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Friday, April 30, 2010

Week in Short

And it's a beautifully sunny day here! It was 64 when I woke up this morning with a high of 80. Ahh Michigan. Gotta love it. The bad news is, it's supposed to rain in Louisville tomorrow. Now this wouldn't matter, except the Derby takes place in Louisville, Kentucky. And rain + Derby = not good.

Lots of awesome links this week, so let's get started!

Must Read:
Conference etiquette from Querytracker

Contests:
Steph Su's Big Spring Giveaway has some VERY awesome prizes! The contest ends May 7th so hurry over there!

BookEnds:
The internet and your career
Query tally
The why of query rejections

Got YA:
Querying blunders

Kathleen Ortiz:
Query tally [Seems to be a popular thing this week...]

Literary Rambles:
Agent spotlight: Natalie Fischer

Pimp My Novel:
Right of first refusal

Rachelle Gardner:
Why publishers don't do market research

Steph Su Reads:
What's missing in YA contemporary

Story Flip:
Onomatopoeia
Seven deadly sins of a first chapter

Writer Unboxed:
Pitch advice
Building character depth
Book covers

***
This wasn't a fun week for me, so writing kind of fell to the wayside. Plus I have old projects that keep popping up in my head asking if I'm coming back to them soon (Destiny and Assassin's Wife, mostly).

Double-Crossed: Hit 3k last night. I wanted to work on it some more, but Raye's one of the most stubborn characters I've ever tried to write and she's not making it easy for me to get her and Brian's story down.

Guardian: 1.2k. I worked on this one a little bit this week.

Three Days: Almost 11k. I'm at a loss with this one. It's the only story I've ever tried to write that I have to fit into a set time-frame. So far it's progressing a little too fast, so I'm trying to figure out how to slow down without putting in filler and losing the tension.

Hope everyone has an awesome (Derby) weekend and I'll see you on Monday!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Releases: Numbers, Voices of Dragons, Firespell

Post positions for the Derby were drawn yesterday! *dances* I'm still trying to figure out who my money's going to be on, but it'll probably end up being Lookin' at Lucky, Devil May Care (this year's filly challenger), Dublin, and Backtalk.

Anyway...It occurred to me a few days ago that it's been a long time since I featured a few new releases here. So here we go... Also, my TBR list is 110 books long. I managed to take two off this morning...and add another. *sighs*

Numbers by Rachel Ward
Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.
Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.
But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?
Firespell by Chloe Neill
Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RTW - Favorite Book in April

Not only is today Road Trip Wednesday, it's also drawing day for the Derby and time for me to figure out who I'm favoring this year. =) Anyway before I go off on a tangent...

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 was:
What's the best book you've read this month?

I haven't been doing a very good job at keeping up with my reading this month, but my favorite book read this month hands down was...

At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that the south siders and north siders aren't exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all -- love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

I waited a long time for this book and it did not disappoint. It was a fabulous new romance. My favorite character by far was Alex. A part of you doesn't really want to like him at first, but you can't not. I really, really want Rules of Attraction right now...

The full review (no spoilers in the first half, there is a warning when spoilers are ahead) is here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Week in Short

I'm curled up in my chair trying to get some work done and get over this bug, whatever it is. I have a feeling it's a minor case of food poisoning and I'm hoping that I can fight it off soon so I can get some real work done over here. But in the meantime, we have WiS.

Must Read:
Hannah Moskowitz guest blogged about what to do when you get an offer for representation over at Kathleen Ortiz's blog.

Blood-Red Pencil:
Common dialogue mistakes

BookEnds:
Thoughts on memoirs

GLA:
How to collaborate with a co-writer
10 questions to ask before you sign with an agent.

Janet Reid:
Subject lines

Story Flip:
Revising dialogue

Writer Unboxed:
Posting work online
Writers' conference tips

***
Not much news in the way of writing this week. It was another insanely busy week for me. Only one a half more months left in school...

Jump -- I'm slowly getting out of the checking inbox every few seconds phase and progressing to checking it once in a while.

Double-Crossed -- Has hit 2k. I have the next scene outlined, I just need to find the time to work on it. I do really love Raye though. She's an awesome character to play with.

Guardian -- If anyone sees Cara, tell her I need to speak with her. I'll be pulling out the character interview sheet tonight and starting from the top.

