Progress

Good news. I am done with my first pass at the AUT manuscript. I have made all the small changes my editor marked, as well as reorganized Part Four (I think it works really well). While I was going through the MS, I flagged any notes that I needed to come back to, because they necessitated bigger changes or explaining to my editor why there didn’t need to be a change. There are a lot of flags in this manuscript right now, you guys. So close, yet so far away, in the immortal words of Hall and Oates.

A little story to prove to you that New York is, indeed, the biggest small town in America: Last night at Mary’s fondue party, which I am still recovering from by the way, I met a lovely girl who works in the Random House Children’s PR department. We got to chatting and it turns out that she really admires my editor. She said they sometimes get to request to work on certain books, and that they’re going to be presented the Spring 2010 lists pretty soon, so she’s going to ask to work on mine. Kind of fun, huh?

Okay, now I’m going to take advantage of the still-early hour and reward myself for all my hard work this weekend by watching Wanted and possibly The X-Files: I Want To Believe, which I bought today at Virgin. Extended cut, you guys! I wonder if the movie will make sense with more scenes in it, or if it’s just a lot of extra blood and gore. I’ll let you know!

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I wonder if Ryan started the fire

So, for a while my revisions have been stressing me out. I don’t know why, it’s probably a combination of exhaustion and time crunch, but whatever the reason I could feel my mind resisting the work. This is not an unusual feeling for me, but usually I’m able to worm my way through it more easily than now.

I almost never work during the week because I have a day job and by the time I get home it’s almost eight and I just want to have dinner and relax. But this week was different. This week, I sat down every night and worked. I’ve been going through the marked up manuscript my editor gave me, making small changes and flagging bigger questions or things I’ll have to fix with more than a tap of the delete key. I’ve been dreading the turn of every page, which I know is melodramatic, but it’s true.

Finally, I decided I needed a change of scenery. Writing in my tiny room in my tiny dark apartment is fine, but revising in a cave is not good for my spirit, so I decided I needed space and sunlight. Lucky for me, there’s a branch of the New York Public Library about fifteen blocks away from my apartment, so this morning I jumped on the bus with my laptop and manuscript in tow and settled down at a table in the adult books section (I wanted to sit in the YA section, thinking for some reason it would be more inspirational, but there’s a big sign that says THESE TABLES ARE FOR TEENS ONLY which, do they police that? I didn’t want to risk it) and got to work.

2798968914_3144b124831Exhibit A: my wee bedroom.

At first, I felt as resistant as always, but after inching along all week I was finally close to the end of the MS and I slipped into a groove eventually. Then I reached the last leg, Part Four of AUT, which my editor had noted needed some reorganization. And for some reason, I suddenly felt very good. It was like all week I’d been climbing up a long staircase to the top of a water slide, and now I had finally sat down on my inner tube, gotten the signal from the lifeguard, pushed off and was now coasting to the bottom. Pardon the weird simile, that’s really how it felt!

And then–THEN. As if the world doesn’t want this book to ever get done, THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF. Are you kidding me? Ugh. I had to quickly gather up my stuff and leave the library with everybody else. The thing that really bugs me is that I think some confused lady opened a fire door, which is a good thing because that means there wasn’t an actual fire, but also? READ THE DOOR, LADY.

Anyway, they weren’t letting anybody in there until the fire department showed up and checked out the place, so I knew it was fruitless to wait around forever when I lived a few blocks away. But, being me, I was like, “This is the perfect time to buy Wanted on DVD!” So that’s what I did. Because I love That James McAvoy and Wanted was an awesome movie. On the Venn diagram of movies both my brother and I would enjoy, I think Wanted is the only overlap. And the reason for that, of course, is my fake husband TJM. (Not to be confused with my fake boyfriend, RPattz. They know about each other, it’s fine.)

gearcrave-interview_james-mcavoy_wantedYeeeeeeeah, that’s right.

