Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Switching Gears (And I Can't Drive Stick Shift!) -- Eve

Is it just me, or is it really daunting to switch from one book to another? I was all sucked into my second book (YA romance). I mean, to the point where my story and characters were spinning in my head, like hamsters on a wheel, constantly! I made the newbie writer's mistake of thinking I was completely done with my first novel because my agent had sent it to a few editors. Ah, 3 1/2 years of intense work, done. Now all I have to do it wait, right?

My friend KT (Hi, KT!!) reminded me not to count on hearing back from editors within a few weeks (like Jay), but instead suggested I realistically plan on waiting several months, and if I did hear sooner I'd be pleasantly surprised. Bah! I blew it off because I knew better. As soon as those editors feasted their eyeballs on my brilliant work, they'd be calling within days to offer me that seven figure deal and invites to P. Diddy's yacht party just like my horoscope said! As usual, KT was right, and it's been four months. I've collected a handful of “very good” rejections, where editors congratulated me on the original voice, entertaining characters, powerful and important ideas, great writing, etc, etc... But so far, no one has fallen in love with the story itself.

I promised my agent I'd quickly make major revisions so that the central problem would provide a bigger “hook” for today's competitive market. In hindsight, the plot did need to be intensified to fit the underlying themes and backgrounds of my characters.

Problem is, it took two whole weeks to really switch my mind gears from the lovey-dovey Southern California beach scene (where my YA romance takes place) back to the gritty and harrowing world of Los Angeles inner city gang kids. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in the world of my first novel (Kidz In the Wood…a MG about troubled inner city kids at a college-run summer camp, peppered with humor, adventure, and Darwinian themes), but it's a completely different planet than my YA book.

So, I've gone back to TiVo-ing prison documentaries, changed my “Evie's favorites” iPod lineup back to gangsta rap, and spend my evenings with my BFF's Alan Lawrence Sitomer, Walter Dean Myers, and Mark Salzman. (Well, with their books, anyway.) Like a method-actor, I feel like I'm morphing from one role to the next. It's no wonder so many novelists end up going insane, a la Johnny Depp in Secret Window!

- Eve


SilberBook-Blog said...

Oh Eve - I so relate. The schizophrenic swings from one "world" to another - and then back again - are sometimes impossible to handle. I know for me it's like being a crazy person. To write from that genuine place means having to really exist in that head-space and I feel your pain at trying to find the key to unlock the door you thought was closed.

And the seven figure deal?..."manana". Or the next.


Laini Taylor said...

Eve, to get into the lingo of inner-city kids, I recommend Netflixing The Wire, the best TV show EVER MADE. EVER. When my husband and I watch it our speech patterns change completely! You'll find your way back in -- good luck!

Debby G. said...

I hear ya! I'm writing a racy YA series during the day and a humorous series for children at night. I'm really worried that the ten-year-old twins in my children's series are going to go to the beach on a fourth-grade field trip and get drunk and skinnydip and start making out.

Good luck with your YA! I had to rewrite mine until it sold to the eleventh publisher. At least the rejections sound promising.

Disco Mermaids said...

Alan- Thanks for making me feel a bit more "normal"...this multiple personality thing is killing me! It ain't right.

Laini- Thanks! I did see THE WIRE when it first came out. I totally agree...I need to immerse myself in that world as much as possible. Great suggestion!

Debby- You are so freaking funny! I can't imagine how you write TWO completely different books at the same time. I feel better knowing that you made revisions too before selling your wonderful book. It gives me hope! I just hope my revisions aren't screwing up the story. It's scary!


Paula said...

Eve, I totally understand. I almost feel like I need to go through an entire routine just to sit down and get in the frame of mind. I always hate feeling like a stranger in the world of my characters. But it does happen if I'm away too long.

Good luck and ummm...don't hurt anyone. Too much gangsta rap has been known to make you want to bitch slap someone.

Anonymous said...

Alan Lawrence Sitomer here... the new BFF (which I am lovin').

The new book HOMEBOYZ has met with unprecedented love from my students on the sneak peek I just tossed them before the book drops April 1rst.

Feel free to hit me up on my space to chat -- the wheels are spinning.

(BTW, I can't believe what great company you are keeping me in... Mr. Meyers - WOW!)