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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rewriting - Not as Bad as I Thought

44 MORE DAYS UNTIL HALF BLOOD PRINCE!!! I saw the clip on TV Sunday and now I'm more excited that ever! It looks like it's going to be the best movie of the year. I'm serious. :D

I had a bad headache today, so I'm probably not going to get any work done tonight. :(

Now onto my Monday article.

Saturday I began rewriting Andra. I just decided that it wasn't good enough to be queried, but it's such a great idea that I don't want to just give up on it. So I began the long process known as rewriting. So if you were wondering why there was no Snippet Saturday, it was because I was absorbed in my rewrite.

Why did it take me so long to start the rewrites even though I've been thinking about it for about a month now? Because I though it would be hard. Listening to everyone else describing their rewrite experiences doesn't much make you want to start, but I did.

And it wasn't as bad as I thought. I knew Andra was getting better from the very first paragraph. I've already finished rewriting the first two chapters and I'm halfway through the third. So how is rewriting done?

Well, I'm sure there are many methods to approaching the dreaded rewrite, but I only know mine. So it's one option, but remember: it's not the only one.

I start with two word documents on my screen and a spiral bound notebook. On the left of my screen is the original. Some people go with a complete and total rewrite when they're redoing a novel. I'm just doing a partial rewrite, adding scenes that need to be added, cutting those that are no longer needed, and fixing mistakes as I go along.

On the right of my screen is where I'm typing the new version. This way I can see the original while I type the new.

The spiral bound notebook is for taking notes on anything that needs to be changed, added, or that I need to remember. If there's a scene that needs to be added later in the story, I write down some notes so I remember. If I need to remember to add more thoughts, description, or worldbuilding than I write that down. If I'm cutting characters, all that goes onto the notebook. I almost have a full page of notes already and I'm on chapter three. Write down as much as you need to.

That's it. I just work through chapter by chapter. My goal is to do one a day and then I send it to my beta. They read through it and send me their suggestions and what they think. I polish the chapter based on the suggestions and then give it one last read through to check and see if there are any minor adjustments that I want to make. Once that's done, the chapter is ready to be shipped out. Chapter one has already undergone this treatment.

If a rewrite is what's needed to make your story great, then do it. And don't dread the rewrite. Think of it as spending more time with the characters you love, and just get started.

Friday, May 29, 2009

News of the Writing World

It’s been a long week. Only five more days until school’s over…Just five more days to get though. And two of those are exam days. Ahh the end of the year.

I got my learner’s permit yesterday and the first drive home did not go all that well. I was driving an SUV for the first time (I’m used to small cars. Like the Impala) and I completely misjudged the speed and width of my driveway. According to my mom I was very close to going in the ditch. I suppose the important thing is I did not go in the ditch, but it scared me and now I’m not in a hurry to drive again all too soon.

Plus my mom has decided to turn my relaxation before exams weekend into a cleaning spree weekend. Which means not only will I not be relaxing, not be at my cousin’s watching Valkyrie, not be writing, and not be doing any of the other long list of things that I need to be doing, I shall be cleaning.

Enough about me, onto the news of the blogosphere.

Events:

The winners of the purple prose contest have been announced here. Remember, the entries are supposed to be horrible. It’s purple prose.

Querytracker has another, really fun contest. :D Write the worst query ever. I’ve already entered mine. It’s great. I mean horrible. It'

Posts:

Janet Reid has a double hitter today in her Queryshark blog where she critiques queries sent in. It’s amazingly helpful, but if you’re thinking about sending one in, read the archives first and make sure you aren’t just repeating someone else’s mistake. Query number one here and query number two here.


Rachelle Gardner’s take on pen names here. I've thought about getting a pen name, but if I'm ever published I think it would be great to experience the thrill of seeing my name on a book in the bookstore and telling anyone that would listen, "That's my book!"

Post on international writers publishing in the U.S. I found it rather interesting even though I’m already here is here.

Nathan’s post on taking a chance on a young agent here.

Rachelle Gardner’s post on become a literary agent here. Reminder that anyone can become a literary agent. Especially those scammers that want your money.

Nice post for a laugh and a smile here. Go on, you know we all need a laugh.

BookEnds has a very nice post on movies and books here. In which news, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief and Hunger Games are both being made into movies. I can’t wait!

