Stephanie Perkins Blog About Stephanie Books On Writing News Extras



1.21.2009

Birth (of child) + Rebirth (of a novel)



I'm an aunt!!

And perhaps I am a tad biased, maybe, but judging from this picture, I am reasonably confident that my nephew has the world's most perfect hands. Like, someday these puppies will be on dishwashing soap commercials.

So yes! A nephew! Which is exciting, because now I can keep calling him Jack Jack, and I don't have to change it to something like Jill Jill.

Because that would be ridiculous.

Baby and mama are both well, from what I hear. These things can be difficult to judge over the phone, especially when mama is sleep-deprived and exhausted from recent expulsion of a foreign object the size of a watermelon. I'll confirm their health in person next month, when Jarrod and I visit.

For now, I am relying on outside sources.

And for any of you out there thinking, "Blah blah blah, whatever, babies are born every day, Angelina popped out another one two hours ago," please understand my excitement: My sister was my only hope for becoming an aunt. My husband is an only child and my sister is my only sibling, so my aunthood was ALL UP TO HER.

Way to go, Sis! Thanks for this.

(Because I know you totally did it for me.)

In all seriousness, I am very, very proud of my sister. She'll be an AMAZING mother. And I can't wait to meet Jack Jack.


(Jack Jack)


Who really does have perfect hands. Just like his mommy.

In other news . . . it's that time again!

I warned you it would happen. Remember that thing I was obsessed with last autumn? That thing I COULDN'T STOP TALKING ABOUT? What was it called again? Oh yeah.

REVISIONS.

I, Stephanie Perkins, am revising again. Please prepare yourselves for the following:


(A) Obsessing.

(B) Crazy talk.

(C) Pointless comparisons between celebrities and writing.


These are things I am Very Accomplished at. You can usually find all three in each blog entry! It's like Where's Waldo, but with fewer wizards and missing shoes.


Honestly, I'm thrilled to be revising again. I'm back on that schedule of three or four hours of sleep per day (less than three last night!) until further notice. Which is both terrifying and oddly gratifying.

In a semi-sick way, I've missed it -- those crazy midnight hours in which NOTHING exists in the world but me and my novel. When waking and napping hours blur, and all I think about, ALL I THINK ABOUT, is the book.

There's something special about that relationship.

(If there weren't, you'd better believe I would have quit a long time ago.)

So before this blog is taken over again by revision zombie talk, there's one last thing I'd like to do. Talk about THE NOVEL itself. Lately, I've received a few emails with the following question:

What exactly is it about?


What is it?


Now . . . this is something I am vaguely minorly paranoid and jinxy about. Sure I like talking about the writing process quite a bit. But I don't talk about the details of my book.

I just don't.

And it's not because I don't love you or because I think you're going to steal it. It's because once upon a time, say eight years ago, I had this Idea. Now this was a really, really good Idea. My first NOVEL Idea. So I started writing it.

And I kept writing.

And kept writing.

And kept writing.

And before I knew it, I'd been working on this Idea for six years and wasn't even remotely close to finishing! So just as I decided, "Okay. It's now or never. Let's buckle down and DO THIS THING" . . . it happened.

The book was published by someone else.

It's difficult to express the heartache and anguish and despair of discovering my book -- MY! BOOK! -- amongst the reviews in Booklist. The whole thing was so terrible I still don't want to talk about it. But what I will tell you is that not only was My Idea published, but, get this:

It was published THREE TIMES.


Nooooooo! (by Fabbio)


Yes.

First by a no-name adult fiction author, then by a NY Times bestselling author, and finally, by a YA author.

Clearly it was not meant to be. Or, more precisely, I had fudged around this Great Idea for so long, the universe decided to send it back out into the void. The idea went up for grabs and, boy, did people grab it.

This is why I cling to my novel like dog fur on my favorite black winter coat. I am terrified -- TERRIFIED -- that somewhere out there, someone has My Idea too. And it's a race to see who can get it written and published first.

And I really, really don't want to lose again.

Interestingly enough, the swoon-worthy Neil Gaiman wrote about this very thing just the other day:


"Sometimes I think that ideas float through the atmosphere like huge squishy pumpkins, waiting for heads to drop on. I remember back in 1989 Terry Pratchett and I plotting a novel once about a serial killer who kills serial killers, and we had most of the pieces in place, and then both of us realised we'd have to actually write it, which seemed like less fun than making it up, and so we left it. I would have put him in the Serial Killer's convention in Sandman, but he just didn't fit. And I was pleased when I saw the Dexter books that that pumpkin had finally landed on the head of somebody else, who wanted to write them. Sometimes you're just lucky that the pumpkin lands on you first."


