Apr 20, 2011

Q is for Quota

Anita and Natalie are hanging out today at Literary Rambles. Go, now, and it's okay if you don't come back here.

And Paul is spotlighting debut author Timothy Power, whose MG book looks like an instant classic. (Paul is giving away a copy.)

I assigned myself the task of writing half a mg novel with my friend Kelly, you all know that. Well, I need to stop looking at it as pulling in my half of the words and start looking at the finish line. Kelly seems convinced that SE will be my first published book. I like that idea and it feels like a great place to jump into the arena of pub'd authors. Here's my main problem: how do you measure that? How do I set obtainable goals when I am not even sure what I am doing. How do I reach my phantom quota?

You know that toy that every tourist trap shop has where no matter how you hold it, it slides through your hands? Yeah, it's hard to describe. Anyway, that is SASQUATCH ELEANOR for me. I have a hold on it one second and the next it's on the floor writhing. And perhaps I am blinded by the grandeur of this book being good enough to jump start my career. Of course, that's an incentive isn't it? And the book could jump start Kelly's career too. Wow, this book has got to get rolling.

I said it before and a few of you gave light-hearted jests, but I am looking for some hardcore crit partner heckling and/or threatening. Are you there for me? Kelly would be much appreciative of your jeeringcheering me along. (Even if she might deny that.)

Let me give you prompts. What would you like to see in a mythological character who is actually very real? What type of attributes are exciting and believable in a thirteen year old girl who makes friends with an unlikely being? When you are willing to fight for something, how far will you go? 


  1. At 13, I was even more of a romantic than I am today. I would have gone as far as I had to in order to protect a friend.

    Nothing would have stopped me. I don't think I know enough about the premise to really comment on character attributes, but I say go for the gold. I find it easier to rein myself in later than to build in more fanciful things later on.

    Maybe they share an intense love of butterflies. Maybe the girl has an inordinate love and memory for Lepidoptera.


    I think the mytho character has to be compassionate and have the ability to love and be loyal.

    The girl has to have a sense of wonder about her...she thinks things like, "Am I really here? Or am I just dreaming this world?" She pinches herself sometimes as a test. And then this thing that shouldn't exist in the real world is the one thing that makes her realize that the world--and all she feels--really is REAL. Or something like that.

    When I'm willing to fight for something or someone, I'll fight until death.


  3. Sit down, J. Turn everything else off. Just write for an hour - ordinary, not so special, practice-y words.

  4. Just write, let what you write be crappy, and then work on cleaning it up later. You're first draft is allowed to suck. You just have to write the first draft. You can do this Jon. I know you can.

  5. I totally echo what Kate said! And Tina! :-)

  6. Quota. Good way to use it in a post.

    Too theoretical to answer. Write the book. I'll read it. Then ask me.

    Good luck!

  7. Here's my threat to you: This book will never jump start your career unless you write it. Get rid of the fear and pressure and just write. You have to know you can do it (which you can!!) and then forget everything else.

    I would love to see the mythological creature as either really compassionate or very grumpy but kind by the end.

    You can do it!

  8. Hard to say who the character should be until you know her problem and what she's supposed to accomplish here. That's awesome you and Kelly are writing a book together. Maybe try for a chapter a week for awhile till you get into the swing of it or a page every few days. Just writing a bit is an accomplishment.

    And thanks for the shout out about Anita's interview.