Shana Silver: YA writer

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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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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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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

9781250030962.225x225-75

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. WIN: The Veronica Mars movie is happening, people! Now we need a My So-Called Life movie. Who’s with me? I mean, it’s essentially the same scenario as Veronica Mars: lead actress, most famous of the bunch, currently starring in cable show, rabid fan base, most other cast members are not doing anything else (except in the case of Jared Leto, who I am convinced is a vampire. Evidence below:).

Jared Leto: Circa November 2012.

On second thought…maybe that isn’t such a good idea. Let’s look at this pic instead:

Jared Leto: Circa My So-Called Life

Ahhh, much better.
 
 
 
2. LOSE: R.I.P. Google Reader. Why, Google, why? You kill Reader but let Google+ live? I never realized how much I relied on it until I found out it was diagnosed with a terminal illness and had less than 6 months to live. I find myself reminiscing about the good times we had: all those mornings I’d sip coffee while clicking through my blogroll, all those times… Well, actually that’s it. Just the coffee/morning memory.

In your short life, you made such a big impact.

Still, I’m working up the courage to say goodbye. And in this case, “goodbye” translates to: “replace with another RSS reader.” It’ll be like google reader never existed. Much like when I replaced my old Geocities website with my own domain name. Those were the days…
 
 
 

3. WIN: Vampire Diaries returned this week! And though we didn’t get a shirtless Damon scene, we got something better:

Klaus and Hayley sex scene

You’re welcome for this perfect screen shot.

SHIRTLESS KLAUS!!!!

 
 
 
4. LOSE: The weather. WTF, NYC? One day you are beautiful and glorious and I can carry my jacket in my arms on my commute home. The next day it’s freezing with a bitter wind whipping me in the face as my fingers grow red despite my gloves. MAKE UP YOUR MIND. (Note: you are only allowed to make up your mind to become Spring.) March is supposed to go in like a lion and out like a lamb. It’s March 15, therefore we are halfway through the month. It’s time for the lamb, buddy!

 
 

5. WIN: I made a ton of progress outlining my new book. EEEE! My characters finally have names! This is exciting as I was sick of calling them “Girl” and “Love Interest.” It turns out naming characters is much harder for me than naming a baby. My new protagonist is going to be a lot of fun to write. She’s very different from Kasey and Wendy (my last two protagonists). They were good girls. This new one? She’s a rebel. And I’ve got some sneaky plot twists up my sleeve in this book. Can’t wait to get started writing! Hopefully within the next few days!

Outline of new book (blurred out for spoilerly goodness)

Outline of new book (blurred out for spoilerly goodness)

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1. I’ve been outlining a new book. I love love love this brainstorming phase. There are all these possibilities: characters to shape and mold, first love to experience–both between the characters and between me and the book, plots that can go in any direction. I’ve been having fun tracking several different plot lines to see where they could take me. This exercise has been great because it’s helped me see that my original plot idea wasn’t BIG enough to carry through the book. And then I came up with a new plot that was Too Big for just one book. I’m now playing Goldilocks to find the one that’s just right.

2. I’ve also been revising another book of mine that’s almost ready. It’s amazing how many times I can read it and still adore it. And how it surprises me every time I read it. Or maybe that’s just me being forgetful.

3. Another thing I’ve been doing is updating this website, installing a few new nifty plug-ins (now this blog is mobile device friendly!) and trying to no avail to fix the damn tag cloud in my sidebar that will not confirm to the sidebar’s width no matter what I do.

4. My new fave past time is teaching the baby tricks. She’s mastered high fiving, clapping, and sleeping. YES, SLEEPING. I know, right?

5. Watching the Lizzie Bennet diaries. I’m late to the game on this one. But a marathon weekend of watching and I’m all caught up on the 8+ hours of content. In related news: I am in love with their Mr. Darcy.

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Once upon a time, I had a blog. I updated that blog regularly. I wrote positive reviews and informative posts about writing–and of course, about TV. I attended YA events in NYC and blogged about them. I interacted with other writers by commenting on their blogs and replying to their tweets.I didn’t just write blog posts though. I wrote BOOKS. And I revised them. I wrote short stories and submitted them to magazines. I was productive.

You may have noticed the above is written in past tense. And that’s because for a while, it was all a thing of the past. But huzzah! That has changed. I’m back! And I have been for a while. Just not on the blog. In the last few months I revised a book. And another. Then I revised the first again. And I’m now revising the second yet again. Plus I outlined a third. You see, I’ve been super productive and now that I’m on a roll with writing and revising, it’s time to add blogging back into the mix. I know what you’re thinking: “LUCKY ME! FINALLY! I CAN READ YOUR AMAZING BLOG POSTS AGAIN!” I must apologize for depriving you for so long. I’m not sure how you survived without them. But let me back up a few steps. In the last post–the post below this one–I announced something important. I was pregnant! And well, it turns out being pregnant means you share your body–and your energy–with another tiny human being that sucks out your nutrients and absorbs them as their own. They take it from your blood stream, so they’re basically vampires. And you all know how much I like vampires. They also don’t believe in clocks. Therefore at three a.m. when I was snuggled in bed amongst strategically placed pillows in an attempt to mimic sleeping on my stomach, Renesmee was having a raging dance party.

