May 3, 2013
Hello world. I just finished editing a book. It was the second draft of book 3 and it was a pretty big rewrite - mostly because I had such a tough time writing the first draft. I really struggled with the exposition and how much to tell or not tell. I think that struggle showed, and my goal for draft 2 was to pull it way back and remember my own writing style.
Does that make sense? Let me rephrase: I felt lost writing the first draft, and on a reread it felt like someone else's book entirely. I needed to find my voice as a writer again - which for me meant losing a lot of that exposition and adding more descriptive scenes, and just letting the story tell itself rather than having the character tell it. Exposition is hard, turns out, and it's especially hard in book 3 when SO MUCH has happened. There was a part of me that thought - oh this is book 3, I should totally know what I'm doing by now, and I was having a hard time with the fact that I was having a hard time. But I need to learn how to not beat myself up. Every book is different, even in a series. Every book has its own unique struggles (both within and with the way the author struggles with it). It doesn't mean I haven't learned anything if I hit new struggles along the way.
Thank god for my editors - who helped me see what was happening in a way I couldn't. And also thank god for Jeramey Kraatz, who gave me a Book 3 Survival Kit that has been completely indispensable. I wanted to share it with you guys since it's so amazing.
The opening photo:
1. Jeramey is forever trying to get me to put a velociraptor in my books 2. He also came up with the brilliant idea that when you put the titles of all three books together they will create a complete sentence (with a few prepositions thrown in for fun). And I recently titled book 3....I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say he's pretty smart, that one.
Here are all the goodies I found underneath (mild profanity/booze ahead):
For when I get sleepy.
For when I get too excited and I need to chill out/write more.
For when I hit a scene that seems impossible to write.
For when I hit my word count.
For when I need a break.
For when I'm at that really dark place where I'm wondering if I'll ever finish and I'm starting to seriously question my life choices.
And, lastly, for when I am stuck. These include things like: Fight scene here. Someone touches someone's face. Stable boy shows up. Etc, etc.
Jeramey is brilliant. The box made me feel soooo much better and I don't think I would have gotten through the past few months without it. And, honestly, I feel really happy with the book I turned in this week. I feel like it's the right ending for Wes and Lydia - it stays true to them, but also to me. I still have a ways to go before it's finished, but I'm that much closer to the end of this trilogy (sad face!).
Right now I am typing this from my hotel room in Kansas City, where I'm at the 2013 Romantic Times Convention. (I literally finished my draft then hopped on a plane.) I've been meeting my author idols, chatting with friends from Twitter, and it has generally been a blast so far - and exactly what I needed after finishing the book. If you're in this area, come to the Giant Book Fair tomorrow - details here: http://www.rtconvention.com/ - where I'll be signing copies of SO CLOSE TO YOU and anything else you want me to. Post-its, skin, other people's books - the sky is the limit.
Apr 1, 2013
Last season I participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt for the first time and had such a ball that I'm doing it again for the Spring round! This is an event created by Colleen Houck as a way to give readers access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some truly awesome prizes.
Not only will you get exclusive content from authors (in my case, a scene from This Strange and Familiar Place), but you will also get a clue on each page. Add up the clues and you could qualify to win 25 signed books from all the authors participating in the hunt. But play fast: this contest, and all the exclusive bonus material, will only be online for 72 hours.
Keep in mind that there are two contests going on at the same time. I'm part of the RED TEAM.
But there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of 25 signed books. Make sure to stop by the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out more details and see links for all the participating authors.
Scavenger Hunt Puzzle
Directions: Somewhere in this post I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up.
Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the entry form to officially qualify for the grand prize.
Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 7, at noon Pacific Time.
(NOTE: Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.)
For this hunt, I have the pleasure of hosting Mindi Scott!
Mindi Scott is the author or FREEFALL (Pulse/2010) and LIVE THROUGH THIS (Pulse/2012). She lives near Seattle, Washington, with her drummer husband.
Here's Mindi's second novel, LIVE THROUGH THIS:
From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.
But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.
In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.
I'm dying to know what happens now. And I'm suffering from extreme cover-envy.
Now here's the part you've been waiting for... Mindi's exclusive content!
How awesome and creative is this? (And now I have exclusive content-envy too.)
Continue the Scavenger Hunt by clicking here for the next author. Also, have I mentioned that 11 is my lucky number? It feels like it might be important in some way...
But before you leave, I want to continue on with the spirit of giving by hosting a giveaway of my own! Enter below to win a signed copy of SO CLOSE TO YOU and a signed ARC of THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE - the sequel that won't be out through HarperTeen until July 2nd.
Good luck to all who enter, and thanks for being a part of the Spring 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt!
Mar 13, 2013
As promised, here's my first ARC giveaway for THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE!
