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    Agented!

    PitchWars is over, the two-week waiting period is over, and I am so blown away to announce that I am now repped by the amazing Amy Bishop at Dystel. I’m going to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how that happened. I mean, I know how it happened, but still, it doesn’t 100% feel real. I used to really like reading these posts that listed “how I got my agent”, but the truth is that my path to being agented is simple–at least, it appears simple if you look at things on the surface of it. I entered and got into PitchWars, revised the book, and Amy was one of…

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    Productivity Culture

    (A.K.A. Why can’t I just relax?) So. Pitchwars is over, which is like, absolutely nuts to me, because for the last several months, it’s been this all-consuming endeavor. Every second of free time was kind of spent with this monolith of a task (Hi Maria! It’s me, that book you have to rewrite from scratch!) always hovering in the background of my mind. It is no small task to re-conceive, outline, and write a book end to end in such a short time, especially when you just finished grad school and have a day job, and I’m pretty sure I veered into “about to have a complete breakdown” territory a…

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    On the Last Day of Pitchwars

    Well. I don’t know what to say. Tomorrow will be the last day of the agent showcase, and then PitchWars will be over. The last several months have flown by. I was somehow, amazingly, incredibly, impossibly lucky enough to get two of the best mentors a person could have possible hoped for–two mentors that immediately saw BAD MOON CHILD for what it could be, and pushed me with an edit letter that spoke of a lot of faith in abilities that I didn’t even know I had. To R.F. Kuang and Victoria Lee, I will forever be grateful. (If you haven’t read their books yet–THE POPPY WAR and THE FEVER…

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    HOLY @#(*&* PITCHWARS

    I woke up this morning fully expecting a day-full of disappointment and frustration.  I am having trouble adjusting to my  new job, or getting my work done in anything approaching eight hours, and so I just kind of deferred checking on the pitchwars announcements or some email until I had some coffee in me.  I like my disappointment caffeinated. HOLY FLYING CRAP.  I.  Got.  In. I feel like I don’t really understand this is happening.  But I checked my email, the pitchwars announcements (and although I had submitted under adult, I was not listed there, and had a mini-heart-attack until I went down to “YA”, and there I was, the very…

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    Chuseok

    This is a post about chuseok.  Sort of. When I was little, I never celebrated chuseok. My mom has always been reluctant to share her Korean-ness with me, but I think that truly hiding your own culture is next to impossible.  As much as my mom tried to make and do only American things, pieces of who she was and where she came from always came through.  Sometimes it was little things, aesthetics, like an accented word or a penchant for making spaghetti that was also really spicy, because she had subbed Korean red chili powder for the pepper flakes you see in Italian restaurants, without really realizing that it…

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    #PitchWars is Scary, Sequels, Pantsing, #writethewait

    Here is a thing that people say a lot. Never write a sequel until the first book sells.  Doing so makes you look insane.  The last thing an agent/editor/book goddess wants to see is that you’ve already written the other two novels in your trilogy, because if book one changes or doesn’t sell, you look like the kind of person that invests a lot into something for nothing. So. The ending to my 2018 PITCHWARS submission, BAD MOON CHILD, is (I hope) a satisfying-enough ending to the original Bari/Mago Character arcs that it stands  alone.  But, even though the immediate crisis had been averted, there’s obviously another book there, and one I…

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    Han Feeling

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_(cultural) Han or Haan [ha̠n][1][self-published source] is a theorized culture-bound syndrome in Hanja that denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of insurmountable odds, the overcoming of which is beyond the nation’s own capabilities. It connotes aspects of lament and unavenged injustice. Han is frequently translated as sorrow, spite, rancor, regret, resentment or grief, among many other attempts to explain a concept that has no English equivalent. Han is an inherent characteristic of the Korean character and as such finds expression, implied or explicit, in nearly every aspect of Korean life and culture.[5] Han is sorrow caused by heavy suffering, injustice or persecution, a dull lingering ache in the soul. It is a blend…

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    A Rose by Any Other Name

    What is your book about? I imagine some authors love talking about their work.  They must wax poetic about the plot and the characters and things like symbolism and themes, and I would very much like to be one of those people.  I struggle, though.  I’m not that kind of person. An easier question for me is why.  As in, why is your book the way that it is? That’s easy, because as books go, it used to be a very different book. But I guess to explain that, I have to explain my name. Maria Dong isn’t my real name, but it isn’t a fake name, either.  It’s my first name…