Shana Silver: YA writer

Category Archives: About me

Hey guys,

I thought I’d give a quick update since I haven’t posted as much in a while. I’m very active on twitter though so feel free to follow me there if you want more frequent updates. I love talking about anything TV related so if you ever want to discuss a show, chances are I’ve already watched it.

I’ve been writing away while I’ve been gone! I’ve completed a YA contemporary, I’m in the middle of drafting another, and I’ve got a magical realism swimming in my head to play with on the side. I’m going to stay vague on the concepts of those though. :-)

So that’s all the same but a big change in my life is that I no longer work in publishing. I’m now a Project Manager at an advertising consulting company and I love it! My clients are big name media companies so it’s been fun to get to see their offices. I work in NYC 2 days a week and do a lot of my writing on my hour-long train commute (plus nap times on weekends). And I work from home 3 days a week, which is awesome since I can sleep in those days. It’s a good balance.

My daughter is now 3.5-years-old going on 17 going on 35. Her favorite hobbies are asserting her independence, practicing her managerial skills by bossing people around, and negotiating deals (“I play with the red play-doh, you play with the blue play-doh, deal?” or “I’ll go to bed in five more minutes, deal?”).

Recent new shows I’ve loved: Hindsight (so sad it’s been canceled), Mr. Robot, UnReal, Quantico, and My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

And I’ll be at ALAMW in Boston in early Jan if anyone happens to read this and wants to meet up.

That’s pretty much all my updates! What’s new with you?

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The last few weeks have been pretty insanely awesome for me, both from a writing-standpoint and a day job standpoint. I’ve tweeted about most of this news, but I haven’t posted it here yet. So, here are some fun newsy updates from me.

 

1. I have a new agent!

A few weeks ago I signed with Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich! I’m super excited to be working with him. I love his revision ideas for my YA sci-fi and I can’t wait to get started on revisions.

The query process ended up being a bit untraditional for me and happened relatively fast (basically about a month from first query to offer). I only sent 5 unsolicited queries (Jim was one of them) though I had roughly 15 full or partial requests from contests (I participated in #PITMAD, #RTSLAP, The Writer’s Voice, and Nest Pitch). I ended up with two offers of rep from two awesome agents (and all of this happened while at BEA!). Yay for a new agent!

 

2. I’m going to be a Pitch Wars mentor!

I’m ridiculously excited about this and I can’t wait to pay it forward since I had such a great time entering contests last month. More info about this in the next few weeks.

 

3.Day job funtimes!

I got a promotion at work! I’m now officially a Project Manager instead of an Associate Project Manager. Woohoo!

 

Woohoo! June has been very kind to me so far!

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Hey everyone! Thought I’d give you a little update as to what I’ve been up to lately.

1.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was diving straight into a MG first draft after finishing the first draft of my sci-fi YA. I ended up outlining the MG, but instead of writing the first draft, I decided to let the outline marinate for a bit. Plus, I had enough time away from my sci-fi YA that I was able to go back to it with fresh eyes and revise it. I’m almost done with this round and then it’s out to my critique partners!

 

2.

I also wrote proposals for another MG and another YA. Very excited about these as well.

 

3.

I am very excited about this:

 


That’s right! My favorite band from the 90s, the one that dedicated a song to me at a concert when I was 14 because I made them a ridiculously cute-but-dorky scrapbook and managed to smuggle it to them during a concert at a small venue, the one where the cute drummer kissed me on the cheek after that concert, the one I used to run an e-zine for that had over a thousand subscribers IS GETTING BACK TOGETHER!

Yay throwback to my teen years!

 

4.

And that’s not the only thing coming back from my teen years:

 

A Sailor Moon reboot!

 

This was also my favorite thing when I was 14! This time the anime will follow more closely. According to this announcement, the anime will debut sometime in December 2013/January 2014. I can’t wait!

 

5.

The baby now says three words. “Up,” “down,” and “hi!” And she likes to call me “dada” except she doesn’t call her actual dad that, lol.

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A Friday Five is appropriate today since it’s July 5th. And I have much to celebrate this week!

1. I finished the first draft of my new book! WHOOOOOOOOO! It’s now marinating for a bit so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

2. I celebrated finishing the first draft by diving into the outline of a MG idea I’ve been playing around with. I’m excited to try my hand at MG.

3. Yesterday was America’s birthday and tomorrow is my baby’s birthday. I can’t believe she’s already a year old. How did that happen? In celebration, she learned to climb the stairs this week. In related news, I now find it much more difficult to go up the stairs thanks to the gate blocking my way.

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She’s celebrating the Fourth in style.

4. She hasn’t said her first words yet but I’m working really hard to ensure they are “Doctor Who.” She can’t say “mama” yet but she can almost say “doctor.”

