No writer’s block anymore! At least for now. I got up this morning, day 15 in my unofficial participation of National Novel Writing Month, and the words swam out. I’m almost done fixing the middle mess I had from the first draft, and my first and second halves are almost completely sewn together. I don’t think the chapters I’ve written are brilliant, but they’re a good starting point — a first draft for my middle — and now, I plan to continue revising to the end of the novel and then start again from the beginning, paying particular attention to that fuzzy middle.
Also, as promised, here are some highlights of the talk given by author Kathi Appelt and her agent Emily Van Beek of Pippin Properties at the Brazos Valley SCBWI conference on Saturday. It was great meeting them both, and congrats to them both on The Underneath. I haven’t read it yet, but after hearing them at this conference, it’s in my to-read list.
One of the things that really inspired me in their talk was when Kathi explained that after she signed with Pippin, it was a year before she wrote anything, and Emily was very supportive. Kathi signed with Pippin after a successful career writing picture books, but she wanted to move onto bigger projects. That, however, proved daunting, and after a year of being scared to try, Kathi asked Emily if they could set a fake deadline of 25 pages a week submitted to Emily, just to get Kathi going and keep her on track. That was the start of The Underneath, and it went through eight drafts, with Emily giving feedback, before they felt it was polished enough to take to publishing houses. Emily sold the book in a two-book deal.
This is such a great story of an agent working with an author. But it’s also such an inspiration for those us — me included — who sometimes procrastinate to avoid writing something bad. The important thing is not that we write well every time we sit at the computer. The important thing is that we write. On days that our writing isn’t brilliant, and there will be many of those, we have revision — eight drafts, more maybe. Whatever it takes to get it the best that it can be.
So, thanks to Kathi and Emily for this inspiring story. Anyone got any other inspiring stories?