Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
I have college coming up and I have NO idea what I'm doing. I pride myself on having a sense of direction and you know purpose...but college is scary and big (alright well mine isn't that big but not the point...) and I'm going in blind. Big life transitions aren't my strong suit. I fight change. I understand its purpose, and that nothing can stay the same or the world would cease to be but that doesn't mean I have to like change.
Confession two...I a terrified of snakes. I bring this up because the other night my dad was watching some show and there were snakes. Like these people were catching them, for fun. And it freaked me out. So badly, it made me make him change the channel.
Confession three... Parker and Hardison! I don't even know what their relationship is yet, because I'm pretty sure they don't know but the point is they are together and it made me really happy. Like flail around jump up and down with the clicker in my hand happy. That is sad. I know but it is what it is.
Four, I maybe haven't woken up before noon for two weeks in a row now...don't judge but I've been working and then get home and have stuff to do so I'm up late. And then I sleep.
I think that is it. June was kind of uneventful. Uh how did I do?
Thursday, June 23, 2011
First and foremost I had Fred Weasley Fanfic, okay don't judge me but with the final coming up I've been focusing in on my favorite character and his inevitable tragedy. This is a SPOILER. If you haven't read the books by now well then, you missed the train by four years. Fred is killed by a WALL. Not okay. And so I have been conducting what I am calling the "Epic Reread" in which I reread every single Harry Potter book. Including all the little companions JKR came out with, such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Though the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. So I have been dabbling into the imaginations of others--Just for the record I do not read HP fanfic that is AU (it just annoys me because more likely than not the writing is not too mind blowing, occasionally I will find one that is beautifully written and therefore I do indulge), or where it is Character X and OC, I don't know I just prefer things to be a little closer to the original -- with a special focus on Fred, George, Draco, Snape etc. all my favorites. But especially Fred.
Then there is POTTERMORE. I tried to make this page my homepage but it wouldn't take, so I've left the window open for the past week, along with the countdown clock that was available on youtube, waiting for it to come online. I got my butt up super early this morning to watch the countdown tick to zero and enjoy the launch of the site. I love JKR have I mentioned that yet because that woman is my hero, and I'm pretty sure I'd spontaneously combust if I ever met her.
Next up are the things that may have placed me onto the FBI watch list...I've been looking up how to hot wire cars, pick locks, make a potato gun, forge Ids, etc...all for a new story about criminal life and things, I'm still just in the beginning stages so I'm not sharing anymore details than that with anyone but my critique group, (I love you girls!) and my besties whom I see every day--we write during school together so yeah they are my trampoline I bounce ideas off of them, and sentences sometimes I just can't form sentences without them.
Then there was the Amazon pages. I've been living on Amazon forever, and recently it seems like I spend even more time browsing pages looking up new books I've heard of and searching for books that might catch my eye or help me to improve my writing (you can always find room for improvement!). So there is like at least two hundred items on my Amazon recently searched/viewed list, and I'm pretty sure that was just from like the last few days.
That is my search engine confession...what's yours?
Friday, June 17, 2011
I’m not exactly a world class conversationalist, so it isn’t surprising that I suck at dialog. Then again apparently, I’m not a lone. I was surprised to learn that a lot of people struggle with dialogue. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
One of the problems for me is that there is a lot of advise floating around out there about writing good dialogue. I’m in desperate need of that advise, but sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s just blowing steam and who can actually help. Take this quote for example…
"The best way to send information is to wrap it up in a person."
- Robert Oppenheimer
It sounds like solid writing advise, and the name sounds somewhat familiar, so my first instinct was that his opinions must be relevant. Wrong. It turns out Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Manhattan Project during World War II. He helped create the atomic bomb not the great American novel. So chances are he isn’t going to be able to help me.
Then there are the articles that are helpful just not in the right way. They’re written by published authors. They have bullet points. Everything points at them offering you good information, so you start reading. It isn’t until you get half way through the incredibly long article that you realize that while the tips are helpful in making the dialogue count they just don’t actually help you write the dialog in the first place.
Finally there are the article that look helpful but really aren’t. They have bullet points too. They’re at the top of the Google list, and they’re peer based. What could be better? A lot depending on the peers. Just because someone claims to know how to write good doesn’t mean that they can actually help you write good dialog. It’s one of those cases where the phrase “those who can do and those who can’t teach” really comes back to bite the reader. Someone who’s clueless isn’t always the best teacher.
“You can't worry about what your mother will think of your fiction.”
-Terence M. Green's
Some of the best advise I’ve found on writing dialog hasn’t come from Googling “how to write good dialogue in a story.” It’s come from Googling authors who’ve written Newberry Medal Winners, Caldicot Award Winners, and Hugo Award Winners. Now those guys know how to write amazing dialogue, and in a lot of cases they’re willing to give some helpful hints those of us who struggle with dialogue (or any number of other writing corner stones).
