Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bummer in the Summer

So... I got some "problematic" feedback on a manuscript this week. I say problematic because my agent wants a more satisfying ending, and I don't feel like I can come up with one that is satisfying to everyone. Bummer in the summer.

I kind of dug myself into a hole with the story's conflict. I have two MC's and they both want the same thing. They can't BOTH have it.

So, what can an author do?

I can change the problem, of course,... but that is really the essence of the whole story.

I can brainstorm other solutions, but my gut tells that no matter how creative I get, some readers will always feel like one character got short shrift. Oy!

Have you ever given your characters a problem that they couldn't satisfactorily solve?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday- I Mean Monday

Okay, I have come to two big realizations, so BIG that I can't wait till tomorrow to post.

1) I hate my Kindle.

I am sorry to admit this... I WANT to love my Kindle, but I think I just don't enjoy books as much when I read them electronically. At first, I thought I was just picking "bad" books. But now, I have gotten stuck midway through THREE different MG/YA novels, all of which are getting great reviews around the blogosphere. So, it must be the format, right?

2) I am a friggin' nightmare to work with!

I collaborate on nearly all my PB manuscripts and I can often be heard b*tching about how difficult my partner is acting. She is obstinate. She is unyielding.

But now I am working on a project with my husband, and I'm being a complete a-hole. A perfectionist. A control freak. I ask for help and then I ding all his suggestions. Poor David. It's not you, honey, it's me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Biggest List

Biggest Dream- Three Ninja Pigs makes the NY Times bestseller list

Biggest Regret- That I didn't write Go The F*ck to Sleep

Biggest Hurdle- Cannot multi-task

Biggest Accomplishment- started working out four times a week (which means... no writing, blogging, cleaning, etc. See Biggest Hurdle)

Biggest Mistake- promised my daughter a puppy for her eighth birthday

Biggest Sacrifice- gave up one Starbucks coffee frap per day

Biggest Weakness- still drink two Starbucks coffee fraps per day

Biggest Goal- To make it into a Lisa-Laura, Elana, & Friends Vlog.

Do you have any "biggies" this summer?

Friday, July 15, 2011

From the Trenches

The most humiliating thing happened. I was chatting with Steve Meltzer (very senior editor at Dial) at the NJ SCBWI conference and he asked me what picture books I was shopping.

Uh... I have one about a girl and her doll and they pretend all the time. It's about imagination really and her brother keeps trying to steal her doll, but she keeps rescuing her, and .... well, really it's about sibling rivalry, but.. there is a lot of imaginary play, and... in the end, the doll goes missing, and the brother rescues her. Um, well.. it's a lot better than it sounds!

Could anything be more embarrassing.

Lessons to learn from this?

(1) Always have a pitch ready.
I was not attending any pitch sessions, so I did not prepare anything. Plus, I have an agent, so I am not really attending conferences to pitch my work. I am there to just make connections and build relationships. But I should have had one ready just in case!

(2) Make sure your story has a strong hook. Even though this particular story has some universal themes and may appeal to a lot of people, I realized (in the midst of my stammering and stuttering, stumbling and bumbling) "This story is never going to sell!"

If I can't pitch it to an editor, how will an editor pitch it to a sales and marketing team?

Compare it to .. oh, say THREE NINJA PIGS: The three pigs get fed up with the big bad wolf and go to ninja school!

Sounds so much more appealing!

Do you have a good one line pitch for your story?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being Invisible

I was skimming Aaron Shephard's "The Business of  Writing for Children" last night and one thing really resonated with me.

Aaron was attending a storytelling festival many years ago and  he says:
All, at once, in the middle of the story, I "woke up" with a shock  For a few seconds, I had completely forgotten I was sitting in a hot tent with a thousand other people. The storyteller had drawn me into the story so completely that I was aware of nothing, but the story's unfolding within my own mind.

That moment told me that the height of storytelling-- oral or written-- is when the teller becomes invisible. 

As writers, I think we often find it hard to turn off our internal editors when we read..  I try to just 'enjoy" a book but often find myself thinking, "Boy, she is using too many adverbs" or "Gee, a little too much of an info dump here." 

I remember noticing that I was NOT doing this during The Hunger Games.   Suzanne Collins was such an amazing storyteller that I never once thought about her sentence structure!

What was the last book you read where the author was invisible?