Did you hear the trumpets blaring at 3:13pm yesterday afternoon? Of course, you did. But maybe you didn’t know what they were for.

I turned in the revision of my historical novel.


I started thinking about this novel in early 2004, just as I was finishing up PROM. I ran the concept past my editor at Simon & Schuster and he liked it, too. I was insanely busy with travel and life and TWISTED for a long time after that, but whenever I could, I would squeeze in research. Lots of research. I had made fits and starts on various scenes and chapters but the intense writing started in September of 2006.

An outlining note for the writers out there…. I seem to have a different process, depending on the book. My contemporary YA novels take many drafts (TWISTED took 11) because I start with a character and then that character wanders around in search of a plot. I never get around to outlining until I am deep, deep into the 4th or 5th draft and the structure of the story is a mess and the lines of plot are tangled in a giant hair ball that threatens to choke me. But I approach my historical novels differently. I develop 2 outlines; one of the main character’s inner journey, and the other, the historical events in which she finds herself. Hence, my historical novels tend to be written in fewer drafts. But it takes the same amount of time (actually, a little more) because of the necessary research.

I turned in the “good enough draft” (draft #4) to my editor in February. Like most editors, he had a bazillion balls in the air and could not get his comments to me before my Road Trip 2007 started, so I couldn’t really start hammering on it until June. But for the last 5 weeks, when I’ve been home, I’ve been working on the revision. I wound up tightening the first three-quarters of the book, though I didn’t toss any scenes. The last quarter I would up restructuring and adding a few scenes necessary to better motivate the ending.

It now goes off to my historical experts for vetting and few trusted friends for their comments, which means it will need at least one more polish before it is truly “done.” But the hard work is complete, I hope.

In the other great news column, a lesion that the doctor took off my face last week is not cancerous. (This is a big honking deal because I am a survivor of melanoma and am scared witless it will return.) Wear sunscreen everyone. And cover up! So I am a very happy camper today.

If you have been waiting for an email or letter or package from me in the last 2 months, please accept my apologies and know that I am tackling all of that stuff now.

For the last 10 days, I have actually been juggling 2 books in my head, because I swore an oath to begin my new YA on July 1st. And I did.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me starting the new book in the magic chair at River’s End Books in Oswego. Yes, I look terrified. I am always terrified when I start a new book. In fact, I am terrified most of the time. I am a big ‘fraidy-cat. But today, I am a pleased, purring, slightly less-neurotic than usual ‘fraidy-cat.

PS – The book I just turned is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2008.

40 Replies to “Ta-da!”

  1. I’m glad it wasn’t a foreign lesion. Congratulations on the good lab report. And the rest of the stuff. I loved the “hairball” metaphor.

  2. Congrats on the draft being finished and the good health news. And thanks for the writerly outline-talk! V. interesting to know how others work, esp. ones I respect so very much. 🙂

  3. How does the protagonist change in the book?
    Why does the protanist cahnge?
    Who is the Antagonist? And Why?
    Whats the theme of the book?
    Is it an Internal or a Exertnal conflict?
    Whats the climax of the book?
    Whats the resolution of the conflict?
    What are events that happen during falling action?

    Please send the answers back
    Thank you lots,
    one of your fans

    Luv the book

  4. Congratulations, Laurie! 🙂

    I’m also glad to know you don’t have melanoma.

    11 drafts, huh? Keep posting things like that okay? That way I can stop fretting about creating a perfect first draft.

    Your picture is adorable. You’re hot even when you’re terrified.

    I’m deep into rereading Speak again. What I love about it is that I can tell you poured your heart and soul into the book. It’s not an easy read. I love that.

    And Twisted–I read that a few weeks ago and I kept getting pissed that life was interrupting my reading time. It was very good.

  5. i’m glad that you finished the revision of your historical novel! good luck with the revisions and everything! i love that picture of you in the bookstore working. oh, and you don’t really look afraid, at least to me. i can’t wait to read the new book when it comes out! miss you! =) ♥

  6. Thank you for sharing your process!

    I’m starting to write my own novel (barely begun, only first two chapters of the first draft). I’m feeling really nervous but excited while writing the first draft, and there’s lots of fear attached to all that. But the more blogs and interviews I read with authors, it seems to be just part of the process. I went through similar challenges when I wrote my graphic novel, the two mediums can’t be THAT different… well, I’ll just keep telling myself that anyway. 😛

    Good to read you’re in good health too.

  7. Oh yeah, and I definitely can’t wait to read your new book! I’ve been really into historical fiction lately.

  8. Thanks for sharing your historical outline tip. I’m about six chapters into a first draft of my new MG historical novel, and I keep getting buried in the historical sequences and ignoring my poor MC. I’m going to try your double outline strategy to see if it helps. Thanks!

  9. congratulations on finishing revisions on the historical novel. i believe it was the one you talked about on your book tour? it sounded great. i like how you write two outlines for the historical novels, both the inner journey and the physical one. what a grand idea. best wishes for continued success on the brand new YA as well. =9

  10. A historical novel? That’s a switch for you. I can’t wait to hear more about it. I just reordered SPEAK for my class library since my copy walked off last semester. Can’t say as I blame her. 🙂 And I am looking forward to reading TWISTED soon!

  11. First, congrats on your revision and benign lesion.

    One question: When you revise, do you begin fresh and completely re-write the next draft or do you try to revise within the draft that already exists?

    Good luck with your new book!!

  12. What is the climax of the book speak?
    please reply i need to know,
    one of ur fans

  13. I’m very glad I’ll get to read another historical fiction book from you. I very much enjoyed Fever 1793. Can you tell us what this next book will be about? Like a basic ballpark of time? Anything?

    Also, I got my mother to read Speak and Twisted. She loved them, and now we check Lifetime every day to see if Speak will come on. We have yet to see the movie. 🙁

    Good luck with writing!

  14. It depends on if the early draft has anything useless. Ususally I cherrypick the best scenes or ideas and run from there.

  15. Yeah, I thought about it, but that would have been too much work and it is 92 degrees and 300% humidity here and we don’t have air conditioning.

    Guess I’m a slacker, too.


    As you know I teach and I have told you before that I share with my students how authors they like write. It really helps them feel less stressed. I say that to preface my BIG THANK YOU for the picture of you in the magic chair looking like so many of my students do at the beginning of a writing assignment. I am going to post that on my board at school to remind them that everyone feels the same. THANKS AGAIN!

  17. Just a fan’s comments

    First thing, it’s awesome to see an author like you to have a livejournal. Sorry, I had to say it.

    But if that’s how most people write their stories, then I’m on the right track! I’m scared I’ll kill my “plot” if I cut through it though.

    I didn’t know you had melanoma before. I’ll be sure to put on sunscreen now. I burn easily anyway.

    And you’re coming out with a new book! I read Twisted and got all of my friends to read it too. Now I have to go read Fever 1793. I haven’t had time.

  18. My, my! Haven’t the tables turned?

    Now you’re stuck with the heat, and I’m freezing my arse off. No snow though– this is still Australia. Frost! We have frosts that kill the crops.

    Glad to hear that the lesion is not skin cancer. Slip slop slap! (Did you get that slogan? It was heavily promoted here in the 90’s… Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat! Slip slop slap!)

  19. Glad the lesion wasn’t a problem. A few too many days at Green Lakes State Park with Sr. Guzman running security, huh? Nothing like a little blast from the past… 🙂

  20. Absolutely. Even though I haven’t laid out to get a tan in almost 30 years, the past is definately haunting me.

    I have now embraced my paleness. I am so white I glow in the dark.

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