And that's all for this week!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writing Wednesday

It's been a long week...oh, wait, it's only Wednesday. :( Just two more days until the weekend. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. I have an essay due tomorrow that I'm supposed to be writing right now. I'll get to it, promise. Yesterday my mom lost her job. Again. And tomorrow we're going to get my learner's permit. Oh joy.

Writing...

Andra is much the same as last week. I'm still on chapter three. As soon as I get this essay done, I have some critiques that I must go through for it.

Shipwrecked is on hold. I'm still waiting for two beta's critiques and I'm considering asking for another. As soon as I get one back, the serious overhaul will begin.

Assassin's Wife is finally out of the mud and coming along slowly. It's quite dark so I don't like to write it much right now. Life is depressing enough without having to hurt Rebekah too.

No Kissing is coming along very slowly. I'm not exactly sure where it stands at the moment. I must get it back on track.

I finally gave into the voices and started Jump. It's been bugging me for about two weeks now. Been a long time since an idea kept bugging me after I wrote it on my list. I wrote 10 pages the first day and then it just kinda fizzled out. The general idea of Jump is:

Hannah just wanted to end it. When she jumped out the window of her family's three-story home she intended to end her life -- not end up in a coma in the hospital. While unconscious, she relives her life and remembers what brought her to the edge.

It's a lot of fun at the moment. I'm writing a novel in present tense for the first time ever (I've done shorts in present, but never a full length novel) and it's actually going better than I expected. There's only a couple spots where I accidentally switched over.

Well...I guess I'd best get working on that essay. Have a good rest of the week. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ideal Conditions for Writing

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!! I'm probably not leaving the house, but I'll be thinking about all those soldiers that gave their lives for their country.

And it's Monday again...which means tomorrow I have to go to school. But at least I only have four days this week. That's an upside, right?

I watched all the HBP (Half-Blood Prince) trailers, clips, and featurettes on IMDB yesterday. 51 MORE DAYS!!!! I can't wait...

Friday night I watched Taken with my family. Really good movie. I also added Valkyrie and 12 Rounds to my long list of movies to watch. Saturday night I watched Paul Blart - Mall Cop. Hilarious!

I read this news story yesterday. It's about a man that held up traffic for five hours while he threatened to commit suicide. So someone went up through the police and pushed the guy off the bridge. But according to the story he survived and wasn't really intending to commit suicide.

Yesterday was my rest day from running so today it's back to it. At least my legs have finally stopped aching.

In horse-related, but not writing-related news, Zenyatta went 10 for 10 Saturday while winning the Milady Handicap against stablemate Life is Sweet. Amazing race and amazing filly! I'm hoping for a Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra match race. Match of the decade that would be.

Anyway...writing is the normal Monday topic so I should probably get to it.

Everyone has a different environment in which they write best. It may take some time, but it's worth finding. These are my ideal writing conditions:

  • Music. Whether its from the headphones or from the stereo I need music. Sometimes I just hook up the headphones to my mp3 player and put on my favorite country station. Other times I turn the sound on for the laptop and listen to my playlist. Some people have particular songs for a certain novel, but I don't. I just set the playlist on shuffle and skip a song once in a while. For instance, if I'm trying to write a love scene, Concrete Angel probably isn't going to be very helpful.
  • Noise. I can't write in silence. I need music and sometimes the TV as well. Total silence just bugs me.
  • Laptop or computer. I don't handwrite unless I'm in bed or somewhere else without a computer and an idea that I have to write down before I forget has popped into my head. Otherwise I have to be able to type. Mostly because I can type faster than I can write and also because typing doesn't make my hand cramp up.
  • Inside or outside doesn't matter. I like to write inside and I like to write outside. I have a special spot in the woods next to the swamp that I've been waiting for the trees to get leaves so I can go back to sitting out there without the neighbors being able to see me. (That bothers me too.) There's another spot farther into the woods that's beautiful, but I don't like to go back there because I can't tell if someone pulls into the driveway and I can't get an internet connection that far out.
  • Chair or bed. I really like to write on my bed especially late at night when my mom's in bed and the lights are off. There's a recliner in the living room that works well as a writing spot though.
  • Snack. Usually a bag of chips if we have any, otherwise I'll take just about anything in the house that my mom won't miss. I like to have a snack with me.
  • Drink. Usually it's a bottle of water since that's what I drink most of the time. When I get lucky I have a Pepsi or Monster. Monsters are the best thing since computers for writing. Once I wrote 11,000 words while drinking one. I'd suggest drinking them slow though because once you crash, you crash hard. Stayed up all night on one once reading Breaking Dawn and when my mom told me to feed the cats, I collapsed on my bed and slept for three hours instead because all my brain would comprehend was that I was exhausted and needed sleep. And don't drink too many because they're "bad" for you.
Well I think that's it. Your turn to share your ideal writing environment. :D

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Snippet Saturday

Hmm I think this is the first time I've shared anything from my novels on my blog. This piece is from Andra.

