Monday, May 24, 2010

The Girl who played with Awesomesauce

So I couldn't come up with anything to write about over the weekend and finally decided I would just wing it on Monday morning. Then I got to work this morning and I had another trainee waiting for me at my desk. At 6AM! Where do they get these people? Don't they realize I need my early morning hours for blogging? The nerve of some people.

Anyway she's gone now so I will go ahead and vomit out a post. I came up with this silly name for a post so that I could discuss two things: One is Elana Johnson. If you don't know who she is you probably stumbled across this blog accidentally and can feel free to leave now without hurting my feelings. If you ARE a writer, and you ARE here reading this blog on purpose and you DON'T know who Elana Johnson is, what's wrong with you?

Okay, let's assume there is nothing wrong with you and you're just new to this whole thing. Elana Johnson is one of the most prolific writer/bloggers on the interwebs and she is famous not only because she is brilliant but because she is so awesome and SO giving. She's shares her knowledge and advice quite freely and has probably helped literally hundreds of writers find agents. She's an expert on queries and even has a very useful little e-book called From the Query to the Call which is really, really useful for novice writers. You can also read more about her on her wonderful blog, the Query Tracker blog, or her website.

Why am I highlighting her today you ask? Well she is going to be sharing an actual query of hers that landed her an agent on this blog this Friday! Be sure to mark your calendars and come back because this is going to be query/submission gold folks! She is also going to add some of her own insightful analysis (I'll probably say a few stupid things too).

How does this all tie in with the title of this post? It doesn't really. The title is sort of a mash-up between Awesomesauce which is a fun word that though Elana did not invent, she certainly made cool, and the title of the sequel to the book I'm reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the sequel is called The Girl who Played with Fire).

The one I'm reading is quite good but it does beg a question about the current state of publishing. I keep reading about how if you want to get published your story cannot start out slow, cannot begin with much backstory, and must not wait very long to introduce the most important characters. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo breaks all these rules. I'm over 100 pages in and things have only barely started to happen. The MC is very cool and unique, but she has only actually occupied perhaps 10 pages and the majority of the content so far has been backstory. Sure it's pretty good, twisted backstory and it does set things up nicely but I suppose it just proves again that rules are meant to be broken.

Or maybe this book gets away with things that others couldn't because it was written in Swedish and translated later into English? Who knows?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

EDIT: Elana got a book deal! Apparently she posted about it this weekend and I didn't see the post. Well that's not entirely true, because I did "borrow" that picture up there from it, but I guess I didn't really read it all the way because I had to read Jen's blog before I saw the announcement. Sheesh!

Yay for Elana! Yay for Jen! Yay for writing! and ... yeah you get it.


Unknown said...

First, hooray for Elana!! I'm so happy for her, 'cause she's sooo awesome! I'm looking forward to reading her query here on Friday :)

I read The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo. I agree with everything you've said here. I don't want to share my final thoughts yet, since you're only a third of the way into the story, but I will say this was a book I think I would have enjoyed more if I weren't a writer.

I think it is interesting that Larsson died before this book or the other two in the trilogy were published. I always wondered whether they were not in final draft form before he passed. Would Larsson have worked on more revisions had he had more time? Did someone else revise the books, leaving traces of their authorial fingerprints on his work? And, of course, the fact that they were not written in English is a factor; although, it was so well translated that I wouldn't have known that unless someone told me.

I hope you enjoy it! Have a great Monday!

Christina Lee said...

yeah, it's so great about Elena, right? :-) :-)
And I SO get what you mean about that book, and about breaking rules. Which only shows agents have different tastes and speaks to finding someone who gets you (I guess).

Vicki Rocho said...

I think it's so fun to see how many people are celebrating with Elana! Everywhere she goes today she's going to fun into herself!

sorry about the unannounced trainee...what nerve! ;)

Matthew MacNish said...

Aha, that helps to know, thanks Nicole. I knew he died but I thought it was between Swedish publication and translation into English, not before both. I wonder how much difference that made?

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I know. Awesomesauce for Elana!! So thrilled. Thanks for sharing, Matt. When I find myself reverting back to the lame mindset that all agents are alike--stupid, I know--I'll re-read this.

I once was told by a dear editor friend that one must learn the rules before one can break them. I guess all was learned here. ";-)

Jonathon Arntson said...

That is the best post title EVER! I am so happy to see the entire internet on board with Elana's news.

Slamdunk said...

Wow, trainees at 0600 is unusal.

Great news about Elena's success.

Candyland said...

I did too!!! I *heart* Elana. And I really get mad at books that break rules like that. How'd THEY get there, you know?

Kelly Polark said...

I'm so excited for Elana! She is so generous to the writing community!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lots of awesomesauce for Elana!

Laura Pauling said...

