Showing posts from October, 2012

RTW -- Scary Books and Movies

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. This week's topic:  Halloween! What's your favorite scary book or movie? I'm not a big one for scary movies. I can count on one hand the number of scary movies that I've seen in my lifetime. Until a few years ago my answer to the question "What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?" was "Taken." 
That being said, my favorite scary book is Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann. I hid under my blankets and read it in a single afternoon. I also wasn't a big fan of sleeping that night. Coming from a small town myself, this one really hit close to home. I'm kind of glad I waited until after I graduated high school to read it...
Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's Cr…

Writers/Publishing on the Big Screen

Last week I talked about myths about writing in the media so today I figured that I would talk about some examples of writers or publishers in movies and television.

Ruby Sparks
I haven't seen this one yet, but it looks really cute. It's a story of a young novelist who writes about his perfect girl and is shocked when she comes to life.

The Words
The trailer gives me goosebumps every time. I've been dying to see this movie for months now, but I still haven't. It's about a struggling novelist who finds an old manuscript and gets it published.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
This is my favorite romantic movie. It's about a girl that falls in love with two amazing guys: a struggling writer and a successful ad executive. It's guilty of multiple myths that I discussed (in particular, the "there is only one publisher in the world" and "having a day job equals giving up your writing dream" myths).

The Decoy Bride
In orde…

NaNo: Pre-November Preparations

November is only a few days away and that means it's almost NaNoWriMo time! I might be insane but I'm going to really go for it this year. My name on the site is Horserider if anyone would like to add me. I'll also be blogging my progress and NaNo tips every Monday from now until the end of November.

To kick off the posts, here are some tips on things to get done before November 1st rolls around.

1. Figure out the idea 
There's nothing worse than scrambling for an idea on November 1st. Figure out what you're going to write about and get a rough plot worked out in your head at least. Last year I started with a sweet contemporary love story that morphed into urban fantasy 5k in because I decided that it "wasn't exciting enough." This is the same NaNo when I didn't even hit 5k. That's why this year I have the basic plot already worked out.

2. Prepare the documents
Open a document on your computer and do any preparations required so you won't ha…

Myths About Writing in the Media

I watch a large number of movies. A ridiculous percentage of those are romantic comedies. And every once in awhile, I find a movie that includes writers and/or the publishing industry. Here are some of the many myths that I've found these movies commonly entail.

You have to go to publishers to submit to them
So many movies have the aspiring writer going straight to the publisher and being rejected in person. In reality, this is extremely frowned upon.

Writers cannot have a day job and if they do, they're "giving up on their dream" 
The truth of this business is that most writers will not make enough money to support themselves solely on their writing. It's perfectly okay to have another job that pays the bills, especially in the beginning. Added financial pressure can even affect your writing negatively.

You can only submit to one publisher
I'm always confused by movies that make it seem like there is only one publisher in the world. One of my favorite romantic…

New Releases: Dark Star, Conjure, and Ask the Passengers

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. 
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, …

RTW -- Ideal Books for Adaptations

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: What is it that makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?
I think the biggest factor in a film translation of a book is an established fan base. Books that are extremely popular (think: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Percy Jackson) are all but guaranteed a good showing in the box office simply because people will go see them because they love the books.

There's a recent trend towards making YA books into movies for this reason. A few series do very well in the box office and they start looking for other great series that might be the next "hit."

This trend also reflects the preference for "series" books over stand-alones because there's more money to be …

Recovery Period

When I finish reading a book, I have what I call a "recovery period." This is a time when I'm still mulling over the book, raving about it if it was good, trying to figure out why I didn't like it if it was bad.

Sometimes I have what I call the "honeymoon period" which is when I run around raving about a book until I've had enough time to let it settle in my mind and all the things I didn't like about it start to float forward in my brain.

Note: This only applies to books that I'm reading for pleasure. I don't have recovery periods for beta reads or class-assigned reading. 

Factors affecting my recovery period:
Stand-alone or part of a series. Books that are part of a series generally have longer recovery periods than books that are stand-alones. This is especially true of the second book in a series. This is probably due to the fact that the second book rackets up the tension and makes me want the third book next.How emotionally taxing. The…

College: How to Find Time to Read (for Fun)

Between classes, homework, friends, clubs, and everything else, college doesn't leave a lot of free time. And when it does, it's usually taken up by catching up on sleep. For a lot of people, college means pleasure reading is now a thing of the past.

