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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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I was incredibly honored to have been chosen, from what I am sure was hundreds and hundreds of bloggers who entered the contest to host Maggie on their blog for THE DREAM THIEVES tour. Thank you Maggie and thank you Scholastic!

Check out the very bottom of the post for some awesome photos of those times I met Maggie, and even Loki to car!

Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced STEVE OTTER – for anyone still wondering) has a GREAT guest post for you! With out further ado, I present:

guest post

Side Characters & Goat Farming

I was going to write this blog post about side characters, but instead, I think I’m going to write it about goat farming. Really, I’m going to write about side characters AND goat farming.

I have five goats. Specifically, I have two miniature Nubian goats and three Miniature Silky Fainting* goats. They are delightful creatures who come when called and sit in your lap and eat poison ivy. You can lead them all about and they will not butt you or eat your arm or anything else unseemly.

*Also they faint when they get surprised, but because they live at the Stiefvater household, it takes a lot more to surprise them than you’d expect.

Lover and I have talked about getting more goats next year, as we have room and surely, if five goats are good, seven goats are better. But we want to be sure that we are good enough at goat-keeping that we can make sure all Goat Additions are civilized members of society. No one likes a feral goat. Better to be small and impeccable than large and apocalyptic.

I know you’re excited to see what this has to do with side characters.8642789529_47f536e50d

I wrote the first draft of what is now The Dream Thieves back when I was 19. It was big and unwieldy and had side characters — siblings, friends, parents, dead people, fantastic Yoda-types —pouring from every crack. I’ll hand it to 19-year-old Maggie. She was ambitious. Unfortunately, she wasn’t any good. All of these characters weren’t really people — or if they were, the specifics of what made them people never made it out of my head and onto the page. The manuscript collapsed under the weight of all of the names in it.

Feral.

I realize now, though, that it’s because ancillary characters are Boss Level Writing, and I was not only not a Boss Level Writer, I wasn’t even really a Level One Drone Writer. Even now, the worst thing in the world is still a scene with a bunch of characters in it. I HAVE TO MOVE EVERYONE’S ARMS? And back then, it was all I could do to create one or two brand new humans where before there had been none. Every additional person in the book was another goat I had to train up. Every time I threw in another

body with another name, my manuscript got more and more unwieldy. The goats ran amok. They ate people’s arms. It was easier to just cut them out during revisions.

I figured out pretty early on that it was better to do it well and simply. Five goats, not eighty. Portraits, not murals. Practice, Maggie, practice.

Slowly, I got better. The characters stopped eating guests’ arms. Seven published novels and several hundred short stories [www.merryfates.com] later, I was ready to take on the cast of The Dream Thieves again. I’ve started to figure out how to hold onto one goat and train another at the same time. No longer do I turn my attention to a new goat only to let the others fly out the gate behind me. The Dream Thieves has more characters and plot threads than any of my other novels — parents and siblings and hit men and a bunch of people who can tell the future. It was the hardest thing I’d ever written. And it took me three times as long as any of the others.

What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say . . . I’m getting more goats. And maybe a pony.

 

about the book

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The Dream Thieves
The Raven Cycle #2
Publisher: Scholastic

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

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abouttheauthor

All of Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She's made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

WEBSITE | BLOG | MERRY SISTERS OF FATE

Those times I met Maggie, (Tessa & Brenna too!) and Loki the car!

maggie pics

Courtesy of Maggie Stiefvater and Scholastic Inc. in conjunction with the Maggie Stiefvater Blog Contest. © Maggie Stiefvater 2013.

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Reactions:

2 comments:

  1. Great guest post, it's funny, interesting, whimsical yet serious. Only Maggie Stiefvater could pull that off!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, so I already thought Maggie Stiefvater was cool. Now, after this guest blog post, I know she is AWESOME!

    ReplyDelete

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