The most helpful article by far I’ve found was written by Robert J. Sawyer. He didn’t just talk about what should come before and after dialogue or the importance of making it short. He went into detail about how people talk and how to take the canned stuff our minds create and turn it into something a real person would say. He ever covered using swear words in, which gives him major brownie points in my book.
Anyway, happy hunting, and if you find any good tips out there please pass them back my way.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
It’s been a long time since I read a book that pulled me in so absolutely. From the cover to the story line to the character to the pacing Wake truly is a work of art.
Robert Sawyer took the phrase “all good things comes to those who wait” to heart when setting out the pacing for his story. Caitlin doesn’t immediately get her sight back as soon as she gets the implant, and Webmind doesn’t pop into existence as a fully formed sentient genius. They both have to go through a lot of trial and error to progress to the next step in their journeys, and sometimes it’s only by blind luck that they make it to the next step at all. If it weren’t for these realistic bouts of trial and error the two of them would never have discovered each other, and their struggles go to show that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination although the destination was pretty darn important too.
I also found the secondary characters captivating. They weren’t stock characters. Each one was unique and real. There was the research scientist who loves Abba and who traveled half way around the world, leaving his family behind, to help Caitlin. I especially loved the way Sawyer developed the characters over time. He started by introducing us to them without visual descriptions, and then as Caitlin ability to perceive the world changes so does her perception of the people in her life.
My favorite parts were Caitlin’s interactions with her dad. She spent the first part of the book wondering why he was so distant and trying to connect with, and it wasn’t until much later that it was finally reveled why it was so difficult for them to connect. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so I’m not going to say what the difficulty was, but it was a dynamic that really hit close to home for me. Major plot arc aside I’d recommend Wake based solely on that dynamic.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Warlocks with dark spells, hunters with deadly aim, and bakers with ovens retro-fitted for baking children lurk within these pages.
But if you dare,
Follow Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into the wilds—where magic, terror, and a little bit of humor shine like white pebbles lighting the way.
Come on in. It may be frightening, and it’s certainly bloody, but, unlike those other fairy tales you know, this one is true.
Once upon a time, you see, fairy tales were awesome.
I loved this book. From the first page I was hooked, laughing, gasping, and crinkling my nose in disgust. This book has it all! My favorite parts were when the author himself would cut in during the story to offer his own bits of humorous wisdom or advice. This book would be great to read aloud at bedtime or in the classroom and I think it would delight both kids and adults alike! I'm 22 and in college and I loved it! What's awesome about this book is that Adam takes familiar (and not so familiar) fairytales and turns them upside down to create a story full of action, adventure, sibling loyalty, a little romance, a little blood, and finding a place to belong in the world. I highly recommend this book! :)
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Here are my confessions.
-My bestie Olya and I basically did the yearbook by ourselves (Oh and this nice boy did the Sports pages) but between the two of us, out of say (and I'm ball-parking here because I do not know off the top of my head, and no longer care to) 13 sections, we did nine. NINE. Our editors did jack shit. They were supposed to organize and scan photos. We did that. THEY were supposed to set up the page designs for the other sections. We did that. They were supposed to get everything finished on time, and when they didn't Olya and I took it upon ourselves to finish the supplement. I am so pissed about this.
-My boss hasn't given me a weekend off in two months, and by weekend off I mean I've been working for at least a three hour shift EVERY Saturday and Sunday for six freaking weeks.
-I'm tired. Like could curl up where I sit tired and sleep, forever.
-My bestie, whom I will refer to as Callian is maybe getting on my nerves a little. I'm not allowed to complain about my job because it irks her, cause she doesn't have one. I'm not allowed to slack off and enjoy my senioritis because it bothers her. She gets to get all snappy and bossy with me but I don't get to do anything like that with her. I'm sick of it.
-I had to ask five people to my prom before someone said yes. It was embarassing, skin thickening and mostly frustrating. But it only gets more frustrating when you hear people takling about their prom dates. For example, while trying on dresses one girl was bemoaning the fact that she got asked out eight times. While scrambling to pull together a budget for my dress, transportation and tickets, etc., one of my sisters classmates got a prom dress for EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! And just yesterday one of my classmates was complaining about how he didn't have a date, and when someone (not me) inquired if he'd asked anyone the answer was no. And it pissed me off because you don't get to complain if you didn't even try. UGH.