Three Days -- Cam's been wandering around my brain the last few days. I'm afraid she might have something to say.

Everyone have an awesome rest of the weekend and I'll be back on Monday! *sinks deeper into the chair*

Friday, April 23, 2010

Avatar Review (Read: Fangirling)

Week in Short will be posted tomorrow. Promise this time. I'd do it tonight, but I'm gone most of the afternoon so I can't read blog posts.

In other news, I FINALLY got to see Avatar!!!!

And it. was. AWESOME. I'd review it, but I don't think I can. The beginning was a little predictable, but it was more than made up. I think I know why it got so much hype. It's not one of those movies that's hyped to the max and then doesn't follow through.

I'm SO buying it!

10/10 I think it might be my new favorite movie...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perfect Chemistry Review

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that the south siders and north siders aren't exactly compatible elements. So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all -- love. Can they break through the stereotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

I've wanted to read this book and Rules of Attraction ever since I saw the book trailer for RoA. Since Rules of Attraction isn't out yet, I sprang for PC when my mom gave me the chance to order a book online. It arrived on Friday. I started it at midnight, stayed up from midnight to one reading it two nights in a row, and then finished it Sunday morning. Not once did I ever willingly put it down.

Perfect Chemistry did NOT disappoint. I'm extremely anxious to get my hands on the sequel now. I have a feeling I'm going to like that one even better...

PC uses an alternate PoV with Alex and Brittany very well. My favorite PoV to be in was Alex's. He didn't hold anything back and told it all like it was. I loved seeing what was going on his head. Though it was interesting to see things from Brittany's PoV once in awhile. I know this is a small detail, but I really liked the different texts for their names at the beginning of each chapter. They fit both of them perfectly.

The voice and characters for both were very well done. There was Alex just trying to survive being in a gang so he could protect his mom and brothers. Then there was Brittany trying to keep up her I-have-a-perfect-life facade despite the fact that it's far from perfect.

Overall: 9.5/10 I'm very glad that I bought this book because I want to read it again, but it didn't quite crack my top ten books list. GAH nine more days until Rules of Attraction's release...

*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***

The main thing that I didn't like was that every time they break up, Brittany pretty much falls apart. It might be true to her character, but it was actually pretty annoying. Though at the end she does start to pick up the pieces and go on to do what she wanted to do, so that redeemed her a little bit.

I like how what Alex writes in Brittany's notebook in their first chemistry class together actually happens later in the story. I enjoyed the irony.

LOVED the motorcycle scene in the rain. It was so sweet and I liked that it came from Alex's PoV. It woudn't have been as good coming from Brittany. We wouldn't have seen Alex's internal battle.

Hector being Alex's father's murderer wasn't a surprise to me. I suspected it a long time before and I was happy when he died. I did scream "I knew it!" at the realization moment.

The ending with Alex showing up at the hospital and playing a game with Shelley and telling Brittany he wanted to marry her on their graduation day and then skipping ahead in time to show their son, Paco Fuertes, in chemistry class... It. Was. Awesome.

This book was definitely worth the long wait it took before I got it. =D

Monday, April 19, 2010

Interview with Eric Luper

Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had an awesome weekend. :) We're back this week with a surprise: interview!

And everyone give our guest, Eric Luper, a big round of applause. *claps*

Can you tell us something about you and your books?

Wow, that’s a really broad question but I’ll give it a shot. I grew up a reluctant reader in Springfield, NJ. Only at Rutgers did I discover my love for writing where I got my degree in Creative Writing. Of course, I had a lot of reading to catch up on at that point so I spent the next few years devouring every book I could get my hands on (and I still do). I wrote in earnest for five years before I got my first book contract and somehow something clicked. Since then, I’ve had two books published (BIG SLICK and BUG BOY), have another coming out in June (SETH BAUMGARTNER’S LOVE MANIFESTO) and have a contract on my fourth (untitled), which is slated for release in 2011.

Why write young adult over other genres?

Since I was an undergraduate, my writing has always taken on a youthful sound. I used to struggle against the idea of writing for teens, but once I embraced it I found much more success. I like the genre because it’s such a tumultuous time for a person, so much is in flux, and that creates good tension which is essential for a story.

Why horse racing as a major part of Bug Boy?

