My US Trip

Justine and I have spent the last six weeks traveling in the US, which is why there have been zero postings here. Apologies! I realize that this hasn’t been a very bloggy year for me, but it has been a writey year, and which would you rather have, really?

Let me take you on a slideshow of various things I did while in the States:

Shortly after I first arrived, I was greeted by the sight of my latest publication on bookstore shelves. It’s an essay in a collection called Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe. Basically, it’s a bunch of YA writers taking on the dreaded essay, many teen’s least favorite form of writing.

My essay, for reasons you might guess, is all about illustrations in books.

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If you’re a teacher or librarian, or anyone interested in non-fiction writing, you should check it out. If you ask me, Stern (a former fifth-grade English teacher) and Wolfe have helped fill a huge gap in the world of YA and middle-grade letters.

The next cool thing to happen on my trip was Manhattan Henge, a twice yearly astronomical event in which sundown lines up with the crosstown streets of Manhattan. It looks like this:

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What were the ancient peoples who built Manhattan trying to tell us about May 28 and July 12? We may never know.

The third thing I did was have an amazing dinner with respected private citizen Maureen Johnson and her English offsider, Oscar Gingersnort. This was at 11 Madison, and included crazy-ass dishes like this one:

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The courses were many and wondrous, and gave us the opportunity to plot the destruction of all other YA authors what to do at Leaky Con next year.

Nextly, I had a meeting with my excellent publishers about how to market my next book, Afterworlds. The ideas were many and wondrous, and will be revealed in due time. I can’t wait to see what you guys think of this book, which has been three years in the writing. (Because it’s really two books in one.)

Afterworlds will come out late next year, probably on October 28. (This date is a clue to the book’s subject matter! Spin on that one, fannish brains!)

One of my other projects for this trip was to start gathering my “papers,” all the editorial, artistic, and business flotsam that I’ve collected over the last two decades. I’ll be donating them to an as-yet-undetermined institute of higher learning as a huge tax dodge boon to future scholars.

The first step was to collect exactly one first printing of each of my foreign editions, a project which, even in its opening stages, ate my living room floor:

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I also found my very first (incomplete) novel, the least embarrassing page of which looks like this:

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And that’s all you will ever see of that novel, unless you travel to the as-yet-undetermined institute of higher learning personally. (It’ll be in the box with the big padlock encrusted with contact poison.)

I just realized that this piece of juvenilia is called Keeps, only one letter away from a somewhat more recent (and less appalling) novel of mine. I wonder what the ancient peoples who made me become a writer were trying to tell us about the letters “-eeps.”

In mid-July, Justine and I also had the great pleasure of teaching at Alpha, a residential sf, fantasy, and horror writing workshop for teenagers (basically, a week-and-a-half-long genre writing camp). The young writers and the staff there were smart, committed, and tremendously stylish, as you can see here:

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We had a great time. The awesomeness of the students makes me think we’ll do more teaching of this kind in the future. Watch this space for details.

Also, there was a waffle tower. I haz proof:

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From there, I traveled onward to San Diego Comic Con, the premier geekfest of our time. There I had many and wondrous business meetings, which you will see the fruits of soon right here. Also many costumes were witnessed. The best of which was Sharknado Hat:

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I also enjoyed this shirtless steampunk dinosaur hunter (based on a Greg Broadmoor comic, I think):

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Also witnessed were a cavalcade of capitalism aimed directly at the geek dollar, like these bathrobes:

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And these leggings:

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So let me get this straight. These are Dr Who-themed leggings in the style of van Gogh. In the words of Tally Youngblood, isn’t that one thing too many? (Nah. It’s probably one thing too few. And, yes, I know the reference from the show.)

After SDCC, Justine and I spent a week in LA, where various meetings were had. Some of these shall be the subject of my next blog post. But no, there is no fresh movie news of consequence. The usual movie options are afoot, but the feet in question are slow moving. Sorry to disappoint you. The wheel of Hollywood turns slowly, but it grinds exceedingly fine. (Not really. It usually grinds pretty crappily. But it does grind onward in the case of Uglies and Leviathan. We shall see.)

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Okay, more about the trip in a week or so. I’ll be blogging here more often, because I’m almost done with Afterworlds. Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck around and enlivened the comments section while I’ve been writing.

Caio for now.

133 thoughts on “My US Trip

  1. It’s 10:16pm on the 7th of August here ;)

    You people keep commenting too fast and I can’t be bothered to write a reply tonight haha so tomorrow… Scott will probably do a new blog post tonight of all nights and then we’ll have to move to the new post! Hey, we should stay on this post for this random 5-some (or more) convo we’re having so it doesn’t disturb everyone else? Or maybe they like reading it :P idk

  2. where do you people live? It’s only 10:50am on the 7th where I am…. I feel so behind.

