Since I vowed to take a break, somewhat, from posting, here's a little fun for you.
Laugh out loud line (for me, anyway):
Katie keeps reminding me that planning a wedding is all about compromise. And I agree that I don't necessarily have to approve the engineering specs for the wedding cake. I mean, it's enough that it's in the shape of the E.L.O. spaceship, but compromise on our song? Katie did say Sting. Sting would be about compromise the way carrot cake is about compromise. A dessert no one could possibly want, just to have dessert.
Posting will be light this week if it happens at all as I finish up the final draft of the book and take some time off from staring at a computer screen. Check back next week for the latest updates.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
My editor sent back my manuscript on Friday, thankfully with a minimal amount of changes and a fair amount of praise. Even more exciting than opening up a PDF version of the book's cover was opening up an envelope filled with over 200 pages of my manuscript. I had only ever seen the book as a file on my computer - and burned onto a CD, and saved on a flash memory stick, and emailed to three different addresses so I wouldn't lose the whole thing if one form of technology broke down - so seeing it in all its paper glory was also a lot of fun.
I have until July 5th to incorporate the changes and send it all back to Harper Collins. I'm not exactly sure what happens after that, although there is still the matter of finalizing the cover and I'm sure one of these days we'll start talking about marketing and publicity. Some exciting things are already in the works, so stay tuned.
Who would have thought that one day John Travolta would be seen as the normal Scientologist?
Click here to download Tom's bizzaro appearance on TV this morning. I don't know about you, but if I were promoting a movie, I wouldn't do it by bad mouthing Brooke Shields.
Thanks to all of you who commented on the book's initial cover design.
I promised I'd post my opinions, so here goes.
As I mentioned before, I am immensely pleased with the overall concept and like the idea of the car driving away from the reader with my name tied on to the bumper as if the letters are tin cans. When I first saw it, I thought that was the most clever part of the entire design.
I'm glad to see that most people understood that the title is a play on words. Obviously a groom is engaged to be married, but the type of groom I write about is the type who will be involved in much of the wedding planning. Originally, I had proposed a title using the phrase "Enlightened Groom," but it was decided that this was a little too specific or new-agey. Not every man might be enlightened - in fact, many may still be big oafs - but even the most backward-thinking of men can still be engaged. After a brainstorming session, my editor suggested the new title and I was sold on it immediately. I think it works, and based on your comments, I think it will stick.
I agree with E, who commented that the number of times there is a variation of the word "you" - "You're Getting Married," "Your Complete Wedding Guide," "You Better" - is a tad repetetive. (Although in an earlier design some of these elements were separated so it was not as noticable.)
One way to fix that would be to change the only thing I really don't like about the cover, which is the message, "You're Getting Married. You Better Read This Book." Contrary to MCM's observant and smart comment, I'm okay with the improper grammar, as I think it reflects the book's conversational tone.
Despite my comfort with grammar that doesn't read so goodly, I would still change this to read "You're Getting Married. Read This Book." Why? Both are just as punchy, but getting rid of "You Better" does something I've sought to avoid throughout almost two years of writing this blog and the last two months of writing a book. My experience with wedding planning, especially as it is presented in my manuscript, showed me that, despite what much of the wedding industry peddles, a wedding is not something that should cause a great amount of fear. "You Better" implies some form of consequence. "You Better Read This Book." Or what? Or you'll wind up getting married down at City Hall when you can't find a caterer? You'll get divorced? There are already too many people trying to scare brides and grooms into buying things they don't need and stressing them out to no end. I'm hoping that my book can be a little more relaxed. Keeping it to just "Read This Book" makes it no less urgent, but loses the fear factor.
Nevertheless, the design is far from final and, as I mentioned before, I am 99.99% happy with how it looks now. Seeing as how I just turned in my manuscript, I'm sure much will change between now and when it goes to press.
Thanks for your comments, and please continue to leave them if you feel like expressing any more. The focus group continues...
Got this mock-up of my book's cover from my editor recently. The design is not final and there's a possibilty that some of the words and images might get moved around, but so far so good.
I'm very happy with the overall concept, and seeing this made my eyes light up. It's one thing to write a proposal, sign a contract, and spend weeks writing a book, it's another thing to see it come together in a way that makes it something I feel like I can touch.
Before I tell you everything I think about it, I'd love to hear what you have to say. Consider this a mini focus group, only without the two-way mirror, free beverages and promise of cash payment for your time and trouble.
Head for your fallout shelters and seal the doors. It will be the only way to avoid a Michael Jackson-deprived media's obsession with Tom and Katie's engagement.
Here's the best part of the report from E! Online:
Cruise said that no wedding date had been set.
"We haven't discussed that--one step at a time," he said. "Let's see. We're not sure."
Yes, Tom. After getting engaged following a two-month relationship, it's always a good idea to take things one step at a time.
The first draft is in. Sent it to my editor and my agent about an hour ago.
I'm not sure how amused most couples would be if their friends did this to them, but who am I to judge? From Craigslist:
I am looking for a few (possibly 3-5) large men to dress up as pirates and ride motorcycles through my friend's wedding. He is having it at some vinyard upstate, so you can come from different directions (i.e. through the rows of grape plants). I'd be willing to pay extra if you could outfit your motorcycle in some sort of pirate ship theme (eg. mast, plank, cannons, wooden pirate ship shell, etc).
