Monday, October 11, 2010

Yeah . . . That . . .

First, go read this post. No seriously--I'll wait.

Man, was this a timely post. Some things that particularly struck me:

-"I'd just pulled a completed novel from my publisher that I wasn't happy with and decided to disappear for awhile."

Holy crap!!! So people, if you didn't follow exactly what this means, she wrote a book. A WHOLE book, did self edits, ran it past her agent, turned it in, and then decided it wasn't good enough and pulled it. People, that is some integrity! Personally, if I've put the work in to get that far and the publisher accepts it, then that's my next book! I have to say, I really look up to that level of commitment to quality. I'm honestly not sure I could do it.

-"I had another book done I sent to my agent while I was writing it, which she turned down---it happens, they can't all be winners."

All aspiring authors out there; the next time you get a form rejection on your full manuscript, come read this sentence. This is Sarah Dessen, people. Multiple #1 NYT bestselling author, beloved by millions, Sarah-frickin'-Dessen. Had a book rejected by her agent. The agent SHE pays. Wow! I was blown away. I think we all know that famous authors get to a point where they *can* write just about anything and someone will publish it. (Can is different than should, but the point is, they *can*.) I suspect that Sarah Dessen is at the point. But not only does SHE not do that (see example number one) but her agent doesn't either. Wow. High standards, people!

-"I also know that to my agent, and my editor, and everyone at my publishing company, my in-process freakouts have become as predictable as Christmas. "Oh, right," I picture them saying in their conference rooms and offices in New York, glancing at the calendar, "it IS about time for Sarah to decide to go back to waitressing again, isn't it?""

Hehe. I just like that part.

I am turning my fourth book in tomorrow. Wednesday morning at the very latest. But pushing for tomorrow. I remember tripping along through my first draft and thinking, Wow! I've been thinking about this book for so long that it is practically writing itself! I should have seen the writing on the wall then. The easier first drafts are for me, the more revisions I tend to do. *cringe*

It's been quite a process on this one because I feel a lot of pressure (not from fans, really, mostly from myself) to really get this one right. People have been asking me from day one if I know the ending of the series and I have said, quite boldly sometimes, that yes, I do, and when readers have finished Book Four they will be able to see all of the little seeds I planted throughout the first three books. Gathering up the fruit from all those seeds and getting them to fit cohesively into a plot structure that makes sense has turned out to be . . . challenging. Plot points and character motivation I have had in place for three years suddenly don't make sense on paper. And I can't just change them, because I have been leading up to them for three books! No, it's much more difficult than that. I have to make them make sense. Believe you me, that square peg trying to get into the round hole has nothing on this book.:D

Essentially, I guess it really is just finessing, because the backbone of the plot is still there, the ending I always planned is still there and it is still (IMO) the *right* ending. That hasn't changed. But how we get there, the details involved, have to be malleable.

And it is so frustrating! If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the saga of the #plotholeofdeath that my husband found. And, sadly, once someone finds such a plothole, as much as you would like to cover your ears and sing, "lalalalalalalalala!" at the top of your lungs until they go away, you now know it's there and darn it! you have to fix it!

And I totally fell down at my hubby's feet and thanked him for finding the problem that made my novel better.

See? I'm good at making stuff up!

No, in truth I--who never yells at my husband--yelled. Twice. And I don't mean two sentences escaped my mouth at a higher than average volume. I mean he got yelled at in two rather extended yelling sessions on two different days. (I'm sorry!!!!!) It was a two-yell book. I don't think I've ever had more than a one-yell book.

I will tell people any day of the week that I have the best job in the world, and I do. I DO!!! But don't mistake that for the *easiest* job in the world. This is a hard job. It is a job with deadlines and schedules and demands and bosses, just like any other job in the world. But it's so much more personal. If you make a mistake on your spreadsheet, you probably don't fall into a cycle of "IsuckIsuckIsuck and I should never write make another spreadsheet again because I am obviously a talentless hack and who the heck hired me anyway?!?!?!?" I think that a minimum of once a book. Usually three to four times. (See Sarah's quote about going back to waitressing.)

And sometimes it is nice to know that other authors--especially authors like Ally Carter, who I consider veterans (I'm still such a baby!)--feel the same way and go through the same struggles.

Anyway, my apologies that it has been two weeks since I last blogged. I've been at that point where I am eating, breathing, and sleeping Book Four . . . and then eating some more . . . and am trying to continue caring about it enough to finish this last draft and do it well! These words came out of my mouth on Saturday, "I don't care anymore; I hate this book." That's when I know I'm almost done.:D

I will be gathering the books for a rather large giveaway later this week, to celebrate being done (for the moment) so stay tuned!

Ciao!

23 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

Yay! I'm your first commentor and I just started following you a little over a week ago so I'm excited to see that you've posted already!!!

I think it's neat to see fellow writers and authors that still struggle with the same feelings us unpublished folks feel. It keeps the authors real and more close to home, knowing that each time they write that book they're never sure how it will turn out.

It's a scary feeling I'm sure, but one that happens every time, and though you wish it would go away I wonder how we would react if it did! You want to be the best, you want to have the anxiety because the minute you don't you might have met the end!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I love knowing we all doubt. Thanks for this.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing this. And I can't wait to finish the series . . and I hope the right ending has her with Tamani, he he :-)

Heather said...

