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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Q&A with Sarah Rees Brennan Part 2 - the answers to your questions!

*In case you missed the first part of our Q&A with Sarah Rees Brennan, author of THE DEMON'S LEXICON and THE DEMON'S COVENANT, you can check that out here.


Whew, you guys did an awesome job of leaving questions and comments for the Sarah! We'll pick 5 winners at random tomorrow (Thursday) but we couldn't wait to get Sarah's responses up tonight. She's a rockstar for taking the time to do this. Thank you, Sarah! And thank you to all of you who stopped by to comment. The giveaway is officially closed as of 10:00 pm EST 7/28/10. Winners will be announced 7/29/10. A reminder that only US residents are eligible.

Now that we have that out of the way, I'm handing the rest of the post over to Sarah...

Thanks for all these fabulous questions you guys, I had a blast guesting here! And I hope that you can all handle all this CRAZY ANSWER ACTION I am about to throw at you!

Jamie asks: How do you keep them (characters) vulnerable and still make them tough?
I think that's easy to do, as long as you love your characters, and think of them as real. (Not real in the talking to them out loud or buying them birthday presents way...) All people, no matter how tough they seem, have weak points: someone really physically strong may be easy to wound emotionally. Someone who's tough emotionally and physically usually still has a weak spot: someone they care about enough to be easily hurt when it comes to them. And likewise, there are characters who seem to be outwardly huge masses of vulnerability, and at their core, when you make them hit a certain point, endanger something valuable enough to them - they're steel.


Maidenveil asks: What do you usually find challenging in writing and how do you usually deal with it?
 
To which I say, all of writing is challenging, I think. If it's not challenging, you're doing it wrong. That said: I find descriptive writing pretty hard, so I tend to go to the places I'm writing about and take squillions and squillions of notes while I'm staring right at what I want to describe, trying to get the atmosphere and surroundings dead on.

Caitlin asks: What's the hardest part for you to write in your books? Beginning, Middle, End?Definitely middle, and I am not alone in this: I was discussing it with another writer friend this weekend. The beginning and end are both tricky in their own way, but you've usually thought about both of them a lot, while in the middle you're not sure what goes where, or how to get to a certain point in the book, and you have all these other ideas and you're sure they would be easier and more fun to write... Floundering in the middle of a book is super common! That's when you want to have a plan for your book, and keep going until the inspiration hits and you pick up speed again.

Danielle (Overflowing Shelf) asks: What is one book you wish had been published when you were growing up?
Which is a SUPER INTERESTING question! Because there are so many really amazing YA books out now that I would have LOVED to read when I was younger. I still love reading them now, but my past self would have adored to have the spread of YA we have now. You know, I think I'd have to say The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson. It's hilarious, but it also teaches you about friendship and love and betrayal and break-ups, both romantic and not, and says: you're going to be okay. And who couldn't have used hearing that when they were growing up? (And now, really. Hey, everyone. You're going to be okay!)

Marianne asks: I always wondered where some of the names come from. Reading your interview I see that you use "normal" names...do they have a meaning to you? Do they represent anyone in your life?
I use normal names because I don't really like it when the main characters of books have weird names! It's like they were born and their parents were like 'Oh - she'll be the main character of a novel, so even though her sister's called Sandra, we'd better call her Moonlight Princess L'Awesome.' Plus, I always worry characters with weird names got beat up on the playground as kids. ;)

But yes, even the fairly normal names have a meaning for me. My hero Nick is called Nick partly because Satan is sometimes called 'Old Nick' - which, uh, says a lot about my hero's charming personality! My heroine Mae and her brother Jamie have the last name Crawford, because I love a brother and sister pair called the Crawfords in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Also, most of my characters go by their chosen nicknames instead of their full names - I like the idea of naming yourself, choosing who you want to be. And it's important to me that the books are very solidly set in England, so a lot of the characters have old-fashioned English names to reflect that: Mavis, Cynthia, Annabel. And Gerald, who is actually Irish...

Sometimes I name my minor characters, though not my main ones, after people in my life. I named one character Natasha Walsh, after my housemate, and then my editor and I had a phone call where we discussed killing her. Natasha was a little upset...

Victoria asks why I killed a character - I'm not quoting her directly here as I don't want to spoil everybody who hasn't read the books!
Killing people is very important to me. (Everybody backs away slowly...) I recall my friend and fabulous writer Holly Black once saying you have to kill someone every book: I do think that it's something to consider! Someone dying makes the danger in the book seem real, and it should affect all the other characters. It should change the game, and make it not a game. Death always does.