Quick overview:
Claudia is the MC and Selma is her best friend. Selma has recently discovered that she can converse with plants and told her best friend. In their world, you have to be very careful what you say and do because there is a special police force ready and waiting to punish anyone that breaks the rules.

“Where’s your mom?” I asked, setting my bag down in the kitchen and looking around. Her house looked very similar to mine. Only the absolute essentials, all jumbled together in no particular arrangement. The house looked like its occupants were falling behind on the cleaning: dirt covered the floor and there was a thick layer of dust everywhere but the countertops where food was prepared.
“Working.” She dropped her bag to the floor with a loud crash. “Now come on.” She half-ran out the door and dropped to her knees in the grass. She stroked the grass with her fingers and I felt like an invader on the moment. I glanced though the open archway that served as a back door and through the window. Coast was clear. But for how long?
Selma was whispering to the grass, eyes closed, talking too low for me to hear. The hair on my arms rose as the plants around her obeyed her wishes. I could tell that they were listening. Flowers turned their petal covered fronts towards her, grass seemed to sway in her direction, and even the trees seemed to be listening.
I don’t like it. There’s something…wrong about this. Something unnatural. But what’s natural about this?
“Say hello to Claudia,” Selma said talking loud enough for me to hear.
I jumped looking down as all the plants turned their attention to me. The flowers waved a leaf, the grass waved their whole stalks, and the trees seemed to be waving hello.
“They’re saying hello,” Selma confirmed. “And the maple over there says you are a very worthy person to keep our secret.”
I jumped again, not sure what to say. There wasn’t exactly a procedure for this kind of thing. “Umm…thank you?”
“Don’t worry, Claudia. They’re trees, they don’t bite.”
A breeze whistled through the trees and it sounded like they were laughing. That didn’t make me feel any better.
I sat down on the ground. “So…”
“So, say hi.”
“Umm…hi.”
She giggled. “Oh, you guys are so funny.”
I glanced out the window again to cover up my confusion. Still safe.
“Why so nervous, Claudia?”
“I don’t know, let’s see. My best friend can talk to plants and at any minute we could be arrested and killed.”
“No need for the sarcasm.”
I rolled my eyes and jumped as a thistle whacked me. And by ‘whacked me’ I don’t mean I jumped into it. I mean it literally extended one of its leaves and hit my leg with it. I jumped forcing myself to stay put on the ground instead of running from the yard like my instincts screamed at me to.
“Now, Thesa, that wasn’t funny,” Selma scolded, wagging her finger at the thistle. “Okay, maybe it was a little bit. But what have I told you about hitting people? It’s mean, yes. Yes, she might have deserved it, but that doesn’t mean you reserve the right to go around hitting people.” Her voice was pitched higher and she was scolding it gently, like a young kid that touched something they shouldn’t have.
“Look out,” I whispered. Someone was standing outside the window. Someone in a blue uniform. He paused and entered the house. Don’t hyperventilate. Don’t look guilty. And, whatever you do, don’t say anything! He ran a long finger over the counter and wiped the resulting film of dust on the curtains. Then he glanced into the backyard and came through the back archway, stopping just yards away from where we were sitting.
“What are you girls doing out here?” he asked eyebrows raised. His crisp blue uniform covered a muscular form, a white nametag on his chest marking him as the deputy. A gun sat in the holster attached to his belt and he stroked it with one thumb. I flinched at the sight and my mind went blank.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing Wednesday

And once again we have Writing Wednesday. At least I'm on time this time. Even though I'm tired and itchy from the poison ivy I think I have on my right arm. I suppose you didn't really need to know that though...

