Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Currents

Soooo, you know that awkward moment when you realize your hand-shake smile just got so wide you're probably scaring the person you're shaking hands with?

Oh, you don't?

Um.

Well, that exhausts my conversation topic for the week. Let's have some random updates, shall we?

Current song I can't stop listening to: Coming Home by The Bianca Story. This band is Swiss. Swiss, I tell you. And they sound good, which is positively bizarre. Swiss pop music is usually right up there with K-pop in terms of intellectual stimulation.

Current food I can't stop eating: Lindt White Chocolate Mousse ... chocolate. It's like white chocolate mousse, wrapped in more white chocolate, and it makes me really sick. After two squares. And I've had four at least. I'm really sick right now.

Most interesting thing that happened recently: A dance rehearsal where thirty ballerinas danced to some orchestra stuff I had written. Very interesting. It's weird how little clue most people have of the kind of work that goes into these art forms. Ballerina = fluffy tutus and trotting. NO! Costume designer = snipping fabric into shapes. NO! Recorder playing = icky, squeaky pre-school music. NO! Writer = sitting on the computer all day and trying not to procrastinate. MAYBE!

Anyway, two of the ballerinas collided violently during the Fox Dance. I swear I didn't laugh.

Current moment I'm still face-palming over: There was a camera person at the rehearsal. He was making a telly documentary about something. And afterwards he was all up in my face like,

"WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WRITE MUSIC!?"

And I, media PROFESSIONAL that I am, flicked dust off my shoulder and replied coolly,

"Aaaaaaahm, blerg?"

"Ohhhh, good answer. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO ORCHESTRATE MUSIC!"

"Abbeloggery."

"WHY?"

"Mmglb!"

"HOW DO YOU DO IT?"

"MMGDD."

That, my friends, is eloquence. Let's hope he doesn't use that for the telly documentary. Or perhaps he'll use it for a different telly documentary. Like, one about toads.

The second most interesting thing that happened recently was a workshop where we learned how to write for drums. Writing for drums is surprisingly NOT EASY. And I'm fairly certain I was the only one paying attention to how one does so. Because most of our class was girls, and most of the girls were busy blushing and giggling. Our teacher looked like Mr. Tumnus, you see.





















So that's it for currents. S'all I got, people. But I hope to post again. This week. And I'm thinking about making a vlog. 

I'll explain what brought on this heinous idea latah.

Bye. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trailer Tuesday 3#: Snow White vs. Snow White

It's Trailer Tuesday Day againnnn! Yup. Yes. Indeed.

"But there was a Tuesday last week," you say, reproachfully. "And the week before. And the week before. And you didn't write anything. You betrayed us."

To which I reply, "Oh, but there wasn't. I snipped out all those little Tuesdays. From my calendar. And then I went my merry way, singing and dancing. You were just looking at the wrong calendar, yo."

...

So, now that I've probably frightened everyone off with that borderline crazy-person intro, let's get down to business. I was going to write about The Hobbit, but it came out aaaages ago, and everyone has already seen it, and let's face it, there's not much to say. It's too short. It looks amazing. I'm excited. The music's purty, and the colours pop like bananas.

I thought I'd write instead about two slightly less exciting fantasy movies coming out this year.

Perhaps you've heard of the two Snow White movies coming from different studios 2012? No? NO??? Ah well. They were born from the fairytale craze that followed Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland making a BILLION DOLLARS. They were both green-lit around the same time, by different studios, and luckily for the Different Studios, they turned out to be very different projects.

Watch, watch.

First up is Snow White and the Huntsmen. The main character is Bella Swan. The other main character is Thor. The other main character is an Oscar-winner. Make sense? No.



Next up is the Julia Roberts one. Mirror, Mirror by Tarsem Singh of Immortals fame. Or something. Actually, he's probably most famous for making movies with rather impractical-looking costumes.

