Showing posts from October, 2009

Naming Characters

It's Wednesday again which means YA Highway has another blog carnival! I really liked this week's question, but before I start, I have an exciting announcement. JUMP IS COMPLETE! Final word count: 45,000 words! Which means it's time to put Jump and Hannah away for a month until I can start revisions after NaNo is over.

Okay now for the question: how do you name your characters?

This is a tough one. I don't have any set system for naming them, but I can't write a story without a name. Sometimes I have a name that just comes to me. Like Katie in ARML. Her name didn't require any thought at all. Hannah was the same way.

Then there are times when I can't for the life of me come up with a name that I like. So I turn to my number one source for names: baby name sites. There are whole listings of names for boys and girls. The best ones even show the origins and meanings of names in case you want to choose one based on that too. If you, like me, struggle with coming u…

Week in Short Two Days Late

I'm so sorry I'm late! I had one busy weekend. I wasn't home at all between noon Saturday and 9 pm Sunday so WiS pretty much fell to the sidelines. It took me quite awhile last night when I remembered to catch up on all the blog posts. So here is Week in Short, two days late.

There are three Must Reads this week. This first one is from YA Highway on the weight of words and sentences. I know this is really late, but here is Nathan's thoughts on first paragraphs and the winners of his contest! And last but not least, Hannah has her thoughts on word count.

Blood Red Pencil talked about ghostwriters last week. Back before Destiny was even started, I thought the only one of my ideas was going to be finished was if I hired a ghostwriter.

BookEnds agent Jessica answers some random questions.

GLA has the essentials of a novel synopsis.

Querytracker discussed the value of text to voice in editing. It really is a great editing tool. And unlike with reading your manuscript out loud, y…

Writing, with School

Ahhh the school year. The time when teenagers spent eight hours a day trapped in the hall of "learning", work hard to keep up with the homework, and enjoy extracurricular activities. But doing all that and keeping up with writing can be difficult. So here are some tips on how to balance writing and school while you count down the days to summer break.

1. Remember, as much as we wish it was otherwise, school should always come first. Do your homework as soon as you get home instead of *ahem* putting it off until a few minutes before it's due. This way you can relax and just write, rather than worrying about that history project or math worksheet.

2. Set aside a period for writing/editing. Maybe you write best after dinner or right before bed. Set aside an hour or two to unplug and just write.

3. If you're like me and you have trouble setting aside a specific amount of time for working, then at least try to write each day. As soon as your homework's done, open up your…

New Releases: Prophecy of the Sisters, Leigh Ann's Civil War, Liar

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink Book 1 of Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy

An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-

One good...

One evil...

Who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.

They just know they can't trust each other.

Leigh Ann's Civil War by Ann Rinaldi

Leigh Ann Conners is spunky and determined. Although she often finds herself in trouble, she loves her two older brothers dearly and would do anything to make them proud. When the Yankees arrive in Roswell, Georgia, Leigh Ann places a French flag upon the family’s mill. She hopes the Yankees will then spare the mill from destruction, but her actions …


Ahhh NaNoWriMo. If you have no idea what that is, you're missing out. NaNo is National Novel Writing Month, when writers sacrifice their sanity and personal life for one month in an attempt to write an entire 50,000 word novel. NaNo takes place during November, which means it is 14 days away. :D

If you'd like more information about NaNo visit

My name on there is (unsurprisingly) Horserider.

I have never officially done NaNo. Whether or not I actually did or not last year is debatable. I did start Destiny in November and I did finish it at 100k in December, but I didn't actually know about NaNo at the time. So this will be my first official year of participation!

Some things you can do to prepare:

1. Use a '100 questions for your character sheet.' (I've got one for Katie, my MC for my NaNo project.)

2. Outline.

3. Character bios.

4. Character pictures.

5. Anything you want, as long as you don't start the novel until November 1st! An…

Week in Short

Nathan Bransford had his first paragraph contest last week. The finalists were announced Friday and tomorrow we'll know who won. is hosting a query contest for YA, MG, and picture books. Deadline is October 31st and the prize is a critique of the first 30 pages of your manuscript.

Kody is also hosting her own query contest.

I recently learned that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (my favorite movie) is coming out on DVD December 8th! HA! I told my mom it would come out before Christmas. :D

Blood Red Pencil talked about redundancy and wordiness this week.

BookEnds explained why agents auto-delete mass-mailed and 'Dear Agent' queries.

GLA reminds us all about Google alerts.

Rachelle Gardner adds her on to what to do when an agent offers to rep you.

That's all the links for this week! Short, I know. I was surprised too. Now I'm going to talk about what I read and wrote this week.

I finished The Last Olympian, the final book of the Percy Jackson s…


Steampunk. If you're like me, you no idea what that means. You just know that it's some genre of books. So what is steampunk? I went to my resident expert on all that I don't know (Google) to find out.

Steampunk is a sub-genre of fiction set in past centuries -- commonly the Victorian era or the Old West -- but uses modern or sci-fi-type technology. Often steam power technology is also involved.

Some examples of steampunk according to this website:

1. The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

2. The Age of Unreason by J. Gregory Keyes (a four-book series)

3. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

4. A Nomad of the Time Streams by Michael Moorcock (a trilogy)

5. The Pesawar Lancers by S.M. Stirling

6. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

7. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman (personally, I don't see it...)

8. Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter

9. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

10. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

There. I hope that cleared that up for some of …

New Releases: Ash, The Georges and the Jewels, Intertwined

Ash by Malinda Lo In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

The Georges and the Jewels by Jane SmileyJane Smiley makes her debut for young readers in this stirring novel set on a California horse ranch in the 1960s. Seventh-grader Abby Lovitt has always been more at e…

RTW -- Rough Drafts

As some -- or most -- of you probably know, YA Highway has a new thing they call "Road Trip Wednesday" where each contributor writes a post on their own blog about a certain subject. Then you get to go on a road trip and read their awesome responses.