If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever write an historical novel about horse racing, I would have laughed. But something called to me to write that book. I learned about the plight of exercise riders when I read the great non-fiction book, Seabiscuit. Living near Saratoga gave me access to the archives of the National Museum of Racing. And I just happen to have a lot of friends who are involved in the racing industry. It seemed like all the stars were aligned properly. It’s a book I’m quite proud of, but it’s the sort of project I’ll likely not take on again. Whoa, was it labor intensive!

How much research did you have to do and how did you go about doing it?

I didn’t just have to learn about the sport of horse racing, but I had to learn about horse racing in America in the 1930s. This is a very specific time frame and really narrowed down my resources. I also had to learn about Saratoga in the 1930s. I had to learn about the Depression. I had to research lingo and vocabulary for various social classes. I spent time at the New York State Archives, the National Museum of Racing, the Saratoga Historical Society and many other places to get my information. I even spoke to a few people who were alive at the time and remembered the 1934 track season! It was a monster project for a book that turned out less than 300 pages.

Congratulations on selling your fourth book! Can you tell us a little about it?

My fourth book is for younger readers than my usual fare, more like 4th through 6th grade. The book is still untitled, but is about two boys who masquerade as Girl Scouts in order to enter a contest with a $1000 cash prize. It’s my first attempt at writing for younger readers and I’m having a ton of fun writing (and revising) it! It’s coming out sometime in 2011.

How is middle grade different from young adult? Was it easier or harder to write?

For me, middle grade is harder to write. Maybe it’s because my brain is stuck in high school. But I am enjoying this challenge. It requires me to tap into a different part of myself and I’m pleased at how things are coming along.

Do you work from an outline or no?

No outline for me. I’m more of a seat-of-my-pants writer. If I know too much too far in advance, I will inevitably change it. However, part of me envies writers who can outline.

Does the waiting ever get easier or is each book just as nerve-wracking as the last?

Each book is exciting for different reasons, but I wouldn’t call it nerve-wracking. It’s more exhilarating, like riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed. You know exciting things are coming you just don’t know when and what direction you’ll be going.

What was your journey toward publication like?

I started writing for young people in earnest in 1999 or so. I didn’t get my first book contract until 2005 and my first novel came out in 2007. Needless to say, it was a long haul and there were times when I considered giving up. For long stretches it felt like I was tossing my manuscripts over a ten-foot fence and just waiting for them to get tossed back over by some nameless, faceless editor. Fortunately, I stuck it out. Things are going much better now.

What do you wish someone had told you when you first set out to write a book?

Write the book that you would have loved to read over and over when you were a young reader.

If you have an opinion, who would win if Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta went head to head?

They are both stunning horses, but I’m going to have to go with Zenyatta on this one. But heck, what do I know about horses??

Thanks Eric for agreeing to do the interview! *claps*

If you want to find out more about Eric and his books, here is his website and blog.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Week in Short

Sorry guys, but WiS is going to be really short this week. Because I'm too wired to read 50 blog posts in the next couple hours. I'll make it up to you guys in the next couple weeks, promise. :) I have a nice surprise planned for either this week or next week depending on how the cards fall.

The reason why I'm five days behind on my blog reading? I had an insane week. My world has completely been thrown off kilter by Jump, two boys (one who likes me and one who seems to hate me), and the start of track season (which I don't actually do, I just go to the meets so I can hang out with my cousin).

In other exciting news, Perfect Chemistry arrived yesterday. Started it last night at midnight and ended up staying up until one. I wanted to stay up later, but I knew I probably shouldn't. I'm LOVIN' it so far.

Contests:
Sarah Wylie is throwing an awesome blog contest! The prizes are very cool and include lunch with Suzie Townsend and Janet Reid (assuming that you can make it to New York), or a partial critique by Suzie Townsend!

News:

Sebastian Literary Agency is closing.
The title and release date of Rick Riordan's next Camp Half-Blood book has been announced!!!! Title is The Lost Hero, series is going to be called the Heroes of Olympus and it's due to be released October 12th. I. Can't. Wait.

***
There isn't much news regarding my WIPs this week.

Jump -- is still in querying. I received my first request for a full and am now anxiously waiting on that. I don't handle waiting well...

Double-Crossed -- no progress here. Still at 1.5k

Guardian -- bouncing around my brain. I'm trying to figure out how it's going to start.