5. This was the first year since I graduated college 10 years ago that I didn’t watch the Macy’s Fireworks live, either in NJ in Hoboken or in NYC. I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, to be honest, but it still felt weird to go to bed at 9:30 last night and miss them entirely! But I knew the baby would be up at 5:30am like she always is despite me wanting her to sleep until 8, and so I had to be old and lame. Oh well. At least I’m refreshed and ready to write today!

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What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk similar to the Currently… post that has been circulating. This is shorter and a bit more manageable to allow us to connect with our blog followers on a weekly basis. Feel free to join in!

 

WHAT I’M READING

I’m slowly making it through my BEA pile. Right now I’m about 2/3 of the way through THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and I absolutely LOVE it! The best way I can describe it is Titanic set on a spaceship, crash included. The characters are very similar with a socialite in a fancy and uncomfortable stress and a guy from the wrong side of the galaxy. What I really love though is the authors turn this trope on its head by having the female be savvy enough to save their lives when it counts and the boy being a famous war hero and not just a street smart urchin.

It’s a survival story but it’s also a mystery about what exactly is wrong with the abandoned planet they’ve landed on. I have a huge place in my heart for science fiction, especially stories set in space or foreign planets thanks to my dad who very nearly went to school for Astronomy (he spent a year at MIT studying it in grad school before switching to optometry) and growing up hearing all about his fascination with space and science fiction. So anyway, I love it! And I should also note the writing itself is gorgeous.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m still writing that same sci-fi book, at about 75k now and I only have four scenes left to write! I so want to finish my first draft this week but my schedule keeps thwarting me (see below). It probably won’t happen until next week. Sigh. I’m aiming to at least write the big it-all-goes-to-hell chapter that comes next. On top of that, yesterday I got an idea for a MG and ended up outlining half the novel during a boring work meeting. Shh, don’t tell my boss. I’m super excited about this one. I’ve been wanting to write a MG for a while now.

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

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All the books I’ve been reading at BEA, of course! FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell in particular. This book is about a girl who is more interested in the fake world of a story she loves (think Harry Potter) than the real world. All she wants to do is write fanfiction, putting her own spin on the canon of the tale, so much so that she ignores her own life in favor of the fictional characters. Not only did this book speak to my inner geek because there have been times I cared way too much about fictional characters even if I never wrote fanfiction. But what this book is also about is writing. The art of it. The act of it. How you get swept up in it and how sometimes there are obstacles inside yourself blocking you from putting words to paper.

I am going to share my favorite quote from the book with you (though please note this is from the ARC and the quote may change in the final print version). This quote is one I now have taped up at my desk at work. It’s one that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I near the end of my first draft. And it’s one that inspired a blog post I’m in the middle of composing and will hopefully post tomorrow.

Every word felt heavy and hurt, like Cath was chipping them one by one out of her stomach. That was the beauty in stacking up words–they got cheaper, the more you had of them. It would feel good to come back and cut this when she’d worked her way to something better

 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Busy busy busy! Last weekend we drove 5 hours each way to Boston for a wedding. We dropped the baby off at my in-laws and I was super excited for a good night’s sleep in the hotel room. But turns out after having a baby and not really drinking anything for almost two years due to being pregnant and then nursing, I am now a light weight. Yep. Three drinks spread out over the course of the night and the room was spinning. I feel like a freshman in college.

We also had Father’s Day brunch with my in-laws, of course!

This weekend I have a bachelorette party for my old college roommate (talk about feeling like a freshman!). We’re doing a cooking class, which I’m really excited about! And then the next day is the baby’s joint 1st birthday party with my nephew! Quinn doesn’t actually turn one until July 6, but my nephew turned one on May 8, so we’re splitting the difference and doing the party in between their birthdays since it’s the same guest list. And also because my sister lives in Florida and she’s only in town this weekend. I’m really excited to give Quinn a cake to smash (or more accurately, throw on the floor while laughing maniacally).

 

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I’m taking a cue from my friend Chandler Baker and participating in What’s Up Wednesday this week. What is that you ask?

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk similar to the Currently… post that has been circulating. This is shorter and a bit more manageable to allow us to connect with our blog followers on a weekly basis. Feel free to join in!

 

WHAT I’M READING

Technically I’ve been spending most of the day reading the #BEA13 schedule in prep for tomorrow. I also just started THEN YOU WERE GONE by Lauren Strasnick, which Denise Jaden kindly mailed across the country (er, technically countries) so I could borrow it. I’m so glad she did! The writing is gorgeous and the story won’t let me go.

 

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m 60k into the first draft of my new WIP. I’m going to keep the details mum on this one for now since it’s still in the very early stages and who knows what will change in revisions. All I’ll say is that it’s a high concept YA sci-fi. And it has lots and lots of kissing in it.

And I love working on it!

