So I signed up for Google alerts recently. It's nice-- it informs me of lovely things floating around out there in cyberspace, like this review of Red Glass from Kristin at her Feed Your Imagination blog:
Red Glass by Laura Resau is easily one of the best books I've read this year, and is one of the few books that has brought me to tears. Despite all of the awards it's been recognized with, Red Glass receives nowhere near enough attention considering how much it deserves. Above all, this is an exceptional story about love – love across the generations, romantic love, familial love, and love for one’s heritage. Even if it is difficult to relate to the exact situation any of the characters are in, their emotions are universal and their dignity is certainly to be admired and respected. This story teaches us about human kindness and forgiveness, even in circumstances that seem unforgiveable. And of course, the quotes from The Little Prince not only extend the multicultural aspect of Red Glass – they help make Sophie and her companions’ journey universal. Laura Resau’s writing is entrancing and this story fascinating, so everyone should pick it up. 10 out of 10.
Thanks, Kristin! I've been so wrapped up in planning out promotional stuff for The Indigo Notebook's release this fall, and revising its sequel The Ruby Notebook, that I kind of forgot that people are still out there reading Red Glass for the first time.
Revising The Ruby Notebook is hard, hard work. This is probably the hardest it's ever felt to me because it's the tightest deadline I've ever worked under. In the past, I've let myself be playful with revision ideas and brainstorming in my journal-- "talking" with the characters about what changes they'd like to see, spinning fanciful conversations, giving myself poetry writing prompts, doing all these fun things to get at the story from a fresh, sideways perspective. And in this way, I was able to tap into the source/ my unconscious, whatever you want to call it, and from there, approach the revision.
But with this deadline looming, it's hard to let myself be playful. I feel like if I'm being playful, I'm wasting valuable time (and then I feel guilty that my toddler's in daycare when I'm sitting around "playing.") Finally, yesterday, I let myself go on and on in a fun, stream-of-consciousness way from each of the characters' perspectives. I didn't force any requirements on myself, just let each character ramble a bit in my journal. And of course, all kinds of little gems came out... plus it just felt GOOD. The rambling was seven single spaced pages. It gave me that rush, that feeling afterward of Whoa! Where'd the past two hours go? And I admitted to myself that it was indeed valuable, even though I wasn't focusing with my rational mind.
I think that writing a novel is a dance between the conscious and unconscious minds, with the unconscious mind leading. I love this about writing. I love how intensely thrilling it is to create something huge this way. But it's so, SO hard for me to remember this when I know I have a limited number of hours to spend on this revision, and I want to spend them wisely. I get myself into a bit of an unproductive panic.
Much of the time I spend revising actually involves me giving myself pep talks via my journal. My daily pep talk starts like this:
Okay, Laura. You can do this... YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
On to other things now...
Fun news about The Indigo Notebook audiobook! No, it will not be narrated by Brad Pitt (sorry, Brad, I know you've got your heart set on it). After hearing how he butchered the Spanish in a Cormac McCarthy book I heard, I made my opinion clear to the producer.
Worlds better than Brad Pitt is Justine Eyre, who will be narrating the book. Here she is:
She has a lot in common with the main character of The Indigo Notebook, as a matter of fact. Zeeta has lived a very international life, and so has Justine. She (Justine) was born in Nova Scotia (Canada) to an Australian father, spent her childhood in the Philippines attending British schools, moved back to Canada, then to Florida, and now lives on the West coast. Like Zeeta, she speaks several languages and loves writing. (Zeeta writes in her notebooks, and Justine, who has a degree in English, has written a novel.) I think this is very cool, and I can't wait to hear how the audiobook turns out!
I recently read a great page-turner for teens-- Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
It's her debut book and has been getting tons of well-deserved attention. It's set in magical medieval land, where most fantasies seem to be set, but it sets itself apart with its unique and beautiful love story and the amazing superhero powers of the main characters, who are thoroughly likeable (and the villain is thoroughly hateable, I must say.) The main character's issues and emotional growth are particularly original-- basically, she's the henchman for a tyrannical king, but she begins to see the value in being a humane, kind, ethical person. The writing is great-- it flows beautifully, which is always impressive when you're dealing with a complicated plot and real character/relationship growth, too.
I'm going to bed to reread more of The Time Traveler's Wife now, which is one of my favorite adult books.