Juggle this! On plotting, beginning a 1st draft, making a final edit, tweaking a shout line and filling out a beastly author questionnaire …

portr_hortense_de_beauharnais

I've begun to gallop along on the YA about Hortense. I'm still struggling with the plot, but nonetheless I've started falling into scenes, letting them flower. The processes for plotting and writing are different (plotting is so very cerebral), so it's not a bad idea to do them simultaneously. 

Plot

Needless-to-say, I'm busy. There is nothing quite like the absorption of the early stages of a novel to make one just a little forgetful. 

Recommended this week: "How to shop at a bookstore: an easy 20-step guide for authors." This is hahahaouch funny & sad. The one thing I would add is that writers give consideration to appearance before going up the the counter and offering to sign a book. If I'm looking somewhat grubby, I will pass. 

The article made me nostalgic. I remembered walking by a bookstore just before I was first published, realizing that I would never again go into a bookstore as a carefree-wandering-reader. Once published, there's a working relationship. A delicious working relationship, but a working relationship nonetheless. 

The copy-edit of The Shadow Queen is now back with Doubleday. I always find it surprising how emotionally tangled up I can get over whether a word is capitalized or not.

girl pulling out hair copy

Now I've the beastly Author Questionnaire to finish filling out. The required AQ is perhaps the best reason to stay with one publisher! On the first page (of many pages): list every edition of every book you've ever published in all languages. No. No. No. 

The catalogue copy of The Shadow Queen for HarperCollins needed some tweaking. (The title was wrong, for starters.) Here's what we've got now for a "shout line": 

A seductive, gripping novel about the lure and illusion of power, and the plight of a woman caught up in the deadly black magic of the woman she loyally serves: the Shadow Queen. 

Shout lines are damn hard ... Some suggest that you begin writing the shout line at the same time you begin writing the novel. 

As usual, I'm reading too many books at once. (A little ADD anyone?) Pride and Prejudice, as well as a book about Jane Austenas mentioned in my last blog. Tiny Beautiful Things by tell-it-like-it-is Cheryl Strayed. Astonished, by my friend (and fantastic writer) Beverly Donofrio. A historical novel for a blurb—I don't recall the title, but I'm enjoying it very much. Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn K Glei, for obvious reasons.

Etc. etc. etc. If only I had five lives. 

Lion

And ... how could I forget! I'm nearing the end of Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellows. Primal lion screaming! I read that Joni Mitchell was inspired to write "Both Sides Now" reading this amazing novel. I read it in my teens and loved it. Although I found it a little thick in the middle, it still has incredible power. 

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At the top, a very unusual portrait of Hortense by Appiani. Antique images from BibliOdessy.


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  • Facebook User

    I’m glad to hear your YA is coming along so well – can’t wait to read it. And I think, as long as the ideas are coming, the plot will get worked out, eventually.
    It’s funny you mention the Author Questionnaire – I was so excited to receive it – it was the thing that made me feel most like a “real” author. Having said that, I can imagine I wouldn’t want to have to fill it in again anytime too soon…

    • http://www.sandragulland.com Sandra Gulland

      Hi Tudor! What I found discouraging about the QA the last time I filled it out (for S&S in the US) was that I got the feeling they had never read it. I doubt very much that my current new publisher (Doubleday) will be like that.