I’m Moving!

Hi all!

As of today, my official author website has gone LIVE. Live, baby!

From now on, I’l be blogging directly on my website, so this site will go dormant. If you’d like to keep in touch, you can find me now at: http://annegreenwoodbrown.com

(Thanks to Ruben Gonzalez!)

 

By the end of the year I’ll be updating it with the sure-to-be sizzling book cover for LIES BENEATH, as well as a link for pre-ordering the book! I’m blushing as I write that. Seriously, I’m still in shock.

 

Also, some super exciting news is in the works that I hope to share in the next week or so. Stay tuned!

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Just found out an essay I wrote a year a

Just found out an essay I wrote a year ago is going to get placed in @MNKateHopper’s book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Yea!

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What Makes You Feel Like a “Real” Writer?

In my opinion, anyone who is compelled by some inner force to revise a first draft–and then cares enough to revise it again–is a “real” writer.

But that’s not what this post is about.

No, this post is about what makes us feel like a writer. I’m continually amazed by those in my writing circle of friends who feel like they can’t “own” the title of writer. “I’m a teacher, and I do some writing,” they say (despite the publishing contract). Or they call it a hobby… All right, I shouldn’t be amazed. I do the same thing. Somehow, to call one’s self a “writer” sounds like a lie, at worst, and pretentious, at best.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Despite the publishing contract, the foreign rights, the new website, and the exciting stuff coming around the corner (next post, I hope), the one thing that has really made me FEEL like a writer happened today.

Today, I bought a writing desk and an antique chair and bookcase, on consignment, for cheap. Today, I set up the loft as my own personal writing office. Today, I organized my books on writing craft, my YA books, and my resource books. Today, I sharpened my pencils. Today, as I stared out the rain-streaked windows, I finally felt like a real writer.

What is it that makes you feel like a writer?

No cop outs. No “I don’t consider myself a writer” comments. Tell me what feels so good you dare to say, “Today, I am a writer.”

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It’s Feeling Official

Last week I had my official author portrait sitting–totally felt like I was on America’s Next Top Model (Work it, baby). After the votes were counted, this is the one I settled on. I can’t wait to see it on a book jacket! I also had about an hour long conversation with my wonderful, amazing, sufficient-adjectives-escape-me agent about some exciting feedback from an exciting person on a coast I’ve never been to. More on that later. I hope.

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My Editing Checklist

As my sequel to LIES BENEATH, currently titled WATER LILY, is coming close to completion, I’m on my “final” (insert tongue in cheek) round of edits. This is the part I love. It’s easy. It’s cathartic. It makes everything tidy. This is where I go through and take out all the little fluffy words that add nothing and bog the story down. Here is my personal list of get-out-of-Dodge words.

1. JUST: It just keeps showing up. All I have to do is just open my laptop and within the first three sentences, “just” will show up at least once. Just drives me crazy! You might call this word my verbal tic.

2. ABOUT/ ALMOST: It weakens every idea. Why does he have to “almost smile?” Why is he “about to arrive?” Make the characters act–not almost act.

3. THAT: “I told him that I was leaving.” Get rid of the “that,” and it’s pure poetry.

4. OTHER USELESS THINGS: very, suddenly, so, really–ditch ‘em!

5. REDUNDANT PREPOSITIONS: Say he “kneeled,” rather than “kneeled down.” You can’t kneel up, can you? Same thing with stand up, bowed down…

6. ADVERBS AND ADJECTIVES THAT DON’T INFORM: I will admit I am a sucker for a good adverb and adjective. They can be surprisingly delicious. But get rid of the ones that do not inform. This is my favorite example I picked up from MUSE (I think Ann Hood?): The phrase “whispered quietly” is a no-no. “Quietly” doesn’t inform. If he’s whispering, it’s quiet. However, “whispered loudly” is gold because the adverb tells us something about the whispering that adds meaning. In other words, use adjectives and adverbs sparingly and when they say something that goes against the norm.

*Confession: I don’t always follow this rule, but I do pause at every adj/adv to at least ask myself if I can do without it. 

7. WATCHING, LOOKING, and LISTENING. Avoid sentences where your P.O.V. character narrates saying, “I watched as John did X.” Because it’s the P.O.V. character, the reader already knows he/she is watching–otherwise he/she wouldn’t know what was going on. “John sliced the bread” is better than “I watched John slice the bread.” See? Same thing with “I listened to John tell a terrible joke.” Just say “John told a terrible joke” and move on.

