final shapshots from revisionland

An Eventide Edition of what very well may be the final* Snapshots from Revisionland**.

Shiny new fountain pen that my in-laws brought me this weekend. It is my very first new-new fountain pen! All my other ones are vintage.

Left over papadum from dinner:

Hair dye, because my roots were looking confused again:

And champagne, because I got my first advance check in the mail today. That makes me some sort of official author person, doesn’t it?

*for this book, at least.

**I know, I know, I escaped Revisionland on Friday. I’m back in it for the next 24 hours or so, and then… well, we’ll see. I’ll probably still be hanging out in the Revisionland Hotel Bar.

calling cards

I decided I needed business cards, but I didn’t particularly want to put “author” or “writer” or “kitten wrangler” on them.

After a lot of pondering and Etsy searching, I decided to go with something along the lines of a Victorian calling card. It seemed appropriate.

So I ordered these from GoGoSnap:

Name on front, website & e-mail on the back. Room to scrawl my phone number if needed. They are swirly gorgeousness & I love them.

Julie at GoGoSnap is brilliant & accommodating & I’m absolutely going back for all my quirky vintage-inspired correspondence needs.

In other news: I still feel odd not doing NaNoWriMo (I keep thinking I’m forgetting to do something) but I am buried in revisions. Revisionland is turning into my natural habitat.  Scrivener 2.0 is making Revisionland a much lovelier place at the moment, though. I may wax poetic on that at some point in the future.

snapshots from revisionland

Snapshots from Revisionland: the pre-Hallowe’en edition


New scenes, scribbled longhand in unlined notebooks:

Bucket involved in some sort of Battle Royale with an empty Panera bag:

(I think Bucket is winning.)

And of course, the obligatory bowl of candy:


I am back in Revisionland. I kind of missed it.

It also feels really nice to be actively working on the book again, since the last month has been a whirlwind of bubbly alcohol and foreign rights news and I’ve been trying my best to distract myself with other things. I’ve been knitting. Slowly. I worked a bit on the in-progress not-book-yet thing. I baked apple goat cheese tartlets.

But mostly I’ve been sitting here thinking, um… can I have it back, please? I know you all seem to think it’s really good but I can make it better and also there’s a typo on page 213.

And now I have it back, hurrah! I have my editorial letter from my brilliant editor and my marked-up manuscript.

Tessa's helping me edit. Look, color-coding!

I thought maybe all the red ink would be intimidating or nerve-wracking, but mostly it’s just exciting. Every note is insightful, there are so many opportunities for improvement.

And even though there are a lot of notes and several significant things to work on, it all feels reasonable and manageable. It’ll be a good amount of work but really, I want it to be as good as it can possibly be. And I’ve played this revision game before, just not on this detailed a level.

I’m getting myself organized. I have notes and a few things sketched out for potential additional scenes. I am far too excited about my Post-It flags. I may have color-coded by editorial points and themes. Possibly.

It’s glorious, glorious autumn outside, bright and crisp, and there is a small yippy dog walking by my window. I have a novel to improve and there’s a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream with caramel in my refrigerator.

The only way I could be better is if I still had apple goat cheese tartlets. I might have to bake some more.

this is not my beautiful house

A little over a week ago, when I found out my novel was going to be sent out to publishers, I bought this bottle of sparkling syrah to open if and when the book sold:

Notice how it’s open.


I have spent most of the weekend giggling hysterically and consuming bubbly alcohol, thinking to myself: This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife.

How did I get here?

Well, I got here by starting this novel in 2006 and not abandoning it. I got here because I have an amazing, amazing agent who spent the last year helping me make my manuscript better than I ever thought it could be when I started querying. I got here because I have a team of endlessly talented writer friends who live in my computer, who never let me give up even when the Revisionland Hotel started feeling like the Hotel California.

I spent most of last week on the phone with editors who loved my strange nocturnal black & white circus novel.

On Friday afternoon, THE NIGHT CIRCUS sold to Doubleday.

To say I am elated would be the understatement of the century. I am delighted beyond belief, and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with my editor. (My editor! It’s like the my agent game all over again!)

So I lift a glass of sparkling syrah to each and every person who got me here.

Thank you does not even begin to cover it. I would knit you all red scarves were I not such a slow knitter.

Apparently, this is my beautiful house. Same as it ever was.

