Sunday, June 20, 2010

What Do You Do With YOUR Idle Hands?

I’ve finished the first draft of my YA tragic love story, Heartstrings. It slid into home at just under 80K, and I’m pleased with the effort though large chunks of the manuscript – and maybe the structure itself – will need heavy revision.

I feel idle. My post-apocalyptic YA, In the Autumn, is enduring the query/submission process. I feel good about the responses I’ve gotten and, as always, hope an offer of representation is around the corner. Or maybe the next one. Or maybe not. It’s out of my hands, at the moment.

Here are a few things I’ve considered doing in order to fill up my time:

1.     Reading – My TBR pile is huge. It’s going to turn into a monster any day now and eat my dogs. I am currently reading Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman (hardcover) and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert on my Kindle for iPhone app. Books I’m dying to get to: Chasing Smoke and Day One by Bill Cameron, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, and A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore – among many, many others.
2.     Writing a Screenplay – I have a degree in Film and my love affair with writing began with works for the screen. It’s completely different from novel writing but I enjoy it, and I’ve considered tackling an adaptation of my own In the Autumn. I’d love to write the adaptation for The Last Time I Was Me by Cathy Lamb, because that book would make the funniest chick flick EVER, but I’m too poor to buy the rights. It might be a pipe dream, but in the event that someday my books are popular, I’d like to have the opportunity to adapt my own work.
3.     Clean My House, Pay Attention to My Dogs, Yardwork, Etc – The sad fact is these things have gone untouched for far too many weeks. I live alone, so you know…no one cares. Except the dogs. Poor babies. Oh – and my dad who mows my lawn for me. I’m spoiled, I know.
4.     Start Dating Again –I’m scared, out of practice, and was never good at it even in my younger days. Yup. That’s all I have to say about that.
5.     Doing Nothing – As appealing as this might sound, it’s unlikely. I must have something to do. If I don’t, I will sleep my life away, shop too much, or annoy everyone on Twitter with my constant drivel. This does not do anyone any good.
6.     Starting a New Manuscript or Revising a Hot Mess – Oh, I have ideas, people. They’re all written down in my little blue journal that goes everywhere with me, and some of them aren’t even half bad. There’s a contemporary YA, another dystopian/sci-fi YA, and a paranormal YA – all revolving around the theme of destiny which seems to fascinate me. In addition, I have at least one trunk novel that is near and dear to my heart. It is, however, only the second novel I ever attempted and it is a hot mess. I’ll get around to this option eventually. Right now, I’m not really feeling it.
7.     Quit My Job – Wait…that’s always what I want to do. It’s not gonna happen, Trisha. At least not soon.
8.     Fly to Vancouver, BC, rent a car, and drive down the coast to San Diego – Wait, I’ve always wanted to do that too. While we’re here, lets add visit all of Europe (with special attention to Italy, Greece, France, and Spain), the Eastern Bloc, South America, Australia, Thailand, and pretty much the rest of the world. Repeat after me: It’s not gonna happen, Trisha. At least not soon.
9.     Move to New York. Or Charleston. Or Portland. - Trisha, see #7 and #8.

Okay, so I’m getting a little carried away. I’ll be making a decision soon, probably a combination of #1, #2, and #6. What do you all do when you finish a manuscript? Spend time with your family and friends? Read? Bar-B-Q? Stargaze? Stalk Robert Pattinson?


  1. I uh. Start the next one. Because I hate not writing. I hate not having a document to open up and get to work with. Even if I do kind of procrastinate about it sometimes...

  2. I would hope maybe you'd include a part of #3 (the attention to the dogs part) in your plans. And if you do # 8 - I'd better be part of your itinerary through S. CA. ;)

    In the "idle" time between finishing the first draft and starting the editing process, I usually find I'm so busy with things that must get done, I can't even think about calling it idle time. I have multiple projects stacked up waiting for my attention, need to work on things like log lines, synoposis, blurbs, book trailers, etc. for the book which is idle - so that when I get back to editing it, my mind has been focusing on the salient parts. It helps me to hone the work from the right perspective when I do go back to it. Oh, I also have to make sure I'm promoting the books which are published. Making plans to exercise more, usually comes up during this phase as well, and sometimes I actually do put together a plan for this. I read books and review them, and can only dream about having a day of nothing - in which I just relax.

  3. Totally get out, play with the dogs a bit, clean and re-arrange the house. Then go back, read and start on your next book. Feeling good about yourself, your work place, and having your dogs feel good about you are awesome feelings to have in starting a new project.

  4. I'm looking forward to Aug. 1, by which time I'll have sent off my WIP. I have a closet to completely empty and reorganize; deck furniture to oil; writing conferences to prep for; two cars to do some serious scheduled maintenance on; and about a dozen books to read (I'll get through as many as I can). Oh, and movies to see, of course ...

  5. Ooooh Stalk Rob might work... we are so doing that.