  
I like how in the first screenshot she's all like "KIAAAAAI!!!", and in the second one she's just like "Ooh, apple."

Not so similar-looking, are they? They both look kinda, sorta, potentially amusing. Or at least diverting. I'm not ridiculously excited about them the way I was when I heard Tim Burton was directing ALICE IN OPIUM-INDUCED WONDERLAND. But they look ok. Give me the straight-faced camp of Snow White and the Hunstmen over the broad comedy of Mirror, Mirror any day though. Because that liquid-y mirror creature is cool. As is is the monster gorilla thingy that Miss White is gawping at.

Excitement factor Snow White and the Huntsmen: might watch in theaters if I can bribe, threaten, or otherwise unlawfully coerce my friends to go see a non-arthouse flick.

Excitement factor Mirror, Mirror: I'm afraid no amount of bribery, threatening, or unlawful coercion will persuade them to watch a HAPPY *gasp* POP-SOUNDTRACKED *double gasp* COMMERCIALLY-APPEALING *hyperventilates* movie. But that's ok. I haven't actually watched a movie I was not freakishly excited about since... Tron: Legacy. Which came out like fifty years ago. (Aka, 2010) So I will almost certainly pass on this one.

What do you think? Did either of these jiggle your jollies?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Doodles

Um, er, so. For various reasons that are SECRET, I'm not going to finish the line of posts about getting an agent and book deal. Right now.

Why? Remember when I said that some authors were cool and professional and didn't write about that? Well, apparently there's a reason for being cool and professional. It never occurred to me, of course.

I might be able to post it later though! *nods enthusiastically*

SO! *stops nodding* What I can do is show you my sister's doodles. Because they're funneh.

My sister's a writer, and a weapons expert, and a motorcyclist. She lives in a chalet in the darkest reaches of alpine Switzerland, and she also owns the finest library of hardcovers you're ever going to see. Don't bother drawing any conclusions from those statements, cuz you'll be wrong.

Here goes:






How people look when they randomly stumble across this blog.








How people look after going on diets.


















How people look after buying shoes with bows on them.















How people look after doing revisions.










How people look after eating ice cream.



How people look after eating other people.









 
Haha! Haha! Haha! Haha! Haha! Haha!

*Shparkles*










I'm an ela-horse. Or a horse-ee-phant. Or a llamaaaaa.




And so that this post was not totally random, I will give you my wise Tip Of The Week:

If you wish to listen to Person-Sitting-Next-To-You On-Train's phone conversation, it is best to keep turning the pages of the book you're reading. Otherwise they suspect.

Psh.  Don't act like you've never done it. Train conversations are right up there next to reading other people's LOCKED DIARIES in terms of interesting. Not that I know this. For a fact. Or anything.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting a Literary Agent, Part 1

(Source)

Guess what!? I just sent off revisions. That was relieving. And nerve-wracking. And wery worrisome.

So I thought I'd type up a therapeutic 'my path to getting an agent' post. I wanted to do this ages ago, but I never got around to it. Back when I was still querying agents I would obsessively run around published authors' blogs, and poke into their archives, and search for the obligatory 'ohmahpoodlesahgotsanagentslashbookdeal' post. Because they were encouraging and fun to read. But some authors were very professional and cool and didn't have one. Which was sad. My own story is not really much different from most other writers's, but I'm putting it up anyway. So there. Here goes!

Getting a Literary Agent, Chapter ONE

Waaaay back in 2010 I started writing a book. It wasn't my first book. I had written three meandering sorta-books before it, which I plan to write an embarrassing blog post about soon, and had just decided that I should throw my other WIPs into a corner and stomp on them and write something kewl.  

The Peculiar was my idea of kewl back then. It was basically all the things I liked, mashed into a great big dreary goop. I like scary stuff. I like Victorian England. I like magic. Not the shparklee kind but the creepy, slithery kind. I like gritty atmosphere, and monsters, and folklore, and tragedy, and vicious psycho faerys. So I tried my utmost to put them all into one book without making it very silly. I finished a rough draft in July of 2010, polished it until it didn't creak *badly*, and sent off my first query letter EVER in November of that year.

