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Showing posts from August, 2012

lasagna for fifty: why writing with a book deal is a whole different game

One thing I did not expect when WILD AWAKE sold is that writing when you have a book deal is very different from just writing. It’s the difference between cooking a meal for yourself at home and cooking for a restaurant full of people: sure, it’s still lasagna, but there are all sorts of new demands and constraints and variables and pressures for you to deal with in your shiny new professional kitchen.
Suddenly, the lasagna needs to be ready at a certain time, and the seasoning needs to please dozens of people, and it can’t be burnt on the outside but frozen on the inside, the way you sometimes eat it at home.
“Why am I so stressed out all of a sudden?” you wonder. “I friggin’ love making lasagna!”
Here, dear writer, is why.
Deadlines are real.
When you have a novel under contract, there are going to be times when you get your manuscript back from your editor with a note like this:
Hey author! Not to freak you out, but if you don’t have this revision back to me in two weeks, we’ll hav…

dark house, empty bowl: on leaving the world for a novel (and making it back alive)

My novel sold almost a year ago. Since then, it has gone through two or three rounds of revisions and two rounds of line editing. At the end of last month, I drove down to the Hay and Feed store to pick up my copyedited manuscript (UPS doesn’t deliver this far back in the canyon) and spent the next two weeks making my final changes.
For the first day or two, I treated the copyedits casually. After all, the book was already written. The problems that had confounded me in earlier revisions, I had safely solved. All I had to do now was sit back, relax, and strike out an occasional adverb with my pencil.
But on the third day, it hit me: this was my last chance to make changes larger than a word or punctuation mark here and there. After this, any weak scene would be weak forever. Any lame line of dialogue would have its lame self stamped onto paper thousands of times when the book went to the printer. Any garbled almost-truth would stay that way forever, straining for meaning and falling…

and then it was August...

Why hello friends!

Hilary here.

It feels ever so rude to let the INTERN part of this blog slurk off into the night without saying goodbye, especially since you have all been so friendly and generous and welcoming for so long, but there is a time to take off your cape and duck mask and speak in your real voice, and that time has come for me.

With that in mind, How are you all? I have missed you so much in these past few months of fretting and procrastinating and wondering how, exactly, to talk to you without my duck mask for protection (note to self: just freaking do it.) What are you writing? How are things going? What strange or shocking things have you learned? What have been your brightest victories and your worst disappointments? In short, what have I missed in this period of most egregious slurkery?

I am living far from the city now, in a cabin full of books on a dry and spiky mountainside in northern California. Our internet consists of a single ethernet cable shared between si…