Hello! I recently returned from the SCBWI Western Washington, which was a truly fabulous conference where I got to listen to incredible keynotes from such authors as Adam Rex, Grace Lin, Ellen Hopkins and Jon Scieszka (these people have turned the Power Point presentation into an elite art form), where I met with very talented and friendly editors and agents, and also got a chance to meet some blog readers in person (hello blog readers! Thank you for introducing yourself!).
I realized this morning on the bus that by Friday I will have worked 28 out of the last 31 days on account of going to conferences three out of the last four weekends, and thus whatever brain resources I have left at my disposal today are going straight to clients and work, where they are most needed. It’s like mental triage.
So rather than risk giving you hallucinatory advice like “only query in iambic pentameter” and “the best synopses include every single character in your entire manuscript no matter how minor,” I thought I’d turn it over to you for an open thread.
Why can’t it be both? Kidding and crack? Let’s not limit our options.
Although to be honest, I’m torn here. I suppose I could admit that Stephanie Meyer has a few flaws as a writer.
But it’s so much fun to keep this going……
Being me, I’ve decided to keep this going.
Stephanie Meyer is the author’s author. She is the epitome of what we should all strive for. The 21st Century will become forever known as the Stephanie Meyer epoch.
Stephen King is just jealous of her awesomeness. Besides, he’s secretly in love with her. It’s so obvious.
I can’t do it.
Yes. I’m kidding. I was kidding from the start.
Stephen King is a highly gifted writer, despite his book On Writing. (Which was not. On writing.)
Stephanie Meyer writes enjoyable romance thrillers. For the genre, she’s not half-bad. She tells a good story.
We need to all step back and admit SM and SK have something whether we like it or not. They have fans. I want fans. I guess poor writing is only poor to some of us.So stop arguing.
Mira, like it or not you have replaced Nathan in my heart or maybe that’s my head. Your like a little worm that has infested my brain, and tickles the nerves that control my mouth; resulting in the uncontrollable urge to lift one or sometimes two corners of my mouth. On occasion it causes a strange noise to come out of me.
Your title made me want to drink coffee instantly.
Too bad I’m allergic to caffeine. 🙁
I’ll have to live vicariously through you.
Mira, like it or not you have replaced Nathan in my heart or maybe that’s my head. Your like a little worm that has infested my brain, and tickles the nerves that control my mouth; resulting in the uncontrollable urge to lift one or sometimes two corners. On occasion it causes a strange noise to come out of me.
(Simply put-You make me smile and sometimes lol:)
Board and Officers says
Nathan, it was wonderful to meet you at the SCBWI conference. It’s always much nicer to meet someone in person. I know how you feel-I crashed for 10 hours after I got home.
Stop. I’m sure there’s room enough in your heart for more than one. I’ll just squish in next to Nathan.
I’ve been known to make strange sounds, too. Unfortunately, it’s usually at the dinner table.
The last time it happened, they said I have to eat in the laundry room until they changed their minds.
Um…..that was three months ago. I wonder when they’ll let me out?
Actually, Jo, I know you don’t mean to, and your compliments mean alot, but your comments….I’m actually feeling alittle upset right now.
I really don’t want to take away from Nathan’s blog. I don’t want to be too strong a presence here.
Nathan, once again, please let me know if I ever over-step, or if you ever want me to dial it back.
I will. You’re in charge.
Jillian gets to pick from thirty men. Woohoo! All of whom look pretty damn good without their shirts, judging from next week’s previews.
Nate Dog’s got a bit of the Modine about him. Nice jacket, btw.
I’m envious of all the dreams turned stories. My dreams are either much too nonsensical or much too boring (oh, here I am again unable to remember the combination to my high school locker for the 157th time).
Mira and Marilyn crack me up too.
Stop being so paranoid. I was just doing a little stalking to remind you how poor Nathan must feel.
Nathan, all is well, I still read your post first.
Mira, you have officially been moved to second, and if you want me to, I will move you to last. Of course that means what you write will stand out in my mind more, because it will be the last thing placed in there. Let me know your desires. PS Mira you can never be as cute IMO as Nathan is. Please no crying, Mira, I know you are crushed.
