Remember that one time when I reprogrammed my brain with misinformation?

BY MINDI SCOTT

A few weeks ago, I was preparing egg salad for my husband’s sandwiches when I noticed that the ingredients list called for three tablespoons of one item and a quarter cup of the next.

Commodity fetishismWell, I thought, I’m not sure how much I trust a recipe that can’t even keep the measurements consistent. Everyone knows that three tablespoons and a quarter cup are the same thing!

Even though I knew for an absolute fact that I was right, I checked the conversion chart that I keep posted on my fridge. And guess what! I was wrong. It’s actually four tablespoons that’s equivalent to a quarter cup.

I think I used to know the correct answer, but somewhere along the way I misremembered. It makes me wonder now how many meals I’ve made that turned out not quite right as a direct result of me adding one too many or one too few tablespoons of something.

That little kitchen experience was humbling. It also reminded me of the Each Other Vs. One Another Fiasco of 2012.

For months, I took special care in my writing (fiction and personal correspondence), to make sure that I always used “one another” when discussing two people and “each other” when discussing three or more. (Examples: Everyone on the team talked to each another. William and I talked to one another.)

When copy edits came back for my second book, the copy editor had made notations about incorrect usage of these terms. My thought was that this copy editor was very, very mixed up.

As I read more of  my draft, someone (that same copy editor or another?) made notes that this was clearly a style choice, since the author (me) had done it backward consistently throughout the draft. “Stay true to Coley’s voice,” was written in the margin on one page.

You’d think that those notes would have made me investigate, but no. I sent the draft back, leaving every “each other” and “one another” the way I’d written them. Because I knew what I was doing, even if the copy editors were confused.

It wasn’t until a few days later when I started thinking about it more. I was reading a novel written by someone else and I noticed that the author had every instance of “each other” and “one another” COMPLETELY WRONG. I went looking for confirmation that my way was right.

Surprise!
That’s when I realized that I was the one who had it backward: Everyone on the team should talk to one another and William and I should talk to each other.

In a panic, I emailed my editor and told her what had happened. She was able to fix it* with no problem at all, but it was certainly embarrassing for me. It’s taken months of retraining my brain and I still have to ponder for a bit to make sure that I’ve written it correctly.

Before copy edits on my first novel, I hadn’t been aware that there is a difference between “one another” and “each other.” It’s kind of funny (but not really!) that I was trying so hard to get it right, but managed to do the opposite.

You learn something new every day, right? And sometimes you get to relearn something because your brain went and changed it on you.

*FYI: While writing this particular character, I opted for mostly grammatical correctness in the narrative. But with dialogue, I definitely went for what realistic to the way the characters would speak. This means that “one another” didn’t make it into the dialogue ever–whether it would have been correct or not.

Reader Behaving Badly

by Michelle Andreani

The other day, on Twitter, I had a short conversation with a lovely writer/reader. She’d confessed to skipping ahead in her book to see what was going to happen, and I assured her I’ve done it too. Because (NO REGRETS) I have! In fact, I’d just told Mindi earlier that week that I’d skimmed the last few pages of Jenny Han’s WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER before I was halfway through the book.

I had to. 

I was so invested, SO NERVOUS, that I could not go on without knowing how it all ended. (And that’s a risk in and of itself, because if it didn’t turn out as I wanted, could I even continue on??) It’s not the first book I’ve skipped ahead on, and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s just that sometimes I need a guarantee that everything’s going to be okay. And that You-Know-Who and You-Know-Who will be 4-eva in love.

No denial here; it’s a Bad Reading Habit. Thankfully, it’s not one I give into too often. (And not to pat myself on the back, but I totally resisted skipping ahead this week while reading Kendare Blake’s GIRL OF NIGHTMARES — and I’m so glad I did.) (PS: Cas and Anna 4-eva.)

But, sadly, I have another Bad Reading Habit and it’s wayyyyyyy worse. Plus it’s such a weird one, you guys. It’s the long-lost cousin of the Did-Not-Finish, because while it resembles DNF, it is so much less . . . sensible.

See, I’ll be completely sucked into a novel, enjoying the world, loving the characters, and life is goooooood. But when things start looking sketchy, and the book’s climax approaches, I STOP READING. I put the book down! Even though I’m dying to know how the story turns out, I’m too nervous or concerned or scared to see these characters through their tough times. Their tough times become my tough times and it’s too much!

Only Joey Tribbiani can possibly understand!

 

The good news is that, unlike the DNF, I do go back into that world. I pick up the book, remove the CVS receipt I’ve been using as a bookmark, and make sure the characters make it through to the other end. I don’t give up completely; I just needed the break.

So, yep, I sometimes behave badly while I’m reading. And I wonder if authors would find that obnoxious; that I read their last lines too early, or step away from their book to regroup. But it’s only because I’m so in love with the author’s story, their characters, and how it all turns out. I want these people they’ve created to be happy. And that’s gotta be a little flattering, right? 🙂

Joey and I can’t be the only ones . . . Tell me your Bad Reading Habits! Solidarity!

