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.


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:


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:


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:


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


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:


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:


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:


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


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


And these leggings:


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.)


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. Thanks for blogging, Scott! I hope your new book is going well. Comic Con seems like a pretty crazy event to me. It looks fun.
    Wait, the Hollywood wheel grinds onward in the case of Uglies AND Leviathan? That sounds great. I hope they both turn out and excellently, but it’d be fine if they didn’t.

  2. THERE’S AN ACTUAL POSSIBILITY FOR A LEVIATHAN MOVIE?!?!!?!?!? :O I’M SO FRIGGIN’ EXCITED!!!! 😀 (assuming they do it right, which I’m afraid they won’t *sob*)

    @Middy Miles: Hey! I don’t know your name! That’s so not fair. You never introduced yourself as Middy Miles on the E-mail loop! (If you introduced yourself at all.) 🙂

    Alright, Middy Miles and Midshipman K, time to fess up! Which ones are you in the Alpha picture? I wanna know! (You can even say where you are in relation to one of the second years [I know them all but Sam] so your identity is still a secret to non-Alphans 😉 )

    And lastly: *sigh* The waffle tower. I can’t believe I missed it. I can’t believe I missed any of Alpha. 🙁

  3. OMGapostatlastIexploded…
    LEVIATHAN MOVIE!?!? *spazz*
    DATE FOR AFTERWORLDS!?!? *spazz*

    Ahhhh… Much spazz 😀

  4. There needs to be an Uglies movie!!! Please give us all the details on this subject! (How much of a chance it will be made, what stage of development it’s in right now, who’s interested in it, etc.)

  5. Zac-la: I know, right? It take a long time to make a first draft into a book. The steps are as follows:
    1) My editor writes me an editorial letter (big-scale changes).
    2) I do rewrites.
    3) Maybe repeat 1 and 2.
    4) Copyeditor goes through the manuscript (smaller-scale changes).
    5) I check the copy edits.
    6) Book is typeset (now it looks like a book, not a manuscript).
    7) All this time, the cover is being created.
    8) Advanced readers’ copies are printed, sent out to librarians, booksellers, etc., and given out at Book Expo America (in late May, 2014).
    9) The book is cataloged, and bookstores decide how many copies they want.
    10) Proofreader goes through the book (micro-scale changes).
    11) I check the proofreader’s changes.
    12) Final book is printed and distributed.

    I’m missing steps, and some of these are kind of out of order, but basically that’s the way it works. And yes, it CAN be done in less than a year. But it works better if you take the whole time, especially the parts that help you sell into the bookstores.

  6. Did Scott-la actually just tell us that Leviathan might actually become an actual movie?
    I can’t even.

    Also, I think October 28 was the original day for All Saints Day, what became Halloween, so Afterworlds is probably about that.

  7. Happy to have you back blogging, although it looks as though you’ve been using your time in many delightful ways.

  8. @12: Really? That’s interesting; I didn’t know that. But he already did a Halloween-y type thing in Midnighters, so that might be repetitive. I figured it was the zodiac for October 28, Scorpio. I looked it up, and October 28 is like the most in that zodiac. Aaaaaaahh! Over a year! :'(

  9. I’d love to see what more you have to say about Comic Con. Especially with the rise in obsession over combining steampunk with literally everything now. Also, are you planning on doing anything in the Chicago area any time soon? I’m still dying to meet you.

  10. @12 & 14 – it might have something to do with Halloween. I think I remember Scott saying something about a paranormal romance, so……..ghosts in love?? Dunno 🙂 😛

  11. Leviathan Movie AND another book?!? Yesh! Ahem, excuse my outburst. You made me sad though, I don’t think I can wait another year… Oh well, since there’s going to be another book, are you going on tour again? If so, please come to Kansas City!

  12. Excuse me while I scream about the fact Scott replied to me. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Ok, @Scott I always see writers saying that editing (which I guess is the stage you’re at..?) is the worst part of writing a book? And all those steps take over a year? Wow. I learned something today!

