WELCOME BACK! *hugs you all* *holds you tighter so you can’t get away* SO SQUIRMY. Today we’re super stoked to have the amazing Beth Revis here! Have you read Across the Universe and A Million Suns? If yes then take a cookie and have a seat, we’ll be around with shimmies and refreshments in a few. If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
HELLO MADAME! (ok ok just kidding, we’ll just call you Beth. See, we’ve read the FAQs!! *hands selves a cookie*). Welcome to the slumber party! We are so very excited to have you here!
I am stoked to be here! Thank you for having me! 🙂
Tell us about teenage Beth. What recent books would she have devoured? Who would be her favorite badass chick and who would make her swoon?
I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid, but I re-read those books so many times that I had to buy new copies. I was also so fond of Aerin in THE HERO AND THE CROWN that I not only wore out my copy—I also wore out the library’s copy. The kind librarian eventually gave me a special, library-bound edition that was much harder to break.
You’ve been very open online about your adventures in becoming agented and getting a book deal. It’s nice for aspiring authors to know that there are KICK ASS New York Times Bestselling authors out there who didn’t sell their first book. Tell us about The Day You Got The Call from your agent, Merrilee Heifetz, with the news that ACROSS THE UNIVERSE got picked up. Was there dancing? Sobbing? Loud screaming?
BR: Here’s where things are going to get gross. As you know, my journey to publication was long. LOOOOONG. So long, that getting a book deal of any kind was sort of a sparkly, unreachable dream at that point. So when Merrilee called to tell me that I not only had a book deal—but one that was beyond my wildest dreams…I threw up. Not on the phone! But after hanging up, telling my family and husband, and it started to really absorb into my head that I was going to have my wildest dream come true…I got so excited that I gave myself stress-induced gastroenteritis, which, well, led to a lot of time in the bathroom and eventually a trip to the ER where I was given morphine and two bags of fluid!
Oh, my gosh. You poor thing! But seriously, that’s INTENSE, woman!! We truly love your advice to teen authors who want to be published. You encourage them, first and foremost, to go out and find adventure. What were some of your greatest teenage adventures?
BR: I was an UTTER Hermione in school. Like, total book nerd. So doing anything that didn’t really fit with the normal school-girl thing was a wild adventure. Probably the most exciting was the summer I turned down a trip to Governor’s School to instead go on a back-packing trip across America, from NC to CA and back again. Don’t think it’s too wild—this was chaperoned by teachers and well organized. But the real excitement came from by-passing the voluntary summer of extra schooling…dear Lord, I was a nerd…
Serious question time: you’d rather have (a) George RR Martin make you dinner or (b) Adele serenade you?
BR: George RR Martin. I love Adele, but I’d be too tempted to ask her how to set fire to the rain. Also, judging from the naughty scenes in GAME OF THRONES, I sort of think there’s a chance I can talk him into telling inappropriate jokes at the dinner table, which sounds much more entertaining than music.
Another wonderful post was your take on the learning curve for writers. Seriously, we both look back on our early work (initially fanfiction) and do the full body cringe – not at the content per se (though… yeah, somewhat), but at how much we still had to learn. Do you think we not only learn to write better but learn to be more self-critical with our first drafts? How important has self-criticism been to your improvement vs. finding a good crit group?
BR: WHOA talk about an awesome question! I think you’re right—part of what makes the writing better is the self-criticism. But I think the key is figuring out the way you structure a story, and then figuring out your strengths of elements on that structure.
For example: when a critique partner suggests (for example) that you kill of a character in the first third of the book, your first instinct might be to balk at the idea. This is when self-criticism comes into play. Why do you want to keep the character? Is it because that character’s named after your best friend? Lame—kill him. Is it because that character will be important later? Then make him important now. And also: you have to figure out why the crit partner is suggesting this. I think most crit partners—and later, many agents and editors—will try to help a writer out by suggesting corrections. But you as a writer need to be self-critical enough not to blindly take the suggestion, but to consider the cause of the suggestion—to figure out the problem. Maybe the crit partner suggests you kill a character because your pacing is slow—now you know that it’s not the character that’s the problem, it’s the pacing. This is the foundation of true revision—figuring out what the problems are, so you can make a judicious decision on how to fix them.
We have the irritating tendency to describe every time our character moves during dialogue. She nods. He smiles. She waves. He shakes his head. AIEEE! We always go back and delete about 5,000 of those moments. What are some of your compulsive habits in writing?
BR: The words “that” and “just.” I overuse them constantly.
But another big problem I have is forcing myself to think logically. For example, in A MILLION SUNS, the character who is essentially a librarian has hidden clues for my main character to find. In my early drafts, all the clues were in the library. Until my editor reminded me that teens sitting around in a library is, well, boring.
Tell us some of your favorite websites to visit when you need writing inspiration and/or a good laugh.
BR: If I’m looking for inspiration, I tend to go to tumblr, Pinterest, or Twitter. That’s sort of a lame thing, but if I’m truly burnt out, there’s something about mindlessly scrolling through these sites that lets my subconscious work. I’m sure that my editor is giving me the evil eye when I’m on deadline and tweeting madly, but it’s part of the process, I swear!
For funny, I tend to go to the old reliable lolcats.
You are currently reading: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers
A movie you’ve seen a thousand times: SERENITY
Favorite season: Fall—sweater weather!
Eggplant: thumbs up or thumbs down? DOWN
And, the critical question: popcorn jelly bellys are awesome or nastay? THE HORROR
Lo says: Honestly, I really think the jelly belly lovers get slammed in these but damnit, I just have to keep asking because every time we find someone who loves them I feel like I’ve been gifted a puppy. Christina says: YESSSSSS
ANYWAY! We’re really bummed you can’t make Comic Con this year, but Lo is going to pester you non-stop in 2013. We hope you have a great time in Orlando at the Harry Potter Conference!!
BR: Giant kisses!!
Wasn’t she great? Adorable, funny AND great answers. We heart her. Leave her some love and you could win a copy of Across the Universe or A Million Suns. WIN/WIN