The Silver Lining | Decade Recap!

I’ve seen a lot of year 2009 recaps. But it’s the end of a decade, so I think this will be more fun. I’d love to see yours!

This year kicked off with sorority rush. I joined my top choice, Delta Gamma, and proceeded to meet some of my current real life best friends. Other highlights include the night my friend Chelsey and I bonded because we had to sleep at the house during pledging and we both tried to squeeze into a love seat all night. She ended up using my butt as a pillow, and we still laugh about that to this day. Later that year, there were boys. Boys I would write many diary entries and poems about and one semi-autobiographical novel. (A novel that turned out to be not that exciting…until I killed him off at the end. On paper, not in real life. He’s still very much alive. That was very cathartic and it gave me the closure I needed.) This was also the year I got addicted to Starbucks caramel frappuccinos and roommed with my best friend and current bridesmaid, Erika!

The year didn’t start off very well because of the above boy situation. In fact, most of the spring semester of my sophomore year is kind of a blur of nothingness. My life changed though when my mom was reading the NY Times wedding announcement section and one person happened to mention where they worked, and most importantly, what the company specialized in: 3D animation. Until that moment, I thought I’d have to go to Hollywood to work on movies (and I didn’t want to leave my fam on the East Coast). I had no idea an entire industry for doing graphics for commercials existed! I called up the company and got myself an internship. At the internship, there was another boy. Oops. When I came back to school for my junior year, I moved into the sorority house, gave up TV for an entire year, and started to write short stories. I sent one in as part of my application for an elite creative writing class taught at my University.

The year kicked off with finding out I was accepted for the class. I studied writing under Mary Gaitskill’s tutelage, and I have to say, I learned so much in that class that I still used today. Almost every short story I wrote for the class went on to get published. That summer, I interned again at the same place as the previous summer. And when I came back to school for senior year…the best thing happened. Too bad I don’t remember it. On the first night of Senior Sunday, I went out to a bar with my roommate, Lauren. Lauren had classes with a boy named Josh who was there with his roommate who I had classes with. So we hung out with them. I don’t remember it though, I remember that I met Josh but I don’t remember the actual meeting. Let’s just say I had a leetle too much wine that night. That boy Josh would go on to become my fiance! More on that soon. For the rest of the year, Lauren and I hung out with Josh and his friends. Often, Josh and I would go off and chat on the side, but I really didn’t have feelings for him yet. I was blinded a bit by another guy. Stupid boys.

I deactivated from my sorority because I didn’t have enough time to participate in rush AND complete my extensive senior thesis animation project. I graduated this year! Yay! Turned out that Josh got a job in NJ and he needed a roommate. My internship had hired me in an entry-level tape dubbing position and commuting from my parents’ house into NYC took too long. So Josh and I decided to become roommates. He came to visit for 3 days (he’s from Boston) and we apartment hunted. Out of the group setting, I started to notice how adorable and funny he was. And…uh oh, I was crushing on him. Hard. I still moved in with him and I used to get upset when he went into his room. Less than 4 weeks after moving in together as platonic roommates, I got drunk and kissed him. That could have been a disastrous situation, but the rest, as they say, is history.

Josh and I moved from a 2-bedroom to a one-bedroom so we could upgrade to a nicer place. I got frustrated by my entry level job. I wanted to do animation, not dub tapes. But my job had no positions open. So I spent a long time teaching myself 2D animation (since I learned I wasn’t very good at 3D but I was pretty good at 2D) and created a kick-butt demo reel. In September of 2004, I made a difficult decision to go freelance without any prospects or jobs lined up. That fall was a little scary and I worried I made the wrong decision.

But then in 2005, a freelancer I knew from my old job recommended me for the USA Network re-design. That job ended up lasting 8 months, and opened up so many possibilities for me. I immediately went from this job to another 8-month gig which was compositing for a CG Barbie Movie. Late 2005, the writing itch started poking at me. I used to LOVE to write, but I had gotten side tracked by my graphics career. I pulled out my semi-autobiographical novel and thought maybe I could do something with it. I sent it to some friends to get their opinion.

Still working 6 days a week on the Barbie movie, I managed to completely rewrite the autobiographical novel. I basically only kept the college-setting and gave it a new plot and characters. There wasn’t anything autobiographical left, though I did draw from some things that happened at my college to other students. I took a query writing course that CHANGED MY LIFE taught by Dan Lazar. Seriously, it’s because of him that I excel at pitch-writing now. In the fall of 2006, I was working on the CBS Sports redesign and I queried the book called Premature Evacuation about a girl who lies her way into a sorority until her lies catch up to her and the sorority gets shut down. I had tons of requests and a few really close calls for representation. Ultimately, I got the same response: I like the writing and the premise, but college-set novels are too hard to market because it’s too old for YA and too juvenile for adult. So for Nano 2006, I decided to write something that was clearly YA because I knew that was where I belonged. I had a premise in mind, but the first day of writing these two sisters showed up on my page and they were keeping a secret. I wanted to know what that secret was! So I kept writing. This was the year Denise Jaden and I started working together as crit partners.

