liked the way "lose" and "muse" rhymed, so I went for it. Get over it.)

I've edited TTFA three times, and about the only thing I wish I could do at this point is come up with a better title. Damn you, Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson! I'm thrilled for your crossover success from wrestling to movies, but dude. You made my title way less fun than it was back in November when I first came up with the idea.

So anyway. I have an idea for a very dark contemporary YA, and another idea for a dystopian somewhat sci-fi-y YA. Of course, I have a sequel for my first novel (which I probably won't write until I fix the first one) and sequel ideas for TTFA, which I probably shouldn't write until I see how the agent quest goes. TTFA stands alone nicely on its own, but I already have two other adventure ideas for my characters. I've got them jotted down so I won't forget anything, but it's probably a good idea to start something completely fresh.

I really liked the idea of a historical YA, and thought about setting something during the early days of Hollywood, or during the California gold rush, but I don't know. While I like the *idea* I don't have a character in mind, like I do for my dark YA or my dystopian YA. I see those girls in my head already and can hear them talk. (But they're not telling me to do things. They're telling me about things they've done and they want me to write them down. Gah!)

Is it too soon to start a new project? I just finished edit number 3 on TTFA and feel it's about as good as it can get. Should I take a break?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What Inspired Me

There were two things that inspired me to become a writer, way back when I was a pre-grown up. Today I will tell you about one of them.

In eighth grade, I made a friend named Shelley. We're still friends, at least on Facebook, although she spells her name Schiele now. Whatever. Anyway...

I was invited to her 13th birthday party along with 8 or 9 other people from my junior high school. Everybody brought gifts, of course. I don't remember what I got for Shelley, but I do remember what Ted brought. It was five or six of his mom's books, signed.

I had no idea Ted's mom was a writer. I thought of writers as magical people who didn't really exist in real life, and certainly didn't have kids or families or anything that normal people have. The books were all Silhouette romances, about half an inch thick. I quizzed Ted about his mom. How could she have written so many books? He said that was nothing, she wrote all the time. If he got up in the middle of the night, he'd wander downstairs and find her pounding away on her typewriter at the kitchen table. He had 3 siblings, so I guess she took care of the kids all day and did her writing at night. (Sounds very familiar, now that I'm a mommy.)

And I got the idea that, hey, if she could do it, why couldn't I? "Writer" must be an achievable profession if one of my friend's mothers could do it, right?

So Ted and I drifted apart as friends, as many people do when they move from junior high to high school. But his name has always lingered in my mind, because that party in junior high was when that mystical being known as "author" became a real person for me, and in turn, became an attainable goal.

I certainly haven't forgotten his mother's name. She continued to write like crazy, and now I can't shop in Walmart without tripping over 3 or 4 of her books. Ted's mom's name is Debbie Macomber.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Read an Amazing Book

Yes, folks, the book finally lived up to the hype. I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins over the weekend, and if you know me, you know I have 2 kids and 2 jobs and a huge house to clean and a husband to communicate with and friends to be friendly with and yadda yadda yadda, so as much as I love to read, I hardly ever get to do it so to finish a book in one weekend is in a word: amazing. [Takes big breath.]

I didn't sleep much.

The book is incredible. The type of book that makes me want to just slam my laptop shut because I will clearly never be that good, but that I'm still glad the book was written, because I do appreciate being so thoroughly entertained.

The book is kind of a combination of The Running Man and The Long Walk (both by Stephen King, who compliments Collins himself, saying "I couldn't put it down.") Neither could I Mr. King. Neither could I.

She doesn't in any way copy either of those two works, but the theme and the setup are similar. The characters are wonderful, and there is absolutely NO telling in the book at all. None. Collins is a showing master. By the end of the first paragraph, I knew that our MC is very poor, and that today is a desperate day. By the end of the first page, I knew so much more about her, and her family, but the author never TOLD me. I figured it all out myself.

I don't normally like books in first person present tense, but it totally worked with this novel. She sets up an awesome love triangle, even though one of the characters isn't around for much of it. I could go on and on.

I'm so excited that I ordered Catching Fire already. I ordered it before reading The Hunger Games because I was able to get a really good price on it through my daughter's Scholastic order form, and I hoped it wasn't going to bite me, the way it did when I bought the first two books from a very popular series at the same time. I managed to drag myself through the first one, and I tried to read #2, but finally gave up about 20 pages in. They're just terrible.

But back to The Hunger Games. No. No, I'm done. I can't say enough good things about it, so I just need to stop now before I embarrass myself. Perhaps by misspelling the word embarrass. Did I? I'm not in the mood to spell check right now.