Today I'm hosting Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance authors of The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading.
The Writer's Journey
In the days since Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading was launched I’ve had the opportunity to talk to groups of people about one of my favorite subjects – writing. Each of these sessions ends with a question and answer period. One question always comes up: Was this your first novel? The answer to that is not just no, but Heck No!
My first novel was a middle grade fantasy based on an old Italian folktale that I “disney-fied” by turning the human characters into animals. I wrote it out longhand, mostly while my kids played in a skeezy ball pit at a local fast food restaurant. I didn’t know much about writing novels then. (I didn’t know how germy ball pits were either.) And I definitely didn’t know anything about the publishing world.
Those were the days before easy Internet access, the days before most folks even had access to computers. I was lucky; there was a PC in my office. When I’d finished writing the first (and only) draft of my story, I stayed late a few nights to type the whole thing into an ancient word processing program, print out a copy, and save it onto a floppy disc (anyone still remember those?). I was stymied over what to do next -- but a trip to my library told me I should look inside of books that I liked, choose a publisher, and send a copy of my story to Dear Editor there.
Miraculously, that worked. Kind of. A few months later I received a very nice letter from an editor who said she was not looking for stories of that type and length, but who invited me to shorten it and resubmit. I did not know I should be encouraged by this. And besides, how would I find time to rewrite a whole novel -- the Health Department had shut down the fast food restaurant with the skeezy ball pit.
I set the book aside and, although I continued to write short stories and essays, I didn’t start another novel for eleven years.
I loved my second novel. I still do. It was loosely based on the summer my daughter (who had since graduated from ball pits to boys) learned a few lessons about friendship and about love. It had its good points and I learned a lot by writing it. I learned even more by rewriting it (three times).
Recently, I blew the dust off of it, crossed my fingers and showed it to my agent. It didn’t hold the same charm for her. In fact, she (way more diplomatically than it sounds) suggested my characters acted like Bonobo Monkeys (you know, the ones who never form permanent relationships with individual partners and who use physical affection as a greeting, a form of conflict resolution and the preferred method of celebrating when a new food source is found). Oh well.
The less said about my third novel the better. I shall tell you only that it was invaded by gypsies. Yes, gypsies. I still don’t regret writing it though. There are lessons to be learned by writing a hideously bad novel that you cannot gain any other way.
I had just started working on a fourth novel when my co-author, Charity Tahmaseb offered me the opportunity to collaborate with her on the revision of Geek Girls. Finally, all those lessons fell into place – though there were new ones to be learned while writing that novel too. I’m using them now as I work through the middle of my fifth novel.
Maybe some writers get it right the first time but, for me (and most authors I know), novel writing is something that takes more than one trial to perfect. It’s a journey, not a destination. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks so much!! Anway, doesn't Geek Girls Guide To Cheerleading sound fantastic?
Here's the summary:
When Bethany -- self-proclaimed geek girl -- makes the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there's one thing worse than blending in with the lockers: getting noticed. She always felt comfortable as part of the nerd herd, but being a member of the most scrutinized group in her school is weighing her down like a ton of textbooks. Even her Varsity Cheerleading Guide can't answer the really tough questions, like: How do you maintain some semblance of dignity while wearing an insanely short skirt? What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you know if your crush likes you for your mind...or your pom-poms?
One thing's for sure: It's going to take more than brains for this girl genius to cheer her way to the top of the pyramid.
Now, as a bonus for every comment you leave on each blog tour, you get entered to win your very own copy of Geek Girls Guide To Cheerleading. So, make sure to leave one. You can check the other stops, as well as previous ones, on the tour here.