Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Milestone

Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher---part mystery, part comedy, part fairy tale (!?). Woot! Done! Well, not actually done done, but that's okay. I'll start the revision process tomorrow, but I took the weekend "off" to celebrate this hard earned (and joyous) milestone. The last 30 pages of a Sammy Keyes book is where all the set up in the previous 250 pages comes together. The last 30 pages are a tumbling together of subplots and punch lines (or both kind) and theme. It's the big, fun payoff for the months and months and months of buildup. My editor once asked me if I ever write the fun scenes of a book first--as in out of order--before it's their turn in the sequence of pages. I was shocked because I'd never even considered it, but apparently some authors do this. To me the fun scenes (and the climactic ones) are the reward for all the work I've put into setting them up. To write them before I've "earned" them? That seems like cheating. Or, you know, like charging something I can't yet afford to my credit card just because I can't wait to have it. Speaking of my editor, she's actually the one who taught me the value of rewriting. I used to dread it. But now it's a process I thoroughly enjoy. It's the part where I get to go back and tweak (or out-and-out fix) places that could be smoother (or just don't work). And now that I'm at this major milestone, I can relax a little. I know Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher works...so going back through it to make it tighter and funnier and more cohesive is actually fun. Everybody has a different way of writing, but I find that what works best for me is to print each chapter after I finish it, rewrite it using a red pencil (and yes, the pages can look quite bloodied at this phase), enter the changes, print again, and add the stapled pages to my growing stack of chapters. Then, when things start to get a little muddied--after 6 or 7 chapters I may have added a character or changed my mind about something--I will take the entire stack of chapters and rewrite through it. Then I enter the changes on my computer, print it again, and go on with the writing of the next chapters, until I stop, take the whole manuscript up to that point and rewrite it again before moving on. There are about thirty chapters in this book, and I have already gone through the majority of the manuscript (the first 25 chapters, or so) at least a dozen times (with the earlier chapters having accumulated more attention at this point than the later ones). By the time I am through the revision process (it'll be a few weeks), I'll have gone through the entire manuscript at least 20 times. Then, when I think it's "perfect", I'll send it off to my editor, who will (usually after many months) get back to me with ideas on how to make it even better. Oy. But I've learned to take an objective look at her notes and appreciate the fact that she's put so much thought into the story, and that she has managed to come up with ideas to improve the story. After I've mulled over her comments, I go through the manuscript another few times, resubmit it, and months later it finds its way back to me with comments and technical corrections made by a copy editor. Double oy. Comma placement can drive me batty. So even when I'm done, I'm not, but I'm ignoring that for now. For now I'm celebrating that Sammy 13 is "done" and that the "Cammy" fans (Casey+Sammy) who have been begging for the next installment will be ecstatic to find out what happens next. Woot!

52 comments:

Jinnyd said...

I know this may sound a tad immature, but...
YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't wait until it comes out! To endure the entire rewriting process you mentioned, I shall promptly reread the entire series and do some rewriting of my own.

Woopee!!!!!!
~Jinnyd

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Jinnyd--well, now I'm extra-excited and happy, thank you! :-)

JenPB said...

Congrats, Wendelin! I just got my final chapter back from my editor and BOY am I tired of reading these chapters...editing them...changing them...rewriting them over, and over and...well, you know!

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing, restful weekend. (Does any mom really GET one of those?) ;)

quintessajazz said...

Oh MY GOD!!!!!!!! When i saw this I screamed (I can be way overdramatic when it comes to books). I can't wait to show my sister. =)

This is SOOOOOOO COOL! Do you know when the cover will be made?

Great job on finishing! It's a great feeling, huh? (I guess you would know better than I would at this time!)

Jinnyd said...

So... after the copy editor goes through it (and all the changes are made, of course), does the book get published for the legion of fans to read?

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Ooo. I left out the publishing part! The part where you finally get to sit down and go ahhhhhh. (YES, that BETTER happen, and SOON, 'cause I'm bursting at the seams about this book :-) )

Marwa said...
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mmaarrwwaa said...
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SomeoneYouMayKnow(: said...

