Oct 25, 2012

a portrait of insanity. i mean--revisions.

Two words have never felt so good. Seriously.

I know I'll be back to it in a bit, but for now, I'm celebrating the end of six very long weeks.

I've been through several rounds of revision already with so many different projects, but every time feels like the first. So I'm partly writing this road map to remind myself of the process.

Day 1: Edit letter arrives in your inbox. You're utterly excited to finally read it. About ten words into the letter your excitement starts to curdle. Die. Instead the panic starts to rise as you start reading all of the impossible things your agent/editor thinks need to change. Doesn't she know they're essential to the plot?! You talk on the phone with agent/editor and realize that they aren't as essential as you thought. You repeat the mantra writing is all about killing your darlings over and over again in your head to psych yourself up for the gargantuan task ahead.

Days 2 and 3: *commence utter panic, chocolate binge and denial of reality*

Day 4: Okay. You can do this. Breathe and repeat after me. You. Can. Do. This.

Day 5-Week 2: You start deleting scenes (between tears and more chocolates) and writing new ones. You have no idea if you're making it better or utterly destroy any semblance of bookness it had.

Week 3: You stop and reread through everything you've done (about 100 pages deleted/rewritten). Hey. It's not so bad. It could even be good. It might even be... *gasp* better? Could your agent/editor actually be right?

Week 4: You thought you would be done by now. But you're not. Your manuscript is starting to resemble a half-creature. More minotaur than centaur. But if it were a centaur, it would be the ones from Harry Potter and not those floofy pony creatures from Disney's Fantasia films. No. Your manuscript is gnarly. And it bites. And it might shoot poor unaware wizarding students if it had the chance.

Week 5: Your manuscript is looking better, but you, dear writer, have gone downhill. You've been living off coffee and whatever meals your poor husband decided to scrounge together for you. You've hit the wall. The point where even a few days off can't recharge your writing batteries. Week 5 is a beast.

But then... you reach Week 6.

Week 6: There's a light! A light at the end of the tunnel! You've just read through the reworked part of your manuscript (yet again) and lo and behold, it's actually a cohesive story! (It happens every time but it still feels like a miracle). Spurred on by this success, you work extra hard to cobble those last few scenes together. And before you can even start to second guess yourself you cram it into an email to your agent/editor and press SEND. After blinking at the screen in disbelief for several minutes you get up from your computer and look around at the chaos of your house. You walk straight to the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of wine.

And that, my friends, is what revision is like for me. And it sounds terrible, but I wouldn't trade this job for the world.

Oct 15, 2012

the busyness of life

Fall is busy.

Which makes Ryan a terrible blogger. The busyness also addles her brain a bit, which is why she's now referring to herself in the third person. Alas.

Which I will now stop doing because it requires too much brain power for my addled brain.

Because I'm insane and I really want to take big and expensive trips all around the world, I have not one, but two other jobs I maintain aside from writing big, fat books. I also try to have a semblance of a social life. And settle in to my new house. So when revisions roll around combined with all of these other things, I have a minor panic attack and then sacrifice my blog posts as a result. So I'm sorry. You have fallen victim to my insane schedule.

BUT I'm starting to see the light at the end of the revision tunnel, which is always a good thing. (Generally it means I have about a week or two left in the process.) 

To destress I've been painting furniture. It helps. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the paint fumes. Or the very bright colors. 

The colors go into my grand scheme to give my new house pops of cheer and bright. (Yay!)

I also had a friend show up today to help me paint:

He meandered into my yard and helped by bounding around, wagging his tail and looking generally cute until his actual owners arrived and took him away. I have a feeling I'll see him again, since I've seen this particular pup roaming the streets of our neighborhood before. He must be a jailbreaker.

Other than paint I've been on the road a bit, going to weddings as both a photographer and a guest. While in Richmond I stopped here:

And bought a book just because I loved its cover. A good enough reason, right?

