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Here at The Randoms, we want to talk about what's on our wish lists for the holidays. Following is what I want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice...

1) Is the patience to revise. When I finished BLACK TUESDAY (Dutton, 2007), I thoroughly revised the book twice. In hindsight, this was not enough, but then again, I was a newbie and didn't realize that, especially as a former journalist who never had to revise (edit, yes, but rewrite? Not so much). For CASHING IN (Dutton, 2009), I thoroughly revised approximately four times. And in hindsight? The end product was better, but it could have benefited from another go-through to solidify themes, punch up romantic burgeonings, etc. This next book, I plan on revising better. To allow myself to sit and stew. To dream about the book even more. I'm not trying to go for Revision #5, just for Revision Even Better.

2) Is the imagination to create the world my characters deserve. I'm branching out into a different genre, and it has fantastical elements (but not of the pointy-teeth or dog-biscuit-breath variety). I'm having fun with world-building, but I need it to be more than a vanity project. This world needs to be worthy. It needs to have Mordor and Ewoks and Hogwarts. It needs landmarks that stick with a girl, y'know?

3) Is the self-perception to devise a much-loved character or 12. I love documentaries (and yes, Sweet Sixteen on MTV counts), and I love taking characteristics from these crippled people and putting them into my own characters. But the characteristics readers most relate to in my books are the ones that I've pulled from my own life--either experienced by me or by a friend when I was with her/him. So this reader love makes sense--3D characteristics is always better than 2D.

4) Is the stalwart heart to take my characters to the brink and not save them too fast. Or maybe at all (at least at the end of Book 1). I always want to get my characters out of sticky situations quickly. I hurt when they hurt, after all, and I feel like I've forgotten to turn off the oven Day 2 of a roadtrip if I have unresolved issues. But hurt is a good thing. Readers like hurt. I may just have to wear a rubber band about my wrist and plick myself every time I want to write a character out of a corner. Bad, Susan, bad. *Plick*

5) Is the confidence to know my voice is good enough. I read books that have done better than mine, and I want to have the same luck. I want to have their voice and be just as beloved. However, at the end of the day, voice is who you are, not who you wish you could be.



( 7 comments — Comment Here! )
Dec. 15th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on wish #2: I'm afraid of one specific YA revision project because the world is a fantastical world and I want to draw it as solidly as possible. I think the key to that is to just take my time with it, and make the world just as complex as the one we live in, complete with social distinctions, politics, customs, even sports... I'm still working on it :-)

And as for #4, being strong enough to let my beloved characters fall--and perhaps not get up!--is going to be a tough challenge in an upcoming project.
Dec. 15th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
I love the worldbuilding, but it's definitely a process in which you constantly have to keeping asking yourself the right questions--and to make them all matter to the reader and characters. For instance, we take for granted all of the things we do by rote--holiday traditions, traffic patterns, gardening techniques, even manners. It's all about keeping our mind elastic and thinking beyond just hairstyles and clothes selections!!

Here's to elasticizing our neurons, Miss Angie!

Dec. 15th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Have you read the Uglies, Pretties, etc series by Scott Westerfield? He did a great job world building.
Dec. 15th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
I have to pick up his latest still--Leviathan I think? But I did pick up the greatest book called SOULLESS by Gail Carriger. You girls have GOTTA read it. It's fantabulous stuff about werewolves, vampires, and steampunk parasols. :o)

Dec. 15th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I don't always save characters, it was tough losing one in Devoured but it had to happen otherwise it would've made the world too safe.

As far as revisions go, don't you trust your editor as far as they think it's ready? You can always reread your books and want to make changes, we all do, but if your editor thought your book needed more they'd have you keep at it, right? I've heard a lot of people getting their books bumped to another season because their editor thought it needed more.

Believe in yourself. A lot of the publishing "luck" is out of our hands.

I think you need to really take #5 to heart--not everyone gets published, but you've had two books out there that your publisher believed in and believed in your voice.
Dec. 16th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
I love this! Those are some great things to wish for. I about choked when I read you only thoroughly revised CASHING IN four times. I've overhauled my works so many times I've lost count. I think I shall ask Mr. Claus for the ability to get the story right in fewer revisions. =D

I know it's easy to say since I'm not you, but your voice is definitely good enough! =D If I had a box of confidence handy I'd pop it in the mail for you. Unfortunately, I'm fresh out.

You gals have inspired me to make my own wish list.

Happy Holidays to you!
Dec. 17th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
And I thought four times was tortuous! Like you, I hope to revise fewer because I want to get it right sooner! Then again, when you tinker with getting it right sooner, sometimes you never get out of the starting blocks.

Been there, SO done that. It's called two months later and I've revised the first 10,000 words 20 times and STILL don't know where to go from there.

I will take your cyber confidence wishes and apply them like poultices to my "am I good enough?" wounds.

Thank you, dearest dear, for the lovely words.

( 7 comments — Comment Here! )

Who are we?

We're four YA writers who love talking YA. And publishing in YA. And one day, seeing our YA as a small $200 million movie starring Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. Or at the very least, a Lifetime movie starring Leann Rimes.

And yes, there's only four of us--which means we're missing a fifth. Which means that every Tuesday we'll have a visitor. A special visitor. A visitor you're just going to have to stop by for.