Well this event is also open to random bloggers. Visit YA Highway for more information and to read the awesome posts.

This week's question was: How rough is your rough draft?

The first thing I want to say is: all rough drafts need work. It's a fact of writing. I don't believe anyone in this world can produce a flawless draft on the first try, or even the second.

As for my rough drafts...well...they suck. A lot. Destiny's been through one full rewrite, one partial rewrite, and is still looking forward to another partial rewrite and revisions. Let's not even talk about the 100k rough draft still saved on my computer that it started out as.

Black Diamond and Shipwrecked are the same way. I refuse to even think ab…

Non-Teaser Tuesday

Sorry guys, no teaser this week! Like I said last week, Jump is too far along for teasers and Shipwrecked isn't ready to be displayed. Hopefully I'll be able to start doing proper teasers when NaNo starts up and I have snippets of that yet-unknown project to share. In the meantime, here is a short story. If there are any words that feel out of place, it's because they're vocab words that we were forced to use. But I think this is pretty good for a five-minute vocab exercise.

The women of the village were disconsolate as the men prepared for their venture. The men held themselves with confident mien though the majority knew they would not return. Their group was a multifarious mixture of young and old, strong and weak, tall and short. All wore shirts and pants of a lawny texture. As the women shook with sadness, the men doggedly set out into the woods after a denizen of its heart, a creature so vile that few dared to enter its territory alone. That night, as the women…

Edgy YA

Before we begin, I'd like to share the results of last week's poll. Summary won the poll with 50% of the vote, reviews was second with 25%, and author and cover both won 13% each. I admit to voting summary myself. The only way a cover gets me to buy a book is if it has a horse on it, and I still read the summary first.

Onto today's topic: Edgy YA. So last week my mom was talking about her story and how "kinky" it is. (Which pretty much means edgy to her.) But her book is adult and I've never heard of "edgy adult." So we started to get a little bit into the edginess of YA novels these days. Now, me and my mom recently read a book that has sex in it. It's barely mentioned and there's very little detail whatsoever.

And she was shocked.

Apparently my mom hasn't read YA in ten or twenty years, because not only is sex in YA not only allowed, it's pretty widely known. But her reaction is EXACTLY why she's not allowed to read anything I wri…

Week in Short

What a busy week it has been! I can't believe it's the 11th already. Not that I'm complaining. :D

The Must Read this week comes from our very own Kody at YA Highway where she talked about her seven deadly sins of querying.

Some big books are coming to the big screen in the next few years! Check to see if your favorite is on the list. :D Hopefully some of them will wait until 2011. I already have six movies that I need to go see in theaters and I rarely ever go there. The last movie I saw in theaters was...probably G-Force.

BookEnds talked about what publishers do for book publicity.

Editorial Ass added a glossary of all the main posts.

GLA discussed the bio section of a query letter and had a short interview with Nathan Bransford.

Nathan Bransfordtalked about calling books "trash." I must bookmark this...

Writer Unboxed has a post on how real realistic fiction has to be. It's a fascinating post. Now does anyone know if I can get away with medical miracles?

My w…

Weather in Writing

Today I'm going to talk about the weather. Not whether.Weather. And not the fact that the sky looks like it can't decide if it wants to rain or not over here either.

One of the things that the writer can do to make their worlds more realistic is pay attention to what the weather is like. I'm not saying describe the clouds in very specific detail and point out the one that's shaped like a bunny and the one that reminds your character of alphabet soup. (I don't know where that comparison came from either.) But in the real world, it's certainly not sunny all the time. Unless the MC lives in the desert.

Weather fits right in with the setting. Take, for example, Forks, Washington. Yes that's a real town. Who knew? (Please don't hurt me.) Forks apparently is the rainiest city in the U.S. That fit right in with Twilight since vampires can't be seen in sunlight. Forks was the perfect setting for them and yet there were still a few days of sunlight in the stor…

What Made You Buy It?

Sorry there was no teaser yesterday. I've gotten up to the point in Jump where teasers are no longer possible without requiring some kind of explanation or avoiding a major spoiler, so no more Teaser Tuesday for me for a while. My goal is to finish Jump (which has now hit 30k, yay!) before November so I can put all my time and energy towards NaNo, which I fully intend to do officially this year. But more on that when it gets closer to November.

So I was thinking while I was catching up on blog posts and a thought popped into my head. I know why I buy/check out the books I do, but why do you buy/check out the books you do? Think back to the last time you bought a book. What made you want to buy that book over all the other AWESOME books in that store?

To help me with this little question, I have created this cute little poll. Feel free to explain your answer in the comments. Should be fun to see the answers.

What made you buy it? Cover Title Summary Cover Blurbs Recommendation Author Reviews …

Back With the Last Two Weeks in Short

Sorry I've been gone for the last week! I had a ton of stuff that I needed to do and I just didn't have the time and wasn't in the mood to blog. But I'm back this week, though I don't know if it's going to be much better. My sinuses are all stuffed up so I barely want to move, let alone think about something to blog. :)

Must Reads: Nathan blogged about another of my pet peeves this week: telling vs showing. I was trying to figure out how to do my own post on the subject, but Nathan tells it a lot better than I could.

*bounces up and down* This second one is from GLA. It's the query that landed Lisa McMann her agent for Wake!!! I like the title now better than the title then, but it's fascinating to read and think, This is where it all began.

News: Rick Riordan announced on his blog that his next series (featuring Egyptian mythology this time) has an official release date: May 4, 2010!!!

I know this is a little late...okay, really late, but last week was Ba…