Friday, January 22, 2010

Be Afraid...Very Afraid...But Do It Anyway!

Okay, so Brad is hot even when he's playing Death. But...

I love the blog question for this month -- what will I be writing in 2010?

First, I will be writing the last polish on the book I spent writing all last year.

Second, I will be finishing the draft of a second book that has taken me to a time and place in history that I loved, but never expected to write in.

Third...I will be writing (and rewriting) a business plan for the new business I am starting up (which will require writing and creation in whole new area for me).

The themes of all three works have one thing in common: they all scare me crazy. My still-in-revision-after-a-year book scares me because it is big and ambitious and more than I've ever tried before. My only-a-few-chapters-in new book scares me because it is in a time period that many people know well, and I'm trying (again!) to do something a little different there, while still being scrupulously historically accurate. The business plan (so left brain of me) scares me because it is the embodiment of all my dreams about a product that I've wanted to see/create since I was in college (in the dark ages, for those who wonder). To take a twist on Goldilocks, I may be too late, I maybe be too early, or I may be just right.


My motto, since the first time I decided to try to make a crazy idea real (back in elementary school, when I wrote, directed, and produced a play with my sisters for my parents): Be afraid. Be very afraid. But do it anyway!

I'll be talking about the new business (and the old, of course), on my website. I'm also on Twitter now, as kellymcclymer, and would love to be followed, or to follow others. Just be aware...I'm Twitter-deficient. I'm determined to learn. But...beware.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Will You Be Writing in 2010?

We’re still in January, so it’s not too late to jump back on the horse, right? I vowed to write at least an hour a day this year. I even joined the 32-Day Writing Challenge facebook group page, hoping for that extra boost. But now that the month is almost over, I haven’t clocked as many words as I would’ve liked to. But the eternal optimist in me says there’s still time. And how's this for encouragement? The Brown Bookshelf has just selected me as a "28 Days Later" 2010 author!

I definitely feel excited about the stories I’m working on. One is a YA romantic comedy inspired by life on a tropical island. The other ro-com is inspired by own teen years—which were spent under the rule of well-meaning but overprotective parents. And I’ve begun outlining a paranormal story that I think it’s pretty cool. I can’t wait to see how these three manuscripts develop.

Right now I’m trying to strike a balance between my writing and the fundraising and planning I’ve been doing for Haiti disaster relief. The earthquake’s devastation has personally impacted me and my family. As a Haitian-American, it’s tough watching the news--and it’s almost as difficult stepping away from it. Sometimes it makes you wonder: How does a writer write when times like these leave one at a loss for words?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What I'm Writing This Year

2010 is going to be an exciting year for me because my third novel, LIFTED, comes out in June. When you have a book coming out, you find yourself writing all sorts of things, from media releases to interviews for bloggers to email responses to fans. It's also important to keep your web-site and blogs updated.

Last night, I wrote a new presentation because while I've been doing school visits for middle and high schools, now I'm being asked to present at elementary schools. I'm also working on a workshop I'll be presenting at Utah Valley University March 15-16. (Web-site with more info to come.) I really love finding new and creative ways to inspire and educate, and presenting at schools and conferences is one of my favorite parts of being an author. It not only allows me to pull from my education (I majored in Speech Communication); it gives me the chance to connect face-to-face with readers, potential readers, and writers of all levels.

As far as books, I have a sweet friendship-based middle grade idea, kind of like the Ro-Coms but for younger readers, and I'm hoping it will be a go. Also, I'm working on a paranormal idea. Right now, I'm researching like crazy and learning all sorts of fun things. I'm a firm believer that you need to learn the rules before you break them and give them your own unique flavor. My goal is to have at least one and hopefully two books published every year, so I have a lot of work to do this year to keep that happening!
I hope you're having a wonderful 2010!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What I'll Be Writing in 2010

