When we started this blog, we decided it would be a good idea for the authors' first posts to explain what writing outside the lines meant to them. I have begun composing a post like that, and stopped, about five times.
I do not want to think about it right now, okay? I am not in a Happy Place. One of my editors is supposed to be reading my to-be-published manuscript and sending me her notes on revising it, like, YESTERDAY. My other editor is considering buying another novel from me AS WE SPEAK. Worst of all, The Novel I Love So Much That I Will Just Die If It Isn't Published is out on submission RIGHT NOW!
(Note: I won't actually die if nobody buys this novel. A lot of my novels have not sold, and I am not dead yet. But this one is going to hurt.)
The last thing I want to do is dwell on how my writing doesn't fit in and isn't best-selling; how I have a knack for comedy in a dark market, a taste for unglamorous subject matter, and an absolute insistence on a happy ending (and killing the hero and having him meet the heroine in heaven DOES NOT COUNT). Like Tara, I write the book I want to read. That standard won't change, even if it damages my career. This business will break your heart, and if writing isn't fun, none of this is worth it. Period.
So come back in December and maybe I'll be in a mood to post about being thankful and the season of giving and stuff. Right now I'm going to stop whining and give away books.
You have 5 chances to win 1 book each, and you can choose from anything I've got:
MAJOR CRUSH. Hey, aspiring authors, don't write a romantic comedy set in marching band, okay? The only way that's going to be your first sale is if there happens to be a band geek working as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster. (Thank you Katie!)
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR + the sequel, ENDLESS SUMMER, in one volume. Full of romance cliches like a love triangle, pretending to date one boy to make another boy jealous, and falling in love with your BFF. You wouldn't like it.
THE EX GAMES. Proves to my critique partner that you can too say "fire crotch" in a teen romantic comedy. Ha!
GOING TOO FAR. About a 17-year-old Teen At Risk who falls in love with the 19-year-old cop who arrested her. The book I have loved the most, and therefore the hardest one to sell--though I'm afraid The Book I Love So Much That I Will Just Die If It Doesn't Sell is about to give GOING TOO FAR a run for its money.
FORGET YOU. Represents my finest triumph, because I wrote inside the lines for once. I had the good sense to take the __ out before this book was published. You should never, ever put a __ in your teen romantic drama in the first place. When my editor and I discussed the revision of this book, she did NOT tell me to take the __ out. She told me to take out only one scene with the __ because it wasn't working for her. I e-mailed her back, saying, "Upon reflection, I am going to take the __ out of the whole novel because it's not very romantic." She replied, "I'll bet that sentence has never been written before in the history of English."
I am going to draw 5 winners from the comments. Open to U.S. addresses only, please. Contest closes on December 15. Each of you will win 1 of my books of your choice. All you have to do is guess what the __ is. Also e-mail me at email@example.com so I can contact you if you win.
You don't have to guess correctly, because you won't.
Edited 12/2 to add: Okay, folks, let's keep those guesses clean(er). There are certain things even I would not have put in a YA novel in the first place.
Hint: the guesses closest to being correct have been "porcupine," "cursing parrot," and "mangy rabid dog."
Edited 12/16 to add: Thanks to everyone for your guesses and your kind comments about my writing! Congratulations to the winners drawn at random: Snazel, Khyla, Tammara, Samantha Jo, and Katelyn!