  13. Glad to see you guys taking up the Oct 28 Challenge! Just to help you along, no, it has nothing to do with Halloween.

  14. October 28th, 1962 was when Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis. Maybe it’s an alternate ending to that? The title, Afterworlds, could be about the aftermath of a nuclear war.

    October 28th was also the day that the only British satellite from a British rocket was launched, in 1971. Maybe it has something to do with space?

  15. OK, I cheated just a little, and went to the Wikipedia page for Oct. 28. It’s turns out a whole host of interesting things have happened on that day. The one that stood out to me, for some reason, was that Harvard was established.

    the Halloween thing just seemed so perfect…. 🙁

  16. @21 – so did I! That is one big list of events.

    @20 – in 2009 there was another space thing! A NASA rocket launch for a program called Constellation. Maybe the book could be about space, we know Scott likes things that fly 🙂 (LBG)

  17. Now for my proper comment about Scott’s blog post. (Yay btw, I love reading these long posts!)

    Breakfast on Mars looks interesting but I doubt it’ll ever reach bookshops here 🙁

    This isn’t the first time you’ve said Afterworlds is two books in one… I wonder what that means o.O is it two different stories together in one book? Or is it a book and then the sequel packaged together in one book?

    I’m seeing a lot of Uglies references in your first novel! Were Cutters still the same thing as they are in Uglies?

    @Midshipman (when you finally return!) you HAVE to identify yourself in that photo! I’m sure you’ve said somewhere that your sister was with you at Alpha? I’m trying to look for sisters… I’m probably way off haha..

    Comic Con… WHY WHY WHY. One day I will go and experiences its awesomeness!

    The possibility of a Leviathan movie is intriguing! I didn’t even think we were getting an Uglies movie anymore! 😀

    Is anyone else still on here?

  18. AAAAAAND you guys have to spill what Midshipman K’s real name is!!!! Me and Roxanne have kindly shared our names (if your actual names is Roxanne otherwise awkies…) so ‘fess up 😉

  19. @28: Actually, it’s not. Well, it is my middle name, but I go by my first irl. Sorry. It’s a secret. And as for MidK’s…it’s not my name to tell. (Yours is just Zac, right? Otherwise I don’t remember you telling us…)


  20. @28 GAH. I feel dumb now… haha

    Yeeeeeeeeep, you’re right there 😛 well kind of… you see my actual name is something different but my nickname is Zac and that’s what I’ve been called since I was young (by my family and friends at least). I’ll give you a clue though, the second part of my name sounds like ‘zac’. Wait, with your accent it might sound different? 😛 anywaaaaaay.

    Where’s MidK gone???

  21. @30: Is it Isaac? I think that was the name on that Goodreads review you posted, which fits with your clue. *super smart 😉 *
    I dunno. She still frequents the Alpha loop. I’ll tell you miss her. 😛

  22. @29- 🙂 I thought that was your name too, well your first name.

    I actually went by my real name here some time ago, but then I changed it 😛

    @30 – it does seem weird MidK has not commented

  23. October 28th is after the 27th… (????) but the upcoming October 27 is not only my birthday but the 300th anniversary of the Gregorian calendar… Maybe like you guys said its an apocalyptic story?

  24. Bwah, hah, hah, hah, hah . . .

    Another clue: all books with the potential to make the bestseller list are released on Tuesdays, because that’s the first day of the “bestseller week.” (In other words, they count up all the books sold from Tuesday morning Monday to Monday night.)

  25. Mr westerfeld. I’ve always wanted to become a writer, and i was just wonder how you went about doing that? Is there a college or school that really helped you become who you are? Or did you force destiny’s hand with a natural talent for writing? 😉

  26. @Zac-la: MidK says she doesn’t have the best internet connection right now and will be back ASAP.

    @Middy Me: I don’t suppose you’d tell us what that name is??? Hm??

