- I have once again been reminded of my long-held belief: that writing is more archaeology than architecture. It’s not like you’re telling the story or creating the characters; you’re searching for them. Last week, I was brought in for a brainstorming gig. I can’t go into details because I signed all kinds of NDAs, but essentially I got to hang out in a room with some really smart, cool people while we all tried to figure out a TV series together. We were given certain parameters that had to be met, but it was still pretty much starting from ground zero… which was fantastic. We tossed ideas around. Kept some, threw some out. Scribble on the whiteboard, erase, scribble, repeat. It was like we were all carrying intellectual shovels and when anyone got tired digging, someone else would step in with fresh muscles. We had a final sprint to the finish line and came up with something that felt really good and true and right. When the powers-that-be came in to hear our pitch, they seemed to agree… which was the absolute best case scenario. At any rate, my point is this: when finding the truth of a story, it so often really does feel like a mission of discovery, like the soul of the story already exists somehow. We’re not creating. We’re finding. Wondering if other writers have that same sense…
- The Beautiful People at the Jim Henson Company have just given me another episode of DINOSAUR TRAIN for the new season. That would have been exciting enough as it truly is one of the best pre-school shows out there—snappy and fun and playfully educational—but they also messengered over a DVD of my episode from last season. It hasn’t aired yet so I’m super excited to watch it with the youngest member of my household (who still thinks it’s cool that his mom writes cartoons). I know what we’ll be doing tonight!
- I have more writing news but am not allowed to share until the ink is dry… which I suspect will be at least a few more weeks as several entities are involved. The vague upshot is this: it’s a movie for girls and women about issues primarily affecting teenage girls. It’s based on a (really great) book by a woman. My favorite producer in all the land brought me onto the project and guess what—she’s a woman. Her producing partner on this project? Also a woman. I absolutely adore working with strong, smart, savvy women and this project is packed full of them. They’re supportive and they’re open and they’re awesome. Frankly—maybe I’m lucky or maybe I choose wisely—but I’ve never really experienced the catty woman thing that you sometimes hear about. There’s a whole bunch of girl power up in here and I love it. Details forthcoming.
- I keep hearing that contemporary is blazing its way back to the forefront of YA publishing. Is that true? It’s a good thing I don’t believe in chasing the trend because, if so, I’d be bummed that my book agent and I are currently out with a genre series! Funny though—I have faith in this one. My agent is tireless and loyal and passionate about this particular book, and I do believe those things matter. Also, I’m deeply in love with the wounded and (hopefully) witty protagonist and I totally believe it’s only a matter of time until she is allowed to spring to full-color life. All that being said, I am noodling on the next book to write—because apparently my brain is like a toddler in a mall: no ability to be still—and the one that keeps floating to the top of my brain is contemporary… and set in the mountains of North Carolina. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to take a trip home. You know, for research.
- I must say that when I am the most overwhelmed/swamped/bananas, I am also the happiest and the most productive. If I have down time (which, of course, I am always wishing for), my writing seems to slooooow to a snail’s pace, but when I have an animation outline due at the same time that another show is asking for pitches and my agent wants a rewrite on a pilot script… that’s when I write at the speed of light. Of course, then my house is a mess and we’re all eating pizza and my children smell like goats but, y’know, I guess it’s all just a big life exercise in learning to juggle.
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?