This is in late July. I'm not sure what the going rate for something like this is, so hit me with your best offer.
Note that you must have your own pirate costumes and bikes but I can probably help with eyepatches. Wooden legs a plus.
Just one question comes to mind, although you might have a million. If you already have a pirate costume, wouldn't you probably also already have an eyepatch, and therefore not need any help from this guy in finding one?
The writing, at least for now, is officially done.
That's not to say my editor won't have a million changes for me. As a first-time author, I'm fairly ignorant of the entire process that will begin once I hand in my manuscript, but for now I'm done writing.
The only thing I have left to do is one massive spell-check through over 62,000 words. I then have to go through and make sure I've formatted everything correctly, more or less. The manuscript is supposed to be double-spaced but up until now I've done it all single-spaced. So I can look forward to much highlighting and formatting for the next hour or so.
But first lunch. Our apartment is still quite hot, despite two blaring airconditioners, so I'm back in Starbucks once again, slowly eating away at the advance I'm being paid with each purchase of a vanilla skim latte. The music today, however, has been inspiring. As I put the finishing touches on my last paragraph, I was treated to a big-band version of Ella singing "Love For Sale."
Big geek points to the person who names the original source of this entry's title.
The siren call of the mermaid was too strong to resist and I'm back at Starbucks today. Actually, I was just too lazy to haul my ass on the subway and suffer temperatures that much be reaching Inferno-like levels below ground. So no Rose Reading Room for me today. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to corporately-franchised America I go.
Today, I'll try to entertain myself by counting the number of times I hear a song. It's shortly before 11 AM and the shop's sound system is playing a jazz version of one of my favorite Motown classics, Stevie Wonder's "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday." I'm just wondering if at the end of another seven-hour day and multiple listenings, I'll go all Clockwork Orange on someone when I hear the song in the future. Thank God they're not playing classical music or the title song from "Singin' In the Rain."
Stop in, say hello and share a latte if you're in the 'hood.
Someone help me. I've been at this Starbucks for over seven hours and have heard the same damned Alanis Morissette acoustic song seventeen times.
Dear God, make it stop.
If you're looking for me - and I know you are - you can find me all day at the Starbucks on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. With two days until the book is due and the airconditioners in our apartment barely able to keep the heat and humidity at bay, the coffee giant beckoned this morning and I'm now on my second vanilla skim latte in two hours. And if you're looking for me after 11 PM, I'll be the slightly shaky guy with the sunken-in eyes prowling the streets of Brooklyn trading parts of my laptop for a caffeine fix.
Today I've been focused on going through my manuscript and adding in many of your quotes and answers to my QOTDs. They've added an incredible amount of perspective and humor to the book, so thanks to all who have contributed. If you've been shy about posting so far, today is your last chance so don't miss out.
Tomorrow I'll be at the Rose Reading Room at the main branch of the NYPL, which, in my opinion may be the best place for quiet, focused work in the entire city and even the country. I've done a lot of my writing there as the fact that it is music and cellphone free makes conentrating much easier than at your typical soundtrack-filled Starbucks. The room's majestic, detailed ceiling and old wooden tables can make even a hack who's working on a book about getting married feel like he's writing the great American novel.
I received a mock-up of the cover last week and, man, was that exciting. The design has not been finalized, but it's just one more sign of the reality of it all. I imagine I'll be no less excited when the actual book is published.
Hi, everyone. One last question of the day (until my next QOTD): did you write your own vows? I know in some traditions there is not a lot of space for this practice, so if you did it, why? If you decided not to, why not? L and I did not write our own vows because it is not a very common practice in Jewish ceremonies. (In fact, neither of us ever said the words "I do," reciting the traditional Hebrew wedding declarations instead.)
So, guys, were you nervous about writing your own vows? How did it come off? Did you memorize them, read them, or make them up on the spot?
Thanks for your help. Remember to put your hometown along with your first name.
Neon Boneyard Girl
I was in Vegas over the weekend for a friend's bachelor party. While there, we went to The Neon Museum's Boneyard where many of the old Vegas signs are kept. It's not much more than a dusty lot on either side of a small street off of Las Vegas Boulevard, but the collection is amazing, from the sheer size of these signs, brought down from their place high above the Strip to ground level, to the condition of many of the signs, which range in shape from perfectly preserved to creepily aged.
I took a lot of pictures, so view the entire collection at my Flickr page.
My manuscript is due June 15th, so I'm in the homestretch of writing. I'm on target to hand everything in on time, but will have little time for anything else. Thanks to everyone for their support and for answering my QOTD's. More news to follow about the book, so stay tuned!
Today's question: did you go on a honeymoon immediately followig your wedding or did you wait a few weeks or months. L and I took a "minimoon" of only a few days after our wedding as I was starting a new job and L had just started a new job last summer. We were planning on a "honeyjune" for this month, but have had to put that off due to a variety of concerns, including the delivery of my manuscript on June 15th.
So, if you delayed your honeymoon, why did you do it? Was it money - some couples like to save a little after spending big bucks on their weddings - or timing? If you went right away, do you look back on it and think that you should have waited? If you waited, do you think you should have gone right away?
I'm in Los Angeles for a couple of days and then in Vegas for a friend's bachelor party. Posting and QOTDs will be light this week, so please check the archives and answer old questions.
Remember to include your name and hometown. I'd really like to hear from the guys on this one since the women had their say about strip clubs, so have at it! Email me or leave your comment below.