How’s About I Talk About Writing Instead

Sooo, it turns out making a website is COMPLICATED.  I mean, at least for those of us who have no idea what we’re doing.  :-)  If it could just be lots of words, I’d be fine.  I’ve got all the WORDS ready to go.  But apparently it also has to be PRETTY and USER-FRIENDLY, so you guys can find all those words.  Siiiiiiiiiigh.  I have no idea how to make things pretty.  That is why I am a writer and not a cover designer.  But I am paying someone else to make it pretty, and THAT will be done by next week.  Or else you get a not-pretty website!  One way or another, at least you will get words, starting next week!  And probably lots of photos of Sunshine!  Since she’s inherently pretty.  🙂

Yes, next Tuesday is when the books are officially out, although you can totally already get them on Amazon.  Crazy!  I’ve never paid this much attention to a book launch before.  Usually I try to be buried very deep in a new writing project so I won’t be worrying about things like Amazon sales rankings (not thinking about it!  I’m not!).  But as it turns out, my current writing project is book six of this same series, so it’s rawther hard not to think about it. 

What’s nice and distracting is that I have two school visits next week (HOORAY!) so I’ll get to talk to lots of awesome readers and find out what they’re thinking about and yabber yabber about books for a while, which is my favorite thing to do.

Also nice and distracting: there’s an exciting new TV show starting this week!  You MUST have seen the promos for this — they’re ALL OVER the TV — but just in case you haven’t:

Yay!  Parks and Recreation, this Thursday at 8:30pm!  Set your TiVos!

All my favorite TV shows seem to be in danger of cancellation this year, which makes me woebegone.  I need more Chuck!  And Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles!  Sigh.  Especially after Terminator absolutely BLEW UP MY BRAIN last week.  That show is crazy-intense!  I couldn’t shut up about it for the rest of the night, which was real fun for Adam.  He was like, "you do know they’re fictional characters, right?" like that’s supposed to make me care less or something.  WhatEVS.  😉

Poor threatened shows.  It doesn’t help that NBC is planning to put Jay Leno on at 10pm every night next season, which basically cuts out a third of their possible slots for other shows, which puts all of their good shows in danger.  But the funniest news this week is that the Boston affiliate has apparently decided this is a colossal mistake (AGREED) and announced that they’re going to show local news instead.  Yes: they think the Jay Leno experiment is going to be That Lame. 

I love TV, and I love the idea of focusing on dialogue and creating characters that get to develop over a long period of time.  But I think writing for TV must be a lot more stressful than writing books.  For one thing, it’s usually collaborative, which means other writers get involved to change your words — but not only writers; also producers, directors, actors, and people from the network who might have a totally different view of what the show should be about.  What ends up on the screen might be nothing like what you were imagining.

At least with a book, even if your editor wants to change lots of things, in the end it’s still your own.  And you don’t have to worry about bad casting dragging down your brilliant dialogue.  ;-)  (Not that there’s any bad casting on TV or anything.)

Worst of all is the possibility that your show might get cancelled before you can finish the story.  It’s hard enough to be a fan watching that happen; I can’t even imagine being the writer who’s left with all this story still to tell.  Like, if for some reason book 3 of Avatars didn’t happen, I would have had to write it and post it on the Internet or something…I couldn’t leave the story untold like that!

I think Joss Whedon is worrying about this on Dollhouse.  After Firefly was ripped out from under him mid-story, I would think he’s probably quite nervous about losing the chance to finish his stories.  Which might be why he’s packing SO MUCH story into these thirteen episodes of Dollhouse.  I feel like we’ve already had at least three episodes of events that would normally happen in, say, season three on a show that was allowed to survive long enough for normal pacing. 

But I’m not complaining, because I want as much story out of Dollhouse as I can get, and I’m worried about it going away too soon as well.

This actually does happen to book series sometimes — I actually remember it happening to one series in particular, because I was reading it at the time!  We were living in Miami, so I was probably in sixth grade, and I was on a quest to read all the books in the library (haven’t we all tried to do that at some point?).  The Key Biscayne library was this amazing beautiful place surrounded by trees and exotic lizards (well, they seemed exotic to me; I don’t remember there being that many lizards in Paraguay!), and the librarians were SUPER-nice.  They were the kind of librarians who suggest books when you’re looking for something to read and ask you whether you liked what you just read.  AWESOME.

So somehow I found a book called The Devil’s Doorbell and I LOVED it.  My MOM even loved it.  It was gripping and spooky and it ended on a completely thrilling note that set up tremendous exciting things for the future.  I couldn’t WAIT to read the next book.  There was definitely a next book.  There had to be.  Right?

Not in our library.  And in those days there was no  I didn’t know how to find book 2, and not long after that we moved to the Dominican Republic, and I had lots of other books to read, after all. 

But I never forgot about that book.  I just wanted to know what happened next.  I tried looking for it, but I wasn’t sure I remembered the title correctly, and my memory of the plot details was fuzzy.  It wasn’t until FIFTEEN YEARS LATER that I finally found it…and I also found book two!  Thank you, Internet!  I promptly bought them both and devoured them.  Only to discover book two ALSO ends on a cliffhanger and THERE WAS NO BOOK THREE.  The series must have been cancelled after the second book.  No resolution for you, fans!

OK, I have since (read: tonight) discovered on Wikipedia that there were two more books, but no fifth, which would have wrapped up the story.  And good luck finding those two anywhere.

However, believe it or not, this story has a happy ending.  Because years after that series was cancelled, the author launched a new series, which turned out to be an enormous hit.  It was so successful, in fact, that somebody decided to bring his old series back from the dead and let him finish it!  HOORAY!

I haven’t read all the new books yet (I am being smart this time and waiting until they’re all published, so I can read them all at once), but I’m excited to.  I’m curious to see if he changed anything from the original version to the new books, since I’m guessing they let him rewrite them however he wanted.  Just from Amazon I can see that he changed the main character’s name from Martin to Matt.  This seems like a very wise move to me. 

Also changed?  The title.  Yeah, publishers don’t loooove putting "devil" in their titles; I’m surprised he got away with that even in the 1980’s.  Ready to find out what the series is now?

Old cover:

Extremely shiny new cover!:
Holy smokes.  No wonder the new series is doing so much better than the original!  Right?  I totally want that shiny new cover.  I bet it has specs and everything.  😉

Oh, yes, and also because it’s written by Anthony Horowitz, who is now the world-famous author of the awesomely fun Alex Rider series.  Isn’t that the best story ever?  I love how he became so successful that he finally got to finish his unfinished story, and it makes me wonder if he’d been thinking about it all this time and if he always had the end planned in his head. 

How weird must it have been to revise something you wrote so long ago?  But kind of cool, I would think…it would be interesting to go back and rewrite my first novel, now that I think my writing has changed and (hopefully) evolved.  

Anyway, if you like spooky action-packed mystery-adventures, check out The Gatekeepers series…it’s like The Dark is Rising meets Alex Rider!  As I remember it, anyway.  I’ll update you once I’ve read the whole thing again, which I will do as soon as book five is out.  I’ve learned my lesson, yes sir.  🙂

All right, off to bed.  Pet Trouble website coming next week!  I PROMISE!  

Oh, and finally: welcome to the world, Evelyn Claire!  Yay hooray and yay!  🙂

Quote of the Day:  "Writing is the only way to talk without being interrupted." — Jules Renard