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Showing posts from March, 2010

Messages in Books

Like I said yesterday, books are influential. Behind every book is a message, whether it's intentional or not. Authors need to start thinking about whether the message they're sending out is the right one or not.

With the rush of bad messages coming through, I find myself thinking back to what my books are saying. I want to know that the messages in them are the right ones, even if they're never read by anyone but myself and my betas.

Because they're NOT just books.

Just like TV is not just TV. TV is giving out messages whether everyone acknowledges it or not.

Romance in YA

This has been a popular subject lately. I wasn't going to write about it since so many awesome people already have, but then I changed my mind. Same rules from yesterday apply: conflicting viewpoints welcome, debates welcome, arguments not. Yes, there is a difference.

YA has been featuring a lot of...unhealthy romances lately. Particularly in the area of paranormal.

There are a few different types.

First, we have the stalker boyfriends. You know the ones that sneak into the female protagonist's house and watch them sleep. The ones that never leave the girl alone. And she thinks this is CUTE. Awww so sweet, he's been sneaking into my house and watching me sleep at night. [Let it be noted that I too was one of the teenage girls that though it was kind of cute in Twilight. I am now ashamed to be me.] It's creepy. You know, they have something called a restraining order for cases like these.

Then we have the abusive boyfriends. The ones that constantly try to kill the girl and…

Negative Reviews

This week is going to be Tough Subject Week here at Writer's Chasm. I'm going to say things that I feel need to be said. There will be people that agree with me and people that don't. Varying opinions are encouraged. As long as you're opinion is valid and can actually be supported in a debate. No, I won't be discussing health care. You don't want to hear me talk about that.

Today, we'll be discussing negative reviews of books.

A lot of people seem to subscribe to the theory "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" when it comes to book reviews. But WHY? There are always things that can be improved in books. Sometimes there are truly horrible books.

What's so wrong about saying you don't like a book and explaining why? There's a difference between flaming a book and giving it a less-than-glowing review. There's nothing wrong with giving a book a bad review. Critics do it ALL. THE. TIME. If you can'…

Week in Short

Happy Friday! My random comment of the week is this video. Watch it, it's hilarious. Old Monty Python skit.
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The Must Reads are a picture guide to publishing and 25 character interview questions.

Contest:
Querytracker is holding a one-line pitch + first paragraph contest judged by Jason Yarn from Paradigm Literary Agency!

News:
"It looks like the new Camp Half-Blood series will launch in October, but when I have more details I'll let you know." (Riordan's blog) AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

BookEnds answers questions on submitting partials.

GLA shared 4 articles on agent pet peeves.

Rachelle Gardner critiqued a paranormal romance query.

Shooting Stars explained showing and telling.

Story Flip had world-building week this week with a house metaphor: foundation, walls, rooms, painting, and showing off the house.

YA Highwayinterviews James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner; and talked about character description.

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Unfortunately, I used a lot of my writing energy in Creative Writing cla…

Timelines

I have massive issues with time lines in novels. One day it could be Saturday and the next it could be Thursday. I tend to just make it whatever day would be most convenient for the story.

That's somewhat okay for the first draft, but at some point it has to be fixed. This is especially important in YA stories where the character goes to school. If one day is Friday, they can't be going to school the next day. The same goes with seasons and months of the year. Plus I have to take school breaks into account. I can barely remember what day it is in the real world, let alone my novels.

It's also a major issue in Three Days where the entire story has to take place over 28 days (not three despite the title). I can't lose a single minute in the telling of the story.

My original plan was to put all the scenes on note cards and make notes of when each took place so I could fit it into a time line. Then I had a better idea.

I Googled "timeline creator" in the hopes that s…

RTW - Author Career

This week's topic: What author's career would you love to emulate?

This was a really, really tough one for me. Every author had to go through a lot to get to where they are today. Even if their journey started out smooth, it didn't stay that way. I think it would be easier to choose an author who's career I wouldn't want to emulate than choose one I would want to.