It doesn't have to be. Here are five tips on finding time to read for fun during college.

1. Find time.
This is the biggest thing. Chances are if you say "I don't have time to read" it's not true. Take fifteen or twenty minutes to read before bed. If you have an hour between classes that you don't need to use for last-minute studying, find a quiet corner somewhere and read. If there's a meal that you have to eat alone, bring a book and read while you eat.

2. Prioritize free time
A couple weeks ago my roommate said she wanted to read a favorite series of mine, but she didn't have time. This is the same roommate that spend four hours yesterday playing Sims 3. If you want to make time to read, you mi…

New Releases -- The Assassin's Curse, Sanctum, Out of Reach

The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

 Sanctum by Sarah Fine Guards of the Shadowlands #1 "My plan: Get into the city. Get Nadia. Find a way out. Simple."

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos's best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing i…

RTW -- NaNoWriMo

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:  Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?
I have every intention of doing NaNo this year. I'm still trying to work out which idea I'm going to use (it's a toss-up between two right now), but I know that I want to do it. I might be insane for trying considering I have classes, clubs, friends, and the last weekend of NaNo will be the first time I'll go home this semester.
The first idea is a WIP that's already at 10k. I don't really want to use that one because it's a very heart-wrenching book to write and I feel like it's one of those that shouldn't be written in a mad one-month rush. This one will probably have to wait for me…

Resources for Writers

I know I have that handy little list of sites for writing over there on the sidebar *points* but today I wanted to do a more in-depth post on great resources for writers.

Absolute Write Water Cooler
AW is a forum for writers that is a goldmine of information. There are subforums for every genre and format of writing as well as a place to ask questions for story research and a subforum for finding beta readers. Perhaps the greatest resource is the subforum on publishers and agents for background checks. There's also a section for sharing your work and critiquing the work of others.

Emotion Thesaurus
This is a thesaurus of signs of emotions. There are also thesauruses for settings, character traits, weather, colors, textures, and shapes, and symbolism.

Character Therapist
The character therapist takes questions from characters and answers them from a therapist's standpoint.

Baby Names
There are lots of baby name sites and books, but this one is my favorite. You can search by alphabe…

College: 10 Tips for Scheduling Classes

I can't believe it's almost time to schedule classes again already. Registration for us starts at the end of the month and I'm already chomping at the bit for them to post the offered course list. Here are some tips for scheduling whether you're a freshman or scheduling for your very last semester.

1. Schedule classes according to when you work best
If you're a morning person, schedule classes for the morning. If you're not at your best until after noon, avoid early morning classes. It might take you a few semesters to figure out when that is at the beginning of your college career. My goal for next semester is have class from 10 to 12 and then 1 to 3 four days a week. It gives me time to sleep in a little in the morning and then gives me most of the afternoon for homework and whatnot.

2. Make sure you take care of required classes
I have a spreadsheet of classes that are required for my major, minor, and liberal arts. Yours doesn't have to be quite as in-dep…

Fine Line Between Love and Hate

Over time there have been characters I loved and characters I hated. And then there are the rare few that I hated for the longest time until something happened that changed everything.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and Avatar: The Last Airbender (the TV show, of course).

1. Severus Snape -- Harry Potter
Snape is by far the best example of this change of heart. For five books, he was the character I loved to hate. I hated the way he treated Harry. Then, book six came around and Snape took hate to a new level. When he killed Dumbledore, I actually ran from my room in a murderous rage and told my mom that I was going to murder Snape.

And then, book seven. The memories. The revelation that Dumbledore knew he was going to die. Snape's true alliances revealed. And all of a sudden...I loved Snape. I cried for him when he died and then all over again during his memories. Now I knew why Snape had always hated Harry so much and why…

New Releases - Son, Send Me a Sign, Through to You

Son by Lois Lowry The Giver Quartet #4 They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. 
 Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong be…

RTW -- Hope to be Writing

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:  What do you hope to be writing in one year? Three? Five?
This is a really tough question. I love writing YA and I'm always getting new ideas. I know that I want to keep writing over the years, but what is a tricky thing. I don't plan to leave the YA market, but you never know. If I came across the right adult or MG idea, I might be willing to give it a shot.

