Sunday, October 28, 2012


Got my food, got my water, got batteries, got plenty of reading material to keep me busy if the power goes out.  Let's see how this goes.

Also, for those of you who don't know, Penguin and Random House are merging.  Bring on the panic attacks while entrapped in a small space (my apartment).

Monday, October 22, 2012

What I've Been Up To

I have had a lot going on recently!  I was excited because I had strong interest in Dan's project, THE CLEARING, from an editor at St. Martins, who unfortunately ended up passing; I had my hands full submitting Brianna's new series proposal and Scott's proposal for a group biography called THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS; and also with following up with other various editors.  Oh yeah, and contract stuff (THANKS, JESSICA).

While I was doing this, I am super happy to say that I also signed two new clients, both of them middle grade writers!  One is has written a coming-of-age story about three children who are part of different warring tribes in Africa.  The other author has written a book about a Darwin-loving Dutch girl living in Java during the explosion of Krakatoa in the late 1880s.  I made an offer for another book about a "blueprint" for saving the environment, but another agent snapped the author up before I could!  BLARGHHH.

It is exciting to have new authors to work with, in addition to my other clients.  I've been very busy reading revisions from them - I was actually joking with my client Jessica, saying that I knew they all collaborated behind my back and decided to send me their revisions all at once! 

One thing that happened recently that has been bothering me is something that I said (not too long ago) wasn't in the cards: I parted ways with one of my clients.  I won't go into the details of the situation, but I feel horrible about it.  He is a wonderful person and I did my best to help him figure things out and get him to change his project, but in the end, we were just in two different camps about how to best execute his idea and make it marketable.  I hate feeling like I'm giving up on something, especially when that something is someone's cherished project.  I think it was the best for both of us, though, and I wish him luck.

I've been at the restaurant on weekends lately, which has just added to the feeling of constant work-ness.  But now that I've mostly dug myself out of my reading hole (and I have Sunday off!), I want to do something fun this weekend.  Like re-read LJ Smith's THE SECRET CIRCLE trilogy, which I fell in love with as a teen (again with my weird penchant for alternate romantic endings, I wanted Cassie to end up with Nick!).  Apparently, there are two new books in the series, albeit ghostwritten ones written by a different author.  I'm tempted to buy them and see if they will feed my New Salem magic frenzy or if they will ruin the series for me, which I hope they won't!

Whooo weekend!

P.S.  I am going to a Halloween party this Wednesday that is being thrown by a bunch of Random House editors and the theme is THE HUNGER GAMES.  How do I dress?  All dystopian with pink hair and a dress in the shape of a triangle?  Or can I get away with gray sweats and say I'm from District 12?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Read, Read, Coffee, Read, Read, Coffee

Because of a family matter, I wasn't able to go to the Rutgers conference after all, which was a bummer.  If you were there and were planning on sending me a submission, please feel to email it to me and let me know that you were at Rutgers!

I am slightly overwhelmed with work/reading this week.  Last week was also kind of a toughie.  I will be loading up on coffee and sugar, and spending my days/nights with laptop in lap!  Send me energizing thoughts, please!!

I will be doing this, but be  looking much less taupe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You Are What You Wear

So I got a little stumped by something last week.  John and I were in Connecticut shopping for a wedding gift for a friend, and as we were gazing into store windows he said something about how he thought I was beautiful no matter what I wore.  That set off my vain girl alarm.  I asked him if that meant he didn't like the way I dressed, and he said, no, not really, it wasn't his style.  Which set off my really vain girl alarm.  I tried to strong arm him into saying that he changed his mind and actually thinks that I dress very well, but it didn't work.

When I go out into the world (i.e. for editor lunches) and I'm not just another anonymous New Yorker grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, I tend to look like a J. Crew catalog - something that has always made my mother very happy.  But when I'm just hanging around, I am a jeans/sweatpants and t-shirt kind of girl.  Keep in mind that John is a jeans and t-shirt kind of boy.  When I asked John what he would ideally dress me in if I were a Barbie, his response was, "Dark jeans, and t-shirts, and black peacoats."  First of all, that is clearly a very seasonal outfit and secondly, how that is that any different from what I normally wear (minus the peacoat, which makes me think of old fashioned sailors on the coast of Wales)?

Aren't I pretty?

Anyways, I will be at the Rutgers One-on-One conference this Saturday, dressed like a color-coordinated prepster, unless this whole thing with John sticks in my head and I end up going outfitted more like someone from a Levis catalog.  If you are cool with trekking all the way to New Jersey (or if you already live there), I will see you then!

P.S. I just finished reading a revision of a YA manuscript I requested a little while ago (it is about children coming of age while living in warring African tribes).  I'm totally hooked - I just made an offer to the author and I hope she accepts!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Show not Tell

Editing your manuscript can be difficult, especially when you've reached that wonky stage where you've read it so many times and lived with it so long, you can't tell good from bad any more.  I thought it would be helpful to talk a little bit about my experiences editing manuscripts.  When writing revision notes for my clients, or for authors whose manuscripts I see potential in, I often find myself  making one comment more than any other.  It is: Please SHOW, not TELL, this.

When writing your novel, you should almost think of the reader as another character in your story.  You want them to participate in what's going on, to have a deep connection with your characters, and to feel almost as if the story is happening to them as they are reading it.  To accomplish this, you need to use dialogue and rich, sensory description to successfully evoke the emotions your character is feeling, the setting they are in, etc.

For example, which sentence/s to you find more compelling?   Connie was nervous as she went to go pick up the phone, or Connie heard the phone ring from the hallway.  She walked toward it apprehensively, her palms chilled and sweating.  As she picked up the phone, her voice quavered.

Hopefully you said the second, more descriptive/engaging one.  The writer (yay, me!) is utilizing description of all the senses (umm...minus taste).  But on the other hand, you want to make sure you don't over-show, either.  You don't want the reader to feel as though they are being told how to see, interpret, or register something at every moment of the novel.  You need to give the story a little room to breathe.  It's a fine line -  if you end up on the wrong side of that line, you have something that readers will put down after the first page.  But if you get it right, you have something subtle, absorbing, and memorable.

P.S.  I changed the background on my blog!  My website design-y friend has been trying to get me to let him make it all fancy and cool, but I kind of like my simple tile-imaged books.