Kittens, as always, remain unimpressed.

nine things for the ninth day of the ninth month

  1. I sent my completed revisions back to Agentland last week.
  2. My revisions did not reach Agentland last week, due to the inconsistent wonderment that is the internet. I blame Mercury in stupid, stupid retrograde.
  3. Revisions are safe & sound in Agentland now, for real & for true.
  4. Instead of being a normal person & taking some time off post-Revisionland, I currently have 22k of a new novel that I started last Wednesday. Yeah.
  5. I really don’t know why I didn’t get Florence + the Machine’s Lungs ages ago instead of this afternoon. Am in music love. Reminds me of Bat for Lashes.
  6. Still fooling around with the new camera lens, thus, low-light photo of the statue of Thoth next to the computer:
  7. I wish I’d discovered that BPAL sugar notes smell divine on me years ago, because I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of lovely scents. I have the 2010 version of Sugar Skull on right now and it’s gooooooorgeous.
  8. Nine things was probably too ambitious, wasn’t it? I just liked the theme, what with the date.
  9. Yeah, I got nothing. Ah well.


We have this long blank wall in the hallway.

From time to time I thought of putting decals on it or something, but it seemed like too much effort for a space we only ever spend seconds at a time passing through.

Then we found this set of skeleton keys, and it seemed a good place for them.

They make me inexplicably happy when I walk down the hallway now. But I have a thing for keys.

In other news, I’ve finally reached the end of my first pass revision-wise. I still have a long list of beta notes and adjustments to make, with more to come, but the major changes are done so the rest should ideally be minor things and polishing.

The full draft will be finished by the end of the month. Summer in the Revisionland Hotel has been interesting, to say the least.

5 things for august 5th

  1. Nathan Bransford’s post on  “Lost” and the High Narrative Price of WTF. Nails a lot of my lingering LOST issues.
  2. My new Droid Incredible is my friend. My fancypants friend who confuses me with all its skillz & I’m still learning to type on properly, but I love love love having a phone that does more than make phone calls. Not that I can do much more than make phone calls and tweet on it right now.
  3. I am officially sick of summer and it can be glorious, glorious autumn any time now. Seriously. This humidity can die. The kitten flop-o-meter was off the charts today.
  4. I am, as you probably guessed, still deep in Revisionland. Like, Inception-style multi-level deep. It’s going really, really well, but there’s still a good long ways to go.
  5. I love when, in the midst of researching, I find historical things that walked right out of my imagination, like this House of Worth evening gown, circa 1898-1900.


This post is going to be about revising. It will not be anywhere near as good as this post about revising, but I figured I’d give it a whirl anyway. I’ve gotten fairly familiar with how this process works for me, and as you all know by now, ’tis the summer of revision around here.

I started with my agent notes, both e-mailed and scrawled in my almost-illegible handwriting from a phone call. I read them. I re-read them. I highlighted specific things that really jumped out at me.

I talked to two of my dearest betas about it. I wrote down what they had to say. I read & re-read.

I pulled out my old notebooks, ones that dated back to ’08, and looked for things that I hadn’t used that I might be able to work with now. I pulled out a couple of pages worth of notes.

I took all of these notes, from agent and betas and the 2008 version of me, and transcribed the stuff I found most useful into a new notebook.

I started adding snippets of new scenes, bits of dialogue, hypothetical questions.

I made a gigantic timeline. I got a dry erase board to hang by the desk. So far it just looks cool and office-y, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy later.

I had more discussions with betas. I started having revelations. I began pulling possibilities from lists of ideas.

Now, I’m taking all of this stuff and developing it into full scenes. I’ve hit the writing stage, the really writing stage, after several weeks of this pre-writing process.

So far, I have not once looked back at the previous draft.

Why? Well, I already know what’s there. What I need is what’s *not* there yet, so I’m finding those things elsewhere, in notes and conversations and daydreams and at the bottom of cups of tea.

So I can take the new and layer it back over the old.

I’ve come to realize that I need to see it in my head as a different book, first. I have to find the shape of the new draft before I can mold the old draft into it. I can’t just go into the old draft and start pushing it around and filling in holes.

I have to develop the new draft and then work backwards. I need that picture, that vision of the new version, in order to get there.

This is how I revise. I have to get to the point where my brain can see where I’m going, and then it’s just a matter of writing to get there.

That’s not to say I know exactly how to get there, there are still hic sunt dracones parts of the map, but there is something resembling a map now.

I just got this beautiful book of Jerry Uelsmann photography. He does these gorgeous layered photos, made with multiple negatives in a darkroom, nothing digital.

It’s amazing stuff, and being in the head space that I’m in right now, it’s reminding me of how I revise. I’m finding new images to layer over the old ones. Not to obscure what was there before, but to elevate it into something else.