I've also been enjoying the colors of fall. Leaves. All things pumpkin. Cool air. I LOVE this time of year.

What has everyone else been up to? Is fall just as busy for you guys?

Oct 3, 2012

anthology news

I'm quite please to announce that I have a short story coming out at the end of October in an apocalypse anthology entitled The Fall. I'm in good company too. Fellow Lucky 13er Mindy McGinnis has a story coming out in it as well. 

My story, Hairline Cracks, has more than a few zombies. And some ghosts.

And isn't the cover cool and doomsy? It seems like the perfect place for a wilderness hideout in case of imminent world endings.

Which gets me thinking. What would YOU do in a world-ending scenario? Let's say, for example, that there really was a zombie apocalypse. What's your plan of action?

I live in a port city... so I would probably head for the water/the marina. Or take my kayak and paddle out to one of the remote barrier islands and live off of cactus shoots. Hm... I'll have to think more about this.

Oct 2, 2012

LUMINANCE HOUR's shiny new title!

Titles are funny things.

Sometimes they're the most obvious things in the world, staring you down in the face. Other times, they're impossible.

When I first sat down to write this book I gave it a very functional, practical title. It was about a Faery who guarded a prince, so I called it GODMOTHER. This is the title I queried it under.

But super-agent informed me, as I was working on revisions, that GODMOTHER was not a very sexy or shimmery title. So together we brainstormed.

It went through a few test titles such as AMONG THE NIGHTINGALES, before we finally settled on LUMINANCE HOUR. We chose this title because it encompassed the theme of time and light that plays throughout the book.

But luminance is a hard word for people to say (especially when you can't read it in front of you). Super-editor and the fabulous team at HarperTeen decided that it wasn't the right blend of poetic and commercial. So back to the drawing board we went.

This was a hard, hard book to title. I really wanted something that would capture the poetic and lyrical feel of the prose, but was also relevant and catchy in a commercial way. Not easy to do. Not easy at all.

But we did it. The book's new title is....




I'm really happy and satisfied with what we came up with. I think ALL THAT GLOWS is the perfect blend of poetic and commercial, and really captures the feel of Emrys's story. It evokes sunrises, moonlight, magic, love...

Plus here's hoping it makes a super pretty cover!

Here's to glow!

Oct 1, 2012

taking the plunge

Today I decided to get my hair cut. Not just trimmed, but chop, chop short like I did a year ago. The reason? I am in the morning, very lazy and not-functioning for at least 2 hours, and I prefer a hairstyle that will accommodate an "I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-look."

For me this is the fro. A very short and shaggy hairstyle that compliments my curls and requires absolutely no brushing of any sort. I got one last year and really liked the way my hair looked, and how it took so little effort to make it look that way.

I decided to try a new stylist (I don't go to get my haircut very often at all, so I don't have an established, regular stylist). Which didn't turn out so well. I couldn't figure out how to verbalize exactly what I wanted to her, and while she did cut my hair short, it was not in the style I was envisioning/dreaming of. So instead of sitting in the chair and hoping for the best, I left with a not-so-amazing hairstyle.

It took a few hours in the mirror and a lot of nervous pacing, but I finally decided that if I wanted the haircut I was envisioning, I would have to do it myself. 

The best thing about hair? It grows back! And curly hair is very forgiving when it comes to lengths. And I've already trimmed/cut my own bangs before. So I had all those things going for me.

So I grabbed the scissors and took the plunge.

Because I'm in the middle of revisions, I automatically compared hacking off lengths of my own hair to going into my manuscript and drastically changing things. Just like hair always grows back, you'll (hopefully) have backed up versions of the scenes you're changing, so it won't really be a loss if what you're trying doesn't work.

And sometimes, beautiful, wonderful things come out of taking the plunge. Things you'll never discover unless you hold your breath, pick up those proverbial scissors and take the risk.

For those of you who are curious, here's the new, low-maintenance hairstyle. Yay!