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Wednesday, March 31, 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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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 yet she keeps coming back to them. For the love of writing, girl, RUN! Or they unintentionally cause her pain (emotional or physical) and yet she stays with them.

And then there are the boyfriends that the girl barely knows and yet she thinks he's her soul mate. It's like they meet and then all of a sudden she's running away to be with him. All she knows about him is his NAME. I believe in love at first sight, but I still think you should get to know the person before you're all over each other.

THESE are the people that teenagers are reading about. And this is not okay. And it's not just fiction. Fiction is a representation of society as a whole. Most people that deny that don't want to admit that something so insubstantial has that big of an effect on people's lives. But look at TV. Look at video games. Look at society. Connection?

I'd say so. So why aren't books the same?

Not saying that all romance in YA is bad. There are a lot of great examples. Hunger Games, Wake series, I'm particularly fond of the romance in Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and quite a few of Tamora Pierce's books. There just seems to be a sudden rush of bad romance into the industry now. And unless it's stopped, that's only going to continue.

Monday, March 29, 2010

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't take criticism, learn.

Reasons NOT to give a negative review:
- you don't like the author
- you haven't actually read it
- you're having a bad day

Reasons TO give a negative review:
- you want to point out the issues in a book in a tactful way

There are times that I wish I had actually given a book that I didn't really like a "bad" review. There were things I liked about the book, but then again there were things I didn't like. I always try to have a combination of good and bad things for every review I do. Because every book does have something that can be fixed.

Then there are the books that have huge followings (*coughcough* Twilight *cough*) that you almost can't say anything bad about. They have such huge followings that critiquing them is considered "bad." It's like everyone gets mad at you because you're critiquing something wildly popular.

"You're just jealous."

"It's just YA."

"You're taking it too seriously."

I'm NOT just jealous. It's NOT just YA. YA is some of the best literature out there and saying "it's just YA" is why YA often as a bad rap associated with being not up to par with adult literature. And we're NOT taking it too seriously. We do it because although we read for enjoyment, we also critique for a reason. It's possible to do both at the same time. Because without bad books, we wouldn't know what a great book truly is.

The point of the story is, negative reviews are a good thing. We CAN'T just have good reviews of everything. It's like the news. If all they do is show an issue in a good light and share the advantages and benefits of it, everyone's going to think it's this great thing. They're only sharing ONE side of the story. You need to have the other side of the story to balance it out so everyone can make an informed decision.

If I didn't make any sense, PMN also has a post on the subject.

So don't get mad when someone shares a less-than-glowing review of something. Everyone is ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION. Even if it's different than yours. Open your mind, listen to everyone, you don't have to agree.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week in Short

Happy Friday! My random comment of the week is this video. Watch it, it's hilarious. Old Monty Python skit.

***

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 Highway interviews James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner; and talked about character description.

***
Unfortunately, I used a lot of my writing energy in Creative Writing class this week. I wrote the beginnings to two new novels and a couple short stories.

Destiny -- It hit me the implications of a full rewrite of the beginning and now I'm trying to decide whether I can live with those changes or not.

Jump -- revisions are in full swing

Three Days and KITSAN -- haven't really changed. I'm still brainstorming for KITSAN and Three Days has pretty much died. I'm hoping to bring them both back this weekend, but it's going to be a really busy one so I don't know if that's going to happen.

That's all for this week! We'll be back on Monday and there will be a review of Alice in Wonderland at some point. :D I'm going to see it Sunday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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 someone would have a program that would allow me to create my own time line. And there are lots of them! Most of them are designed for teachers, but can be adapted to a more writer-ly purpose. Just make sure that if you download one, it's safe and fits your needs. The first one I looked at could only hold 9 events, far too short for a 50-100k novel.

I can't wait to test out mine!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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 own ideas, travel through my own journey, enjoy my own triumphs, and mourn my own pitfalls. Because that's what this is all about.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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 tell me about yourselves?

