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On Making Time and Complicating Life on Purpose.

“How will you find the time?”

This has become the most asked question in my life. In exactly six months, I will move to the UK for a year, to do a Masters Program at the University of Edinburgh. It’s a crazy and terrifying and totally surreal thing to think about, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity.

But it’s got me thinking a lot about time, and the making of it (notice I don’t say ‘finding’ — I hate that phrase, ‘finding time’). Again and again and again I field a version of the question, “Why? Things are going so well for you! Why would you interrupt it? Why would you make your life more complicated? And how will you find the time?”

I don’t mind the question, exactly. But here’s my answer:

I’m a really strong believer that you expand to fill the time you have. You learn this the hard way: when you wake up fifteen minutes before a class, you discover that you can actually don clothes and sprint across campus in fourteen and a half. When you only have two hours a day to write, as I did in school–or as many do, stealing hours of time before their children wake or after they go to sleep–you discover just how focused you can be.

I have had the immense luxury for the last few years of being a full-time author. But so many people have writing careers without that luxury, some by necessity and some by choice. I believe there is room in life for writing, and room in life for more than writing. I actually believe it’s essential to make room in life for more than writing.

Imagine you can hold your work time in your hands (and let’s for the sake of argument assume you have two of them).

Now imagine that in one hand, you hold writing. In the other, you hold a job, or school, or both. Now let’s say you have the luxury to become a full-time writer, and you empty that non-writing hand. I don’t believe you should put writing in that second hand as well. In fact, for the vast majority of creative people, I don’t think you can. Or if you try, I don’t think you’ll end up with two hands’ worth of work to show for it. We have a creative capacity, and while that’s different for each person, I think it’s fairly constant for that person. A ceiling of efficiency, if you will. For me, personally, my creative capacity is roughly 3,000 words/day. I don’t enjoy writing more than that. My focus falls off, and so does my quality, and I know that about myself.

When I was in college, and stealing two hours in a coffee shop each night to write THE NEAR WITCH, I reached my creative capacity. These days, as a full-time writer, with 18 hours at my disposal instead of 2, I usually hit the same point. Yes, I get to fill the rest of the time doing a myriad of other authorly things, but the simple creative math of it is that my writing sits in one of my two hands, even when the other is free.

And even if someone can stretch themselves, push themselves, take up 8 or 10 or 18 hours of their day with writing, I don’t necessarily think they should. Even if burnout weren’t a factor, I believe that part of being a writer is finding things to write about, getting out in the world and absorbing new information and experiences.

So really, for the last few years, that’s what I’ve filled my other hand with. Movies and travel and books and research and chance and adventure and risk and wrong turns. Those are my true luxuries as a full-time author. For me, being a full-time author has allowed me neither stability nor comfort, but the ability to risk the second hand. Writing is one of the most important things in my life. It is woven into the fabric of who I am. But it cannot be the only thing. It shouldn’t be the only thing. I would not be a good writer if it were the only thing.

So “why would I complicate my life?”

Because life is for complicating.

It’s for living. It’s for taking wrong turns–and hopefully a few right ones. It’s for going on adventures, and learning new things, so that if the Archive turns out to be real, your History will be interesting enough to read ;)

And “how will I find time?”

I won’t. I’ll make it.

click tracking

1 Month till THE UNBOUND!!! Announcing the Epic Pre-Order Prize Pack.

Lovelies!!

My editor just sent me this photo!

THEUNBOUNDlisa

Do you know what that means? THE UNBOUND IS ALIVE MWAHAHAAHAHA.

*clears throat*

And since it’s hitting shelves in exactly ONE MONTH, I think it’s time to announced the Epic Pre-Order Prize Pack.

Everyone who pre-orders THE UNBOUND from any retailer–local, chain, online, hardcopy, digital–and sends proof/confirmation to viciousveschwab at gmail dot com, will 1. receive signed UNBOUND bookmarks…

Photo on 2013-12-16 at 12.23

…and 2. be entered to win the epic prize pack containing:

–$75 to the local bookstore/chain bookstore/online retailer of your choice
–A signed hardcover of THE ARCHIVED
–A signed bookplate for your copy of THE UNBOUND
–A key necklace
–An ARCHIVED tote bag
–A signed US hardcover or UK paperback of VICIOUS

Simple, isn’t it?!

Allons-y!

The VICIOUS movie deal: what happened, what it means, and what it doesn’t.