But if I had to choose one, I think it would be Lisa McMann. Or Anna Sewell. Or Suzanne Collins. Or S.E. Hinton. See, I told you this would be hard. So why those authors?

Lisa McMann and Suzanne Collins because they're amazing YA writers.

Anna Sewell because she saw a problem and wanted to fix it. Hence Black Beauty.

S.E. Hinton because her work is still being read today. She was 16 when she wrote The Outsiders. It was something new to the time period. But to me, it was the start of Young Adult literature.

I wouldn't really want to emulate any writer's career. I think I'd rather make my …

Interview with Jeremy and Camryn

Instead of my usual teaser, I decided to interview Jeremy and Camryn, the main characters from my new WIP, Three Days. I've been planning on doing this for awhile now because I really need to sit down and get to know them better. Teasers might resume next week, I have to see where I am with things.

Me: Good afternoon, guys. Glad to see you could join me. Why don't you introduce yourselves?

Jeremy: (in his soft Irish accent) I'm Jeremy. Yes, I'm Irish, but I've lived in America for years.

Camryn: I'm Camryn, but everyone calls me Cam.

Me: We're glad to have you both. You're both spending four weeks of your summer at Sunrise Summer Camp. How do you feel about that?

Cam: I never wanted to go to the camp in the first place. I much rather would've been at home hanging out with my best friend, Rachel. But after I met Jeremy, I didn't want to leave.

Jeremy: I love spending my summers at Sunrise. I learn something new every year.

Me: Why don't you both tel…

Book Thief Review

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Happy Monday! (not) Finally here's my review for The Book Thief. The first and third paragaph of the review (the italicized part is the back summary) aren't spoiler-y, but the second paragraph is full of spoilers.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist -- books. Soon she is stealing from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

I've heard a lot about The Book Thief. It's been on my TBR list for a long time, but when i was in the library the other day I decided 'what th…

Week in Short

Another long one for me. The good news is spring is finally here *knock on wood because we're supposed to get snow this weekend YECH* and there's only two more weeks left until my spring break! I've been indulging my addiction for Shinedown's new song Her Name is Alice and recreating a liking for NSYNC from when I was in second grade. I'm weird.

There are a lot of awesome links this week, so we'd better get started.

Must Read of the week comes from the Intern who talked about the ten best things you can do for a manuscript.

Contests:
GLA's Third Worst Storyline Ever Contest is running now and will end on March 28th.

News:
Jennifer Jackson announced the release of Shadow Mirror. Not only does it have an awesome cover, but it sounds like a great book too!

Captain Underpants is coming back in August! I was a fan when I was younger, so I had to share that news.

BookEnds explains asking for status updates from agents.

Editorial Ass demystifies how publishers choose book…

Author Appreciation Week -- Anna Sewell and Markus Zusak

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Sorry about this morning's post. It was written in an exhausted stupor of Sunday night. Argh life. Drama = great in novels, not so great in real life. Anyway, today I'd like to honor two of my favorite authors. One has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. The other is a new addition to the ever-growing list.

Black Beauty is, in my opinion, undoubtedly one of the greatest books every written. And without a doubt, it's the greatest horse book ever written. Black Beauty was written during a time when horses weren't treated as well as they are now. There weren't many -- if any -- laws to protect animals from abuse and neglect. No matter how many times I read it, Black Beauty always has the power to make me laugh and cry. Black Beauty was always magical to me, even when I was young reading it for the first time. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

I haven't finished this book yet. I'm almost done so expect a review Tuesday or Thursd…

Rolling Stones

No, I'm not talking about the band.

I'm talking about the saying.

"A rolling stone gathers no moss."

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but to me it means a person that's living life isn't going to get bogged down by their worries and lost dreams because they're living it.

What does this have to do with writing?

A moving plot will keep the reader reading. If the plot slows down too much, the reader might start thinking 'I really need to do that laundry. The kids are complaining about dinner not being ready. I have homework to do. I have a dentist's appointment in the morning, I should probably get to bed.' Those thoughts = the moss. The moss = bad.

