No Excuses

It’s been an insane 6 weeks since the book launch party and I’m very sorry not to write this sooner. Between crocheting my kids Halloween costumes and cleaning the baseboards it’s been rough. Okay really just regular life stuff but it’s nowhere near as good as the image of me crocheting anything.

Here is my favorite picture from the book launch party at Mechanics Hall Library.

tweens-signing

I’m really hoping none of these children read my book before they’re in high school or at least that they have very permissive (preferably Unitarian or reform Jew) parents.

It was a blast. I’m so grateful to everyone who came out and made it fun and special. So thanks! I know I have more pictures somewhere but I can’t find them so here is a random pic from high school.

high-school

By the way, I so knew this picture was being taken. This is just me being cute and pretending to be surprised. Also, these white v-neck t-shirts were a major wardrobe staple for longer than I’d care to admit.

If you’re in the Boston area and you have a lot of anxiety the night before the election please come join me and 3 other amazing YA author friends to talk books at Porter Square Books in Cambridge November 7th at 7pm. Love to see you there.

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Recipe for a Book Title -the Final Installment

Here are a few more stories about how books got their titles. I find the genesis of book titles totally fascinating -hopefully you do too!

Thanks to all my author friends who shared their stories!

Braider“The Good Braider was always The Good Braider and my editor and editorial staff all thought of it that way.
A novel coming out in a few months was always Rabbit in the Moon to me.  I was terribly committed to it, having found myths and symbolism around rabbits and the image of the rabbit in the moon in Cambodian culture. But now it’s called Either the Beginning or the End of the World,  taken from a Carolyn Forche poem.” -Terry Farish

Fletcher“With my debut, the title began as The Family Furnival. And then, fairly late in the game my editor told me that “some people” thought Furnival sounded like “funeral” and they couldn’t get beyond it. I polled literally dozens and dozens of people and no one else heard “funeral.” I got “carnival” “festival” “fun” and even (my favorite) “fur carnival” but no one (other than my editor’s “some people”) heard funeral. However, it was not a battle worth fighting, so I embarked on a name hunt. I wanted alliteration with family, but Fletcher actually has another secret meaning. My aunt is children’s book author Elizabeth Levy, and her first book series, back in the 1970s and 80s, were a series of picture books called Something Queer is Going On, and they featured a basset hound named Fletcher. So my book’s title -The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher – was ultimately a little inside joke with her!”  -Dana Alison Levy*

*Another gorgeous author website!!

No place to fall“My original title was Sing To The Wind. The editorial staff was concerned it sounded too young, so my editor pulled all sorts of phrases from the manuscript and No Place To Fall is what we kept coming back to. Now I can’t imagine any other title.” -Jaye Robin Brown
“Typically when I come up with my titles, I think of the simplest elements that represent my story, and I try to give it a more poetic meaning.  My story is about a lesbian girl in a small town in the rural south.  Since rainbows are the symbol for gay pride I wanted a title that represented rainbows without using the word.  After playing around with some words I came up with SOUTH OF SUNSHINE.  Rainbows are south of the sun, it’s set in the south and I named my fictitious small town Sunshine, Tennessee.  I think it accomplishes what I was going for very well.” -Dana Elmendorf
Water Castle“Secrets of Truth & Beauty was Just Like Mama Cass (changed because marketing didn’t think teens would know who Mama Cass was.)
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill was The Remarkable Adventures of the Girl Detective, the Boy Genius, and the Spy
The Friendship Riddle was Letter Bee
Very in Pieces was Bottle Cap.
So that makes one book — The Water Castle — that kept the title that I gave it.”  -Megan Frazer Blakemore
5to1“I named my book 5 TO 1 because it’s about a world with 5 boys for every 1 girl and I honestly couldn’t think of anything better. I kinda assumed they’d change it but they didn’t. In retrospect, I wish I’d spelled it out as search engines don’t handle numbers very well.”
RealMermaids3TitleChange (2)“My first Real Mermaids book was always ‘Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings’ from submission to publication but the other three titles in the series went through some debate, especially my third book (as did the cover art!). Here’s a comparison of the first title ‘Real Mermaids Don’t Have Two Left Feet’ (which the sales team thought young readers wouldn’t ‘get’) and the second ‘Real Mermaids Don’t Need High Heels’ (which is what went to print).”  -Helene Boudreau

My Writing Process -Blog Tour

I got tagged by the awesome Megan Frazer Blakemore and Maria Padian -fellow Maine authors -as part of a blog tour on your writing process. You can click their names to see their responses to the following four questions about writing process.

Here are my answers!

1) What am I working on?

I have just finished a first draft of YA novel about two boys in their senior year of high school, their friendship and the role it plays in their lives when dark secrets from the past come to the surface. It’s really a book about loyalty and self-worth and how those things affect the relationships that are most important to us.

 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I think that the YA I write is primarily for high-schoolers but that doesn’t necessarily differentiate it from other contemporary realistic YA. I think what sets my writing apart is the degree of frankness and emotional honesty with which I write my characters. I hope it does, anyway. Also, I like to write about bodily effluence perhaps a shade more than the average author.

 

3) Why do I write what I do?

Ah, this old question. I write because I like to tell myself stories. I write because I would be doing it anyway in my mind and writing it down makes me feel productive and purposeful. Also, I really enjoy making other people laugh and feel things. I write these specific stories because these are the stories I enjoy telling myself. Sometimes I come up with a really cool story idea but then it quickly becomes apparent it’s not a story I can tell -I want someone to tell it to me. That’s when I go to the bookstore and see if anyone has.

 

4) How does your writing process work?

My mother asked me a similar question at my book release party and I said something about prescription drugs. My writing philosophy and process is all about the phrase “small chunks” -which is somewhat unfortunate because it contains the word “chunks” in it, but it’s the most accurate verbiage I can come up with. (Small bits sounds like a genital reference.)

In all seriousness, my goal when I sit down to write is always to write 2 pages, 2 pages of dialogue, exposition, word count doesn’t matter to me but that 2 page amount is my arbitrary marker. I always read over my 2 pages from the previous day and I try not to go more than a few days without writing. Sometimes that’s possible, and sometimes that’s not. As a full time teacher, and a human with friends and a family I enjoy seeing, it all has to stay in something closely resembling balance.

I usually have a separate document where I have a table set up with a general outline and scene-by-scene sense of where I’m going. That’s usually only used when I’m writing the first half. That last third of a book is the part I struggle with the most. I’ve set up most of the conflict and now it’s time to hit those climactic moments and unravel things in a way that’s neither too rushed nor too drawn out. It’s the hardest part for me and the time when I experience the most feelings of “what if this all sucks?”

Once I complete a first draft I reread and try and identify the obvious major revisions needed before sending it to my first readers. If I went on about my revision process I’d be here all night so I think I’ll save that for another post/day.

 

Thanks for reading and for more posts on the writer’s process check out fellow agency sister Valerie Cole’s post or my fellow OneFour Maria Andreu -her book The Secret Side of Empty debuted this spring as well.