Hello, lovelies!!

So, yesterday, after months and months of hope, development, and waiting, this went up on Deadline Hollywood:

DeadlineHollywood

Before I go any further, allow me to get this out of my system: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Okay. Deep breaths. Onward. As many of you have guessed, this is the reason (or at least a large portion of the reason) I flew out to LA this past October.

The deal was already underway, and while I was out there, I had the immense pleasure of meeting not only my film agent (the incredible, and incredibly patient-with-V, Jon Cassir) but also EVERYONE involved on this deal.

Ridley Scott’s company, Scott Free, have been absolute champions of VICIOUS from the very beginning. They were one of the first producers to vie for the project, and have fought for it at every single stage so far.

Getting to meet Allison, my acquiring producer, has been an absolute highlight of my journey so far. You guys, when the article says that Allison “brought in the book” that is an understatement. She discovered VICIOUS, and she championed it in-house with infectious excitement, and none of this would be happening without her. She is hungry and she is brilliant and I want to draw hearts on her picture. These are my feelings.

And Story Mining. Story Mining itself may be new on the block but it’s made up of powerhouse players. I got to have brunch with Jeffrey and Evan in the penthouse of an extraordinarily posh building in Beverly Hills and I still haven’t fully recovered. These gentleman are savvy, passionate, and smart, and getting to sit across from them and nervously eat a croissant while they talked about my book–my characters, my world–is something I can’t even describe. They GET IT.

Everyone involved GETS IT and while I’m obviously over the moon to have a film deal, I want to try and stress how important it is to have people on board who aren’t just making a power play, or collecting a project “just in case”, but are well and truly committed to the narrative. In that respect, I feel incredibly blessed.

Now, the down and dirty.

VICIOUS has been optioned. What this means is that the involved producers/production companies have essentially bought the exclusive right to make the movie for the next couple years. If they need more time, they can buy more time.

For those who don’t know, a film option does NOT mean VICIOUS will necessarily be coming to a theatre near you. There are still so. many. doors. to unlock, to pass through. Screenwriters and scripts and directors and casts and such. And none of those doors are in my control. This door wasn’t either. All that I have done–all that I could do–was write the book.

What it DOES mean is that a team of producers believes in the project enough to take the first and vital step in that direction. As with book publishing, there are many, many doors a project needs to get through, but this is the first one, and having the opportunity to cross this threshold is immense, to say the least.

One of the coolest parts of this deal is that it’s not with a studio. It’s with a financier. Often producers pair up with studios (Fox, WB, Lionsgate, etc) and while that’s awesome, the fact is that studios are huge, and take on a massive amount of content, and then the vast majority of that content simply, well, sits. Waiting.

But having a financier attached, and specifically an amazing, energetic financier like Story Mining (these are the guys behind the upcoming Outlander tv series!), means that VICIOUS has a better chance of progressing through the next few doors. It still means we need green lights, but it also means that VICIOUS can be sold to a studio before production OR after, which is an immense luxury. Scott Free and Story Mining have a unique partnership…that is to say, they came together FOR this project. And that’s a great thing.

Will VICIOUS become a movie? I don’t know. I like to proceed with extreme caution where these kinds of hopes are concerned (see: things out of my control). But while I can’t tell you what will happen next, I can tell you that everyone attached to VICIOUS believes in this project. They are passionate about the story, and about Victor and Eli, Sydney and Serena, and I could not ask for more.

If you have any questions, comments, etc. leave them below!

In which our intrepid heroine is strapped to a roller coaster.

Hi there, lovelies.

Only a few days into September, and it’s already proving to be a month of immense highs and lows.

Lows first. We lost our beloved golden, Sammy, yesterday. This came after losing Mitzi only a short number of weeks ago. Sammy was 13. Mitzi was 18. They defined my childhood, and their absence is immense. It’s heartbreaking, going to the vet with a dog, and coming back with only a collar, and I’m trying to hold on to the good instead of the sad in this summer of loss.

But there is a lot of good to hold on to.

VICIOUS comes out in 18 days. I don’t even know how to mentally handle that. To be measuring in days instead of weeks or months makes my heart ache in a totally different way.

Four years ago–almost exactly–I sold my first book. Today, I got to take this picture:

photo

Because today, I got to hold VICIOUS in its finished form. I don’t have the words (I suppose they are all in these books) to explain.

Photo on 2013-09-05 at 10.30

The entire back cover of VICIOUS is blurbs.