11 days until school's OVER! Yeah, I'm excited. I'm so sick of physics, history, homework, getting up early, spending eight hours doing practically nothing, stupid assignments that I'm never going to use again... If anyone knows when I'm going to need to know who all the presidents are in order plus all their vice presidents, term dates, and political parties, in real life, please let me know so I can motivate myself to study for the test the week after next. :)

Okay, writng now...

1. Andra is completely edited through chapter three now. So I still have to read through the last 11 chapters, get critiques on the last 15, and then give it one last readthrough. I'm thinking September. At this rate, Andra will be my entry to Amazon's 2010 Breakthrough Novel Contest. :D

2. Shipwrecked - I went through the first critique I received from my beta and fixed the more minor things and made a list of all the major changes that may need to be made. Now I just need to wait for the critiques from my next two betas before I make those major changes.

3. Assassin's Wife - Coming along slowly. Some days I manage to write a half page or a little more and other days it just seems to be stuck in the mud.

4. No Kissing - I wrote six pages yesterday! I forced myself to sit down and write. I've decided that I'm not going to worry about length, characters, plot, believability, dialogue, or anything until it's done. Clothes however are a different matter. I do worry about those, but only because Raven does.

I've decided on a schedule as well. It may be changed depending on how busy I am, how forgetful I am, and whether or not I have an awesome idea or rant.

Monday - Some sort of informational article thingy. On writing and whatnot.
Wednesday - Writing Wednesday
Friday - News of the Writing World
I'm thinking about doing a "Snippet Saturday" where I post a short snippet of one of my novels or short stories.

I'm not likely to have any reviews any time soon since I'm rereading Brisingr for the third time. Because I love this book.

Monday, May 18, 2009

When Fanfiction Goes Too Far

I was thinking about what to write tonight and got this idea. Now I enjoy writing fanfiction as much as the next fanfic writer. I'm writing the next chapter for my favorite fic right now. It gives me instant gratification and allows me to exercise my writing creativity with someone else's characters. I love writing with my own, but sometimes it's just fun to borrow someone else's for awhile. It's like taking your best friend's new car for a spin around the driveway. You'll bring it back, but it's just fun to enjoy the moment. (Not that I've ever taken my best friend's car for a spin since I still can't drive alone legally.) If anyone has ever thought "I wouldn't do that. I'd write the ending like this..." then that's what it's like to be a fanfic writer. But fanfiction is all fine and dandy until someone goes a step too far.

Take the recent announcement of "Russet Noon" a fan-written sequel. Now Russet Noon isn't just another fanfic, it's an actual book that is going to be published by an actual publisher. If you haven't heard it here's the website and here's a news story. If you want more information, a Google search of "Russet Noon" receives over 200,000 results.

Anyway, Russet Noon is illegal. This story is written from Jacob Black's point of view and apparently picks up after Breaking Dawn. Jacob, Bella, Renesmee, Edward, etc are all from Stephenie Meyer's imagination. They are her characters and making money off of them in the form of a published fanfic is not only immoral, it's illegal.

Remember when a Harry Potter fan tried to publish the Harry Potter Lexicon two years ago and the lawsuit that followed? If you haven't and want to know about it, read here. I'm still waiting for a J.K. Rowling published Lexicon. Unless it got published and I missed it for various reasons.

Russet Noon is due for release in 13 days and only time will tell what happens. Just remember that fanfiction can go too far.

ETA: I stand corrected. The HP Lexicon did get published. :) Which means I need to go hunting for it.

News of the Writing World

It has been such a long week! Only nine more days until summer vacation. It's going to be a long nine days. Ahh well, at least it's Memorial Day weekend. I'm not going anywhere interesting, but I'll be glad to get some rest.

I've started running every day in an attempt to be fitter and hopefully try out for track myself next year. That's going well though who knew spending an entire winter inside the house on the laptop and then suddenly starting to run every day would make your legs so sore...

I was actually in a writing mood this morning. Unfortunately said writing mood hit while I was in History and, now that I have time to write, is gone.

Here's the News of the Writing World.

Events:
The QueryTracker Blog is running another contest in celebration of Querytracker's second birthday. The objective is to write a sentence with the purplest prose you can. The grand prize is a free subscription to QueryTracker. Look here for more details. And if you don't know what "purple prose" means, then check out the link anyway. I actually just learned what it meant.

