Friday, April 29, 2011

Con Fessing

I'll keep this simple. I am fessing to a love of a show about cons, convicts that it.
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.
Prison Break.

Quick Summary:
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. 
I can't stress that last one enough. Bring a picture of them to your mind. Pause for ten minutes and consider what they'd do in every hard decision you've had to make. Don't make them paper. Make them alive until they jump off the page. I know, easier said than done. It's great to say those things and most of you already know them. I'm holding by the old saying "what practice can't make perfect, experience can."

You can see the series online at or  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

Tuesday Randomly Confesses

Here are my confessions for the month of April (in no particular order):

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

Hating the Action

Sorry B. Robison, not much of a PG-13 rating here today, but it could escalate so watch out!

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!

Super action scenes. 
I know and I'm even hanging my head in shame right now...sort of. Okay, not really.

Little action scenes are fine, it's those monumental, climatic, stupendous, make-it-or-break-it action scenes that really make the book superb that I flounder with. It's not flounder really, but I'm constantly tweaking them, constantly reading them again and again. I'm in constant doubt if it really hits the level that it needs to be at, hits it and then supasses it. It very nearly freaks me out. I mean, what happens if the only reason I'm feeling something in that moment is because I now my story well and I know what I want it to be, not what it is? What if I'm blind to the biggest flaw in the biggest part of my story?
This would be the point when I run for cover. 

Thankfully, I have a great critique group that tells me what works and what doesn't. What detail adds the right touch and what is a tad too much. (Thanks gals!) Without them, I'd probably be on my millionth rewrite of the same scene and in the end it'd end up in the same place, back in rewrite mode. (Not that I'm downing rewriting because it's rockin'. The trick is knowing when you've hit gold and knowing when you're still at iron ore.)

So, which type of scenes do you stuggle with? Do you know why? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kissing Scenes = HATE!

Even though it’s not the last week of April yet I have a confession. I’m 22, and I haven’t had my first kiss yet. Personally I’m getting a little antsy, but as an individual I can live with out it. However, as a writer it blows.

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?

- Aaron

Tuesday Hates Writing About...

For the most part, I love everything about writing, but there are some things I despise writing about, like:

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 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


I tend to keep my writing habit quiet for two reasons:

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.)

I'm actually considering just getting a new wardrobe...what do you all think? It might work?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Stigma of Being a Writer in High School.

Alright so it isn't so much a stigma as it is a stereotype I automatically get cast into by my lovely immature peers. A lot of people look at me and immediately think that I'm the teen who hangs around coffee shops with alternative music, black clothes and a somber expression waiting to get up on stage and read my poem about a scuff in the middle of my hardwood floor, and how sucky life is. Because yes they believe I, in fact I think they assume most writers, have the emotional rang of a teaspoon. And that rang only has one setting: emo.

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

Shades of Acceptance

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.

- Aaron

How Non-Writers React

This week we're talking about how non-writers react to our "hobby" of writing. I love talking about writing with with both writers and non-writers alike... It just depends where the talking takes place. If it's online, then I can talk till the cows come home, but if it's in real life, I freeze up and get super shy. I'm not sure why this is, I think it's because I feel more secure talking about it online because I don't have to talk to people face-to-face. If I'm sitting across from the person, I feel vulnerable, scared of being judged, afraid that the person'll laugh in my face if I say too much. As for how they react, both online and real life non-writers have been very supportive of my writing for the most part and are always interested in learning about what I'm writing about, whether I'm seeking publication and wanting to read some of my stuff. I love the attention, even though I may be a little shocked and embarrassed that they even want to listen to what I have to say on the topic of writing. There was one time, when I was writing at a local coffee shop, that I got to talking with another customer when she helped me carry my drink to my table. She saw me hunched over my writing notebook, scribbling away, and started asking me the usual questions that non-writers ask writers, "Ohhh, what are you writing?" and then, as she was leaving, she stopped by my table and asked me to write my name down on one of her business cards so that she could look for my name if I ever got published and read my book. :) I was flattered, to say the least, and hastily scribbled down my name on the business card. That was a very significant moment for me in my writing career because it showed me that even though we barely knew each other, this women was willing and open enough to believe in me and my writing. And that means more to me then I can say. :) ~Ella

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Love is in the Air... Sort of

Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs to have a fiancée in order to capture his dream job, and Daisy is game to play the role. But something funny happens on their way to the altar that changes everything. Now, with the midnight hour approaching, will Daisy lose her prince, or will opposites not only attract but live happily ever after?

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 fiancĂ©” 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.

- Aaron

Lair, Liar, Pants on Fire!

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

BLOCK PARTY: Building a Book

Stacy Henrie is a writer of inspirational historical romance novels. When she's not writing or blogging (go here) she's reading, interior decorating, digital scrapbooking, seeing new places, watching movies/TV with her hubby, joking around with her boys, or cuddling with her daughter.-Bethany

My husband and I have dreamt of finishing our basement since we moved into our house more than six years ago. This month we’ve finally taken the steps to make that dream a reality. Getting an up close look at my first real construction project, I’ve been inspired by how many parallels there are between building and writing. Here are just a few:
A Plan – The first day my DH and some of his buddies started on the basement, I was surprised to discover there wasn’t much visual evidence they’d done anything. Instead of throwing things up haphazardly, they had taken the time to plot out how things would look and what order to do them. Even though I’m a pantser, not a plotter, when it comes to outlining, I still need some sort of idea or plan before I start a book – even if it’s only the beginning and end, or a character, or a series of scenes.
Time – Like finishing a basement, writing a book takes time, a lot of time. And that amount varies from person to person. For me right now, I’m learning to be okay with the slow but steady progress I’m making. Writing a book, or building a basement, also requires sacrifice of time. If we want the end result, we must be willing to let a few other things go.
Friends – We would not have accomplished what we have so far on our basement without the help of friends, and gratefully, friends who are experts in things like construction and electricity and sheet rock. When I first started writing, I was sort of a writing hermit. It took some time, but I eventually realized I need the help of friends – friends who can see things I can’t in my own work or who are more knowledgeable about certain subjects or who can relate to the good and the bad of building a book.
Rules and Guidelines – There are some rules and guidelines we have to stick to in our basement project to save ourselves headache later, like compensating for heating ducts and pipes. There are a million rules out there about writing, but I’ve learned which basic ones I need to follow. I also try to pay attention to the guidelines in the genre I’m writing or the agents I’m submitting to. That way I save myself some headache later on.
Perspective – I think one of the biggest hurdles to writing is not comparing our work or efforts or journey to somebody else’s. Too often we’re comparing our framed-only, concrete floor basement with somebody else’s finished, painted, carpeted and nicely decorated basement. Too often I forget that they were once where I am now – the rough draft – and that my work can and will shine one day too.
The End Goal – This is probably the greatest take away from this project. Through all the time and effort and sacrifice, I try to keep in mind the end result – our new, finished space. When discouragement sets in with my writing, I try to remember why I started this project in the first place – my dream of being published and sharing my stories/my voice with others. It’s a dream that can become a reality.