Welcome! If you’re looking for information about author Meagan Spooner, you can find her at her website http://meaganspooner.com. There you can find her blog, information about her book THE IRON WOOD, and how to contact her. This Livejournal is no longer active.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shiny New Website!

It’s been in the works for a while now, but as of today I’m finally able to go live with my new website! The design is by my super awesome friend Kim Nguyen, and it’s really gorgeous. (I can say this because I had nothing to do whatsoever with the design!)

The site really reflects the almost steampunky world that Lark lives in, and the post-apocalyptic feel of THE IRON WOOD. Kim listened to me babble on and on about "my vision" and then turned around and made something way cooler than I would have been able to come up with on my own!

From now on I’ll be blogging at http://meaganspooner.com, so update any feeds you use and make a mental note that I’m not going to be showing up on your LJ friends lists anymore. (Sadness! Farewell LJ! You served me well!) Definitely go check out the site and let me know what you think, so I can pass it on to Kim and she can bask in the awesome.
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Cue blizzard of exclamation points!

To help explain the complete radio silence on my part lately, I have some good news and some bad news. We’ll start with the bad news: I’ve had to stop working on HUNTED. I wrote the first 30,000 words of the book in just a bit over two weeks, and have been having so much fun with it. But I’m stopping for a good reason, so that assuages my guilt somewhat.

The reason, you ask? Well...

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I went to a concert!

I went to the most AWESOME U2 concert last night. We were sitting pretty high up, but the view was amazing and I'm pretty sure we had the best seat in the house, except for maybe the chick who got pulled up onstage to dance with Bono. I've never been to such a massive concert before. I went with Amie, who said there were something like 80,000 people there. I have no way of knowing if that's true, because basically after about 50 people my brain shuts down and can no longer tell the difference between 200 and 2,000 people.  But she's pretty smart, so I'll take her word for it.

Looking down on the crowd on the floor was like flying low over the ocean during a storm. The booming thunder of the bass, the lightning of the camera flashes lighting up the surging waves of people--and in the dark the cool glow of cell phones was like phosphorescence churned up by the stormy sea. I spent nearly as much time watching this as I did watching the band, because I was so mesmerized. I couldn't shake the impression that I was hovering over the ocean.

That is, until they came out for their final encore and Bono said, "Take out your cellphones, guys. Let's turn this place into the Milky Way." And the sea became the sky. There was this moment of extreme vertigo where down became up and up down, and I felt as though I was going to fall into it. I had to grip the seat in front of me.

It was a feeling beyond description for me. To explain why, I'll give you an excerpt from THE IRON WOOD. Until now, Lark has lived her whole life inside a dome--she has never seen the sky. The wind, another unfamiliar phenomenon, has woken her in the night and she's come out of the ruins in which she was sleeping to source the sound.

The shadows writhed and swayed, and my skin prickled with the sense that my every movement was being observed. I looked around for the source of it, still fearful of an attack by the Facility's machines, but saw nothing that my eyes could track for more than a breath. Only the shadows cast by the strange silver light. Then I looked up.

And saw, for the first time, the sky.

The wind had blown the day’s thick cloud cover away, and above me gaped a bottomless maw. The color of spilled ink, coated with chalk dust, the stars mottling its depths like a disease. A sliver of moon cast the sickly, color-leaching hint of light across the city. There was no end to the sky, nothing holding me down on the ground. I felt it reach out to me, threaten to swallow me. I seemed to fall upward, and threw myself down to stop it. The force with which I hit the ground knocked the breath out of my lungs.

Digging my stubby fingernails against the dirt, I clung to it and clenched my eyes shut so tightly I saw spots, inverted echoes of the stars above. I struggled to draw breath into lungs that had temporarily shut down because of my fall. I pressed my forehead against the ground hard enough to make it throb. I prayed that if the Facility’s machines were watching me, they would come collect me quickly, and take me away from the horror overhead.

I could still feel it above me, waiting. The hideous gaping sky glittered with stars like glass shards, like rows of razor teeth. Somehow it was more horrifying than an army of carnivorous trees. Terror more complete than any I had felt since leaving the Facility crippled me. I clung to the ground, the realization hitting me like a jet of cold water that gravity could not possibly be enough to keep me from falling up into that pit of blackness.

I knew I wanted the sky to be frightening for Lark, and tried over and over to imagine the gut-wrenching vertigo she would feel upon seeing the night sky for the first time, but I've lived under the sky my whole life. How could I ever really feel that kind of vertiginous horror?

And true, last night's experience was more awe-inspiring than frightening, but it was the same intolerable lurch of my stomach as gravity reasserted itself in my mind. So thanks, U2.

Okay, end-of-week miscellany time. I have a couple of things to direct you toward!

The first is the Adventures in Children's Publishing website. I mentioned them before when I was participating in their fabulous query workshop and contest, but I feel they deserve another one. They do this fantastic weekly roundup of sites about writing, reading, books, publishing, craft, pretty much anything you need. I've never managed to go through the list without picking up more sites to follow. I always learn something. (Plus, you guys are on the list this week with your FANTASTIC discussion about dystopian fiction, woooo!)

The second one is C.A. Marshall's free edit contest! She's offering a free manuscript edit up to 100k words to celebrate the approaching end of the year, which is an absolutely amazing offer, guys. She'll even wait up to a month for you to finish your manuscript after the contest closes December 10th. Seriously, make sure to stop by and check it out.


