April 13, 2019

Quidditch & Apricots

I was due to write a post but I couldn't think of a subject, so I asked for help, and this is what we got.

So about A.Z., what's it like for Adrian when Zooey's knocked out, and vice versa? Static? Cognitive impairment? Does he gain full control over her hemisphere, and why doesn't his personality change? Researching for, you know, reasons.

It is said somewhere that both Adrian and Zooey have control of the whole brain the whole time: their only problem is agreeing on what to do. Two pilots, one plane. You can see Adrian without Zooey in chapter 7 and Zooey without Adrian in chapter 10: they're just less frustrated when the other's sleeping. However, both personalities alone are too radical for their own good, so it's best to compromise and help each other. Adrian needs Zooey to show empathy and not to antagonize everyone. Zooey needs Adrian to grab the steering wheel while she plays air drums.

Do you ever get bored of a story during the writing process? I can't tell if when it happens to me if it's because the story is boring, or because I've just been sitting on it for too long and it's just not fun to me anymore.

Bored as in, I'm not interested by this subject anymore, not that I can remember, no. Bored as in, I would rather be playing Terraria right now, yeah, quite often. Take breaks!

Oh, also, about how old is AZ?

I'm gonna say 31. It's how old I was when I met them.

How smoothly does the editing process usually go? Are you ever told to change things you don't want to change/write things you don't want to write?

From my experience, the editing process is sort of a negotiation. I doubt any editor expects an author to take 100% of their suggestions. On the other hand, taking 0% is arrogant and self-righteous. So sure, you can refuse some changes. But you also have to wonder whether you're doing it out of pride: if you and your editor truly see eye to eye, you must listen to their input. Since Meddling Kids, everything I've published has gone through the same editor at Doubleday, and he has improved all of it. We've argued, but I'm glad he stood up to me every time, cause he was right. Also, keep in mind that editorial suggestions seldom come in the form of, "This doesn't work--write this instead"; they're more often like, "this doesn't work--find an alternative," so there is ample room for solutions that please everyone.

The biggest and most specific change that was suggested to me was in The Supernatural Enhancements. I refused it, but I explained why and proposed a different solution, and the book turned better than the manuscript.

Hey Edgar, any advice to someone trying to break into the publishing industry?

I don't like giving writing advice because universally good tips are painfully obvious. Plus, my own beginnings were in Catalan, which is a completely different scene, so my experience doesn't help. Therefore, I only have the usual platitudes for you: write stuff, finish it, and then write more stuff. Don't skip steps 2 and 3.

Thanks all for your questions! Keep them coming!

March 16, 2019

Hollywood Hills...

...és Vallvidrera amb palmeres, si fa no fa.

February 17, 2019

Disaster In Progress

DIP is the endearing term I use to refer to my next novel. It's not the only project I'm working on at the moment, but it will be the next novel. Eventually.

For years, the DIP was the last page in the file where I list all my project ideas. It was just one short paragraph with a pitch and a footnote saying I wasn't yet good enough to undertake it. I'm still not good enough, but I've been fiddling with it in my spare time for years now. It kept me especially busy while I was living in New York: for some reason, writing about Catalonia in English and from 6,000 kilometers makes it more interesting. And it's going to be weird, and personal, and completely different from anything I've done before, and there are bits I'm really proud of but they're like fragments of a shipwreck in a maelstrom. But my editor likes it, so it's going to be the next novel.

I often think that the research, the notes, maybe even the plotboards are a writer's excuse to delay the actual work of phrasing what's in your head. If I'm right, then this thing here is a big waste of time. But it's cute.

The white squares represent units I haven't written yet, or that I have aborted. The colored squares are units I've writtenkind of. The struck-out squares are those that I'm happy with. When all the squares are filled and struck-out, the novel will be ready.

Good thing we're writing TV projects in the meantime.

January 31, 2019

January 7, 2019

Some thousands of words about covers

So I want to share something with you today, but first, some backstory.

Recently, during a panel at Denver Comic Con, some authors discussed whether book cover artists actually read the books they illustrate. My position was that mine did, at least since I publish in the US.

I know this isn't always the case. Never was, never will be. It's how the industry works. For my first novel, Dormir amb Winona Ryder, released by a big Catalan publisher, designers sent me five proposals that were, at best, illustrations based on two-word concepts jotted down by someone who had read it. Emphasis on "at best": one was just a flower pattern. We went with a sixth proposal, just as random.

For my next book, Vallvi, I insisted (tooth and claw) on drawing the cover myself. In the end, they accepted the illustration, but went with their own design. (Left is the actual book, right is my proposal.)

This said, I have good reasons to affirm that my cover artist at Doubleday, Michael J. Windsor, reads my books before doing his job. First, I've met him and he's told me so. Second, just check out the back of the jacket for This Body's Not Big Enough.

That little thing in front of the car is a roadrunner. The roadrunner is a very minor theme in the book. No way a synopsis, even a thorough synopsis, would mention it. This is the kind of thing that tells me whether the artist has read the book or not.

And now, here's what I wanted to share: this design for the Brazilian edition of Meddling Kids is clearly by someone who has *SO* read the book.

The illustration, I'm told, is by Jefferson Costa. And I think it's my favorite design for anything I've written, ever. It's not that the looks are perfectly dark and fun, it's not just Kerri's lavish red hair and the car that really looks like a Vega Kammback Wagon (and I even like the color). I mean... let's zoom into some details:

That little Kerri there seems to be reading something longer than a mysterious note to the BSDC. I'd say she's reading a love letter. (Also, check out the six-limbed wheezies!)

A figure lurking from the *round* attic window of Deboën Mansion. That's a very accurate rendition of my words.

And that's Pierce in Andy's hand. What can I say. Bravo, Brazil. Hope you enjoy the book as much as the artist seems to have.