So if you keep the action of the story moving, it will keep the reader's attention and he or she will keep reading.

Did that makes sense?

No? Sorry, I didn't sleep at all Saturday night and I barely slept on Sunday so I'm still trying to keep up. It's not helping my coherence …

RTW - WIP Limerick

I apologize in advance for the horrible-ness of my limerick. I am not good with fixed verse poetry. Or really any kind of poetry.

There once was a girl named Camryn
Who was forced to go to Sunrise Camp.
She met an Irish boy
Who taught her to love
And turned her careful life upside down.

This is for Three Days. I didn't realize until I was halfway through that the LI is Irish. Then I thought it was hilarious and I had to do TD for my limerick.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone!

Author Appreciation Week -- Tamora Pierce and J.K. Rowling

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This week is Author Appreciation Week. I know I'm a little late, but I still wanted to do it.

If you know me, you know who'll be first on my list. Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite writers. She's written and publishers more books than I care to count and I have yet to find one that I don't like. Tamora Pierce novels were one of my earliest reads. I don't remember reading Wild Magic for the first time, but I do have a vague memory of picking it up off the middle school library shelf. And no matter how many times I pick it back up, the story never gets old.






And, a common theme this week while we appreciate authors is J.K. Rowling. Sorcerer's Stone is the first book I can remember reading. From the first chapter, I was hooked and I haven't looked back. I've reread them more times than I can count. To the point where Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite book of the series until Deathly Hallow's release) fell apart and I had to buy a second copy. Rowling'…

Week in Short

Today was a very long week. But it's over! And it looks like spring has finally sprung in my world. :) Also, my two favorite racehorses are racing tomorrow. Fangirling over them will probably have to wait until Tuesday. Especially since I'm missing watching the races live and won't be able to see them until Sunday.

Before we get down to the news of the week, I have a few things that I'd like to announce. There will be some fangirling.

First, OH. MY. GOSH. I must read this book. Agent Kristin posted the book trailer for Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles. I've seen it four times now. I swear if the book was out (April 13th!) and I could drive, I wouldn't even be here right now. For now it's on my TBR list ranked a 9. Which is pretty big because my scale is only supposed to go from 1-5 with 5 being books that I want to read the most.

I promised myself that I wouldn't fangirl over Twilight anymore. Or at least until after rereading the books after a year-l…

I'd Tell You I Love You... Review

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I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

At first I didn't think I was going to review this book, but then I just decided what the heck, so here I am. I was really excited to finally get a chance to read it, but it didn't live up to my expectations. The characters were fine. I really liked the voice. I just wish we'd seen more of the spy school aspects of the story. I feel like those elements were just brushed over. They were just there sitting on the sidelines and only there so the rest of the story could take place. I'll still read the next book, but I'm not ready to drive myself to the nearest Borders to get it like I am, say, City of Glass. [No, I still don't have it :(]

On another note, I would like to be a Gallagher girl.

Overall: 6.5/10

RTW -- Favorite Reading/Writing Blogs and Resources

YA Highway's question for Road Trip Wednesday is "What are your favorite reading/writing blogs and resources." Knowing me, this could be a long list, but I'll do my best.

By far the best is:

ABSOLUTEWRITE! I honestly think that no matter what your question is (writing-related or otherwise) someone there has the answer. Lurking or actively posting, this forum is a gold mine of information. They also have threads for most agents, agencies, and publishers where people can post on their experiences with them.

TWFT -- I may be a little bit biased here since I, you know, write for TWFT, but it's a great source of information for all writers, teen or not. TWFT stands for Teens Writing for Teens by the way.

OPWFT (Old People Writing for Teens) -- the OPWFTers aren't actually old, they're just older than the twifties. They have an awesome blog with great posts and occasional giveaways and other contests.

