Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Lunch of Doom and Good Books



Okay, "Lunch of Doom" is a bit harsh. In fact, my lunch with my editors was very enjoyable, and flew by despite going almost 3 hours long. We ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Thaifoon, and I stuffed my face while listening to Chris and Lisa take turns telling me what needed to be fixed in THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY.

The good news is that both of them convinced me they really liked it, and honestly, there is no bad news. Yes, they spent three hours going over their notes, telling me thisses and thats and whatabouts and whathehecks and sayhuhs, but everything they said was brilliant and will make my story much, much better. Seriously, these guys are very talented and are good at what they do.

I now have one month, until July 14, to do my rewrites. Luckily, there are no major, major problems, and only 2 problems that will take somewhat significant work in terms of ripple effects through the whole story. Lots of little fixes, but one month should be plenty of time.

Then Lisa will go into full nitpicky edit mode (this time around was really for content, characterization, plotlines, etc.) and then it will begin readying for ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) sometime in September. Hopefully, we'll be seeing those puppies in late November, early December. (The hardback of Book 2, and paperback of Book 1, will come out in March 2009.)

Meanwhile, my awesome illustrator, Bryan Beus, has read the preliminary draft and is brainstorming and working on the cover art as we speak. I imagine we'll see the cover around late August or early September. Now for THAT, I absolutely can't wait. The cover for Book 2 just might be the most important element in assuring this series takes off (assuming the book is good, and, really, come on). No pressure, Bryan.

Now, I thought I'd report on the latest books I've read. Not really reviews, just reports.

THE GOOD GUY, by Dean Koontz. Perfect book for travelling, lightning fast pace, fun to read. Nothing will knock you over about the plot. But the last line of Chapter 1 is one of the best endings to a first chapter I have ever read.

The only problem I ever have with Mr. Koontz (and based on my BEA report, you know how much I idolize him) is his humor. I just feel like he tries way too hard to be funny sometimes in the banter between characters. Especially in tense situations. It's like a bad summer blockbuster movie. But still, I love him and will read every book he writes.

SPOOK, by Mary Roach. I now have a goal in life to meet this author. She's hilarious, and thinks just like I do. This is a light-hearted, non-fiction account of Mary's attempt to prove to herself, scientifically, that there is an afterlife. It is such a fun and fast read. She does everything from interviewing supposedly reincarnated folks in India to enrolling herself in Medium school. All the while, she cracks you up. Loved it.

THE DARK TOWER, by Stephen King. Okay, I'm currently on Book 5, WOLVES OF THE CALLA. I can't overstate this: I haven't had this much fun reading in a very long time. In fact, I'm forcing myself to read other books in between so I can drag out the enjoyment a little more. (I promised I wouldn't read it until the series was complete and in paperback, which it now is.)

This may be the culmination, climax, whatever you wanna call it in my career as a reader: One of my favorite authors (if not THE favorite), writing an epic story that is so long and so full and so deep and so rich that I can hardly stand it.

It's the uniqueness and contrast I love so much. You have gunslingers and wizards, barren dusty lands and downtown New York City, mafia gangsters and grotesque mutants, cowboys on horses and supersonic monorail trains that talk and love to solve riddles.

It is, simply, the best thing I have ever read.

As Roland would say, I set my watch and warrant on it.

12 comments:

Clint Johnson said...

Hey James, does Chris offer personal editorial feedback to authors frequently, or are you just extra special? Either way, I think it's great that he keeps that kind of personal investment in works in progress. No wonder he's been so successful.

Lisa Mangum said...

Finally! I told you THE DARK TOWER was the best thing you'd ever read. Of course, once you're done with all 7 volumes, you can indulge in reading all the other books with Dark Tower connections: Hearts in Atlantis, The Black House, Little Sisters of Eluria, the graphic novels, etc. etc. etc.

Your gunslinger editor,
("I do not edit with my pen, I edit with my mind. She who edits with her pen has forgotten the face of her father.")
Lisa

Rachelle said...

James,
Book 2 sounds like it will be a real hit. I can't wait to see what new inventions you throw at us.
I've never read a Stephen King because I don't like horror and I don't like lots of language. I know "boo" if you want but I definitely have my reasons. Can you tell me if this series is any different from excerpts I've read from his books? It doesn't sound like it's horror--but what about the rest of the stuff he loves to put in his books?

James Dashner said...

Clint, not sure. But there are many reasons he's been so successful. Chris is amazing.

Lisa, you were right, and I never doubted you. I just wanted to wait until I could read the whole thing. I love the stuff about faces of their fathers!

Rachelle, these books are definitely not for the faint of heart. They're not horror per se, but yeah, they're just as rough as his other stuff, I'd say.

And I definitely don't "boo" you for sticking to your guns. Good on ya.

Brian said...

Awesome! I can't wait to try to win an ARC if you have a contest! I'm dying for book 2.

Anonymous said...

hey what happened to the lyrics!!????
you haven't put any on for a while.

Aaron B.

Heather B. Moore said...

Rewrites? Just when you thought you had a break . . . At least you got some reading done in the meantime. THE GOOD GUY was definitely an interesting read.

Crystal Liechty said...

Yay, you finally read The Good Guy! That's my second fav. Dean Koontz book (still like The Husband better) and I agree about the humor. I was just reading Seize the Night and he had me rollng my eyes with all the surfing one liners.
Oh, and sorry your latest book isn't perfect the first time around and you actually have to change two little things. It must be so hard. ;)

Heather B. Moore said...

James, saw your book on the Osmond Family Blog: http://www.strengtheningfamilies.blogspot.com/

James Dashner said...

Ah, the lyrics. Aaron B, I promise they'll make a comeback!

elbakerone said...

"...then it will begin readying for ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) sometime in September. Hopefully, we'll be seeing those puppies in late November, early December. (The hardback of Book 2, and paperback of Book 1, will come out in March 2009."

*Squeals of Delight!!!!* Hi JD! I was just popping by to see if you had any updates on your work(s) in progress. *happy dance, happy dance, happy dance* Heh heh.... I'll let you get back to writing now.... :)

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