Saturday, November 29, 2008


Book Update: Ted emailed me on Friday night, Thanksgiving weekend, to say he was reading it. Friday night!!! Thanksgiving weekend!!! Does it get any cooler than that? Those of you who have read my blog know the answer to that one. NO! He is the sensei of cool.

Okay, so it looks like last post's quotes were harder than I thought. Apparently most of you have lives, and don't breathe sci-fi movies. Crazy.

So here are the answers:

a. "Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events but we just got our [butts] kicked, pal!"

ALIENS! Best sci-fi movie ever. When I was little, I wanted everyone to call me "Ripley". But just to clarify, when I say my book is about aliens, my aliens in no way resemble the ones in this movie!

b. "So, Lone Starr Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." SPACEBALLS. May the schwartz be with you. And may it be bigger than everyone else's.

c. "There is no spoon."

MATRIX. Groundbreaking. Trend-setting. Mind-blowing. Followed by two very lame sequels.

d. "This is the captain, we have a lil' problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight…turbulence, and then…explode."

This is the one that is kind of out there: SERENITY
Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) created a short-lived television series, a "Space Western" called "Firefly". Only, nobody watched it. So it was cancelled. Then, after a surge in post-cancellation popularity, and a dedicated cult following, Mr. Whedon made a movie based on the series. Called "Serenity".

One of the main characters in my book is named "Malcolm" after the captain of Serenity.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. We went to my husband's ranch, in the middle of nowhere- whoops, I meant the middle of central Utah.
We were joined by 84 brothers and sisters, and about 264 nieces and nephews. I'm not even exaggerating. I come from a family of two, so to me, it still seems like quite a lot of people. How do you cook for such a crew, you might ask? Aunt Emily's famous quiche (or is it quiches?) and lots and lots of meat.


My favorite part of the weekend is my room. Dozens of animals gave their lives to be immortalized on the walls of my room at the Muddy Creek lodge. I'm trying to emmulate Thoreau, and find the story in the quiet life around me. So here's the story I came up with.

This is the Bison. (Or is it the Buffalo?) Anyway, he has a hankering for some pheasant beef. So he sends his trusty number two, the....

Buck Horned... Buck. Or Elk. Which is the man deer? It doesn't matter. So the Buck-Elk-Deer spies two meaty looking pheasants, across the room (frollicking just above my bed) and he decides to give chase.

One pheasant starts scaling the wall, looking for an escape on the ceiling.

The other one just takes off running. Look at him go!

This spectator Buck-Elk-deer cranes his neck just to follow the exciting chase.

The Majestic Turkey watches the scene from his perch above my satellite television. (after generously donating his insides to my Thanksgiving dinner).

Ah, it is so reminiscent of that first Thanksgiving. The one with Squanto. With all the excitement in my room, sleep was next to impossible!

Granted my story is a little lacking in conflict, continuity, and undoubtedly a plot, but... where was I?

Maybe I should leave the nature stuff to Thoreau.

Please feel free to share your Thanksgiving stories. They are certainly more interesting than mine.

Have a good holiday weekend. And when you are out Christmas Shopping, remember that BOOKS make the best presents!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Ted has my latest revision, (finally, not the microscopic version) and with the holidays coming up, I am playing the waiting game. Okay, so whoever called it a game is seriously messed up. Games are supposed to be fun. Waiting is not fun, especially for the impatient. Thank goodness I'm patient...
But seriously, Ted's had the book for, like, at least 36 hours... what's the holdup? :)

As my niece Leena so eloquently put it: "Patience is a Frakkin Virtue!"

Hold on a sec' while I check my emails...... nope. nothing.

So, to make this "Waiting Game" fun, I'm going to play my own little game. It's called "What I'm actually doing to pass the time, when I should be doing something responsible."

1. I should be cleaning the house and catching up on laundry, but instead, I have reached that all important number 300! Can you guess where?

a. 300 dollars spent buying essential grocery and clothing items for my family.
b. 300 minutes of cooking lessons
c. 300 Wins on my I-Phone SOLITAIRE application

If you guessed "c", you would be correct! I finally reached 300 wins! I get the golden trophy! And considering I win somewhere around 10% of the time, those of you who are good at math can guesstimate how many times I've played the darn game.

