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Does It Ever Drive You Crazy Just How Fast the Night Changes

I’m in deep in the revision process and I apologize for not checking in. I’ve gone through the book again, this time printed out and marking it up with my blue pencil. Seeing mistakes, redundancies, too much exposition. Incredible how the screen lies. I thought I was very close to being done, but reading the book on paper has made me aware of continuity issues I missed, superfluous scenes, the need to turn exposition into scenes, calibrating characters and their motivations, finding active verbs, but not too active. Making a simile better, a metaphor more apt. Reeling it in and going more wild. Finding the hard nut and the tender center. And the gleeful, merciless killing of darlings.

What’s your revision process?

photo: The Cincinnati Review

I Was Feeling Kind of Seasick the Crowd Called Out for More

So DCL Agency has officially moved offices. Every book I packed and unpacked told a separate story. How I met and wooed the author, or how they pursued me, how we edited the pages that became the proposal, how we sold the project (or didn’t), all the million details up to publication and then after. Every book is it own narrative of working together, all the underground behind the scenes between the lines. The highlights and blows, the shocking world of getting published and how it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. How you have to make your fun. Memory lane littered with so many great moments of big and tiny successes. Shutes and ladders. Gratitude to all the authors who taught me so much about writing and life.

What is one thing you’ve learned?

Thank You Disillusionment

Just flew in from the coast. Always wanted to say that as if I had breakfast at the Four Seasons and midnight show at Whiskey-a -Go-Go. Actually, I did have breakfast at the Four Seasons. $24 yogurt and berries. Smoke and mirrors, Tesla Ubers. Pinkberry. The boulevard of broken dreams. I will die trying to make it in this town. I decided that I get to pick the windmills I tilt at. I got booted out of film school at NYU and my dream is to accept my Academy Award and say, thank you NYU for giving me the boot in 1978. Thanks publishing for 35 years of work with writers and books. Thank you Marc Lapadula and my small group at Yale. Thank you to my parents (look up to heaven). Thank you to my beautiful husband and daughter. My family and friends, Charles Manson. Brad Pitt and Plan B. The cast and crew. HBO thank you for believing in us and giving us total creative control.

Who do you have to thank?

Half of What I Say is Meaningless

I found an abandoned project today. Thirty-five pages of an epistolary young adult novel. Friends, I know I smoked a lot of pot in high school and college, but I have zero recollection of writing this or dropping it, though I did make a special folder. This probably won’t come as a surprise, but I’ve never met a new project that didn’t demand a new notebook or binder.

Supplies. What’s your poison?

There’s a Land Where the River Runs Free

A professor in graduate school who told me that what I was writing was fine if I wanted to be the next Fran Lebowitz. A movie person once suggested I be more like Nancy Meyers. And another told me that I wasn’t Woody Allen. Someone said I reminded them of Chelsea Handler. And Sarah Silverman. And Jeanette Garafalo if we want to reach way back. All I’ve ever wanted was to be someone other than me.

Who do you want to be?

photo: Military Times

Stop the Love You Save May Be Your Own

I FINISHED THE FUCKER. I FINISHED THE FUCKER. I FINISHED THE FUCKER. Well, this draft. The big overhaul. The big revise. I have to admit it’s the most fun I’ve ever had just me in my sandbox making shit up. To celebrate, I smoked two cigarettes and had a glass of red wine with my friend Anne T. Gonna leave it for a few days, clean up my room, take a shower, and go see my little sister for her birthday. Then I’m going to print it out, read one more time, and make last fixes before I turn it in to my editor. Right now at this moment, I’m kind of elated. Tomorrow I expect to hate it and myself. You’re welcome.

How do you take a victory lap?

Some Have Gone and Some Remain

We’re moving our office, going paperless, scanning and shredding, packing books, emptying files. More than thirty years worth of editorial letters, submission lists, publicity kits, contracts, royalty statements. And in the pages of every book the untold story of how it came about, how many tears spilled, hopes dashed, how many mantrums and meltdowns. How many needles threaded, moments of fleeting happiness, a paragraph falling into place, prizes won, prizes lost, long lists and runners up. Finding just the right title, jacket, the fan letter that says you changed my life. Welcome letters, break up letters. My famous asshole file. So much water. So much bridge.

Are you sentimental?

Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain

Worked all weekend uninterrupted on my revision. So deeply in my own head amazing. Down to the last three chapters, also the most difficult in terms of, well. everything. This is where the roosters crow, where everything has to pay off, where I want you to cry or get an enormous lump in your throat. I’ve probably rewritten fifty or more percent of the book. Tried to eliminate confusion, howlers, lapses in time line, sharpening dialogue. Making sense. Finding exciting verbs. Using the word jettison. Running a few new similes up the flag. Pulling some poetry out of my ass to give the thing the ring of truth.

How do you make something ring true?

Don’t Underestimate the Things That I Will Do

Today I was a jumping bean. Could not work on more than a few sentences before I had to empty the garbage, clean out a desk drawer, measure for a new faucet, think about doing laundry, transfer blueberries, wash dishes, file my fingernails, make a to-do list, make the bed, and look at a billion clips and pictures of Harry Styles on Instagram, My company is converting to a new data base and I did some contract entry. Very satisfying.

What do full time writers do all day?


Another horrid day. I need to move forward but I’m so goddamn compulsive.I must pay the rent. You can’t pay the rent. Why do we put ourselves through this. What and leave show business? Rashes keep springing up on my body. I spent the day painting myself into a corner. I took a long walk in the middle of the day, tried to reset. Came home, tinkered to no avail and succumbed to answering email, soothing distracting endless email. Watched a half an episode of the Crown and ate whole wheat spaghetti. The crux of it is that I want readers to believe that a fucked up character is lovable, that people are highly inconsistent, and that love is a fraud.

Am I the only insomniac around here?