Jeremy: I moved into a small town from Ireland when I was ten. I'm also Jewish.

Cam: I've lived in the same small Washington town since I was two. It's the kind of town where you can ride your bike from one end of the town to the other in an afternoon. Rachel was my best and pretty much only friend. The two of us were the outcasts in our tiny school.

Me: Thanks guys. Jeremy, you like to play soccer?

Jeremy: I do. I'd probably be disowned from my family if I didn't. *grins* I don't really like football. Soccer's a much better sport.

Me: Agreed. Cam what do you like to do besides hang out with Rachel?

Rachel: Someone say my name? *walks in and plops down on the sofa* Is this the boy you were talking about, Cam? *looks him over* He's cute.

Cam: *blushes* Jeremy, this is Rachel. Rachel, this is Jeremy.

Rachel: Nice to meet you.

Me: Guys! Rachel, what are you doing here?

Rachel: Wow, I feel so loved. I thought you might need some embarrassing stories about Cam.

Cam: RACHEL!

Rachel: Kidding.

Me: May I remind you that you're not really in Three Days?

Rachel: So? I can't sit in on the interview? I'm not moving.

Me: Fine. Cam, question before Rachel interrupted us.

Cam: Not really. I do homework. I read. Sometimes I like to run through the trails and fields outside of town.

Me: Is there anything either of you would like to do, but haven't had the opportunity?

Rachel: I'd like to be in my own book.

Cam: *ignores* I'd like to visit places all over the world. Sydney, Paris, London, England, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Hawaii, Mexico. I've never been outside Oregon and Washington.

Jeremy: You'd love Ireland. *smiles* I'd like to go sky diving.

Rachel: Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

Jeremy: *shrugs* The thrill.

Me: Okay this is getting kind of long so I'm going to ask a couple more questions and then let you guys get back to camp. Most of Three Days is focused on your relationship, Cam, with Jeremy. Why don't you tell us how you two met?

Cam: Well, it was our first day at camp. We had to go canoeing and I just had the good luck to be paired with Jeremy. I'd never been canoeing a day before in my life and he'd been doing it for years, so he had to teach me how.

Race: Awwwww. I wish I could've been there. Did you take pictures?

Me: *rolls eyes* One last question, Rachel you can answer this one too if you like. If you could wish for one thing right now and it came true, what would it be?

Rachel: I'd wish for magical stone with unlimited wishes and no unintended consequences.

Cam: We thought we found out of those in fourth grade. You called it Hermie.

Rachel: Yeah, I remember that. I might still have that rock somewhere...

Jeremy: You named it Hermie?

Rachel: Shut up, it was my Harry Potter phase and I couldn't say Hermione.

Cam: I'd wish...for all the time in the world.

Jeremy: I'd wish to live closer to Cam.

Me: That's all we have time for! I'll see you guys later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Thief Review

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 the heck? I'll pick it up.' It's now one of my favorite books. It's an amazing book, filled with beautiful prose. The story takes place in Nazi Germany and I feel like I've lived there with Liesel, Rudy, Max, Hans, and the others. I don't think I've ever thought that while reading a book before. At first I wasn't sure about the idea of having Death as the narrator, but it worked so well!

I wish Death hadn't spoiled part of the ending about halfway through though. It made me painfully aware of what was to come and I constantly wanted Liesel to say yes whenever Rudy wanted to kiss her. The last fifty pages of the book I cried until my throat went raw and I couldn't see to read. I'm not sure if I've cried that much reading a book since Deathly Hallows, and maybe not even then.

Book Thief was one of those books that I couldn't read all in one night. I took a short break every few chapters just to let everything sink in. It was such a gorgeous book and maybe someday I'll read it again. I think it's one of those books that's going to haunt me for awhile. One of those books that I'll remember forever.

Overall: 9.9/10

Friday, March 19, 2010

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 books and what happens if a submission needs more work than average.