Was that enough confessions for today? I can't think of anymore at the moment but if I do I'll add them in later. Please forgive me for that rant, I do apologize.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
1. Next November I get to guide 20+ fifth graders through NaNoWriMo.
2. I’m taking my first creative writing class this summer.
3. As a goodbye present my students and their parents made me a book where the students each answered three questions about me. According to my first and second graders when I’m not at school I spend all my time either in classes of my own, baking cookies for them, and coming up with cool things for them to do. My greatest desire is to own more fish and have millions of children, and the best thing about me is that I say funny things.
4. My birthday was hell, so from here on out I have decided to ignore its existence completely.
5. After spending an hour looking for a good sci-fi book for a struggling second grade reader who loves Star Wars I have come to the conclusion that there aren’t any, and I may just have to write one myself. I’m thinking of something along the lines of Arthur only in space and with shootouts.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
2. Come join me for JuNoWriMo, where you choose your own writing goals (word count goals, revision goals, etc.) for the month of June, starting tomorrow!
3. My new favorite show on T.V. is Mercy, it's addicting! Check it out on Netflix!
4. I think I've finally discovered a method that will help me make first drafting fun and structured at the same time: The Outline-Pantser Hybrid Method!
5. I'm in awe of Nova Ren Suma (author of Imaginary Girls) and her amazing path to publication! Check out her bio and the links within it to learn more about her inspiring journey!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This is the schedule of a typical week for me, and you can find it in various forms in about five places around my room.
However, as you may have noticed my schedule only has four colors on it: school, work, family, and everything else. I have managed to manage myself straight out of a personal life. I may get everything done that I need to get done, but that’s about it.
I’ll make the schedule. I’ll follow it to the letter, but just because I like having a schedule and am good at making them doesn’t mean I like its contents. May be one day my writing time won’t be in the same boxes as breakfast and dinner and I won’t have to schedule family dinners just so I don’t forget my brother exists. But for now I do, and that’s what I hate about effective time management.
Take my blog posts, for example: My post day for this blog is every Tuesday. Do I ever post on time?
Like this afternoon, I knew I had to do a post today and I almost took advantage of the fact that it was still early in the day and wrote my post so that I would get it done on time, but did that end up happening? Obviously not, because, like what usually happens, is I think about completing the task for a second, but then immediately after that I get sidetracked by something else, like blog surfing, lol.
So, since I get easily sidetracked and distracted, things that I know I should be doing get put on the back burner for things that I would rather be doing. It's a vicious cycle and affects every aspect of my life, like exercising, homework, and, of course, writing.
I know writing should be categorized in the Things I'd Rather Be Doing category, but for months now its felt like such a chore, an obligation, and I hate that. Lately, I've been trying to make it more of a priority by starting word wars, making schedules and even forcing myself to get out of the house and go to my favorite coffee shop to write, but even that was difficult.
So I think, where writing is concerned, I can't make it a priority until I learn to love it again, or else every time I make time to write and manage my time correctly, it'll still feel like pulling teeth and that's the last thing I want to have happen. As for figuring out how to manage my time for everything else...wish me luck! :P
How about you? Are you good at time management and balancing writing with life's other demands? Any tips? Lemme know in the comments!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I walked right by this cover because it looked busy and confusing,
Then again when I first read this book it was part of a Reader's Digest big book, so by the time I went to get a stand alone copy I would have bought it regardless of the cover.
As I hope this illustrates I'm such a fickle cover girl that the only time I don't pay attention to the cover is if a) I've already read the book, or b) I didn't buy the book myself. Otherwise if it doesn't have an intriguing cover chances are I won't be buying it.
I feel so petty :(
Clearly, these lucky authors have struck gold and won the cover lottery! I can only hope that the cover for my future published book will be half as amazing as these ones! What are some of your fav book covers? :)
Friday, May 13, 2011
I favor my environment, there are a few places in my world that I love--small little towns I retreat to when I have the chance, high up in the mountains on the edges of the East Coast. I love writing about the places I feel comfortable in, and therefore I favor placing my characters into those kinds of places, quaint towns full of vibrant color, granted they aren't always filled with the nicest people (not my experience btw, just how it works out not every town is filled with all nice people) but they are just like the places I consider to be my other homes.
I write myself into my characters in different ways. I want tattoos and piercings. But I don't have them, something that permanent terrifies me and I will not tattoo my body unless my tattoo will mean something, something that will stay with me and mean something forever. So all those of the cuff whim tattoos I'd like well they get bestowed upon my characters, and all those pieceings that a to-be teacher can't have, well those are the piercings that end up all over the bodies of my characters.
But physical aspects aren't just how I incorperate myself into my characters. I am not perfect, far far far far far far far from it, and I write my flaws into my characters, my horrible streak of not knowing when to shut the hell up, rash decisions, nasty hateful thoughts, even sometimes violent urges (which for the record I do NOT act upon, but sometimes people are bitchy and you just want to punch them in the face. I cannot be the only person on the face of the planet who feels this way sometimes.) And the good, or at least the pieces of my personality that I think are positive.
