Monday, February 28, 2011

To find the words, first you must find the time.

Clementine, yesterday: ear infection from a week and a half ago came roaring back, along with a 104.4 fever, a mysterious swollen eye, and, the cherry on the cake of her day: molars coming in. Great timing, molars! Poor sweet Pie was miserable, and as you know, miserable baby = miserable parents. It's just so hard, being so powerless beyond a little bottle of children's Tylenol and lots of kisses and cuddles. Anyway, another much-needed Sunday family day fell by the wayside. 

She's on the mend now, after a trip to urgent care (why does this have to happen on the weekend??) but it's just one of those things that kicks writing to the wayside. I need to seize the minutes and go and write NOW while she's napping, but I just wanted to pop in here and say hi.

I am writing every morning (except Sundays, usually for reasons of fun, not misery), and the new book (the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone) grows steadily. I am deeply excited about this story. I am also deeply excited that it looks like VERY SOON I will be able to share the ARC cover and copy for Daughter of Smoke and Bone with you. Yay! At last! It's been quite a process, and I *think* I'll be able to share a little of that process, though I have not been directly involved in it. Little, Brown has been great about keeping me posted on the daily developments. It's a nail-biting thing for an author, waiting for their cover! Waiting to see the public face of the thing they have toiled at for so long -- it's weird that we have nothing to do with it, but also, generally right. Most authors have no expertise in design or marketing, so we just sit on our hands and mumble and fret and stress our editors out with our worries :-)

There's a lot going on right now, from behind-the-scenes book stuff to life stuff, but it is critical that the butt goes in the chair every day (sick baby being the exception to that, obviously) and that the new book continues to grow. That is my job #1 as a writer -- as Max* would say, "A writer must write! -- and it gets a bit harder during pre-publication with all the excitement, but one must focus. FOCUS, I say! (to myself)

For me, the process of writing a novel can be boiled down to: writing and writing until I find the story, and writing and writing until I find the right words to tell the story with. It's twofold. The narrative/plot/storytelling is one major component, and the words/prose are the other. Between the two lies the emotional heart, the center, the axis. That's the thing that makes you care about it (or not), and it's dependent on both the storytelling and the particular words that tell the story. I want to get into that in more detail, and I will, but not now. Right now I need to be writing and writing and hopefully finding!

I hope you all are well! Happy Monday!

Meanwhile, a happier Pie over the weekend, when Kira at A Children's Place (our great local indie children's bookstore) let her "help" stock stuffed animals:

photo by Kira Porton

photo by Kira Porton

photo by Kira Porton

(You might be thinking from the book selection behind C that those don't look so "childrensy" but that's the small, well-curated parents' section, which I think is a great idea :-)

*Max Makes a Million by Maira Kalman, my all-time-favorite picture book!


tone almhjell said...

Ugh, ear infections are the worst! Magnus only had the one when he was about nine month, but that was misery incarnate. So painful. Poor, sweet little Pie. Get well soon <3

Can't wait to see ARC cover! Yay!

Alexandra Saperstein said...

Yay! I see the Guernsey and the Literary Potato Peel Pie Society on their bookshelf! I love that store and then forget about it somehow! (Thats where her airplane mouse is from!)

Faith Pray said...

You just can't get any cuter than baby C! I am so glad I stopped to read your blog today. How to get in the chair - that is what I am trying to figure out lately, with four little ones and everything else clamoring for my attention. Would Agatha Christie have been able to write and publish her 80 novels, 50 plays and 120 short stories with facebook, twitter, blogspot and all the other important writerly hotspots on the scene? That is what I'm pondering lately. As usual, I'm inspired by your example. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

I'm glad that Clementine is feeling better. It's horrible when a child is sick!

I can't wait to read about your process. I've been very impressed with your prose, and I look forward to seeing how you find your story AND your words.

Msb said...

Yes, children, or as I like to refer to them, parasites, have a way of interfering with one's good intentions.

Being a new writer, I'm so very curious about your process so I'm very grateful for your discussion on the craft itself. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And, yes, more please.

I've come to reading late in life. It tickles me to note that I've read many of the titles behind your sweet Pie. In a strange way it makes me feel more like a player in a game that has always eluded me.

Catherine Denton said...

Poor little Clementine! Hope she's better.

I enjoy hearing your process. I devoured Silksinger over the weekend (yes, I know I'm WAY behind). I felt sad after finishing, didn't want it to be over. :( Can't wait for your new one!
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Unknown said...

Can't wait for your new books and for more on your process. I struggle with "writing to find the story." Interesting way to look at it.

Adorable photos, as usual :)

Liz said...

Get well wishes for Pie!

As with so many others, waiting to read more on your writing process. Compared to others, your approach makes the most sense, and I'm thankful that you share. Reading things like sit butt in chair until you sweat blood doesn't really help much. Writing about the story to find the story is a pearl. Thanks for that!

Can't wait to read your new book and see the cover art. Is Jim's work included in any way?

I saw Voodoo Donuts on an episode of Supernatural a few weeks ago, and I felt strangely in the loop after having read about them in one of your neighborhood posts. Cool.

Take care, Portland people.

R.L. LaFevers said...

That Clementine is such a cutie! It seems wretchedly unfair that she should have to suffer with such an ugly earache and assortment of other maladies! Here's wishing her a speedy recovery!

Also? For me, the process of writing a novel can be boiled down to: writing and writing until I find the story, and writing and writing until I find the right words to tell the story with.

Yes. This. This describes it so perfectly!

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