Christina asks, If you could be any fictional character for a day, which would you choose?
I would be. Oh my God, that is so hard. *chews nails* Okay, I have to pick someone with SUPER POWERS or magic powers of some kind, because everything that's real, I can achieve myself. (Well, my eyesight is too bad to be legally allowed to be a pilot, but I can always steal a plane...) Oh oh, I have one, I totally have one. I'd be Isabelle from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, with a magic whip, superstrength, and access to a demonically powered flying motorcycle. (Plus, I would be super hot.)

Haleyknitz asks, did certain books influence your writing, and was it a negative influence or a positive influence?
And my answer is: yes to both! Tons of books made me go 'I want to write like that' - like Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, Margaret Mahy, Tamora Pierce - with magic that seemed realistic, and characters I loved and sometimes wanted to be like and sometimes never wanted to meet but loved anyway! And then there would be other stories that annoyed me, and I'd want to fix it somehow. (Like the story of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. People! Who cheats on King Arthur?)

Basically, all the books you read have some influence on your writing, tiny or huge, the books you love or the books you hate. And generally I think the influence is this - the more you read, the better you write. So read. ;)

Jasmine asks several questions: 1.) How do you build your characters? I know certain parts probably come to you from the start, but are there any elements you really have to work at?Certain aspects of a character are with me from the beginning, but sometimes to build a character I find I have to write them - once I've written them in a scene, read over the scene, tweaked and thought about what the character's doing, and why, then I know them much better, and can work with what I know. Learn by doing, is my motto a lot of the time!

2.) What word count do you think a paranormal romance should be? (just a ballpark is fine)
Adult or YA? Adult's generally longer - I'd say maybe 90 thousand words, average? And 80 thousand for YA? But really, really, it's a question of how long the story needs to be. Holly Black's Tithe is 60 thousand words long, and Kami Garcia and Margi Stohl's Beautiful Creatures is 150 thousand words long. Both are very successful, and awesome, books!

3.) Do you read MS's, query letters, or help other struggling and miserable writers (like me) in any way? Besides your wonderful blog, of course =)
No, I don't. It's a copyright issue - my agent would scalp me if I did! But also, I'd be kind of useless - me liking an MS or a query letter doesn't matter, it's whether an agent likes it! I can probably tell if something is broken, but with a bit of research, you can generally tell if you got something wrong for yourself.

4.) Are you doing any book giveaways soon? (your books, that is)
Yes, the lovely Rebecca and Jenn are giving away my books on this very blog!

alishka babushka asks, Is there a certain food you always crave when you're writing or do you not even notice hunger when you're in the zone?
Sometimes I get too caught up to eat, but usually I remember. I'm greedy that way! I like all different foods, it depends on my mood, but chocolate is usually a good answer! And I can't - literally can't - write without having cups of tea. Multiple cups. Okay, okay, I have a sixteen cup a day habit. Oh, tea. I wish I knew how to quit you...

Escere says, Are you planning to write a stand alone book next or another series?
Actually, I'm working on a couple of things at the moment: one is a stand alone, and the other the first in a series. Writing a standalone is fun for a change, but I admit I usually get attached to a set of characters, and I want to stretch out their stories, and relax a bit and have fun with them, and watch them develop over a longer period of time. Plus I love the feeling of finally getting the next book in a series you love, and I hope some people feel that way when they get the next book from me!

Em (and Em, if your library doesn't have my books, sometimes asking the librarian for them works :)) asks, SO here's my first question: DO you not add fans on Facebook???? (just curious)
I add everybody back on facebook, but I forget to go on facebook for months at a time. Speaking of which... ooops, thanks for reminding me!

Second, did it originally feel weird to have people be like "Sarah we love you!"
No, what could be more lovable than me? Oooh, a baby panda in a bonnet. That would be SO CUTE. Seriously, I am always amazed and grateful by people liking my books! It makes me happy more than anything else. (Still a little amazed! But mostly happy.)

Third, and most important, do you like the Jennifer Ehle (BBC)or the Keira Knightley version better? By the avatar you usedc to use I'm guessing the Jennifer Ehle one, but I was not sure
Jennifer Ehle is the One True Elizabeth Bennet! I really wasn't impressed by Keira Knightley's version at all. Jennifer Ehle was funny, down-to-earth, and crazy pretty: some of my favourite things. She was an awesome Elizabeth Bennet.

