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All I need to know about my book, I learned from TV

Okay, that’s not really true, but I did learn something fun about it–in particular the process of writing it–from watching Criminal Minds.  I LOVE Criminal Minds; it’s practically the only show I watch with any kind of regularity.  I’d love it even if it didn’t have Dr. Spencer Reid.*  Most of what you see on TV isn’t true, sure, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt in this case because it was Reid who said it and, as a character notable for his brilliance, he’s more believable if the scriptwriters give him facts to work with.

Anyway, I won’t spoil this week’s episode for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but at one point Reid, JJ, and Morgan are discussing music and Reid tells them that, neurologically speaking, we solidify our appreciation of music at age fourteen.  Our tastes might grow, change, expand, but no music will ever have the same effect on our brains as what we listened to at that specific time in our lives.

*light bulb moment*

A LOT of music has come out since I was fourteen.  It was…a while ago.  (BRB, going to eat a cookie and cry into my wrinkles.  …  …  OK, I’m back.)  When I was writing CODA, though, a significant percentage of the music I listened to and that made it onto the book’s soundtrack were songs I learned and loved, yes, the year I was fourteen.  My first mental images of my protagonist in a club had him dancing to that music.  Some of the songs–hell, maybe all of them–might not be the most shining examples of their kind, but I have such powerful associations with them that they were automatic go-tos when I needed to evoke a specific feeling in myself and pour it onto the page.

So, that’s really interesting to me, and made me wonder if I would’ve written the book differently if I’d known about the age thing.  I think it’s actually possible there’s one small aspect I would have changed.

All through the writing process the book surprised me, marching off in the opposite direction to what I intended, changing and growing and presenting themes and ideas I hadn’t considered.

It’s sort of cool to know that eight months later, it still can.

Em

*Admittedly, not nearly as much.  He’s delicious.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Today feels a little surreal

Yesterday was such an exciting day in so many ways because I got to share my news and countless lovely people – both friends and people I hope will become friends – joined in as I celebrated on Twitter, on here, and even in the chat box of a Words with Friends game.  It took me forever to calm down enough to sleep.

It was weird waking up today to the knowledge that people know now, and I’m officially on the debut author track.  I keep getting little reminders of this, like the notice Mer sent me of my book in Publisher’s Marketplace, or the “coda by emma trevayne” search terms that popped up in my blog stats.  No one’s ever googled that before.

I’ve been saying for about six weeks that there were certain milestones that would make this start feeling real to me.  Human nature, I think, dictates that we’re always a little unwilling to believe when a dream comes true.  I hit about six of those markers yesterday, so I guess now I have to take a deep breath and accept this is actually happening.

As I mentioned in my announcement post, there are so many things I’m looking forward to in the coming year.  Cover art is a big one.  Finally sharing the all-important CODA playlist is another.  There’ll be the day my MS is accepted as final, when I read through the copyedits, hopefully some foreign rights sales…the list goes on.

The two at the top of the list are related, though they’ll be separated by many months.  I can’t wait to dive into edits, because I really want this to be the best book it can be come launch day.

Basically, this entire post is one big excuse to use this:

Bring it, 2012.  I’m so excited.  
And in the meantime, I’m going shopping.  I’m a huge advocate of marking my writing successes with rewards (some of you know about the incredible shoes I bought when I signed with Mer) and there’s a pair of headphones I’ve been promising myself for this moment since last summer.  As I said to Lisa the Excellent Editor yesterday, I can’t figure out whether that’s fitting or ironic, but that’s a joke the rest of you will get when you read CODA. 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Update on the #YesGayYA mess (and yes, I’m calling it a mess)

I wish I could say I’m surprised.

It may be misguided to say that I had difficulty accepting the whole “truth” of the article referenced in my last post because what was detailed there was so counter to my own experience, and indeed I may be guilty of making my own generalizations because of said experience, but nevertheless, I did have a hard time buying that the story as it was laid out was true.  As willing as I was to give the authors of that article the benefit of the doubt, accept that something posted on the Publishers Weekly blog had been fact-checked, and not jump to conclusions simply based on my one case, with my one book, I had a nagging feeling at the back of my brain that there was more to the story.