PS Does anyone realize how hard it is to go from texting to typing the real way?
I have a question for anyone who can help me. Is the last Twilight book when she has the baby still considered YA. At what point does it cross the line? My MC just about gets married but doesn’t. I think it should be YA, but it really almost crosses over IMO because of the near marriage, but if Breaking Dawn doesn’t then mine definitely does not. I am having a rough time deciding the genre.
Bane of Anubis says
Anon 11:22 – as long as it appeals to the YA audience, it’s YA – marriage and having children don’t discount it (b/c, as I remember learning when I taught a Princeton Review SAT class, many high school girls are quite excited about marriage and families).
Frequently, a category isn’t defined by the subject matter, but by how the subject matter is written/addressed.
Thank-you, B of A.
Anonymous @ 11:22 AM
Have you ever watched a Disney movie? The MC always gets married at the end. While age of the MC maybe a factor, I would say that the YA genera had more to do w/ style, voice and content.
That being said, never base anything on Twilight. Ever. It had very few things going for it IMO. And this is a girl just barely out of her teens telling you this. 😛
I like the discussion though. I loved HP, but always wondered how Harry managed to save himself through time travel in the third book. Aw, well, can’t have him dying quite so early, right? He has 4 more books to go. 😉
Okay. I feel better. And I do appreciate the positive feedback – it means alot to me.
But I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll never stalk again.
I did take exception to one thing that you said, though. What do you mean I’ll never be as cute as Nathan? Um, excuse me? Hello? Not as cute as Nathan? I think not.
I mean, I don’t want to first on the blog, but I don’t mind being cuter than Nathan.
Let me just go look at that picture again…..
Oh. No. I’m not cuter than Nathan.
Nathan. Are you doing anything tonight? I could pop over, say after 9, I’m free then. Hope you don’t mind if I drop by without calling. I’ll just let myself in by the window, okay?
Nathan Bransford says
Annnnnnnnd, that’s where I draw the line.
Jill Lynn says
Mira, I appreciate that you credited me with writing part of your sentence. It wasn’t necessary. Really.was.not.
That was not what I meant by that. It was a joke about her stalking. I didn’t think about how that would feel to you.
Been watching too much Two and a Half Men, and was comparing Rose and Mira. Although Mira you are much sweeter, and if I was going to have a stalke it would be you not Rose, although I can think of a few other people that would be better yet.
Here’s what I’ve been wondering.
Given the way things work these days, how is the percentage of clients an agent will never meet in person?
I actually have no cause to comment, excep that the word verification is so amusing.
Blythy. Isn’t that terrific? Now, Blythly would have been better, but blythy is good too. It brings back mental pictures of Gilbert Blythe.
Hmm…maybe I need some coffee too.
Happy power cord day everyone! What did I miss? Wow. Nathan had to put the smack down huh? Interesting.
So Nathan – any new topics – hallucinatory or not?
Let’s talk about Brangelina then. WOW.
Yes, I had been trying to avoid the ‘cute’ topic because I know Nathan is happily married.
Sigh. Off limits.
But then I went there, and naturally it went further.
So, I want to be clear. I am stalking Nathan because I want him to be my agent.
A cute agent. But an agent nonetheless.
Can anyone direct me to blogs for published writers looking to discuss how to STAY in the biz, as opposed to newbs looking to break into the biz (as the agents blogs are)?
Thanks in advance.
Newsflash! You have to have more than a sentence to have an agent. Like…a lot of them. Maybe ten thousand or something.
But maybe Nathan will decide to be the first Twitter Agent…publishing Twitter-stories! 😀
Really? I’m new to this whole writing thing.
Well, that sentence wasn’t too hard to write. Although I did have Jill Lynn’s help, of course. Lots of help. I really should credit Jill Lynn with the whole thing, actually.
Anyway, how hard can another 10,000 words be?
Should be a breeze.
ooh. I was talking sentences…not words. 🙂
However, if you write for a younger audience 10k words would work. I would probably use simpler words though. 🙂
No way. I’m not spoon-feeding my writing to 5 year olds.