PS Have you read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Is so did you like it???
I haven't read it, and I'm not going to. I LOVE adaptations (Clueless is the best adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma I've ever seen) but it makes me feel ooky to think of the original author's words actually being used. I wouldn't like it if someone took Demon's Lexicon and added tons of passages about monster trucks in between what I'd written. I love the original Pride and Prejudice too much! (No offence to those who did like it - just doesn't call to me.)

Kelli asks: - How did you know that the TDL series was the one you wanted to push for publication? How did you know your other stories weren't right?
I didn't know - with every story, you hope this is going to be the one, and then you hit a snag that turns out to be insuperable. And you move on, building and learning. It's like a climb, where you can only see one hand going in front of the other, and you keep hoping, and then you reach the top, and realise how far you climbed.

(And then turns out there's a whole other climb - oh, crazy publishing.)

- Do you think you'll come back to your older stories and try to rework them for publication? Or are you happy with them where they are?
Some ideas, I want to go back to. In fact one of the books I'm working on now is based on an idea I had when I was seventeen, and I completed a book about it, too. But the book I'm writing based on that idea now and the book I wrote then are very different - which is really interesting! Mostly I see the books as learning experiences.

- What about your characters from your previous stories; do you try to recycle them into new things or do you tend to keep them in their original places? Do you ever think about them?
No, I wouldn't know how to recycle a character: characters are born out of their stories, and it'd be like drastic surgery to cut them out, and it'd never feel quite right! But I do think about the characters I've loved writing, yes, like people I've loved in a country I can never go back to. (A country... with no internet. We can't email.)

- Do you like to think about "what-ifs" for your stories?
I think every reader who loves reading, and almost definitely every writer, thinks about what-ifs! One of the what-ifs you suggested (I did not reproduce because of spoilers) is interesting because something I did in the Demon's Lexicon series is switch around the archetypes: the hero's very villainous, and the monstrous villain very close to human, very much like a supernatural hero who was always mysteriously 'different from the rest of his kind.'

- How great is YA? (answer: the best!)
Definitely the best!

Amanda asks, how do you come up with the titles for your books? Did you know the titles for your books at the start of the process, at some time in the middle, or when you were done and were able to look back over them?
Oh, gosh. The title Demon's Lexicon I picked out of a list of possible titles when I was about half-way through, and The Demon's Covenant was called The Magician's Circle until my agent said 'It's a bit plain...' And my third book, which is completely written, has no title yet because my editor didn't like The Demon's Talisman and is still thinking over alternatives...

My suggestion is not to stress too much about titles. Publishers can and will often change them. Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely was originally titled Finding the Summer Queen. What can you do!

KatieZebra9 says, My question is: When you get writers block (or plotters block), how do you deal with it?
I go for a run. (I hate exercise so that motivates me to write!) I annoy everyone I know. I fret and talk incessantly and demand to be amused. And sometimes I just force myself to write, despite feeling I'm not able to. The only way out is through!

lostinbelieving asks, Would you live in your book if you could?
Oh my God, no. The world of my book is very, very dangerous. I would be killed in the face about five minutes into the first book. (Plus, I am a cowardy custard.)

Do you take personalities from people you know and turn them into your characters?
No, not whole personalities, but certain traits, sometimes yes! The character of Jamie talks like me and acts a little bit like my little brother, and the character of Mae is partly based on my sister. (Hilariously, my sister isn't really keen on Mae...)

Maria (Serpentine Library) asks: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, are there specific songs or artists that you listened to repeatedly while writing the Demon's Trilogy?
Oh yes. And often - country music. *covers head, weeps with shame* Songs I used to listen to specifically for the Demon's Lexicon series were Harbor by Vienna Teng (sail your sea, meet your storm, all I want is to be your harbour), Winter Song by Sara Bareilles (my words will be your light, to carry you to me), and This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case.

April asks, Who is your favorite character? If you don't have one, which is the most fun to write?

I don't really have an answer for that, because it depends on my mood! They take turns being my favourite, and being the one who is most fun to write. That said, Jamie's often very easy to write, because he talks like I do - all I have to do is transcribe my thought processes - and I have one minor character who was an unexpected delight to me (and I think largely goes unnoticed by everyone else) called Matthias.

Mrs Duff asks, I was wondering if you have ever wanted to write in a different genre and why/why not.
Well, yes, I have wanted to write in different genres. Fabulous writer lady Cassandra Clare and I have talked about writing a YA romantic comedy together, and I've thought about writing an adult romantic historical. I'd also like to write high fantasy sometime, with a whole different world.

