Happy Friday! I just had yesterday off and I already feel like I need a vacation. :) So glad it's the weekend...
Before I take a look back at the week, I have a video, Twilight: Modern Warfare 2 trailer. Don't worry, it's funny.
MR this week is Querytracker's post on nudging agents.
In the News this week:
Moonrat is hosting a Write-a-Thon from February 5th to the 8th! I'm thinking about participating.
Also, the new iPad has been released. If you don't know what it is, you'll have to go to Google because the only thing I know about it is that it might reshape publishing as we know it (what else is new?) and is like a giant iPhone that doesn't make calls.
Adventurous Writer talked about fear of success in writers and how to overcome it this week.
BookEnds explains what to do when writing and querying series.
Elana has an AWESOME post on query first and las lines.
GLA answers 10 query questions and gathers 5 articles on mystery writing.
Pimp My Novel explains mentioning awards in queries and PSA.
Pub Rants shares the opening pages of Shifter and Speak that caught Kristin's attention. I want them both. Now.
Rachelle Gardner explains how to become an agent or editor.
I have good news on the writing front this week! After deciding to trunk everything but one WIP (Jump) so that I could put my full effort towards her, I set to work on revisions this week and finished them yesterday! Jump is now in my beta's hands and I'm trying to decide which project to turn my attention to while I wait for the comments to get back. :) Right now it's a toss-up between starting Destiny's rewrite or ARML's revisions. Or the SNI I had last week from a dream. It was the first dream I ever remember that actually had a plot and fully-formed characters.
In honor of Jump's revision completion, I have a Wordle :D
In reading news this week, I'm now up to 4 books. Still way behind, but catching up slowly but surely. I finished a beta project for a writer friend and also Wake (which, I swear, is even better the second time). This weekend I'm planning on finishing Wuthering Heights and Fade, plus maybe another beta project.
That's all I've got this week! Have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday :)
Friday, January 29, 2010
Happy Friday! I just had yesterday off and I already feel like I need a vacation. :) So glad it's the weekend...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
No one's writing is perfect.
Mine isn't perfect, yours isn't perfect, JK Rowling's isn't perfect. No. One. Is. Perfect. Everyone has something they need to work on. Whether it be dialogue, description, telling instead of showing, endings, beginnings, middles, character development, grammar, or spelling, there's something.
One person might have stilted dialogue.
Another might use too much purple prose in their description.
Another might have problems with leaving too many loose threads hanging off at the end when there's no chance of a sequel.
Someone else might have Mary Sue-ish main characters.
Recognizing your weaknesses is a part of writing. Because my recognizing them, you can work on improving them and through that become an even greater writer. Give me any book in the world and someone can find something that should be fixed. No book, published or unpublished is safe.
If you can't figure out what needs to be fixed, hand it over to an honest beta reader. Ask them to point out your strengths and weaknesses and then actively work on improving. Because practice doesn't make perfect in writing. But it does make it pretty darn close.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This week's question at YA Highway is:
Topic #14: What are your favorite book covers?
This is a hard one. I tend to judge books more on summary than I do covers, but let me see if I can think of some. So I started making a list of all the book covers that I can remember and love -- being able to remember it off the top of my head already means it must be good -- and the list turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. When all was said and done, I had forty-one choices. I didn't even know I remembered that many book covers! ? Anyway here are my top ten in no particular order:
Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This is the hardcover version of Lightning Thief's cover. I love this cover and I've always loved it. The cover was the second thing I saw when I picked up the book and I already wanted to take it home. It's almost worth paying extra for the better cover. You can't tell on a computer screen, but the cover is sleek and shiny.
I love this cover! And not just because there's a horse on it either. :P I love everything about it, from the gray horse in the front, to the storm in the background, to the delicate gold text.
Another one I have to read yet. I love how the building seems to just pop out of the page at you with the purple sky behind it.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Okay this was posted yesterday so I couldn't add it to Friday's WiS, but I couldn't wait until this Friday to share. My friend Bailey had an interview with Lisa McMann!
