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6.17.2010

An Epic Post Before I Semi-Epically Leave You Again



That picture is for anyone who has ever wondered what it would look like if you sat on your leg until it fell asleep in a bungee-style office chair. Which I'd like to say has never happened to me, but clearly that would be a lie.

I'd also like to say this has never happened to me more than once, and especially never more than twice, but those would also be lies.

SO, HI! I've missed you guys! And a great big WELCOME to my new blog readers. Thank you for introducing yourselves in my recent comments! I'm excited you found me. So I have lots to say today and not much time to say it—please forgive the scattered nature. (Again.)

Tra la la. Where to begin?

OH, HOW ABOUT THIS:

I FINISHED LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR!!!

This was a thirteen-month (plus nine years) labor of love and heartache and heartbreak and anger and deadness and frustration that stripped away my social life and left me with the heaviest physical and mental exhaustion that I've ever experienced. For thirteen. long. months.

But . . . it's OVER.

(Sort of.)

Early Tuesday morning—when I sent Lola to my agent—was the sort of occasion that deserves sparklers and pony rides and fluffy balls of rainbow cotton candy and a week-long vacation on the Spanish coast that somehow turns into a month, that somehow turns into two months, before dragging myself back to the States with a mermaid tattoo and a mysterious accent before throwing myself into revisions.

I had two days off.

Here's what I did:

• Slept
• Drank jasmine tea in a fancy china cup
• Watched J√≥nsi's Go Quiet
• Visited a friend at the library
• Drank half a bottle of champagne
• Slept
• Re-read Kelly Link's "The Faery Handbag"
• Slept
• Went to the hardware store
• Slept
• Planted pink and white begonias between 2 and 4 a.m.
• Slept

I was asleep for thirty-something of the forty-eight hours. In other words, I AM TOTALLY AWESOME AT CELEBRATING. Also, I'm pretty sure 2 a.m. is the rational time to garden, right?


NORTH CAROLINA, 2:42 A.M.


ME: Tra la la!

Front door opens. MY CELEBRITY BOYFRIEND THOM YORKE steps onto the porch. Thom sits on the steps and watches me silently for five minutes.

ME: WHAT?

THOM: You're planting begonias.

ME: Yes.

THOM: In the front garden.

ME: Yes.

THOM: In your husband's underpants.

ME: [glances at red boxers] I'M OUT OF CLOTHING. I HAVEN'T DONE ANY LAUNDRY SINCE APRIL.

THOM: Yet it didn't cross your mind that washing the dirty laundry would be a better use of your time.

ME: MY NEIGHBORS HATE ME. MY FRONT YARD IS UGLY. I'M TRYING TO MAKE IT PRETTY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER.

THOM: At two in the morning.

ME: Yes.

THOM: In Jarrod's underpants.

ME: I hide behind the cherry tree whenever a car passes!

THOM: . . .

ME: Go away.

THOM: Bugger off.

ME: Chris Martin is never this difficult. If he were here—

THOM: I'd be back in Oxford with my wife and children.

ME: —if he were here right now, he'd be helping.

THOM: [Glares. Waters one begonia.]

ME: I hate you.

THOM: I hate you more.

ME: [ten minutes later] I love you.

THOM: Quiet. I'm working on a new song, "Transatlantik Nightsick Gardener."

ME: You are not.

THOM: It's a love song.

ME: [thinking] Okay. I'll allow it.


Speaking of! My curmudgeonly, longest-term celebrity boyfriend was recently a part of this list: "100 Hot Men from Across the Pond."

And . . . I'M PROUD AND HONORED to say that I was asked by Heather Moore to (unofficially) help contribute to the list! My lifetime study of Hot British Men has finally paid off!! The amazing part was that I didn't even put Thom on my list. I wanted to, but figured Heather would think I was crazy.

Her response:

"I was not alone in this. One of my compatriots INSISTED."

HUZZAH! And I couldn't agree with the list's caption more:




Anyway. Check out the list! ONE HUNDRED HBM. I can see no better use of your next five minutes.