My characters also have a lot more freedom than I do, or if they don't they make it for themselves. not that I don't have a lot of freedom in general just I can't take off whenever I want, or do shit on a whim, I have a job, friends, a family, and even though I'm tempted to--I cannot just take off and do whatever. They also have the courage to do things that sometimes make me feel nervous or things that I'm too afraid to do myself.
I also write other people into my stories, people I people watch, people I actually know, not like verbatim but I take things about them that I like and add it in, or things that I don't like. So please do not walk away from this post with the idea that I write actually live people into my stories. Every character I write is purely FICTIONAL, however I steal aspects of personalities from real live people I know/encounter.
People watching is fun, and leaves room for a shitload of inspiration, just saying.
Uh I think I've covered all my bases about writing reality into fiction. Or at least I hope I have.
Sorry this is a day late, Blogger wouldn't let me on yesterday. Have a nice weekend peoples!!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
My chosen profession is somewhat… restrictive in terms of self expression. Not presenting yourself in a certain way can result in not having a job, and for the most part I’m fine with that. However, there’s a part of me that will never be alright with having to dress and act a certain way, and that’s the part of me that I write into my work.
Basically, my main characters are the person I wish I could be. They…
- have a funky sense of humor.
- voice unique opinions on just about everything.
- live unconventional lives.
- express themselves through their clothing.
- do not have a typical hair color/style.
- are pierced and/or tattooed.
- aren’t afraid to stand out.
1. I want to be skinny
2. I want to have my first kiss
3, Go on my first date
4. Be athletic
5. Be musical
6. Live in a farmhouse
7. Have awesome paranormal abilities :)
So when I'm trying to come up with a new story idea or plot or character, I just choose from my long list of of hopes and dreams and wants and add one or many to my story and then go from there, because if I'm writing about something that I long for personally, then I'm much more willing to keep writing (and living vicariously through my work)! :)
Friday, May 6, 2011
(I would have given them bonus points if they changed it to Funde'metals', ha ha.) <--please excuse me, it's finals week.
Anywho, this may seem like an off the wall selection, but not as off as you might think.
Ever heard the expression, write what you know? I have about a million times. What happens though if you have the perfect solution to your plot problem but it means 'Mike' who used to work at a desk job, actually has to work in a motocycle shop for everything to work out? Give up? NEVER! Your solution is to buy a textbook.
Text books can come in every variety but there's one thing that makes them different than any random information you could dig up on mororcyle shops on the internet:
It's guarenteed to be correct. That, my friends is worth the expense.
I'm the first to complain about a teacher who insists on the newest version because on page 88 they changed "a" to "the." It's a pain for poor college students like me, but it means great news for writers like you. It floods the book markets with college textbooks just a year or so old and sells them cheap. (We're talking 20 bucks a pop or less on some) Most of the time they just change a couple pictures or a phrase here or there. 99% of the time the information is the same.*
Friday, April 29, 2011
No, I am not in love with someone in jail.
I am in love with two characters though who happen to be convicts in a show.
One guy who has a sketchy past gets set up and convicted of a murder he didn't commit. He has this brother who plots out their escape, tattoos it on his body and then pulls off the biggest jail escape of all fictional time. Through the next part in the television series the brothers are on the run and go through extreme obstacles in their search for the truth, justice, and a normal life.
I am in no way influencing you to take the law into your own hands or do any crime at all.
I am inflewancing (or trying rather) to take another look at your characters.
Here's what I've learned from the show:
- Keep true to what your characters would and wouldn't do.
- Completely flesh out your character's family background. This will tell you the lengths they'll go to help not only family, but also their friends.
- Keep them working. Do not give the characters or yourself the easy way out.
- Make it original.
- Throw in realistic curve balls.
- Don't forget the love.
- Get them in some trouble.
- Don't make them perfect.
- Have your characters make mistakes.
- Make them real.
You can see the series online at Netflix.com or Hulu.com Also, you get to see Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller (among others). Not a bad thing in my book. Seriously, look at those eyes. If this isn't character inspiration I don't know what is.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
1. Watching the movie Enchanted makes me believe in fairytales and true love again :)
2. I'm actually really excited about the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday! I've never watched one live on T.V. before!
3. Last night, at exactly 1 A.M., I finished watching the complete series of Veronica Mars and I couldn't be more sad that it's over. :( Kieth and Veronica Mars had the best father-daughter relationship I've ever seen and I will miss the show terribly. It's so wrong that it had to end after only 3 seasons! Veronica Mars FOREVER!