I have made my official decision regarding my WIPs. I thought briefly about trunking all of them for a week or two until my schoolwork gets itself all straightened out, but instead I'm going to trunk all of them, but Jump. I was up to eight WIPs and while I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, I just can't give that many works my full attention. So until Jump goes out to betas (which I'd like to be February 1st), she's my only WIP.
So...-I decided to start the week off with a fun little post. If you recognize yourself in any of these (I know I'm guilty of at least half of them), then congrats, you might be a writer! :)
You might be a writer if...
...you think schizophrenia is normal.
...you've started talking to your fictional characters.
...you find yourself talking in third person.
...a form rejection makes your entire day.
...a full request makes your entire year.
...you write five words and think it's a good day, because at least you finally got through your writers' block.
...all your idols are published authors.
...you think burning books should be punishable by the death penalty.
...you sleep with a notebook beside your bed in case you come up with an idea in the middle of the night.
...you stay up until midnight finishing a novel enough though you have to get early in the morning. And it's totally worth it.
...you'd do the dishes if it meant beating writers' block. *raises hand*
...your characters are your best friend.
...rewriting an entire 300-page novel makes you happy.
...you spend an entire weekend rewriting said novel if only to destroy it in revisions.
...you'd give anything for a laptop just to be able to go outside and write.
...querying scares you more than asking out the guy (or girl) you've had a crush on for a year.
...you cry when your agent doesn't call, but not when your boyfriend forgets to.
...you spend lunch in the library reading or writing.
...it bothers you when anyone types 'ok' or 'kk' instead of 'okay.'
...chatspeak makes you want to pull out your hair.
...your friends come to you with stories that they want you to write, but can't seem to do themselves. (this happens to me a lot with one friend in particular)
...you get excited when the teacher makes you write a short story and/or poem and/or essay.
...you can't WAIT for Creative Writing class.
...the only thing you'll be at school at 7:30 for is a Writers' Club meeting.
...you get mad when your parents refer to what you're doing on the computer as 'playing.'
Friday, January 22, 2010
Another week gone, another weekend here. Unfortunately for me, this isn't going to be the relaxing weekend that it should be. I have a mountain of things to accomplish and I can't just slack off like I did last weekend. But I'm not here to complain about all the crap that I have to accomplish between now and midnight on Sunday. It's time to look back on the last five days. :)
*squeals* Only 18 more days until Gone and 21 more days until Lightning Thief!!!! Sorry, I've been watching LT trailers again... I think I'm finally winning my mom over to go see the first possible show of LT. I'm excited :D Though if it comes out at midnight on Thursday, I may have to convince her that it's okay for me to miss one day of school for a movie...
We have three co-MRs this week. Number one is a guest blogger of Nathan's. This post makes me want to go write right now! I'm not going to tell you what it's about -- I don't think I could do it justice if I tried -- so just read it. :D
Janet Reid has a chart of everything you need to query fiction, non-fiction, and/or memoir. I just need a website (unless this counts), possibly a dedicated query email, and...oh yeah, a finished project.
Last, but not least, how to back up your MS. I just got done emailing Jump to myself, downloading dropbox, and reminding myself that I need to buy a new flash drive because my last one corrupted. (We've been having laptop issues lately and since my uncle's desktop crashed without warning I've been paranoid about losing all my stuff).
Bailey, one of my twiftie friends, interviewed Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver, this week!
BookEnds answered some random questions.
GLA linked to five articles for romance writers.
Nathan Bransford's guest blogger teaches us how to make a book trailer.
OPWFT talked about online presence.
Pimp My Novel explains the pros and cons of getting an MFA.
Querytracker blogged about trimming down your manuscript.
Rachelle Gardner explains email protocol.
TWFT landed an interview with Natalie Fischer, literary agent.
Writer Unboxed talked about switching voices, voice from an agent's perspective, and choosing a point of view this week.