(W)ords and (W)ardances -- otherwise known as Jodi Meadow's …

Google Earth and Maps

OH. MY. GOSHHHHHHHHHHH! The first book in the new Camp Half-Blood series is written! YAY!!!!!! I can't wait! :D

They're not just for stalkers and getting directions anymore. You can also use them to get amazing setting description for novels without every leaving your home. In a lot of places you can even flip to street view and see the setting exactly as your characters would see it.

Jump is set in a half-fictional, half-real town in Pennsylvania. Three Days is set in a fictional summer camp set in a real forest outside a real town in Washington.

All you do is look at the map and start looking for places that would make good settings. I have various WIPs set all over the country. Pennsylvania, Washington, California, North Carolina... Unfortunately it doesn't do much good in the way of creating fictional worlds, but if you're writing contemporary, it can be a great tool to add to your arsenal.

Good news! (Finally)

Okay, so I had a doom and gloom post planned for today, but yesterday I changed my mind.

I was going to blog about how my writing wasn't going well, all I can do is obsess over whether it's good or not and what the outline should include. Then I was going to offer myself a challenge to a personal NaNo.

Instead I'm going to celebrate and then make some goals! We all know how well that goes most of the time...

THE LAPTOP'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, at this very moment I am typing this post from a makeshift desk in the living room until we can move a desk into my room. Unfortunately desk = no more midnight writes in bed, but I'm just happy to have the laptop back at the moment.

This also means that Week in Shorts will return! I'm going to start doing them next week because even though I have a half day today, I don't have time to read that many blog post. Especially since I'm already WAY behind on revisions, beta reading, and writing.

Goals:

1. Destiny …

City of Ashes Review

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I'm going to interrupt this scheduled post for a quick announcement.

The totally awesome Kody has an announcement!!!!!!!!! You can now pre-order her book AND there's an official release date! September 7th! :D

*clears throat* I finally read CoA and had to fangirl over it, I mean review it. There are spoilers so don't read the following post if you don't want to know some of what happens. If you have already read it or don't care if I spoil the book for you, by all means read on. :D

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
I'm not afraid to admit, I've had this book since Christmas and just started it a couple days ago. I was a little worried about starting after the rollercoaster ride City of Bones gave me. But I finally put that aside and started CoA.

Holy. Crap. This book is way better than City of Bones. It might be because I'm used to Clare's writing style now, but wow. This is one of those books that if I hadn't had school, I would've just read it i…

YA Highway -- Procrastination

This week's question is: how do you procrastinate?

This could be a long post. Or not.

1. Blogging. I'm procrastinating my homework right now. Of course I do all my blog posts on Sunday so I can't procrastinate-- I mean, so I don't have to worry about them during the week.

2. Cleaning. When I REALLY want to procrastinate something, I start cleaning. Especially late at night. I'm not really sure why I use cleaning as a way to procrastinate since it actually seems more work than whatever it is I don't want to do, but I guess I'm just weird that way.

3. Internet. Enough said. Facebook, hotmail, gmail, AW, various online games. Each one is a source of hours of procrastination. Literally.

4. Reading blogs. I read 50+ posts a day. Or I used to until the laptop crashed.

5. Eating dinner. I'll think "I'll just eat dinner and then do my homework." Two hours later, number 3 has kicked in and the homework is still sitting in my backpack.

6. Um...I'll thi…

Shadowland Review

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There are spoilers. I can't help it.

Shadowland by Alyson Noel
I definitely don't love Shadowland. But I don't hate it either. Right now I'm still debating whether I want to throw it against the wall or love it. For most of the book I wanted to strangle both Ever and Damen. They were both being selfish idiots. The only characters I really loved were Jude, Romy, and Rayne.

I'm still confused about the ending. It ended pretty abruptly with Ever getting herself in more and more and more trouble as the story goes along because she never listens to anyone but herself and I'm still confused over Jude. She slaps him into a wall and then just leaves. When she finds out that she might have been wrong about him, it's like he's not even in her mind anymore. Honestly I think I might like Jude more than Damen especially with how he was acting. He was being so selfish with the whole karma crap.

Oh and the whole spell thing, WHY didn't Romy and Rayne remind her that i…