Showing posts from October, 2010

Week in Short

It's FINALLY Friday! It was an insanely crazy week for me; I thought it would never be over. I'm still fostering an addiction to Glee even though I wanted to kick half the characters off a cliff. I'm almost done with season one. I was hoping to get all caught up this weekend, but I have so much work to do it probably won't happen. I'm also getting Everwood from netflix now. Watched the first four episodes on Thursday. Now I remember why I started watching this show in the first place. :D

Song of the week: It's My Life by Bon Jovi (Been attached to this song ever since the Glee boys (mostly Finn) sang the It's My Life/Confessions mash-up.)

Must Read:
Need vs love

The beta for Window's version of Scrivener is FINALLY here! I downloaded it Monday and have been playing with it all the time. I already imported BB into it to see how it works for revisions, but NaNo is going to be it's first real test.

With NaNo coming up, there w…

NaNo Tip #3: Get Support

Today's tip: Get and give support

During NaNo, your friends are your greatest allies whether you know them in real life or not. You can cheer each other on to the next word count goal, bounce ideas around, celebrate wins, and mourn shortcomings. NaNo is also a great time to make new friends.

Get a group together for word sprints to help each other out with the daily word count. Word sprints are when everyone gets together, sets an amount of time to write (usually 10 to 15 minutes), and then after the alloted time is up you stop and share word counts. This can be an amazing motivator for even the toughest case of writers' block. has forums for areas all over the country that you can join. They even hold write-ins so that local writers can meet up and write together. If you can't make one of these, you could even hold your own. I've also heard that there might be a special online write-in for teen writers held this year.

You may also want to explain to your fam…

RTW -- Best Book of October

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.

Next week's topic:
What was the best book you read in October?

This was a horrible month for reading for me (only two books, not counting a repeat beta read), but this month's pick was a clear one either way.

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
I loved this book so much and I can't WAIT for the sequel. I haven't been so torn in a love triangle since Hunger Games with Peeta and Gale. (I'm still Team Luc, just saying.) The cover is absolutely amazing and the insides are just as great as the outsides. I actually blacked everything out in second hour reading it and didn't get any of my work done.

Overall: 9.5/10

Full review here

NaNo Tip #2: Plan Ahead

Today's tip: Plan ahead

The weeks before NaNo are great for figuring out ideas, working out plots, meeting characters, and planning ahead for the month to come. Unless you're planning on pantsing this November, in which case the only planning you'll probably want to do is figuring out which idea gets to have your attention. Here are some ideas to help take the edge off the anticipation:
Make an outline. It can be as detailed or simple as you want. It could be a couple lines describing the main plot, or a ten page bulleted list of each scene and where each chapter is going to start and end.
Make character bios. Write a couple paragraphs describing each character and their pasts.Find character pictures. Find pictures of actors or people that instantly make you think of your characters. I often do this before revisions to help me with character description.
Do character interviews. Set your characters down for awhile and just talk to them. You'd be surprised how much you can …

NaNo Tip #1: Try Something New

One week until NaNo! In honor of this awesome event, I'm going to be posting tips on how to make it to 50k before the end of November all week this week (except for Wednesday and Friday) and then every Monday.

Today's tip: Try something new
One of the best parts of NaNo can be trying something that you've never tried before. Write in a new genre, a new tense, a new point of view, a whole other outlook that you've never tried before. You never know what you might like.

Another new thing you can do is if you're usually an outliner, try being a pantser for the month. The worst thing that can happen is you'll find out it doesn't work for you. The best thing that can happen is you'll have a wider range of tools that you can use and maybe even find a new style of writing that you like better than anything you'd ever tried before.

If you're trying something new for NaNo this year, what is it? If you've tried something new in previous years, how did it …

Week in Short

It's FRIDAYYYYYY! :D I love weekends. Going to a bonfire and hayride tomorrow with a bunch of people I haven't seen in like, a year.

Song of the week: Over You by Daughtry

Must Read:
Imposter Syndrome

In case you missed my fangirling on Tuesday, nine TV spots for Deathly Hallows were released. They made my brain melt. In a totally good way.

Adventures in Agentland:
Exclusives don't equal good/bad agent

How to reject an agent and how to inform them of offers of representation
Gatekeeper's how to handle the "Who offered?" question

Janet Reid:
Response to GK's "Who offered?" post

Nathan Bransford:
Cozy mysteries

Pimp My Novel:
Tip of the day: Discipline

Steph Su Reads:
Flat characters in issue books?

Upstart Crow:
The line between middle grade and young adult

Writer Unboxed:
Prologues -- yes or no?