  27. @Middy Gietzen: I know you were asking Scott, a published author, but the only key to writing is to, well, write. There’s not really a specific secret (which is not only my personal belief but statements from numerous authors I’ve read).
    Now, if you already have a novel (or short story or poem or whatever) and you’re wondering about getting published, then I guess I have no place in this conversation. I’ll only say that “becoming a writer” might not be the best choice of words. Anyone who writes is a writer, so if that’s what you want to be all you have to do is write. “Published author” on the other hand…

  28. @40 Middy Gietzen – I think you might need to learn how to properly use ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ before you can become a writer… sorry that was mean but the misuse of those words is my biggest pet peeve >:O

    @Roxanne & Middy Me – yup, you’ve got me 😛 can I just thank you for spelling Isaac right! My second biggest pet peeve is when people spell it ‘Issac’ -_- when I got my drivers licence the lady spelt (or spelled… hm) my name wrong and nearly printed it as Issac on the actual licence!

    So wait is MidK still at Alpha? Or do you mean the Alpha website…?

  29. @38 – well I can’t really give you any hints because I don’t suppose you know the name, as it’s a Mexican sort of name. Or just a name in Spanish….hmmm, I don’t know what to call it. I’ll think about it…..perhaps I will tell 😛 😉

    @Middy Gietzen- Roxanne is right. If you want to write the key is to take your pen/pencil/computer/whatever you write with and just do it. What I think is all you gotta do is believe you can do it, even when other people don’t like your story. Just being able to write a complete story is an achievement in itself. So yeah, “becoming a writer” is not so hard. Just write.


    I have a bookmark with that TARDIS design on it. 😀

    And I am back! Roxanne wasn’t lying, you guys were looking for me….Reminder of why you guys are my friends. ^^

    As to where I am in the picture, I’m on the left side of the railing (from the viewer’s perspective) and am four down. I have short, fluffy, blonde hair and dogtags….*hides*
    And as for my sister, she’s sort of hiding behind the brunette girl by Scott. (That’s my suitemate, Lauren.)
    I know where Middy Miles is, too, and in answer to whether she introduced herself on the Alpha Crits thread, Roxanne, she didn’t. She hasn’t even been back to the Alpha 2013 group. I know she had a job and stuff back home, but I don’t know why she seems to be internet dead….

    And I know what Afterworlds is about….hehehehe

    And as for my real name, it has four letters. 😀

  31. ZOMG SHARKNADOOOO!!! I freaking love that movie. SyFy is the best.
    I went on vacation to Nebraska, and we drove into Kansas and went to the National World War 1 Museum!!! I was probably the most excited person in the whole building and I kept squalling like a crazy fangirl…wait a minute, I AM a crazy fangirl!

    ((And they had stuff from Prussia…kesese, Prussia, you are so awesome…//shot for talking about Hetalia))

  32. *squealing, not squalling

    God, I am the master of typos. AND it took me so long to notice…

  33. @MidK: In front of Abby and Getty, you mean? Ya know, if you got a FB you’d be able to see what I look like too…
    As for Middy Miles, she seems to be kinda fickle when it comes to the blog…and apparently the loop.

    @Zac-la: I meant the E-mail loop. And maybe English isn’t Middy Gietzen’s first language, like Middy Me. Sounds kinda German…but of course, usernames aren’t exactly gospel.

    @Middy Me: I’m half-Mexican myself (though I’m white as snow in complexion), my dad grew up in Mexico like you, so I might have heard of it. Try me. 😀

    Also, I would say that my name has 7 letters, but Roxanne does too, so that’s not very helpful… (In fact, all three of my names have seven letters – I’m a perfect jackpot! 😉 )

  34. To answer your question, Roxanne (I think it was a questionish statement) I am Germen, but Ich spreche kein Deutsch

  35. Do you guys think that a midevil zombie movie/book would be good? Cause I’ve never heard of one before

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