If they can’t understand the sentence ‘The ostrich-pickle conspiracy vociferously sanctified chopped liver,’ they can just go look it up.
So, where’s Nathan? Are you taking another day off?
Did you get some rest?
I can’t wait for a new blog post – Even if it’s another open thread!!! I guess I’m just not feeling the comments from yesterday/today. *sigh*
Patrick Rodgers says
So Mira you do have crack to snort, how about I meet you at 9 at Nathan’s house and we can all snort it together***
*** Disclaimer the above post was meant in a humorous way. At not time does the author condone snorting crack nor smoking it either. Crack is whack per say. If you do not have a sense of humor please have someone smash your face in with a shovel. Thank you.
Ok I am feeling frisky today lets continue on with the Stephanie Meyer discussion.
I have always granted her one true talent and that’s her ability to speak to her target audience hence the insane amount of love she has garnered from that crowd.
She does emotions very well, she can write the emotion of a scene or a character with utmost skill. This is why her target audience that of females and teenage females adore her because she captures those emotions so well.
But outside of that everything about her writing is horrendously bad. She couldn’t write an action scene to save her life. She doesn’t develop her characters beyond the stereotype cliche she begins them with and her conflict resolution is the single worst thing ever put to paper.
Oh well nice to meet you guess we won’t fight even though the last like 4 chapters have been building up for a fight. Lets hug and go out separate ways so we can end this book already. God read the end of Breaking Dawn the single worst ending to any book ever and you will know what I mean.
Yes I have wanted to vent about Stephanie Meyer for sometime now. and while I would love her popularity I would have to sell my soul as writer to get it and find a target audience I can manipulate.
What do young men read now days hmmm I wonder if I can write a book about Pirate Ninja Warlock Warriors.
The Pirate Ninja Warlock Warrior entered the dusty and decrepit bar. He slowly looked around as he flexed his muscles and fingered his lucky shuriken hoping for a bloody fight to end the day of raping and pillaging the town’s women.
Spells ran through his mind as he looked for the first person to glare at him cross eyed. His blood pumped through him as he itched for that fight so that he could release all his rage and put his Ninja Pirate Warlock Warrior skills to the test.
Hey Nathan is their a niche market for Ninja Pirate Warlock Warrior stories. Are you looking for any Ninja Pirate Warlock Warrior stories because I think we could make bank on them.
I have to agree with you on Breaking Dawn. I liked the Twilight books a lot but then, I’m a chick. On the other hand, the ending where the “good” guys have the “bad” guys on the ropes and then just let them go with the “Don’t bug us and we won’t bug you” truce left me vaguely dissatisfied. I speculated that although the books seemed finished…no more angst for Edward and Bella, after all, she needed a window in case she wanted to come back for more? I’m sure you’re hoping and praying that I’m right 😉
I’m impressed that you disliked them so much and made it all the way through. You’re a better man than I… I have a hard time finsishing just one book I don’t like.
“*** Disclaimer the above post was meant in a humorous way. At not time does the author condone snorting crack nor smoking it either. Crack is whack per say. If you do not have a sense of humor please have someone smash your face in with a shovel. Thank you.”
Disclaimers are a good idea, Marilyn. I’ve discovered it is seriously hard to project sarcastic humor while blogging.
Jill Lynn says
You are too, too…um…generous. Yeah, that’s it. Your generosity touches me in ways…*cough*…I can’t find words to express.
Patrick Rodgers says
I am committed and completely OCD what can I say. I have never met a movie or a book I couldn’t finish no matter the pain they have caused me. I read all four Twilight books to try and understand the craze and as they got worse with each book a little of me died.
And yes Breaking Dawn caused me a lot of pain, I strangled 10 puppies while reading that book just to vent some of my anger at the fact that somehow the book managed to stay on the NY Times best seller list for so long (its still #1 as of today) despite how bad it is.
The Writing gods must be avenged.
A lot of you guys are just artistic expression writers who wouldn’t WANT to write the kind of stuff that makes real $$$$ if it means deviating from the stuff you naturally gravitate toward writing.