OH MY GOD!!! :DDDD I AM SO SO SO SO SO SO HAPPY!
(P.s, I am the person who sent you the email w/the 'fan mix songs' and stuff!) I was actually reading a Sammy Keyes fanfic by my friend and it said to come to your blog, so I'm like 'Forget the fanfiction story! Off to the blog!' and immedietly read this.
I cant believe I have to wait months (and months and months!) And even though you didnt say it at all, I will strongly assume CAMMY kisses :)))) FINALLY. My favorite pairing in the world, more than Edward and Bella, believe or not. Because Edward + Bella are cute and awesome and all, but Casey + Sammy are just more realistic, and I can actually imagine that happening in real life whereas I could never imagine vampires in real life, although Jacob is pretty hot if I do say so myself (indeed).
The thing with Casey is, (I'm actually into art and -I hope- I'm good, people tell me I am) I try to draw Casey but in my mind he's sooo amazingly (hot) that I just cant even think up an image. Though its in my mind, I cant put it in words or draw it out.
And does Sammy have green eyes? Please tell me Sammy has green eyes! I personally think it would fit her personality, just like (chocolately) brown fits Casey's.
Am I a dork for writing a super long comment? (No..)
Will you even read it all? I reallyreally HOPE so, but if you dont I dont blame you (more time to work on SK!)
I am so so so so excited! And the fact that you mentioned 'Cammy' made me happy b/c most authors dont actually acknowledge their fans' fan-made words and pairing and stuff like that..
I've got to say, Ms. Van Draanen, your books really inspire me and my life and thank you for writing them. Whenever I'm in the mood for just a good book, no vampires, no too-good-to-be-true cliche chick lits even though I do like them, no wizards or no gods coming to life... just a normal girl (and guy) series with enough humor, fun, adventure, mystery (my favorite type of books), and enough Casey to fulfull my reading needs for the day.
And I will be the first person in the whole US to enter the movie theater when (not if, WHEN) a SK movie comes out. The first.
Oh and, their better be Casey...
(: (: (: (: Or else...
I will cry.

But anyways, THANKYOUSOMUCH! Thanks for inspiring me (I write songs and stories) and for creating a wonderful book series.
And is their going to be more or less of Cammy in this book?
OH MY GOD I JUST CANTWAIT !!!


Sincerely, YOUR BIGGEST FAN!!!! (:

Pooja D. said...

Yay! Yay! Yay! HIHI I am the girl who thought that the book was going to be called Sammy Keyes and the Ultimate Prankster (you told me that) =) Any who I love love love your books (just finished reading Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash for the 5th time I think) and I make my point at school (trust me) that Sammy Keyes rules and that Twilight (no offense if you like it) SUCKS! (in my opinion of course) and at the end of my oral reports I always go " and remember SK and WVD rules. Only my friends know what they stand for but hey I gotta share.
Thanks for blogging and writing
-Pooja =)

Pooja D. said...

Oh yeah I fainted and hyperventilated when I found it out, and screamed that the 13th book is done at school.
Little Crazed.
Much

-Pooja (again) gosh I must be annoying!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

You guys are AWESOME (and, I might add, adorable!)

Couple of points:
Sammy's eyes are...up to you :-)

RE: Cammy / Casey / Sammy: You will LOVE this book. And that's all I'm giving away! (Except that between Point A and Point B there is Extreme Torture!!!)

Yes, Ultimate Prankster was the working title (and I still love it, and in some ways it's a better representation of the story,) BUT Wedding Crasher is so much more in keeping with the "fairytale" portion of this story...which is what makes this one a little unique...and so much fun.

BTW, the next phase is complete: The rewrite is submitted!

Finally: Approaching Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for you, your enthusiasm, and your extreme loyalty :-)

SomeoneYouMayKnow(: said...

And I'm really thankful for the Sammy Keyes series and your amazing talent at writing. Thank you, happy Thanksgiving! And I just downloaded the SK songs and the lyrics onto my phone. Thank God for wi-fi. (:

Lola Silverstone said...

WOw, I'm reeally excited! The thing with me is, when I'm waiting for a book to come out (thats part of a series) I always write fanfiction. I dont post all of it. I've posted 1 Twilight and about 20 Sammy Keyes. This blog entry inspired me and made me want to write some more Cammy. (: i really cant wait! if you can, keep all us SK fans updated about the making of the 13th book on the blog. do you have a guesstimate when it comes out?
And, by the way, i love reading all these comments. its nice to hear people are to enthusiastic, huh? (:
-Lola

Levina said...

Ooh, The Wedding Crasher, eh? I can see a mystery boiling up (And I know whose wedding it is!)
Hey Wendelin, just a thought...I noticed that in the last book, you had some trouble condensing the writing (Am I right?), Sammy was a bit overdramatic. And she used so many italicized words! lol
So I was wondering, did you mean to write it that way, or is it just because your writing style is changing? A lot of authors' work starts changing over time. For better or worse.
I hope for better.

a very big fan :) said...