But I do think ultimately YA urban fantasy - with magic waiting outside with the milk bottles to meet you, at the most exciting time of your life - is going to be my true love, and what I'll always come back to writing wise.

Erika Lynn asks, the beginning or the end of a book? Is it harder to get started or wrap it all up?
Actually, the middle of a book is what generally I find stickiest! I have to say that wrapping up a TRILOGY is pretty hard. The third book of the Demon's Lexicon was very easy to write compared to the other two - the hardest part of it was trying to tie up every loose end (but not too tight, because a too-tidy ending is unbelievable) and make readers happy, and end it right, and keep it all straight in my head!

Lily asks, I love the story of J.K. Rowling thinking up Harry Potter on a napkin; what was the initial thought or idea that led to TDL?
Was it the Goblin Market poem, or did you start with a plot point, or a character?

I saw a documentary on a wolf who brought up two human children, tried to defend them from human hunters, and was shot dead. It made me cry, and I thought about how wolves are always the villains of fairytales. I tried to think of a supernatural villain, and of course demons came to mind - and then I thought, what if one saw them in a different light...?

Also, was there a character you thought up before the others?
The brothers Nick and Alan came to me together, their relationship forming and defining both their characters (as it really does!)

AND. Were the titles always 'TDL' and 'TDC', or did the books have different working titles?
The Demon's Lexicon was Hexenhammer for like a minute, I think! And Demon's Covenant was The Magician's Circle for quite a while. Working titles happen to us all!

Alexandra asks, If you could spend a day with any of your main characters (let's say Nick, Alan, Mae, Jamie, or Sin to keep things simple), whom would you choose and what would you spend the day doing?
Do I have to? Those people are trouble magnets, and many of them are not quite sane... I might go with Alan to the bookshop. One thing I gave Alan, who is totally unlike me in other ways, is my deep and abiding passion for books, especially certain classics. I just hope Alan would not have some kind of fiendish agenda for the day, that deceptive little minx.

maryj59 asks, As far as bad boys go, does it make sense that I am more scared of Alan (in a real-life relationship) than of Nick? After all, Nick's problems are glaringly obvious, and, in real life, I doubt I'd ever get involved with someone like him. But Alan is attractive, plausible, kind - and also profoundly damaged, ruthless, and a skilled liar. Am I right to be worried for whomever he hooks up with?
And may I say, that is a very accurate summary of Nick's older brother... I like the idea of having two bad cops, two main characters who are very dangerous and morally grey in very different ways. I also liked the idea of having two brothers, one who always told the truth, and the other always a lie... Alan, in his way, is a very bad boy, and he's the worse for not seeming bad at all. But I guess the amount of damage he can do depends on who he hooks up with. ;)

She also asks about taking the buttons off foils in a certain scene.
Sometimes I just assume people will know my characters have done something because it's the obvious thing to do, so I don't mention it! In another scene of mine, people have been distressed because someone cuts fruit with a knife that's cut the ground. I should not make assumptions - the knife was cleaned! buttons were taken off foils! Everyone is being healthy and sensible...

Katarinas Mama asks, one of my favorite lines in DC is Alan's...(paraphrased) "Nerdy boys try harder..." Will we #TeamAlan types get to see a little more of his, er, "romantic abilities" in the last book??
Since Alan gets a girlfriend in the last book, his romantic abilities will certainly be called into play. Whether we will see just hints, a little, or a lot of them, you will have to wait to find out!

The Newbie Novelist asks, 1. Do you do classroom skype interviews?
And yes, I do. ;) Email me - sarahreesbrennan@gmail.com

2. From the time you put pen to paper (or started typing) the first draft of DL, how long did it take you to finish it before you queried for agents? (or did you have an agent by then?) (You can count pre-writing/conceptualization if you want to) I'm just curious. I'm working on my first "gosh-I-think-this-is-the-one" story that will actually turn into something.
Good luck with it! I spent three months reworking the first draft of Demon's Lexicon, which I spent nine months writing. And then I got an agent, and we worked on reworking it together!

3. I am now assuming, and could be completely wrong- if so, I apologize- but once you got your agent, how long did it take before DL got an offer for publication? I know that every situation is different, I am just curious.
Once I got an agent, we edited the book together for a further three months, and then it was sent out to publishers and sold in two weeks. (That is an unusually short time. I was dazzled, amazed and thrilled to the moon. Also, I'd stockpiled icecream for my miserable waiting, and then I had to eat piles of icecream in celebration!)

