Me as Robinson Crusoe

What with all the family drama this summer, I am a little behind on my writing schedule. (Though I did get in a minimum of 15 minutes a day, every day, even when Mom was in the hospital!)

Right now I need about 16-18 hours a day with no interruptions or distractions. I have to hold all of the story threads in my hands at the same time to figure out how they need to be woven together.

I have dragged myself, my laptop, and several tons of research to a desert island where I am writing what shall forever be known as the “Desert Island Down-and-Dirty Draft”. The goal is to complete this draft and polish it to the point where I won’t be embarrassed to show it to my editor before I leave on book tour in October.

As these things go, it’s a fairly comfortable desert island. I have a supply of Diet Red Bull and fruit and I have music. Truthfully, it’s not on an island. It’s at a secret location just down the road from my mom’s rehab place so I can get there in a hurry if necessary.

Yesterday was the first full day here. I worked from 6am to midnight, with breaks to eat and an hour-long walk in the middle of the day. I could not type fast enough. The way the scenes unfolded in front of me was pure magic, as if the Muse had been impatiently waiting for me to come back and pay Her my respects.

It is much easier to hear the voices when the rest of the world stops shouting.

14 Replies to “Me as Robinson Crusoe”

  1. Wow. I’m amazed at how strong you are–to be helping your mom and getting the writing pouring out at the same time. Way to go. And so glad it’s coming more easily.

    Although, diet Red Bull? Umm…gack. (When we were in Iceland, they had a power drink called Blue Pig, honest!)

  2. Isn’t it amazing what a change of scene can do? Even if it’s just a mile away to a coffee shop. Though they wouldn’t let me stay 6 a.m. to midnight.

    Keep writing!!! We don’t want to wait any longer than we have to.

  3. Ah, I wish for your Desert Island. Or is it just a state of mind? My Muse keeps poking me in the eyeball and laughing.

    Any details on Wintergirls? It intrigues me that you called it your darkest book. Ballpark details, not big honking ones.

    1. I’m still so close to the story I don’t know how to describe it. My editor should have the flap copy written soon. I bet that will do a better job explaining things than I could at the moment.

      I can say that it’s a YA, told from a girl’s POV. And it’s dark. Intense. A little scary, maybe.

      This is hard! I am useless at summarizing things.

  4. Is Wintergirls the manuscript you’re working on now? I admire your focus and dedication to your writing, and thank the gods that people like you exist to support my reading habit! Write on, and good healing thoughts for your mom.

    (Off topic – finally read Twisted and LOVED it! I think it might be my fave of yours so far. Also, Carolyn Mackler will be speaking at the OCPL Banned Books Event in the fall – I can share details if you like).

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and thoughts. They are much appreciated!

      Wintergirls is finished, thank heavens. The book I’m working on now is my next historical, called Forges. If all goes well, it should be published in the Spring of 2010.

      Carolyn Mackler! What’s the date?

      1. I have all the details here on my desk, waiting for me to create the web page for OCPL’s website 🙂 She’s the keynote speaker on Wednesday, October 1st. Reception is from 5:30-7:30, she speaks from 6-6:30. It will be held in the Curtin Auditorium at OCPL’s Central Library. I will definitely be there, and I’d LOVE to meet you!

  5. ‘Ello there…

    First off … I absolutely love your books, great job. Speak, Twisted and Catalyst are a few of my all-time favorite novels.

    Seeeecond off … I wish I had a desert island.

    Thirrrrrd off … is Wintergirls YA as well? I’m usually a lurking reader of your blog but have been sort of absent to the Internet lately, so maybe it slipped past my radar, or maybe you didn’t mention it, which in that case, shame shame! Just kidding lol …

    Also, what time period is your new book set in?

  6. Oops.

    Oh … sorry, I just read your past blog entry and your other comment on this thread and got the answer to my question about Wintergirls. Sorry bout that. >.<

  7. I wish I had a desert island. Or at the very least, school didn’t take up so much time.

    I was wondering your opinion on close reading. You know where you analyze the nitty gritty syntax and diction of a book. A lot of kids in my AP class are complaining that it takes away from the author’s meaning when it’s analyzed like that. I’d be very interested to hear an author’s opinon.

    I’m rooting for you! I can’t wait to get a hold of Chains!

    1. I agree with your students.

      I know that there are young readers who enjoy that kind of reading. You tend to find them in AP English classes. Many of them are future English teachers.

      I was NOT that kind of student. Even though I understand how to do this kind of analysis today, I don’t think it enhances my enjoyment of a good book.

      I believe that the reason we have so many illiterate adults in America is that historically (and this is changing now, except in AP classes) we made teen do “close reads” on texts that were written for adults one hundred years earlier. Many kids subjected to this get the mistaken impression that those are the only kinds of books out there, and that is “the right way” to read and understand a book.

      They lose sight of reading as pleasure, so they stop reading, and their ability level freezes at that point.

      I think that talking with other people about a book that you’ve all read is one of the best parts of reading because it connects us. In these conversations, some “close read” details will naturally crop up. I think that is a more productive approach.

      I do not mean to attack you as an AP teacher; not at all. You guys are my heroes. You do the hard work day and and day out that can have a tremendous positive affect on a student. You do the work of the angels. But the time has arrived for us to have a discussion about why we teach English classes the way we do, and if that is achieving the goal of nurturing highly literate, engaged, life-long readers and learners.

      And yeah, this is a hot button topic for me.

  8. I hate annotating and analyzing books personally, just because it really does take away from any enjoyment I could get out of the book. When you have to stop and try and consider what the author could be trying to say with a simple sentence, it really distracts from the overall story.

    And I am so excited, the bookstore I work at finally got an ARC for Chains, I’ve been hoping and waiting and it finally showed up at the top of the stack yesterday. I will read it asap, and come back with my thoughts (I’m sure I will love it!).

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