I am super excited 4 u Wendelin!!Thank u for your letters back and for showing me these blogs:)! ahh im soo excited 4 the new book !!It will definitley have been worth the wait!! haha. I hope the publication process goes smoothly!!!!!So ya, just wanted to comment and let ya know i found it and thanks so much !!!!! especially also 4 the little post about flipped!!! ahhhhhh!!!!!!
lol ok so this is getting long so thanks again 4 ur updates !!!
i really appreciate it :) God Bless !!
-Alexandra

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Alexandra--glad you found it! Check in every Sunday for updates :-) Wendelin

Nicole said...

Hey, I just wanted to say that I read my first Sammy Keyes book (Sisters of Mercy) back in the 5th grade and now I'm in college and I still can't wait for the next one! haha, in fact when Cold Hard Cash came out I couldn't find it in the store and asked a worker who said "oh, you mean those mystery books for 12 year olds?" and I just smiled and said "yep!" (i think i was 17 at the time) and wasn't embarrassed at all because Sammy has always been my favorite role model and if I could trade lives, or even just personalities, with any fictional character it would be her. And I am in love with your writing style...it's just so realistic and tomboyish and...cool. So THANK YOU!
-Nicole:]

watermelon11 said...

wow...... just wow ............. i am totally speechless right now. but you should have seen me after i finished reading about SAMMY KEYES AND THE WEDDING CRASHERS!!!!!!! (yay yay yay yay) i started hyperventilating and i had to smother myself with a pillow so people wouldn't hear me scream. obsessed? yeah, a little. okay a lot. i read my first sammy keyes book (psycho kitty queen) for a book club and i LOVE-LOVE-LOVED IT!!!! what i didn't know was that the book was part of a series, so about a year later, when cold hard cash came out, my school's library had a whole shelf dedicated to the Sammy Keyes books. i saw psycho kitty queen on the shelf ( which, at that point, i had read like twenty times ) and then i saw all these other books like art of deception and sisters of mercy and so on. i literally started to freak out. i ran around the library a couple times like some deranged chicken and my friends all looked at me like, dude what is wrong with you? then i grabbed every single book from the shelf and went to check them out. trouble was, my school library had a two-book only check out limit thing. when the librarian told me i almost broke down and cried. but it was a public place full of people ("people" as in middle school kids) and i couldn't just have a mental meltdown right then and there. so i put all the books back on the shelf. and when i got home from school, i dragged my mom to every bookstore that i could think of and then some till i had every book in the series. all of them. from hotel thief to cold hard cash. and i finished all of them in under a month. when i was at school, sammy keyes was all i could think about. (yes, i know, i've got issues) heck, i still think about sammy keyes when i'm at school. i think about it all the time!!! ANYWAY....

I LOVE YOU WENDELIN VAN DRAANEN!!!!!!!
wendelin is a pretty name. is wendy your nickname or something? or do you just go by wendelin? by the way, do you have an exact release date for SK and the WC? how about an estimate. or the month that it might be released in. please, i need to mark this sort of thing in my calender.

also... i know people in bookstores and stuff always say that the sammy keyes series is for middle schoolers and such but i don't agree. ( even though i am a middle schooler ) i had my mom read a couple of the books and she LOVE-LOVE-LOVED them. just like me. but she doesn't faint every time some one says "Sammy" or "Keyes". anyway..... thank you for bringing Sammy to this world!!!

--the biggest fan of SK and WVD in the world!

Erica said...

I'm so excited! When does Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher come out? Can't wait!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Nicole: How cool are you! I tell people Sammy's for more than just "kids", but there comes an age (oh, say, high school) where "kids" think, oh, if I read that I'm immature, which is too bad, 'cause I know a lot of adults who love Sammy! It's the middle (older teen) years where it's not 'traditional' for a reader to keep up. But you do, and I love that you wrote and told me so!

watermelon11: well I love your handle -- it's just fun to say :-). And your message was SO cute! It really made me laugh and smile and get all happy, so thank you! I shared it with my editor who says it's the sweetest message ever.

erica: seems like forever away, but it looks like the end of summer 2010.

All of you! Check back on Sunday...I'll have some ideas / questions for you :-)

Erica said...