Cara asks, Are there any writers whose style (not their fashion sense :P) you really envy?
Oh wow, yes. Patricia McKillip writes such amazing description, I'd love to be able to write such lyrical prose. I worry I'm crap at descriptive scenes! And Holly Black is the best world-builder I've ever come across. If I could eat her brains and gain her unholy powers...

How many rejections did you get before being agented?
Uh, none. (Don't hate me, y'all.) I only queried one agent, my top choice agent, which was a dumb thing to do, but I was a little unsettled because I'd accidentally set a fire that night. (Long story...) Nobody was more surprised than me when she accepted! I remain very thankful to this day. Kristin Nelson is the queen of agents.

Travis asks, How long do you write in a day?
... Is there something else one does with one's days? It really varies - I write between a thousand and ten thousand words a day, usually. (Ten thousand words days are RARE and PRECIOUS LIKE DIAMONDS.)

Rae asks, how much schooling did Alan finish?
Alan got a job to support Olivia and Nick as soon as he finished school, and never went to college, though he would have loved to go. This only makes him more determined to see Nick done right by educationally, which is sad for Nick...

Ariel asks, Do you think that earning a MFA is useful or not? Authors seem to have differing opinions on this, and I was wondering what you though, since I know you have one.
I'm... not sure. I think it depends on what you write - MFAs are almost all geared towards literary, adult novels. And it depends on what you're looking to get out of the experience. It's useful, but it's hard to say to what extent. It definitely does not guarantee publication, and it is very easy to get stuck in the wrong MFA, so I'd definitely advise caution.

Also, which voice for Lexicon/Covenant/Talisman was hardest to write in? The voices are very different for each character. I also wanted to know if you chose to use third person for any particular reason, because I'm interested in things like that.
I like third person the best, much better than first person. Third person's more like a fun mystery to me, because it lets you pretend you're talking about the world the way it is, when really it's the way one person sees it. While with first person, everyone knows that from the word go. Most of my favourite books are in third person: it's what comes naturally to me, though I've tried first person a few times - and am writing it now for one project!

I guess Nick's voice in Lexicon was the hardest - keeping a careful eye on descriptive language, the emotions limited, and keeping the sentences shorter and choppier because Nick finds words difficult. But actually none of the perspectives was hard to write - I think about these characters a lot, so I could put my brain behind their eyes, and write their story the way they saw it quite easily. (Other stuff was hard, but the voices, not so much!)

Sarah says, I have to ask: Gale or Peeta?
I fear this may cause an all-out war, but I am pledged to answer, and so I shall. Peeta and Katniss should be together in the Hunger Games. And I have no doubt they will, unless Peeta dies. I just don't think we know Gale well enough, and haven't seen enough of Katniss and Gale's relationship to invest in it. Maybe that'll all change in book three: maybe I'm totally wrong. (It's been known to happen...) But Team Peeta, for sure.

Najela asks, What do you to do combat the inner editor/inner critic?
Combating the inner editor isn't always a good idea - sometimes the inner editor can really help you out. Sometimes fiddling with a scene or a sentence until your brain hurts is absolutely the right thing to do. But when your inner critic is actually paralysing you and won't let you write (IT'S GOING TO BE TERRIBLE) my advice is just to pretend you're eight, and telling your mother you'll clean your room after you go play with your friends. 'Oh, I will edit. Yes, yes indeed. Absolutely. There'll never be such an edit as the edit I'll do. But LATER. Just for right now - surely it makes sense - to just WRITE ON.'

Michelle asks, You mentioned that you knew where the story was going for TDL right from the start. Is this true for the entire trilogy or have you tweaked your plot arc as you went along?
I did always know basically where I was going, where I wanted all the characters to end up (dead, alive, alone, in relationships platonic and romantic). But there have been a few unexpected zags getting there. One big thing that happens to a main character in book three came to me after I'd finished book one, when I was getting onto a plane. I practically cackled in a very surprised air hostess's face when the idea hit...

Wellington asks, How do you find the time to balance writing such awesome books and being so fabulous yourself? It seems like too much for one person. Do you have an evil twin? OR A FABULOUS TWIN?
I blush! And actually, a fabulous twin would explain all those mysterious pictures of me I keep seeing around the internet, in the arms of various celebrities wearing a sparkly feather boa.

... Either that, or FABULOUS RECURRING AMNESIA...

You guys, thanks so much for all your lovely questions! For those who have read the books - thank you so much for the kind words! For those who haven't, well, I hope you will, and I hope you will enjoy them. ;) For all the writers out there, good luck! And to everyone at fallenarchangel, especially Jenn and Rebecca, thank you for having me. It was a pleasure! You're all angels. (ba-da-bum-swish.)

