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Showing posts from August, 2010

6 Misconceptions of Non-Writers

I love non-writers. I come from a family of them and I was a non-writer once. I love to think back about all the misconceptions I once had about publishing and writing. Today I'm going to share and de-mystify a few.

#1: Publishing is easy
This is a common one. Before I became a writer, I used to think that all a writer had to do was write a book and it would somehow magically become a novel. I'm not really sure how I thought that worked but I was a naiive young writer back then.

#2: You make a lot of money publishing a book
This one comes courtesy of my grandpa who told my mom to publish her book so she could make some money. It is not at all true. Many writers still need and have day jobs. Writing is not a stable source of income. Most advances are not the six-figure ones that so many people dream of receiving. Some writers may not get an advance at all. It depends on the publisher and the book, and advances can even vary book to book for the same author. Disregardin…

Week in Short

The biggest news of the week was the release and reaction to MOCKINGJAY. I'm still recovering from the aftermath of that one and THE DUFF (which I will be reviewing next week). Hopefully I'll be able to think about something else by next week.

Must Read:
Unleashing your creative genius through dreams -- or how I'm going to justify sleeping until noon from now on
101 form rejection projects (I want to do the second to last one.)

News:
Real story on 6-year-old's book deal

Contests:
Natalie's Horrendously Hilarious Query Contest (Check out first prize! It's incredible and very original)

GLA:
6 articles on dystopian

Querytracker:
Controlling the weather in your MS

Rachelle Gardner:
When you need a mentor

Story Flip:
The parts of a story

YA Highway:
Character motivation with Jack and Jill

Everyone have an awesome weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Mockingjay Review (No Spoilers)

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Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

As I'm writing this, it has now been twelve hours since …

Mockingjay Day!

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It's the day we've been waiting for! Mockingjay's official release is TODAY! I know some lucky souls already have their hands on it and hopefully I'll be joining them VERY, VERY soon. I haven't been this excited since I went into Borders to get Deathly Hallows at noon on its release day.

Will the Capitol be overthrown?

Will Peeta escape?

And most importantly, WILL Katniss choose Gale or Peeta?

It's time to find out!!

What You Need to Query

Ahhh querying. Sometimes pressing send can be as scary as jumping into the pits of Tartarus. But before you start sending out those letters, what do you need to have first?

# 1: A completed manuscript. This is the most important. Your story needs to be fully written and polished within an inch of it's life. It should've been revised and edited until it shone like a new penny, and read by at least one other person that gave a complete and honest critique. Don't be the person that queries before the story is done and then has to do a quick edit on it. Rushed editing does not make a polished novel.

# 2: A polished query. This will be the first correspondence you have with potential agents, so treat it like you treated your manuscript. Don't just dash it off in five seconds and hit send. A lot of people will write this at the same time as the novel, perhaps having a first draft query before the novel is even started. I usually wait until I'm about halfway do…

Week in Short

FOUR DAYS TO MOCKINGJAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *explodes* Can. Not. Wait.

Must Read:
The Other: I'm Not It
The ultimate advice on how to write a query from Nathan

News:
Oh my gosh, if you haven't seen the Beastly trailer, watch it. NOW. I must see this movie. And buy the book... I'm totally fangirling on Alex Pettyfer's hair, not gonna lie.

Querytracker is now mobile!

GotYA:
7 tips for being a better beta

Pimp My Novel:
Inevitable envy

Querytracker:
The perks of being unpublished

Rachelle Gardner:
What a revision letter might include

Story Flip:
Poke those dead scenes with a stick
Follow the leader

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I wrote a lot this week! I was really excited. The Elite finally hit 10k before I realized that dragging out every single word was not helping me and switched to Burning Bridges. The words are pouring out on BB and it hit 20k! I'm very excited about this one!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Censorship

If you were away from the blog/Twittersphere yesterday, you may have missed the talk of censorship going on when Ellen Hopkins was uninvited to the Teen Lit Festival. Other authors soon began withdrawing from the festival in response to the censorship.

From Ellen Hopkin's blog:
Once again, censorship opens its nasty mouth and takes a bite out of me. This time in Humble Texas, a suburb of Houston. Let me say first thing that I did two high school visits there a couple of years ago, and they went very well. The librarians were totally supportive and, in fact, took me to the amazing Houston Rodeo afterward. So when they asked me to take part in the Teen Lit Fest they help organize, I said sure. The event is scheduled for the last weekend in January, 2011. But I won’t be there after all.

Apparently, a middle school librarian saw my name on the roster and decided my presence would somehow negatively affect her students. I’m not sure how that is possible. Maybe she thinks I swea…

Writing Obsession

Sorry, no teaser this week. I'm trying to settle into one WiP and I feel guilty for skipping around with my teasers.

Writing is an incredible past time. It is something that everyone is able to do, but not something everyone is good at or wants to do. Like everything, writing has its ups and downs. Hours are spent writing, rewriting, editing, brainstorming. But what happens when those hours are all you do?

It is not okay to be obsessed with writing to the point where you block everything else in your life out. It is not okay to put your writing above everything else in importance, including friends, family, your job, sleep, meals.

If you find yourself spending all your days in front of the computer writing, take a break. Take a week and dedicate it to something -- anything -- else. Go to the movies, hang out with friends, go hiking, take a day trip into the city.