So where was I? Oh. Yeah.

I had two days off from Lola. Not two months. And this is where the "(Sort of.)" comes in. Because now I have *WONDERFUL* notes from my agent Kate and Laini Taylor (both superheroes for reading the manuscript in record time!), and I have one teeny tiny singular week to turn these notes into a NEW manuscript, one that I'll turn into my editor. Next week. Did I mention I'm turning in my new draft NEXT WEEK?

Pardon me while I cry for a few minutes.

A few more.

Still sobbing.

Sitting in the bottom of my closet. Light's off. Fat gushy tears. Stomach is tight and head is throbbing and this is the end. I'll wither and shrivel and die in here like an indoor fern. The exhaustion, you guys. I don't even know what to say other than:


(1) Thank goodness this will be over in a week.

(2) Thank goodness I love the novel. I do not like it right now, but I love it.

(3) Thank goodness Kate and Laini DO like it. This falls under "Best News I've Heard All Year." Like "HOLY CRAB APPLES, I'M EXPLODING ON YOUR FACE" news.


Except there's no actual exploding because of the exhaustion. It's more like a weak fizz. Like ginger ale, gone flat.

So . . . a few answers to questions before I leave you for another week:


For those who asked how I managed to do the following while indoors:

(A) Get a sunburn.
(B) Put a live beetle into my mouth.


(A) The magic combination of deathly pale skin and sitting beside a window!

(B) My husband and I receive a weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. Jarrod picks up our box of veggies straight from the farm. Sometimes, these boxes also contain insects. Sometimes, these insects are clinging to the lettuce. Sometimes, one does not see these clingy insects when one puts the lettuce into one's mouth.

It's strange to have a wiggling beetle on your tongue. And that's all I'm saying about that.


The only species of beetle I want on my tongue.


My friend Amber Nicole Brooks asked this:

Care to share your strategies for producing 19,000 more words in a about a week? I'd love to know your methods...

Cough.

Unfortunately, I did not accomplish this. Lola had grown too complex for me to . . . whip out those words. I DID get this remaining word count, but it took half a month to do so, I had a complex structure already in place, and I worked between 16-22 hours a day. I don't recommend this schedule!

But I do write obscene amounts of (terrible first draft) words in a short time every year during National Novel Writing Month. I highly recommend Chris Baty's (the founder of NaNo) No Plot? No Problem! I give this book ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CREDIT for helping me finish my first draft of Anna and the French Kiss. My first *good* draft of Anna, I credit Laini Taylor's Not for Robots.

Also, I have fast-writing NaNo tips sprinkled throughout these blog posts: one, two, three. Basically, it comes down to this: Allow yourself to suck. You have to write a lot of sucky words before you can write the good ones.

I hope that helps. Good luck!!


Okay, this was awesome. Last week I received one of my favorite comments ever, from fellow Tenner (2010 YA debut author) Lindsey Leavitt:

My six-year-old daughter wants to know if you are the REAL Coraline.
YES SHE IS.

HA HA HA!! I smiled for hours. Thank you for telling me!

Lindsey, by the way, is the author of the fantastic-sounding Princess for Hire, which is currently in my take-to-the-beach-next-week stack of books. I can't wait to read it! (And YES. I'm going to the beach when The Bad Week is over!)


Cover twins! Lindsey's book has the Eiffel Tower on it, too.


And as if this hasn't been filled with enough links, I guest posted on Kiersten White's blog last week. She's in Romania right now, the lucky girl! And all I'll say is that she's a VERY GOOD SPORT for posting what I wrote.

With that clunker of an ending, I'm diving into the revision abyss and bowing away from blogging for another week. Maybe a week plus a few days. I hope you're all having a fantastic June!

18 comments:

  1. I physically gasped when I saw your leg!! Hope you're ok!

    Excited to read that you've written another book, is it to do with Anna and the French Kiss or something separate?

