In fact, if I'm forced to edit out something funny (usually for space reasons), the joke will usually make it back into the manuscript somewhere. Which, I suppose, completely cancels out the point of cutting it in the first place. Hmm.
Even worse: They make me giggle. Yes, my own jokes.
Thank gumdrops for my agent and editor, who catch all the super unfunny ones and line edit them out for me. Clearly, I can't contain myself. ;-)
2. I write long books. For example, the first draft of Ever Afters #2 is 150,000 words long.
(This may also explain why it took me so long to write the darn thing.)
Backstory is my downfall. I want to give every single character a history. My MC's best friends. My major villain, and my minor villains. The grown-up allies my MC meets and befriends. Even the girlfriend of the MC's father. Seriously, everyone. The tough part is distinguishing what I personally need to know to tell a good story and what the reader actually needs to know to enjoy that aforementioned story.
NOTE: The draft I sent to Jo was in the 135K realm, and we're planning to cut it even shorter than this. So, don't worry - it won't be so long when it reaches the world. :-)
3. I can keep a large-ish middle school-aged audience entertained for at least fifteen minutes.
I did two school visits earlier this winter, and I have to say: I was totally terrified. I mean, first off, public speaking isn't my favorite thing in the world. I remember yawning through a ton of presentations when I was that age, and I didn't think I could handle watching kids get restless as I bored them to death.
So, I overprepared: I wrote outlines. I practiced. I brought props.
And readers, when I presented, I...made them laugh! More than once! (Sometimes, they laughed when I wasn't trying to be funny, but hey, I'll take it. :-P)
This was something I didn't know I could do. (I won't lie: I'm wondering if I've just jinxed myself at this moment. O.o) I don't know if every presentation will go that way, but I'm very grateful the first two went so well. Yaaaay for confidence boosters!
4. I don't know how to handle a compliment, especially one about my books.
I mean, it certainly makes me grin and go all warm and fuzzy on the inside. But the brain inside my head goes completely blank. I never ever know what to say. Sometimes, "Thank you" slips out. If I've had an extra lot of caffeine, I might even stammer, "I'm glad you enjoyed it."
But usually, my brain empties itself completely.
This is what you find if you google "an empty brain."
I plan to work on this in 2012. (Not that I expect a whole bunch of compliments in the future. I still chew my nails at the thought of reviews!) And you know what has helped a lot? Phoebe North's great post on the same subject over at YA Highway. Go check it out!
So, if you ever say something nice to me about my books, please know: It's not you. My brain has just short-circuited. :-)
5. I read a lot of books.
You may be shocked by this. I did just blog about how I kept missing deadlines this, after all. But like I mentioned in this post, it's easier for me to keep my brain screwed on straight if I'm reading something else.
The Stats (As of Today)
TOTAL BOOKS READ THIS YEAR: 123.
Only 34% of those books were intended for grown-ups. I obviously love myself some kid's books.
(And only 15 books were nonfiction. We know which genre is not my favorite.)
Unsurprisingly, I read slightly more MG books (51) than YA books (30), and I reread more books this year than last year.
Check back here after tomorrow, and I'll let you know which of those were my favorite reads.