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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Call Me Crazy, But I’m Doing NaNoWriMo

So for those who might think I’ve turned into Dr. Seuss and am going around making up imaginary words (btw, my eggs have never been green), let me explain the madness that is NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month (didn’t know that, did you?). And in honor of this obscure holiday, writers across the country set out to “celebrate” by writing a 50,000-word novel in ONE MONTH.



As you may have guessed, one of the requirements for celebrating this “holiday” is to have some sort of mental illness. Obviously, nobody in her right mind would try to write an entire novel in a 30-day period. Yet, every year, thousands of lunatic writers shut themselves into their houses, stop showering, eat only takeout, and attempt to type 50K as fast as their cramped little fingers will let them. What do you get at the end of this self-imposed sickness? Nothing.

Okay that’s not true. You get a first draft. And any writer will tell you that’s the hardest part. Sitting down and banging out a book without “writer’s block,” without excuses, without cleaning out your coat closet. Just you and the computer—writing. After you have the first draft you can edit until your heart’s content. Heck, I have a book I’ve been editing/revising/polishing for five years now. But it all has to start with a rough draft.

And that’s what NaNoWriMo gives you.



The goal is not perfection. Now THAT would be crazy. The goal is to just write, and to give yourself permission to write organically. Because, let’s face it, when you’re writing that quickly you can’t get caught up on the perfect sentence, or the tiniest plot point, or littlest metaphor.

To paraphrase a line from Dori in Finding Nemo the goal of NaNoWriMo is to, “Just keeping writing, just keep writing, just keep writing.”

So I’m gonna do it. This is my first ever attempt and I have a plot idea, I have an outline so loose it only has 10 lines on it, I have some background research, and come Monday, Nov. 1st, I’m going to chain myself to my desk.

Wish me luck! Hopefully, I’ll still have some fingernails left when this is done, if the carpal tunnel doesn’t get me first.

Go NaNoWriMi!

POP CULTURE RANT: Rally to Restore Sanity
This isn’t so much of a rant as it is an encouragement. I will be at the Daily Show’s Rally to Restore Sanity this Saturday, hoping to show America that there are rational people who vote regularly. And just because we don’t scream the loudest, doesn’t mean we don’t exist. And just because we don’t agree with you, doesn’t mean we think you’re Hitler (or a witch in DE’s case). Hope you’ll come out and support the cause too! See you on the news!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Become An Avenger With GCC Member Denise Jaden

I love a good mystery novel, especially when the stakes are high—like, say, avenging your sister’s death. That’s why I’m very excited for GCC member Denise Jaden’s new YA novel, LOSING FAITH, which debuted this week through Simon Pulse.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don't know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.
As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith's final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Here’s what Denise had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Denise: My husband and I used to drive from Vancouver to L.A. every year to go to Disneyland. We were young and dumb and usually did the 22-hour drive straight through, taking turns napping. I don’t know what the funniest time would have been, but the most memorable was the time it was 108 degrees through Redding and we were in a car without A/C.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Denise: I’m also one of those rare authors who didn’t always “know”. For me it was about seven years ago when I sat down to write a journal, which quickly turned fictional. I had so much fun writing that I couldn’t stop. Within the year, I knew I wanted to be a real writer, writing things that others would want to read.

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceanera?

Denise: I don’t remember my sweet 16 being particularly different from any other birthday. I probably hung out with friends and went to a movie. I would have definitely had ice cream. :-)

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Denise: I think we must have been separated at birth, Diana! I have the exact same story – started my early manuscripts just following my muse for the stories. With my more recent novels, I’ve used extensive outlines – one of them 38,000 words, just for the outline!

Now THAT is an outline!


Q: Where were you when you found out that your novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Denise: I had houseguests at the time and was checking my email around six a.m. Because I’m on the West Coast, the publishing world of New York was already open and I had an email sitting in my inbox with the subject line reading, “Good News.” My agent had forwarded me a message from my now-editor that read, “I love it. I want it. Denise is super-talented.” Yes, I have that memorized. LOL. I tried to suppress my scream, but I guess I wasn’t quiet enough. The house guests were soon up and brought back champagne later that day.