If you're good at anagrams check this contest out here! It's another contest by the QueryTracker blog and there are some awesome prizes! I'm probably not going to enter since I generally am not good at anagrams.

Posts:
This one is first for a reason. Read it. Awesome post on over-shopping query letters.

Rachelle Gardner has a post here about getting ahead of yourself while writing and considering publication. I may or may not be guilty of it...

Slightly related to the above event, the QueryTracker blog has announced the winners of the one-line pitch contest here!

Mrs. Gardner also has an amazing post about learning to write here. Read the comments too as there is some great advice from published authors.

Continuing with the characterization article from last week, Writer Unboxed has a Q&A here. It's great. Seriously. Now I just need to figure out what nice quality I can give the "villain" in Assassin's Wife.

From our latest member at TWFT (Teens Writing For Teens, a teen writer blog that I write for along with a bunch of my teen writer friends), we have a post on voice here. I'm still trying to find my writing 'voice'. I hope it shows up soon.

Nathan Bransford and BookEnds both posted on the same topic: requerying agents, strangely enough, on the same day. You can find Nathan's here and the BookEnds post here.

That's all for this week! :) I'm going to lay here in bed and hope my leg muscles stop screaming every time I try to walk two feet. Anyone have an idea how long this lasts?

Have a great weekend everyone! I may start Snippet Saturday tomorrow if I can find a snippet that I find acceptable and if I have time. Going over to my uncle's tomorrow to watch horse racing on his flat screen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

News of the Writing World

Hmmm I haven't posted in a while. To tell you the truth, I don't have that many ideas of what to post. So if you have any questions for me post them in a comment and I'll answer as best I can. And if I can't answer, I have a lot of wonderful writing friends that I'm sure could. :)

Saw 17 Again. Such a cute movie! So funny and there was a lesson in there somewhere I'm sure. And if you'd allow me to have a teen girl moment, Zac Efron is hot. Admit it. Sure there are hotter guys out there *coughcough* Ben Barnes *cough* but you have to admit he's up there. I'm so getting it when it comes out on DVD. And NOT because he's hot either!

Today I had my last day of driving. Yay me. That means I can get my permit very soon and start driving with my mother. Oh joy. Driving on the expressway is fun though. 70 mph in a straight line, YEAH!

Um...there was something else... oh yeah, Harry Potter 6 is now being advertised on TV. I am so going to watch it at midnight. I am determined to do so even if my mom has to take the day off work to take me. I. Am. Going. :D She wants to see it too, just not as much as I do.

Okay that had nothing to do with the writing world. So why is the title "News of the Writing World"? Because that's what I'm going to talk about right. Let's see...

Fictional Faction, my very brutal (I'm kidding! I love you guys), I mean helpful, critique group is running a "Hook Us in One Line" contest here so check that out. The winner gets their first three chapters critiqued by a volunteer of their choice! Deadline for that is May 24th which is a week from today. I'm either going to enter or volunteer myself as a judge. Not sure which yet.

The BookEnds blog has an interesting post on prioritizing new vs. established clients here.

Nathan Bransford has a post on hoops vs. hints regarding query letters here.

Rachelle Gardner has a post regarding questions to ask an agent during "the call" that many writers dream of receiving here.

Regarding characters Writer Unboxed has a post here.

The odds of getting an agent by Rachelle Gardner here.

Oh, I love this one. Interview with S. E. Hinton author of The Outsiders. Did you know Ms. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was only 16 and it was here debut novel? I thought that was so cool. You can read about that here.

Also this week, the semi-finalists of the Querytracker Blog's one line pitch contest were announced! I didn't make the cut, but one of my amazing writer friends did! See the top 50 pitches here.

I know a lot of bloggers (well I know a couple of my top agent bloggers) do this where they post industry news from the week. I'm thinking about doing something similar so if you have an event you want posted, or if you don't want me to do it I suppose, let me know.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Writing Wednesday Late

Yeah I forgot about Writing Wednesday until just now. So I'm having it on Thursday. While listening to "You Belong With Me" at top volume. This is the best song and video EVER! Seriously, I listen to it at least twice a day. Usually more.

Andra - Edits are going slowly. I'm estimating that she will be back to querying by the time I go back to school in September.

Shipwrecked - was on hold until Andra's edits were finished. I'm not so sure about that now. Thinking about doing some editing on this one. It's looking pretty promising and might be my summer query project with a little work.

