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Friday, July 6, 2012

Editor Hunt

I was so busy organizing the Anniversary Blast and working on my website creating new pages for events calendar, presentations and school visit  pages that I didn't get to blog here. I have no idea how many days left until it all kicks off. 

Oh, the countdown gadget says 9 days left. Did you get your own countdown gadget? Talk about fun. I should make one for all my deadlines!

Naiche at the BookGirlReads had a blog post up about the Anniversary Blast before the ink on my email was dry. I was so touched by her kind words. She made me want to stay up all night, every night writing an amazing new book that will sell immediately so my loyal readers can have a new book from me this year. Or, blog another book. I loved blogging here with all of you chiming in every day. 

But, I do have two amazing new YA novels that you will love already written. My agent will find the perfect editor for one or the other or both soon. It's worth the wait. I promise. You will adore them. 

I'm hearing from more and more of our old friends who want to be part of the party. Thanks so much. It's not too late to arrange an interview or blog post for your readers. Let me know if you didn't get my promo email about the celebration, and I'll send it to you.

Here on the blog, I'll be running special features all week:

July 16th  - Contest Kick-off. Kindle promotion starts (free Unbroken Connection and Cayman Summer, and Storm's new Kindle ebook for only $ 0.99)!

July 17 - Q&A with Michael! Drop by and ask your questions. He'll answer them all. (Taking questions now! Leave them in the comments section, and I'll make sure he gets them.) 

July 18 - Cut Scenes Revealed. 

July 19 - Q&A with Leesie! (Taking questions now!) 

July 20 - Happy Birthday, Michael! Drop in for ice cream and cake and receive a .jpg of Michael's first words. Contest and Kindle Promotion end at midnight.

Phew! Add in all the stops I'll be making on YA blogs and a big 50 blog blitz through Reading Addiction Blog Tours on Wednesday, and it's going to be a week to remember. 

Speaking of remembering. Here's the post I wrote about my editor hunt. It's just missing one picture:


I give you, my rejection letters. 

Three and a half years worth. This doesn't include the emailed ones. Or the one I received in the mail the day of Taken by Storm's release. Editors don't even send emailed rejections any more. If you don't hear back in a specified amount of time, usually six months, it's a no--which makes an agent even more vital today. Unless you're crazy and write books on blogs! Or you go the indy route--which isn't as easy as it sounds. 

Enough dithering. Here's the post I promised you yesterday. I make no promises for tomorrow!
 
Editor Hunt
from "Storm's Story," Friday, May 23, 2008, from my archived website

Lexa and I just negotiated the final line edit changes and TAKEN BY STORM has gone off to the copy editors. Ah, the joy of having my own brilliant editor, at last. [Oh, how I miss her!]

Editors are almost as elusive as that other mythical creature in the literary world, agents. My editor search was long, trying, and wearing. Our move to Switzerland just before I graduated from Vermont College, didn’t make it any easier. I sent out lots of queries, got back some requests. I got close several times only to be disappointed. I have a long list of editors who would love to see other projects from me, but passed on this one.

One editor asked me to rewrite my he said/she said dual first person novel, entirely in Michael’s point of view. A sliver of hope. Hooray. Of course, I did it. She didn’t quite like that and suggested another revision. She missed elements from the earlier version I sent her--especially the “dive log” journal entries I’d used for Michael’s voice. She suggested I try using a mix of the dive logs entries and third person. I was skeptical, but went ahead. Unagented, unpublished. What else could I do? 

Her response was, “the third person is a little stiff.” Well, duh. Especially when paired with the intimate dive logs I’d created for Michael’s story. She’d expressed interest in another project, so I played nice. (You have to always play nice, no matter how grumpy you feel.) [Me? Grumpy? Never?]

I tried to set TAKEN BY STORM aside and finish the requested project, but I couldn’t leave it broken like that. I went to a conference in Munich that featured Markus Zusak (THE BOOK THIEF). He spoke about gleaning the gems from our failures and trying again and again until it works--revising hundreds of times if need be. I took his advice to heart. [I adore him!]

I knew Michael’s dive logs were my gems. I also loved Leesie and Michael’s instant message chats. I decided to try to transform my manuscript into a collage novel, also known as documentary novel. I had Michael’s entries figured out. I pulled the instant message dialogue out of the text and wrote more and put them back in as “ChatSpot” transcripts. Leesie is a poet, so it was a natural step to turn her prose narration into poems. And “Leesie’s Most Private Chapbook,” was born. 

I had a collage draft done when I went to Paris SCBWI’s Sequester at the Abbaye Royaumont last (2007) November searching for revisionary inspiration. 

The Abbey where I met my editor, Lexa Hillyer then of Razorbill
I filled up on the writerly wisdom the gathered editors and lecturers had to share. I had a twenty minute conference with Lexa Hillyer of Razorbill, and she gave me some great, practical direction. Lexa is brilliant with romance structure. Her enthusiasm and excitement for my story energized me.

I went home and got to work. Again.

 

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