((Jackie claws her way up from the end of the Earth...))
Morning, all. It's been almost a month since I've blogged, and lots has happened. In no particular order...
Point The First.
My agent, whom I highly respect, has put the temporary kibosh on THE MAGIC BRIGADE. Heartbreaking. But not only did the synopsis not get him really enthusiastic, he also said that YA editors are getting sick of reading fantasy. (My wording, not my agent's.) In other words, it really has to be, to quote Don Maass, breakout territory. Does this mean that TMB is dead in the water? Nah. But the 25,000 words I've accumulated over the past 6 weeks or so? Shelved.
Point the Second.
So is this the end of Jackie Kessler - YA Author? Again, nah. I already have two ideas that I'm fleshing out. I love the idea of teen angst, especially with a paranormal angle. Maybe that's because I've been reading some damn good YA paranormal fiction. The best so far? Heather Brewer's faboo EIGHTH GRADE BITES (officially out in the middle of 2007, from Dutton). If you buy one book in 2007...well, no, that won't work; I know too many people getting published in 2007, including yers truly. But trust me, you want Heather's book on your Must Buy list. (I'd link to her blog, but I'm a techno spaz. I've got her link on the right of this page. Let your mouse do the clicking...)
Point the Third.
I'm back on track with the second book in the HELL ON EARTH series: THE ROAD TO HELL. I have to change quite a bit of my first draft so that it meshes with the approved chapter outline, but that's work I'm looking forward to. I promised my agent that he'd get a polished draft by the start of October, and the final isn't due to my editor until the start of December. Plenty of time (she typed nervously, glancing at the calendar).
Point the Fourth.
My website launch has been delayed by a few weeks, but I'm working on my content. Typety type type. I think you guys will like it. Pictures, and everything! Woot! And...Jesse (the main character of HELL'S BELLES, natch) will have quite a lot to say, as will Daun. Who's Daun? You'll find out... ((Jackie rubs hands gleefully))
Point the Fifth.
I'm sure by now most people have heard of the teenage Harvard student who got seriously busted for plagiarism in her recently released (and more recently recalled) novel published by Little, Brown. This brings up a very important topic: originality. Lots of people say there's no such thing as an original story anymore. I agree, to a point. Pretty much every concept has been used at least once (go ahead: prove me wrong). But it's the WAY in which a story is written that makes it exciting, fun, and unique. Emphasis on that last point. YOU-NEE-QUE.
I don't think anyone can really steal an idea -- I've already seen a number of paranormal romance stories that have to do with either nefarious or celestial characters in a main role -- Michelle Rowan's upcoming July release, ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE, for example (which, by the way, I'm dying to read -- I adored her debut novel, BITTEN & SMITEN). I'm sure there will be plenty of Heavenly or Hellish series out there. And I applaud all the authors doing so. Hey, I have a soft spot for angels, demons and devils. So similar ideas? Fine. But that's not the same thing as stealing content. Even if a few words are altered, that doesn't suddenly mean that content is no longer plagiarized. Maybe it's now foxes instead of mink, and Harvard instead of Princeton. But that doesn't mean the content is original.
So in my opinion, this Harvard student deserves all the bad press she's getting. Now, I'm sure there's far more to the story than we know -- a 17 year old cannot sign a contract; her book packager DID sign the contract; the book packager shares the copyright with her and received part of her substantial advance; her literary agent represents both her AND the book packager. But the main point here is that the author -- the person who bylined the novel -- put her name to content that was lifted from other published works. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Okay, getting off my soapbox to snag some more coffee.
Y'all be good, ya hear?