Friday Five

 

Holy cow a Friday Five on *gasp* Friday! Whoddathunkit?

 

1. On the writing front, still waiting on agent revision notes for the proposal. Hoping to get those soon, so I can work on revisions this week because…

2. I’m on Spring Break! Wooohooooo Spring Break ’09, Girls Gone Wild, Woooohooo. Oh wait. This is law school spring break–which yes, does not deserve capitalization. Law school spring break entails lots of sitting in my apartment trying to catch up on my outlines before said revision notes come. And, oh yeah, a couple interviews. Still, a nice and needed break! 

3. Check out Shelli’s Comment Your Butt Off contest on her blog Market My Words. Shelli is giving away the fab prize of a professionally designed website worth $1,000! How nice is that? All you have to do is, well, comment your butt off. And there is also extra credit. 

4. Try as I might, I am still the worst Twitter-er on Planet Earth. I want to figure it out. I do! But I don’t get what to do? Do I just start talking to people? I was very pleased when I learned the whole “@” feature. But then I realized I didn’t know what to say. Oh dear. 

5. Cool blogs I’ve discovered this week: Rachel Vincent,  Diana Peterfreund,  and Adrienne Kress.

 

**An aside: Younger readers of this blog. I heart you. I do. Please keep reading books. Keep reading this blog and keep commenting on the reviews of books you love. But let me make one thing clear. And I must admit this has been a bit startling to me because I thought I’d made this abundantly clear due to the URL of Fumbling with Fiction (chandlermariecraig.wordpress.com), etc. But, anyway, here it is: I did not write the House of Night books. Like y’all I love them. But I can’t take credit for them. P.C. and Kristin Cast, a  wonderful mother-daughter team, wrote those books. This is not their blog, however a quick google seach for P.C. Cast will lead you to more information about the upcoming books in the series. I do appreciate the emails, though, and the comments. So, if you’d like to discuss the books, feel free to email me directly and I will happily respond. [chandler1986 at gmail dot com]

FAQ from Real Life

 

I get some funny questions from friends who are not familiar with the writing/publishing world. I certainly don’t blame them. I think it’s really difficult to understand anyone else’s industry unless you are a part of it. That’s why I’m always thankful that Nate and I were on the same sports team in college. Otherwise, I feel like I’d never have a clue what he was talking about. Same goes for writing. Although I think writers are probably a bit more sensitive toward “silly” questions.

I think there are several reasons for writers particular sensitivity. There is certainly a perceived feeling from the general public that writing is this weird, unrealistic dream that people just talk about. People tend to view it in the same light as someone saying “I’m moving to LA to become an actress AND a singer” without ever having taken an acting class or a singing lesson in her life. There are times when so-and-so finds out that you write, and so-and-so responds “oh yeah, my dad [insert relation here] wrote a book once.” And you have to smile and nod and say that’s great.

I don’t think that outsiders realize that there is an actual industry going on in the book world. There are certain ways to do things and steps to success that involve much more than daydreaming about the Great American Novel that I’m going to write.

So, I think that is one of the reasons writers feel a bit wary when outside-folks ask uninformed questions. But, really, that’s not a good response. I mean, I have no clue what my friends day-to-day lives are like in big-time consulting firms. Heck, I can’t even understand what my dad does!

But, we can still commiserate, right? About the funny questions? The ones where you inwardly shake your head and are just like “Bless their little hearts!” (Which is Southern for, “what a simple-minded question”–kidding! kidding!)

Well, here are a few of my favorite. (And for anyone that lives with a writer in their midst, I hope these help enlighten.)

 

1. So, if your agent is looking for a publisher, huh? And that publisher is in Texas? Like in Austin?

My in-my-head response: Wait, what? No, no Texas publisher. Do you know of a Texas publisher? I think you are very confused about what is going on, my friend. My agent is subbing to Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin…the works, yanno, like real life, you’ve-heard-of-them-before publishers.  This isn’t some weird mini version of dress up or a tea party with plastic crumpets. My agent is in NYC as are most (but definitely not all) publishing houses.

 

2. So, your agent is just like a middleman, huh? That’s annoying. Everywhere has a middleman these days. I bet when you graduate law school you’ll be happy because you can be your own agent.

My in-my-head response: Wait, what? No! I never, ever, never, ever would want to be my own agent! Even if I were an agent I wouldn’t be my own agent! An agent does more than draw up a contract. They manage your career. They know where your project should go. They know what terms are boilerplate and what to fight for. Your agent may be your one constant throughout your career. And can keep up the good relations between you, your editor, and your house. My agent reps awesome people like Ingrid Law and worked with Christopher Paolini. I should only be so lucky to have him!

