Monday, September 12, 2011

NEW! BOOKS! Or, Writing Is Never a Waste

(First, thank you. Thank you so very very much for being excited with me! It means the world to me that you are here, reading, and that you'll keep reading. You rock.)

So. Umm. Yeah.

The books.

It's weird, because in Isadora's case I've spent so long NOT telling anyone what it's about. And in MIND GAME'S case, well, it hasn't been around for very long.

(Yeah, this is the funny part of the deal: I sold the book I've spent the most time working on [eighteen months? Two years? Four different times of throwing out 50 or 100 pages and starting over] and the book I've spent the least amount of time working on. Because yes, for those who have been asking, MIND GAMES is my nine-day novel. But that's totally misleading, and I'll tell you why. As soon as I can get out of this parenthetical statement.)

(I GOT OUT!)

(Wait.)

(Moving on.)

Those of you who have been around for a while might be thinking--a book using Egyptian mythology, and a book using psychics and mind-readers? Those sound just like KEEPING KING TUT (the first novel I ever wrote) and FLASH (the second novel I ever wrote, the first YA I ever wrote, and the book that got me Marvelous Michelle). (Also similar to the third novel I ever wrote, which was a companion to FLASH, which I abandoned when FLASH didn't sell.)

To which I would respond: Well, yes. And no. Because here is where I am going to tell you that no book is ever a waste. MIND GAMES and FLOOD AND STONE are not those early books. But they wouldn't exist without them.

I spent a ton of time researching Egyptian mythology and history for my disastrously boring middle grade novel. So when I needed something new to write and my friend Natalie suggested I do something with Egyptian mythology since I had already put in all of that time, Isadora was born.

It was a very long, painful, gruesome birth. The kind of birth story that makes you not want to have kids, ever. (I mean, makes you not want to write books, ever.) I got to 100 pages and realized something was not working. I set it aside. Usually this is the kiss of death for books, but Isadora's voice wouldn't leave me alone. I started again. It still wasn't working. I set it aside.

Rinse. Repeat.

But in the end, Isadora, the teenage daughter of Ancient Egyptian gods, knew she wanted her story told, and also knew how she wanted it told. When I finally gave up trying to make it what I thought it should be, lo and behold it became exactly what it needed to be. It's about family. It's about that terrible time when, as a young teenager, you realize your parents aren't perfect. (Made even worse when your imperfect mother is the freaking goddess of motherhood.) It's about being too stubborn to accept love when it is given if it isn't given in the exact way you think you need it.

Also museums and slushies and first kisses and carne asada french fries and scarab beetles and blue eyes and interior design and snakes and skeezy relatives.

MIND GAMES was a bit different. Because yes, I wrote the book as it is now in nine days. And it wasn't a rewrite of those other books. It has different characters, an entirely new setting, an entirely different plot. But. But. It is the brainchild of two complete manuscripts and ten years (no, seriously, TEN YEARS) of daydreaming and worldbuilding and imagining and trying to figure out how to tell a story with these elements that I found so fascinating.

So yes. A nine day draft, informed by two complete manuscripts and ten years of dreaming. And, honestly, if it weren't for those two failed books, and for every book that has happened since, I wouldn't have been able to write MIND GAMES. I took the kernels of the ideas that I loved, and happily I am finally to a place in my writing where I was able to capture the type of story that I wanted to tell with those ideas. It's dark. It's a bit disturbing. It's a complicated format (non-linear, two POVs). It's about two sisters, and love, and impossible choices. It's about trying to do the right thing when everything around you is always wrong.

Oh, yeah, and it's about people who can read minds and see the future and hang out with devastatingly handsome (and probably very bad for you) boys.

In the end, these are two entirely new books. But they are two entirely new books that would be impossible without all of the books that came before them. So if you are a writer, and you're sad that you might have to leave an early manuscript behind, please know that it's never a waste. You learned. You grew as a writer. You wrote what you could when you could, and what you write in the future will always, always benefit from what you wrote in the past.

(See, if you were a psychic you'd already know this.)

(You'd probably also be in my book. And that would be a bad thing. So be glad you aren't a psychic, and instead have to learn these things through trial and error. Or reading my blog. Which hopefully is neither a trial nor an error.)

28 comments:

Kristan said...

So glad you were able to grow those seeds into the plants/flowers/books they were supposed to be! And I love Egyptian mythology.

We Heart YA said...

Okay, those books? Sound. AWESOME.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I totally agree: writing may not be efficient, but it's never a waste.

Cecelia said...

Both of those books sound fantastic (can NOT wait) - and thank you for the encouraging words!

Michelle Wolfson said...

I think when you wrote Isadora's voice wouldn't leave you alone, you really meant Michelle wouldn't leave you alone. I cried (but tried to hide it) every time you set Isadora aside. Ok, I didn't try to hide it. Because I looooooove Isadora.