So, in 2010 I'm going to be veering away from the sunny world of romantic comedies and into the netherworld of teen thrillers. I just yesterday returned from New York, where I had a meeting with my new editors to discuss the plot of the book, which I'll write under a pen name. I'm so excited about this new manuscript (aside from the strong feeling of nausea which always comes with staring 55,000 words in the eye), because I was practically weaned on Stephen King and Dean Koontz and their ilk. Dead girls, psycho doctors, people who aren't what they seem - give it to me. I love love this new material, but at the same time. . .it's scary as heck starting a new book. Don't let anyone tell you writing is all roses. It's actually agony and usually, I hate every minute of writing the rough draft. I drag myself through the process like I need a harness and a plow behind me. But at the end. . .that is the sweetest sensation to type that last sentence and look at back at the 250 pages you just pulled out word by word. That gorgeous light feeling lasts usually about two weeks-- that's when you get the revisions back from your editor, and the agony starts all over again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What I'm Writing in 2010

Right now, I'm working on four books at once. I don't normally do this; once I've worked my way through the initial chapters of a book and am plowing toward my deadline, I'm focused on nothing but that manuscript (ask my husband, who often must forage for his dinner.) But when I'm in the plotting/early drafting stages, it's actually easier for me to work on multiple stories. As I brainstorm ideas for one book, I often get a flash of brilliance on a point that's stymied me on another story. I fill pages with notes--character traits, plot twists, possible scenes, even descriptions--as I go, flipping back and forth between my stories.

One thing I love doing at this stage of writing is scouring the neighborhoods where I want to set my book, looking at online photos, newspaper articles, and real estate listings. It gives me a sense of the types of homes my characters might inhabit, how far students might have to travel for school, and what their economic situation might be. Every so often, I come across a photo that triggers an idea for a scene, or that helps me focus on a particular character trait.

For instance, doesn't THIS photo, which I found on a real estate site, generate a zillion story questions?

Yep, that's a big bathroom. It's also extremely pink. While the color caught my attention--there are any number of jokes you can put in a manuscript about a pink marble bathroom--it what's above the tub made me say, "Oh, yeah! Story time!"

What kind of person collects porcelain heads? What kind of person puts them in the bathroom? Would YOU want to sit in a bathtub with a bunch of porcelain heads staring down at you?

I'm not sure how, but in 2010, this bathroom will be written into a book.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What will you be writing in 2010?

For starters, it's only January 11 and I'm about to finish writing a 110,000-word novel this year! Woo-hoo! I am full of awesome and win!

Ahem. Note that I did not say “started and finished writing a 110,000-word novel.” I wrote the first 50,000 words of this novel during NaNoWriMo back in 2008 and blogged about the experience almost every day, which you can read here. My account is pretty funny, especially in retrospect, now that I'm not having nightmares about scrambling eggs for everyone in my high school marching band.

Note that I also did not say “finished writing and then sold a 110,000-word novel.” The selling part is sometimes (often? almost always?) a sticking point for me. That’s how I roll. Cross your fingers for me.

What’s next? Well, any day now I expect the copyedit for Forget You, my YA romantic drama coming out on July 20, to appear on my doorstep. (They really do just appear like that with no warning, with or without a green pencil.) The copyedit for Endless Summer, my YA romantic comedy (and sequel to The Boys Next Door!) coming out on August 3, will be hot on its heels. In fact, if 2010 is anything like 2009, both of these copyedits will be due on the same date, and I will finish them just in time and get in the car to take them to the last FedEx pickup of the day and discover that the garage door is stuck closed. That is also how I roll.

Then I’ll be writing my next YA romantic drama, which will be out in July 2011. I know, the only people who think that far ahead are the publishing industry and the Olympic Committee. This novel is called [SUPER-SECRET TITLE DELETED] and if you enjoyed my novel Going Too Far, you’ll like it because it’s about a [TOO SOON TO REVEAL DELIGHTFUL HEROINE AND TO-DIE-FOR HERO AND SUPER-SECRET PLOT]. It’s due in April.