 

3. You act excited that you got an agent, but don’t you just hire one? And, oh yeah, how much do you pay your agent?

My in-my-head response: Nothing! I pay my agent nothing! That is the awesomeness that is an agent. Someone believed in my project enough to dedicate free labor to it because he believes he can sell it. He gets paid if I get paid. That’s it. I’m excited because I was plucked from the horridness that slush and deposited onto the client list of a super awesome agent. I went through lots and lots and lots to get there. You don’t just hire an agent. Even though he *technically* works for me. The agents choose who to take on and it is a selective process. One to which pages and pages of writerly angst have been dedicated. Signing with a reputable agent is a major milestone in most writers lives.

4. So can I go buy your book? [says person that knows I just signed with Agent Man fairly recently]

My in-my-head response: Even if he sold my book the day I signed, the answer would still be no. Not in the next month. Not in the next year. At this point, we’re looking at 2010 at the earliest! Some editors have already started buying for 2011 lists. There is editing and more editing. Talented folks have to come up with cover art. There is marketing to plan. There is copyediting. And ARCs to give out. And blurbs to get. So much to do! Goodness, I’d have a heart attack if it happened as fast as people think it does.

 

5. My dad wrote a book. It’s on Amazon. Will yours be on, like, shelves? Or how much do you pay to get it published?

My in-my-head response: Again, nothing. In fact, a book deal (garnered by a reputable agent) makes you money. Otherwise agents would not be very pumped about this biz. And yes, all the places that my work is being subbed to have bookstore distribution. It would be on shelves and in real life. Very cool.

 

6. I edit a lot of work. I was my school’s newspaper editor. I could be your editor!

My in-my-head response: That’s really sweet. But, editors are actually the people at the publishing houses that acquire the books. They do the professional editing. Before that, my fabulous critique partner edits. Nate does some editing. And my agent helps in the editing process as well.

 

7. Cool, can you hook me up with your agent?

My in-my-head response: Oh dear. Awkward, awkward, awkward. When I have a book sale under my belt, I’m sure I’ll feel a bit more comfortable doing this for people whose projects I believe in. I’d have to be really really familiar with someone’s work and would probably want to be the one to bring it up. Although who knows? I’m just not at that point yet. The only person’s work that I know well enough is my critique partner and she already has a fabulous agent of her own.

Saturday Six

 

How did this happen!? I got stuck writing another Saturday Six. I think I may actually have to switch over to the Tuesday Twos. Tempting…Tempting…

 

1. I finished my proposal and sent it off to Agent Man. Tried to make it as shiny and pretty as possible and I hope he likes it. I like it, so what they heck, right? I’m sure I’ll have some revisions to go through this week, but I’m hoping that this might go out sometime in the next couple weeks. We shall see.

2. Carrie Ryan’s book, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, comes out this week (March 10). Who isn’t excited for this!?

3. Megan Crewe, author of GIVE UP THE GHOST, has a couple indispensable posts about building a middle. I highly recommend. Start with this one and then move on to this one.

4. Agent Rachelle Gardner wrote an excellent post on the time commitment you can expect after signing a contract. I’m pretty sure the post was supposed to scare me, but really it just made me more excited and left me playing the “what if” game even more. Sending in alternate titles, images that represent your book, and filling out marketing questionnaires? As far as I’m concerned, those are 3 synonyms for “fun.”

5. I’m feeling a little sad, to be honest, because I don’t get to do any writing this weekend. In fact, I probably won’t dive back in to the WIP until I get notes back from my agent. I feel at loose ends and a bit homesick (booksick?). But, there is this thing called law school that is calling my name. Darn.

6. My to-be-read list is growing exponentially. Probably because I’m not getting a ton of pleasure reading done. I desperately want to read Stacey Jay’s You are so Undead to Me, Sarah MacLean’s The Season, Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games, John Green’s Paper Towns, Rachel Vincent’s Stray, and the list goes on and on and on. I think each day I make it without sitting down and devouring a book in one day is a small miracle.

The Missing Link

 

I had an uber productive weekend both writing and school-wise, so of course, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Complacent, some might even say. I finished the 75-page proposal and wrote the next major plot point as Agent Man asked.  I ran through those last few chapters and polished them up so that I could send them over to Jen.

I even got ahead in my homework. *Gasp.*

Ok, so again, I’m feeling pretty confident. I decide that I’ll do a run through of the whole book. I’m reading, I’m reading and then, all the sudden I realize–ohmygoodness it’s missing a chapter. No, not like I deleted a chapter. That would warrant a lot more than an “ohmygoodness.” Believe me. But, all the same, I’m missing a chapter.