My graphics dominated the 2007 Superbowl because I worked on the in-game graphics. That was a major highlight of the decade for me. I then switched gears to work on the March Madness redesign. And that book I wrote during nano? Turned out it was pretty good! I figured out the secret between the sisters and figuring that out required a major overhaul where I cut half the novel and started from scratch on it. I spent most of the year revising this baby. In the fall, I became the lead (read: only) graphics person on the short-lived Star Jones show. I wrote another YA book for nano 2007. In August of this year, a producer at MTV who I knew from college approached me about putting together some scripted TV show pitches for him because MTV was looking to branch out into that kind of programming. He gave me only one criteria: it had to involve teens and there had to be a musical element. I started with 40 loglines and we narrowed them down to 10. I wrote these things called one-sheets, which is basically a single sheet of paper that contained a log line and three paragraphs that detail the beginning, middle, and end of the pilot episode. This is where I really honed my pitch-writing and synopsis writing skills. These skills would later become very useful in outlining. Out of the 10 one-sheets, he chose 4 to expand on and I created TV bibles for them. They were really excited about them and I thought it would happen…and then Kaya, a scripted show, aired on MTV. And Kaya flopped. And MTV had no interest in doing scripted TV anymore. Sigh. My friend no longer works there and wants me to write a script for him for something else, but I haven’t had time yet.

I spent most of this year working on daytime graphics at a TV network. In early 2008, I started querying 2006’s nano effort, THE ART OF SELLING MY SISTER. I had a 100% request rate and scored my fabulous agent within 2 weeks of querying. I don’t want to post about the submission history, but I will say that I did another major overhaul of it that year. It will be going back out on sub again in 2010. I also revised 2007’s nano, but it’s currently shelved for now because my agent wants to go out with my later projects first. For 2008 nano, I wrote a first draft of my super secret retelling. Also, I started blogging.

And then immediately in January, I started over from scratch on the retelling because what I had wasn’t working. I sent 50 pages to my agent, and basically had to start over again. But the third time was a charm. Later, my agent loved the sample I sent of the new version. I’m currently still revising it, but I hope to be done in very early January 2010 so it can go on sub finally. Also this year, I GOT ENGAGED to Josh!!! Which was pretty nice. We moved to a new apartment that is much nicer than our last place, however the trade off is that it is much harder for me to get to NYC than taking the subway from Hoboken. I met lots of fabulous writers who came to NY for various events. I went to SCBWI LA and roomed with my awesome critique partner Denise Jaden. I wrote 1/2 of a new novel during nano that I plan to finish soon.

I’m probably forgetting many important things, but that’s the general gist. I’d love to see how your decades played out!
(For some reason my links aren’t working so I can’t link to Denise’s blog, but she’s on LJ so go find her!)

Post to Twitter

10 Responses

  1. I quite enjoyed reading that, Shana! Thanks for posting–a great idea too. (If only I could remember what happened in ’09, let alone a decade–other than HS for half of it. :P)

  2. I love the decade recap! (I’m still in awe that ten years have gone by for the 00’s already.) I might end up posting one myself, if I don’t find my recap dreadfully boring after typing it up. 😛

  3. That was the decade that wasn’t

    I can remember exactly where I was when this awful decade came into being. Believe it or not, when I rang in the new year on January 1, 2000, not only was I stone-cold sober – I was at church! My then-girlfriend and I attended a special midnight mass at the local Catholic church to welcome in, not only a new decade, but a new century and a new millennium. I remember feeling filled with optimism. By entering this new era, I felt, we could wipe the slate clean. Maybe this would be a new age of peace, love, brother and sisterhood. EVERYBODY SING!

    This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius!
    Age of Aquarius!

    How utterly naive on my part, huh? By year’s end, all of that hope was out the window and into the toilet. In December of 2000, an ideologically perverted Supreme Court would assist in a stolen election by stopping the vote count in the state of Florida, installing a corrupt little frat boy with the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds as president of the United States. It was all downhill from that moment on. From the birth of “Reality Television” to the worst attack on American soil since the Civil War, it was quite a strange ten years to say the least. Thankfully this awful decade is a mere three days away from being forever consigned to history’s scrap heap. Hallelujah.

    Tom Degan

  4. Wow … quite a decade!

    I remember Kaya! I was excited and confused and worried about MTV doing scripted TV … and then it turned out to be kind of lame so I didn’t watch it. And then it disappeared. Such a shame that MTV gave up so easily, but look at all the amazing things you accomplished after that!

    I have to say, I’m super jealous of the writing aspect of your decade. A Dan Lazar query class? A 100% request rate? Geez, girl! 🙂

    Here’s to 2010 treating you just as well.

  5. What a cool idea this is! And it’s neat to see so much about your day job. It sounds really interesting! My girls love the Barbie movies, btw; I wonder if we own something you worked on?

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Powered by Netfirms