I’ve totally rewritten my YA modern fantasy, The Girl Who Saw Invisible Stars, because I’m a much better writer now.* It is vampire and werewolf-free and doesn’t take place in a creepy prep school. Completely PG, no sex or graphic violence.** http://www.wattpad.com/story/33790532
*No snide comments, or at least say them behind my back.
**Then why bother reading it? Because you are a 12-15 year-old girl, you know one, or you are humoring me.
As it turns out A River Sutra is on a shelf so high it can’t be reached without a ladder, and someone has borrowed my Dave Barry collection. I don’t remember who and they probably don’t remember me either. So I am forced to reread The Teachings of Don B., which allows me to do some shameless and improved name dropping, as the late Donald Barthelme once shared a cab with me, and we also went to the same party.
After reading approximately 20,000 pages of YA since late October* I feel I need a short break from talking tigers, teens with superpowers and paranormal romance and trilogies. So this week I’m going to reread A River Sutra and Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs. Think of it as a sorbet between courses, a sort of palate cleanser.
Not hyperbole, honest. It’s research and I’m a very fast reader. Also, I have no life. Ok, that is hyperbole. No…not hyperbole… a total lie. I just said it to be funny.
Have you ever noticed that an inordinate number of YA novels are set in prep schools?* Sometimes these are weird creepy prep schools especially designed to create a Dystopian environment. I think the authors are working too hard. If you want Dystopian, set in a public high school, and VOILA! I speak from personal experience.
*Of course you haven’t. You don’t read YA, which is too bad.
In my extensive research on YA books I have discovered there are certain recurring themes and elements: prophetic dreams, girls with secret destructive powers they didn’t know about, and boys who pretend not to like girls they are totally crazy about, because they want to protect them, to name a few. I could say all of these are cliched and formulaic, except I have used them in two of the three novels I’ve written. So I’m going to say they demonstrate a deep understanding of the adolescent psyche.
Read two books of two different 4 book tomes and realized I didn’t care what happened next. The good news is that I’ve saved approximately $36, since I won’t buy the other two of either series. The bad news is I wasted $36 coming to that conclusion.
Last night (or more accurately, this morning) I woke up at 3:45 and couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I said “I’m going to write!” And I wrote for an hour! And I’m afraid to look at it, because, who knows, I may have written something devoid of adjectives. I may have written a very intricate recipe for spaghetti sauce, or I may have written something in the ‘If you give a monkey a typewriter he will eventually write Hamlet’ genre.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to send a query on Friday the 13th. That’s just an excuse.
So he sent me a rejection letter, but it was long, very flattering, and told me how he thought I could make the novel better. He also said to keep in touch. And, guess what!* I was already making the exact same kind of changes he suggested.
*This is just a figure of speech. You don’t have to guess. I won’t be offended.
I took the bold step of adding a link to my blog in my email signature.* And I included it in an email I sent to an agent, fairly confident she’d never click on it. However, if she did, I would like to say that I think lawyers make wonderful agents, and none of the characters in the novel, which doesn’t begin with a prophetic dream, ever stick their tongues out.**
*I really, really tried to make the syntax work, but I gave up and finished breakfast instead.
**I’m not sure if the syntax works either, so I’m going to go have a second cup of coffee.