Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writing Update, Deep Thoughts

Just thought I'd catch you up on my writing endeavors. (Free tip of the day: don't ever have a child character in a book say the word "endeavor" - I only use it because I'm extraordinarily smart.)

As mentioned previously, I got a little behind my goal pace because of the rewrite for THE MAZE RUNNER a couple of weeks ago. This worried me, and I almost adjusted my schedule. But alas, I'm much too anal for such a thing, so I worked extra hard the past week to catch up. The book now stands at 77,125 words, and the First Draft will definitely be done by February 13th as originally hoped.

In fact, probably sooner. This happens to me on every book. When I get to my favorite part, which is always, always, always the last 20% of the story, I go nutso. It's all I can think about and I work on it whenever I get the chance. I bet I'm done by the end of next week at the latest.

Once the First Draft is done, I'll probably spend a good month doing revisions and rewrites. Then comes the ultimate test. The Wife will read it. I'll make her changes and then send it off to some trusted writerly type friends. I hope to turn it in to my editor in early April, which will be a little early on my deadline, which is why my editor loves me much more than her other authors. (Right, Lisa?) The book is scheduled to come out in March of 2009.

I have to admit, I'm getting very nervous as the release date for Book 1 approaches. I hate when I think about it before bed (which is every night darnit) because then I can't go to sleep. Nothing is predictable in this industry. If there was a magic formula for a bestseller, we would only have bestsellers.

Sure, all signs are good so far. Positive reviews, positive emails from librarians and booksellers who received ARCs, strong pre-sales from the likes of Borders and Barnes and Noble. There's the way awesome thing with Borders sending out the teaser chapters in their Education Week packets. Other good stuff.

But still, it doesn't mean anything if the book doesn't catch on and create word of mouth. Word of Mouth is king in the book industry, and if you don't have it, you won't make it big. So, I hope and wait, trying very hard not to worry about it. And to sleep.

Now, having said all that, I assure you I'm not Mister Mopey Mope. I'm about as ecstatic and grateful and enthusiastic as you can imagine. I'm also very encouraged and optimistic. The greatest compliment, in my opinion, from the Kirkus review was the suggestion that I am "plainly in tune with today's fan base." I truly hope they are right because that's the only thing I care about.

And let me tell you why. This is going to sound like a 9 on the old cheesy scale, but the thing I love most about being an author is visiting schools and encouraging students to do great things with their life. And to help them have fun, and associate fun with reading. And if this book does well, I'll be able to do that for the rest of my life.

So, here we are, here I am. The Change the World Tour starts in just over a month. A month after that, we'll know a lot more about how things are going in terms of sales. Until then, nanu nanu. (not sure why Mork from Ork just popped in my head, but there you go)

Look for a new Q&A soon.

Also, something's wrong with the 13th Reality website - you can't see all the tour information. Pretty sure they're working on it. Have a great day!


LaFemmeSimple said...

Riddle me this Jamestown: Why are they having you tour BEFORE the book hits shelves? Will there be books for sale at your signings?

I can't wait!

James Dashner said...

Oh, yes, I keep forgetting to make a note of this. The whole March 13th thing was just a gimmick because of the title. The book will be in most bookstores by the first of March.

Tamra Norton said...

Way to go on the writing goals! When do you sleep?

Hey, I went to the 13th website today and requested you come to Houston. Yeah, we're homeschoolers, but I mentioned to "them" (whoever they are) that a few months back I managed (with only a day's notice) to pack nearly 100 people into my living room to meet Obert Skye. Well, you're way cooler than OS (no offense, Mr. Skey) and imagine what I could do with a little more notice. Besides, Houston is the 4th largest city in the US and we have at least a bajillion schools and major bookstores and The Astros! What's not to love?

Anyhoo...can't wait to see you in March!

Ron Simpson said...

I started my new writing class on Monday and told them all about your book. I am referring those that have kids to your blog and website and to read your book.

I have a question about the book I am starting to write.

I am writing a story centering around a forest brownie and a troll. The mythology surrounding them will be pretty new to most fantasy readers as I am twisting it a bit to make it new and interesting. I am thinking about starting each chapter with an excerpt of about a paragraph or so from a scholarly book written by a wizard or some type of similar writer in that world about the brownie society or about trolls. I think it might give a bit of background without me having to labor really hard to write it into the chapters. I think that trying to write some of it into dialogue might seem to contrived since the characters would already know this stuff about themselves. W

What do you think?

Macotar said...

ahhhh, I hear the sound of rising hopes being repressed. It sounds a lot like the people that wait in line for the Price is Right. If you ask any of them, they aren't going to get on the show, yet that is why they are all there.

If you're a farmer from southern Idaho, you will start telling yourself the book stinks and will never sell. Then when the book sells fairly well you'll say "Well It did o.k. But that Steven King, He really sells books" Simultaneously taking your success out of the limelight and reducing the chance that one of your ne're-do-well acquaintances will ask you for money now that you are an established success.

I of course believe it will be a smashing success.

Sorry about the pontification, I should have just posted it on my blog, but nobody reads that ;)

Rachelle Christensen said...

My friend's 13 year old son has been hounding me to let him read your book (my ARC) ever since I gave him the teaser chapter. The other day he found out I was going by and actually had her send me a special note to remind me to bring the book. That says something that after reading the teaser chapter well over a month ago, he is still thinking about reading it! Cool Beans!

James Dashner said...

Tamra, giddyup! I will push from this side as well - I would love to go to Houston.

Ron, I think your idea is perfect. Reminds me a lot of what Frank Herbert did in Dune. Check it out. And thanks for the plug - tell them to leave a comment and say howdy.

Mark, well said. I wish more people would pontificate here!

Rachelle, that's awesome, thanks for telling me. I sure hope he likes it.

Luisa Perkins said...

Dude, I am in awe of your psycho-anality. Go, James, go!

(PS--your editor loves you because you're GOOD.)

Scoops Mangum said...


How is next Friday for lunch with Mark Wright and myself? Somewhere around Fashion Place mall?


Anonymous said...

the website for the thirteenth reality is also to big, it wont work on my Moms settings it wont show the menu tab thing on the side and the bottom and the is no mover bars on the side or bottom of the screen. so there is another thing that needs a little fixing.

Aaron Brower

LaFemmeSimple said...

Hey James

Noticed they fixed your site. It's viewable on a decent resolution now, kudos!

Love the snowball game! Will take some time to master that for this old feeble mind :D

Love you! Can NOT wait!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Isn't it great that you're unable to sleep because you're excited, rather than that you're worried? What an awesome reason to be awake at night!

Anonymous said...

Hi there James, just wanted to let you know that I'd buy your book sight unseen because Shadow Mountain put it out. For your book to be on their list it has to be awesome! I love the site and I love the cover.

I just found your site and wish you the best of luck on your pub date! It will certainly be exciting.

Autumn Ables said...

Ah, I don't even know HOW you sleep!

Keeping up with goals is awesome and so refreshing. I really like your comment about the last 20% really gets you excited. ;) That's pretty cool.

James Dashner said...

Thanks for stopping by, guys.

Tracy, that should work for me. Call me or email me.

Aaron, thanks for the heads up. Check it out, it's been updated. Still a few kinks, I think.

Kaleb, glad you found us. I hope I don't disappoint!

Thanks for all the nice words. Make sure you chime in on the little debate I'm about to post.