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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Whip It Good Blogfest

Whip It Good Blogfest

Raise your hands if you know the song Whip It! by Devo.

Okay, raise your hands if you sang along to it when it was first released. Huh. Who wants to admit that? Yeah, my hand is still raised, sorry to say.

D.L. Hammons and Elise Fallson are hosting the WHIP IT GOOD BLOGFEST, in which participants share details about their current WIP. I was a little hesitant to sign up, since my current project is pretty far along, but D.L. encouraged me to join in and share the details, so here goes …

WIP Title: The manuscript originally started with the title GRUNSDAY, but was renamed THE EIGHTH DAY by HarperCollins with my full support. I got to keep the term Grunsday within the story, but the new title is more dramatic, as befits a fantasy series.

Word Count: With some embarrassment, I can share that the word count of the first draft was 99k. Yikes! The word count of the current version is 62k. Yes, that IS a lot of cutting. I put on my Grim Reaper robe for that word-slashing.  Although … you know what’s funny? In my editorial revisions, I had to put back a lot of stuff that I had previously cut and take out other things. Apparently my sense of what to delete and what to keep is a little off!

Genre: MG Fantasy

How Long Have You Been Working On It: The original story idea has been bothering me for a couple years. I started the first draft in April of 2012 and a had a draft to share with my agent by September. I did a round of revisions with my agent (which involved changing the audience from YA to MG), and the manuscript sold in October of 2013 to HarperCollins in a 3 book deal. I am currently awaiting the a third round of editorial notes before the book goes into copy-editing. The second book in the series already exists in draft form, but changes will have to be made so it aligns with the revised version of Book 1.

Elevator Pitch: A boy discovers an extra 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday and a mysterious girl hiding in the house next door who exists only on that secret day.

Synopsis: When seventh grader Jax Aubrey wakes up to a world empty of people, he does what anyone would do: assumes it’s the apocalypse, ransacks the local Walmart, and fortifies his guardian’s house against zombies. When he wakes up the next morning to a normal Thursday, Jax wonders if he’s lost his mind.  But his 18 year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, also experiences Grunsday, an extra day squeezed between Wednesday and Thursday.  Jax learns that some people exist only on Grunsday, including the girl who’s been hiding in the house next door for the last 35 years — her life skipping over seven days at a time like a stone skimming across a pond.


A mysterious girl who knows nothing of the regular world? Jax can’t think of a better way to spend his extra 24 hours than trying to befriend her.  But Evangeline is the key to a 2000 year-old spell with its roots in Arthurian legend. Jax’s guardian is her reluctant jailor, sworn to keep her out of the hands of those who would use her – and kill her if he can’t. When Jax accidentally leads a pack of human bloodhounds to their door, it comes to a terrible choice: face a real apocalypse or sacrifice Evangeline.
Are You Looking for a CP or Beta Reader: No, not for this project. But I love, love, LOVE giving feedback to others. See the sidebar for information about First Impressions, which I do every month — or come back next week to see it in action. And I’m also offering a 10 page manuscript critique as part of Project Middle Grade Mayhem’s 700 Follower Celebration.

This is a HOP! Follow along:

32 Responses to Whip It Good Blogfest

  1. Nick Wilford says:

    What a fascinating idea. I’d love to read it!

  2. My current wip is over 100k and I now have the task of slicing it down to around 80-90k. Hopefully I’ll have the wisdom to keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad, lol! Thanks for participating today, The Eighth Day sounds like a great read.

  3. Linda G. says:

    Love the concept! Man, I’d love a Grunsday of my own. I could use it to catch up on everything I never seem to have the time to finish.

  4. Robin says:

    Love the premise of The Eighth Day. I can’t wait to read it. And another shout out for First Impressions-it helped me a ton. Thanks for giving back like you do.

  5. deathwriter says:

    This sounds awesome! Not that it matters, but I like your original title.