    And as for gardening at 2am - whatever works for ya ;)

    Thanks for a very interesting and entertaining blog post! Not even going to comment on Thom Yorke ;)

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  2. Lynsey — The leg is fine. :) Looks a lot worse than it feels! LOLA is, indeed, related to ANNA. It's a companion novel rather than a sequel (there are overlapping characters, but the novels can stand alone), and it will (most likely) be published in late 2011. Thanks for asking!

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  3. I'm diving into revision abyss tomorrow. I've got one more day of work, then I have to tackle the agent notes on Nix. (luckily, I think I can do then pretty easily....even though I've not given them much thought yet.

    And after I do that....I'm gonna re-open the Wren file!!!! So excited to figure out what to do with everything!

    Good luck, darling.

    Shelley

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  4. So glad you finished the draft of Second Novel!

    Yeah! I can't wait to read that one, too. Even thought I know nothing about it. Blah!

    You are my writing hero. For reals.

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  5. Good luck, dear! You can do it:)

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  6. This post had me ROFLing in more places than one. You are one funny, blue-haired lady.

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  7. We've missed you too. :) Guess whatttt, Stephanie, I gave you a blog award in my most recent post (as of today, June 18). Congrats. :D

    Oooh, YAY FOR LOLA! Congrats on finishing, that's an amazing accomplishment. :D

    As always, you are hilarious, Stephanie! Your two days off sound very relaxing, especially the sleeping part hehe.

    I love NaNoWriMo. :D I've participated every year since 2006. It's soooo much fun!

    This was indeed an epic post. Post again soon!! Much luffs.

    ~TRA

    http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

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  8. !! This post was the most entertaining thing I've read in years. haha I love your gardening story! Congratulations on finishing!

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  9. Man I have missed you around the internet. But I have been telling myself I will be happy about this when I get to meet Lola. I kind of listen to myself...but I have had to resort to stalking you again hiding in the bushes. Did my eyes deceive me or did you and your HBM celebrate the grand opening of the Wizarding World of HP by dressing up & watching the live feed online?

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  10. Great that you survived Lola! :) I loved the post on Kiersten's blog :)

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  11. Your blog is like candy. I want more, and I want to move in with you. Just... after you shower first. :) Can you send one of your spare HBM's over to me? I'm not that far out of the way!

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  12. Woo woo! Nice gams! And thanks for the plug, Miss Coraline. I was so glad to have your input! I know a kindred spirit when I see one.

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  13. Thanks for the very entertaining post. Thom didn't take a picture of you in your husband's boxers doing your nighttime gardening? I'm disappointed. I would have laughed.

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  14. You did it!

    I knew you could.

    And YES, a mermaid tattoo ... I approve.

    xoxo

    Lisa

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  15. You have a chair that gives you tiger stripes?

    Congrats on finishing your draft! And good luck on the next one!

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with planting begonias between 2 and 4 am. I'm up because I just finished canning apricots and but am still waiting on the chocolate chip cookies.

    Thanks for all of the fun linkies! :o)

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  16. I know exactly what you mean when you say a bungee-style office chair. Those just smell like summer, don't they?

    Love reading your blog. It's so much fun, Stephanie!

    Also, I'm more of a Paul girl. He was the cute one, after all...

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  17. My god! 16-22 hours! That's amazing! That's also crazy. You, my dear, deserve nothing short of a leap month, which you can spend in Spain, or even outside Thom Yorke's house, if you like.

    (See, if there's an extra day in a leap year, I figure we could throw in an extra month now and again. Right?)

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  18. Eeek! I'm so late to get here and attest that Lola is WONDERFUL!!!!! SOOOO wonderful!!!! It was such a thrill to finally have the manuscript, printed out in a big fat stack to take to a cafe and get lost in. I heart Lola and her boy next door. *heart heart heart* I was just the very first person to rate it on Goodreads. I couldn't believe it was already listed! yay, 5 stars from me!

    And I'm so glad Stephanie Perkins might get to SLEEP again! Plus: eat more! You look too skinny (though adorable) in those photos above!


    Also, my word verification is "sumuzat" as in: "where can I get me sumuzat cheez?"

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