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Monday, October 28, 2013

FAQ: What do you do when you hate your book?

Hey Matthue,
What do you do when you hate your book? Start from the beginning? Randomly change words here and there? Delete paragraphs? Chapters? Help!!!

No! Don't delete anything! I save every sentence I write. I'm a total diva, but this is one thing I'll freely cop to. If I'm deleting stuff in my manuscript, this is what I do first:

1) Get to the end of the story. Finish it! No sense destroying the walls until you've got a floor you're happy with.
2) Make a copy of the file. Sometimes I'll go back and steal stuff from earlier drafts. There's always goodness, and there's always sloppiness. Sometimes you don't know till later which is which.

Best thing to do is put it aside until you get over yourself. The problem is, when you're writing, you're too much in the middle of things -- you can't step back and look at the book as if someone else is writing it.

What you can do is, start over. Not from the beginning. But just turn the page, skip to the next chapter, or the next big fight scene/explosion, and start writing something you do feel good about. Don't worry about tying it in, or making it fit. That's what editing is for. Right now, just get all your ideas down and get yourself to a place where you love what you're writing.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hasidic Writers Read in Crown Heights

This Monday night, I'm reading with some jaw-droppingly vital Hasidic writers in Crown Heights. Please be there. You really aren't going to want to miss this one.

(Just click on the pic, or the related text, to find out details. I think that should work?)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Goldbergs, Meet the Goldbergs

My wonderful friend Sarah Lefton wrote me an email the other day:

I just want you to know that although I have no idea what your feelings are on the matter, and you've been either surprisingly (or studiously) publicly quiet about the matter, I am enraged on your behalf about The Goldbergs and have found myself talking about your book an awful lot lately.

So actually, yes, my first novel was called Never Mind the Goldbergs and was a book that was about a TV sitcom. I'm told that it's totally nothing like the new TV show, although, when I first found out about it, I started telling people that they utterly ripped off my book for their background color.

the goldbergs

I didn't actually think for one second that ABC used or borrowed or even knew about my book. Really, both of us should be dipping our hats to the original Goldbergs, a radio-and-then-TV series in the 1950s written by and starring Gertrude Berg, who was probably one of the most versatile and amazing people who ever worked on TV. (Primary evidence: It takes major cojones to produce an episode about racism and anti-Jewish sentiment in America...during World War II.) Although, hey, I did give the old TV show a shoutout in my book.

Here's the real bummer of it: Never Mind the Goldbergs did really well last year. It sold out its complete first printing -- which, because it's Scholastic, they'll print tons of copies and just expect them to last forever. But this summer, some friends told me that Amazon had stopped listing the book. I called Scholastic to find out what was up. Apparently they had sold out completely, and they don't see a sufficient need to reprint.


I did not write that email to them. I also didn't yell at them when I found out they got rid of the last hundred hardcover copies by selling them for 50 cents each to some random store in the Midwest instead of asking me if I wanted them. I love Scholastic -- I mean, Goldbergs wouldn't be in print if it wasn't for them -- but, yeah. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes you get the bear trap.

On the plus side, I do own the rights to my book again. And my agent is really excited about finding a new publisher. And in the meantime, I have this new book that, if you haven't heard, is doing pretty insanely wonderfully. So I'm in a mostly-good mood. And if you do want to read Goldbergs in the meantime, just email me and I'll send you an ebook of it.

And, if any of you know those people from that other Goldbergs? Feel free to tell them I said hey. And if they ever want to make another series, we can totally reprint it as Never Mind the Goldsteins.

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