Aww, that's so far away! I wish it was summer already. I love the Sammy Keyes series! Keep up the good work!

xxCammyLoverxx said...

wait-- it comes out at the end of summer? i dont think i'll be able to wait... D:

I thought it was February or March! Aww now I'm sad. :C :C

xox a very sad xxCLxx

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

I know! Waiting is the hardest part :-)

I'm anxious, too, but I'm TRYING to enjoy the process.

The trailers will be fun to see...I wonder when they'll be out :-) I'll keep you posted!!

I♥Cammy said...

OMG I♥SK!!! I can't help but love Casey too :) When I found out you were writing a new book, i was so excited! You are an excellent author and I am sure the change is for the better.

I hope that everyone can be wait for that long! I certainly can't... ;)

♥♣♥

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Sammy lovers unite! See today's post...!

watermelon11 said...

well since it's close to Christmas, my mom asked me what i wanted. i said white high tops like sammy keyes has. yes, i said those exact words. i think i'll even get a little horseshoe to put on them so they'll be exactly like the ones Sammy has. and on halloween i can paint them green! okay i'm going a little crazy now but can you really blame me?

anyway, i read a Nancy Drew book and i just have to say this: sammy keyes dominates nancy drew. absolutely no contest. if i were kidnapped and i had a choice between nancy drew and sammy keyes to come rescue me, i'd say Sammy Keyes!

Happy Holidays!
can't wait for Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crashers!!!! YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

Levina said...

Oh goodness. Nancy Drew doesn't stand a CHANCE against Sammy, watermelon11.

I watched a Nancy Drew movie before and Sammy would've only needed HALF the time Nancy did to solve the mystery!

watermelon11 said...

I agree with you 100%, Levina.
SAMMY ROCKS!!!!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

And anyone who thinks so does, too!

ning99 said...

I love Sammy Keyes soooooooooooooooo much it is my favorite book in the whole wide world. I LOVE Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man!!! It is the most amazing book ever!!

I love Sammy Keyes and the search for snake eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is the best book on the planet!

We are the ones who sent you song time, poem time, and Sammy Keye's ABCs.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Ring99--glad you found us here! Thanks for the comment :-)

Vanya said...

OMGGGGG I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!! I AHVE BEEN WAITING FOR IT SINCE I FINISHED READING COLD HARD CASH!!!!!!!!! (which was two days after it came out) !!!!!!! i mean i love sammy keyes soo mcuh. i even went out and bought hitops just cuz of the book and i love them too!!! they are really comfy!!!!

Vanya said...

AGHHHH SOOO HAPPY!!!!!sigh...I am also unvelievable excited about "cammy" they are soooo cute. In my opinion, much better than Edward and Bella. I'm not the biggest Twilight fan...just way too unrealistic for me I guess...but CAMMY is awesome!!! I have wanted them to be together since Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary! And if Sammy does say no to Casey(by some really really bizarre and unlikely chance)I will definetly take him :)

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Vanya, you crack me up! Glad you're excited :-) You've got some competition for Casey...including my editor :-)(Oh, and just to torture you, she knows what's in Wedding Crasher...) See you at tomorrow's post!

Cap'nJack said...
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Cap'nJack said...

I LOVE YOUR BOOKS! I have every one on my Kindle! Sammy is the classic teenage heroine. My all-time favorite is "The Psycho Kitty Queen" because I'm a cat lover. ("Forget your scissors?" That's my favorite Sammy quote, hands down. Take that, Heather!) But people at school keep telling me that Sammy Keyes is a "girl" series and I wanted ask you: Is it, like, not proper for guys to read Sammy Keyes? You don't mind, do you?
P.S. I await your next book with bated breath! It's about time Sammy and Casey realized their feelings for each other. You go, girl!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Okay, Cap'nJack, hear me loud and clear. I've got lots of boy readers, and get lots of fan mail from boys who say they think Sammy's cool. And the point of Sammy being the way she is, is to illustrate that it's important and right to stand up not just for yourself, but for what you believe. So if you like something, don't let people around you disuade you from it. Just be you. That's Sammy Keyes in a nutshell. And by the way, I think a lot of people who read this blog would agree with me when I say, Three cheers for Cap'nJack!

Erica said...

Oh and I heard that there's going to be a Sammy Keyes movie and Nathan Kress from iCarly is going to be Casey. Is this true?

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Erica--rumors, just rumors! Check this week's post for "movie news".

Katya said...