Win an ARC of Mindi’s LIVE THROUGH THIS + Cuteness + a Mystery Gift!

by Michelle Andreani
LTT contest

“We want to live with you!” says Plush Giraffe.

Hi, there! You’ve certainly visited on a great day because not only did I just get a haircut, but Mindi’s giving things away! And some very cool things at that. The very coolest of which is an ARC of her upcoming release LIVE THROUGH THIS. (I was lucky enough to read an early draft and I loved loved LOVED it so much. And you will, too!) Here’s a little more about LTT:

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . .

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect in this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel.

Praise For Live Through This . . .

Live Through This is by turns harrowing, sad, funny, and romantic. I couldn’t put it down.” -Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss

“Intensely emotional and beautifully crafted, I savored every word.” –Amanda Grace, author of In Too Deep

“An honest and realistic portrayal of what it is to live with secrets and shame.” –Jo Knowles, author of Lessons From a Dead Girl

*     *     *     *     *     *     *    *     *    *     *     *     *     *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Such well-deserved praise! Along with the ARC, Mindi is also giving away the most adorable stuffed giraffe (which will make total sense once you read your arc, but until then, doesn’t it look so snuggable?), and *cues dramatic music* a GIFT. OF. MYSTERY! Honestly. Who can resist a mystery gift??

Let’s review! One enviable winner will get three awesome (and mysteriousssss) prizes! So, if you want the haul for yourself, check out the details, including all the ways you can enter, in the Google form below.

Crossing my fingers for you! GOOD LUCK! 😀

The Fine Art of Procrastination

By Michelle Andreani

You may hear people say that publishing is a slow business; and it is, in its own way. Writing a book, it seems, can also be a slow business — unless you’re one of those writers who can whip up a first draft in two weeks, in which case I’m convinced you drank from an iffy public fountain at a young age and now you don’t have wholly human blood flowing through your veins. Seriously, get tested!

Oh, I kid. Out of envy, you see!

Because I write sloooooooowly. It’s my one problem as a writer — hahahaha. I mixed up those words. It’s one OF my problems as a writer, my inability to turn off the inner-editor, to writewritewrite without worrying if it’s all good enough. To be stunted by this fear. It’s frustrating and often paralyzing when you’re so anxious to spill out a story, and all that’s staring you in the face is this:

Shut up, blinking cursor!

Terrifying. Who wants to deal with that? Today of all days?? You, neither? Excellent! We’ll be much clearer-headed tomorrow, anyway, right?!

SIDEBAR: There are a ton of ways to procrastinate, like reading books and social networking and watching The Social Network and jumping every time your email dings, even though you know it’s just another Groupon for 83% off laser hair removal. Those are typical tools for avoiding work, but sometimes you need a little variety. And that’s what I’m here for! Not that you should follow my lead or consider this a guide. Oh, no.

I certainly do not condone procrastination. *smiles at Mindi*

That said, let’s procrastinate!

1.) We Should Definitely Browse Goodreads: It’s not really wasting time if you’re looking for another book to read! And you’re making an author happy by adding their book to your To-Read list, so yay! But beware: Goodreads is not without danger. You’re bound to stumble upon a book that sounds eerily like the one you’re writing but waaaaaay better. Then your resulting misery will be compounded by the fact that you’re procrastinating while this person wrote your book faster (and better), NOT THAT I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE.

2.) Wanna Start a Lip Balm Collection?:

3.) Try to Remember the Title of that Book You Read Like 5 Years Ago, the One with that Girl Character in It . . . Ugh! What Was It Called?! It Was The Same Summer You Read Where the Heart Is. Come On! Remember! Do You Really Want to Die Before You Remember?!: YA novel, probably pubbed between 2006-2009, redhead main character, mean girl named Sterling. Time worth wasting until I puzzle this one out, I say!

4.) Utilize This Gif in Every Way Possible:

5.) Let’s Go Outside for a Bit. It’s Summer!Yes, of course, getting the mail counts. Now, go!

6.) A List is Not a List Without Pinterest: Everyone loves Pinterest! And for good reason — that place is rife with inspiration. (I even have my own Cloudy board.) But Pinterest is possibly even more dangerous than Goodreads, because it’s basically a time-suck in research’s clothing. You may think you’re going in there to find the exact shade of Cloudy’s hair color, but you come out feeling hungry and kind of poor and — oh, Pinterest, I can’t stay mad at you! Now show me your kickass fat-free enchilada recipes.

By now you’ve probably realized that this blog post is 7.) Write a Blog Post About Procrastinating, I Mean, That’s Workish. And you’re right, you clever thing! So, it’s for the best if we end this, part ways for now, and get back to work, whatever that may be for you today.

I know. Sigh sigh sigh. It was fun wasting time with you.

Ooohh, but wait!

8.) Dance with Me! To This! For As Long As It Takes!: