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Monday, August 22, 2011

Hooray for Justin!

I'm on vacation/at the intense stage of writing my current book, so not much blogging from me right now -- but a friend just sent me a link to this lovely review of JUSTIN CASE with 2 especially wonderful things in it. First, this comment, which made me feel happy all over:

This book is seriously one of the funniest I’ve read in a long time. I laughed out loud while I was reading it, and I thought Justin was totally relatable. (He reminded me a little of myself. I’m a bit of a worrier, too.) I think anyone who enjoys the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books should definitely pick this one up. You won’t be sorry.

And also this bit of news:

2011-2012 South Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee

Yay! Hey, anybody in South Carolina: I have never been to South Carolina but if JUSTIN wins, I promise to come visit and celebrate with you. And I will bring gummy worms. Not trying to buy your vote, of course. Just sayin'.

More soon.

Rachel Vail

PS Am thinking I should do a Back-to-School giveaway of JUSTIN books -- what do you think?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

That Moment with the Scissors

I am often asked what to do about writers' block. I have lots of good advice on the subject. I'll list some if you want it later. But anyway, here's the thing:

Last night I did not take any of it.

You know that moment when you are not sure what should happen next in the book you are writing, and then there you are, scissors in one hand and your hair in the other?

Do you know that moment?

Well, so, there I was, and the advice I would give somebody in that position, in that moment, is PUT. DOWN. THE. SCISSORS.

But I clearly was not in an advice-listening mood.

I grew out my bangs years ago, as my (okay, quite subtle) rebellion against my mom, who has always had bangs and who always had my hair cut in bangs.

I cut bangs yesterday as my (fine, equally subtle) rebellion against not knowing what happens in the next scene I am writing. Or against nothing happening, maybe. Or against nothing. Just stalling. Just possessed by an intense need to cut my own hair.

I am not new on the planet. I know this is a bad idea. I stood there actually thinking bad idea don't do it don't do it don't do it until I did it. Maybe even as I was doing it.

My son just woke up, saw me, had a conversation with me and didn't once scream what did you do to your hair? or Why do you look so weird today? And since he is both 12 and extremely observant -- and also therefore on a hair-trigger of horrified embarrassment at the oddness and awful awkwardness of his mother -- I am thinking either I did a good job or it's more subtle than I thought.

Also I woke up knowing what the scene maybe should be.

If I were to meet a girl who is in a fairy tale, and she were to ask me if I had any advice for her, I would definitely tell her: A girl in a fairy tale should never take the short cut through the woods. That way trouble lies.

Of course, that way is also where adventure lies. And story.

So maybe she would be better off not taking my advice. Hopefully I am better off, having ignored my advice, too.

If not, it's just hair. It will grow back. Please don't stare.

Rachel Vail