The only problem is the irresistible urge to arrange everything around me in alternating red and black hues. It gets a little inconvenient standing in line at the grocery store when I say to the guy in front of me (wearing the U of U red sweatshirt): "Sir? Would you mind switching places with that lady in black over there? It would really make me happy. Aesthetically, that is."

2. Instead of working on my next project, I'm catching up on John Hughes movies.
Which Breakfast Club character did you most identify with in High School?
a. Claire (The Princess)
b. Bender (The Criminal)
c. Brian (The Brain/Nerd)
d. Andrew (The Athlete)
e. Allison (The Basket Case/Misfit)

For me, on the inside I definitely felt like Allison Basket-Case. I don't know about the outside. But I for sure know who I would've played "seven seconds in the Janitor's closet" with: Bender Criminal. I tell you, the scene where he puts Molly Ringwald's diamond earring in his own ear, the fingerless gloves, the plaid flannel shirt...
I'm sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, wasting time in the 80's while I wait.

3. Instead of catching up on relationships that have been on the back burner for the past few months, I am catching up on my favorite sci-fi movies. (This can kind of be classified as work, since I pay homage to many of these films in my book... Okay, that's stretching it.)

See if you can guess which of my favorite sci-fi movies provided the following quotes: (I'll give the answers in the comments section, after a few random guesses)

a. "Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events but we just got our [butts] kicked, pal!"
b. "So, [name redacted] Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."
c. "There is no spoon."
d. "This is the captain, we have a lil' problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight…turbulence, and then…explode."

I'll admit, (d.) is a little out there, but a classic nonetheless. One of the main characters in my book is named after the captain in this movie. How about an extra gold star, from me, for anyone who can name this movie? Seriously, a solid gold star. Sticker.

I just watched (a.) this morning. Hands down, best sci-fi movie of all time. Followed closely by (c.)

Seriously, my brain has turned to gruel. Have any of you heard from Ted yet? Maybe he lost my email address...

Monday, November 24, 2008


Okay, so I just finished my revision and I sent it off to Ted.

Taking a page from my sister author Bree’s blog, here are the top five things I’ve learned from the revision process:

1. Less is more. (I have a twenty page blog coming on this particular subject. Suffice it to say, that had it not been for the original superfluosity of my manuscript in the first place, especially in the wordy penultimate chapter, it would have been sufficiently—oh nevermind).

2. Try not to name three (count them three) characters in your book the same name: Joey. Thankfully I caught this right before I sent it off.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, second guess yourself. Scratch that, on second thought maybe I shouldn’t have said that. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have listed five things, it should have been four things. Actually, I’m such a crappy writer, I shouldn’t have started a blog in the first place. I don’t even deserve to have internet access. Did someone just say I’m fat?

4. Do not give your fabulous agent a catchy nickname like Sherpa Ted.

5. A. After you’ve crossed all of your T’s, and dotted all of your I’s, and perfected your manuscript, do not send it to Sherpa Ted in a miniature format. I mean, literally, a miniature picture of the book, so small it is not legible.

Here’s what it looked like when he opened it.

I use this version to get an overview of chapter lengths, and to find any blank pages that may have appeared because of revisions.

B. In a similar vein, when Ted emails back, requesting a “legible” version of the book, do not send him the EXACT SAME MINIATURE VERSION again, telling him you're not usually such a dork, and it won't happen again...

Now to see if Ted likes the new version... Mwah hah hah (evil laugh)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Worst Critique Session Ever

So my critique group was three members strong. (Okay, three geeks strong). And we decided to invite a fourth, because for some reason, a foursome just seemed so… right. So square. So even.

We invited Bill. Then, at the first meeting of that perfectly round number, Bill sits down at the table and proceeds to critique my book. And by “critique”, I mean “yell at Brodi for twenty minutes straight about how much he absolutely HATES the first two chapters of her book.”

Below is a transcription of the conversation. (At least, how I remember it, through the filter of self-loathing lenses).

Bill: “I have to start with Brodi, because [pointing at pages] what is this crap? I read your stuff in class, and at the time you seemed capable of putting a sentence together, but this? Were you dropped on your head since I last saw you? It can’t be the same book, because this belongs in the stomach of an amoeba.”

Brodi: “What’s an amoeba?”

Bill: “A one-celled parasite.”

Brodi: “How would it even fit in his stomach?”

Bill: “It doesn’t matter. Please tell me you ate the alphabet, and then accidentally puked on these pages.”