Backstory blunders and their fixes

In Movies:
Picture Perfect -- I loved this movie though I wish I didn't have to scream &quo…

An Abundance of Katherines Review

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun -- but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

This one definitely wasn't my favorite John Green book, but I did enjoy it. True to Green's style, I loved the beautiful writing, original characters, true-to-teens dialogue, and hilarious voice. I was also delighted to see that Green really can write "happy" endings for couples.

Overall: 8.5/10. Loved it, but d…


I interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a moment of fangirling. OMG NINE new TV spots for Deathly Hallows! Also, it comes out in exactly one month! I CAN'T WAIT! Ahem. Now let's return to our regularly scheduled post.

NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) is a month-long event that takes place every year through November. Writers all across the country put aside anything they can, put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Now that it's only two weeks away, a lot of people are already declaring whether or not they're going to do it, deciding on ideas, and finding places for kick-off events and write-ins locally.

For more information check out

Aliens Ruined My Life was actually my NaNo novel last year. I won, hitting the 50,000-word mark in 17 days. Let's just say that was probably the craziest 17 days of my life. For those of you who think you can hit 50,000 words in a snap, you can shoot for 100,000 or ev…

That Mysterious First Line

This post was inspired by YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday topic of first lines last week. I put it off until today because with me favorite first lines require a lot of thought. The first line doesn't mean a lot to me. There aren't any first lines that stick out in my mind and a bad first line won't stop me from reading a book. That being said, here are some of my favorites.

The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. PAPER TOWNS by John Green

I used to be someone. THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson

My mother used to tell me about the ocean. THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan

Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars -- every day, a turf war -- six months until gradation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.
High school. CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers (So technic…

Week in Short

Crazy week this week. One of those that seemed to simultaneously fly by and drag on forever.

Song of the week: Glee's remake of Jessie's Girl. I think I'm obsessed with this song.

Must Read:
The all-important first chapter
Cleaning out the cobwebs with revisions
5 articles on perseverance

WriteOnCon's next event: Live chat with Sara Megibow on October 25th!
New Voyage of the Dawn Treader trailer! ZOMG WIN! I can't wait for December. :D
How to Train Your Dragon is out on DVD today!!! I am in desperate need of an excuse to go to the store so I can buy this movie.

View on prologues

Disagreeing with your editor

How I got my agent: Lynn Rush

Janice Hardy guest blogs

Nathan Bransford:
T.H. Mafi -- Nine stages of dating a novel
How to fail and still succeed

#183 -- mystery

Rachelle Gardner:
How to fire your agent

Ease up on the self-pressure

In Movies:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs -- Relatively cute. 6/10Planet 51 …

Guest Blogger Janice Hardy: Executing the Idea

I'm very excited to announce a special guest blogger for this week, Janice Hardy, author of THE HEALING WARS series! I've heard many wonderful things about the first book The Shifter and the second book, Blue Fire, was just released October 5th. Thanks for joining us!

Executing the Idea
Back on September 29, there was a post here on the Chasm about which was more important: the idea, or the execution. It got me thinking about how both are vital, but each takes precedence at different points of your writing career. Focusing too much on one at the wrong time might even cause you some extra headaches. (And might even be the reason for some common headaches most writers go through.)

Finding Your Feet
When you first start out writing, I think it’s all about execution. Ideas are great, but until you learn your craft and build that foundation of skills, the best ideas aren’t going to get you anywhere. Also, having a familiar story or trope takes some of the pressure off, so you can fo…

New Releases -- The Lost Hero, Revolution, and Nightshade

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
[Just released today! FINALLY!]
After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most pres…

Character Motivations

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend! Michigan lost (horribly) to State so unfortunately wasn't able to spend any time celebrating, though I need begin revisions and watch a lot of Doctor Who.

Character motivations are essential for any story. They provide the reasoning behind character actions. Every character must have a motivation, from the main character to the biggest villain to the smallest side character.

A character without motivation is a flat character, a robot. They're stumbling through the course of the story with no reason to do the things they're doing. It's important that every action has a reason. Even Voldemort had reasons to do the things he was doing. He feared death that he was willing to tear his soul into pieces to avoid it. His past and beliefs set him up to do the terrible things he did in his life.

If you're having trouble coming up with a character motivation, look at a character and try to figure out why they act the way they do.
Look into th…

Week in Short

Another week is over! Finally! I'm taking this weekend off to relax, watch more movies, and hopefully celebrate Michigan's victory over Michigan State. GO BLUE! (At the time of writing the score is 7-3 MSU.)

Song of the week: Someone That You're With by Nickelback

Must Read:
Defeating your inner critic part 1 and part 2
So you want to be a riter?