I'll be watching the comments, just in case someone has a further/follow-up question, or I've been dimwitted and missed one...

9 comments:

April said...

Thanks for answering my question! It makes me feel warm and fuzzly inside :)

kohikari said...

I think I remember someone (Escere, was it?) asking about whether you ever find yourself wanting to write more fanfiction. To which I add a follow-up question: do you still write fanfic every now and then as a guilty pleasure/practice exercise but never let it see the light of day, or are you committed now to living and writing only in the worlds of your own creation?

Also, as a fellow tea and ice cream lover, what are your favourite teas/ice creams? Thoughts on black vs. green vs. white vs. herbal tea? Ice cream vs. sherbet vs. sorbet vs. frozen yoghurt? Tea-flavoured ice cream? (I know the Japanese are fond of their green tea ice cream; if I remember correctly, it's one of the four most popular flavours in that country, alongside the classic vanilla/chocolate/strawberry trifecta.)

One last question--does Alan ever get to go to college/university? If he did, what would he study? (Linguistics/foreign or dead languages? Ancient cultures/history/folklore? Archaeology? Classic literature?)

Keep on being fabulous, Sarah!

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

@kohikari

I answered Escere on twitter because I wasn't sure that the question related to my book-writing and publishing, but since you asked: no, I don't, and I never will again. Bad memories!

I am fully committed to writing my own books, yes. For me, it's ten thousand million times more fun! I love my own world, and my own characters, and not being limited, and seeing other people enjoy my world and my characters too. It is the greatest pleasure in the world. I'm committed to it in the same way as I'm committed to chocolate: it is so good to me, why would I ever want to leave?

Black tea with milk is the only kind for me. I am a traditional sort! Same for ice-cream: things like chocolate chip ice-cream and raspberry sorbet please me. I've tried squid ink ice-cream, and it does not...

How do you know Alan lives until the end of the trilogy? I'm not spoiling you. ;) I think Alan would want to take a wide variety of classes in college if he ever went, but dead languages would certainly be up there!

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

@ April You're very welcome!

JennM said...

Sarah - Had to chime in to say how stinking much we appreciate you doing this! Not only does your guest blog rock, but the fact that you have taken the time to answer all of these questions and with such fun answers, is just so... awesome!! Rebecca and I thank you and all of the fans who have come by to say hi, enter the contest, ask questions, etc Can't wait to share the books with some lucky winners, they are sooo great!

The Newbie Novelist said...

Sarah you're a gem! Thanks so much! I'll definitely be emailing you about the skype chat. My teacher brain doesn't officially turn on until the beginning of Aug! And your writing publishing timeline helped. Right now I am in the month 6 "freak out" mode- where I start to hyperventilate and think that my YA urban fantasy is just a nasty congealed mush of every other YA plot I have ever read. (which of course it isn't. But the inner editor is yelling at me that it is) I'm just pushing onward, because I love my characters and I know they're fresh. Month 6 be damned! See? I really have such a ways to go. I was planning on this taking a year and a half or so- and your answers fit right in!! Thanks again. Oh, I am featuring your book on my blog right now!

p.s. I'm a tea girl myself!

Najela said...

Sarah, thank you for answering my question. XD.

I was just curious, what made you choose your particular agent Kristin Nelson? (I loved her analysis of your query letter)

Jenilyn Tolley said...

Thanks for the awesome answers, Sarah! I was also wondering, though, how many drafts you do. Does it vary with the book? And do you ever have moments where you feel like it's never going to come together like you imagine it in your head?

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

@Najela - Kristin's blog was a big factor in my decision: I wanted someone who could be nice, tactful and businesslike when I couldn't (those last two things I almost never am...) and I thought Kristin's client list showed me she took chances and that she appreciated humour in the same way I do: part of my decision was because she reps Ally Carter's hilarious books. (And now Kristin, Ally and I have travelled Venice together. Happy ending!)

@Jenilyn - Definitely varies with each book. My second book Demon's Covenant had three COMPLETELY different drafts, which was very traumatising. Usually the drafts contain a lot of the same things, rearranged or reworked or fleshed out, but sometimes... Becca, I think, will tell you the same about Crescendo. ;) Sometimes you have to redo from the start, and it's TERRIFYING. And there are many many moments when you feel like it's never going to come together -but if you keep trying, it does.

and @Rebecca and @JennM - thank YOU!