Thank you, Denise! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Become Entranced with GCC Member Linda Gerber

Who hasn’t wished at some point that you could see the future? Well, would you still want that wish to come true if all you saw were the bad things in your future? That’s the issue tackled in GCC Member Linda Gerber’s new YA novel, TRANCE, which debuted this week through Penguin Speak.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Ashlyn Greenfield has always known when bad things are going to happen. Each time that familiar tingling at the back of her neck begins, she knows what’s to come—a trance. She’s pulled in, blindsided, an unwilling witness to a horrible upcoming event. But she’s never been able to stop the event from actually occurring—not even when the vision was of her mother’s fatal car accident. When soulful Jake enters Ashlyn’s life, she begins having trances about another car accident. And as her trances escalate, one thing becomes clear: it’s up to her to save Jake from a near-certain death.

Here’s what Linda had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Linda: I don’t know about funniest, but the most adventurous was probably the time I flew out to Georgia to help my college roommate drive her car across country. The thing had a bad radiator and a dying alternator and it kept breaking down… like when it overheated in the middle of the desert on an empty stretch of road and we had to warm the ice water from the cooler by lining plastic water bottles along the asphalt (so we wouldn’t crack the radiator when we filled it up)… or when the alternator finally gave up in the wee hours of the morning and the only other people on the road were two drunk guys who really wanted to get us in their truck with them, but weren’t overly concerned about help for the car… Yeah. It was memorable.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Linda: I always loved writing, but I never dreamed I’d be a writer. When I was little, I thought I’d like to draw, or paint, or dance, or something creative. I guess I was close.

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceanera?

Linda: I didn’t have a big sweet sixteen party or anything, but in my family, we weren’t allowed to date until we were sixteen, and sixteen meant I could get my driver’s license, so my sixteenth birthday was a big deal – at least to me.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Linda: I’m a pantser by nature, but I learned to outline by necessity since most of my books are a. mysteries, and b. sold on proposal. But I think of my outlines like the navi in my car; I set a destination, but if I need to change the route along the way, I can always renavigate.

Great, next time I deviate off course in my novel, I'm going to hear that navigation lady's voice, "Recalculating..."

Q: Where were you when you found out that your novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Linda: TRANCE is the first book I sold with my current agent so it was pretty exciting, even if I was too tired to notice at the time. The first book in my Death By Bikini Mystery series had just come out a couple months before and I was finishing up copy edits for book number two. It was summer break, and by then, the kids had been out of school long enough to be bored. So I was struggling to keep them entertained, waiting for the news, and juggling book promo and book edits and… I’m afraid (or glad, depending on how you look at it) that there’s no photographic evidence, but I was thrilled to get the news. Overwhelmed, but thrilled.

Thank you, Linda! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

GCC Member Lauren Strasnick Introduces The "Other Parent"

I’m sure there are a lot of teens out there who know first hand how hard divorce can be, especially if they have to move to a new town with the “other” parent. That’s the exactly the issue facing the introspective main character of Lauren Strasnick’s new YA novel, HER AND ME AND YOU, which debuted through Simon Pulse this week.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.
Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred–and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred–and something about Adina–that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world, no matter the consequences.

Here’s what Lauren had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Lauren: I’m not great on freeways, so I don’t have many road trip stories. Last summer my friend Jenna and I drove up to San Fransisco for a friend’s wedding, and I made her drive my car – stick – the entire way there and back. Funny! Or not. :)

I feel your pain. I suck at highways too! I once made my friend drive my stick car all the way to OCMD (3 hours) right after she got off a plane.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Lauren: I’ve always written/wanted to write. But I also wanted to dance professionally when I was a kid (wasn’t good enough!). I like taking pictures too. And I was a film major as an undergrad, so there was a moment in time when I wanted to make movies.

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Lauren: No Sweet Sixteen, but my parents threw me a surprise party for my fifteenth b-day. Shocking and terrific. Strangely, I’m attending a “Double Quinceañera” tonight. No joke! My friend is turning thirty.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Lauren: I am an outliner. I wasn’t always this way! But I rewrote H&M&Y three times from scratch. So after that misery, I’ve committed myself to outlining thoroughly.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your novel was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Lauren: Well, this book was the second book in a two-book deal, so there’s no exciting story to tell. But w/ the first book, I was at home, waiting, because I’d heard from my agent that an offer was imminent. I got the call, flipped out, then called my family and closest friends. One of my best friends came over to congratulate me in person. She gave me a vintage charm bracelet to mark the moment.

Thank you, Lauren! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Copyright © 2008 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, All Rights Reserved