Take a Breath

Inhale. Exhale. Seriously.

Everything will be okay.

Whatever you are dealing with, wherever you are are struggling, that THING that seems so out of control....IT WILL ALL BE OKAY.

I'm dealing right now. I have all these emotions, all these balls in the air & I've been sick to my stomach for (literally) 4 days now. I don't know which way is up or where I'm going to go next or anything! It's a little overwhelming. All I want to do is disappear into my make-believe worlds, but thats the one thing I can't do.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, sometimes things take a turn. The plans you have can fall apart. You can get tired. Life throws your curve balls & leaves you exhausted from dodging them all. Your story isn't unfolding like it should & that MC just did something that changes EVERYTHING.

Whatever it is, IT WILL WORK OUT.

I feel like someone else needed to hear this today. Like someone else needed to know he or she or they weren't alone.

It will be okay. Take a breath. Take a break. Take a minute or a night.

That thing you are fretting over: It will be okay.


About Revision (aka. How I Survived 8 Major Revisions)

Thanks everyone for the congrats on the book deal. :) It is very, very exciting. :) :) :) I also have a new website---check it out!!! It matches my blog. I like matching. :)

Over the weekend, I had a writer DM me on Twitter, asking about how I revised so many times. She said she was working on a current revision and was a little overwhelmed. So it got me thinking, and I made a list about revising.

1. A lot of trial and error. 
You try something; it doesn't work. You try something new; it may or may no work. You try something else; you see what happens. It's so much try and fail, but the great thing is that when you get it right then YOU GET IT RIGHT.

2. A lot of frustration. 
Trial and error is exhausting. Redoing over and over is really frustrating—especially when you there’s an answer!!! (All of my revisions were structural problems, at least in the early stage, so that was the hardest because I was always rewriting the entire book.)

3. Amazing CPs and beta readers.
People in your corner who will read and re-read and re-re-re-re-re-read your book. People who will challenge you, be honest, encourage, and brainstorm. They are THE BEST. I’m pretty positive that I wouldn’t have survived without them.

4. The fact that I KNEW I could do it, I just had to figure out how. 
That’s pretty much it. I loved my characters, my story; it was a really important to me to get it right. I wanted to give them the best, so I kept at it.

5. Always finding new, little things to love. 
After a while, things get old. You get tired. (Very tired!) And you need to find new things about the book to love. Maybe a character that you get to develop more, or a scene that never leaves the book. (In my finished draft, I seriously have TEN scenes that have been in every draft. That’s it.) These are things you can cling to. (Stephanie Perkins wrote a post about “Love Lists” where you list all the things you love about your MS. I have those for every project and I look it at a lot.)

6. Continuously discovering things--and always trying to. 
The great thing about revision is that the story is always changing. You should always, always be learning new things about your characters or your setting or something. Going into each revision seeking out those new discoveries make it fun. (Just in this last revision I learned something about my MC that I had no idea happened—not in two years!! I never would have guessed it and it was perfect.)

7. Knowing it is okay to take your time. 
DON’T BE IN A HURRY. I’ve learned from experience that when you rush it only slows you down. You have to have focus and tackle it one scene (or one large picture area) at a time. Realize you’ll have to change A LOT of stuff to make it work, and develop the story. Think about things before you commit. (And if you’re on R&R then know that the R&R isn’t going to go away—I had an agent wait two years! And though she didn’t take it, she still loved it and praised my revisions.)

8. Setting goals.
Take it day-by-day or week-by-week. Be realistic. Have a plan when you sit down to revise that today I am going to fix A or B or write x number of words. And do it. But, if you don’t achieve it, don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best and move on.

9. Fresh eyes.
This builds off having great betas/CPs—but have new people who can read other drafts. When you work in-depth with betas/CPs, they get to know the story (especially if you talk to them about scenes b/c then they get all that knowledge in their head.) Having someone with fresh eyes and no knowledge of the story read over things makes it stronger.

10. Flexibility in changing and cutting things that you may not want to.
If you count deleted scenes from my drafts, it would probably be another novel. I had to cut scenes that I loved because they didn’t work. I had to change subplots, delete subplots, and delete characters. The biggest thing is to BE FLEXIBLE because revision is a difficult stage of writing, and sometimes it requires you to approach your story in a new way.

11. Alcohol. 
Tis good. If you are 21---if not, find a cupcake.

12. Crying. 
Because it’s inevitable.

13. More frustration and complete and utter angst. 
It will happen. I suggest a place to vent, people that you can complain with, cupcakes, exercise, loud, angry music. I also suggest not fighting the angst because I believe that only makes it worse.

14. Embracing the urge to quit.
Because you will want to quit. You’ll want to be all “I hate this book and this is never going to work and EFF IT ALL!” and you’ll go wallow in a corner because you were crazy to ever try this writing thing and you’re wasting your time and everyone else is better than you so you should just get a job at Starbucks because at least they have benefits with their coffee.

15. Not quitting.
When you get up from the corner, go back to your computer. Do some more work. Because even though this hard, you want this and you can do it and it will all be okay.

16. Remember why you write.
For yourself. For your characters. For this story. For the joy of it instead of the pressure you’ve put on yourself to get an agent and sell to a big six and be a millionaire. (or whatever.)

17. Affirming friends.
People make this easier when you have fantastic friends—writers and non-writers. Non-writers are great because this isn’t their life and they can take you away from it when needed and you can move on. Writers are great because THEY GET IT. They can encourage you and relate to you and make you remember. Friends will also lock in your room when you need work.