    @101 I do creep on other people’s comments but they always reference tv shows and stuff I don’t understand :(

  3. I live in New Zealand :) The city I live in is the first to see the sun every morning!

    @Midshipman K @45 I still can’t find you… haha. WHAT IS AFTERWORLDS ABOUT?!?! You have an obligation to share all your Westerfeld related secrets to the rest of us on here ;) and your name… uh… four letters? You’ll need to be a wee bit more specific!

    You guys are all so safe on the Internet, not giving out real names and such :P I feel like I should be more safety conscious!

    @Roxanne – you’ve got Facebook? Have you liked the Scott Westerfeld page? (which he NEVER posts on). I would say do you want to add me but that sounds extremely creepy so I’ll just leave it at that :P

    I’m jealous of all you people speaking different languages! Ahhhh, Alpha sounds like so much fun and it’d be awesome to meet you guys! But it’s a heck of a long way to get to the US from here..

    @Midk @68 well it’s not really a class. It’s out of school I mean and I’m probably the youngest there by 40 years :(

    And MidK did you name your laptop Bovril? Hahaha

    When I have spare time I’m gonna go back and try and find your guys original names on here :P

    English is my first and only language!

    You guys are all such talented writers! I love writing but I haven’t got much further than a 2000+ word story. I’m such a slow writer so I never have the time it takes to write anything :( it’s on my list of things to spend more time doing though!

    Hey, does anyone remember than review I posted on here awhile ago? I finally got the results for that today! I only just passed :/ I know it wasn’t that well written but I was hoping for something higher. I think I might not have been perceptive enough or provided enough insight into the story? Who knows..

  4. zac-la: let me introduce myself then! I’m Cameron Gietzen, a fifteen year-old male up and coming writer (hopefully :) ), who spends his days with 3 brothers and 1 sister in California.

  5. Zac-la: Don’t ever feel discouraged about writing! I used to have trouble getting past the first few paragraphs because i was always thinking way to far ahead. Like which publisher it would go to! :P I found it helped a lot to set short term goals and working a little at a time, yet all the while working towards your main goal. Which for me was publishing the book.

  6. @Zac-la – that’s my problem too! Only I get ahead in terms of the story, like I’m just starting the first page and I’m already thnking about the ending.
    What usually works is that I block all thoughts that have to do with the next page of the story, concentrating only on what I’m writing right now. Usually I get much better ideas than when working the story back from
    a fixed ending :)

  7. I just finished a book a few weeks ago, and I wrote the first 1/3 all in linear order, scene by scene. But then, I had good ideas for later scenes, so I started writing all out of order. As long as I had a timeline of when the scenes happen in the story, I could write scenes that are weeks apart in the novel-time. it’s nearly 95,000 words so I’d say it was pretty successful. I just wrote whatever I felt about the story on a particular day, sometimes things got cut.

  8. AHHH Did any of you see the Thor 2 trailer!?!? :D
    AHHHHHHH LOKKIIIII MARRY ME

    I like writing ^.^ I’ve done a few short stories, one longer story, and lots of fanfiction. I agree with mist everybody, always have a story line!!! It doesn’t have to be fancy, you can fill in the details later. And FINISH YOUR STORY!! Always finish it! :)

  9. *most everybody

    English IS my first language (I don’t know any others >.<) and yet I am horrible at spelling.
    I want to learn German. I know a teensy bit….

  10. ..___
    /…….\\>–? EXTERMINATE!!
    =-=–=
    =–=-=
    |.|.|.|.|.\\>—C
    |?…?…?\\
    |?…?….?\\
    |?….?….?\\
    ???????

    I didn’t make this. I wish I did.

  11. 107@ yay final another guy is on here! Are you related to Middy Gietzen or is that just a strange coincidence…?

    Thanks for the advice guys! Yes, that’s my problem, I never finish my stories :P so that’s something I need to work on!

    I dunno how old the rest of you are but are anyone of you planning to study English/Writing once you leave school? And you should post links to some of your writing! I’d love to read them :)

    @Roxanne – LBG… on your iPod? Oh right the audio version! *slaps forehead* GUESS WHAT?! My friend has started reading the Leviathan series after I suggested it! Why do I feel so proud of this? Hahah

  12. @116: Haha, you should feel proud! I’m gonna make my mom listen to them on our excursion to Colorado. Gold stars for everyone!

