The One You Should Remember (on the Fifth of November)

1. Ummmmmm, I would make excuses about why I haven't been blogging, but it essentially boils down to me being a combination of busy, sick, and kind of exhausted. So, uh, I haven't exactly started NaNoWriMo yet, even though I'm supposed to be, what, 10,000 words in? Ask me if I even have a plot for the story yet! Or, you know, don't, because you probably already know the answer... Anna and I have been talking recently about how important it is to take a break after finishing a project. The natural temptation for both of us is to immediately dive right into the next project and keep writing, but the truth is (for me, at least), I need some time to recharge my batteries. BLACK IS THE COLOR is very long and it was emotionally exhausting for me to write (translation: poor Ruby) AND it took me... eight months to write? Nine months?

So, I think instead of doing NaNo, I'm going to try to use this month to really plot out the MG Fantasy I'm thinking about--and to try to work on synopses for BitC's other books. BUT! I still want to hear about how NaNo is going for you guys! How's it hanging? What's your current word count?

2. In other news, my sister and mom are still dressing my poor little Fluffy McNugget up:

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Don't be fooled by his happy expression. This dog already thinks it's a cat and spends most of his days walking along the back of the couch and jumping onto the kitchen counters. He's going to go through yet another identity crisis and think he's a squirrel for the next six months. Teagie was not safe either, though:

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3. One of my roommates recently started as an Editorial Assistant on the adult side of the biz and sent me this essay on the evolution of rejection letters through the ages. It's an interesting read, but let me be frank here: editors do NOT have the time to sit down and write out in-depth critiques of books they have no desire to work on. The point Ed Breslin makes about how rejection letters used to be educational is true, but being an editor today is entirely different than it was even five years ago. There are so many new responsibilities, tasks, and, let's not forget, a great deal more submissions.

"The electronic burps I’m getting today are, for the most part, shallow, cursory and absolutely useless to me as a writer. Sad but true, the rejection letter, like so many things in book publishing, is a shadow of what it used to be."

I've written a number of rejection letters since I started at my Place of Employment and, trust me, it sucks. But there are a number of reasons why editors use short, polite, often generic responses:

1) To ensure they don't damage any professional relationships 2) Because no one likes killing the souls of writers/hurting their feelings 3) There's simply not enough time in the day to write out what basically amounts to an editorial letter 4) I hate to say it, but Publishing houses really don't owe anything to authors they don't publish

4. So even though I'm not participating in NaNo, I still have LOVED reading the articles and pep talks coming out of it. Mercedes Lackey's pep talk really resonated with me in particular, as it champions writing fanfiction and I'm someone that used to write fanfiction seriously and consistently from the time I was 12 and right on through college. I can't praise that experience enough. It's like riding a bike with training wheels--by playing with characters and/or worlds that are already developed, you have a lot of freedom to develop your own style and learn about plotting and characterization. Actually, as that flighty temptress Fate would have it, I just started working on a short piece of fanfiction last night! You will likely never read it (and, if you do, you'll have no idea that I wrote it), but gosh, I have so much fun with fanfic. (The last one I wrote was in 2007, so it's been a while!)

5. Are you guys fans of horoscopes? I'm embarassingly obsessed with them, to be quite honest. I think it stems from my hatred of surprises and the absurd joy I get from being able to plan ahead. AstrologyZone is my absolute favorite. I wait for the first of every month like Christmas morning!! Guess what, guys? November is supposed to be great for pretty much everyone. I'm already seeing the benefits--I hope you guys are, too!

xx A