Brodi: “No.”

Eden (faithful sister-in-law): “It’s not that bad, Bill. Let’s move on to another book.”

Bill: “I can’t. I mean, I physically can’t, because Brodi’s book is pure poison, and it has infected my brain, and now I must go detox for a month, including colonic enemas, just to get the taste out of my mouth.”

Brodi: “I don’t think enemas will help the taste in your mouth.”

Bill: “See? Even the words you speak sound like gibberish.”

Joe (fourth member of critique group): “Come on, Bill. I’ve read Brodi’s book, and I can definitely affirm it’s written in English. Slang, mostly, but English nonetheless.”

Brodi: “Thanks a lot, Joe.”

Joe: “No problem. Now let’s go hit a medieval festival.”

Bill: “I will not be returning to this critique group. You have defiled my soul with these monstrosities you have the nerve to call words. I will now go and finish my own book, and I will write it entirely in French prose, because you have decimated the English language for me. Au revoir, suckers.”

No, seriously, that is how I remember it. Maybe I took a few liberties on the dialogue, but what can you expect from a writer who spews forth poison?

NOW FOR THE ABSOLUTE WORST PART: After cursing him for an entire three month period, I actually followed his advice about the first two chapters in my book! And it made it a stronger book! Curses Bill! (shaking of fists toward the heavens.)

Critique groups are always excruciating, but remember this: Sometimes even tacky, mean, smug bullies can have a good suggestion. Glean what you can, discard the rest! You can always blog about it later for medicinal purposes.

Bill, thank you for the suggestion, and you know I love you. If you have to ask, “Am I Bill?” then no, you are not Bill. Bill knows who he is, and I can guarantee he won’t be reading this blog, since it is written in the language of gobbledygook. Oh, and his name really is Bill.

Anyone else want to share their critique nightmares? About anything? I once had a makeup sales person tell me, “You look so much thinner in person… [wait for it]… Oh! I mean to say, you look fatter on television.”

Thank you for clearing that up. I’ll take one cellulite cream for my thigh divots.

Friday, November 21, 2008

By the Power of Grayskull... Get your Geek on!

Book Status: spent yesterday cutting 5,000 words. Feel like Dr. Kevorkian, killing my darlings for the good of the book.

So every time someone asks me what my book is about, I say, "It's a Young Adult! Oh, and it has... some... little bits of light sci-fi." If I am forced to continue, it sounds something like, "It's about teenagers, and human interactions, and romance. So it's, like, hardly sci-fi. Except for the whole bit about aliens invading our planet..."

But after last weekend's conference, I'm beginning to think that %95.82 of writers are, to some extent, ahem, geeks. Or at least somewhere on the geek spectrum.

My critique group is made up entirely of geeks (don't try to deny it, Eden) to the point that we have to designate a "normal" person at each meeting, whose soul responsibility is to prevent us from breaking out the Vulcan Ears, or speaking in Jawa-ese.

But with the popularity of Chuck, and Comic Con, and Batman, and Avagadro's number, I say it's time to embrace our inner geeks! Wear our geek on the outside. After all, who hasn't imagined a light-saber duel with Vader, or worn their hair in Princess Leia buns, or wanted to name their first born child 'Mos Eisley'? Okay, maybe that last one was just me.

So now, if someone asks if my book is sci-fi, my answer will be: "Frak yes! It's totally geektacular."

If we are all a bunch of geeks, the John Williams is our geek composer. Who's John Williams, you ask? Well, take a listen to the video below, and it will all be made clear.

Looking to copy my 'do? Just ask your hairdresser for the "80's He-Man." Very chic geek.

Geeks are cool. Except for the ones who worship the Star Wars prequels. Those guys are just plain nerds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You asked for it...

Okay, so here's the lone picture I have of the conference...

Ted is obviously second from the right, wearing all his hip New York-ness on the outside. My sister author Bree (another Ted client) is on the right. Sydney Salter Husseman (another sister author, and SCBWI RA) second from left.

The hungry giant on the far left is me. But I could have sworn the photographer never said 'smile'. Instead, I'm pretty sure she said "Okay, now act like you would like to eat the camera..." click.

I could probably fill a year's worth of blogs with my gaffs from just this one weekend. So I thought it would be fun to compare my verbal vomit with Ted's cool quippiness.