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Pre-emptive answer: BEA. Because it always does. Even though I come home with achy feet, a sore back, and needing a year’s worth of sleep, I also always come back re-energized with writing and the publishing industry in general. It’s amazing to spend three days surrounded by book people who love reading books and love making books. Other things that are inspiring me not related to books: the gorgeous cinematography on Teen Wolf, which I’ve just started watching. The finish line getting closer and closer at the end of my draft. Lying in bed trying to sleep, apparently, since that’s when I get all my best ideas.

 

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Well, you probably already guessed what I’m up to this weekend. I’ve also finished season 1 of Teen Wolf and I’m hoping to watch season 2 before season 3 begins. Then I’m going to move on to Arrested Development, which I have also never seen. And it’s my 3-year wedding anniversary next Wednesday. How has it already been 3 years? Not to mention that in July we’ll celebrate our 10-year dating anniversary. (And also the baby’s 1st birthday.)

Aside from reading and writing and that other thing that takes up my time from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays (coughWorkcough), I’ve been spring cleaning. We tackled the basement two weeks ago and our walk-in closet last weekend, throwing out anything we haven’t touched or worn in at least a year. Next on the list of things to put on trial: my beauty products. I have way too many, and I only use a select few. Bye bye hair gel, the tribe has spoken.

 

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Sorry about the lack of blogging this week but I have a good excuse! Look at what I accomplished this week:

1.

Sent revisions of my Peter Pan retelling to my agent. Killed a lot of darlings (though not Wendy Darling) in the last pass but it was worth it.

Screen shot from the best Peter Pan adaptation: the 2003 version.

2.

Completed the outline for my new novel. The outline bulged to 10k and reads more like a bare bones first draft. It even has some dialogue in some places. Now I just need to flesh it out and make it awesome!

 

3.

Began writing said new book. I’m only about 900 words in so far, but progress is progress!

 

4.

Started baby proofing the house because the baby learned to crawl! I also played an infinite number of games of “How big is Quinn?” “So big!”

 

I am preemptively putting this task on the list in the hope that writing it here holds me accountable to it this weekend:

5.

Spring cleaning! It’s time to switch my drawers from sweaters to short-sleeves and make the whole house shine. Yes, that means I’ll even wash the windows, which is one of my least favorite tasks on account of me being 5’0″ and have to stand on a stool. (Okay who am I kidding? I’ll make the husband do that job while I take care of the easier, lower to the ground ones.)

 

Next week I’ll be back with more writing advice!

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1.

DOCTOR WHO RETURNS THIS WEEKEND! OMG I am so freaking excited. I’m sad the Ponds won’t be in the series anymore, but I have to admit, I’m intrigued by Clara Oswin Oswald. She won me over in the premiere last year. I’m curious where the writers will take this story. Now I just need to find a UK stream of the episode so I don’t have to wait an extra 6 hours to watch it air in the US.

I still like Ten better…

2.

Even better than Doctor Who on Saturday, it’s my birthday.

I guess I shouldn’t be all that excited anymore since it turns out each year I have to actually get older. That was pretty exciting when I was a teenager and each year older meant some new privilege I wasn’t privy to before:

  • 13: In the Jewish religion, I am legally declared an adult! (Or I would have been if I actually had a Bat Mitzvah like the rest of my friends/family.)
  • 14: Old enough to get babysitting jobs which meant $$$ on top of my measly allowance.
  • 15: Old enough for a teen tour/travel camp. Translation: a hotel room with friends instead of parents!
  • 16: No longer a camper but a counselor. Plus learner’s permit!
  • 17: Driver’s license! Stupid NJ making you wait until 17. Also, I wrote my first novel.
  • 18: Legal adult! Graduating HS! Attending college! I can play the lottery! And buy…cigarettes? Luckily I didn’t partake in that coming-of-age ritual.

Now the only new thing I ever get on my birthday is a slower metabolism and guilt over those birthday calories that really shouldn’t count. Anyway, I’m excited because we’re going to my inlaws this weekend for Easter so at least I’m getting a baby-free evening while they watch the little munchkin so my husband and I can go out to dinner in Boston.

Oh, and I got a Kindle Fire from my parents. So that’s something!

3.

Next Wednesday April 3 I am going to attend the Teen Author Reading at the NYPL! I’m so excited. Look at this line up. Who wouldn’t be excited? If you see me there, say hi!

  • Caela Carter, Me, Him, Them, and It
  • Elizabeth Eulberg, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality
  • Maya Gold, Spellbinding
  • Barry Lyga, Game
  • Michael Northrop, Rotten
  • Lindsay Ribar, The Art of Wishing
  • Jennifer E. Smith, This is What Happy Looks Like
  • Nova Ren Suma, 17 & Gone
  • Jess Verdi, My Life After Now
  • K. M. Walton, Empty

 

4.

