Friday, January 20, 2006

And now for some more book-related stuff.

Some of you may know that I went for the “official author photo” shoot on Wednesday. Which was weird. Growing up Catholic in the Midwest, I was not raised to enjoy being the center of attention. I was raised to be meek, humble, self-effacing, and basically, the kind of person who would get up from her deathbed to fold her husband’s underwear or make him a ham sandwich.

So there I was, smiling demurely, trying to look smart and interesting and writerly, but in a non-pushy manner. The photographer, who is fantastic, wasn’t buying my shy librarian crap. So she tried to light a fire under my ass while she leaned in to snap some shots. “You’re friendly!” she said. “You’re fun!” What I was really thinking was, “I’m cold!” and “I’m constipated!” My teeth felt like crooked lipstick magnets, like greasy little tombstones, and I was sweating in the profuse manner that has ruined 80% of my white shirts. My eyes kept twitching. But we got some good shots in the end, I think. She told me I looked like Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, and right then I wanted to move in with her and make her waffles and scrambled eggs every morning, with fresh squeezed orange juice.

Also, I just got the revision notes from my editor. And I learned that the book will be out in summer of 2007. Which is fine, because I’ve got lots of rewriting and panicking to do. I’m at the stage where I’m bidding adieu to certain scenes I have come to love (in my head—I haven’t cut them yet), and I’m deciding which elements I’ll go “Kid in a Check-out Lane Full of Candy” on with my editor (Pleeeeez can I keep this? Pleeeeeeeeeeeaaase?!?! I’ll be your best friend! I’ll change the ending just like you want!! Puh-leeeeeeez!!!!!! Waah-hah-hah!!! Hey, *sniffle* can I have this Kit-Kat, too?).

Okay, I won’t really do that. Well, not much. But I’m hoping for some wiggle room. I’m hoping for compromises. Like they say (fellow writers, you know this next part): our work is our baby. And some of us are really fantastic at taking suggestions and constructive criticism. We roll with the punches. We’re rational. We understand that we’re frequently emotional, prone to melodrama, and fond of fermented beverages, so it’s better to trust an objective third party when it comes to changing our work for the good of the land.

For others among us, it feels like someone punched our baby in the face and told her that she’d never be a ballerina with that hunchback and cleft palate, the best she could hope for was tranny Phantom of the Opera in her local high school musical unless she goes in for experimental surgery STAT. And any time I start to think this way my inner critic silences me with, “Don’t even go there! Don’t be that asshole! What, do you want me to fetch that IHOP application for you? I know you don’t like pancakes that much!”

So if you need me, I’ll be making my liver cry like a very, very, very sad baby.

Speaking of babies (ovaries, are you listening here?) it might be awhile. Or not. But if I keep reading posts like this, I’m going to scare myself into the fetal position in a corner for weeks.

(I did NOT say fetal position on purpose. Because frankly? The word “fetal” kind of freaks me out. It's way too close to "fetid," which just plain stinks.)


  1. I think notes are good. Not enough notes can make a person paranoid that the editor is not really doing their job and "getting" your book. It's always better after the rewrite. Just keep telling yourself that. But what's with the push back to 07?

  2. Ah, it's pretty much the MO, I guess. Lots of stuff to get in order. I'm pretty green with all of this. But I started writing the next novel tonight, which felt good.

  3. Hi Jess,

    Thanks for visiting my "save the animals" blog!

    Cheers, Paul

  4. If I were trying to create something that would sell, I would get an editor whose judgement I trusted to the nth degree. Someone who is a true expert in knowing what is commercial. Then I would let the editor make any changes he or she wanted. But that's just me.

    BTW, I enjoyed your visit to my blog.

  5. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Hope you're feeling better today! See, I can't get away from your blog! I check it several times a day to see what's new!!!

  6. I never thought that my books were my baby, but then again, I think of myself more as a craftsman than an artist. I love them, but they are product.

    Which doesn't mean I didn't fight with my eeitor when necessary. I totally did that.

  7. Congrats on the pub date and good luck on the revisions. Summer 2007 seems like a long way away (I know, 'cause my pub date is January 07 and it seems like aeons!)....but it will be here before you know it!

  8. Anonymous1:34 PM

    2007 just means you have more time to figure out some things. For what it's worth, I thought the book was pretty good on its own. ;)

  9. JESS--OMG, I am cracking up and so flattered that you posted my post on your famous blog!! You should see the smile on my face!

    I love how you likened the editorial process and your baby and the candy line... too funny!

    It's no wonder you got your book deal--you are a fabulous writer! So glad we hooked up in Cyberspace! xo

  10. Anonymous11:03 PM

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