The best writing is drawn from everyday experiences. And if you're not getting those everyday experiences,…

Just Write It

I hear a lot of questions from writers asking other people if they think something would work.

A point of view.

A tense.

A story idea.

A style of writing.

A plot point.

My answer is always the same. "Write the book the way it wants to be written. If it works, it works."

Because, honestly, NO ONE can tell you if something is going to work or not without reading the completed story. And that's not possible unless you write it. So the next time you want to ask someone if a novel should be written in epistolary format, skip the question and just do it. The worst that could happen is you finish the novel and find out that it's not working. And usually if something's not working, you're going to realize it in the first couple of chapters.

Week in Short

Happy Friday the thirteenth everyone! Don't break any mirrors, walk under any ladders, or step on any cracks. I can't believe August is almost half over...and I've accomplished NOTHING. Guess I'm going to have to change that. This week I learned that small children are the best form of birth control, staying up until 6:30 in the morning is NEVER a good idea and neither is drinking half a Monster before going to bed, and my one-year-old niece and cousin know how to fist-bump. My family is awesome.

Song of the Week: If Ever I Could Love by Keith Urban

The biggest thing on the internet this week was WriteOnCon! If you've been living under a rock, WriteOnCon was a totally free, online writers' conference for young adult and under writers. If you missed it, everything has been archived online so that you can check out the wealth of information too.

Must Read:
6 tips on how to critique with grace
Sexual double standards in literature
Don't EVER give up [If I wasn'…

Linger Review

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Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain. Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human. For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces -- wolf and human -- with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

LINGER is the long awaited sequel to SHIVER and the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I thought it would be the kind of book that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching and I was right.

LikeShiver, Linger is told through multiple point of views, f…

RTW -- Underwear Drawers

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What does your character hide in their underwear drawer - or other secret location?

Hannah likes to hide stuff in her underwear drawer. She's got two pictures of her mom, one of which she intends to give to Lex someday. There's an old twisted bracelet that Lex made for her one Christmas, and a pressed flower that her first crush gave to her at sixth grade camp.

Kaye has a horseshoe from her first pony, Starlight, a lock of tail hair from every horse that's ever died or left the ranch, and several college brochures that she's trying to pretend are lost but can't bring herself to throw away at the bottom of her tack trunk in her room.

Skylar keeps everything hidden in his bag. Since he…

The Adoration of Jenna Fox Review

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Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Friday, I sunburned my face while swimming for four hours and then went to see Despicable Me (very cute movie). Saturday, I hung out at home and screamed when Quality Road lost to Blame (I'm a Quality Road girl) and screamed some more when Zenyatta won her 18th straight race therefore stamping herself as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Sunday, I spent five hours in the basement of the church painting our youth group meeting hall with primer (surprisingly fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon). Okay, now on the things you actually care about.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma -- so she's been told -- and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She's been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why …

Methods of Writing

Everyone has their own method of writing. The important thing is finding one that works for you. Here I'm going to explain four different methods of writing.

Pantser
A pantser is NOT someone that walks around pulling down anyone else's pants (or their own for that matter). A pantser is someone who writes without an outline. They start a story and then just see where it carries them. They might have a vague idea where they're headed but more often they figure out the story as they go. Advantages of this method would be the fun involved in seeing how the story unfolds and greater ease in accepting changes of direction in plot and characters without an outline. Disadvantages are an increase of writers' block because pantsers often get stuck when they don't know where they are headed next.

Soft Outliner
A soft outliner is someone that creates a soft outline before they begin the story. When I use this method, I usually created a bulleted list of plot points …

Week in Short

Today is...Friday. Yes? Yes. Sorry I got about five hours sleep last night after staying up until 3:30. I feel like my body's conscious but my brain is still sleeping. I'm hanging out with my niece today though starting at noon so I had to get up early to post this before I left.

Must Read:
Going from good to great
Laurie Halse Anderson talks about her revisions on Wintergirls

News:
New trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released!

Literary agent, Natalie Fischer is blogging!

Adventures in Space:
Evolution of a query part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Socially Acceptable Schizophrenia:
Writing what you don't know

Story Flip:
Things to know about your characters while writing
Fill in those plot holes

Writer Unboxed:
Loyal to the facts or the reader?
Interview with Macallister Stone, owner of Absolute Write

YA Highway:
SCBWI soundbites

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Jump -- Officially pulled off the query train. I had some partial rewrite ideas that I think are going to make it a lot better...if I can just fi…

Book Buying Tally 2010 and Why My Habits Surprised Me

Lookin' at Luckywalked all over the Haskell field yesterday. Mwhahahaha. No one can say that Preakness victory was a fluke now. Anyway...

I thought it would be fun for me to visit the reasons why I bought the books I did the last few trips the bookstore. Why these books over the others on the shelves?

Word of Mouth
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta -- I've heard so many great things about this novel and I'm on quite a bit of a literary kick so I decided to pick this one up.

Paper Towns by John Green -- This one basically has the same story as Jellicoe Road. I heard a lot of awesome things about it and it's author, I'm on a literary kick, it was a paperback. I had no reasons not to bring it home.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan -- This was another novel that I picked up mostly because of word of mouth. Also because I want to read the Dead Tossed Waves.

Author
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan -- I love Riordan and that's pretty much the reason why I pi…