4. I'm seriously considering trying to write something in a teenage boy's POV...wish me luck!
Friday, April 22, 2011
While there's nothing I really HATE to write (except for maybe nonsensical essays with no room for creativity), there is one thing I don't enjoy writing as much. What? You ask, not enjoy writing something? BLASPHEME!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Every time I get to a kissing scene I freeze because I have no experience whatsoever to draw from. Oh, I can fake the emotional stuff like the warm fuzzes, the little light headed buzz, and the surrealness of the situation. It’s the physical stuff and the mechanics of kissing that get me.
If you’ve already had your first kiss the whole process probably doesn’t seem all that complex and mysterious to you, but from where I’m standing it’s like this huge brain teaser that I have no idea how to solve. I don’t even know where to start. What does it feel like to be pressed against someone? What does it taste like? Does it even taste, or is it a naive assumption that it would? How do you know when to kiss someone and when not to? Do you just smush your lips together or is there more to it than that?
Over Christmas Break I went so far as to try to remedy the situation by getting my first kiss, but it didn’t end so well. I felt like it wouldn’t be smart to just randomly kiss a guy in case they got the wrong idea, so I decided to ask the men I knew if they’d help me out. My ex thought I wanted to get back together, a friend from high school was all for it but only if I’d date him, and a socially awkward family friend actually had an anxiety attack.
After those lovely experiences I’m back to avoiding kissing scenes like the plague and faking it when every other alternative fails.
Does anyone out there have any advice on writing a kissing scene for someone with no personal experience?
1. Settings: This one is so hard, I never know where my stories are going to take place, so I just avoid mentioning a specific setting until after the rough draft is finished.
2. Opposite sex MCs: I have a love-hate relationship with this one, because I love the idea of writing a story from a male point of view, since my MCs are almost always female and it'd be fun to switch things up and try something new, but I'm always so afraid of making my male MC sound "girlish". Lately though, I've been wrestling with this one since I've stumbled across some new books (THROUGH TO YOU by Emily Hainsworth and TEMPEST by Julie Cross) where the author is female and their MC is male and the stories and male MCs sound fascinating, and it sounds like the authors had a lot of fun writing from the male POV, so I'm reconsidering giving it a shot! :) *quakes with nervousness*
3. Sex scenes: I have no problem reading them, but writing them...no thank you. I don't know the first thing about writing scenes like this, and I'd be afraid of it coming off as unrealistic, plus, I have way too much fun writing about first kisses, anyway. 'Cause really, is there anything better then a perfect (or not so perfect) first kiss? :)
4. Writing a story from multiple POVs: I have the same feeling about this one that I do about writing opposite sex MCs. I love the idea of it, but when it comes to the execution... :P There are some authors however who do this very well, like Jackson Pearce (As You Wish, Sisters Red), who seems to be able to eff0rtlessly switch from one character's head to the next without breaking a sweat, it's amazing and I want to be (and write like) her when I grow up! I'd be willing to give this one a shot too though, so we'll see! :)
So, what things do you hate to write? Do you have any tips for getting over the above writing hates? Let me know in the comments!
Friday, April 15, 2011
1. People's first question is: Write anything I know?
They just assume it's published. A lot of people have no idea how complicated it is to get published. It's not easy. Then again, I'm preaching to the choir if you're reading this.
2. I have a strange enough "main" career that's complicated enough to explain without having to add in the whole writing thing.
I have one year left until I'm an official high school agriculture teacher. That takes some explaining like...why yes, I am a girl....I'll teach shop, welding, mechanics, horticulture, floral design, animal science, business, and who know's what else....that's right, high school kids....(and my favorite) no, I'm not crazy.
I've got a feeling that until my book hits shelves I won't tell the everyday person. My family knows, my closest friends know, and well everyone else....they can wait. (Except for you, you're special.)
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Now I am taking it on good faith that all you lovely readers are aware that is not true, in the slightest sense. We all know that what qualifies someone as a writer can be a three sentence fan-fiction that rocks your world, to a twenty seven book series chronically the life of a fruit fly. Because to be a writer, you have to pick up a pen and let your mind wander to wherever you please.
The reactions I receive when politely attempting to dispel the stereotype they have cast upon me vary, from the rare "Oh me too!" to the "Wow, what do you write like Twilight Fan-Fic or something? Because that isn't writing." (See people suck. Or at least people who don't really know you.) And once I explain it to them most people are just like, "yep okay whatever don't really care..." anyways, so some days it is just not worth it.
So as a high school writer I tend to keep to myself about my life's passion, unless someone else brings it up or asks and then I feel free to share.
