Tags: righteous

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Back to the Grind

Okay, so I know all of you guys are faithful readers of Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations (and if not, add it to your Google Reader TODAY), so by now you've seen the interview that I did with her. If not, check it out. And be sure to sign up for the giveaway!

In other news, work seems to be going well on the critical thesis that I'm required to complete for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program. I think I kinda-sorta know the general structure of the thesis, but I'll know better once I fill in a few pieces. I've done a fair amount of research, although I have a ton more to do--which is one of the reasons why I'm not posting the topic of my thesis--at least, not yet. Once I get through a first draft, then I'll feel more confident about what I'm writing about.

On the RIGHTEOUS front, I chatted with my editor, Stephanie Lane, last week, and it looks like the novel will be coming out on the Delacorte Spring 2010 line (I know the tentative release month, but I ain't telling). Now, I know that seems like a long time away, but I promise, it isn't. Plus, if any of you read my bumbling, rambling post from last week, you'll see that I could stand to use a little extra time before the novel comes out.

What else...a few people have called me out concerning the Alumni Award that I was given at the past Vermont College Residency. It's not that I was ignoring talking about it--it's just that I always feel strange talking about awards like this. Seriously, I can think of so many people that do so much for the program that deserve this recognition at least as much as I do--if not more. That being said, I am extremely honored and humbled, and I hope that I can live up to the ideals of the awards.

On the writing front, I'm working furiously on a new project that I'll call JG for now. I've workshopped it a few times, and uber-agent Sara has seen the first forty-or-so pages of it. It's a bit of a departure from my other work, but at this point in my career, I wanted to try something different.

My career. I have a writing career. God, it feels good to say that.

I hope everyone is having fun doing what he or she is supposed to be doing in life. At least for today, I know that I am. 
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The Path of the Righteous

A lot of you guys have been asking me to write a novel from a male point of view. Well, be careful what you wish for...

From Publisher's Marketplace:

MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS author Varian Johnson's THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS, about a preacher's son who has to make some big decisions about who he is and who he wants to be when his childhood crush returns to town, all grown up into a gorgeous and troubled teen, to Stephanie Lane at Delacorte, by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger (NA).
Details are still sketchy, but here's the important info:

1) It'll be a hardback.
2) We're shooting for a Fall 09 release.
3) The title may or may not change.

More news soon...I hope.
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Things I was supposed to do before Vermont College...

1) Finish revising the first three chapters of Righteous: Well, I'm close (if you consider close being stuck somewhere in Chapter 2). But I'm still hopeful that I can at least stay on my schedule of getting the first half revised by the end of next month.

2) Finish updating my website: For anyone paying attention, I think I originally said that I'd have the revised site up and running by March. Well, March has come and gone, and the website still looks the same. I promise, I plan to get revised content up by September (or sooner, depending on when I get the final cover art for My Life as a Rhombus - hint, hint).

3) See Transformers: Yeah, I know--WTF is Michael Bay thinking, putting red flames on Optimus Prime. But it could be worse--he could have made a movie like Superman Returns.

4) Spend quality time with Mrs. V: Well, it seems that Mrs. V is actually looking forward to me being out of the house for a while...which means that I'll either be greeted with new furniture, new paint, or a new dog by the time I return.

Okay, so this is probably my last post until I get back from VC. See you guys when I get back. I think I'll have some amazing things to report on when I return.
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Name Association

While having lunch with my supervisor last week, I realized that his daughter is nicknamed Maddie, which just so happens to be the name of the main female character in my WIP. My supervisor's Maddie is a nice, sweet, innocent girl. My Maddie, for lack of a better word, is un-innocent.

I hope he doesn't remember this when the time for performance reviews comes around.
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Ta Da!

Pop the champagne! Drop the confetti! I am happy to report that I have finally finished the first draft of my latest novel.

Actually, first draft is a little misleading. It's more like the first complete draft of the novel. My process is really pretty complicated. First, I spend a few weeks outlining a novel. I mainly try to identify the big pieces of the novel, and I try to capture any dialog that might work well in certain parts. I also want to make sure I have enough content to actually justify a novel. I tend to go through a lot of drafts of my outlines, and I eventually end up picking two or three that I really like. I don't automatically know exactly what I want to write - I usually have a main theme I want to touch on, but everything else is up for grabs. I tend to over-populate my manuscript with problems at this phase as well.

After I finish my outlines, I spend a month or so really working on the first three chapters. A lot of my outlines bite the dust before I even finish one chapter. Eventually, a writable novel rises to the top. I really believe that the first three chapters should tell you everything you need to know about the novel - who the main characters are, what the main problem is, the tone and voice of a novel, etc.

Next, I begin writing the book. Now, this isn't planned, but what usually happens is that I write about half of the book, before I get a huge epiphany and start over again. If I'm lucky, like I was in this case, I'm able to use a lot of the material that I created before. If I'm unlucky (like with Rhombus) I have to almost start from scratch. I also redo my outline, and at this point, most of the over-the-top problems are eliminated.

Then, it's a mad dash to the finish line as I frantically write the novel. This is probably the most exciting time for me, because it's when everything is fresh and new and exciting. I tend to write a lot of dialog first, and then fill it in with narrative later.

I'm now at the point where I've combined all my individual chapters into one large Word file. This is where I begin the true editing process.

I wish I could tell you guys more about the manuscript (codename: Righteous), but it just isn't at that point yet. Mrs. V hasn't even read this manuscript yet, and my agent has only seen the first three chapters. But, to be fair, I will share this about the novel:

1) It's contemporary fiction.
2) It's the closest thing to a love story that I've ever written.
3) It has a lot to do with religion.
4) My main characters' names are Joshua and Madeline.
5) It has less cursing than Rhombus (at least, for now).

Speaking of Rhombus, I'm almost finished with the next round of edits on the manuscript. They were virtually painless this go around, and in the next round (if there even is a next round), I expect them to be very minor. Stay tuned to the website over the next couple of months. I hope to have more content about Rhombus there by March.