Three Days -- I think Camryn and Jeremy are a little annoyed with me for pushing this one on the sidelines. Might have to try to bring it back out.

Everyone have an awesome rest of the weekend!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

No Post Today

Week in Short will be posted either tomorrow or Sunday. It's been a crazy week here in Rachael World and it didn't leave much time for blog reading.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finding Overused Words and Phrases

Everyone has that one word or phrase that they use ALL the time.

Mine are 'within minutes' and 'so' among other things. Then there are those garbage words like 'just' and 'then' and 'very.' There are whole lists of words to go through your manuscript and look for. But who's going to read through the entire thing just looking for one word?

The other day I set out with my manuscript and a list of words that I needed to look for. After three words, I was about ready to give up.There had to be an easier way to find my overused words than going through the document with Find looking for each individual word.

So, I went to the twifties and Para gave me this tip that really helped. So I'm going to pass it on to you.

NOTE: This works for Word 2007. If you have an earlier version, then I'm sure there's a way to do it, I'm just not sure of the specifics.

Go to Find and Replace.

Type the word you're looking for into the Find and the Replace boxes.

Click on 'More >>.' Go down to Format, click on it, and then click Highlight.

Hit Replace All.

Now all of the times you use that word are highlighted! You can do this with each word or phrase and then just scroll down the MS and look for all the highlight marks at the same time. :D Much quicker than using Find for each individual use of each individual word.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RTW - Best Writing Advice

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 is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Most of this advice has been said a hundred times before and will be send a hundred times again. But that's because it's the best advice anyone can think to give.

Read. A lot.
Read every genre under the sun. If you think you don't like something, try it. If you don't like it, then it's not for you. For example, I don't like Stephen King. I acknowledge that he's an amazing writer and a lot of people love his work. I read half of Misery and decided it wasn't for me. But at least I tried it.

Concentrate on being well-read in your genre. Read what's popular, read what's hated, read what no one's ever heard about. Learn what works and what doesn't work. If you love a book, think about why. If you don't want to publicly review books, consider creating a private journal where you record each book you read and what you thought of it.

Read non-fiction. You never know what might spark a new story or what piece of information could be incorporated into your next book.

Just write
I know this advice doesn't work for everyone, but I wanted to say it anyway. Remember: if you never finish writing the book, it will NEVER go anywhere. No matter how many times you rewrite and polish and rewrite the first chapter, if you never get past the first chapter, no one will ever read it.

What Works for Someone Will Not Work for Everyone
There is no cut and dry way to write. One person needs complete silence, one person needs noise. One person writes best outside, another writes best inside. Outlines or no. Revise as you go or no. Start from the beginning or start somewhere else. Everyone is different and it's the same with writing. So read the advice from everyone, and then take it all with a grain of salt. Try everything, but only continue to do what works.

Don't Write to Sell
I'm still trying to get this lesson through to my mom and it's not working. What's popular now might not be popular in two or three years when your book would come out. All you can do is write what you want to write and then hope that you get the chance to share it.

This last one doesn't really have to do with writing exactly, but it is a part of the process.

Queries are Meant to Get Someone to Read More of Your Book
That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I think it was Hannah Moskowitz that got this lesson through my thick skull last week. And then it hit me. She's right. Yeah, queries are supposed to summarize the book, sure. But what they're really meant to do is get the agent to read more. You don't have to summarize the entire book. You have to give the details that would make the agent want to read more.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon Review

I am not ashamed to say I went to see How to Train Your Dragon yesterday.

And it was awesome.

One of the best "kid's" movies I've ever seen. I seriously want a Night Fury. Toothless was so cute. :) And Astrid was so bad-a. It made me feel better after last week's rant about female characters in bad relationships.

The 3-D didn't really add anything most of the time, but there were parts where I did enjoy having that extra effect.

Overall: 8/10. I want to see it again and I'm definitely getting it on DVD. There's also a book. Which I might look for.

OHHH MY GOSH! They had a preview for Guardians of Ga'Hoole. Why wasn't I informed that they were going to make the book into a movie? If the movie is half as good as the book (and according to the trailer it will be that and more), it's going to be AMAZING.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Week in Short

So, I'm on cloud nine because I just watched Zenyatta (my favorite racehorse) win the Apple Blossom (a race) which brings her record up to 16 and 16 (incredibly impressive)!!!!!!