18. Twitter.
Because it’s the biggest community of people and they are all (usually) very supportive and keep you accountable and are always SO EXCITED.

19. LOTS of painful feedback.
Because, again, writing is hard and changing things is hard and the truth can hurt, but all pain is for a reason and it will only push you.

20. Routine.
With each story, I always have a routine. A place I sit or a playlist I listen to before writing or a certain time that you write (morning, afternoon, middle of the night)—something. I think it helps.

21. Believing in my book, in myself, in the fact that it will all work out somehow and even if it doesn't get published or get an agent, that someone will love it and then it will all be worth it. 
And of course, see number 11 again.

Anything that you would add to the list?



I sat down and had all these ideas of what I was going to say because I've known about this for like 3 weeks and I was busy--but MY BOOK IS BEING PUBLISHED!!!! is sort of all I can think right now! FOUR YEARS of working toward this, and I'm floored.

Here's the official PM:

Danielle Ellison's FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS, in which a girl escapes a controlled community and races through a forgotten world in hopes of saving everyone she loves before time runs out and their existence is wiped away, to Kate Kaynak and Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Press, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in April 2014, by Rebecca Mancini of RightsMix (World).

So, how did this happen? Everyone knows I'm an editor at Spencer Hill Press, but I subbed my book to Kate before she brought me on. I'm excited to publish with SHP because I know how much Kate and our team believes in the books we launch--and it's amazing to be one of our authors!

Time for my book story. (I've always wanted to do this!!)

I started FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS in 2010, right after I moved to Boston. I was working at a Borders as a barista, and I was putting away new stock when I heard this voice in my head repeating this one line: "There’s never enough time. It moves too quickly, signaling the end of everything. The end is the thing I fear the most." I put things away as quickly as possible, grabbed a handful of napkins, and took my lunch early so I could write. It was a scene--just one and that was all I needed to know I had figure out the story. I didn't have even have names. (I ended up writing like 30k before I got the MCs name, just as a sidenote.)

In 2010, I did NaNoWriMo with that book, which had a title called Silhouettes. (Horrible, I know!) I finished it eventually, revised with Christina, queried seven agents and had five requests. All of them came back like "uh, no," (only nicer!) and one of them gave me fantastic information on how to do approach a revision.

I set out on a quest to fix the book because I believed in Neely (she's the MC) and her story. I tried to walk away, to tell other stories, but I kept coming back. I knew there was something there, but I had to figure out the structure (so hard!) and the stakes. Over the next two years I would revise this book, workshop this book, rewrite this book, rewrite, restart, rewrite. SEVEN revisions.

Christina and Patricia were so insanely helpful in developing my characters, helping with the structure of such a heavy story, and keeping me focused on the story when I complained. (You can follow this tag if you're curious about real-time posts.) They were probably so tired of reading it, of re-thinking things, but they always encouraged me to keep going--them and more people than I can start to list here. I literally finished draft six in February of 2012, right before I subbed to Kate. (Then, of course, I had to revise again.)

I queried--new book, new title--and had some requests, but ultimately, the market was flooded with "dystopian," and even though countless agents loved my novel, it was all a timing issue. (I mean, two years will do that!) So, I shelved it, locked my characters away in a closet, and moved on.

About a month ago, I got an email from Kate saying she wanted to talk about the book. I waited for two agonizing days and then she told me she loved it! It was awesome to hear that from Kate, because I respect her opinion, and obviously, this book is a huge part of my soul. She told me that she wanted me to fix some things (revision #8!!!) and then send it back. So, I did---and she bought it!! I asked Kate if Patricia could work on it too, since she knows this story so well. It's so great that she gets to be hands-on with my book; we work well together and she's going to do amazing things for this series. :)

And well, here we are!!

It has not been an easy journey--they never are--but I've learned so much about writing, patience, good friends, community. There are so many people who encouraged me over the last two years; I'm really excited to share this book with all of you!!!! Woooo!!!

April 2014----here we come!! Me and my book!!!

*runs off to stare at the PM listing some more*


I get to edit another book!!

I love reading a book that completely rocks me. A book that makes me wonder if I have stable footing or if Im even standing on firm ground. A book that makes me have ALL THE FEELS & leaves me in the wake of this just remarkable state of post-reading bliss.

A month ago, I found a book while trolling the forums as a ninja agent on WriteOnCon that just blew me away! The query needed some work, which I tried to fix some, but the story stuck with me for days. So, I requested. It was a great decision because that book is remarkable!! In fact, it's very rare that I get emotional in books (I can count the times!) and this one left me in a heap on the stairs, unable to form full sentences for at least twenty minutes. (You can ask Patricia!.) It's a contemporary book--one of the inaugural titles for Spencer Hill Contemporary which launches next year.

Here's the blurb from PM:

Sarah Guillory's RECLAIMED, in which a girl determined to flee her small town finds a reason to stay when she falls in love with twin brothers, one who can't remember his past and the other who doesn't want him to remember, told in three alternating points of view, to Danielle Ellison & Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemp, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2013, by Rebecca Mancini at RightsMix (World).

It actually releases October 2013--the same time as most of my other projects! I am very happy to add RECLAIMED to my list. I can't wait to work with Sarah & share this amazing story with all of you!

Make sure you go congratulate Sarah on twitter: @SGuillory262 & check out her post!