Writing questions & paperback date

It’s hard to believe that a year ago that I was getting ready for the TWISTED book tour, and was a nervous mess waiting for people to read the book. It’s kind of weird because this week – seemingly out of the blue – I have gotten many letters and emails from teen readers about the book. Posting snippets of the letters would probably push me from blatant self-promotion into self-absorbed obnoxiousness, so I won’t. But trust me, they’re really nice.

I found out yesterday from my editor Sharyn that TWISTED just won some lovely recognition, but I don’t think I can go public with it for another week. I’m just going to sit here and glow quietly.

TEACHERS, FYI! In the middle of May, TWISTED will be released in paperback, which makes it a perfect book for your summer reading list.

More writing questions: Do you always write chapter by chapter when you draft? Or do you ever end up with gaps in the initial draft that you have to go back and fill?

No, I don’t write chapter by chapter. I generally start at what I think is the beginning and aim for what I think is the end, but those are guidelines, not rules. I always wind up with holes. Going back and figuring out what belongs in the holes is fun. The trick is to play out one of the story threads naturally, not to cram in a scene just so have something in Chapter 7. If it doesn’t fit, throw it out.

How did you know it [the manuscript/book] was ready then? How did that work? …and a related one… how long do you wait to regain objectivity before revising the first time and do you have any tricks for increasing objectivity?

I feel like I’ve already answered this, but I can’t find the post, so I’ll do it again, because it’s a good question. Finding objectivity is one of the hardest things we do. I don’t think any writer can ever become fully objective about her work. Putting it away for a month and not looking at it helps. Then – before you read it – give it to three trusted readers; people who read a lot for fun and respect you enough to be honest. (DO NOT give it to relatives or lovers!) Ask them to read it and write down the three aspects of the story that are working the best, and the three that are the most confusing.

Next: take a copy of your story to a new location; NOT where you wrote it. Go to an independent bookstore, a coffee shop, a park, a nice hotel lobby. Read their comments first, then read the manuscript. If you can’t find anything you want to change, you’re done.

Other questions, Readers of the Forest?

After today’s work, I’ll be packing for tomorrow’s trip to Springfield, IL, where I’ll be speaking at the Illinois Reading Council’s Annual Conference. Are you going? This is where you can find me:

Thur. 3/13 8am: From Speak to Twisted

Thur. 3/13 11:45am: Luncheon speech

Thur. 3/13 3pm: Revision Secrets

Wednesday and Friday will be spent in airports and on planes.

2008 Resolution Tracker
Week 10 – Miles Run: 20, YTD: 218.25 (my right knee feels like it was more)
Week 10 – Days Written: 7, YTD: 70

7 Replies to “Writing questions & paperback date”

  1. You’re going to sit there a WEEK and not tell us about the recognition for TWISTED?? You have really become a Writer of Many Excellent Books to be able to sit on that. (I almost put “mature” in that, but then I came to my senses.)

    This is a very good post about revisions. Very helpful.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad that you’ve gotten some good and happy recognition. Hopefully you will share soon. 🙂 Also, I’m glad Twisted is coming out in paperback! I haven’t been able to read the book because I just can’t afford it right now. You know how it is after college when you’re trying to make it on your own. So I am definitely excited!!

  3. A few questions for you, since you’re so kind as to answer questions in general!

    First: have you ever written a character (or more than one) whom you’ve personally disliked, but who has been popular with your readers? I ask because no matter how hard I try, I’m not particularly fond of one of my own characters, yet I’ve received feedback that she’s likable (admittedly few people have read the novel, but I was surprised to hear it at all).

    Two: do you feel it’s dangerous to begin a story with a character who isn’t immediately likable? I’ve heard mixed feelings on this; some people will put the book down within a few paragraphs, others are more intrigued by this type of character. Have you found it makes a difference, or do you have a personal preference?

    I think that’s it for the moment–nothing else comes to mind.


  4. I’m the opposite! I love all my characters! Which is not to say that they don’t have flaws, because some DEFINITELY do. I’m probably the biggest fan of this one who’s seriously flawed!

    To go off of that question (and I’m sorry I’m asking so many), do you usually like all of your characters or are there some you love to hate?

    About the feedback thing…hmm, I’ll have to try it! I think it’s a good idea, actually. ^_^ That way, it helps you fix the really big things people have trouble with, but it also helps you realize the novel’s strengths. And that way, even though your novel will be in much better condition when you say, send it off, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Thank you for that! ^_^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.