Quips vs. Gaffs
1. Conference go-er during Q&A: "Ted, I have a really dumb agent question."
Ted (with a smile): "You mean a dumb question for an agent, or a question for a dumb agent?" (total quip)
Audience: appreciative laughter

2. At dinner with Ted
Bree: "Brodi, what's your book about?"
Brodi: "Um.... it's like.... about..... aliens?" (Gaff)
Ted: "We're going to have to work on your pitch."

3. I would have documented his quips at the party on Friday night, but unfortunately Bree and I ended up at the WRONG PARTY. We took advantage of the free bar and the incredible spread of sushi for 45 minutes before we realized that all the party goers were way too well-dressed to be children's writers. (Not that children's writers don't dress well, but these people were all about the evening gowns and the carry-on pooches in their purses.)

So, I guess that was another gaff...


1. It's a very good thing New York Ted is in charge of selling my book.

2. Test the words out in your head before you let them spill out of your mouth.

3. If someone is pointing a camera your way, just smile. Do you really need instructions on this?

Off to do revisions. Please include your own verbal gaffs in the comments, so I don't feel completely alone on this...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Agent is like a really cool Sherpa...

Okay, so I guess I should have mentioned that I wrote a book. (I always seem to do things backwards). It's a Young Adult novel, with light light sci-fi elements.

Once I was finished, I started learning about the road to publication. Suffice it to say, the road is not straight and flat. It's long, winding, perilous, and sometimes it has gaps where, if you're not careful, you will plunge to your death. I don't think I'm exaggerating.

Or maybe the road isn't a road, more like a trail. If publication is similar to summiting Mount Everest, then an agent is like your sherpa. Sure, maybe you can reach the top without a sherpa, but chances are better you'll end up frozen along the side of the trail. (Sorry about all the death analogies, I'm really not this tragic).

Once you finish your novel, it's kind of like you have hand-picked and assembled all of your unique hiking gear. (Tents, parkas, ice picks, boots, etc). Now all you need to do is find your sherpa. Only imagine that the village of sherpas would rather swallow their own tongues than be hired by you. They already have enough hikers, they don't need someone with your "cliche" backpack, or your tent full of "holes in the plot." Mostly, they don't like your main ice picks, because you haven't made your ice picks very "likable".

Just when you're thinking all of your gear is the most pathetic gear out there, and you're sure all the other sherpas have been discussing your gear over lunch, and laughing about it, suddenly Sherpa Ted- one of the hottest sherpas around- appears. And he loves your gear. And he thinks your main ice pick is the absolute best, although she can be a little violent. (That's my main character, if you didn't quite make the connection).

So then you're ready to start the hike, with Sherpa Ted by your side, refilling your oxygen tanks and showing where your tent holes are, and how to fix them. Now all you have to do is hope your lungs don't give out, hope the weather holds, and hope that the summit is reachable. But you can't help noticing how the storm clouds seem to be brewing. (The economy).

Hopefully, this provides a little background, and explains why I love Sherpa Ted so much, and why I get a little mushy when his name is mentioned.

My sister author, Bree Despain, described getting an agent as getting into the top three of American Idol. Maybe I should have stuck to that analogy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Foot Lives in my Mouth... Sorry, does that sound gross?

I met my agent Ted over the weekend for the first time. He spoke at the SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators) Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, where he was so good he killed. I shouldn't start gushing about him, because it would get a little out of control, possibly leading to restraining orders, etc.

In his speech, he emphasized the importance of professionalism in writers he decides to take on. With this in mind, I have created a fun multiple choice quiz about my dinner with Ted, Jill Dembowski from Little, Brown, and other important SCBWI people:

1. In an effort to appear professional, Brodi said which phrase at dinner:
a. "I love to keep up on the trends in Young Adult Literature."
b. "I've been writing ever since I was a young child."
c. "I'm totally left brained. I have absolutely no creativity. I like math better than writing."

If you guessed 'c', you would be correct. It was like one of those moments where the words are coming out of your mouth, and you can see it happening, like a train wreck, yet you can't stop it. Once they escaped my mouth, they hung momentarily over the table like a giant rain cloud about to burst. I considered leaping onto the table in an effort to corral them before they could reach Ted's ears, but that might have made the situation worse.

On a positive note, I only told him I loved him two or three times. Yea me.

So now I will work on Ted's revisions, and hope that he doesn't 'accidentally' destroy our contract together.