Hi hi hi!

I did it! Wooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The manuscript for Avatars 3 is IN!

Well, the first draft, which is the harder part, in my opinion, because Revising Is Awesome if you love your editor, which I do. I mean, of course, like any author, I still sometimes get all WHAT THIS COMMA IS PERFECT RIGHT WHERE IT IS HOW DARE SHE WHAT but if you poke me enough, I will admit that I think editors are actually quite Valuable and Important and I’m not just saying that because I was one for six and a half years.  🙂

OK, I might be saying that partly because some of them are my best friends and on occasion related to me, but I alsoooo think they have taught me many useful things, such as “no, no, you can’t say ‘a hundred’ here because animals can only count to ten, silly.” (ha! LOVE you!)

Anyway, it is a huge huge relief to have turned in Avatars 3, because now all the people who’ve been poking me to find out what happens will actually get to find out what happens, in, like, book form, and not via me posting a blog that says: “ACK I can’t take it anymore it’s too hard OK fine, here you go, everybody dies except Quetzie who becomes Empress of the Universe and turns the planet into an avocado farm.” mwa ha ha! (spoiler? or not? you’ll have to read book three to find out!)

I figure I can talk about this writing process a little because the book won’t be out until next October, so hopefully you’ll have forgotten even my made-up spoilers by then. So here’s a couple of interesting things I learned while breathing nothing but Book day and night for a month:

(1) Whenever I get bored, my favorite thing to do is add a new character. This is because I like new things. New things are shinier than old things, and more likely to either (a) be evil or (b) turn into frogs or (c) kill everyone but Quetzie or (d) all of the above. This is true in real life, too — er, not the part about turning into frogs; the part about me liking new things. For instance, I generally only listen to the 25 most recently downloaded songs in my iTunes (and right now you can safely guess that they’ll be the 25 songs most recently played on So You Think You Can Dance) (Hip Hip! Chin Chin!). And I always like my newest book more than anything else I’ve written. So either I’m getting better as a writer (thanks to my fabulous editors, I’m sure), or I just really like shiny new things.

(2) Boy, do I like characters who talk! I realized that I have a tendency to let my characters ramble on and on and ON (because dialogue = funny whereas staring at each other = not funny), so in this book I introduced a character who speaks very, very little. This was an exciting new challenge for me. For each paragraph I would write this character the usual little monologue I’d give someone, and then I’d go back and try to trim it down to the five most essential words. WEIRD! If you’re a writer, try this sometime. It’s kind of a fun exercise. Also, it made this character really creepy, at least to me. I was like, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? WHY DON’T YOU TALK? Don’t you want to explain yourself endlessly? Don’t you want to sound like Tui’s blog? Man. There were all these PAUSES. I’m a bit of a pause-filler myself. Anyone who knows me and my perfect darling fiancé will know that I do a lot of this around our house, and yet, I don’t find his enigmatic reticence at all creepy. I think it’s mysterious and endearing. It makes him look like he’s listening to me. Awwwww. He’s gotten really good at this particular trick. Bonus points every time he nods and says: “Yeah, totally.”

(3) Previously, I was under the impression that my general limit for pages I can write in one day is ten. Around about page ten I start to slow down and get distracted and then I find myself reading blogs about Pasha and Danny or Kristen Bell or the new fall season and then all is lost. On days where I pushed myself, I could sometimes make it to 15 pages. But apparently this is not the case! Apparently, when I am freaking out and a deadline is storming towards me and it is between the hours of 1am and 6am and nobody can call me and nobody has anything at all new to say anywhere online about television, then, apparently, I can make it to 36 pages in one day, which is my new record. WOOO! Of course, I’m not saying what got done to those 36 pages when I woke up at 3pm the next day, but still, isn’t that nice to know? I could write a book a week if I could keep up that pace (and not die), but luckily, there’s usually plenty to read about TV on the internet, and besides, there are already fabulous authors like Meg Cabot writing a book a week, so there’s no need for me to do it. Maybe if and when I get to be fabulous, too.

And here are the things I have learned since finishing the manuscript:

(1) Once you are on a schedule that involves going to sleep at 6 or 7am, it is really quite difficult to convince yourself to go to bed at midnight instead of staying up for another seven hours to read Harry Potter 7 instead.

(2) It is not, in fact, possible to fold and/or address wedding invitations while reading Harry Potter 7.

(3) It is, however, possible to read Harry Potter 7 while having three hours of dental work inflicted upon you, if your dentist is very nice and understanding and possibly trying to read it over your shoulder.

(Don’t worry, still no spoilers; I haven’t finished it yet!) I sent my Fearless Predictions to my sister before starting the book, so we’ll have it in writing if I turn out to be totally right or hilariously wrong. I believe in laying out your Fearless Predictions ahead of time, because everyone can say, “oh I totally knew it” but whatever, prove it, suckers. I’d rather be wrong and Fearless than wishy-washily unconvincingly “right” with no proof like everyone else.
What? Guessing the ending of stories isn’t a competitive sport to most people? Really? It is to me and Adam, although it’s possible I did that to him (ahahaha). This makes us super-fun (<– sarcasm) to watch TV with because we keep pausing the TV to be like “AHA! That person who just walked on screen for two seconds is totally the murderer which we know because we’ve seen her on other TV shows before AHA!” and “HE’S A CYLON! HE’S A CYLON! Oh, wait, this is Jericho.”

This doesn’t work on reality TV, though, because reality TV rarely ends the way it should (witness: Amazing Race All-Stars) even if the editors try really hard to make it seem that way. I’m am TRYING to figure out editor-brains so that I can predict the endings of reality shows, too, but apparently they work differently from writer-brains (villains can win! boring people can win! whiny people deserve lots of screen time!). Oh, and if America gets to vote? Forget it. America is CONFUSING! For example, On the Lot, which was already dead to me for being terrible, is now extra-extra-dead to me for kicking off Zack, who clearly should have won. Also, how does the final six on So You Think You Can Dance consist of the four very best dancers and the two absolute worst dancers? This has been my opinion of them since week one and no fancy jazz numbers are going to change my mind, NEIL (all right, they helped, but he’s still no Danny). However, America, all will be forgiven if Pasha, Danny, Lacey, and Sabra all make it to the final four. Please please please? I want to see Danny and Sabra do a contemporary dance together! And Pasha and Lacey do a cha-cha!

So apparently I’m giving you an extra-long blog this week to make up for last week being so short. There’s so much to say! Especially now that I’m catching up on TV, since that is something I can do while folding invitations (although not fast enough for my angry DVR, apparently, which is wantonly deleting valuable things like Dancing with the Stars episodes that I was saaaaaaving to watch over and oooooover again rooooooo!). So here’s what I’ll end with for now: check out Mad Men (AAAAACK SO AMAZING I wish I could write like this!) and Mind Control with Derren Brown (I’m not kidding, this man is psychic. There is no other explanation. He has supernatural powers. NO OTHER EXPLANATION.), and we’ll discuss next week. Along with, possibly, at long last, Harry Potter 7 spoilers, but I promise I’ll warn you if that’s the case.
Quote of the Day: "There are three rules for writing the novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." — W. Somerset Maugham