Monday, August 18, 2008

Almost Done and Two Events THIS WEEK

I was very tempted to hold off on posting until I could officially declare that my first draft of THE MAZE RUNNER was complete. But I've held off too long on posting, so I'm taking a break to say howdy do.

Last week was incredible. If there was any doubt before (and there wasn't), it's now certain. I'm going to love being a full time author. I worked my tail off every day, breaking the long-standing record of words-in-a-week-by-a-Dashner. Not quiet as impressive as what Michael Phelps has done, but I think you'd agree, it's pretty close.

25,000 words. And that includes having to take time off to work on my acknowledgements, dedication, discussion questions, and glossary for THE HUNT FOR DARK INFINITY, Book 2 of THE 13TH REALITY. I should be seeing galleys of that book by the second week of September!

Still having fun watching the Olympics when I can. I don't think I need to say anything more about Phelps. I'll tell you what blew me away--watching Usain Bolt in the 100M. Holy cow. That was ridiculous. I did get a little misty-eyed watching the US take gold-silver in the women's gymnastics all-around. That was cool.

I have TWO events this week, and I've totally been an idiot and forgotten to tell anyone about them. The first one is tomorrow, TUESDAY, at 1:30 at the BYU Bookstore in Provo UT. It's part of their Education Week, and I'll be there a couple of hours. I'm not speaking at any schools beforehand, so it should be a good time to come talk to me if you have questions or anything. Come see me. Don't make me beg.

Also, and this one I'm very excited about and honored to be a part of: this SATURDAY is the big release party of Shannon Hale's RAPUNZEL'S REVENGE (co-written by her husband Dean and illustrated by Nathan Hale (no relation)). It's a very cool graphic novel. Very cool.

The event is from 1:00 to 5:00 at the Anderson Foothills Library in SLC UT. The address is 2100 East and 1200 South, or thereabouts. Google it. It'll start off with a panel with all the participating authors then there'll be readings, signings (including my books), a bluegrass band, dancing cowboys, all kinds of goodies. Sara Zarr, Jessica Day George, Ann Cannon, and some others will be there as well.

It's all put on by The King's English, the coolest bookstore in all the land. If you don't come, you are a loser. Unless you have a legitimate excuse, like vicious dog bites or you live in a different country.

People, can't you just SMELL autumn on the wind? It's just peaking around that hot, wilting corner of summer, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. The other night it really cooled off, and I felt like I should be dressed for Halloween, cooking a turkey, and watching Monday Night Football, all while wrapping Christmas presents. September through December. Best 4 months of the year, without question. Bring it on!

Let's see, what else. My new goal is to post on the blog three times a week. I should be able to do it now that I'm full time. Last week was an exception because I really wanted to devote every second to moving MAZE as far along as possible. And I also promise to be better about responding to comments and emails. This blog and those of you who read it are very important to me!

Do you realize that the one-year anniversary of THE DASHNER DUDE is in exactly ten days? If anyone has a good idea on how we should celebrate it, let me know in the comments. Our readership has grown at a steady pace, and I hope it continues. Thanks to all of you who hang out here once or twice a week. I really love getting comments, so keep 'em coming.

Clint Johnson asked if my words goal last week was all NEW material. The honest answer is no, there were significant sections in which I was technically rewriting/revising. However, I bet I changed at least 80 percent of it, so in some ways it was even more difficult than creating brand new material.

Let me tell you. My dialogue in the original version of MAZE was atrocious!!!!! Seriously, it was hard not to get depressed reading some of it. I mean, what about the stuff I think is good now? In two years will it embarrass me to read THAT? I mean, it was awful, awful, awful. I'd like to publicly apologize to the few of you who read the original. If you need new eyeballs, I'll help pay for them.

The lesson for all of us? Work on your dialogue. Read books about it. Work on it. Read it out loud, make sure it sounds natural. Make sure a human being would actually utter what you've put on the page. Differentiate your characters. I hope this rewrite makes up for how bad some of that old stuff was. Ick.

Anyway, that's probably enough rambling.

Back to work. By the time I go home, THE MAZE RUNNER first draft will be complete!


Danyelle Ferguson said...

James - Congrats on your word goals! How very cool! And I'm so glad your enjoying retirement. :)

Q said...

Celebrate your anniversary with a giveaway of some sort. Or a snippet of The Maze Runner if that's allowed.


Anonymous said...

I've had this Saturday on the calender for weeks! I'll see you there! And I guess I'm not a loser. Yay!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Congrats on how fabulously everything is going! I've got that other country excuse going on or else I'd be there!

Sara Z. said...

I hate you. I mean, I love you. But I resent you. Well, not "resent," exactly. I envy you? Yeah, I guess that's it. If you keep up this pace you WILL be the next Stephen King.

I hate reading old stuff and realizing how much it sucks.

I, too, love September-December. But I don't feel it on the air, because I'm too busy wringing the sweat from my limbs. God it's hot here.

Cheryl said...

Like sara z., I hate reading old stuff and realizing how much it sucks. Actually, I hate reading my NEW stuff and realizing it sucks.

Maybe that's why I can't finish a manuscript. Huh.

Anyway, I adore Autumn! It's tied with Spring in my book. But it won't feel like fall to me until college football begins...

P.S. Give-a-ways on blogs are always a must when one reaches large milestones, such as blog anniversaries and the like.

Rachelle Christensen said...

yeah give-aways are great and bloggy awards for your dear blogging friends are fun too. Kudos on the word count!

A Paperback Writer said...

I think I'll have a look on Saturday. I read about it in the Tribune Sunday in the arts section.

Frank Cole said...

James-It's been a while since I've been to your blog. Maybe you could fill me in on The Maze Runner. Was it already written before you were published and you're rewriting the entire story? Or did you start writing it after the offer?

Shanna Blythe said...

Big congrats. I think my biggest "word" day was 12,000--I think I wrote for ten hours straight. I have to say that was one of my best days EVER!

So if you are experiencing anything like that I bet you are just high on cloud nine and I couldn't be happier for you!

I just can't believe you are a full time author--so exciting and wonderful. Woohoo!

Oh and I can't wait to tell my new students about you and your books!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear only 80% of that 25,000 was new. Now I only feel profoundly inadequate rather than absolutely inadequate. For a while I tried to keep a 12,000-word weekly goal, and that just about killed me. More importantly, I think it hurt the quality of the writing. Now I'm back to 9,000 - 10,000 a week, which is much better.

Kennen said...

Ah! I can't wait for the The Next 13th Reality and Maze Runner to come out!

It was cool meeting you At the Bookstore!!

J.N. Future Author said...

AHH! how could you! i didnt know you were doing a signing until NOW! and its already over! its not like i need my book signed AGAIN, but still!

and as for a celebration, we can all put on party hats and have birthday cake! or I know! you can raffle off your new phone! that is party making materials right there ^,^

you said that you would pay for new eyeballs. iv got an idea for everyone that DID see the first draft. I will trade my eyes for yours! because I haven't seen anything, while you've seen everything!

James Dashner said...

Hmmm, a giveaway. That's a very good idea. We shall see.

As for a snippet of Maze Runner, that is another interesting idea. I wonder if I can....

Frank, it was written 2 years ago, but I'm totally rewriting it. We sold it on proposal. There's a detailed post about it a month or so ago.

Hey, it's Kennan! He was nice enough to come visit me at my signing today. This guy's a stud. Thanks for stopping by!

JN, sorry we missed you.

Hope to see some of you on Saturday.

Dedee said...

Hmmm. Wonder if I can make it? Not that I have any books left to be signed by you . . .

Awesome job on the word work!