Anyway...

I never thought I would be sad to see a Friday come. But here I am...two days from going back to school. :( I can't believe break's almost over already!

This week's Must Read comes from the Intern. Her guest blogger divined some secrets of brick and mortar bookstores.

Contests:
MSFV's next Secret Agent contest begins Monday and will cover YA and MG!
Querytracker announced their contest winners judged by Jason Yarn!

Blood-Red Pencil talked about sharing your work.

GLA gave tips on writing a book series, and interviewed Elana Roth.

Janice Hardy discussed trimming down and bulking up [of manuscripts that is], and kicked off her 'How They Do It' series with Gini Koch.

Querytracker talked about agent requested revisions.

Rachelle Gardner critiqued a literary novel query.

YA Highway interviewed Melissa Marr, and talked about parents in YA.

***
It's been a very productive week for me (in the area of writing anyway, homework not so much...).

Jump -- is officially in querying. I'm slowly coming out of my constant panic stage that comes with the first couple days of querying.

With Jump in querying, I think it's time for me to choose a new WIP to concentrate on. I've got far too many options, but I finally settled on a couple ideas that I've been bouncing off the walls of my skull for awhile now.

1. Double-Crossed Wizard-Style -- YA fantasy told in alternating POVs -- After their parents forbid them to join a secret organization of wizards, Brian and Raye run away from home. Their families' warnings were not unfounded however and the two teenagers soon find themselves running for their lives from wizards that are plotting to steal all the magic in the world for their own, and will stop at nothing to destroy all who oppose.

2. Guardian -- YA fantasy -- Hidden away in a secret training school, Cara wants nothing more to become a Guardian and be paired with her crush in the fight against monsters all over the world. Cara's world is turned upside down when her crush becomes a Guardian and refuses to pair with a Fighter, dark forces begin to rise against the School, and fear reigns as suspicions of a traitor threaten to tear everyone apart.

I'm really excited to go back to my first love: fantasy, but also a little nervous. I haven't written a fantasy novel in two years and both of these are going to require some major worldbuilding. It should be a fun challenge. :)

Everyone have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rejection

I started querying yesterday! :D And so begins the long and painful process where I check my email every two minutes even though messenger tells me whenever I get emails.

I know that more than likely it's going to be a rejection. I accept this. I had a lot of rejections with Destiny and I'm sure Jump will have her fair share. Everyone has rejections. So how do you deal with them?

My five four-step process to deal with rejection:

1. Read the rejection. Remove it from your inbox. You can delete it. You can print it out and burn it if you want. Personally I just file all my rejections away in folders just in case something happens to my query list and I need to check to see who's responded.

2. Check that query off on your list.

3. Mourn it for a minute.

4. Eat chocolate. Or ice cream. Or chocolate and ice cream.

5. Send another query.

I subscribe to the revenge query system. No, it doesn't involve sending hate mail to every agent that rejects you. The revenge query system involves sending out another query for every rejection you get. I did this a lot with Destiny and, I'm telling you, it really helps.

And remember, everyone gets rejected. J.K. Rowling and Stephen King both had their fair share of rejections. Everyone who's published has experienced the disappointment that comes with being rejected. They worked through it and kept trying and eventually met that one person that said, "Yes."

EMAIL! :( Spam.

RTW - Something Positive

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: Discuss something positive about the publishing industry.

This is an awesome topic, but on the other hand a little difficult.

1. The writing. Whether it's mine or someone else's, every book in publishing had to start somewhere.

2. The friends. I've met so many awesome people in my last couple years of meeting people online that share my love of writing. Before I always pictured authors as kind of stuffy, hiding out in their houses all day indulging their love of writing. Then I came to AW and that image was shattered by all the awesome writers I met there.

3. Harry Potter! Harry Potter came out of the publishing industry and for that I am forever thankful. :D

I had something else too, but then I read Kaitlin's post and I can't remember it! :( I'll add it if I ever manage to figure it out...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Always Use More Than One Source

This lesson of the week was brought to you by my procrastination and the random ideas that pop into my head.

Lesson: When researching, always check more than one source. Especially when researching agents.