I am lucky. I can say this a thousand times over and I fear still most people just wont understand. My parents have never been anything less than supportive when it comes to my writing. Granted that does not make them the best analysts or anything but it makes them the best cheerleaders ever. Never once have they told me they don't have faith in my writing. They talk about it to their friends like they're proud. My siblings get introduced based on what sports they play or which dance they love, I am introduced as the writer. They have no shame in it, and because of that I never have either.
My siblings are just as great if not better, they are the ones I can always count on to be brutally honest and tell me when what I'm writing is shit. And I know, unless we are fighting, they say it because they care. They have gone with me to Writers Club at school, even though they could care less about it. They get me copies of writing magazines on my birthday, they pick out cute journals they think I will love.
My family is my writing rock.
However, my family is not the norm. My best friend Kathryn is an amazing writer, but she doesn't see it because her mother has never encouraged it. Despite how much I reassure her a piece is good, and how many times our teachers confirm what I have already said she doubts herself, and that breaks my heart.
I believe every writer will come in contact with at least one person over the course of their life who does not react in the most appropriate or nice way, in regards to their passion. Kids in high school are the best example I can give you of this. Kids in Middle school were even worse. I was made fun of for it, and two of my journals, that I had written my first real "novel" in (though remembering about that I cringe because it sucked) were stolen, and I later learned disposed of because they thought I was weird.
I guess my point is that you can never let the haters get you down. Because lets face it, they are probably jealous you found your calling in life, and that you are not afraid to seize the bull by the horns while dressed in red, while they are. People react differently, sometimes for the better or worse. When they accept you, keep them close those are the people who will be with you through it all, when they don't just let it be. Your writing life and your personal life do not have to intermingle, it would be nice if they could but that isn't always possible. (I can write my novel while I'm working, no matter how much I want to.) Breathe, and move on, it is the best thing you can do for yourself, your ego, and most of all your writer's state of mind.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
There’s no simple way to sum up how the people in my life react to the fact that I love to write since everyone reacts to the news differently. To complicate my answer further some new people have wandered into my life and some of the existing occupants have changed their reactions.
Up until this last year I would have said my parents reacted about the same as they’d react to me saying I ate babies. The fact that I write has always worried my family because they thought it was a distraction that would keep me from a stable career. For a long time whenever I tried to talk to them about writing they would nod, smile, make a comment about how maybe I needed to ask the teacher for more homework if I had all this spare time, and take advantage of that statement to start talking about school and my future.
I hadn’t realized how much the situation had changed until recently when I mentioned to my mom a Writing Celebration Piece I’d written for a Language Arts class. Out of the blue my mom stopped me, and asked what my piece had been about. Unsure I hedged telling her it was just a character description before I tried to move the conversation into safer waters, but instead of letting me she stopped me again and asked if she could read it. She had never done anything like that before.
For as long as I’ve been writing my dad and my brothers haven’t changed their opinions on my writing, and their opinion is they don’t have an opinion. Honestly, they really don’t care, and they’ll tell you as much if you ask. As long as I get good grades my dad doesn’t care, and as long as it doesn’t keep me from helping them out when they need me my brothers don’t care.
Most of my friends are pretty apathetic when it comes to my writing. They aren’t writers, so it makes very little sense to them that I am. They try to be supportive by offering to read my work or giving me topic suggestions, but mainly they shuffle their feet and ignore it for lack a better response.
The exception to that comment is James. Whenever we talk he asks is how my writing is going, and he asks if he can help with anything. He doesn’t ask offer ideas or ask if he can read it. No, he asks if I’m getting stuck on anything and want to talk it out of or if I was having any problems incorporating the military into Monstrous. Also, he’d tell me about what he was working on, and we’d talk out scenes he was having problems with.
Then of course there are the Ink Slingers. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Ella was the one who got me back into writing after everyone else had convinced me to throw in the towel. Ella, Bethany, Hayley, Emery, and Bethany were the first people ever to read my work, and their support has made all the difference to me.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
After reading the back cover I almost skipped reading this book. It sounded like one of those corny made for TV movies about the successful person who hires the not so successful person to be their “fake fiancé” so they can impress people, and I was a little disappointed that Jennifer Crusie do something so overused. However, I really liked her work and trusted her as an author, so I bought it anyway.
Thankfully, the back cover sorely under described the book. Yes, Daisy and Linc pretended to be engaged, but they didn’t fall in love on their way to the altar. Also, unlike in the TV movies the charade didn’t stop at the altar. Daisy and Linc were too good for their own good, and even though they tried to break off their fake engagement the people at the job Daisy helped Linc get wouldn’t stand for it. Even though they still didn’t love each other they ended up having to go through with the wedding, but the book didn’t stop there. After they got married they were faced with the problem of actually living together.