Assassin's Wife - I am so stuck! I need to open this one up and just stare at it until inspiration hits me like a frying pan to the head.

No Kissing - is rolling after a short period of writers block! I actually wrote a page today and as soon as I come up with a title for a fake date movie, I'll be writing some more tonight.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Uglies Review

I finished Uglies Thursday morning and I'm just now writing up the review. Tsk tsk. I also got Pretties on Thursday afternoon. I haven't started it yet, but I will soon. As usual, there may be spoilers.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
First in a series of four so far: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras
In a world of extreme beauty, anyone normal is ugly.
Summary:
Tally is about to turn 16, and she can't wait. Not for her license--for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellant ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world--and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Idea:
I love the whole general idea. The idea that you have to be pretty and that there's a certain way everyone has to look. It's just such an awesome concept for a story and works so well here.

What I like:
The plot is great. It's an awesome concept for a story and very well done here.

Characters are believable. Tally is consumed by her desire to be pretty just so she can be friends again with Peris, a childhood friend that has already been turned. Shay doesn't want to be pretty at all. She likes the way she looks. I really like David, a boy that was born outside of the society.


The beginning. Introduces the characters and the world to the reader right away. I already have a feel for Tally and the world that she lives in.

How they view the "Rusties" the humans that lived before their society was formed. As Uglies takes place in a future time, the Rusties are essentially us. It's amazing to read how they view us. Really made me think.


Of course there is the added plus of Shay and Tally's transportation: hoverboarding! Made me wish they would hurry up and invent ones for everday use already. :) The technology is pretty cool. The rings they use to track everyone, the hoverboards, the rooms that talk, and apparently the bridges also talk because they can "tattle" on anyone that crosses when they shouldn't. That's a pretty neat idea right there too.


What I didn't like:

Cliffhanger ending. I hate those with a passion, but now I've got Pretties. :)

Tally's behavior about halfway through the story where she's trying to decide whether or not to alert the authorities. She's in love with David and semi-happy out there and it takes her so long to decide what she wants. And then instead of throwing the locket over a cliff, she throws it into the fire. She just drove me up a wall with her indecision.


David and Shay's relationship which I'm not quite understanding. Shay loves David, but David doesn't love her back. So what were they doing before Tally showed up that deluded Shay into believing he was in love with her?

Overall:
I'd give Uglies a 4.5/5. I do love this book, but I'm not going insane because I haven't read the next installment like I do with some series. I will read Pretties, but I'm not all that anxious to start.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Something About Writing

GeminiWisdom had a question and I decided to answer it with a post in case there are anyone out there with the same question.

"Did you write all these stories at the same time? Are these novel-length? How did you find beta readers?"

No I did not write all of these stories at the exact same time. I'd be some sort of freak if I did that. Andra came first. Took two months to write, four months to edit. Black Diamond was started next, with Shipwrecked started soon after. Shipwrecked was finished first and then Black Diamond. I like to have two WIP because when I have writers block for one, I can usually work on the other. Of course if I have writers block for both then that whole system just falls apart. :) I do commonly have more than one editing and writing project going at once though. Like now.

Andra is definitely novel length. It started at 100,000 words and currently stands somewhere around 87,000. I'm hoping to get it down to 80,000 before querying continues. Some agents will hold a long length on a debut novel against a writer (but long debuts like Twilight show that, like always, things are not always set in stone). Black Diamond is more of a novella at 35,000 words. If I don't do a rewrite, then heavy revisions will hopefully bring it up to at least 40k. Shipwrecked is 50k which is a decent size novel.

As for where I find beta readers, most--actually all except for Andra's first reader--came from a writer's forum. Critique groups are also very helpful. I recently joined one and Andra has improved so much since then. A good beta reader is honest and helpful. They should be able to objectively read the work and offer suggestions to improve it. "It's good" is not an acceptable answer unless followed by a critique. There's always something wrong. You find typos and issues in published novels all the time. Novels that have been polished countless times by the writer and editor. We're all human and we all make mistakes.

Up and coming is that Bolt review and also a review for Uglies and the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Well, maybe that last one will take awhile. I'm still on cloud nine after reading the finale and it's going to be a while before I can come down enough to write a review that isn't entirely comprised of "it's awesome! It's the next Harry Potter to me!" Seriously, I said things like that while I was reading it. THE LAST OLYMPIAN ROCKS!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Writing Wednesday

A few random thoughts first. :) My internet has gone insane. Yesterday it didn't work at all. Tonight it flickers off about every five minutes, but at least it's working. Somewhat.

