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  • Kurt Dinan

Where I Am

Writing Update: So, about a month and a half ago I finished the sixth (and hopefully final) draft of Lucky Town, my 74K YA novel about a boy whose father inadvertently starts a cult. I sent 40 or so query letters out to possible agents, a process that has been simultaneously humbling, aggravating, and infuriating. Four have requested the entire manuscript (fingers crossed!) and a whole bunch have sent the form-lettered “this isn’t for me” response. But that’s the process, I’m told. So here’s to hoping.

What’s been difficult – besides the waiting – has been the shift to the next novel. After spending three years on the project, characters, and world, it’s been hard to start new again. I wallowed for a couple of weeks, then gave myself three days to come up with my next project and commit to it. That worked. Lucky Town was written as a page turner for teenagers, but I realize it’s not standard YA fare – not a teen with magical powers or love triangle anywhere to be seen – and so am deliberately working to make my next novel as marketable as possible. (That whole “write the book you’d want to read” thing? Yeah, I’m not sure how much I believe that right now).

My goal from here on out is a book a year. I’m well aware it may take me four or six books before I sell one or even get an agent. It’s a reality I’m slowly coming to terms with, and although I don’t fully believe what I’m about to say, that reality is okay. Onward and upward, as John Barth says. (And if you get that reference without using a search engine, you have my full respect).

Recent Reads: Been on a bit of a slog lately. Most of the books I’ve been reading have been mostly ‘meh’. However, there are a couple of good ones worth noting:

The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian. A kid running an online blog ends up gathering thousands of followers and sets out to change the world. A YA book actually about something. Great stuff, and darn, darn fast.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi Most people know this book since it won the National Book Award. And deservedly so. Bacigalupi shows just how to write YA Fantasy and not be derivative. Great world building in this one.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach Another popular novel, and a good one. I’m not a big literary fiction guy – I like things to happen, sorry – but this novel about baseball and romance and finding your place is just fantastic.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Listened to this on CD. Fey is hilarious, honest, and self-depricating in the best ways possible. Just a fun, good time. Sue me, I like to laugh.

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