Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meet Aprilynne Pike, Best-Selling YA Author

A visit with Aprilynne Pike, part 3 of a discussion panel from Storymakers writer’s conference. (Our first two were with Dan Wells and Stephanie Black)

Aprilynne Pike, author of New York Times best sellers Wings and Spells, added a fresh voice to the discussion. I was impressed with her no-nonsense point of view both times I came to hear her speak.

Aprilynne doesn’t edit as she writes except for typos. Instead, she rereads what she just wrote the next day for 20 minutes and makes minor changes then.

She says “I swear by outlines,” referring to a 60 point outline that incorporates pacing. She jokes about having to put two child gates across the door to get her writing time in because there is always more laundry, dishes, and kids to fill your time. “You have to make (writing) a priority. Most authors give up T.V. to make time.”

“Writing is work, even when it’s fun. A manuscript becomes a novel with work!” She explained that in order for books to be best sellers, agents must be able to classify them. In other words, it’s a bad idea to put “my work transcends classification” on your query. Know your genre and be sure your book can be classified. She notes,“a marketable book gets you an agent faster than a beautiful one.”

When asked about agents, Aprilynne replied, “I wanted to be a best selling author. For that I needed to be in the top 6 publishing houses.” An agent was vital to that plan. She wrote 3 ½ books, and spent 2 ½ years querying agents—not publishers. In the end her persistence paid off and with the help of her agent, she has achieved her goal of being a best seller. She said, “your agent should be buying into you, not just your book. You need to find someone like that.” She recommended following Agent Kristen Nelson’s Pub Rants blog to get a good feel for the agent side of the industry.

She cautions against being scammed by a bad agent. “A bad agent is way worse than no agent. You should look up the predators and editors website.

I visited with Aprilynne in the bookstore as she put out some more copies. She signed my copies of Wings and Spells—great reads, both of them. I’m happy to report that in person, she is very nice with a quick sense of humor.

Keep an eye out for her third book, Illusions which is due out May 3rd, 2011.

If you follow her blog then you might have heard her good news. She had her baby at home (she was a doula in her pre-bestseller life) on November 27th. Cute little thing too. You should drop in and wish her well!

Have any of you read her books? What did you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reflecting on NaNoWriMo

November is over, a time for reflection on gratitude—and this crazy idea to write 50,000 words in one month.

As of November 30th, my word count on my YA dystopian novel, Colorless, stood at 54,588 words. I should have a good version ready for readers by spring. I could have done more that week, but opted to do the whole Thanksgiving/snowday/family thing instead.

Now is the time for thankful hearts, exercise machines, and reflections on the lessons learned during NaNoWriMo.

Even something as solitary as writing is more fun with friends—be it in person or online.

Some jewels of wisdom I gleaned by following @FakeNNWMTips on twitter:

“Characters with verbal tics add to word count and have more personality! ‘Two…two birds with, you know, a stone.’ See? #nanowrimo”

“Keep at it! You’re only making a penny per word less than Charles Dickens! #nanowrimo”

I learned that while I can write fast—up to 6,000 words in one day—I do better work and avoid burnout if I plug along and write about 1,000 words a day.

I can’t promise that I’ll do NaNo again next year, but I do know that I have more to work with now than I ever have this early in the winter/writing season.

And to all those valiant Nanoers still emerging bleary-eyed from the trenches. Take a shower, my friends, it’s over. Find those critters--AKA, your kids--give ‘em a squeeze, and skip off for a winter buried in edits. Such are the joys of writers.

Did any of you learn something new about yourself this last month?