OMG i hope sammy and casey get together i looooooooove the sammy keyes books!!! right now im reading them in order and i am on sammy keyes and the hollywood mummy its soooo good!!!:D i read on wikipedia that there will be 20 books in the sammy keyes sieres is that true i really hope so. You did a really good job writing the books. Sammy keyes is so much better than nancy drew!!! Best slueth EVER!!!!

and by the way Wendelin is such a pretty name (yeah i know that was random)

Katya said...

I hope sammy keyes is going to be a movie if it is i bet there will be like a MILLION people watching it it would make the best movie ever and when or (if) it comes to theaters i will watch it like a billion times I LOVE SAMMY KEYES!!!!!!!!!!!! earlier i told you that i was reading the books in order but sammy keyes and the cold hard cash looked soooooo interesting i just couldnt take it!!!!!!! so after i read that book i assume that in sammy keyes and the wedding crasher it will be officer borshes wedding right OMG i cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! will there be a cammy i really really really hope so... if no i will get so upset. Anyways i know that sammy keyes and the wedding crasher will be realeased in summer 2010 but the books after that wont RIGHT!?!?!? i really hope so because you have no idea how hard it is to wait for something you want sooooo long
And sorry for the super long comment i just love sammy keyes sooooooooooooooo much and i read flipped too that was also really good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thanks Katya! I got an I-love-the-rewrite from my excellent editor today, so full steam ahead for Wedding Crasher :-)

gozags said...

Hello Wendelin!
I know this sounds crazy, but I am a senior in hs, and love your books! I am currently reading the Hollywood Mummy for the twelth time, I think :) I love your books. You are a very talented writer. I wish I could write like that!
CAN'T wait till your book comes out! I'm sure that next year when I am in college I will still be reading your books. (Maybe a little more under the table, but still thoroughly enjoying them! :)
Thanks for the talent you have brought all of us Sammy Keyes fans! It is funny to think that when I was a middle schooler I used to want to be just like Sammy! (I was a tomboy, very much so!)
Thanks again!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Gozags: How cool are you! I'm always disappointed when people "drop" Sammy because they associate the books with being a "kid". After all, adults like them lots, so what's the problem? But I understand it--they want to feel "grown up". Well, grown-up is over-rated. Give me the spunk of youth any day! So hang in there with me, 'cause you will be a full-on adult when the 18th book comes out. And I'm counting on you being a spunky one! :-)

ggursky said...

I CANNOT WAIT! i am sooo excited... is sammy's dad someone who has been mentioned in the previous books???

gozags said...

EEEHHHH!!! I still can't believe that you are actually chatting with me!! It is unbelievable! I will absolutely NOT drop your books. I am as big a fan as I ever was! You are probably tired of hearing all of these exhausting comments of admiration. But sorry! That's all I got to give to my favorite author! :)
Being an adult is totally overrated. Aside from the fact that I can drive, give blood without a parent signature and stay up late, it's not all that great. Reading Sammy Keyes brings me back to the time when I didn't have to worry about all of that mature stuff. :) I still wear high tops, (imagine that!) and have not given up the occasional snooping to see what my brothers are up to, (haha).
Also, I would like to mention that even though Sammy is a growing teenager and that teenagers these days tend to be "faster growing", I am glad that you have kept her character the same Sammy that she has always been throughout your books. It is refreshing to see a teen who enjoys jeans and a t-shirt (and high tops of course!) and someone who does not chase after boys and wear make-up. :) It definitely gives young girls a role model (I would hope. At least it did for me!)
Thanks again Wendelin! You are great!
-Gozags

gozags said...

Wendelin, I also have to say something that I forgot to say before. I am soo sorry about the Flipped movie. I am disappointed for you about Champ and the "P.I.P.". I have read Flipped probably twenty times since the seventh grade. (is that terribly sad?) and I get into it every time I read it. I have to reread it about once or twice a year. I do that with all of my books. I hope that the movie will be good. I still can't wait! Congrats on a movie for both Flipped and Sammy Keyes! Flipped is probably my favorite book of yours. Truly.
Anyway, have a great day!
--gozags

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

gozags: Thanks for your comments :) I'm still wearing high-tops (pretty thrashed ones, too!), so never get too old for them! Don't worry about the Flipped movie. It's the sweetest movie ever, and I have never seen a movie that is more faithful to the book. So P.I.P. will just have to be something the readers know and love. Join the P.I.P Club :)

gozags said...
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gozags said...

I don't know if I can wait to find out about Sammy's dad. Who is it??? GAHHH!!! I also want to know what happens with Lana and Casey's dad. Goodness! I wish there didn't have to be a wait!

Katie HuttensNot said...
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