TGIF

November 16th, 2007

Congratulations to Caitlin, Anna Karima, Corey Lee, Shermila, and Jessie, the winners of this month’s Meg Cabot Free Book Give Away! Your copies of The 2008 Princess Diaries Annual are winging their way to your homes as I write this (winners have been notified by email).

For everyone else, there’s a NEW contest! Click here for your chance to win a free copy of Big Boned!

So I was pretty lucky myself this week and DIDN’T get picked for jury duty! Instead, I’m on call, which means I get to sit home and call a number every night and see if they need me for the next day. And next week is Thanksgiving. I can’t imagine they’d start a trial next week, can you? Fingers crossed!

To celebrate all this good luck, I thought I’d take a dip into the mailbag and see what I’d find (all emails guaranteed real):

MEG: OKAY, SO HERES MY THING; HIGHSCHOOL. I LOVE IT. I’M A SPOPHMORE (16)AND I’VE GOT GREAT FRIENDS. BUT MY BFF IS A CRAB. I LOVE HER TO DEATH AND EVERYTHING BUT SHES ALWAYS ANGRY. I HATE IT. AND SHES KINDA SKANKY BUT I CANT TELL HER BECAUSE SHE’LL TWEAK. AND LATELY IT SEEMS LIKE SHE HASNT BEEN LISTENING TO ME. I’LL BE IN THE MIDDLE OF A STORY AND SHE’LL WALK AWAY TO FIND HER BOY TOY. I HAVE ALOT OF OTHER FRIENDS BUT SHE’S MY CLOSEST. WE’VE BEEN BFFS SINCE THE 7TH GRADE. IS OUR FRIENDSHIP ENDING? HOW DO I SAVE IT? I FEEL TOTALLY HELPLESS.

Okay, She’s kinda skanky but I can’t tell her because she’ll tweak is possibly the funniest sentence I have ever read. I’m not making fun of you, I’m just seriously appreciative of how awesome you are. Maybe your friend isn’t quite as appreciative of you at the moment, because she’s discovered something else she appreciates more right now (boys). But I promise she’ll come back to her senses eventually. Sadly for her, you may have moved on to a new best friend in the meantime. Who could blame you, after being treated that way?

But if you’re wise, you won’t do anything to permanently destroy your relationship with the Crabby Skank, because it sounds like she probably needs you. She just doesn’t know it right now. Keep in mind that the nursery rhyme: “Leave them alone, and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them,” doesn’t just apply to sheep, but to Crabby Skanks, too.

Look, i want to be a writer, but i feel i dont have the talent that is required for the job. I write all the time, i must have 30 notebooks full of stories, but none of them blow me away like yours do. Should i pursue my dream or get out now while i can? Please respond!

Sheesh, of COURSE you should pursue your dream. Do you think I sit around reading my own writing going, “Oh my God, this is so BRILLIANT?” I HATE my own writing.

But I like the physical act of typing (I know, I’m a nerd) and I love making up stuff. What I started doing was, I took some creative workshops and let other people read stuff I wrote, and saw what THEY thought, since I realized I wasn’t the best judge of my own work (and guess what? Your friends, family, and random people on the Internet aren’t necessarily the best judges either).

That said, not everyone in my creative writing workshops liked my stuff, either. In fact, a lot of them hated my stuff. But I took that feedback and started sending stuff out to agents, and took THAT feedback, until finally I managed to craft a story that sold.

And guess what? I don’t like my stories that have been bestsellers any better than I like my stories that never sold. YOU ARE NOT THE BEST JUDGE OF YOUR OWN WRITING (and neither is your mom, your best friend, and probably 99% of the world). If it gives you pleasure, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, quit and do something that does. Who cares what anybody else thinks?

I absolutely loved your Mediator series books, and I was hoping that maybe you could write just one last book

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i just finished reading the last of The Mediator series and well now that i read it i cant get enough and i was wondering if u were going to write another book on the Mediator??

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Meg please wright another mediator book!

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Hey, i was reading the Mediator series, and i loved it! Could you please continue this series?