And then what? Well, by my calculations, that’s eight months left in the year, which is a really long time for me to have nothing to write, read books about writing, whine to my critique partner, and obsessively redesign my web site. I guess I will have to write something else.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My First Post! Oh, and also, What I Will Be Writing in 2010!

Hello! I'm so thrilled to be joining the Romantic Comedies family at Simon Pulse! My first book for the series, Language of Love, comes out this June, and it's doubly exciting for me because even though I've written a few nonfiction books for Simon Pulse before, like Chill: Stress-Reducing Techniques for a More Peaceful, Balanced You and In Their Shoes: Extraordinary Women Describe Their Amazing Careers, this is my first novel. And for me, writing a novel was one of those things I've always dreamed of doing, but wasn't sure I actually could do or would be any good at it.

So, now that I've finished writing my first novel, I've already got a kabillion ideas for new characters and stories I want to write about. So, my plan for writing in 2010 definitely includes completing at least one more romantic comedy, and maybe starting a second. I'm also working on another nonfiction book idea for teen girls that has a working title of What Smart Girls Know, which is loosely based on my blog for girls, Smart Girls Know. But we'll see about that agent has to sell the idea first (visualized fingers crossed here).

Beyond that? Well, I guess we'll see. I'm doing all that beginning of the year regrouping, brainstorming, and reflecting that I tend to do in the dark, rainy Seattle winters. Hopefully, some brilliant ideas will come out of that!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What will I be writing in 2010?

Happy New Year, everyone! So, what will I be writing this year? I'm currently polishing up a proposal and sample chapters for a book that is vastly different from the seven other books I have published. All I can say is that I am super excited about it, and it's YA. I'll always love writing romantic comedies, and hopefully -- publishers willing -- I'll be able to wear both hats. Like many of the other ro com authors I have small children. Writing time is precious, so a good dose of inspiration has to be running through my veins to commit myself to an entire manuscript. I'm definitely feeling inspired!

Monday, January 04, 2010

"Funky" Is A Good Thing, Right?

Apparently, I am a funky writer. Who knew?

Later this week, I'll be the guest of honor on The Funky Writer radio show. (I assume, since the radio show is called "Funky Writer", that being hailed as a funky writer is a positive.)

To check out the show's blog and get a sense of what's in store, go right here. There's a contact e-mail for the show's host, Rob Batista, listed on the right side of the blog. If there's a question you're dying to have answered, send it along to him.

The interview airs live on January 7, at 8:30PM ET. If you'd like to listen to the show (or download it to iTunes for free), click on this link to access The Funky Writer Radio Show.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What will I be writing in 2010?

I remember a few years ago, sometime right after Prom Crashers came out, a reader asked me what I would be writing next. I laughed. Ha! I thought. I don't have time to write! (I was secretly pregnant with twins at that very moment, and had a one-year-old in tow). I seriously thought I was done writing, that I couldn't possibly squeeze it into my life. As much as I love writing, I was certain I wouldn't be able to do it with three kids under two, a full-time job, and a husband who likes to see me from time to time.

Well, I was really wrong! I have published two more books since then (Drive Me Crazy and Juicy Gossip - a Scholastic book for younger readers) and just finished looking at the last pass of my 2010 novel, Kiss It. Kiss It is a coming-of-age romp that is very different from my romantic comedies that will be out in June 2010. It's still funny, but it's much edgier and things go beyond a sweet first kiss. That's all I'm saying!

So what am I doing now? I'm already halfway done with my next book! I am working on a project that I'm calling "romantic comedy with a paranormal twist" (no, not vampires or werewolves or angels...I swear!). It's a major departure from my Romantic Comedies, but holds tight to humor--something that's really important to me. My life is way to insane to write dark, depressing stuff. I've tried, and it comes off as sappy and lame. Every time.

In terms of juggling it all and answering that question - What will I be writing in 2010? - well... the kids have all been born and life hasn't gotten any easier, but what I'm finding is that writing is this amazing ME time that I can always find time for. So once this book is done and deep in revisions, I'll be on to something new. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, eh?