I'm so so excited to share Lydia and Wes's next chapter with all of you - and super curious to hear your thoughts about what happens in this book. Thanks to everyone who followed me on Twitter/helped me reach 1,000 followers! Just because I love you all so much, I'm throwing in a Wes-inspired watch necklace as well as a signed ARC:
US only, and good luck to everyone who enters!
It's like Christmas up in here! Jeramey and I NEVER get to hang out face-to-face, but almost immediately after I went to visit him in Texas, he decided to visit NYC. Here's a video we made for you guys, all about our experiences living in the big city. There's a little James Franco name-dropping, and we announce the winner of our giveaway (thanks to all who entered!):
Mar 5, 2013
As promised, here's a glimpse of my recent trip to Texas.
I showed up on Valentine's Day:
Then, as a reaction to the post-deadline stress, promptly ate everything I could find:
Why yes, those are smores brought right to your table with homemade marshmallows and dark chocolate and cripsy graham crackers. ZOMG so good. Not pictured: buckets of queso, table-side guacamole, and all the bbq I could eat in 6 days without actually exploding.
Then I met up with Jeramey and we went to the ZOO!!
Here is Jeramey pretending to be a flamingo:
And here I am waiting to get soaked:
Al in all Texas was pretty awesome. I got to see fake towns:
And real towns:
(Though I kind of liked the fake ones better. There is nothing I love more than a quality fake town. Disney World was MADE for me.)
I respect Texas because it is not trying to be anything other than what it is. Case in point:
SHOTGUN DOOR HANDLES.
Till next time, Texas.
Feb 24, 2013
AHH I'm alive!! Book 3 is finally done...at least the first draft of it. I realize I've been the world's worst blogger these past two months as I went through the final stretch of the deadline. But now I have time to devote to other types of writing again, and I have so much fun stuff coming up - writing posts and a ton of giveaways and a lot of spoilery hints about the next two books in the SO CLOSE TO YOU series.
Today I'm super happy to be doing a giveaway with one of my very best friends - Jeramey Kraatz, author of THE CLOAK SOCIETY. Jeramey and I have been friends for a few years now, and he is my ROCK when it comes to all book/publishing stuff. Which is why, right after I finished my draft, I hopped on a plane and went down to Texas to visit Jeramey, decompress with friends, and generally learn how to reenter society post-deadline. (I had not showered or slept in days...it wasn't pretty). Don't worry, I'm going to do a huge Texas post this week with all kinds of photos, but here's a taste of what it was like:
Yep. Elephants and queso...that pretty much sums it up.
Because Jeramey and I are awesome and we love you, we're doing a joint giveaway of both our books. Since I write Young Adult, and Jeramey writes Middle Grade, this is a great opportunity to expand your library and learn a little more about what we do (hint - it involves time travel and superheroes).
Both of the books are signed, plus we're also throwing in some Texas-themed goodies to keep in the spirit of the trip. And you guys, trust me, you want to own Jeramey's book. Look how much fun I'm having reading it:
Jeramey and I also interviewed each other to give you a little more info about us, our friendship, our books, and how much we both like Robyn. It's kind of epic.
Now, finally, here's the giveaway. You can enter below, or head over to Jeramey's blog to enter there and see more pics of the trip. Contest is US only. Good luck!
Jan 6, 2013
Hiya! Looking at the below date, I realize that it's been a little while since I blogged. But I have a good excuse - a GREAT excuse actually - I'm on book deadline, busy writing book 3, the final chapter in this time travel/government conspiracy saga. It's...going.... I don't want to talk about it.
Instead, I want to talk about this past year and what it's meant for me. 2012 was pretty monumental in a lot of ways, mostly because I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams - my book was published!! Just so I never forget how I've felt these past 12 months, here's a round-up of my favorite events/pictures from 2012.
I got a finished copy of So Close to You and held a photo shoot, in which I literally jumped for joy:
The book trailer for So Close to You came out and it is kick. ass.
My dad and I took a road-trip to Camp Hero and revisited all the places in the book:
I had a 1940's themed book party:
I saw the book in a bookstore! My book! That I wrote! ON A SHELF!
I learned how awesome it is to be part of the HarperTeen team:
I had some book signings. Both planned:
And not so planned...
And I even got to see the cover for the next book in the series, This Strange and Familiar Place:
Clearly this has been an epic year. And it wouldn't have been nearly as amazing if it weren't for my family and friends who proved over and over that they rock - whether it was my aunt making peanut butter cup cookies for my event, or my family & friends traveling hundreds of miles in order to make it to my book party. And also for all the readers who have reached out to me via twitter or email or facebook. It constantly blows my mind that people I've never met are reading and enjoying something I wrote. So thank you, thank you for your support and encouragement this year. I seriously feel so blessed to have had the 2012 I did. Here's to 2013 being just as great!