Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Query Bingo!

“a response within 3 months”
“a response within 6 weeks”
“a response within 3 weeks”
Full request!
“current market”
“personal taste”
“Dear Author”
“we have received your submission” auto-response
“would like to see future work”
“this impersonal note”
Form Rejection (Free Space)
“not the right fit”
“too much telling”
“didn’t connect with your MC”
“thank you for sharing/querying”
“did not connect with the writing”
“other agents feel differently”
Partial Request!
“shows potential”
“query widely”
“will contact you if interested”
Partial upgraded to full!


Seriously, though, I pulled this together by going through some old rejections, and wow. There are a lot. (The stats below include both query and partial/full rejections)

10ish for a horribly misguided attempt on MS A.
75ish for MS B.
20ish for MS C--for which I signed with my first agent.
And like 2 for MS D, but nobody wants to hear about that.

Have fun querying--I miss it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Girl with the Green Pen Got a Makeover!

Hi guys! If you've been more internet-aware than me these past few months, you might have noticed a brand spanking new Girl with the Green Pen website! Since I've been settling in/dealing with a broken laptop/sick, I haven't officially launched...until today!

Today is the official launch of The Girl with the Green Pen 2.0!

Check it out here!

While I loved the old look (the one that matched this blog), I decided to do this for a few reasons. Most notably, I graduated, and I wanted a slightly more professional look for a slightly more professional me. I love the scrolling book covers and rotating testimonials, and I love that you can see pretty much everything without going down the page. It's SO easy to navigate and to maintain.

Like it? It's the work of Robert Hoffman, whom I met through my fantabulous client Lyuda Mayorska.

I am currently accepting clients and can't wait to work with you!

ALSO: should you see an error/typo/confusingly-worded-sentence, PLEASE bring it to my attention!

CLIENTS: I want to celebrate you! So if you have a book cover that is not in the banner (even if it's not a book I worked on), send it to me, and I will add it to the rotation. Also, on a more self-serving note, if you haven't given me a testimonial, I would love to add you to that rotation as well.

Create Freely

*peeks up* *waves shamefully*
Hi. I’ve been bad. Of course, I’ve been bad for a good reason, but it still stands that I’ve been bad. In case you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t have twitter), I started working at Disneyland two months ago. And while this would generally be exciting, my job is pretty much a dream job for a lot of people: I work behind the scenes as a show writer, where I participate in the creation of all the live entertainment for the parks. As a writer, my job is to write concepts and scripts and the like, but as the low man on the totem pole, I do a lot of other things as well.
I’m not sure what I’m allowed to tell the internet, so I’ll keep things vague, but I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of fun projects (and I already have some scripts that have just been written by me!), and just being in this environment is exciting and full of creative opportunities.
Today, I want to talk about something I heard during my first (or second?) week, before I was really doing anything. And that’s this line:
“You have to be okay with really great ideas never seeing the light of day.”
In my department, creative entertainment, it’s our job to have a zillion great ideas in case 99% of them don’t fit the exact theme the boss-person is going for. (Who’s the boss-person? That depends on the project. The bigger the project, the more important the boss-person.) There’s a project I worked on from the very start that has involved writing a bunch of different pitches, all different angles to come at a crossroads of two concepts. That project isn’t even funded. If it does get funded, we’ll still have to pick one pitch. If it doesn’t get funded, all those great ideas (seven pages per pitch) get put away.
And it has nothing to do with the idea not being good idea. It has to do with the idea not being quite right for a particular opening, or (of course) for the financial side.
One of the things I’ve loved about working here is that the focus is so much on the audience. It is all about the guests. In publishing, we sometimes forget that. There’s nothing wrong with writing for an audience of one, or writing for yourself, but keeping in mind the appeal of a story is so vital. Here, I'm writing to create an experience, and the most important part of that experience is where the vantage point is: in the Guest.
So when you write, what is your Guest experiencing? Is it what you want them to experience? How could the experience be more full?
"But, Taryn," you say, "didn't you just tell me to be okay with great ideas never seeing the light of day? Doesn't that mean you're writing for yourself, in a sense?"
The act of writing is for yourself. Creation should always be something done for what you get out of it--not for the fame or for the money or whatever compensation, but for the joy or freedom or intellectual stimulation that comes with it. Creating within parameters--those contests with word count, genre, and scenario stipulations, for example, or in my case, creating for the Guest--isn't limiting. In a way, it makes you more creative. Find a way around the problem you see without leaving the box.
My earlier post about why I wanted to work at Disney--for the atmosphere of creativity--was spot on, and I wouldn't change a word of it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Editing Stats - for SCIENCE!