The book was brilliantly executed with a great comedy of errors feel to it. The best part was watching the characters grow and develop throughout the book. Both characters changed drastically from the first page to the last, but the changes were so natural and well crafted like the characters themselves the reader may find themselves so rapped up in the story that they won’t even realize how much the characters have changed until the end.
Since Jennifer Crusie often collaborates with other writers on projects this was also a nice opportunity to see what her own individual writing style is like. It was very interesting for me to see how different this solo book was from some of her collaborative works and how similar it was to others. For example the style and sense of humor present in The Cinderella Deal was very similar to that of Agnes and the Hitman, which Jennifer Crusie teamed up with Bob Mayer to write. However, the tone and style of The Cinderella Deal seemed vastly different from those of the books she wrote with Anne Stuart and Eileen Dreyer.
In March, while on vacation in Mexico for two weeks, I had the absolute pleasure of reading The Liar Society by the famous sister witing duo, Lisa and Laura Roecker! Here's the product description from Amazon:
Since when do the dead send emails?
Kate Lowry's best friend Grace died a year ago. So when she gets an email from her, Kate's more than a little confused.
Subject: (no subject)
I'm here... sort of.
Find Cameron. He knows.
I shouldn't be writing.
Don't tell. They'll hurt you.
Now Kate has no choice but to prove once and for all that Grace's death was more than just a tragic accident. She teams up with a couple of knights-in-(not-so)-shining armor-the dangerously hot bad boy, Liam, and her lovestruck neighbor, Seth. But at their elite private school, there are secrets so big people will do anything to protect them-even if it means getting rid of anyone trying to solve a murder...
Sounds juicy, no? :) I've been reading Lisa and Laura's blog for a little over two years now, and their posts always make my day, so when their book finally came into the world, I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed! I love a good mystery and Kate's story kept me eagerly turning the pages. The grief and confusion she feels over Grace's death is so raw and real and something I could totally relate to, how everyone tells you to move on with your life and to let that person go, but you just can't seem to find the strength to.
I found it interesting how Kate totally reinvented herself after Grace's death, complete with a fab. set of pearls and pink hair! Kate and her story actually reminded me a lot of another teen detective, Veronica Mars. Both Kate and Veronica are spunky, outspoken and willing to fight for what they believe in and are always on the lookout for justice and the truth, no matter what the cost. But they also have a vulnerable side to them as well and I love when they let their guard down and reveal their true emotions.
And no YA would be complete without a lovable sidekick and a totally hot guy! Seth, Kate's lovesick next door neighbor, is a total brain, loyal, and always willing to help Kate out when she's in a jam. Plus, he loves to snack :P I <3 dorky/lovable sidekicks! But let's not forget Liam *swoon*! He's all mystery and definitely a boy with some secrets, but, try as she might, Kate just can't seem to stay away from him. He may be tall, dark and handsome, but he's also kind, funny, and not afraid to get in harm's way to protect Kate. But also, he's just hot! :)
So, if you like a mystery full of twists and turns that'll leave guessing till the very end, unexpected surprises, hot guys and sassy heroines (with rockin' pink hair) then The Liar Society is the book the book for you!
Friday, April 1, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
The mean people of the world can bring everybody down. K.M. Walton (who's debut novel CRACKED--about two boys, a bully and his victim, whose very different circumstances at home have led them to become roommates in the same psych ward-- will be released in Spring of 2012 by Simon Pulse!!!) has agreed to grace us with her presence and so a post about crafting the perfect meanie. She is represented by the epic Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown Ltd.
It’s hard to be around mean people. I'm not kidding when I say mean people suck. You know the kind: pot-stirrers, nasty thinkers, back-stabbers, hateful meanies, talk-behind-your-backers. And phony-baloneys are the worst of the mean people.
Well now that we’ve established that mean people suck let me tantalize you with this thought: The actions and characteristics of mean people make captivating characters. Don't they? We writers love drama and tension in our writing. Without the jerky characters we'd be left with Barney and rainbows.
While reading through the first draft of my first-ever-novel, complete with a really bad, bad guy, I thought – hey, why is this dude so bad? He can’t just be bad for badness sake. That would be so hollow of him. So un-interesting. The poor guy needed motivation and distinct character traits and some dang good reasons for his evilness. I went back to the drawing board and carefully crafted his personality. His quirks. Him. I gave the bad guy just as much attention as my main character. When I read the manuscript now he feels alive to me, and deep and rich with development, and not at all “Oh, he’s just a bad guy’ish.”
I mean, bad guys captivate. The dark characters draw you in. Imagine a world that cruelly hawked Star Wars without Darth, or Harry without Voldemort, or Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle) without her idiot parents, or Jack & Rose without Cal, or Austin without Dr. Evil...
I don't want to live in that world. No way.
