Readin’, ‘Riting, Re-‘Reriting

I’ve been reading a lot of writer’s blogs right now and a lot of them have lots of good stuff to say about the craft of writing. I would put links here but I have not figured out how to do that on this site yet. It’s really pathetic for an ex-computer programmer like me! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed reading Ally Carter’s year and day in writing Gallagher Girls 3 and Justine Larbalestier’s How to Rewrite post. And E. Lockhart and Maureen Johnson are always so amusing, as well as the indefatigable Meg Cabot, whose blog I quote from so often my husband has said, “Who is this Meg Cabot and why is she now part of our family?”

Anyway, I thought I would share my thoughts on writing and rewriting since I’m currently writing Blue Bloods: Revelations and re-writing The Ashleys: Birthday Vicious. A lot of writers ask me how I can keep so many different series going, or work on them at the same time. The answer is most of the time I work on only one book at a time in a concentrated fashion and this was the case for all my books until last year. Suddenly, with so many books due, I HAD to write several at the same time.

But it’s easy to write Revelations and re-write Birthday Vicious at the same time because the tone and the world of the books are so different.

Blue Bloods is gothic and intense and serious while the Ashleys is pop-colored and bright and fun. When I get tired of the epic fantasy, I switch to writing the fun tween bubblegum. It keeps me sane because I take a lot of breaks when I’m writing. In this way, writing Revelations is a break from re-writing Birthday Vicious and re-writing Birthday Vicious is a break from writing Revelations. So I feel like I’m not working at all! I’m just taking breaks! Hee. I think tricking your mind to think what you’re doing is not work is a good thing. Writing never feels like work, until it really really does. But the nice thing about putting words on the page—even if it’s crap as it most often is in the first draft—is that you have something to work with tomorrow. I tend to write really messily in the first draft and then go back and rewrite for a while before showing to my editor. Like right now, looking over the first chapters of Revelations again, I feel like, ugh! Crap! But I know I can fix it in rewrite.

Right now, I am taking a break from both books because there is so much to do and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed so I thought I’d blog instead.

This holiday season I brought three books to read with me while on vacay at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, which was a fabulous hotel with great service and beautiful rooms. Particularly enjoyed the sound of the ocean outside our window. We are getting so spoiled staying in nice hotels all the time. It’s really awful how you get so used to nice things so quickly, whereas it’s so different the other way around. I mean, does anyone ever feel nostalgic for staying at the Travelodge? I remember Shasta, a friend of mine in college, who told me about this cool “crazeee” vacation she was planning with her hipster trustafarian boyfriend—they were going on a road trip! And staying in cheap motels! It was going to be so romantic! Because she had never ever stayed in a Holiday Inn Express or a Motel Six before.

And I was like, looking at her and thinking, oh-kay. Good luck with thinking the tacky furniture and the scratchy towels are going to inspire some hot loving! I suppose anything that you have never experienced before seems exotic. But my family used to stay at the Peninsula and the Intercontinetal Hotels of the world before we lost our money, and vacationing at the Days Inn is a huge comedown. I say bring on the flat-screens, the turn-down service and the Italian linens! And if my daughter, ever, EVER, tells me all bubbly that she and her friends are planning some crazeee vacation staying at cheap motels, I will show her this blog and book her a room in the Four Seasons pronto. It’s like my other friend Natalie, who grew up in New York and went to Columbia told me about why she and her husband could not ever buy in Williamsburg. Because it was the ghetto when she was growing up, and how could she explain to her Puerto Rican grandmother that she was buying a million-dollar loft in the ghetto? They bought on the Upper East Side.

Anyway, here’s the book list: Slam by Nick Hornby, Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino and The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrota. I was only able to read and finish The Abstinence Teacher, which I liked very much. It was such a pleasant, easy read and really smart and fun too. I read mostly fun pop stuff like that, as well as epic fantasy (George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is a big influence on Blue Bloods) and whatever else looks tempting at the bookstore. I have still not gone to the bookstore or the Target to see if The Ashleys is on the shelves. Have you guys seen it in stores?

It’s rainy and glum here in LA. Perfect writing weather!