- Some serious congratulations goes out to my critique partner denisejaden who just sold her debut novel, LOSING FAITH! I’ve read this novel several times now, back when it was just a one sentence chapter by chapter outline, to the unedited first draft, to a more polished version right before she queried agents. It is fabulous, and now you’ll all be able to go out and buy it and understand what an awesome writer Denise is. So head over to her blog and congratulate her!
- lindsey_leavitt is having her first contest to celebrate the year anniversary of getting an agent. She’s giving way some awesome books (all of which I’ve already read…and loved…so I can vouch they are as awesome as she says) as well as a critique of a query letter/first three chapters/short story/etc. Check out The Day I Got Lucky contest here.
- I’ve seen a lot of threads on various message boards asking how to make an unsympathetic more likable. Since I spent a few months back and forth with my agent this fall after my first round of submission turning a secondary character more likable (the sister character, not the protagonist–at one point I made the sister TOO nice, oops!), I’m currently composing a blog post detailing the process. It includes everything from changing up dialogue to make her nicer without losing her flavor, to adding several chapters to build up to the climax better and then altering that mystery solution/climax with the goal of making the sister more sympathetic (and also getting a more satisfying mystery solution). So look for that either very late tonight or tomorrow morning. After that, the blog will be dark until next Tuesday because I’m heading to sunny Florida with my sister and I’ll be boycotting the Internet against my will. (Grandma can’t even work a cell phone, she does not have Internet access). I’ll be connected to reality and my email via iPhone, it’s just too hard to compose blog posts on it. If you post a comment here, and I don’t respond for a while, that’s why! (I’m not going to give details about plot points in the book, but I can still go over the revision process without revealing spoilers).
- I’ll be missing a chance to celebrate via blog my favorite day of the year. The first day of Spring! I love it because it’s so promising and optimistic, for the next few months, it’s only going to get warmer. So happy spring everyone!
- I’m debating whether or not I should go to my 10-year high school reunion. It seems a little surreal that 10 years have gone by. I mean, I still get carded at the rated-R movies sometimes. I still read teen magazines, watch TV shows targeted to teens, and read only YA books. (I’d like to say the reason is because I’m keeping up with the industry and the teen mind-set, but that’s not true. I just plain like all this stuff. I’m not interested watching shows about adults, and I usually latch onto the teen subplots in those shows, like Big Love. I still feel like I relate better to kids in high school than I do to people my own age). Anyway, the reunion is next month and I have to respond by Friday. What’s giving my a pause is that it costs $121 a person, and I’d have to take my chauffeur–I mean my boyfriend. The thing is, all the people I want to see from high school I still talk to and connect on Facebook. None of them can go, coincidentally. So I’d be re-connecting with all the people I’ve either forgotten or just don’t care about seeing again. But yet, I’m still curious what they’re up to, what they look like, etc. Also, I never like to miss an opportunity where potential networking opportunities may lurk. So I’m torn. Did you go to your high school reunion? Was it worth it?
- I mentioned last week I would post about March Madness and all my experiences with it. I feel very close to March Madness. It started when my college won the 2003 tournament while I was a senior. I’ll put that story below under the cut. But a few years later, I worked for 8 months re-designing the CBS Sports graphics (it launched for the 2007 Superbowl). My big claim to fame though was the college basketball graphics because I was the lead designer for that sport. So if you watch any March Madness game on CBS, you’ll be seeing my work. For example, the score board on the bottom of the screen that’s up the entire time? I designed that and figured out how it would animate. And the bracket board they keep flashing to? I designed those. I couldn’t find a good image of it…but the one on the side is an example except this one seems to be someone who took the CBS graphics and input their own text into. Those brackets are the ones I designed. When you watch the games, think of me!
When I was a senior in college, Syracuse was pretty damn good at basketball. And I was pretty obvlious about it. I lived with four girls, and one of them, Nicole, was obsessed with basketball. Her dad was some kind of NBA big wig and her house displayed signed basketballs and jerseys instead of artwork. She dragged us to all the games at the Carrier dome, and while my friends watched the action on the court with interest, I used the opportunity to scope out cute boys cheering in the audience. Unfortunately, I must have had terrible vision, because at the time I had a major crush on my current-boyfriend’s roommate. He was not my boyfriend at the time, but good thing I opened my eyes once I graduated!
As Syracuse kept winning, I started actually paying attention to the game. I learned the game was kind of boring until the last 5 minutes when it came down to the wire and the teams started fouling one another. Mostly when I watch sports, I can barely tell which basket/goal the teams aim for, but suddenly I understood the nuances of basketball, the crazy rules. I understood what a 2/3 zone was vs man to man. I knew the players’ names, and not just the cute players! Eventually, I had to admit it. I was a fan. I enjoyed watching the whole game, not just the last five minutes.
As Syracuse got further into the tournament, school spirit swept the campus like a disease. Final four t-shirts replaced sorority letters as the choice attire for students. It also became cool to wear orange baby t-shirts out at night instead of stilettos and low-cut tops. And sneakers! Instead of fraternities and bars, watching the game at apartments became the in thing to do. Then we all headed out to the various bars to celebrate.
The final game occurred on a Monday night at 9pm (I think). I got to the bar at NOON to secure my spot. Yes, noon. We were already too late, all the tables were taken. We did get spots right at the bar. And we started drinking immediately. Most of the day is a blur to me. I vaguely recall eating chicken tenders for dinner, but I also can’t remember that bar ever SERVING food before, so I’m not sure if that’s actually right! I don’t remember my feet aching, which seems rather impossible if I stood so long. Right before the game, I headed to the bathroom. The bar started getting crowded, but I’m petite and can easily weave through a tight-knit crowd. Except…I didn’t consider that someone might commandeer my spot. I immediately got in her face and tried to convince her to leave. I was ready to fight her. And if you know me, you’ll know this is HILARIOUS. And very out of character. I subscribe to the pacifist philosophy. I hate violence. I even hate confrontations. Not only that, but I would stand no chance in any kind of physical altercation. I’d probably hurt my own hand trying to get in a punch. I can barely open the door to my apartment building, I’m not the type of girl to battle someone over a spot at the bar. But the thing is…I’m only five feet tall. I literally couldn’t see over her! My knight in shining armor, aka the bartender who I’d graciously tipped all night, stepped in to my rescue and kindly asked the thief to switch places with me. Needless to say, I emptied my wallet again onto the bar in gratitude.
As soon as we won, I did possibly the coolest move of my life. I called my parents. In a bar. While I was drunk. I couldn’t even hear them, what with the massive cheering going on around me. But the thing is, I know my parents would be just as excited, and I wanted to celebrate with them as well as my college friends. The bar kicked us out and we all spilled onto Marshall Street, which is the street all the bars are located on. All the students had so much energy left and no place to expend it on, so we just cheered in the streets, ignoring the fact that it was freezing and snowing outside. The picture above with the crowd is from that night. I didn’t take it, I found it via google. I do have a lot of photos that night, but I don’t have a scanner. We eventually met up with my boyfriend’s crowd of friends (though at the time he was just a friend), and those pictures are my favorite, because he apparently thought it was a great idea to bust out his halloween costume since simple orange clothing didn’t seem enough for the celebration.