Churning out money-making products such as the TWIGHLIGHT series is not the same thing as writing for fun. That’s the main thing all the wannabe’s don’t comprehend. S. Meyers creates products–she’s an assembler of products more than she is a “writer.”
How many of you still want to be “writers”?
Jen C says
Nathan laid the smack down? I miss everything… stupid time difference. I think everyone should have to blog and comment on Aussie time from now on.
Also, RE: Twilight, I didn’t think the first book was all that bad. I remember the first hundred or so pages being much more polished than the rest, as though she got bored with editing it after that and just sent it as is. Her writing is nothing to write home about (!) and some of the things still make me cringe, like how Bella faints when Edward kisses her. That part reminds me of the novel I wrote when I was 14!
But it was a fun book to read, in the same way that 90210 is a fun show to watch (the original, natch, not the remake. All those years later and Kelly is still being a self-righteous bitch to Brenda? I can’t even go there!) – I love books/film/tv about high school, especially American high school, because the experience is so utterly different to what I went through.
I never read past the first book though, I just went to the bookstore and flicked through the ends of each book to see what happened. Much more time and cost effective…
Hey there Laurel.
This may be a glaring insight into the obvious, but of course Patrick is a better man than you are…he is a dude and you on the other hand suffer from a disturbingly over abundance of what we like to call the “X Chromosome”…
…well, if nothing else I think it is funny 🙂
I’m sorry, but as a hetero female, I have to jump in on this whole Meyers topic.
Bottom line: I completely agree with everything Patrick said.
OMG..to quote the target audience. I do, however, take issue with lumping adult females into that same target audience.
I read the entire series.
Because I have a teenage daughter who wanted to read them as a recommendation from a friend. I had read an interview with Stephanie in which she commented that the fourth book may contain content not appropriate for younger readers.
Given that I disagree with most of what’s considered appropriate for younger kids, I did the only good parent thing. I read before them letting her read them. She’s 16, but didn’t start reading the series until last year.
I basically read straight through the series.
My eyes were bleeding half way through.
I found her writing absolutely horrid. Half the time I was laughing at the text. It was SO ridiculous!
And Mira, are you serious about “a cute guy” in the story? Edward? What woman wants to attempt to cuddle with “marble,” to quote SM’s repeated description of him. His body is cold to the touch and hard as a rock. How could anyone find that attractive? Yet she uses it throughout when describing contact with him.
I found nothing remotely attractive about him at all. Every line I read I kept thinking to myself “even teens like this stuff?!” I found the plot and characters…childish. Or maybe immature is a better word. I want to say “high school-ish” but I honestly think the tone of it if is even more superficial than that.
My daughter ended up not liking it either. She read the whole series just so she could make fun of it at school.
Turns out she only had one friend who liked it. Everyone else constantly bashed the books.
As a joke, we did go see the movie. We sat in the theatre laughing most of the way through. They used most of her book for the script. My only thoughts were no talented script writer wanted anything to do with it.
Yes, I realize she’s made a lot of money from it, but making a lot of money or being popular doesn’t equate to quality.
And to answer one of the posts above, regarding churning out product, I think there are several ‘big name’ authors who do that. They publish multiple books per year.
Personally, I would much rather publish one book every one or two years and be able to hold my head high with the product versus cranking out words on paper just to cash a check.
I will always pick quality over quantity — but that’s just me.
“Personally, I would much rather publish one book every one or two years and be able to hold my head high with the product versus cranking out words on paper just to cash a check.”
Um, newsflash: publishing a book every 1-2 years would be considered “cranking them out”–no one will let you put out a 2nd if the first doesn’t sell..OK, maybe a 2nd, but not a 3rd, and certainly not a fourth.
And that just proves my point. Most aspirants in here don’t want to be professional writers, because you HAVE to sacrifice quality in the name of production of consistent, salable product. it’s not about art, it’s about commodities and franchises.
If you’re not comfortable with that, why are you here? Why not unclog the sluch pile and just write for fun during some retreat?