Phew that's a lot of awesome links :D Unfortunately in my own little world there isn't a lot to discuss. AP Lit and Wuthering Heights is sucking up most of my time and probably will continue to until Tuesday when we start presenting our projects. I did manage to fit in a little revising time with Jump over the course of the week and intend to make time for a little more this weekend. I had two SNIs on Thursday, plus an insatiable desire to work on KISAN. I don't have any writing to report on any of my WIPs and I hope to change that sometime this weekend as well.
So until Monday everyone...have an awesome weekend!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
This week's topic from YA Highway was:
Topic #13: What book(s) do you love that no one else has ever heard of?
This is a tough one for me. There aren't a lot of books that I love and can think of off the top of my head that no one's heard of. My writer friends severely limit the possibilities. :D
This book I thought of was the last one I read, The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman. The prose in that book is just gorgeous and I didn't want to put it down.
Also the Thoroughbreds series by Joanna Campbell. These were my main source of satisfaction for my horse addiction when I was younger. I have a bunch of them waiting in shelves and totes for the day I can go back and enjoy them once again. These books make me laugh, cry, and even both at the same time. There's one that I never finished because I was crying so hard I couldn't keep reading.
Monday, January 18, 2010
So I'm in a romance mood since I've had an overpowering urge to work on KISAN. KISAN (that's the acronym for the title, not the actual title) is an idea I've had lurking in my brain for several months now. It's one of those ideas that stays in my brain even after I write it down on my list -- the best kind. Also since I'm so indecisive about which WIP is going to be my next one, I'm stopping teaser tuesdays for me until I figure it out. It's just not fair for me to be posting a teaser from a different WIP every week when I may never finish it. This brings me to the topic of the week...
I have a confession to make. When I have a guy I like (or liked), they usually have a theme song. It's a song that makes me think of them every time I hear it. (Don't look at me like that, I'm not weird!)
So today I decided to do the same thing for my character's relationships. So here are the love songs that most represent my characters. Oh, btw, most of these songs are Taylor Swift songs. I'm aware that some people do not like Taylor. I am not one of those people. (Yeah, I'm going through a Taylor Swift phase again.)
Claudia/Erik -- Love Story by Taylor Swift
Leandro/Claudia -- Picture to Burn by Taylor Swift
Hannah/Michael -- You're Not Sorry by Taylor Swift
Hannah/Robbie -- Teardrops on my Guitar by Taylor Swift and then Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood (no, she didn't destroy his truck. Though it's seriously tempting to go back and fix that...)
Hannah/Randy -- Fearless by Taylor Swift
Maria/Erik -- The Best Day by Taylor Swift
Katie/David -- Change by Taylor Swift
Yeah I was listening to her Fearless CD while I wrote this. Which is why most of these songs are off it. So if your character's had a romance theme song, what would it be?
Posted by Rachael at 1:57 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wow. I never thought this week was going to end. But now it's Friday and I have a three-day weekend to look forward to! *must do something productive with this vacation*
Lots of awesome links this week. :) But first....
FOUR WEEKS UNTIL LIGHTNING THIEF RELEASE! And 24 days until Gone's release! *bounces up and down* I just read the Kirkus review for it a few minutes ago. I had to make myself close out of the window so I'd stop reading the reviews and rambling at the computer. Though I can honestly say I'm now very anxious for this book.
Anyway... (oh, random fact: if you get a group of people together and start a chain of 'Anyway's it will keep going. It's kind of weird)
And in other news, the cover to Riordan's new book, The Red Pyramid -- first book in the Kane Chronicles -- AND a mini-excerpt from the first chapter have been posted here! *fangirl squeals* This is going to be my next countdown.
Must Read: Co-MR's this week are GLA's 8 links to query letter articles and Querytracker's reminder to research before querying.
Contests: Querytracker is having an awesome blurb and first two pages contest with agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh! Romance and urban fantasy genre only, no YA allowed unfortunately.
News: Kirkus may be bought so that they may continue publishing reviews and Lauren MacLeod has joined Strothman Agency!
BookEnds warns against bad agents and sweating the small stuff while submitting.
GLA tells us everything we need to know about steampunk.