Here is 2012 for comparison.

But this year I am too busy moving to California to make graphs.

***My numbers may be off.***

Total manuscripts, not including queries, synopses, first chapters: 107

Age breakdown:

Young adult: 73
Middle grade: 23
New adult: 6
Adult: 3
Chapter book: 1
Other: 1

I'm actually stunned that things were so heavily YA this year. I felt like it was closer to 60% than 70%, and I definitely thought I worked with more NA. Technically I don't work with chapter books or adult fiction, but there were circumstances in both cases, and I'm glad I got a chance to read those projects!

YA breakdown:

Contemp/romance: 17
Fantasy: 15
Sci-fi: 15
Mystery/thriller: 8
Paranormal: 5
Other: 13 (historical, memoir, etc.)

Nice spread of genres.

MG breakdown:

Contemp: 6
Fantasy: 9
Other: 8 (sci-fi, adventure, paranormal, etc.)

Oh, MG fantasy. I'm not surprised.

The NA was all contemp romance except one mystery (yay, mystery NA!), the adult was all sci-fi, and the chapter book was fantasy.

I had the most projects in January (17), followed by a bunch of 13 project months. The lowest months were May (3--I was travelling Europe) and November (4--550K NaNo).

23 clients signed with agents.
9 signed book deals.
6 self-published.
2 clients who signed traditional book deals in 2012 had their books come out this year.

All those numbers add up to one happy editor. Stay tuned for the launch of The Girl with the Green Pen 2.0!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Exciting Changes

So, The Girl with the Green Pen has been closed to new clients for two months now. Those of you who have clicked on it recently may have noticed that the site is currently private. This is for various reasons, most notably the fact that there will be an exciting relaunch at the end of this month!

While I loved the whimsical, quirkiness of the first site, graduating college and being all financially independent  means that the site and my services will be getting a professional makeover. I've seen early mock-ups, and I love the cleanness and the spiffy details. (Note to self: professional people don't use spiffy.)

I would love to celebrate all over the web, so if you're willing to host a launch party on your blog, let me know either via email, twitter, or the comments below.

I will be opening with some fun contests and discounts, and I'm really excited to share my makeover with you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Success Story: Realm Lovejoy

Yay, another week of Green Pen success stories! I'm kicking this one off with Realm Lovejoy, who released her debut YA sci-fi a couple months back. Here's the amazing book trailer for CLAN:

What is your writing process? Fast/slow drafting? A specific time of day? Planning/pantsing?
I am fast with first drafts but take numerous revision cycles to get the story just right. When I am first drafting, I can write anytime of the day, but with revising, morning and day time works best so that I can really focus. I plan as much as possible inside my notebook. Often times, I plan the most during the second and third draft to really solidify the story. For the first draft, it's mostly exploring, so it's a balance of planning and allowing discoveries to happen naturally.  
What is your revising process? How many people read your various drafts? What parts of the manuscript (character, world, plot, etc) do you find easy to revise, and which are hard? 
My revising process is first to make sure that the story is everything I want it to be, then I want to get as many critiques as possible on the story and revise it until it's right. I prefer to have at least six-eight people who I trust to be critical to read the manuscript. 
The easiest part of the revision process is that I don't have to do too much revision on the dialogue, character development, or the action scenes. However, I revise a ton for world building and find it to be the most challenging part.
What drew you to self-publishing?
I self-pubbed because I have tried the traditional route but my book CLAN was simply too risky in concept for publishers to take on. It's different from what's on the YA market. I am willing to take on the risk myself and wanted to share this story with readers. With my agent's blessing, I self-published CLAN on 11/12/13. I'm very glad I did!
Do you have a nugget of writing wisdom to share? (valuable craft advice/inspiration/whatever)
Write what you wish to read and have fun!