PART_1378335732866

And Tor, which has been so amazing and supportive from the start, is running a giveaway on their website for TEN galleys of the book, each with trading cards, and if you’d like in, you only need comment HERE.

Another spot of good to hold on to: this week, VICIOUS was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Again, speechless. Totally speechless.

VICIOUS as Amazon Best Book

More cool/exciting/terrifying things are happening, but of course, I cannot talk about them yet. Of course. It is a tease, I know. I cannot tell you who I’ll be paneling with a NY Comic Con, though it’s insane. I cannot show you new covers, though I’ve seen them. I cannot talk about new book deals, though they exist. I cannot share awesome opportunities just yet. Not yet. Stick with me awhile. <3

In the meantime, I have a book due Monday, and should probably get back to writing it, but as always, lovelies, I adore you. Thank you for riding the roller coaster with me.

The only things I’ll say on the issue of publishing fan fiction.

I had a reader come up to me at an event this past weekend and ask me how I’d feel about someone taking THE ARCHIVED and continuing the story once I’m done.

“Like fan fiction?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No,” she said, “I mean, like, write more books with Mac and Wes. To sell.”

“Well,” I tried to explain, “I hope the story will feel done. And in the end, those are *my* characters. I’m happy for people to write fan fiction, but I wouldn’t want to see it on shelves.”

“But if other people want the story to continue,” she said, “and you don’t want to write more, why not give the world to someone else?”

This question is indicative of a mental state being developed not only by writers, but readers in the current book climate.

It’s no secret that the hottest books selling right now started out as fan fiction. It’s no secret because it’s plastered all over the internet, and in the stores. Some books own it, and some books would rather not. The latter claim that while they might have had the seeds of their story in another (and really, aren’t most books inspired by elements of one sort or another) their stories no longer resemble their inspiration.

But if the fan fiction truly no longer bears resemblance to the original work, then why call it fan fiction? The answer insofar as I can tell is to capitalize on the fan fiction’s *audience*. But then, if you want the audience, you must also take the stigma. You can’t capitalize on the audience without being attached to it.

By glorifying a story’s origins in fan fiction, we are encouraging a creative world without clear delineation, where an author’s characters no longer belong to them.

And I think it’s being complicated by other endeavors–such as the Cassie Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson collaboration–that encourage the communal nature of a story. It’s so hard because we as writers WANT people to feel they are a part of our worlds, that those worlds belong as much to them as us, but at the end of the day, we are the creators of them, and the intellectual property owners (I’m actually fascinated by that collaboration, but the primary difference at the end of the day is that Clare is collaborating WITH the other two, and has given them permission).

Back to the topic of fan fiction being pulled to print…

I don’t take issue with the stories themselves. I take issue with the glorification of their ORIGIN stories.

If the stories themselves are well-written and appeal to the masses, then let them do those things on their own merit. But the continuing emphasis on how those stories got started blurs what I still consider to be a very important line.

Fan fiction is fan fiction.

Help me spice up my FAQ

I am the subject/victim of the most hellish deadline stress right now, so I haven’t been able to post a real post with real words and thoughts, but I did want to ask a favor, for when this deadline cloud of doom has passed.

I’ve been updating the blog (poking and prodding behind the scenes) and I desperately want to spice up my FAQ section, but my brain is so tired I can’t actually recall a lot of the things I’ve been F.A. lately.

So I’m asking you. What do YOU want to know? The questions can be as specific or random as you like, so ask away.

(Please.)

(Also, send cookies.)

The star-strewn night that changed everything.

First, I just want to say thank you.

Those two small words never feel like enough, so this week, on Making History, I wanted to tell you a story. It’s a story about one night, a little over a year ago, when I realized, while lying on top of a car, looking up at the stars, that I would do anything in my power to keep living my dream.

Most days are hard and most months–and years–are poor, and every minute of it has been worth it.

I so often say that all I want is to be allowed to keep doing what I do. To keep writing books. To keep living my dream.

And you are all helping me do that.

And all I can say is thank you.

But I want you to know how much your support and love and excitement means to me.

It means everything.

To see today’s video on the star-strewn night that changed everything, click HERE.

BOOK DEAL NEWS!! or OMG, I WROTE AN MG!!

LOVELIES!!!

