Thursday, October 28, 2010

Editorially Speaking

Yesterday I spent an hour on the phone with my editor, Liz Szabla.  She is amazing, in so many ways.  I think our finding each other was kismet because she really gets me as a writer and as a person.  Back when GET WELL SOON was in its early stages, and Feiwel and Friends, my publisher, was also in its early stages, Liz and I shared tons of email banter and book chat.  Now that I'm working on my fourth novel with her, and we have the whole revision process pretty much down, we don't talk nearly as much.  Which is sad.  That, coupled with always missing each other when a conference is in town, has made me feel somewhat distant from Liz, the person.  So this talk with her yesterday really energized me.  We discussed several new ideas I had and walked through them a bit, talked about some industry stuff, and brainstormed a lot.  But we also just talked about life, which was lovely.  One of my favorite times spent with Liz was when I was in New York City, I believe for NCTE, and Liz and I took a walk through Central Park and then had tea and treats at a delightful little bakery.  I wish there were more chances for us to hang out like that.  I sometimes wonder how different my life as an author would be if I lived in New York City.  Would I have all sorts of author friends?  Would I have more opportunities for celebrity?  Would the publishing world take more notice if I were readily in their face?  Who knows.  Moving to New York is not something I ever foresee happening in my life.  I lived there for one summer when I was twenty, and it was perfect.  For my twenty year-old self.  It's too fast-paced and self-referential for the grown-up me.  Plus, I can't stand the tightness and loudness and smelliness of living in a city, which is why I moved out of Chicago six years ago.  I'm very sensitive, senses-wise, so cities are great to visit, not great to try and sleep in.

After our talk, I decided to try and start one of the books Liz and I discussed.  Just to feel it out.  And instead of writing into a  notebook, I began typing it into a computer.  It SUCKED.  I got out two sentences, and those took me several minutes.  Typing hung me up on words and spaces and misspellings.  I don't think I'll ever be able to creatively write a book directly onto a computer.  Sigh.  Which means I'll always be in the position I'm in now: dreading my typing hour or two each day until I finally get all my 397 pages trapped in my computer.  Not really dreading.  It's not that bad.  It sure as hell beats a commute.


Natalie Whipple said...

You have to do what works for you. I had this grand idea that I would do my rewrite by hand, and yeah, it sucked. I wrote like two pages and it was totally lame. So I went back to my keyboard.

But I can never make notes or plot or plan on a computer! I have to write that up in a notebook. Go figure.

I also really enjoyed hearing about your relationship with your editor. Four years! That's awesome.

Julie H said...

I sometimes wonder if anyone who's super young now will write in notebooks, or every kid will only and always type things. What if they stop selling cool notebooks?