WFMAD Day 29 – Question Day Two

More questions today, with the added bonus of answers!!

::shoos chickens out of way::

Not sure if you can answer this, but how do the covers of books get chosen?

It’s kind of a mystery to me, too. Publishers have departments of people who are artists. They have other departments filled with sales and marketing people. Near as I can figure, when it’s time to design a cover, the members of the three departments gather in a secret location and hold a massive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine which dept. gets to take the lead on the design. The other two depts. have input, but too a limited degree.

I don’t know how much input other authors have on their covers. I seem to have none. I like most of the covers of my books and love a couple of them. Whenever I have tried to make suggestions about cover art, I’ve been gently reminded that I am an author, not an artist or a member of the sales and marketing departments. So my approach is to focus on what I can control – my writing – and leave the other stuff to the people who know more about it than I do.

1st person verses 3rd person ~ or do you feel it matters?

How do you know which character’s person if first person?

The point of view (POV) from which you tell your story is hugely important. But sometimes you might not be able to figure which POV to use. Or, in the case of 1st person POV, which character is your POV character.

This might help: Do a quick and dirty draft in the third-person POV – from the first page to the last. By the end of the draft you’ll know who the most important person is in the story. Experiment with writing a few chapters from that person’s POV. If it feels natural, then run with it – turn your first revision draft into an exercise of shifting the narrative from 3rd to 1st POV.

I wrote the first eight drafts of FEVER 1793 in 3rd person. Then I shifted to 1st person, did another five revisions and finally wound up with a book that someone wanted to publish.

Yes, it seems like a lot of work. But sometimes it’s what you have to do.

How do I weed out the “fluff”, to see the forest for the trees, so to speak, no matter how awesome the fluff may be?

How do you know when a story is worth the time of others for a critique?

How do you maintain confidence when success rate is like 0.1%????

These questions are all connected. And I will answer them all… on Tuesday.

Ready…. “Ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free. The hard part is what you do with ideas you’ve gathered.” Jane Yolen

Set…. three days left in WFMAD – you can do this!!

Today’s prompt:

1. Write out the steps you need to take in order to finish your current work in progress. Be as detailed and precise as possible.

2. Give yourself deadlines.

3. Now double the deadlines and write the dates down on a calender. Do you have a writing buddy you can share this with? Someone who will hold you accountable to your deadlines?

4. Write out your vision of the most perfect things that could happen to your story and to you after you submit it for publication. Be detailed and precise about this, too. And have fun with it!


Wintergirls coming to the UK!!

Lots of people ask me how much influence authors have on their covers. The truth is (at least for me) not a lot. I have raised a few objections now and then and have always been patted gently on the head and told to leave these things to the experts and while I’m at it, go home and write another book.

I have arrived at a place of zen surrender with The Cover Issue (tho’ I still voice my objections, to the amusement of the Powers That Be). Now when the publisher sends me a cover image, I can look at it with a little more detachment than I used to.

Unless I adore it. Then I get very, very excited.

Like I am right now.

WINTERGIRLS will be published in the United Kingdom by Marion Lloyd Books of Scholastic UK in January 2011. Here is the cover.

What do you think?

Can You Stand Even More Excitement?!

::cues drummers::

Are you ready for my BIG NEWS?

This is officially a Big Freaking Deal. As in, I hyperventilated when I heard. The Carnegie is the equivalent of the Newbery Award in the UK. Take a look at the other authors on the list. Neil Gaiman! Terry Pratchett! Julie Hearn!! I am agog to be in their company.

I am agogging still in New York City. Yesterday was Penguin Day, which included meetings and lunch with my Viking editor, Joy,

who wins the Most Organized Editor in New York Award, hands-down.

I also spent a big part of the day with my daughter, Stef,

who will be running in the half-marathon with me tomorrow.

We got shirts!

And now I will scurry about and try to get more work done before the giant pre-race pasta fest with Deb Sloan and her running crew.

P.S. Yes, that is the British paperback cover of CHAINS, above.

P.P.S. Congratulations to one of my favorite bookstores, Wild Rumpus Books, for being named the best children’s bookstore in Minneapolis!

Simon & Schuster Day!

I am staying with my friend Deb Heiligman and her husband whilst in NYC. Deb beat me to the blogging punch yesterday about how fashionable we were as we power-walked down to 52nd Street. Turnabout is fair play so this is what Deb looked liked before our walk yesterday.

My day at Simon & Schuster started with anab-fab reception where I got to meet many of the good people who work there and sign a couple of books.

After that I did a short taping for Studio 4 to create more video content for the S&S website (here’s is some of the content created in 2008.)

That lady in the backsground is my FORGE editor, Caitlyn Dlouhy. Here she is in her office….

… which is filled with so many books all I wanted to do was to sit and read. But that was not on the agenda. The day was filled with meetings and meals and sometimes meetings at meals. Most of the conversations revolved around the publication of FORGE (October 19! Mark your calenders!) and the booktour that they are putting together for it. I don’t have any details yet about where and when I’ll be speaking, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you know.

Oh – and Caitlyn and I also talked about some upcoming picturebooks. Again – details later.

And I was able to see the FORGE cover, but it is not fully final yet so I probably shouldn’t show that. But I wish I could because it is GORGEOUS. Lizzy Bromley, the designer of CHAINS, is in charge of FORGE, too, and that is a VERY good thing because Lizzy is a genius, and a hard-working one at that.

Instead of showing you the FORGE cover, I can show you this group of nice S&Sers at one of the meetings.

The day ended with a magnificent meal at a cool restaurant off an alley on the Lower East Side, and before I knew it I was in a cab heading uptown and somehow, this dizzying day was over.

And now I am off to do it again at Penguin.

Big Apple

So I’m in NYC now for a mixture of business and fun. Today I’ll be at the offices of Simon & Schuster, tomorrow I’ll be at Penguin, Saturday is a research/family day and Sunday I’ll be running a half-marathon in Central Park.

Monday I limp home.

I have a camera with me. What do you want me to take pictures of? (Leave me a note in Comments or on FB or Twitter.)

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post for the next couple of days. In case you miss me, check out these video interviews with me at AdLit.

Or you can read this article about Kristen Stewart.

Off to change into my city suit of armor….