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Hi, you said that you were only going to make six books(in the mediator series), but please please write more!

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I was just hoping if you could write another one about susannah and jesses life together and how paul ended up too.

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yesterday i just finished reading the last book of the mediator series, twilight, and i was really sad. please write more.

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Deep breath: No. Okay?

Seriously, I’m really glad readers enjoyed this series so much, but I am happy with the way it ended, want to leave what happens next to your imagination (in my own imagination, what happens next is nothing but bliss, and really, you can’t write books about bliss, because bliss is boring).

Now I’m moving on to more series with new characters who don’t have bliss yet. There will be romance. And danger. And death. A lot of death. In one of these series, a main character dies. People who’ve read it have cried. Then wanted to know when the next one is coming out, so they can find out what happens next. Believe me, I’m on it (the title of the book I’m talking about, Airhead, is ironic.)

But here is one last letter, of the kind I really like:

I just finished your Mediator series and just wanted you to know that you have restored my faith in mankind’s ability to write a moving, sometimes heart-wrenching, tale without having all romance end in tragedy. For this, I thank you.

No, thank YOU!

My name is (name removed for the sake of anonymity), and i have just finished your book Pants on Fire. I wanted to let you know that all of the books you have ever written – the ones I’ve gotten around to reading, anyway, which consist of just about everything -has inspired me in one way or another.

You have been my inspiration for writing for years now, and I have been working on different…projects, if you will, that I can never seem to finish. Now, I read your Question and Answer page, but the question I have for you still has yet to be answered. Since I look up to you, and admire you, and am inspired by you, I would like to get an answer from you, for I feel that any help I get from you will help me out greatly.

My question is: When you feel like giving up on a piece, how do you keep going? Even when you’re positively certain its rubbish?

I really hope that you write back. All I ask is for one simple suggestion to keep my motivation alive. If you are reading this, then thank you for your time. Sincerely,

(name removed)

Yes, this does happen to me, and when it does, I usually go back to the beginning and carefully read back over what I’ve done to see where I went wrong. If I can’t find it, I set the story aside for a few days or even weeks while I “back burner” it to see if my subconscious can work out what I did wrong. If that doesn’t work, I’ll call a few friends who like to read or write and tell them the story up until the place where I’ve stopped, and see if they have any suggestions. This almost always works (I have one friend who always suggests, “Burn something down.” You will notice in many of my books, there are sudden explosions or fires. Yeah. That’s my friend Jen).

My “motivation” is that no story is unsalvageable and if I loved it enough to start it there is probably something there to save. But I also have a huge crateful (and hard drive full) of false starts. There’s nothing wrong with giving up and just starting over. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your handsome prince, and you have to start a lot of stories to find the one that ends up being the one you love enough to finish. In other words…my motivation, pure and simple, is love.

Fraptious Joy: Crabby Skank’s Best Friend wrote more:

HERES ANOTHER THING: THE SENIOR BOY. WE RECENTLY JUST MET AND HE LIKES ME AND I LIKE HIM-EXCEPT HES SHY. SURE, HES POPULAR AND HOTT BUT SOMEHOW HE’S STILL SHY (I KNOW, I DONT GET IT EITHER). BUT I REALLY LIKE HIM! I WANT HIM TO ASK ME OUT TOO.

Well, you are in luck. Because the next quiz to go up on the Quiz Page is going to be Tina Hakim Baba’s How Can I Tell If He Likes Me Quiz (and then what to do about it). It will be going up after Thanksgiving. So stop by here then and take the quiz.

Until then, be your vivacious and outgoing self, and start dropping blatant hints about the movie/play/dance you are just dying to attend. If he doesn’t pick up on this and ask you to go with him, he may be a lost cause. (You could do the asking yourself, you know, but I know, it’s not the same). Have you tried getting a big group together, like for a horror film fest, then weaseling yourself into the seat next to him and making your hand available for holding during the scary parts? It works!

And now, for your weekend pleasure (and to see if I can finally get this video embedding thing to work):

Cutest Dead Kitty Ever

More later.

Much love,

Meg