It’s like my book has arrhythmia and missed a beat or something. So, I know where the beat skipped. I know something is missing. But, I don’t know what goes there! Now, I’m trying to think of a whole ‘nother plot point that I didn’t even know existed.

Doesn’t my book know I have a master plan? No? Darn.

Alright, back to the drawing board.

And, for your viewing pleasure, this is me (and friends) at Casino Night aka Law School prom:

 

casinonight1

 

casinonight2

Friday Five: The Quickie Version

 

1. I’m headed out the door because Nate and I are celebrating my birthday tonight just the two of us. Surprise reservations somewhere and I’m very excited! And yes, I’m actually counting that as one of the Friday Five because I can and I’m in a hurry.

2. Most writing is on hold this weekend because I have a memo draft due Monday for my real life job as a law student and my mom is coming to celebrate my bday tomorrow evening. We’re going to a really great Austin sushi restaurant called Uchi. Yum.

3. Um, can you tell it’s my birthday week? My family celebrates more of a birthday month. But the official, full-out birthday celebrations start this weekend. Then my actualy birthday is Tuesday, and I think I’m finishing off birthday celebrating some time next weekend. Not exactly sure of all the details since–thankfully, my friends and family seem to have done most the planning. I heart them.

4. Have y’all seen the History Channel’s Gangland? I’m obsessed. Not good! I’m scolding myself for watching a couple segments on Youtube today. Oops!

5. Finished writing Chapter Seven last night after all and made a quick start on Chapter Eight. I did a little beta-ing. And I’m expecting a crit back tonight or tomorrow-ish. But, lovely Beta Reader, I’m not in a hurry if you’re reading this!

 

Have a great night and to all, Happy Chandler’s Birthday Week!

*Edit: Wait, wait, wait! I have a #6! I do! Go see Jen Hayley’s interview by Nicole Peeler on The League of Reluctant Adults. Ok, thanks.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

 

Ok, so lately I’ve been feeling like if I were going to post, then I needed to do a big, long thoughtful post about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or something equally deserving. But yanno what? That’s just not how my life is working right now. I’m working full throttle on writing and full throttle on law school and now I can’t even remember why I’m not just posting about what I’m doing in my writing life RIGHT NOW. Because I’m happy to say–I’ve got a lot going on in that end.

So, starting now, I’m going to ditch the pretenses and just say that I’ll be posting *hopefully* daily about what it’s like getting a proposal ready and doing agent revisions as well as anything else I think of during this crazy journey through the submission process. Cool? Cool.

So, today I actually wanted to share one of my favorite things. (Rather than a few as the post is deceptively titled):

I feel like I’m a bit of anomoly because I usually write with the TV on. (Does anyone else do this?) I hear this is really bad. Mainly from Stephen King who said it was, well, really bad. But I do it anyway because I think it takes some of the pressure off. If I get stuck, then I’m not freaking out staring at a blinking cursor. I just watch TV for a second. It’s also not just me, myself, and I listening to crickets chirping in my inbox.

Anyway, one of my favorite moments is when I’m looking forward to a certain show coming up–usually Friends or That 70s Show–and I get so wrapped up in the scene I’m writing that I have to turn the volume all the way down even though I know that I’m going to miss the show I’ve been waiting for. That happened today and it’s been happening quite a bit on my WIP which I feel shows that my whole re-capturing the joy of writing kick is really working!

What do you love most when writing?

 

Status: Chelsea Lately. Devotion. Bed. Still have Con Law II to read in the morning. Heard from my agent today. Share more tomorrow. Added about 1,000 words to a chapter I thought was perfect.

Sent

 

It feels so good to see the words “Sent” flash across my screen. I just “sent” an email to my agent, Dan, with the revisions he asked for *yay!* AND and an additional three chapters that I’m really pleased with–at least until I’m not anymore. Post-completion glow possibly. It’s always nice to get something off your plate, to cross it off your list. Especially knowing you did your best. At this point it’s out of my hands. I’m sure it will be back in my hands when Dan has revision notes for the next three chapters. But! Focus on the positive: That’s the first 50 pages written, beta-ed, and edited.

We’re shooting for between 50 and 75 pages to send out as a proposal, so I’m getting there. 7,500 pages left to get to 75 pages. Not too bad at all.

And guess what else? I’m actually ahead on my law school work. *gasp* I know, right? Ok, fine. My contracts class was cancelled today so that helped, but still. I could have slacked off and I didn’t!

 

Status: Reading devotion. Going to bed.