  6. Pk Hrezo says:

    It’s such a great concept! I love how succinct the elevator pitch is. the story actually sounds pretty complex, so I bet it did take a while.
    I’m never good at slashing til I’ve had a three month break from my ms, then I come back and hack away with vengeance. lol

  7. Julie Dao says:

    Oh my god, Dianne. I want to read this book NOW. What a fascinating and original concept. An extra day? A mysterious girl next door? And Arthurian legend?!?! When can I preorder my copy?

  8. mshatch says:

    As someone who has read all those drafts I can assure you all that The Eighth Day is AWESOME!!!

    I cannot wait for it to be released 🙂

  9. Now that’s a book I want to read! Wonderful concept, and congrats on the sell. Super awesome sauce.

  10. DL Hammons says:

    I’m with Julie…where can I pre-order my copy?? This sounds awesome!!

    Thank you for deciding to participate today. I really enjoyed hearing about this. 🙂

  11. Tiana Smith says:

    Sounds like a super interesting concept! I’m totally intrigued by the idea of some people only existing on certain days 🙂

  12. This sounds so fascinating and completely unique. You’ll have to let me know when it comes out because I’d love to read it,

  13. Suzanne says:

    Sounds great, I could so use an extra day every week! Good luck with it 🙂
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

  14. Very cool idea. I am so impress with people who an keep ideas like this straight and weave a cool story on top of it.

  15. I’ve come across some really interesting plots today and this is one of them. Hope your edits go well when you start on them again.

  16. Cathy Keaton says:

    This idea is so awesome. I’m so gonna read this when it comes out and I don’t even like MG that much!

  17. Wow…another book I am going to have to read! Love it!

  18. I forgot….I was totally singing with you!

  19. Trisha F says:

    I love your book premise!! Very cool. I will definitely read it when it comes out 🙂

    As for long wordcounts, yes – I have a frequent problem with that stuff as well. I’m pretty good at the old slash & burn though. But your comment up there makes me wonder if I’m cutting the right stuff out.

  20. Incredible premise, and congratulations on the book deal — you be livin’ the dream, yo.

  21. This sounds fabulous!!!! I love the premise.

    I will have to check out your first impressions…… 😉

  22. Tina says:

    Wow, I’d love a grunsday to play catch-up, or to just write undisturbed. This is a brilliant premise! Best of luck to you. Thanks for stopping by!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  23. JEFritz says:

    I find something so creepy about an extra day no one knows about :). Your pitch and synopsis are excellent. Love the story idea@

  24. I love the premise of this project. Grim Reaper. Yeah. I so get that!

  25. Your WIP sounds interesting!

  26. Wow, that sounds fantastic. I can’t wait for it to be released! I’m also definitely going to check out the First Impressions.

    Lyre @ Lyre’s Musings

  27. My hand’s still raised…

    What a fantastic elevator pitch. So succinct. And clever. And I absolutely love the line about her life skipping seven days at a time like a stone skimming across a pond. So poetic!

    You know I can’t wait to read this book, Dianne.

  28. Tonja says:

    Hand is raised. I can actually see the MTV video in my head.

    That is a fantastic idea for a story!

  29. A kid discovers an extra 24 hours in the week? Yes I can see why this picked up publishing deal! Congrats!

  30. Cynthia says:

    This is such an intriguing premise for a story. I remember you mentioning the gist of this story before on your blog, and I’m glad I got to read a more detailed synopsis here. This sounds like it’d make a great book.

    The idea that someone’s world, someone’s reality, could be another person’s “fantasy” world makes me think…what if our world as we know it, our years and our days, are just squeezed in between the units of time of another being’s reality?

    I didn’t participate in the blog fest but I’m just swinging by to say hello.

  31. Deniz Bevan says:

    You hooked me even before the Arthurian link, and now I’m sold!

  32. Susan Oloier says:

    Grim reaper robe! I love it! From your elevator pitch alone, I can see why this has been picked up. Awesome, Dianne.