Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Towel Day!

Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

Happy Towel Day, Froods! 

In honor of Douglas Adams, one of my favorite authors of ALL TIME.

He wasn't afraid to let his geek flag fly and let his writing go where it wanted to go, and he inspired the heck out of me, among thousands (millions?) of others.

And for my own spin on it, mixing genres a tiny bit:

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Best Part

I had an interesting discussion on Twitter yesterday (yes, it's possible, doubters!) about which part of book-writing is the best. I was extolling the happiness of first-drafting, and was surprised that every single one of the authors I was talking to strongly preferred revising to the blank page.

Which made me think...WHY? (why do different people like different bits, and why am I loving the first draft?)

If there's one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that not only are no two writers two BOOKS are alike. The process always twists to the needs of the book. For example, the last book was the first time I'd ever written with a playlist, and used the music as part of my creative process. So I know better than to generalize, even for myself.

But for the last book I wrote and the one I'm writing now, I definitely, definitively love the first draft part of writing. Perhaps unreasonably. For these books, it's like I truly am telling the story to myself, so every day a little piece of the puzzle is revealed. Plot points shift, I'm aware of pacing and larger themes, and I have a whole notebook of where-this-needs-to-go and don't-forget-this and these-are-the-threads-you're-balancing-now (currently, 11 threads! Ha!). But day to day, it's all about the story for me. As my friend Linda Grimes has said, it's like an interactive movie.

Also, in the first draft everything still seems POSSIBLE. Not only for the character, but for the book. It can still be genius, with amazing twists and turns. I'm still at the start of the process, so this is all still just me and the page--I know I will have many chances to go over it and get it right, so now I can play and explore and have fun.

I enjoy doing revision too (I am an editor, after all, in my daily life), and later passes where I can strengthen and layer and add better twists and plot developments and setting, and make everything work. But somehow with every draft it seems like my opportunities narrow, a little. I'm working with already existing words and story, and flexing it (or taking it apart and rearranging it) to make it the best I can, but it's not all blank possibility.

But I'm sure I'm forgetting things here, just looking at my own experience with these last two books particularly. I'd really like to hear from you. What is the best part of the process for you? Why?

Please answer in the comments! If we get enough discussion maybe I can do a follow up from the reviser's perspective.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Winner of Boy 21

And the winner of a copy of BOY 21 is...

Shiela Calderon Blankemeier!!

Congratulations, Shiela! Email me (susan dot adrian at yahoo dot com) with your address!

And Happy Friday, everybody! I am particularly happy today because New Book (T2 is its code name) is going well...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Recently--okay, when I was talking with agents--I made a list, in case anyone asked me, of my most recent LOVED books. It seems like there have been many of them lately, an Abundance of Awesome, and it was tough to pick and choose. But when I studied my carefully whittled-down list, I noticed a certain trend. See if you can spot it.

Susan's Recent LOVE books:

BLACK HEART (Holly Black)
NAME OF THE STAR (Maureen Johnson)
BOY 21 (Matthew Quick)

Do you see it?

With the exception of NAME OF THE STAR, all of those books have a boy MC. But these are the books that stood out for me, that I thought about into the night, that thrilled or touched me.

Boys. Teen boys. While I have been a teen girl, I was never a teen boy.

However, interestingly (and perhaps not coincidentally, *cough*), HAPPY SAUCE* has a boy MC too. So I have been in a boy's head for much of the past year, and I am now. And though I'm sure I'll write girls again (I do still love to read girl MCs too), I'm enjoying it very much.

What is it that I like about the boy POV as opposed to a girl's? What is it that's different? I'm still thinking this through. But a few things I'm positing as possibilities:

Most of the boy MCs get right to the point, in words and actions. I also do this, so I appreciate it.

I have never been a fan of long bits of description, setting, clothes, etc. Boys--at least my boy, I guess I shouldn't extrapolate--don't seem to do as much of this.

--Conversational style
I LOVE having dialogue where my boy says very little, but his thoughts are churning underneath in a million different directions. Just because he doesn't say much (and he doesn't) doesn't mean he's not deeply considering the issue. And then when he does say a lot it means more.

--Boy humor
I like boy humor. I always have. Except the fart jokes. Y'all can keep those. Also, side note, my boy is a gamer and a bit of a nerd, which is fun. I like having him play HALO and COD with his friends.

For me, it's fascinating to explore the differences. To think about shaving and attraction to girls and male parts that don't behave (yes, I really just want to type boner there). To not have to think about shaving your legs or doing your hair or what shoes to wear. To have physical tasks come a bit more easily. To explore how his relationship with his sister is different, less competitive, than it would be if he were a girl.

It seems to me there are a bunch of good boy MC books coming out lately, and they're not necessarily just for the male teen audience. They're great books.

What about you? If you're a girl, or a woman, do you read male MCs? Do you like them?

If you're male, do you read/enjoy female MCs?

Also, on this theme, I happen to have a lovely ARC of BOY 21 by Matthew Quick sitting here next to me. See?

I think I should give it away. To get someone else reading about boys--but more particularly, to get this WONDERFUL book out there into the world more.

Do you want to win it? All you have to do is comment below. Simple. Direct. :)
(forgot to say when it closes--contest will be closed Friday morning, 8 am!) 


*I hope it's clear that HAPPY SAUCE is not its real name. It just made me so happy to write it that I called it that.