GLA interviews Quinlan Lee, agent at Adams Literary; shares the successful query to Murder on the Rocks; five quick query letter tips; and a guest blogger has the benefits of contests.

Janet Reid explains when she wants to hear from you.

Literary Rambles shares a tip for writing down nighttime ideas. I really need to get some of those light-up pens...

Nathan Bransford reminds us to be specific in queries.

OPWFT shares more agent stories of querying blunders. Wow there are some wild and shocking ones this time...

Pub Rants has round three of questions.

Querytracker has awesome advice how to write a query with voice.

Rachelle Gardner critiqued two queries this week: number one and number two.

Story Flip has the yays and nays of when to rewrite.

Writer Unboxed reveals how to survive that second book.

YA Highway interviewed Kathleen Ortiz, literary agent.

***

Wow that was a lot of links!

Destiny -- have had ideas for a complete and total overhaul that may or may not involve a complete rewrite of the beginning, the deletion of one of my favorite characters, the murder of one character that died long before the original and another that survived through the original, and major changes to the MC's back story. It should be...fun and insane to say the least. I can't wait to see where the ideas go! I'm thinking major action.

Jump -- revisions are still in progress. I need to kick myself and just roll through them.

KITSAN -- on the sidelines until I figure out where the heck it's going.

Three Days -- stands at 10k! Planning on doing some major writing this weekend.

***
Just found out that the birthday party my mom told me we had to go to tomorrow is actually next weekend. YES! No birthday party + no other plans + no homework = WRITING TIME! Whether any writing/revising actually takes place during this weekend remains to be seen. Everyone have a GREAT weekend and remember: even though it may be snowing outside, spring IS technically here (not really, but it does start on Sunday)!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Author Appreciation Week -- Anna Sewell and Markus Zusak

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 Thursday next week. And even though I'm not done yet, I still have to say it's probably one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Zusak has taken an incredibly tough subject (Nazi Germany) and written it in such a way I feel like I've lived there. I feel like I'm beside Liesel (aka the book thief), Rudy, Max, and Hans as they make their journey. It's amazing, I don't think I've ever felt this way while reading a book before. And that's why Markus Zusak is the newest addition to my favorite author list.

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 at all.

Though I'm writing more than ever. Strange.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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

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's story is a very inspiring one and keeps me going, especially on the days when my brain tells me just to give up.

Friday, March 12, 2010

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-long hiatus. Then I saw the Eclipse trailer. It's AWESOME! I'm going to see this movie. Even though I still haven't seen NM, though I hear that's out on DVD now. Strike that, just looked it up and it comes out on the 14th.

And last but not least, I'm hoping to have a very cool surprise on this blog on Monday. I'm really excited about it. :) Can't say more than that though.

Must Read: Finding agents and publishers, how to deal with the dreaded synopsis, keeping a voice journal, and creating a story bible.

Contests:
GLA's third "Dear Lucky Agent" contest ends on Sunday!

GLA
shared C. J. Omololu's not-so-average journey to representation

Literary Rambles
interviewed Alisa Libby, YA author.

OPWFT
continued their querying blunders series with agent stories part one. I have yet to figure out how sending a query folded in a Starbucks cup full of flour was thought to be a good idea by somebody.

Pub Rants answered some questions this week.

YA Highway interviewed Courtney Summers, author of Some Girls Are and Cracked Up to Be.

That's all the links for this week! My writing is coming along pretty well. It's hit the sidelines a lot this week in favor of homework, but I've been working on it quite a bit.

Destiny -- I've got it out of the trunk, I just need to start working on it. I've decided that the revisions required are so big that I'm just going to rewrite it. Again. But first I need to go through the last draft and decide which scenes I love too much to get rid of and carry them over to the rewrite.

Jump -- revisions have begun. I've got a long haul ahead of me, but hopefully when I come out the other side of the tunnel Jump will be a lot better. Then it'll be off to second round betas before a final polish and then querying.