I hinted at this in my last post, but I can finally share one of the things I’ve been working on the last few months!!! This just went up on PM (like, seriously, five seconds ago, I know because I have been stalking the sh*t out of that site today):

Children’s:
Middle grade

Victoria Schwab’s new middle grade series about a mysterious, whimsical young guardian spirit who helps her new friends through difficult, and sometimes dangerous, situations, to Aimee Friedman at Scholastic, in a three-book deal, by Holly Root at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency (world).

What does this mean!?

Well, it means I’m writing a Middle Grade series.

It means I’m lucky enough to be writing in three categories now–MG, YA, Adult–with three amazing, amazing, amazing publishers: Disney*Hyperion, Tor, and Scholastic.

It also means I’m fairly determined to defy boxes and labels (for those keeping count we’ve got a lower YA witchy book, an upper YA library-of-the-dead series, an adult superpowers book, and an MG guardian…well, a quirky MG ;p)

What can I promise you about this series? Well, that it’s very…ME. It’s strange, and it’s quirky, and it’s important to me.

A little while back I mentioned on Twitter that I was working on a middle grade, and went so far as to say that I was writing a character who was equal parts Peter Pan and Doctor Who (one of my betas has even taken to calling my MC “Tiny Tennant”).

I would also add that she’s got a bit of Castiel to her ;)

The deal actually happened back in the spring, and it’s been so hard to sit on the news this long! In part because I’m excited and in part because I’ve been blah-blah-ing about HOW MUCH WORK I’ve had to do, and didn’t want people to think I was just blah-blah-ing. I’m so happy I can finally share.

In the next post I’ll finally get to talk a little bit about what it was like working on THREE books–THE ARCHIVED #2, VICIOUS, and this–at the same time (O_O)

But for now…*flails*

Deadlines, Skydiving, Voting, and Kirkus!

1. Deadline!

Much to everyone’s surprise–and by everyone’s I mean my own–I turned my book in on time! And then a lot of people were like, WAIT WHICH BOOK WAS THIS? No, it’s not the sequel to THE ARCHIVED*. It’s actually a project I’m not allowed to talk about yet! BUT. It looks like I will hopefully be able to say more about it SOON.

 

2. Skydiving!

It’s time for the 8th episode of MAKING HISTORY. Last week I talked about meeting Neil Gaiman, and this week, I talk about facing my fear of heights by jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. To watch the new video, and enter to win SHINY SWAG, just click HERE.

 

3. Voting!

IF YOU LIVE IN THE USA, GO DO IT.

 

4. Kirkus!

In case you missed my squeeing around the internet this past weekend, I got my first official review of THE ARCHIVED! From Kirkus! And they liked it! Like, a lot!!!

An excerpt: “A refreshingly angel-free departure in afterlife fiction, this gripping supernatural thriller features nuanced characters navigating a complex moral universe.”

!!!

AND. Later in the review (it’s not public yet, so I’m not allowed to post) they used the word GUYLINER. KIRKUS. USED. THE WORD. GUYLINER. So my life is pretty much complete.

 

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put on pants so I can GO AND VOTE.

 

*THAT book is due at the END of this month (excuse me while I weep into my tea) AND it just got a title of its own (of course I can’t tell you) and I LOVE IT SO.

This week on MAKING HISTORY…Victoria goes hitchhiking in France…in a cowboy hat…and it doesn’t end well.

Hey guys! It’s a Tuesday again, and that means it’s a MAKING HISTORY day around here.

Today the third installment of the MAKING HISTORY project goes up over on the fabulous YA Bibliophile blog.

Click HERE to head on over there and learn about how I got picked up by the cops in France. Oh, and you can win things!

Click HERE to check out Week 2′s video, in which I was in a shooting at a carnival. And you can win things!

Click HERE to check out Week 1′s video, which involved a Jeep Cherokee, two parents, two dogs, a cat, and a furby in Oklahoma. And (I’m sensing a pattern) you can win things (giveaway ends tonight)!

AND!

This week two wonderful bloggers joined in with their own MAKING HISTORY videos.

Marie Landry shared a memory HERE.

And Hannah Courtney shared a memory over HERE.

If YOU want to be a part of the MAKING HISTORY project, simply create a video (or blog, if you’re scared of cameras in that don’t-want-to-conquer-this-particular-fear way) and share a memory of yours.

And now, I’m off to Auburn for a couple days, to hang out with the always-amazing Rachel Hawkins, make mischief, write books, and maybe get tattoos. If that last one happens, I bet it will show up in a future MAKING HISTORY video ;)

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