Then I waited. And waited.

And my little brain was all like, "Ooh, Miss Agent must like it veeerrrry much, because she's keeping it fo-evah."

And then I got a rejection.


Shock. I sent more query letters. I sent query letters for a long time. Almost a year. I sent them one or two at a time, which was a little bit retarded.

The first five queries were all to British agents, and they all rejected it after a partial. And I was like, "Why, I ask you, whyyy!?" because my book is set in 19th century England and involves English people doing what I perceive to be English sort of things, so I was slightly worried that I had been culturally insensitive or something. I'm not actually English, you see. Everything I know about England I learned from costume dramas, and Charles Dickens, and my bratty Brit friends. Ha! I myself am American. I say 'like' about every three words, and only sound smart in real life when I'm annoyed at someone.

The very first query to an NYC agent got me a request for the first fifty pages. You can see how that turned out in this weepy blog post from a few months ago.

Looking back, I'm really glad nobody accepted the manuscript when I first sent it out. Partly because I got a great agent thisaways, and partly because I learned tons about writing during that year of querying. Each time I got a rejection I would go back to the manuscript in a mad rage and delete large swaths of it, and write new swaths, and polish up swaths that I liked, and despair over ones I thought were dorky, and polish some more, and send out another two queries determined that the cruel and heartless World of Agents would like it this time.

Early success can be heartening, but it's probably not very good for one's psyche. Um. Yar. I'm not sure if I'm talking about the book deal here. That was just completely out-of-my-control, and went ridiculously smoothly, and I'm very grateful for it. But generally I think bumps in the road are good. Learning how to work hard is good. Being self-critical is good to a point. If you think you're simply maaaahvellous right from the start you're not likely to make yourself get any better. I want to get a lot better.

End Philosophizing. :)

Here are the numbers for you interested folks:

I sent ten queries in total. Broken down that's: six rejections, two no-responses, one offer of rep, and one... umm... I think it would be called an 'understanding', but I didn't know that at the time. Basically, the agent kinda sorta says they'll work with you, but you're not really a client unless it sells.

When I got the two requests for fulls, I freaked out for a while. I cyber-stalked the agents, tried to figure out if I had a chance with these illustrious people. And came to the conclusion that, "Nope, nope I did not."

I'll tell you why next week. Heeee. Because this post is *really* long. And because school starts tomorrow and I must! Practice! Instruments! My teachers are going to be like, "SHTEFAN! This piece sounds igsakly like it did before the holidays." And I'll be like, "Umm, errrr, waaaall, I was kinda busy going insane and revising and doing other such important stuff."

And they'll flap their hands and be like, "There is nothing more important than music."

Nope. Nothing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oh Noes!

I have a tragic announcement to make.














Don't cry, ok? Ok.

Here goes...

There'll be no Trailer Tuesday today.

...

Your face is blank because you're in shock, right? And your heart just broke into little tiny pieces? And you have so many feelings welling up inside you and you just can't express them? There, there...

But seriously, this is lame. I failed at my fail-proof way of putting up regular content. Whyyyy, you ask?

I was busy wearing galoshes and chasing my little brother through vast muddy fields and then dragging all that mud back inside and clogging the sink with it. By accident.

I was busy revising and panicking and obsessing over every single word in my manuscript. 

I had a headache. And... still have a headache. But I'll wrap it in shiny paper and give it to you if you want.

Wait, wha?

Ok, really, I'm terribly sorry, and I hope to have all sorts of exciting content up here latah oahn, and I now insert a whole bunch of excuses that make me feel better about wasting your time.

Happy New Year anywhoooo!!! I hope you have a dashing good one. :) Because it's 2012. :) And the world's going to end. :) And everyone will be killt.

:)