I also bought The Last Unicorn because it was on sale for $5 and it was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

Despite the disruption, during which I appear to have made lemonade out of lemons anyway, I’m still feeling pretty good about these revisions now. What seemed insurmountable a couple of days ago I’m now looking forward to tackling, which is excellent. This is turning out to be a great weekend all around. I spent last night with my closest NY friends because Katie, who moved to Chicago a few months ago, was back in town for  a visit. Tonight one of my other friends is having a fondue party, so we’re going to that, and then tomorrow is brunch at Essex House (I’d better make sure someone made reservations…) and then back to writing for me.

Okay, I must go now–Mary’s foolishly promised to let me DJ tonight, so I have to update the Party playlist on my iPod. Gotta remember to include all the newest Hanson tunes!*

*Just kidding.

Take what you want and pay for it, says God

This has been a nice, relaxing weekend. WALL-E was, predictably, adorable, although for some reason it didn’t exactly strike as much of a chord with me as it has with other people–maybe it’s because I like dialogue so much I can’t stand it when there’s no talking in a movie for forty-five minutes. But the animation was spectacular, the story was cute, and WALL-E was full-on the sweetest little robot you ever saw on screen. Still, I probs don’t need to ever see it again.

Wanted, on the other hand, blew my mind. I loved every freaking second of that movie, also predictable, because it stars the lovely, amazingly talented, HOT James McAvoy. It’s also insanely violent, and while that never fails to make me cringe it was done in such an interesting, humorous, off-the-wall way that even I enjoyed it. I think what makes the movie great, besides the talent and the flawed-but-engrossing story and the kick-ass action sequences, is that it has such a personality to it. You feel–at least, I felt–that only one person could ever have made this movie, and that person is Timur Bekmambetov, who must be an absolute psycho in real life, but an entertaining, brilliant psycho.

I also got a lot of time to read this weekend, which has been really awesome. The only social engagement I had (outside seeing Wanted with my roommate), was brunch with some old friends from Chicago, both of whom work in publishing in some way or another. We went to the Sunburnt Cow in Alphabet City, which has all-you-can-drink mimosas and bloody marys, and some really excellent food–we will definitely be going back there, despite the fact that it is SO FAR from the train.

I spent all weekend reading The Likeness. It would be wrong to call it a sequel to In the Woods, but perhaps it is in spirit–the narrator this time is a main character from the last novel, Cassie Maddox, who takes a little getting used to. I really, really loved Rob Ryan, the completely fucked up but lovable narrator of In the Woods, and it was tough being back in his world and having to let go of the fact that he’s no longer germane to the story. Cassie has her reasons for avoiding him, but naturally he pops up in her thoughts from time to time, as does Operation Vestal, the investigation that brought Cassie and Sam O’Neill, another Murder detective, together, broke Rob and Cassie apart, and separated Cassie from herself in more than one way.

God, if I could just be as good a writer as Tana French. The woman has talent coming out of her pores, her language is so excellent and yet completely unpretentious. I don’t know that I’ve ever admired a living writer so much–her deftness with words is really remarkable. Anyway. So I missed Rob, but Cassie is a likable person, and the story is just so different from In the Woods, but retains the personal connection between the detective and the crime that made the previous book so intense. I wouldn’t say I loved it as much as I loved In the Woods, because the connection I felt to that book was so surprisingly strong, but The Likeness is very, very good and I think, with its less vague conclusion, more people will like it than liked In the Woods.

It also made me think a lot about one particular thing–is there anything more sinister than a group of impossibly close, young, intelligent friends in a murder mystery? Is there? It’s a really common trope, if you think about it–The Likeness is but the most recent example I’ve come across, but there’s the classic The Secret History by Donna Tartt, or the more recent group of Bluebloods in Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics. The Likeness revolves around just such a group, which Cassie, who looks creepily like the victim of a stabbing, infiltrates in order to uncover who really killed her when the police can find no leads or suspects. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.