ARML -- sitting on the sidelines for now. Will probably be brought out when Jump goes off to second round betas.

KITSAN -- stalled and is now coming along slowly. I've got a small case of writers' block, but it's nothing a sugar-high/brainstorming session won't cure. Standing at about 1k at the moment.

Three Days -- My MaNo project. It's probably going to extend into spring break, but I'm hoping to have it complete by the end of it. Currently stands around 6k and is growing in leaps and bounds.

Everyone have an awesome weekend and happy writing/revising/querying!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

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

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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 blog. It's a great source of information and she does weekly query critiques as well.

Bookends
-- The blog for BookEnds agency. I love this blog...

Elana Johnson's blog -- Elana, author and writer for Querytracker's, personal blog

Guide to Literary Agents -- Informational posts, interviews with agents, features of new agents coming into the industry, examples of successful queries, and authors stories to agented-ness. What more could you want?

Janet Reid's blog -- Query shark and literary agent, Janet Reid's blog

Nathan's blog
-- because my list wouldn't be complete without Nathan Bransford

Writer Unboxed
-- focuses mostly on writing and revising information and author interviews

Pub Rants -- Literary agent, Kristin's blog

Queryshark -- The dark depths where Queryshark prowls and preys on queries. I love this blog. :D

Querytracker Blog -- Writing, revising, and querying information from a variety of authors

Rants and Ramblings -- Literary agent, Rachelle Gardner's blog

Pimp My Novel -- Insider info on the amazing and complicated world of publishing

I'm sure there are many, many more, but these are the best ones I can think of for now. :) I look forward to checking out everyone else's links.

Monday, March 8, 2010

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.

Friday, March 5, 2010

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 -- read through and make a list of all the scenes to keep in the rewrite. Make a rough outline. Finish rewrite by May 1st.
2. Jump -- read through beta comments again. Revise accordingly. Read through and make a list of my own revisions suggestions. Implement them. Send out to round two betas. Have agent ready by April 11th. (That's the end of my spring break).
3. KITSAN -- begin working on once again. Finish first draft by May 1st.
4. Three Days -- continue writing. Finish first draft by April 1st. (This is my personal MaNo project).

Also, my tongue is burnt. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it's bothering me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

City of Ashes Review

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 in one night. In fact I did read the last half in one night, staying up until after eleven to finish it.

Jace is still my favorite character. *hugs* I'll admit to spending part of the book yelling at him, but I'm over that. Clary didn't annoy me nearly as much in Ashes as she did in Bones. She still has her moments, but she wouldn't be Clary without them. Simon never ceases to surprise me. I still can't believe he's a vampire now. I thought I was going to explode when I heard. Valentine is one of the best villains I've ever read. He's just so...evil. It's awesome.

I love Clare's dialogue. Especially with Jace. It's just so...real and him.

Kiss scene in the Faery City...AWESOME! I would've squealed over it for hours afterward if I hadn't been in school when I read it. I'm just lucky no one asked me why I couldn't stop grinning. WHY does he have to be her sister????

One more thing, it seems like every time someone sees Jace or Valentine they talk about how much Jace doesn't look like Valentine. It's like they're trying to tell me something....I can only hope. :D Yep, I'm still hoping that someone will jump out and say SURPRISE Valentine's lying! Jace isn't his son and therefore the Jace/Clary romance can continue!

Now I'm going to go hunt down City of Glass ASAP. School library doesn't have it so it looks like I'm going to have to get it some other way.

Overall: 9/10

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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 think of something else later.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shadowland Review

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 it was a new moon??? They were THERE and they just let her go ahead and run amok with things she doesn't understand and doesn't listen to Damen. Or anyone. She just thinks that whatever she thinks is right is automatically right and doesn't bother to stop and consider the consequences which is what got her in this massive mess in the first place. Okay, I'm done.

Dark Flame is next. Anyone know if this is the last one?

Overall: 6/10