    I’ve never finished a novel. Of course, I’ve only attempted maybe once? But I’m determined to finish this one! I’ve got pretty much everything planned out and my audience demands it of me. I do have some short stories though, mostly because of Alpha. I don’t have any links to them, though. I’ll tell you what, if I finish my book and get it published, I’ll send you a link to Goodreads, and that’ll give you my name too (cause at that point I won’t care who knows!), unless I use a pen name… ;)

  13. @117 but your mum (MUM NOT MOM :P ) won’t be able to enjoy the drawings with only listening to the audio version! Tbh, I’ve never listened to an entire audio book instead of reading the actual book! Personally I don’t think it can be anywhere near as good as reading it…

    Your audience demands it of you? Can I ask who your audience is? :P at least tell us the plot of your story-to-be-novel?!

    *groans* -.- that’ll be years away!

    Hahaha! Do people even still use pen names these days?

  14. @119 Hahaha oh right!

    Hey everyone, do any of you people who have been on this blog for awhile remember what it used to look like BEFORE Leviathan was published? Surely it wasn’t all steampunk-ish? And that lizard probably didn’t come out announcing that The Manual of Aeronautics was now available :P

    Any thoughts?

  15. @118: Don’t worry, I’ll have my hard copies of them right there to shove the appropriate pictures in her face at the appropriate times. That’s not a driving hazard, right? ;)
    My audience is my family and a few friends.
    Gosh, I feel like I’ve said this a million times now: it’s a comedic fairytale about this wizard who creates two maidens and one of them is gorgeous but evil, and the other one is plain-looking but super kind and good. And then they have adventures and meet a prince and stuff. (It always sound SO tacky when I try to blurb it…I swear it’s not as cheesy as it seems!)
    Years from now??? Well, that’s encouraging…
    People still use them, but it doesn’t take long for the internet to find their true identity, so it’s kinda useless to try and keep secret.

    @120: I only came to Scott’s blog because of LBG, so I wouldn’t know.

  16. Hahaha yes that totally is a driving hazard! BUUUUUT the LBG story cannot be properly told or enjoyed without them so you’ll have to take that risk ;)

    Oh sorry! I just remembered that you’d already told us after I’d posted that message! It sounds like a really interesting and funny idea :D can you PLEASE post some excerpts from it?!

    Hahaha again sorry, months from now. Is that better? ;)

    Ugghh! I think most of us regular posters only came here since LBG. SCOTT! HELP ME OUT HERE?!?!

  17. @Middy Me: Don’t think I’ve forgotten! C A _ _ _ A Hmm… Cailla? Anyone else have any ideas???

  18. Always a pleasure to read your blog posts! More writing? YEEEESSSSSS. But, the daily/weekly/monthly/(hopefully not)yearly posts are always a wonderful way to pass time.

  19. @Roxanne – you got it on one of your guesses!!! :) took you shorter than I would have thought!! it’s Camila.

    Nice to meet you.
    :P

  20. And yeah that’s a good idea for spending time on a trip (@121). Myself, I would probably start reading the book and finish it right there (cause my mom would kill me if I so much as put a pencil in front of her face while she’s driving, haha)
    For some reason I can never just leaf through a book, I just end up reading and next time I look up I’ve already done like 5 chapters!! That happens a lot with Scott-la’s books :)

  21. @Middy Me: AHA! I did it! :D
    Camilla isn’t really an outlandish name, though. And spelling it with one L makes sense because of you Mexicans’ nonsensical insistence on turning “ll” into “y.” ;) (I jest; like English makes any sense!)
    And nice to meet you too! It’s so weird putting real names to you guys!

    Well, I don’t really have anything else to do on the trip except hold the dog, so I’ll probably read along to Alan’s voice. Then I’ll know when to assault my mom with pictures. ;)

    @126: Haha, nice pun with your username, there. :)

  22. @128 you’re so lucky not to get car sick from reading! I would love to spend all long car trips reading but after looking at a page of words for a few minutes while driving makes me feel sick! :(

    Guys! (guyzettes? since most of you are actually girls :P ) I just realised me and Scott share the same middle name! Help I’m giving away my whole identity :O you won’t get my last name though ;)

  23. @Roxanne – yeah, I guess it’s not really a strange name, but everyone in the US spells it with two L’s, so for me that doesn’t really sound like my name. Still, I guess it’s fine with the LL, because most of the time when I’m in the US no one really understands me when I say it, haha :)

    And it does seem weird knowing real names here, I still think of everyone with their screen names (or is it blog names, or what??) :P

  24. I’d like to say that the man with the steampunk gun is a Saxton Hale, a very manly Australian from supplemental material of Team Fortress 2.
    On an different note, that waffle tower looks delicious.

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