The book is ILLUSTRATED, guys. You should totally check it out if you like fast-paced, gritty sci-fis. Tomorrow, we'll have an interview with Holly Bodger, whose debut YA will come out from Knopf in 2015.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

On Creative Exhaustion: NaNo 2013 Afterthoughts

Disclaimer: I turn 21 in 2.5 months, shut up.

Happy December, a month wherein most people are filled with a building joy. Then there are millions of NaNoWriMo survivors, either still drunk from writing . . . or well on their way to hangoversville.

I sorta fell off the planet at the end of November. I was mostly unplugged. I think I tweeted less in all of November than I did in half of query day. I ignored my emails (I THINK I'm caught up, but resend if you haven't heard from me!). I ignored my homework. I started sleeping really odd hours (7 AM? Time for bed!).

Most of the time I was drunk on writing. I've posted before about what I love about NaNo, and a lot of it is the joy of creation. But somewhere around the second week, I turned a corner. I was tired of drinking. (We will continue the drinking/hangover metaphor. Drinking=writing, for the purposes of this post.) But I didn't want the hangover, because I knew if I got the hangover, I would not be able to continue. So instead I kept drinking. Even though everyone was like "haven't you heard of alcohol poisoning?" I kept going.

When I skipped a day of drinking, all I could think of was that bottle. I blew off social stuff to stay in and drink and drink and drink. On my worst (best?) day, I drank 41,000...erm, ounces? Sips? Whatever. You get my point.

And I was delirious and I felt my body shutting down and my brain shutting down and the quality of the...alcohol...shutting down but I couldn't stop. The addiction was dangerous. And sure, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is this:

Creative exhaustion is a thing. It hurts you, and it hurts your perspective of yourself and your perspective of your work and of your worth.

When I wrote my first book-in-a-weekend, it took me ten months to write anything new. Sure, I revised during that time, but I came to flinch whenever I got a new idea--which was all the freaking time omg plot bunnies go away--because I would be so excited about it . . . and too absolutely listless to actually execute.

So, obviously, there's a balance. Between being buzzed and being dysfunctional. Between the moment when everything in the world makes you happy and the moment when everything in the world seems to be off-kilter.

Here's what I learned from this year's 555K NaNo:

1. Have a support system. At first mine was twitter, but I soon started to ignore the internet, and luckily I have awesome friends...some of whom (yo, Karis and Katie!) understand NaNo, and some of whom don't. Honestly, it was better to hang out with the ones who didn't. I needed to forget about the bottle when I wasn't, well, drinking.

2. Don't feel guilty about breaks--those recharge you. I tried to take breaks during the week when I was in class, but watching other people work just made me itch to return to my MS. I did okay . . . but next time, I want to try harder not to stress about getting behind on my word count. I'm proud of myself for not attempting a 50K day, though. I knew enough about myself to know that I can't stay awake and creative for longer than 15 or so hours, and my top typing speed (without typos/stupid words) is 3K/hour. Which brings me to:

3. Know yourself and your writing. I think this is the most important thing. Know what makes a good writing day for you. Know your typing speed and your level of concentration and how long you need to recharge. And don't compromise it. I know it's easy for me to say "eyes on your own paper" but it's so true. If you spend your time trying to match someone who works differently than you, you're only going to hurt yourself. (Differently. Not better.)

I'm horribly hungover right now. (Er, writing-wise.) I don't have any tips for recovering from creative exhaustion. Usually the advice is give yourself a break from writing, but I can't--I have three portfolios due on Friday.

Happy finals week.

Now if you'll excuse me, my agent's on the phone. We just got an offer for one of my 2013 NaNos . . .


. . . or was it?