In Praise of Brave Authors

I’m in awe of authors. All authors. People who work hard to create a rich and textured story, and then work harder. And then even harder. And then do that about a billion more times.

And then they show it to the world. That scares the crap out of me.

A few months ago, it came to light that a writer friend of mine was thinking of releasing a book that sounded so freaking good that I couldn’t help but squee all over the place (which is to say all over twitter). It’s a novel that was really close to her heart, she said, but she was concerned. It wasn’t like the young adult novels she usually writes, the ones she’s known for.

Falling From the SkyIt’s about two boys who fall in love. It’s called FALLING FROM THE SKY by the very talented Nikki Godwin.

It’s a book that needs to be read. By teens and adults. By everyone who loves an amazing love story.

So here’s the deal. She doesn’t know this, but I want more people to read this book. So my amazing critique partner Megan Erickson and I are giving away 6 copies. In order to be eligible, all you need to do is comment below and tell Nikki Godwin, author of FALLING FROM THE SKY:

Why are you glad she chose to write a book about two teenage boys falling in love?

(And also your email or twitter handle or some way we can reach you should you be the winner.)

That’s it. Oh, and if you want, follow me on twitter (@natalie_blitt) and Megan (@MeganErickson_), it will help with notification. We’ll choose six winners on Friday, Feb. 28th at noon EST. I’m sure this is a bad way of doing it, but we’ll look for the six answers that speak to us most.

I want everyone to know about this book. I want all those who want to read it to read it. And read it legally, for the love of all that is holy. If you truly can’t afford to buy the book, message me and I’ll find someone to lend it to you or gift it to you. Want to join us in getting this book out there? Send me an email or tweet about joining our giveaway or doing one alongside us.

Thank you Nikki. For writing Ridge and Micah’s story. For trusting the world with it. For enriching the world with it. Now please write some more?

xo,
Natalie

PS. TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THIS BOOK. PLEASE.

Read Nikki’s message about the book.

Buy your own copy: FALLING FROM THE SKY by NIKKI GODWIN

THE BLURB:

All stability in sixteen-year-old Ridge McCoy’s life crashed and burned in the plane crash that killed his dad. This summer-long basketball camp is his chance to improve his skills and escape his problems back home. But his summer plans take a turn in an unexpected direction when he meets Micah Youngblood, the guy who runs the carousel at the local mall and has a reputation for devouring straight boys’ heterosexuality for breakfast, alongside his chocolate chip pancakes.

Ridge needs a way to avoid the guys at camp, whose only quest for the summer is to drown in beer and hook up with girls. So when Micah offers to explain how the ten unique horses on the carousel are significant to his tribe, Ridge takes him up on it. Still, Ridge can’t decide if this is a bad thing or not. All he knows is that he hasn’t felt this alive since his dad fell from the sky, and as the horse adventures come to an end, Ridge finds himself falling as well – for Micah.

Drafting

I love drafting. Love, love, love. If I could, I would just draft and hand over my writing and let someone else fix it. Because while I know that edits are the most important part, they are not my favorite.

But here’s what I’ve come to understand: not all books draft the same. And maybe that’s super obvious to all of you, but totally not to me.

My first book I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2011. I had an idea of what was going to happen, I’d been thinking about it for a while. I wrote as much as I could, as often as I could, for a month. And I certainly passed 50,000 words but it wasn’t complete. There were missing scenes here and there and places where I wasn’t sure exactly even what was missing. I didn’t write it in order, I wrote whatever scene I could write when I had time to write. Didn’t feel motivated? Wrote a scene I had been daydreaming about. Felt motivated? Forced myself to write a less obvious scene.

I started dreaming of Book Two (Finn & Ellie’s story) when I was on maternity leave after my third child was born, one year later. For that one, I mostly wrote in order, but then I skipped to the end. And because I was writing while caring for a tiny tot and then later while back at work, I wrote when I could over ten months. That manuscript still has a whole chunk missing from about the 60% point to the 80% point. And I only mostly know what will go there.

And then came Book Three, Sarah’s story. Sarah’s story I had been thinking about since I finished book 1. I beat sheeted it (a screenwriting technique). I committed to two things when writing it: I would write it all in November for NaNoWriMo 2013 and I would write it beginning to end. And I did both of those things. And I freaking loved it. I loved writing Sarah’s story, as much as it tore me apart. (Hopefully one day you’ll all read it and understand why.) But to me, it drafted perfectly. Chapter one to chapter lots and lots (can’t remember). In order. I actually stopped during the last week in November because I was already done.

And now we come to this novel, Book Four, my FebNo project (aka NaNoWriMo in Feb!). You’d think because the drafting was so easy with Sarah’s story that I would go right back to that for Zeke and Abby’s story. But for some reason, I can’t. I want to, but this book won’t write that way. I’m back to Finn & Ellie — back to writing it out of sequence, whatever scene I can get down. It’s a very different book, and while I’m still committed to writing it in a month (because I’m super competitive and I said I would) and I did beat sheet it, it’s a whole different process to get the story on the paper.

Which is my lesson. Each book drafts differently. Maybe it’s how well I know the characters, or how well I know the plot. Or maybe it’s just how much strength I have going in. But I’m kind of fine with that. As long as the books get written.

And as long as I commit to editing them. Because that’s even more important.

How do you write your books? Out of order or in order? In short bursts or over many months?

My WIP Love List

I got this idea from my writer-friend Rachel who got it from Stephanie Perkins so it’s totally legit. (I love Rachel’s writing so much, can’t wait for everyone to read it. And my love for Stephanie Perkins is legendary.) Check out Rachel’s love list. And Stephanie’s.

So, things that I love about this book I’m writing:

Characters who speak French to each other

A college program for high school students

A girl named Alice.

A girl named Abby.

A girl who refuses to swear except to say eff or merde.

Baseball loving family

Baseball hating main character

Baseball playing love interest

Dirty French movies (aren’t they all?)

Moleskin notebooks

The sadness of being a Cubs fan

A boy named Zeke

Amelie

Le Petit Prince

Tu me manques

Brothers

Roommates

Montreal

Druggie Park

St Viateur Bagels

Silly drunks and sad drunks

Ethnic soccer

Surprising trivia competitions

First kisses

Even better subsequent kisses

Holding hands

This line: “Favorite new word: chatouilleux. Ticklish. Zeke est vraiment chatouilleux. Zeke is very ticklish.”

Montreal

Vieux Montreal

What do you love about your work in progress?