Nathan Bransford is hosting another guest blog contest!

Adventures in Agentland:
The pitch session

Blood-Red Pencil:
What publishers use to evaluate your manuscript

Internal and external conflict instead of antagonists
The four Horsemen of the Prose-ocalypse

Literary Rambles:
Turning rejections into acceptances

Nathan Bransford:
When you discover your agent's just not that into you

FTW: Mystery

Rachelle Gardner:
Staying in it for the long haul
Behind the scenes on "The Call"

YA Highway:
Genre hopping

In Movies:
My mom got Netflix last weekend so I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Most…

Loner Main Characters the Norm?

When I was typing up the back summary for PERSONAL DEMONS, a question popped into my head.

Why are almost all main characters loners?

Think about it. Most of them only have one or two friends at most. They don't involve themselves in a lot of activities. They don't have a lot of dates. They don't run around texting twenty people at once, or even a few.

Is that to cut down on the number of characters that have to have a purpose?

Is it to keep the story from getting too bogged down in unnecessary day-to-day activities?

But the truth is, a lot of teenagers aren't like that. Teenagers don't just have one or two friends. They might have a few best friends and then a long list of extended friends and acquaintances. A lot of teenagers go out on dates, good ones and bad ones. They flirt, they fight, they date, they make new friends and enemies. It's all part of the teen experience.

So, where is it in books? Am I just reading the ones with loner main characters (which seems t…

RTW -- Deserted Island Writer Getaway

Been watching movies on Netflix since I got home tonight and almost forgot to post. I was really excited about this topic, too...

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:
You're packing for a month on a deserted island. What, as a reader and writer, must be in your backpack?
So counting out everything that I wouldn't use specifically as a reader and writer...
My laptop. Because I could never write without it, even on a deserted island.
Portable solar panels and a cord to power my laptop because it has serious battery issues and needs to be constantly on the charger. So I wouldn't even be able to leave the solar panels at camp to hike upriver to write at the top of the waterfall. (I think I'm getting a little too in-depth now...)

Personal Demons Review

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Published September 14, 2010 by Tor Teen
Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous -- and Frannie can't seem to stay away.

What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the King of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.

It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than ju…

5 Ways to Celebrate Writing "The End" -- Plus Good News!

I finished Burning Bridges Saturday night!! It's complete at 58k and revisions have already begun. Kinda. My goal is to have it edited and ready by December, which is around the time I'll be sending out my college applications. My timing is amazing. /sarcasm

Here are five ways to celebrate finishing your own manuscript.
Eat ice cream or (insert favorite treat here) and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Read a book. If you're like me, your pleasure reading probably falls to the sidelines when you're hard at work on a new WIP. So curl up in your favorite chair or bed and lose yourself in a good book.
Take an afternoon or day off and do whatever you want. Surf the internet, share the good news, look for revision tips, go for a walk, window shop, do whatever makes you happy. Curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and watch your favorite movie.
Sit yourself at the laptop again, open up your manuscript, and start revisions. There's nothing quite like jumping rig…

Week in Short

I got home early so I'm posting this tonight instead of tomorrow. But first, some random thoughts. Friday I met a boy that had read the entire Twilight series. I have now met three specimens of this rare species and I still haven't stopped yelling "WHY?" at them and resisting the urge to force better books into their hands. He did however have the extremely genius comment of, "Twilight isn't about vampires. It's about sparklefairies."

Also, my favorite racehorse, Zenyatta, just won her nineteenth race in a row tonight breaking her own record. Again. :D

Must Read:
It's all in the details
Talking to agents and editors
5 original techniques for dealing with writer stress

New Deathly Hallows trailer. MADE. OF. WIN. Enough said.

Dark Divine has been optioned!

Katniss to be whitewashed? If Chloe Moretz plays Katniss, I honestly don't know if could stand to watch it. I could see her as Prim maybe, but she just doesn't fit the image of …

On Break, Back Sometime

If you're reading this on Saturday, I'm wandering a college campus somewhere and have been up since five in the morning. Please send me virtual coffee and tea.

Because of my new senior duties to check out colleges (that I, strangely enough, already know I'm not going to), Week in Short has been pushed to Sunday.

I promise.

And if I'm lucky, I'll have some amazing news to report on Sunday or Monday.

New Releases -- The Replacement, Girl Parts, and Unraveled

TGIF! Thought this week was never going to end and to celebrate the fact that it finally did, I have three new releases to share. The third one (for Unraveled) may contain spoilers for Intertwined, it's prequel.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
[I haven't gotten my hands on this one yet, but I have heard many wonderful things about it.]
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark cr…