Nathan Bransford talked about marketing your book the best you can.
Pimp My Novel shares the importance of negative reviews and what exactly embargoed titles are.
Pub Rants had Megan Crewe's query letter. It made me want to run out and buy Give Up the Ghost right now! :D But I'll have to settle to adding it to the top of my to read list.
Querytracker talked about amnesia this week. *takes notes for Shipwrecked rewrite*
Writer Unboxed answered questions about evil narrators and writing the opposite gender.
That's all for this week. Unfortunately I don't have any writing related news. I spent Monday and Tuesday frantically working on an AP English project and Wednesday and Thursday resting up from said project. Must. Write. This. Weekend. Though I'm afraid that the grammar section of ACT prep is going to ruin my writing. I don't know what kind of grammar that is, but it definitely isn't the way things are actually written. *sighs* Anyway...
Everyone have an awesome, productive weekend and we'll be back on Monday! :)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Books come to us in different ways and from different places. Today I was thinking about the Lightning Thief and remembering the first time I picked it up. Weird that I can't remember my brother's birthday, but I can remember the first time I saw LT like it was yesterday...
It was another wonderful day in the library. I already had a stack of books in my hands, but I was looking through the new YA section in the back of the library. My eyes scanned the titles, looking for one that caught my eye. There in the middle of the second shelf sat the huge white binding of the Lightning Thief. I plucked it from the shelf and looked over the cover. Someday I'm going to buy the hardcover edition just because I like the cover for that one better (don't ask why, I don't know). I flipped it open and read the inside blurb. Right away, I was hooked. So I left the library with LT in my hands, excited to read it.
Go back a little farther to the first time my eyes fell on Harry Potter. I was somewhere around ten and my cousin -- who's a year older than me and no longer an avid reader -- gave the book to my mom so that we could read it. Mom agreed that I could read it as soon as she deemed it acceptable. She enjoyed the book, gave it her approval, and let me borrow it to read. Where my mom was passably interested in HP and willing to read the next book, I was enthralled. I HAD to read the next one ASAP. I read each one as fast as I could, waiting anxiously for the 5th, 6th, and 7th ones to come out. I don't remember much of how I came by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th books, but I do remember when I was younger I would read the 4th book over and over again even though the scene where Voldemort comes back scared me to death. I read the final pages of the 5th book in my dad's car on the way to his house and then read it again. The 6th book I received at midnight, but couldn't stay up all night reading it because of a guest that didn't want to stay up all night reading it too. The 7th book I begged and begged to go to the midnight release, but my mom wouldn't take me. So we went at noon the next day. I started reading it the moment we got in the car and didn't stop until midnight that night. I ate while I read and refused to stop for anything.
Think back to the time you read your favorite book for the first time. Why did you pick it up? How did you feel when you read it, after you finished it? Do you still feel that same kind of wonder now, perhaps years later?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The other day I was looking at my pencil in school and once again marveling in the irony that it has "BIC" written on it.
For those of you that don't know, BIC is a writing term standing for Butt In Chair. Which basically just means settling down and getting to work. Apparently it's also the brand name of a pencil or something.
So how do you do that? How do you put BIC and put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard)?
1. Open your WIP.
2. Get in a writing (or editing) frame of mind. Read over what you've written so far (unless you're like me and this only makes you less likely to write). Ask your characters a couple of questions. Do a short character interview. Write a short scene (related or unrelated to where you are in the story) in your head.
3. Turn off ALL distractions. Close out of the internet. Set the Leechblock if you have it. Turn off the music (unless you write better with it). Shut off Facebook. Get away from the TV. Close your bedroom door. A few minutes unplugged won't kill you, trust me.
4. Start writing. Keep writing. Start with a short time limit and then keep going if you feel like it. Before you know it, you'll be done.
5. If all else fails, Write or Die is there for you.
Now I think I should go take my own advice...
Monday, January 11, 2010
This is my first finished book and book review for 2010!!!! And I'm way behind on the 100 book Challenge...
Sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley has spent the past three years getting kicked out of one exclusive private school after another. Unfortunately, it's not his attitude that's the problem, it's the trail of magical accidents -- lately, disasters -- that follow in his wake. Seph is a wizard, orphaned and untrained, and now that the only person who could protect him has died, his powers are escalating out of control.
After causing a tragic fire at an after-hours party, Seph is sent to the Havens, a secluded boys' school on the coast of Maine. At first, it seems the answer to his prayers. Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and initiate him into his secret order of wizards. But Seph's enthusiasm dampens quickly when he learns that training comes at a steep cost, and that Leicester plans to use his students' powers to serve his own mysterious agenda.
In this companion novel to the exciting fantasy The Warrior Heir, everyone's got a secret to keep: Jason Haley, a fellow student who's been warned to keep away from Seph; the enchanter Linda Downey, who knew his parents; the rogue wizard Leander Hastings; and the warriors Jack Swift and Ellen Stephenson. This wizard war is one that Seph may not have the strength to survive.
I'm going to be honest, this wasn't one of those books that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go. The beginning was great, but as the book continued it dragged along a little. I recognized Seph's parents almost as soon as I met them. The Dragon took me a little longer to figure out and it was a nice surprise when I finally did. It was probably the only major thing I didn't see coming until it was right in front of me. Though I didn't see the part with Martin at the end coming either, though looking back I realize that I should've. I also just realized that the girl that plays a part in the beginning, Alicia, never really returns except in name. Just thought that was kind of weird.
The characterization in the story is awesome. I loved Seph, Madison, Ellen, Jack, Linda and Hastings. I spent most of the book waiting for Leicester to die.
The ending is a little abrupt, but I just figured out why. There's a sequel: The Dragon Heir. *headdesk* There's a reason why I try to limit my reading of series. I don't do well waiting for sequels when I'm already waiting for the new Hunger Games and the new Inheritance. (Seriously, where is the new Inheritance right now? Is it at least in revisions yet??)
All in all, I give Wizard Heir a 7.5/10. It's a good book, but not one of my favorites.
But then there is the foretelling: the black horse.
In truth, Rain tastes a different future in her dreams. She is touched by the stirrings of emotions unknown. She begins to see beyond a life of war...and wonders about the forbidden. And about the words that are never used... Mercy. Love. Peace.
Wizard Heir and Foretelling are about as different as oil and water. Foretelling may be the most beautiful book I've ever read. The prose is gorgeous and flawless. I think this may be the first truly literary book I've ever read as well. And I'd read another in a heartbeat. I used to stay away from literary, thinking of the classics that I have to force myself to read. Foretelling is the kind of story whose words stick with you long after you've stopped reading. It's also the kind of story that's almost impossible to put down, even for a minute.
While Foretelling is the most beautiful book I've read, it's also one of the most straight-forward. Rape and violence are not only mentioned (though mostly in passing), it's a part of their culture. But I'd still read it again and again.
Friday, January 8, 2010
First Week in Short of the new year!! Sorry about not posting the last three days. Tuesday I decided to forego posting a teaser since I haven't been writing. Wednesday my mom told me the laptop had crashed when I got home and we thought we were going to have to send it in to get the motherboard replaced. Again. Yesterday we found out that it was just a faulty power cable and got a new one, but I had a review of Wizard Heir planned and I still haven't finished it yet. Bad blogger/reader/writer, I know. :(
This week's Must Read is the top ten questions editors ask themselves when reading a work.
GLA has links to two contests for MG and YA writers. I'm going to have to check those out when I'm done.
Kate Epstein is now accepting young adult submissions.
Colleen Lindsay is once again open to queries according to Querytracker!
Blood Red Pencil has a few things that drive editors crazy. And beta readers and readers and probably agents too...
BookEnds has a guest blog by Jennifer Stanley on staying true to your voice instead of current trends.
GLA has an interview with Rachelle Gardner, descriptions of romance and women's fiction by agent, Scott Eagen; and an explanation of New Adult. So those of you that have college-age MCs may have a place to put them in the future!
