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The (R)evolution of My Novel

I have a new book coming out in March 2011. Here's the exciting, thrilling, adventurous, pretty awesome true story of the (r)evolution of my novel. Or not. But regardless, here's how it came about.

It all began here . . .

No, no, wait! That's not true.

It began with a girl who loved to read . . .
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So, after many careers, I tried my hand at being an author. And I loved it! I wrote these three books . . .

I thought I was done. That it was a trilogy, each from a different character's point of view. However, some kids asked me about "Marley," a Star Trek geek who had a minor role in Stanford's story. I wrote four more books, but the idea about a novel about Marley, who was a nobody, kept bubbling up. 

Finally, I started scribbling down notes . . .


Then I took those notes and begin to sketch out the story in my writing journals . . .

I didn't want to write a sequel, or another story set in the same time frame, so I decided to write Marley Sandelski's story as a spin-off, taking place during the next school year. 

My editors, Arthur Levine and Cheryl Klein and Peepy were very enthusiastic about this . . .

I did lots of Star Trek research . . .

Soon, I was writing in my office . . .

Oops. That's not me. It's E.B. White. And that's not my office. This is . . .
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I use a WONDERFUL writing program called Scrivener. It allows me to organize my research and my drafts and files . . .
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(Batman and Star Wars figure in the story, too.)

I wrote several drafts . . .

And then I got an editorial letter from Arthur and Cheryl with their comments . . .

So I rewrote again. 

And now, we are at the production stage. A copyeditor (an editor helps shape and guide the overall book, the copyeditor is looking for mistakes in grammar, consistency, etc.) has gone over the manuscript electronically, and so has Cheryl. 

It boggles my mind, because when I first started (my debut novel, MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS came out in fall 2003), we made all our changes with pencils and erasers on a hard copy. But now we are moving forward and doing everything via e-mails and computer. Still, I have a dismal history when dealing with computer stuff, so is was (tres) scary to me. 

I once did this, when I accidentally hit find/replace. Yes, I changed every blank space in AN ENTIRE NOVEL to the work "long." And then I hit SAVE. And then I cried.

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(The document was almost 300 pages LONG.)

Now, with that in mind, imagine my freak out factor with these directions on how to respond to/change the electronic edits . . .
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(These are Cheryl's standard "Track Change"notes, however can you imagine the ways I can botch this???!!!)

Deep breath. But okay, I am moving forward, forward, forward, because I don't want to be a dinosaur (unless I can be Trixie in Toy Story 3) . . .

So here's what it looks like on my computer. Each color signifies another person's notes . . .

A couple of times, when I wasn't sure about a word or an electronic handheld game, I asked my facebook friends for help . . .

At this VERY moment, I'm still working on the document. It's due back to Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic on Tuesday. Then Arthur and Emily (she works with Arthur and Cheryl), will take over. 

Still to come, proofreading, finalizing the cover art and title, etc. I'll blog about that as it happens. In the meantime, wish me luck and let's hope I don't wipe out the entire document!

Oh! And if you are JC-Nashvegas - please contact me via my website. You WON a fabulous prize in the Bodacious Book Contest!!!!.

Oh! Oh! And here's a great blog about What Makes a Middle Grade Novel Timeless. (Can you guess who one of the authors quoted in the article is?)

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Disclaimer: No proofreaders were harmed (or even used) in the creation of this blog.

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R(R)evolution of a Novel is ready

for publication. I'm doing an electronic edit for a review, and going out of my mind. Just stare at the words (directions), going numb. Have no idea what they're talking about. Hope Marley survives it; of course he will.

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I understand the going numb. It's all one big colorful mess here. Hopefully, that'll be cleared up by the time the book publishes!