I want my evil dude to be interesting and a little complicated. You know, like a real human being - even though he’s actually not a human being, but, whatever, you get my point.
But, REAL mean people still totally and completely suck rotten eggs.
CRACKED~Simon Pulse/Simon&Schuster~Spring 2012
TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (co-author) ~Corwin Press~April 2011
Thank you so very much Kate!! And to all our readers I advise you go follow her, her posts are always interesting and to be frank she rocks. So the only logical thing to do is go and read all her posts from here on out!! ~ Hayley
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Right before I got my undergraduate degree, I remember a girl in one of my lit classes asking the prof, “How do you know what new stuff is good to read? Where do you start?”
What she was saying was that she’d been buried in her classroom reading so long—so inundated with thick classics—that she was completely out of the loop, as far as contemporary lit was concerned.
She got snickered at, though—because at that time, in my hometown of Springfield, MO, she had plenty of bookstores where she could browse and become reacquainted with contemporary writers.
Now, though? My hometown has no independent bookstores. Not one. Recently, my favorite used store closed. The Borders Express in the mall shut down around the holidays, and the larger Borders is in the process of shutting its doors, too.
The loss means the art of bookstore browsing is dying—and not just in my hometown. Walking aisles and pulling spines is no longer something you can do on lunch hours or Saturdays…it’s something, quite frankly, you do online.
And nothing—NOTHING has helped introduce readers to new authors quite like book bloggers. Instead of having a bookseller who can recommend titles, we now have bloggers.
Bloggers have been instrumental in connecting my books with the right readers. They’ve been incredible to me, shouting my praises from Twitter, using their own money to pass along copies of my books in tours.
I know exactly how much work bloggers have put into helping to promote my books—and I’m eternally, eternally grateful…
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Part of a great Block Party is spreading the news about wonderfully awesome things and we have a great one for you! Tahereh Mafi is a 23-year-old author represented by Jodi Reamer of Writer's House. Her debut novel, SHATTER ME, is set to release November 15th of this year! We have the great pleasure of sharing a post she published on her blog (go here!) just a few days ago.
so this is a story.
it's a story about all the things you've ever wanted and all the things you didn't know you even had it in you to want and you sit there. you watch the windows and you wait for the mail and you jump up, alert, ready for even the smallest bit of news, something to change, something different coming your way, something to tell you your time has come. maybe now maybe in just a moment maybe even tomorrow.
you wait for it.
you open the doors and look outside and walk up and down the driveway. you check your watch and peek into the neighbor's yard and wonder why they never open their blinds anymore. you sit on the sidewalk. you smile at the strangers who stroll past, leashes laced into fingers clenched, concentrated on keeping the dogs at bay. don't step out of line, little quadruped. don't bark too loudly and don't jump too high and make sure, they tell you, they say make sure you sign on the dotted line and don't forget to file your taxes on time. wear your shiniest shoes just to stand in lines and fidget just enough, smile just a little, nod at nothing in particular and shove your hands in your pockets and pretend you're unable to make eye contact with anything but that spot, that little mark on the wall 50 feet from where you're standing. pretend you're just a number.
tap your left foot. shift your weight. tug at your collar and bite your bottom lip and take a deep breath. look around a little. check your wrist for the time you've lost and beg a stranger for a cigarette.
flip the channels on your television and watch the colors flicker and fade. pay your bills and play with the kids, touch the aging walls, run your hands through your hair and ignore whatever it is in your throat that you just can't seem to swallow. close the windows in your home and open the windows on your desk, forget all about outer space and lose yourself in cyberspace and click away the moments, the conversations you're not interested in having.
open that word document and stare at it.
wait for the moment. stare at the cursor blinking back at you and study it, try to ignore the bleats of your heart as you check your phone for no missed calls, no new messages, no news worth staining your screen. try to stop your fingers from running a marathon down your thigh.
tell the moment to jump off a cliff.
stack the dishes in the sink and shove the papers off your desk and cut the cord on your internet connection. lose the pleats in your pants. pick up your fingers and put them to work. catch the clock on the wall and put it in your pocket. chain it to your wrist. don't let it go.
don't wait for someone else's moment. write the book ripping a hole in your chest and seize the hours slipping through your fingers because it's now, the moment is now, it's right now it's always been right in front of you.
don't apologize for having a story to tell.
apologize for not telling it.
Thanks Tahereh for letting us post it! Go here to visit her in her own domain. (You won't regret it!)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
How to come up with a title: No Clue
This is what I do: _________<---big period of time where I wait for it to "come to me"
Part 2 of this post is a super awesome and amazing event the Ink Slingers are hosting all week long next week. It's going to be totally fun and really awesome. What is it?
FRIDAY: Surprise guest blogger!