Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Friday, June 8, 2012

India Flips - a new novel!

I did it, and let me share this small moment with you. I just finished the final revision for India Flips, my new teen/tween novel. Final revision before sending it to my agent that is. (I'm not going to convert it to a PDF and send it to him today. I still need to do another round of copyediting.)

And one thing is for sure: I LOVE revising. It is just magic, when you start putting all of the puzzle pieces together. It feels amazing. Yet I have no idea whether it's "good" or not, whether he will like it or not - whether anybody will like it. I'm too close - but chances are that somebody somewhere will like it. And I have to let go of the results, and move onto the next project.

After all, that's the risk that we take when we embrace the vocation of writer, don't we? And we wouldn't have it any other way, would we. We are finding out who we are and creating meaning for ourselves and hopefully others, aren't we?

I'm counting this as my fourth novel. My first novel, and as yet only published novel, Edges, went through several permutations to become the book that it is today. I did thirteen revisions, and wrote three completely different novels yet using the same structure - with the same ideas of searching and redemption.

While I was waiting for Edges to be published, I wrote In Your Face, a novel about a goth blogger named Godiva who looks at her own narcissistic tendencies when she is on a reality show. She is also an alcoholic. In Your Face was rejected by my editor at FSG and I suffered from that rejection. She did not want to tackle alcoholism again, and who could blame her? I put In Your Face back in the drawer - I didn't want to send it out to other publishing houses, I wanted to keep practice writing and get better.

Fortunately I was well on my way into writing The Land of the Lost and Found, a companion to Edges. I was in the middle of a revision when Edges came out in December of 2010. Edges did not take the world by storm as I had feverishly hoped, but it was my book and it was out there.

The Land of the Lost and Found was loved by my editor, but ultimately the sales people at FSG did not want to take a risk on a book that would be a companion to something that wasn't a bestseller.

Sigh. New game plan. Other houses are interested, but not in a companion book unless Edges comes out in paperback. (Which, fingers crossed, it will.)

"Does she have anything new?"

So I keep working. Out comes In Your Face and I hate it. My editor was right. But I love some of the stuff in there. I change all of the characters, make them a wee but younger, and place them on the same  reality show. I can't give this one up, you see. I was in a reality show called Into Character about making your movie dreams come true. I too was dragged along by a friend and experienced a surreal transformation. I had to try again to fictionalize that experience.

So last November during NaNoWriMo, I started from scratch and wrote 40k of what would be India Flips. I have been slowly revising it and adding to it ever since. It got up to 55k. This past winter, my husband read it and gave me some hard notes. This spring I started and stopped with revisions, as I got so busy teaching. For the past three weeks I've put my nose to the grindstone. I finished revising the last third and then converted from Scrivener to WORD and started editing. And at 11:37, I wrote my last words, 44,995:

I may not be outspoken, but I am down to earth. I may not be a graceful extension of Lila, but I am Reggie’s daughter. I may not be able to dance, but I can flip.


  1. Congrats! Hope to read it some day!

  2. Woohoo! Congrats, Lena! You are inspiring me to embrace the revision process.

  3. I'm with you re: the 'puzzle' of revision -- i.e., see how the pieces fit together, which ones stay, which ones have to go. Congratulations! And now that I've read the final words, I'm ever so curious about the 44,900+ that preceded them. :-)

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