8. NODDING and SMILING: Here’s where I need your help. When I read my WIPs I have to ask myself, “for crying out loud, why is everybody nodding and smiling?” This is the hardest one for me to overcome. The general advice is to come up with a more interesting verb that actually informs the reader about the character. If you have some brilliant examples of how to show agreement and/or general appreciation (as is easily implied by nodding and smiling), I’m all ears!

Happy Editing!

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Watch out world, here we come! – Mermaid

Watch out world, here we come! – Mermaids Surface as the Next Big Thing: USA Today http://t.co/Rx8UDIe

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Interview with YA Author Zoraida Córdova

 I am pleased to introduce to you YA Author Zoraida Córdova, a fellow 2012 debut author featuring the best of all mythological protagonists, the mesmerizing yet menacing merman!

THE VICIOUS DEEP will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in March, 2012

Welcome, Zoraida, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your path to publication? Is this your first novel, or your first novel to be published?
 
I didn’t realize writing was something I REALLY wanted to do until junior high when my English teacher asked us to write a 3 page short story and mine ended up being almost 30! My agent will tell you I still have that problem…
 
Finding an agent was the easy part. I started interning at PMA Literary and Film Management one summer during college and quickly became BFFs with then Junior Agent and now VP Adrienne Rosado. I followed her around because she was so cool and knew all these publishing things, plus she paid for the drinks (hah!). 
 
At that point I was writing urban fantasy fiction before I was told it was its own genre. We tried shopping a contemporary Latin girl book, but we found out that, while NY publishing loved my words, there really wasn’t room for another brown girl book on the shelves. It sounds bitter, but I don’t mean it that way. It’s true. The market for those books is so small. I went through a bad no-writing phase because it was my first real publishing let-down. Still, I was barely 20. It felt like the end of the world, but I kept on writing. 
 
One of the most important things someone told me is to write what you know. And while I may not be part of a mermaid court, I know the essence of my characters, and I know that I love the world I’ve created. 
 
It worked!  
 
When people ask you what THE VICIOUS DEEP is about, what do you tell them?
 
It’s pretty much the story of a boy.  Tristan Hart is a teenage playboy. He’s a lifeguard, a star swimmer, and at the top of the HS social ladder. When a storm hits Coney Island during one of his lifeguard shifts, he foolishly rushes into the water to try to save someone and is caught in the rip-tide. From that moment on, his life changes. He finds out he’s a merman. A prince of the Sea Court and they’re back and holding a deadly excalibur-like search for their next king. 
 
When I was writing my novel about merpeople, I had no idea mermaids were going to be the next “hot” thing in YA literature. Did you know that as you were writing, or did that come as a surprise to you, too?
 
Anyone who knows me knows how I’ve been obsessed with mermaids since age 3. They’re my favorite mythological creature. (Though in my heart I know they’re real.) When I was telling myself “write what you know!” I added “write what you love.” And I love mermaids. At that point there weren’t many mermaids books out, not the way there will be in the coming months. I’m catching the trend, totally accidentally. 
 
How would you describe your protagonist’s voice? Why did you go that route?
 
Tristan is a pretty cool guy.  If I were a guy, I would want to be Tristan. In a weird way he’s an amalgamation of guys I’ve dated. Which might say a lot of my dating life. 
 
I started his story all because I was at Coney Island one summer. The weather was pretty shitty for July. There was a nasty storm warning and this BEAUTIFUL  lifeguard in orange trunks telling me not to go in the water. It was, like, fate. The pieces just fell into my head. The name Tristan just came to me and I could SEE him, clear as day. 
 
What is Tristan’s biggest strength? What is his biggest flaw/ mistake/ prejudice?
 
His biggest strength is his loyalty and his courage. He reminds me of a young knight who knows what the right choices are supposed to be, but who is still too young and does WHAT he feels like. 
 
His biggest flaw is that he’s impulsive and sometimes hurts people without realizing it. He has to learn consequences. His love interests are a testament to that. 
 
If your novel were made into a movie, who would you want to be cast in the lead roles? Or another way to think about it, what actors best resemble your characters’ physical traits?
 
Tough choice. Someone who read the novel said they pictured Tristan being played by Ian Somerhalder? The guy from the Vamp Diaries. I would agree, but only when I google pictures of him in real life and not from the show. Dark hair and turquoise eyes. 
 
Tristan’s main love interest is Layla Santos. I picture Mila Kunis. 
There is a wide range of characters, and honestly, I draw sketches of them from magazines I flip through to people I see on the streets so it’s hard to match current actors to them. If it ever were a movie I would feel they’d have to be a lot of fresh unknows.
 
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk, Zoraida! And best of luck with your 2012 debut.

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