Patrick Rodgers says
I love your post Christa. I hate to lump an entire demographic into a single category but it’s immensely harder to find a guy who loves Twilight. I tried to scale it down a little by saying specifically female teenagers but still the majority of the fans of the Twilight series our female (probably at least %80).
You see that category a lot like chick flicks or chick lit and I think one of the main reasons is that for a long time no one was producing material manufactured for the fairer sex.
I have liked a few chick flicks in my day and even some chick lit. The problem with Meyer like you said is she is a horrible writer or just plain bad like Stephen King said.
I’m sorry Patrick. Go to it, and I’m glad you’re enjoying getting it out, but honestly, I can take or leave Stephanie Meyer.
Actually, I think critiquing her is sort of like kicking kittens.
Good for her, she wrote something at the right time and alot of people enjoyed it.
Do people enjoy things that aren’t very good? Sure. Have you checked T.V. lately? Fast food?
Now Stephen King – that’s worth a rant or two.
But Meyer? She’s harmless. At least from my perspective.
Patrick Rodgers says
So what’s with your hate of On Writing Mira. I am about 120 pages in and I have found it very enjoyable.
Then again I was really looking for hints on writing from Stephen King there is a lot better sources out there for it. But what I was looking for was a memoir of King himself and I love that it is focused around his writing.
Reading tidbits like the fact that he barely remembers writing Cujo is fun for me and I am enjoying the book.
For some reason King has fascinated me while I have been writing my first novel. The fact that he threw out a first draft of Carrie (albeit just the first few pages) and had it rescued by his wife. Or the fact that he hated the character of Carrie White.
Can you imagine writing a novel where you hate the main character, I don’t know if I could do it.
I think it started when I was watching a game show and that was one of the questions which author threw out his first draft and had it rescued by his wife. Ever since then I have been fascinated with him and his rise to fame.
I am not writing horror, my first book that I just finished is a crime thriller. My second book was also going to be a crime thriller. But of late I have been thinking of writing the sci-fi novel I dreamt up two months ago.
Wow, Patrick, congratulations on finishing your book! That’s wonderful!
Bane of Anubis says
Anon – writing a more commercial plot does not equate to sacrificing quality – it may mean sacrificing what you want to write about (to a certain extent), but that’s not the same thing.
Personally, I find artistic expression overrated – I like good, well-written stories. SM is not a good writer, but she is successful and will be able to henceforth write whatever she wants – did she beat the system? — yes. Why? Not b/c she’s smarter, more business-oriented, etc – it’s b/c she (for the most part) got lucky.
That being said, her stories (not her words) resonate with a certain audience – though some of us (me included) may consider most of said audience a bit too vapid, that’s something we should all strive for (a large audience – not vapidity :).
WV: panties – seriously? – that’s a word I’ve always had a certain discomfort with….
Jen C says
Panties? Lol! Mine is forpe. How come I don’t get the suggestive ones?
Hi Nathan. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about genres, my (half-finished) novel, and its eventual query, and was wondering what your thoughts might be.
I have always thought of myself as a literary fiction writer, and assumed that I would bill my novel as such. However, the two main characters are 17 and 18 respectively, and (this is a second draft) I don’t think it is going to reach much more than 40,000, maybe 50,000 words, both of which seem more suited for YA fiction.
I know that you are not a stickler for strict genre definitions, and neither age of the characters nor shortness of the book necessarily preclude a book from being literary fiction. However, I was wondering whether a YA billing would make my novel more attractive to agents/editors, and what the potential effect of writing a YA novel might be on later literary fiction projects.
Thanks so much for your thoughts!
Val Serdy says
I have long suspected you never sleep just from the sheer number of word to be written and read on your blog!
I also atteneded the SCBWI (skib-wee?) conference in Washington. I enjoyed meeting with you and realizing you seem to have the same personality in person that you do in writing!
This was my first conference: I’m writing up my notes for my critique group members who weren’t able to attend. I keep finding new nuggets! All the speakers were wonderful, and yes, Nathan, you need to embrace the PowerPoint!
Thank you for attending, speaking, and critiquing my first five pages. It was a fantastic opportunity and I can’t wait till next year’s conference.