So call me jinxy, but until a contract is signed, I really don't feel like talking about it. Sort of.

I mean, I DO like to talk.

And since I was asked again -- and this time by one of my favorite new friends -- here's what I've decided to share:


FIVE THINGS ABOUT THE NOVEL


(1) It is a young adult novel.

(2) Hopefully it has some funny bits.

(3) There is kissing. Of course.

(4) Most of it takes place in a foreign city. If you've been reading this blog closely, you already know what city that is. If you haven't, allow me to save you the bother of browsing my archives. It's Paris.

(5) There is an HBM. (Well, more like an HBM plus.)



Photograph by the incredible Irene Suchocki


Are you surprised? My guess = Probably not.

I look forward to the abating of my paranoia, so I can share details with you. Details such as the title! Or the plot! But in the meantime, please don't take offense. I can count on one hand how many people have read THE NOVEL, and my mother isn't even one of them.

And I really like my mom.

But in case you're still interested, one of those Five Special People -- the amazing, spectacular, hilarious, insanely talented Laini Taylor -- wrote a very, very, VERY nice post about my novel last October. And I am eternally grateful.

Now . . . off to revisions! See you in the trenches.

10 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! I love kissing, and funny, and young adults! But not kissing funny young adults because I am married and a mother and that would be creepy!

    And I'm positively blushing over the shout out. And I so hear you about the paranoia--honestly, every time I go to Barnes and Noble, I get this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'll find my book, written by someone else.

    Also, C) happens to be my favorite post of yours that I've read so far. Two guesses as to why.

    Yup! I just love pancakes!

    Also, hip hip hooray for a beautiful new little life with absolutely perfect hands!

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  2. I have the same feeling. HOWEVER. Two people can have the same idea, and write two very different books. The voice and the writing are what matters, and as long as there is some kind of twist, I think it's all right. It just seems like so many ideas have been reused, but there's always a way to make it fresh!

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  3. Don't you just love those perfect little fingers. And the toes. You gotta get a picture of those too.

    I hear ya on the scared to say anything about your book. I've had a similar experience with ideas and writing. I keep trying to figure out how those ideas got ripped from the recesses of my gray matter. Now I know. Thanks for filling me in!

    Paris is a great setting and you can't go wrong with an HBM. I have one of those in my current WIP. Mine's YA. Mine hopefully has funny bits. Mine has kissing. Holy crap! Could we be writing the same book? Wait, no, mine's not set in Paris. Whew! I guess those are just the elements of a good YA novel. Can't wait to read it!

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  4. Congratulations, Auntie! I got a niece last summer and it was oh-so-thrilling!

    I hear you on the closely guarded novel secrets. I just can't, CAN NOT bring myself to share even the title of my current WIP. And it is such a kick-ass title I am dieing to!

    I am patient. I'll wait to win my ARC copy in your first monstrous blog giveaway!

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  5. Congrats on Jack Jack. Yay!

    I can completely relate to not sharing. I too think my mom is pretty cool and she knows nohting about my novel...and she let's everyone know she knows nothing.

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  6. Oh right! I totally read that post Laini wrote about your novel and I was DYING to read it! If I recall, it was ultra romantic - which is the best kind :)

    But I can totally relate to the fear of telling the idea. I am the EXACT SAME WAY!!!

    I wish you the best! And now that you have an agent, you will no doubt sell it.

    (now I just need an agent. Anyone? Anyone?)

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  7. I really enjoyed your post. Lotus sent me over here. She told me you're hilarious and should check out your blog. Glad I did!

    Congrats on getting an agent. That's wonderful, exciting news. And so is your new nephew!

    About stealing ideas... I've kept most of my plots fairly vague, and only invited close friends and family into my novel-blogs, but I'm still paranoid. I sure hope nobody steals my ideas.

    *bites fingernails*

    Although I don't possibly see how anybody would get the ideas I have. They're super-weird and usually sound boring. Most people don't get too excited about my stories until they actually start reading.

    It's all in the writing and telling. And in essence, the same stories have been told and retold a million times.

    Still, sorry that your idea was taken. Three times no less!

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  8. So, this latest revision is for your agent, yes?

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  9. I hear you about ideas floating around in the universe. That's why I believe we are all connected in some way and that there are no coincidences.

    Have I told you that I cannot wait to read your novel when it is published? I love Paris, I love an HBM, I love kissing - what more could I ask for?

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  10. Oh, and congrats on being an Aunty! Love his little fingers. Babies are so precious.

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