The other day, I was procrastinating by researching agents that I might want to query. According to Querytracker, Agent A (why is it always Agent X? Is it because X is so little used they feel bad for it?) does indeed rep YA. A check of Agentquery says the exact opposite: he doesn't accept YA at all.

Uh oh. What do we do?

We triple check. We go straight to Agent A's website and see what that says. According to the website, Agent A does rep YA.

Disaster averted.

[Does AQ have some sort of function where you can report discrepancies in their agent listings? Because I've caught quite a few of them lately.]

Morals

1. Always check more than one source. Don't take what any one site (except the agency site, of course) says for the truth.
2. The agency site is the ultimate law of the land. Sites like querytracker and agentquery can't keep up with the random whims of every agent. Always double- and triple-check.
3. Research pays off. [Yeah, I couldn't think of a good third moral.]

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week in Short

*drags self to computer*

*checks calender*

Crap, it's Saturday. Yes, I'm only two days into my Spring Break and I already don't know what day it is. I'm also on a large amount of sugar, not a lot of sleep, and freezing.

GAH. As soon as I finish writing this, I'm curling up in a chair with an electric blanket and playing video games.

So before we start, I'd like to share this link. ZOMG it's about the food at the Harry Potter theme park. It is now my mission in life to go there and find out what butterbeer and pumpkin juice taste like.

This week's Must Read comes from Querytracker where they talked about different methods of backing up your work.

Contests:
GLA is holding a "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest for middle grade and young adult with agent Regina Brooks!

Blood-Red Pencil
discussed non-reaction in characters and bending grammar rules.

GLA
interviewed Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary Agency.

Nathan Bransford
talked about pitches.

YA Highway
interviewed Laura Resau.

***
Jump -- is doing excellent. I finished the timeline a couple days ago and am currently working on whipping the query into shape and getting ready to start some larger character and plot changes. Then it'll be one last grammar readthrough and if the query and synopsis are ready, I'll be querying again. :D

Everything else has been on hold while I focus all my energy on homework and Jump. I'm hoping to take Destiny, Three Days, and KITSAN out of the trunk again soon. I've also been working on a little side project called Fire but I had to turn in everything I had as a creative writing assignment so that's on hold until I go back to school. :(

Have an awesome Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wintergirls Review

Hope everyone had an awesome Easter! :)

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way -- thin, thinner, thinnest -- maybe she'll disappear altogether.

I LOVED this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it gave me goosebumps, and it made me open my eyes. Wintergirls is a powerful book. It's so beautiful and lyrical. The style is unusual, but it works for the story. It kind of reminds me of Before I Die in the way that both books have similar unusual styles, voices, and deal with tough subjects in similar ways.

The characters were amazing. Even minor characters are very 3-D. Elijah was one of the strangest guys I've ever read in a YA novel. And I mean that in a good way. It was an interesting change from the typical YA males.

Also, I loved the references to author books and authors, particularly Tamora Pierce and Harry Potter. :D

Speak is definitely on my list for books to read.

Overall: 9.9/10
**Spoilers after this point**

I CAN'T believe Elijah ran off in the end! I was so sure he was going to be the love interest for Lia!! I want to hunt that boy down and smack him. I liked him and now I never get to find out how he turned out...

Anyway, other than that I liked the ending. It was a little strange (kind of reminds me of Break), but it felt satisfying. I feel like I've seen enough to imagine what's going to happen to everyone next. Except for Elijah ARGH.

Alternate Views

We all have different views on subjects.

Some of us agree with health care. Some don't.

Some of us agree with drilling in Alaska. Some don't.

Horse slaughter.

Elections.

How to resolve the national debt.

Abortion.

We all have opinions. Some of us agree. Some don't. Some of us aren't sure what to think.

Respect that. Be open-minded. Listen to everyone, weigh their opinions, and then counter them if you can. Don't argue for the sake of arguing. Debate for the sake of convincing the person that they should join your side.

Don't flame people because they don't share your opinion.

In this society, there is a pack mentality. If you're not with the majority, you're automatically wrong. When people don't agree, the minority often feels obligated to keep quiet. Because they're afraid of being attacked for their differing opinions.

There's nothing wrong with being different. We are not all a pack of zombies that have nothing else on our minds except brains. (Do zombies even have minds?) We're only human, not everyone is going to have the same opinion about something. And that's the way it should be.