And that turns out to be the case.

On the wonderful Colleen Lindsay’s blog today, the truth comes out, a truth which makes it clear that, whether the authors of the original article simply took from that agent interaction what they wanted to hear, or whether different motives were at play, the agent in question – and the whole episode – were wildly misrepresented.  I won’t attempt to repeat everything Colleen and her guest blogger, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, say, I’ll just urge you to go and read the post here.

I stand by my opinion that this kind of thing does happen, simply because we live in a world where, well, this kind of thing does happen, sad and unfortunate as that is.  Much of the impetus behind my first post on the subject, however, was my belief that it is dangerous, unhealthy, and sensationalist to bandy about labels like “homophobia” without incontestable grounds for it.  To do so is not just – to put it mildly – unfair to the person about whom it’s being said, it also diminishes the power of such labels, and therefore they mean less in situations when it’s justifiably called for.

Again, we need more of all kinds of realism in our YA, even in the fantastical, the paranormal, the speculative.  It saddens me that a false route was taken in an attempt to make that point.  That, too, diminishes something powerful.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Old news can still be good news

Yes, this is an old thing I’m linking to (old in the web-sense, which means it’s from last year) but it’s interesting and music-related and actually something I thought about a lot while writing Weird Novel, though nothing like it was ever included.

Two notes on this:  1, if you aren’t familiar with The Apples in Stereo, check them out.  2, if you’ve never heard of one, a theremin is an instrument you play without touching it – and that’s pretty cool in and of itself.

Mind-Controlled Theremin

If that’s just a little too weird for you, or maybe you want something more physical and less mental, Imogen Heap recently invented these: Hi-Tech Musical Gloves and I’d give an eyeball for a pair.  Not mine, but, you know, someone’s. 😉

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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White Blank Page is live!

As promised, here’s the link to my critique group’s blog: White Blank Page

10 points to Gryffindor for anyone who catches the musical reference.  Anyone who doesn’t needs to drop whatever they’re doing right now and go familiarize themselves with Mumford & Sons.

xoxo

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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No rest for the wicked (and I don’t want there to be)

It’s a busy busy time.  I might, in a moment of madness, even go so far as to refer to myself as a bee. 

But busy is a good thing, especially the things I’m busy with.  I’m now officially free to start making real headway on Second Novel – YAY!  (Not that I wasn’t free to before, but other things took precedence.)  I’m SO excited to be really writing again, or at least to be staring the blank page in the eye.  Brainstorming comes first, and that in itself is a ton of fun.  I’ve got a great piece of mind-mapping software that lets me go off on all kinds of crazy tangents and keep track of ideas both utterly lunatic and potentially viable.  As much as I’m a “pants” writer (as in, by-the-seat-of, I do very very little outlining) I do need to know where I’m going to start, some major events along the way, and where I plan to end up.  Everything else, well, I trust that my mind and the words will take me to the right places most of the time, and that I’ll be able to do a U-turn when I wind up on the wrong track.

Caffeine: check.

Second Novel playlist: check.  (This will probably change as I get down to specifics, but for now I have one that suits the overall mood.)

Brainstorming file open: check.

A Google history full of truly bizarre searches: check.  This is one of the funniest things about being a writer.  I think most of us must be on watch lists somewhere.

Ready to go!  I’m so excited.

On a somewhat related note, my online critique group is setting up a blog.  We’re all at different stages of the writing game and will all be talking about where we are in the process, how we write, etc.  I’ll be blogging about writing Second Novel here, but will also be doing it there and will post a link just as soon as the blog goes live.

Happy writing!

xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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I HAVE BIG NEWS!

I hinted at this a few days ago, but it’s time to let you all know officially…

I HAVE AN AGENT!

I am now represented by the awesomely talented Meredith Barnes of Lowenstein Associates.  Meredith’s particular skills and her enthusiasm not just for my MS, but the other projects I want to work on in the future make her the perfect agent for me, and I couldn’t be happier or prouder to be working with her.

The next month will be a whirlwind of edits and learning about everything that’s coming up for me.  I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of this, holding my hand and cheerleading and being generally awesome.  I wouldn’t be here without you.

Onwards!

xoxo

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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