Quinn Ruby. Established July 6, 2012.

It also turns out when you finally eject the tenant from its rental property inside your womb, not much changes. The three a.m. dance party continues, only now the volume has increased to high pitched wails. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” they tell you. Well, in order to do that, the baby would have to sleep!

This is how she sleeps these days.

I had been so looking forward to maternity leave, thinking I’d bang out 10 novels with one hand while rocking an eight-pound baby with the other, but it turns out my productivity didn’t begin until I went back to work. Suddenly I had a two-hour commute each way (oh the joys of living in central NJ and commuting into NYC via car, train, Path train, subway, and several blocks walking). That meant four hours a day TO MYSELF. Sure, I could have used that hour-long train ride to catch up on sleep, but without the baby to keep me up with dancing, my mind took over that job. All my brain wanted to do was, well, brainstorm. And soon the ideas were keeping me up at night as much as the baby. Prior to the baby, I’d waste my free moments on twitter. Or online shopping. Or Damon’s abs on Vampire Diaries. But now, I had to utilize them. I’d bang out scenes with my thumbs only on my cell phone on my fifteen minute subway ride. I’d race to the computer as soon as her eyelids met for her nap. And I’d pick her up from daycare just a liiiiiiittle bit after my work day ended so I could snatch up those extra minutes and finish the chapter I was working on. To summarize this post: seven and a half month old baby + working full time – not blogging = major writing productivity. This, it turns out, is also the same equation for rapid post-baby weight loss. You’re welcome in advance.

“Mommy dresses me in stupid bows!”

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1. Ahhhhh next week is SCBWI LA!!!! I’m so excited! I’m rooming with Jessica Love and Heather Trese, who are awesome and I can’t wait to hang out with them. There will be a Bookanista meet up, Kidlit Drinks on Sunday night at Pink Taco, John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson…it’s going to be amazing!

I want to meet everyone there so if you recognize me, please say hello! Here’s a tip, I’m only five feet tall. So…look down. Hopefully I make up in personality what I lack in height!

2. After the conference, my husband is flying out on Monday to meet me in LA. We’re going to spend the week doing these cool things:

  • Visiting Dreamworks studio and eating lunch in their cafeteria. (My cousin’s husband works there.)
  • Seeing a taping of TWO BROKE GIRLS.
  • Possibly seeing a taping of THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO. (I have tix, just trying to figure out if they conflict with our plans.)
  • Hopefully witnessing the taping of a comedy podcast.
  • Going to Disneyland
  • Spending a day at the beach
  • Eating at lots of awesome restaurants (though it might be sad that what I’m REALLY excited for is IN AND OUT BURGER).
  • Hanging with my cousin, who I don’t see often since she moved from NJ to LA
  • Plus lots of touristy and shopping goodness

I’m in desperate need of a vacation after a crazy and stressful month at work so this is coming at the perfect time!

3. I know I’ve been sort of MIA on here aside from Bookanista Reviews. I’ve been traveling a lot. To Boston to hang with the in-laws (and attend a wedding). To Philly and Fort Lauderdale, FL for work. And I’ve been using what little time I have for my revisions. I have multiple novels to revise, which leaves very little time for blogging.  So bad news, you get less of me. Good news, my novels are going super well!

4. Last night I went to a Weezer/Flaming Lips concert. It was awesome! But also really strange. In a good way though. The bands both headlined, but instead of playing back to back, they played side to side. Meaning, the stage was set up with both bands’ equipment. The lead singers came out at the same time–inside giant human-sized bubbles–and performed a song together with every member of the bands playing. Then they traded set-lists with each band playing approximately 3 songs before taking a break. Really, it was more like Weezer played 3 songs and the Flaming Lips played one very very long atmospheric song. This went on for several different rounds.

I’m a HUGE Weezer fan but I only really know one song by the Flaming Lips. However, their part of the concert really blew me away. They had a lot of theatrics which was very entertaining and fun to watch. The lead singer sang an entire song while on the shoulders of a marching guy in a bear costume. He had smoking megaphones he snag out of. At one point he used his mic to swat at balloons filled with confetti that rained down on him on impact. About 30 girls dressed in sailor costumes a la Sailor Moon danced on stage for every one of their songs. And they had crazy cool graphics in the background.

Weezer were awesome as ever. I’m THRILLED they played THE GOOD LIFE because it’s my fave song and they didn’t play it at the last concert. They also played SUSANNE, another song I’ve loved ever since Mallrats, so I was excited about that. They played mostly old stuff and skipped a lot of their newer singles, which was cool with me. I like their old stuff! (I like their new stuff too.) Rivers sang an entire song from the center of the audience and then stayed there to watch one of the Flaming Lips sets.
Great concert! And I don’t even mind that I’m a zombie today thanks to lack of sleep.

5. My only regret about the concert is that it was the same night that BUSH played in NYC. I had to choose, and I love both bands! My husband likes Weezer more, so we went there. But I have a long time love affair with Bush, dating back to 1995 when…I created my own fanzine to them and had thousands of subscribers. And no I’m not ashamed!

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