As for how my writing's going...not well. I blame a combination of homework, stress, and an extremely addictive online war game that my cousin got me on. I'm determined to change that this weekend. Somehow. I was going to write tonight, but now I'm watching PoTC 1 and listening to Nickelback so that might not happen.
Monday, January 4, 2010
It's that day of the year again. The day when Christmas break finally ends and it's time to go back to work/school. I hate that day. And because this day is killing my brain and I can't think of anything to write about, I'm just going to ramble on about some random topics.
First things first. Kristin is having an awesome contest over at her blog. Prize is a book from three choices and a first chapter critique!
Today I was reading Emilia's post about internet distractions and I scrolled down to the comments and saw Kirsten's comments about a program that blocks certain sites for a required period of time. My computer is now a carrier of Leechblock (makes it sound like a disease, doesn't it?). I've scheduled it to block most of my favorite sites for the two hours after I come home from school. Isn't that awesome?! In 15 minutes I get to see if it works.
Yesterday I saw a new trailer for Lightning Thief. Well, it's not exactly new, but it's trailer three with additional footage. *fangirl squeals* If I was in my I-hate-movies-that-aren't-like-the-book mood I would be very ticked right now. But I threw that one out the window last year before HBP so I CAN'T WAIT! One month and eight days!!!
It seems like I was going to say something else too...
Oh, yeah. My WIPs. I need you guys to hold me to these even if I'm insane and biting off way more than I can chew...
Destiny -- I'm going to give it a quick readthrough and make a list of revision suggestions, along with deciding if it might just be better to rewrite it a second time with all the major changes going on.
Shipwrecked -- is coming back out of the closet. I almost got up at 12:30 last night to work on it. I have a great idea for an ending to the sequel and as soon as I get a spark of inspiration I'm going to start the rewrite of the original.
Jump -- still undergoing revisions. As soon as these are done I'll give it a last readthrough to make sure it all fits together and fix the grammar issues before I send it to betas.
ARML -- probably won't come off the shelf until after Destiny and Jump are with betas. Or at least Jump.
Keith's Story -- *shakes head* I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this. I don't know what's up, but I haven't had a good writing day since I finished ARML. It'll stay out and off the back shelf for awhile longer.
Copy -- my newest WIP. It seems to be coming along okay, but I think I need to sit down and have a nice long talk with Kaia. Maybe I'll do an interview with her next week.
That's all for today! Depending on what kind of mood I'm in I might have a short Copy teaser for you all tomorrow. :)
Posted by Rachael at 2:32 PM
Friday, January 1, 2010
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Today is the first day of 2010 and with the start of every new year come the new year's resolutions. Now if you're like me, you make a resolution every year, but it never lasts past the first day. So today I'd like to make a pact that I'm actually going to complete my new year's goals. Here they are.
1. Read 100 books in a year. (That's two books a week or one book every 3 1/2 days). I'd love to do this one. My rule is that reread books do count. Someday I'll do it again where they don't, but in the meantime there's no way I can go to the bookstore or library often enough to be able to read 100 new books. Especially with all the book-based movies that are coming up. I have to reread the entire Harry Potter series before DH 1, the entire Twilight series at some point so I can revaluate my opinion of them, the entire Percy Jackson series before LT, and Dawn Treader before that movie comes out.
2. Query Destiny and Jump at least. This one was going to be 'get an agent' but that's a pretty high goal. It'll always be on my mind, but I think I need to finish revisions first.
My non-writing related goals:
1. Stop biting my fingernails. I've been doing that for as long as I can remember. I don't do it as often as I used to, but when they get long or I get stressed, I start up again. This has been my new year's resolution at least twice in the past.
2. Clean my room. Yes, I'm determined to make this happen. It was supposed to happen during Christmas break, but it just...didn't...
3. Start riding again. I WILL. If I don't start up again, I think my head's going to explode.
Yes, it's going to be a struggle, but as long as we're all determined, I think it can happen. So what are you goals/new year's resolution writing-related or not.