I do believe the world is celebrating with Elana! As I celebrate when I hear when any blogger friend gets an agent or a book deal!

And dude, where ya been that you didn't know that news until today? (That's Elana speaking through me.)

Unknown said...

Yay for Elana. How awesome is it that her book sold? :-)I look forward to reading her query on Friday.

Unknown said...

Elana is totally made of awesomesauce - I'm so happy for her Great post! :)

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, I'm honored to be spotlighted here! You're too awesome.

Jessica Bell said...

I'm so happy for her! I'm pretty sure the whole bloggosphere is :) REALLY looking forward to reading her query. Yay for AWESOMESAUCE! :)

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Elana definitely deserves it. Yay!

I'll be back Friday to check out the query.

Also, would your recommend those books? The covers look awesome.

Well, I'm off to wish Elana congrats...

Lydia Kang said...

Woot Woot! Hooray from Elana

Unknown said...

You're too sweet Matthew! Thanks for the shout-out next to Elana's!! What an honor to be showcased and even more so next to her!

I am so excited to see the query that landed her the agent!!! I'm sure it was brilliant!! I'm for sure tuning in that day!

The never of those over-achievers by the way (me being one of them at times) I do like the morning to have my blogging time!

My friend has read both of the books you've mentioned and keeps bothering me to pick them up because she loved them so much! I'll keep an open mind!

Happy Monday!

Hannah said...

I'm super excited for Elana! She deserves it, she's been working so hard!!

I've not read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's sitting at home on my TBR pile. *sigh*

At least, it's summer which means more reading and writing, outside!

I will keep your thoughts of the books in mind though when I read it.

Bryan Russell said...

Congrats, Elana.

As for Larsson, he was already a success before he was translated. A proven seller, from a place where the top crime writers have proven to sell well in translation (eg. Henning Mankell). I'm guessing the publishing industry is a little different in Sweden, and their concerns will be a little different in regards to length, structure, etc., since they have a different market.

And even if they don't, there are always exceptions. Long books published when long books are frowned upon. The problem is that it's very dangerous to try and be the exception to the rule. We're usually not the exception, but the rule. You never know, though. All you need is one agent and one editor... the problem is that if you try to be the exception you might limit yourself to only a few agents and editors, and what if they don't like it? With such a small pool, the percentages go way down.

Everyone's gotta follow their own path, though. There are exceptions. Everyone is free to spin that roulette wheel... :)

Matthew MacNish said...

MBW AKA Olleymae, I can't really recommend or not yet because I am only about a third of the way into the first book ... but it does look promising so far.

They came highly recommended to me, so if you decide to pick them up I'm sure you'll be happy with them.

And Ink, I'm sure you're right. I don't intend to break any rules until I'm well established.

Tahereh said...

WOO HOO! elana kicks MAJOR BUTT!! :D :D

and emm, i haven't read the other two books, soo...



nope, not that either, huh?


Talli Roland said...

Isn't that amazing about Elana! So cool, because you're right: she is so giving. I can't wait to read her query!

Angie said...

I know what you mean. I just love Elana, and I'm soooo excited for her!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I think you picked the perfect person to spotlight and I can't wait until Friday!

Lindsay said...

Hurray for Elana. She is awesomesauce.:)

I've got all three of the Stieg Larsson trilogy. I have yet to read them (they are my holiday reads)but I'm looking forward to them.:)

Creepy Query Girl said...

That is AWESOME! I can't wait to read her query!

Will Burke said...

Now I'm REALLY looking forward to Friday! I'm afraid I'm one af the unenlightened, but I look forward to getting properly introduced to Elana.

dolorah said...

Totally awesomesauce title!

Rules, schmools; I don't mind a book that starts out a little slow to introduce characters and setting. As long as there is forward movement of some sort. Especially in fantasy novels.

I haven't read either of these; but I haven't read anything for pleasure in soo long.

Have a good day at work. I'm on vacation for the next two weeks, so I'm rubbing it in every chance I get :)


JE said...

Another successful writer! YAY! I'm soooo happy!

Can't wait for her Friday guest blog!


G.~ said...

I read Elana's blog regularly. She has such great information on there, I agree. I will be here to read her posted query.

As far as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? I saw this book when it first came out. I was browsing in an airport library and there it was. I passed it up. Then I saw it again and passed it up. Something kept drawing me to this book but when I read the back cover nothing pulled me in.

Now that I've seen it yet again, I will buy it and read it. There must be a reason it keeps showing up.

Shannon said...

Too funny that you posted this w/o knowing about the book deal.

Must be the pixiedust.

You know, I was browsing books over the weekend and saw the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo cover and wasn't sure what to make of it.

Jury's still out :p

Kimber said...

Congrats to Elana!I can't wait until Friday!