And then you hit me with Mind Games. And whoa. Or wow. Or both.

Now stop blogging and go write the sequel to Mind Games please.

What?? I said please.

heidikins said...

I am so happy to hear about Isadora!!! It is perhaps my favorite news EVER! Just so you know, Egypt Game is next to your books on my bookshelf. :)

xox

Jessie Oliveros said...

I just read this and your last post. That's amazing...two books a year! We have a lot to look forward to. And it's good to know that the stories I love might not be lost forever. :) (And there is no excuse for nine days. Nine days is nine days and is just incredible.)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Yay for two books a year! So excited for you. Mind Games and Flood and Stone sound amazing. And I know the unnamed standalone will be awesome as well! Can't wait to find out what that is!

Tina Moss said...

Is 2012 here yet? You tell us about these awesome books and your journey writing them, but...but...we can't read them yet??? *cries*

erica and christy said...

I love that you share your writing journey with the blogosphere. Writers like me appreciate it. I left a manuscript behind recently, but did find a way to use the time and work I'd put into it in another. Someday,a day farther away than it is near, I will write a manuscript in two months. No, it's not nine days, but it's a goal! You're my inspiration! Thanks again! (And yes, go write that sequel!) Christy

Lexie said...

It's so true, though. As a writer, every piece of writing means something. If you write a 10k manuscript then abandon it 'cause you think it's shite, that doesn't mean you didn't gain anything from the failed attempt. There's always something you can take away from it.
On another note . . . nine days? I know you explained, but . . . wow. How long is it?

Megs said...

Oh, I miss a few days, and now look: more announcements and more books. HOORAY! Belated congratulations! (Although, congratulations are probably always in order for some reason or another, especially for you. ;) ) I am SO looking forward to these, especially Isadora's story. I too am a sucker for mythology.

Hugs and love!!! (And THANKS for keeping us all entertained!) :)

Hannah said...

Yeah when I tried writing my book the way I wanted it.... It was a complete disaster. It wasn't that bad. It wasn't that good either. Lucky for me, I figured it out by writing chapter 5.. Perfect. So excited for the books. Did you have to tell me now? I lose my mind waiting a week. A year or more..... I might not be alive.

Daisy Whitney said...

Books give birth to other books. Lots of spawning going on.

Anita Saxena said...

Congratulations quadruple times! Your success is such an inspiration to us all. Can't wait to read these books when they release.

Michelle said...

Kiersten, please tell us we'll get to read them in 2012!

Whirlochre said...

Hurrah for recycling!

Hotly awaiting a series of novels based on your teenage bra poem...

LinWash said...

Glad we get to meet Isadora.

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I seriously love you for walking us through the 10 years and unpublished books that got you to the 9 day novel. I was starting to hyperventilate again. :o) Seriously, I could not be happier for you. You deserve every good thing coming your way and I hope you know what a great role model and big "sistah" you are for the rest of us. (((hugs)))

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Supercalafragulations on your book deal! I saw the announcement on Publisher's Marketplace today, and I'm looking forward to reading all four!

Taffy said...

Okay. Ready. Ready to read the next book! THANKS for the not-really-nine-days-but-kinda-sorta talk. It actually gives me a boast that it was ten years in the making but formed in less than two weeks. Love it. There is hope for my work!

Kate said...

Thanks for the advice, it's great stuff!
Although, I wouldn't mind being a psychic, and being in one of your books wouldn't be oh so bad, maybe. . . :)
Can't wait to read your next adventures! I'm glad you endured and gave birth to them, I mean um, wrote them! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this.

Thank you for encouraging me to press on, whether what I'm writing now will become an insanely popular book or not.

Thank you for reminding me that just because a certain mish-mash of scenarios won't work for one book, doesn't mean that I can never perfect those scenarios in another book.

And thank you for reassuring me that books that are dark and disturbing and have multiple POVs devastingly handsome (and probably very bad for you) boys are in vogue. Because that sort of story is EXACTLY what I'm hoping to achieve in the draft I'm currently laboring to bring to life.

Thank you!

-Christine from Arizona

Claire Dawn said...

So I'm slow, and I've just seen the sale on PM. Congrats! I'm looking forward to them already. Is it 2013 yet?

Elaine AM Smith said...

I love the idea of making sure no good research goes to waste. Isadora is a great name, I can't wait to read her story.

arihart said...

Wow. I'm still impressed that you did it in 9 days!!! But I'm so glad we have more books to look forward to. They both sound so amazing :)

It's nice to know that nothing is wasted.

CONGRATS AGAIN!!!

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Katrina L. Lantz said...

Thank you for this post. This combined with Beth Revis' vlog on ten manuscripts and failure give me hope for my own dead MSs. You guys rock.