Saturday, January 05, 2008

Manuscript tweaking

Ah, a drizzly Saturday. I wish it was snowing instead. It would be so wonderful to have that soft, peaceful white world outside. Last January we had the most perfect snow of our 7 years in Portland, where snow doesn't often stick. It was near the end of Shiloh's life when her old legs were carrying her oh so slow and we some slow snow walks through the perfect powder. That snow was magical. Wish we'd have another storm like that, instead of drizzle and wind! Last night I thought the roof would blow off!

Just home mostly now, fiddling with some scenes of Silksinger trying to get them just right. My editor did not read the manuscript over the holidays, so I'm still waiting to hear what he thinks. You know what I've gotten good at since starting on the glorious publishing road? Waiting. Actually, it was a skill I had been developing already for years while trying to get illustration work. Send stuff out to art directors and wait. Sign a contract and wait. Send in rough sketches or first drafts and wait. I've written this before on here, but there is so much of cultivating calm and tamping down anxiety and excitement, that it starts to become numbness. The real excitement moments are elusive. It's best to look for excitement in the process of the work itself, the one thing we have control over. Those times I high-five myself after nailing a scene? Those are the high times. Those, and the emails from readers.

It's funny about that, actually. The first several emails from 10- or 11-year-old readers that I got, I wasn't too sure they were really from kids. You know, it's email, and the tone of them was so universally mature, they just didn't seem like kids to me. I thought they were weird adults impersonating children! But now I've gotten enough of those wonderful emails to recognize the strangely adult voice of adolescent girls! I mean, it shouldn't come as a surprise. They're smart, cool people. I have a 12-year-old niece, but we don't email much, or I might have recognized the tone more quickly. It's hard to describe: slightly self-conscious and self-deprecating. Quirky humor, just a little awkward sometimes, but super smart and funny. I no longer doubt the identity of my emailers. I'm getting used to them. I LOVE those emails. They make up for a lot of lost excitement opportunities in the publishing process.

On an unrelated note, two instances of people-suck:
1.) My parents found a box abandoned on their private road. It had been there all day, in the cold rain and inside it with no food and no water and no blanket were two bunnies. It was in such a spot as it could not possibly have fallen by accident off a truck, AND the wonderful Oregon Human Society is not that far away! They could have taken them there. Instead, some idiots had left them out to freeze to death. Luckily my parents saw something moving in the box and rescued them, fed them a vast salad of grapes and lettuce and celery, went to the store for rabbit food and a water bottle, and now are trying to decide what to do. They are apparently adorable, one black and one white, and seem to be in good health. I wonder if they'll keep them? They already have four cats (four cats, zero tails) and a tortoise, not to mention oodles of wildlife: squirrels, including the nocturnal flying variety, chipmunks, raccoons and birds galore.

2.) My sister's scientific expedition got robbed by Honduran bandits. I like that -- "scientific expedition". It calls to mind the Darwin days of gentleman of science living rough in the Amazon, pinning butterflies to boards. But anyway, it was a scientific expedition -- her friends' research project on an island of the Honduran coast that is teeming with dwarf pink boa constrictors. They had to take a tiny plane to the coast, and apparently the airline routinely overbooks it so the planes can't take the weight of the luggage in addition to the passengers (but of course, they will not carry less passengers!) so what they do, is they just don't put the luggage on the plane. After all, who really needs their luggage. Usually, a day or five later, when a flight isn't full, they stuff all the accumulated luggage onto the plane and the people who have been waiting in the airport (for up to FIVE DAYS) finally get their stuff. How sucky! BUT this time they decided to hire a truck to carry the bags, and guess what? The truck got hijacked by bandits and EVERYTHING was stolen, including all their scientific equipment and all their clothes and everything.

So, there they were on the island for a week, unable to do what they came to do, and with only ONE SET OF CLOTHES each! Ai ai ai! Travelers, be advised: purchase travel insurance. It's not that expensive, not compared to losing $1500 worth of outdoor gear, as Emily did, or much more in equipment. Sheesh! Now some bandits have all they need to read body water content of snakes during the rainy season, or whatever it is the researchers were going to do! Hope they enjoy the bandits new careers as scientists!

Okay, back to manuscript tweaking. Happy weekend!


Debbie Barr said...

Oh, that's awful! I hope that things turn out all right for her. And the bunnies.

Also, hope everything goes well with your editor!

Amber said...

Re: your sister. WOW! That sucks. That would have made me grumpy, to say the least.

Re:Bunny wabbits. Aww! But maybe they were VAMPIRE bunny rabbits, and the people were just trying to get them out of the house before they sucked all the juice out of all their veggies! No? No, they were probably just jerks.

Re: the girl emailers. Hahaha. And you have to remember these are SMART girls, who READ. They are so cool and ironic. I know just what you mean. I love girls like that. :)


Amber said...

Just wanted to say THANK you for your comment, Laini. I agree with you about needing to hear what other people think, and the thing about already liking and respecting a person who might think another way than you. ;)
I did post something...if you want to read it. I would like to hear what you think.

oxox :)

~Molly~ said...

Thanks for sharing the link to Shiloh's life. We lost our dear Soshie kitty to a heart attack last week after a long recovery from swallowing a mylar streamer.

I hope the bunnies are still doing well, how awful for them! I visit a guinea pig forum and one of the members volunteers at a shelter. The stories she has told of abandoned animals make me livid.

Sounds like your sister's stuff was in the wrong place at the right time. Bandits are so stupid!

I am reading your Dreamdark book. Oldest daughter is still on the cat warrior thing for now. I am LOVING this book!!!! Wow, so much adventure for such a tiny faerie!! I am about 1/3 of the way through.LOVELOVELOVE it!


Laini Taylor said...

Thanks so much, Molly! I'm so glad you're enjoying it! :-)

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Having your luggage stolen sucks as it is, but to be with only one outfit in the jungle has REALLY got to suck big time!

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor Laini's-sister...that SUCKS.

The emails sound wonderful. :) As do your parents. And the bunnies.