I can hardly believe you're almost to the point of turning in your fourth book! That's fantastic! Great post by the way. And a wonderful reminder that we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than everyone and know when it's time to be humble.

Mary @The Sweet Bookshelf said...

Book Four?!?!? I can't wait for Book 3!!!!!

I re-read your books SO many times throughout the year and am just starting WINGS again. I just can't wait until ILLUSIONS comes out! EEK!! I'm so ready for more of the adventure!

Sara B. Larson said...

It's so good to know that we all go through those feelings! Even a New York Times Bestseller, like you! :) Can't wait to read the last two books. What an accomplishment! I remember reading your blog when you had just gotten your deal. Wow the time flies.

Emily White said...

Such a great post! It's kind of nice (and a little depressing) to see that these feelings are shared (and never go away) by all writers.

TKAstle said...

Great post and...yay, yay, a book giveaway. I'll definitely stay tuned.

Erin said...

This post was great! Made me laugh a few times. Poor Kenny- a two yell book! I guess it comes with the territory of having an author for a wife. Your sentence about knowing you're almost done when you want to give up sounds (fittingly enough)like child birth. You know you're almost done when you feel like you can't take it anymore! So good luck as you finish "pushing out" (ha, ha) this last book and remember there's no greater feeling than being done with a big project! At least until edits right? Maybe that's why J.K. Rowling dedicated the book she wrote while she was pregnant to the daughter she was carrying- there are a lot of parallels!

Elle Strauss said...

I'm in the middle of a major doubt cycle right now. Thanks for sharing!

Ivy Hawthorn said...

I love this post! Can't wait for Illusions and I can't wait to notice all of the clues you've planted! You've created quite the masterpiece! :D

itsmefaith said...

Hahaha I just love you so much. Your personality and writing and everything you do just amaze me!!! I am soooo excited for more of the series... Illusions and *Book 4* are gonna be great!!! :D
One question- About when will you be posting the cover for Illusions? OMG thats gonna be so awesome!!
Oh and any news about the movie? W/ Miley Cyrus?
Anyways... good luck with everything. U R awesome!!!

Abbi said...

Very excited for book four (should that be capitalized?)! Can't wait for it... I just got 'Spells' yesterday and can't wait until the third one.
Thanks for your comment toward aspiring writers (I'm a new one, myself). It's nice to know that everyone gets rejected at some point or another. It's just hard to get your SASE back, only to tear it open and discover that you have one more rejection to add to the stack.
But the point; it's uplifting to know that famous writers even get that sometimes. :) Thank you.

Nancy said...

This too shall pass . . .
I enjoyed your first book. Haven't read the second yet, but I'm sure I will enjoy it.
How are the kiddos?

Kristen said...

I love how you are so down to earth, and that you share your writing struggles with your readers. It's inspiring to know that an author as talented as you are has similar writing issues. It gives me hope ;)

Congrats on finishing the series, I can't wait to read it! It's sad to think of saying good-bye to all the characters :(

Leigh said...

Wow, four books in and you sound just like me. So the self doubt never goes away! Darn. Good luck with book number four. I'm sure it's going to be an amazing success... again!
Leigh

SWK said...

This may be my favorite blog post of the year. I am in the midst of revising my second novel to send to my agent (first novel comes out next year) and IT IS AGONY. So much self-doubt about form, voice, WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT ANYWAY? Feeding my children too many dinners of chicken nuggets. Eating WAY TOO MUCH chocolate. Using too many CAPITAL LETTERS instead of choosing better words :) I so needed to read your words today. THANK YOU! - Stasia

Shan said...

What COURAGE! Oh my, I love your honesty. I can't believe you are turning in book 4 when book 3 hasn't even come out! Yes, I know there is an order about these things, I just can't wait! I know it will turn out well and I can't wait...yes, I already mentioned that. :) Hang in there! We are rooting for you!

Laurel W. Whose name is really Laurel said...

I knew that working on the last book in a series is stressful... I never tried to and I think it takes real dedication to do it. Or even try. You must also be feeling kinda pressured by all the people screaming "Tamani! Go TAMANI!!! WHY!!WHY?? JUST MAKE DAVID DIE OR SOMETHING!!" But even though those people are shallow and uncaring, I truly hope that Laurel will realize that David is just going to die early anyway. Sniff.
So just know that there are people with hearts out there who will wait patiently.(With only a little fidgeting!)

Swimmer said...

I think most of us are fine that you don't blog a lot as long as those books keep coming!

Anonymous said...

When you release the cover picture for Illusions, ca you have a little blurb on what the book will be about? I've read Spells about 5 times, and I'm kinda freakin my mom out. :) I can't wait until May!

Valerie Ipson said...

Thanks for sharing your fun, crazy, roller coaster world!

Wes Harris said...

Thanks for letting us in on the self-despising process, I've never felt quite so good for feeling like I'm a hack.

Note: I have a certain amount of pride wrapped up in my spreadsheets and would weep, wail, and gnash my teeth at significant errors :)