This is still more than a week away, but on Saturday April 6, the baby turns 9 months. This means she’ll have been “out” as long as she was “in.” Crazy! Especially since pregnancy seemed to go by soooooooooo freaking slooooooowly and the last 9 months have flown by. I guess that’s what happens when you never sleep and all your days and nights jumble together.

Requisite baby photo

Requisite baby photo

5.

The last good thing coming up is that I’m almost done with my revisions of THE GIRL WHO WOULDN’T GROW UP (my Peter Pan retelling), which means I get to start first drafting my new novel! I’m so excited! I’ve already created a super detailed outline and cork boarded it out in Scrivener. So now all I have to do is start typing! My new protagonist is pretty bad ass and I can’t wait to get inside her head. Also, I can’t wait for the kissing scenes. Maybe I’ll write those first.

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1.

It’s that time of year again. Time for March Madness. Which means it’s time for me to humble brag that several years ago, back when I was a computer animator, I designed all the March Madness graphics that air on CBS. Basically what that means is the score ticker, anytime they show the brackets, any time they give statistics: I designed and animated those graphics. I no longer do computer animation (now I work in publishing designing mobile apps and other digital products) so I’ll continue to savor my claim to graphic fame until CBS redesigns once again.

The graphics are more important than the games, I promise.

 2.

When March Madness rolls around, I always get nostalgic for 2003, the year Syracuse won the NCAA tournament. I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but I’ll share it again. I was a senior in college at Syracuse University that year, and it’s one of my greatest memories from my time at college. I remember the night of the championship fondly (despite the alcohol I consumed that tried to make me forget). I got to the bar at noon to stake my spot for the 9pm game. Yes, that means I skipped all my classes, but that’s okay. Almost everyone did. My husband–who was also a senior at Syracuse that year–went to class drunk, and he wasn’t the only one. (I promise, we are MUCH more responsible now than we were back then.) I believe at some point I ate dinner while still holding my spot in front of the TV, but I can’t be certain. Right before the game started, I left my precious spot to use the rest room and when I got back, some chick had pushed my friend out of the way and took over our stake out. I attempted to fight her.

If you know me at all, you’ll know this is hilarious. Imagine a puppy yipping at a Doverman. I can barely hold my own in an argument, let alone a physical fight. Not to mention that lifting five pound weights is difficult to me, which probably doesn’t bode well in terms of putting some force behind a punch. Thankfully for me, the bartender stuck up for me and made the girl vacate our spot because we had been loyal for 9 hours all day (and the tips we gave him didn’t hurt).

And the first thing I did when Syracuse won the game? I called my parents in excitement. Yep, that’s how cool I was. All the other students are hugging each other and celebrating and I took out my phone to tell my mommy about my day, lol. After the requisite cheering, all the students had so much energy, we spilled into the streets. Because it was Syracuse, it was of course snowing. We had nowhere to go once we entered the streets so we all just stood there, thousands of students crowded outside in the snow, jumping up and down to expel the energy. I ran into my husband (who was just a friend at the time) wearing his Halloween costume for no reason at all.

It was one of the best days of my life.

 

3.

Speaking of being nostalgic for college, I’m excited for this weekend because one of my college friends is getting married. This is awesome for several reasons:

  1. I get to see all my college friends at the same time!
  2. I get to dress up in a fancy dress and put on false eyelashes.
  3. I get to dance all night and stay up past 10pm (something I haven’t done since I had a baby).
  4. I get to sleep through the night without being interrupted! Well, unless the husband decides to snore, but in that case I have a Plan B. (Plan B is to kick him out of the room and make him get his own hotel room.)
  5. It’ll be my first night away from the baby, which is a milestone in and of itself.

 

4.

On last night’s GLEE, the characters revealed songs that were their “guilty pleasures,” as in the songs they were ashamed to admit they actually liked. It made me wonder if I had a guilty pleasure. I mean, I listen to a LOT of bad and embarrassing songs, but I fully own up to it. I’m not ashamed at all. Spice Girls? I know every lyric. Ace of Base? Reminds me of High School. Britney Spears? I dressed up as her for Halloween several years in a row. 90s Alternative Rock? I still love every single one. Barry Manilow? Who doesn’t love Mandy.

And then…

I figured out what my guilty pleasure is.

A song I embarrassingly listen to way too often. A song that makes me nostalgic for 8th grade when I used to go on newsgroups to trade VHS tapes so I could watch the Japanese episodes before they dubbed them into English. And no, I didn’t understand a word of the episode. I didn’t care.

I’m talking about a theme song. Both the English and Japanese version, it doesn’t matter. I love them both equally.

5.

Another thing I’m nostalgic for? WARM WEATHER. WTF, Spring? You and I are in a fight.

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