I just read [livejournal.com profile] lisayee's utterly delighful Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time in preparation for giving it to a niece for Christmas, and now I have to go hunt down the first book, which I am certain I will love even more, because the heroine is an 11-year-old girl with poor social skills and an enormous vocabulary, Y HELO THAR ME. (Only I was not actually a genius on the Millicent Min level, just a bit of a geek, but I'll take it anyway.) Anyway, now I am dying for the third book, which is NOT OUT YET O WHY MUST I SUFFER SO???

I also have three more books to read before giving them away for Christmas: Gideon The Cutpurse, Here There Be Dragons, and The House of the Scorpion. Just to make sure they are Appropriate. And not because they look really good or anything. Ahem.

In other brain-blowing news, I have just started watching North and South, widely acclaimed as The Best Adaptation Ever Made By The BBC, and I can see why it's so highly praised. DH and I have only got through Part One, but I'm dying to watch the rest. But why does Thornton make me think of Snape? Is it the coloring? The nose? The glower? I know not. I could hear my monitor sizzling when Margaret handed him the teacup and he was totally checking her out, though. I love me some early Victorian UST.

I may be feeling a little bit silly today, yes.

Also, I finished First Draft in 30 Days and it all seems very complicated, but I'm sure it will be less overwhelming if I sit down and actually work my way through the exercises one by one instead of trying to hold them all in my brain simultaneously. I am determined to try, though. I'm going to give myself 90 days instead of 30 (since unlike some privileged people, a.k.a. the author of said book, we don't all get to write full-time) and see how it goes. The only question is which book to outline first -- Wayfarer or Touching Indigo. Perhaps I ought to try brainstorming both at once and see which one takes over... because that's pretty much the state I'm in right now. "Ooh! I just realized where Linden could go to look for more faeries!" followed very quickly by "Ooh! I just realized how Thea ended up with such a radical form of synaesthesia!" It's all very confusing AND I STILL HAVEN'T MADE SNICKERDOODLES YET.

I think I had better stop now.
So a couple of days ago I started giving Knife one last edit before printing it out and mailing it off, like a Responsible Author ought to do. I wrote myself a nice little checklist of Things To Watch Out For and Things To Be Done based on the comments I'd received from various beta readers, and certainly enough time had elapsed since I read the opening chapters that I ought to be able to look at them objectively (or so I told myself).

And indeed, all seemed to be going along swimmingly, with a bit of tweaking here and a name change there and some trimming of overused phrases and cliches, but nothing really devastating... until I hit Chapter Four. At which point I started tearing out my hair and wailing ZOMG I HATE MY PROSE SO MUCH AND MY CHARACTERS HAVE NO EMOTIONAL RESONANCE AND MY PACING SUCKS and spent about two hours trying without success to rewrite the entire beginning of the chapter, until I stopped and told myself that I was probably just being hormonal.

No doubt, said I to myself, this happens to every author after she has spent several months rewriting a novel; she's spent so much time looking at the nuts and bolts that the machine no longer works for her the way it would for a reader. Therefore, I ought to stop obsessively line-editing every sentence, just make the changes that I know have to be made, and get the book out the door before I am tempted to spend the rest of my life trying to get it absolutely perfectly right.

Either that, or the book really does need a lot more work, but I'm just being lazy and making excuses so I can get it out of the door.


*tears hair*


1. Yes, I am alive. I CANNOT WRITE COHERENT PROSE AND I WANT TO DIE, but I am alive.

2. I had a fabulous time at the SCBWI-MI Fall Conference last weekend. Nice drive, gorgeous grounds, enjoyable (and practical!) speakers, delicious food, helpful critiques, and I finally got to meet Cheryl Klein. We geeked out over HP and yammered at each other so long that the conference staff started to worry that I was holding poor Ms. Klein hostage while I regaled her with the entire plot of my novel, or something equally horrific. Fortunately another staffer who actually knew the score set the story straight before they felt obliged to march over and remove me bodily from the con suite.

Also, my 3-minute reading from Knife was a big hit at the Open Mic night. People kept asking me about it all weekend and saying they'd love to read more. Yay! (I read the pond scene, for those who know what I'm talking about.) I also got to talk to a lovely agent-type person who responded to my post-conference query within twelve hours and told me to send her the full ms. when I'm done the revisions. Which would be really nice EXCEPT I CANNOT REVISE FOR TOFFEE.

3. Oh, Heroes, I think I love you. I love your hokey dialogue and your breathy, earnest voiceovers and your improbably pretty cast (except for Greg Grunberg, who is neither pretty nor improbable, bless him). Oh, and your brain-eating** cliffhangers, too.

4. Also, I have seen the Lost premiere and FISH BISCUITS ARE LOVE. Even if the bears are smarter. (Sometimes it doesn't take much, admittedly.)


* For [livejournal.com profile] lizbee and [livejournal.com profile] cesario, a brief sample of our conversation:

CHERYL: So how's RUSS-L been doing?
ME: *mirthless, hysteria-tinged laughter*

** This may or may not be a pun.


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