What is Dystopian Fiction?

Just tonight, a brand new twitterfriend asked me, “What is a dystopian novel?” I’m guessing that she read my bio on Twitter, which says I’m working on a dystopian novel, and was curious about the term. I answered her as best I could within 140 characters, but as I lay wide awake in bed trying to sleep, I kept thinking of everything I wanted to say about the subject. So instead of flooding Twitter, I decided to do the next best thing: blog about it!

Often the first question people ask me when I say I'm a writer is, "What do you write?" The second question tends to be, "What the hell is a dystopian?" I think that sometimes even those who do feel familiar with the term don’t have a complete understanding of the genre. I’ve come across more and more people who think dystopian fiction is brand spanking new, because of the huge swell of popularity in the genre with writers like Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Scott Westerfeld (Uglies) making waves in the YA market. And it’s definitely true that the genre has exploded recently, which I love because it’s one of my favorite genres of literature. But it’s been around a LOT longer than a lot of people new to the genre might think.

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Tips for the Querying Writer

It’s a weird feeling, starting a new book while querying the previous one. Part of this is because I’m new to querying in general, and that is weird in and of itself--but the biggest strangeness is having my brain split between two projects. I’ve never been someone who can read multiple books at once, and certainly not someone who can write multiple books at once. I have to work on One Thing, and then if I need to stop and do something else, it’s very clear in my mind that I am officially pausing work on this One Thing and starting up on something else.

It remains to be seen how long I will stay sane. So far, so good. Although my housemates may argue otherwise, they don’t realize just how much worse it could get. (Cue dramatic music. Dun dun DUUUUHHHHN.)

Anyway, I thought I’d share some helpful information and pro tips garnered from my very first week of submitting queries, for anyone who might find themselves in a similar position in the future.

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So what's next?

I intended to more or less take a break this week. It was Thanksgiving (even if it's not a holiday here in Australia, we still have dinner in our house), I sent out my first ever query letters. I was allowing myself some time to luxuriate in being a total basketcase, refreshing my email every five minutes even when it was 3 AM in NYC. I intended to start on my next project on Monday.

Well, as so often is the case with me, my subconscious had other plans. I was just this evening wailing to my CP Amie about how my imagination was running away with the sequel to THE IRON WOOD and not HUNTED, when I don't plan to work on said sequel unless the first book goes anywhere. Whyyyy, I kept asking, whyyyy do I always want to write the wrong book at the wrong time? I was dreadfully excited about HUNTED halfway through TIW, when I knew I had to focus and finish TIW. Now that I have time to write HUNTED, all I want to do is write the sequel to a book that isn't even close to being published yet.

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It’s been a couple of days now since I sent out the first batch of queries. It just so happens that quite a few of the agents in my first round of queries had super fast response times, so I’ve actually heard back from quite a few by now. And yes, I’m not going to lie, even though you’re not supposed to talk about your rejections on your blog. Yes, I have received rejections! (Gasp!) More excitingly, though, I’ve actually gotten requests. From agents. That sell books. To real live editors. Wow.

Right now, the requests outnumber the rejections. It’s probably not going to stay that way, because if nothing else, no book will be the right fit for EVERYONE. I’m cool with that. But for right now, I am all smiles, and I plan on hanging onto that feeling for as long as I possibly can.

It's Thanksgiving. (BTW.) And even if it is totally trite and cliché, I’m going to just stop for a little while and talk about the people I’m thankful for, and everything they’ve done to help me get this far. I know I’m not all the way up the mountain yet--in fact, the peak is still pretty far off, and it’s half-covered in clouds, and the air is getting pretty darn thin. Sometimes I kinda feel like this guy.

But I have come a long way since saying “Hey, maybe I should actually finish one of these novels and give this a whirl,” and I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for these people.

So if the thought of reading this makes you throw up in your mouth a little, feel free to skip on down to the next post in your reader feed. Go ahead, it’s okay. It’s also a super long list, so don’t feel like you have to read it all. It’s totally a shout-out post. And if you’re not on it, it’s just because I’m the most absent-minded person in the universe. I actually left off a couple of really important people while writing this, so if I've left you off, don't take it personally. It's just my brain.

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Queries Away!

Fly, my pretties, fly!

Pardon me while I go throw up in a corner somewhere...

Because my brain is way, way too flipped out at the moment to provide you with anything else, I will instead link to one of my all-time favorite things on the internet, Hyperbole and a Half. Specifically, this post. If you are a follower of hers, I promise it is just as funny the second time around. If you aren't, well... you're in for a treat.

Enjoy, and I will return in a few days when the fog of anxiety and despair and glee has lifted.

Writing Updates, Revision Improvements, House-Cleaning

With all my book/vacation posting I haven’t been talking much about writing. So I’ll pause today to do that, and be back on the books I’m reading soon.

When I left for vacation I resolved not to do anything writing-y while I was gone, with the exception of catching up on blog reading when I had the internet access to do it. That lasted a good five or six days, at which point I received the result of a contest a while back in the form of some really fantastic feedback from an agent on the first three chapters of the manuscript. The strangest thing was that it wasn’t anything I hadn’t realized about my own manuscript--some of you may recall my the-beginning-sucks-but-I-don’t-know-how-to-fix-it angst--but the way she explained it suddenly just made everything click. Within 24 hours I had a new idea for the opening of my book, one I was finally excited about.

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