I have a new favorite song: You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift. If you like country music or Taylor Swift and you haven't heard it, GO NOW! Seriously, I love Taylor Swift and this is my favorite song that she sings. The video is so cute!

I also passed the written part of my drivers test today! With an 83%! Which means I have two more weeks of driving lessons and then my first part of drivers ed is over and I am officially able to get my learners!

The Bolt review is coming! Eventually...

Okay on to the point of Writing Wednesday...writing!

Andra - Is on hold. I hate the draft I was querying and have decided to do a full edit on it. Once that's done, then I will start querying again, hopefully with better results this time. Fourteen straight rejections are a little wearing.

Black Diamond - I'm thinking about a rewrite. Until I figure out if I should shelve it, decide if the current draft is salvageable, or choose to do a rewrite, it's on hold.

Shipwrecked: Still with betas. Which reminds me...now that my internet is back I should probably check my e-mail. After I get the replies it'll be revisions, revisions, revisions based on their suggestions, a final edit, and then some querying.

Assassin: On hold as well. I'm kind of stuck here. Once my internet stops giving me headaches I figure I'll be able to start work again. That two hours that got taken away by drivers ed really made a difference on my writing time.

No Kissing: Has been stuck for a couple days as well, but I'll start working again.

Until I can catch up on my Andra edits, most of my writing will probably be on hold for a while.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ideas, Ideas, and More Ideas

So last night I went to bed around 1 am or so. I was laying in bed, thinking about totally random things, and then an idea popped into my head like they love so much to do. So I found my notebook and pencil and a light so I could see and wrote it down. The writing was going so well that I actually got up and turned on the laptop which I usually hate doing.

I already have two scenes written. I would have more, but I forgot the third scene I wanted to write in the time it took to get the laptop on and type up the other two. My characters do not yet have names because my internet wasn't allowing me the chance to get online and find them.

But here's the general idea:

A young, 16-year old girl is not allowed to kiss anyone until she finds "the one." It's going to be a lot of fun to write. I can tell. :) No Kissing is a YA romance with a lot of humor mixed in. I can't wait to go back to writing it.

So, on that note, I'm off to find a name for said teenager so I can start writing.

I'll get that Bolt review up eventually, plus a review for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that I love so much. That will probably come after I get the final book *fingers crossed* on Tuesday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Before I Die Review

Right, sorry. Time just flew away with me again and I forgot I need to write up this review. Just remembered so I'm back to do it. And, yes there will be spoilers...

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Inside blurb:

Everyone has to die. We all know it.

With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most.
She's made a list, though--ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.

Butting getting what you want isn't easy. And getting what you want doesn't always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.

General Comments:
The book is amazing. It's first person present tense which really works for this particular story. How can it be in past tense after all when the teller dies at the end?

Plot:

I haven't read many stories about dying girls; this was my first. But it was amazing. Just the whole idea of the list.

Characters:
Tessa is the main character. I really empathize with her, even though I admit some of the things she does are a little out there. She really scares her parents when she runs off to do some of the things on her list.

Zoey is Tessa's best friend. She really helps her out with the list. But the list has some unexpected consequences for her. She gets pregnant as a result of the night that they spend with two guys doing the first thing on Tessa's list. After that, she becomes rather irritating. She doesn't spend a lot of time with Tessa and won't tell her what's wrong. It's quite far into the book that she finally admits to being pregnant.

Adam is Tessa's next door neighbor and helps Tessa out with #8: love. When she has her first time with a guy that she barely knows it's kind of "that's it?" And then she meets Adam. I love Adam. He's such a sweet guy. If there are any out there in reality like that, I'd like to meet one.

What I liked:
I liked the characters and the plot line best. Especially Adam. Everything was very well done. The emotion, the dialogue, the description.

What I didn't like:
The ending was a little confusing. With Adam, Zoey, and her family talking and Tessa's random thoughts. Plus, there are a couple of paragraphs that have no punctuation at all. Which I found a little odd.

Last Notes:
Yes there is sex. She can't do number one on her list if there wasn't. It's not graphic, but it was a little more detailed than a regular fade to black.