Monthly Archives: May 2011

Why ideas aren’t the same as books

On February 6th, I wrote the following as my Facebook status:

Last night’s dream: I was selected to write a modern retelling of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And that’s just what the world needs right now.

From today’s Publishers Marketplace:

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG FLIES AGAIN, with black and white illustrations by illustrator and animator Joe Berger, featuring the Tooting family, who discover an old race-car engine and fit it to their VW Samba Bus; soon they are hurtling across the world rebuilding the original Chitty – with a sinister character on their tail, based on the original by Ian Fleming, to Hilary Van Dusen at Candlewick Press, in a six-figure deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2012, by Zoe Pagnamenta of the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency on behalf of Simon Trewin at United Agents.

Apparently, it is what the world needs right now, to the tune of six figures, no less. So. Yeah. It kinds of leaves you wondering. Where’s my six-figure deal?

Not in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s trunk, that’s for sure.

Here’s the thing: I do this all the time. I once wondered if anyone bothered to write a retelling of Anna Karenina. Why did I wonder this? I don’t know.

A week later, a deal came through on Publishers Marketplace for … wait for it … a retelling of Anna Karenina.

That novel about a modern US civil war? Yep, had that idea–twice (two different versions). Same for a bunch of others that I’m too depressed to enumerate here.

I’m either really tied into the collective unconscious or I should start writing these things down.

That’s the key. Everybody has ideas; writing 50,000 – 100,000 words in a row so they make sense is what separates the idea from a book. And honestly, I never wanted to write a retelling of Anna Karenina, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for that matter, not even to the tune of six-figures.

Still. It kind of leaves you wondering.


Filed under Musings, Reading & Writing, Writing

When people used to carry rotary phones in their pockets

So, the other day I was flipping through an old manuscript (and by flipping, I mean electronically and by old, I mean, the first one), when I noticed an odd sort of quirk.

Every time (and I do mean every time) I mention a cell phone in the narrative, I made sure to spell it out, as in: cellular phone. Okay, once or twice I used mobile phone.

But. Yeah. I don’t know if I received some sort of feedback (and this would be about ten years ago) that indicated people might be confused if I didn’t spell out cellular phone, but there it is. Every. Single. Time. Apparently my aim was clarity.

The quirk is so very obvious, at least to my eye and after all these years. It’s funny how a manuscript can age in ways you don’t expect. Of course, today, I could write: He pulled the phone from his pocket and started texting his best friend.

Is that a princess phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.

And no one is confused or imagining that he carries a rotary phone in his pocket. But back in the day?

Apparently a few of us were very confused about phones.

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Filed under Writing

Diversity in YA Book Tour

Two our our 2009 Debs, Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo have put together a Diversity in YA book tour, possibly coming to a city near you starting May 7th!

Where, you ask? Well, in these cities here:

San Francisco | May 7, 2011 at 3 p.m.
— Focus on Asian American YA with Cindy Pon, Gene Luen Yang, and J.A. Yang
San Francisco Public Library (Main Library)
Latino-Hispanic Room
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Austin | May 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
— With Bethany Hegedus, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Cindy Pon, Dia Reeves, and Jo Whittemore, and moderated by Varian Johnson
603 N. Lamar
Austin TX 78703

Chicago | May 10, 2011 from 5:30-6:45 p.m.
— With Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, Nnedi Okorafor, and Cindy Pon
Barbara’s Books
1218 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Boston | May 12, 2011 at 7 p.m.
— With Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Deva Fagan, Cindy Pon, and Francisco X. Stork, and moderated by Roger Sutton
Cambridge Public Library (Main Library)
Lecture Hall
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138

New York | May 13, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
— Focus on LGBT YA with Cris Beam, David Levithan, and Jacqueline Woodson
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
208 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011

New York | May 14, 2011 at 1 p.m.
— With Matt de la Peña, Kekla Magoon, Neesha Meminger, Cindy Pon, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Jacqueline Woodson, and moderated by Cheryl Klein
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Want to hear more? Check out Malinda’s vlog:

Even if you can’t make the tour, check out the vlog. How else are you going to learn about the Chinese Twilight?

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Friends, Video, YA