I love the YA genre. Books really got me through high school and the idea of teenagers reading my books thrills me to no end. I love the "first" experiences that high school can bring and the way it changes characters and their lives.
I also seriously want to write something New Adult. College is brimming with potential char…

Three Causes of Writers' Block

We all have those days. Those days when anything is more appealing than writing. Those days when hitting the 1k mark or even writing a single paragraph is like pulling all four of your wisdom teeth. If you ever find yourself saying the words "I'd like to be writing right now, but it's like pulling teeth" then there might be a problem.

Trying to write an out of character scene 
One of the biggest road blocks for me comes when I'm trying to force my character to do something that they wouldn't normally do. For example, in an unnamed novel some time ago, I was trying to write a scene in which the MC apologized to her best friend. No matter how hard I tried to write the scene, it just wouldn't work. Then another idea popped into my head where, instead of the MC apologizing, she blew off her best friend. I battled against the idea for awhile and then finally gave in. The moment I did, the words started to flow again.

If you're having a lot of trouble with a…

College: 5 Random Things I've Learned

College is all about learning, but not all of that learning takes place in the classroom. There's also a lot of learning that has to do with growing up and being an adult. And then, sometimes, there's just really random bits of information that come up.

1. Not having class on Fridays is amazing. Except in the beginning I always thought it was Friday when it was really Thursday. Fridays might not always be class-free, but when they are...they're definitely enjoyable.

2. Eight a.m. classes are terrible. It doesn't seem that early, especially considering high school classes generally start at the same time, but in college it's like having a class at six instead of eight.

3. Everyone says that college is a time suck, but you have no idea how true that is until you're experiencing it.

4. College can be emotionally draining for a natural introvert. When I was at home, I could go in my room and be left alone if I needed some time to relax. But here, even if your dor…

I Have a Confession...

This post was inspired by one of the Broke and the Bookish Top 10 Tuesday topics some time ago. The topic was book-related confessions. So, I have a few confessions to make.

1. I guard my book collection almost like a dragon guards its treasure hoard. I'm very selective about the people that I let borrow my books. I still remember the time my mom lent out my copy of Twilight to someone that I didn't know.

2. I don't dog-ear pages. Ever. I do, however, occasionally set books face-down without closing them if I don't have a bookmark anywhere near me.

3. I have never read Jane Eyre, anything by Charles Dickens, any of the Lord of the Rings books, anything by Mark Twain, and many other popular classics.

4. When I was in high school, I only read half of most of the assigned classics and then I used Sparknotes to finish my reading questions and pass the tests. I did manage to finish The Outsiders, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Animal Farm, Romeo and Juliet, and

New releases: Stealing Parker, Magisterium, and Fall to Pieces

Stealing Parker  by Miranda Kenneally After a scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.
 Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming wo…

RTW: Writing Changes

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:  How does your writing (place, time, inspiration, etc) change with the seasons?
For me, fall equals going back to college and that means not nearly as much time for writing. I've been struggling to fit in time for it the past couple of weeks. On the other hand, college also means spending a lot of time in Starbucks between classes. I'm not sure what it is about Starbucks but it's a great place to focus on writing or revisions. I also spend a lot of time in the dorms where it can be hard to concentrate on writing with the spontaneous movie nights and friends dropping by.
Fall also means NaNoWriMo! I'm definitely shooting for it this year, though I haven't decided which idea it&#…

Doctor Who Series Seven Fall Review

Anyone who has known me for more than a few days knows that I'm completely obsessed with the show. My dorm room is plastered with posters, I have an Adipose toy, and I own both Ten and Eleven's sonic screwdrivers.

The fall series ended on Saturday. Here is my episode-by-episode review of the season so far.

Asylum of the Daleks
I'm so psyched for this series! Steven Moffat delivers another great premiere. I was really worried about the new companion because she didn't look like one to me but I'm not worried any more. I'm kind of in love with her and I can't wait to see how she becomes the new companion. Rory and Amy broke my heart in this one. I JUST WANT THEM TO HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. WHY IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Love. So much. Amy is a total badass in this episode. Also I love Rory and Rory's dad and Lestrade and Queen Nefertiti. So much awesomeness in one episode! It's dinosaurs.On a spaceship! I&…

College: Dealing with Test Anxiety

Test anxiety is a real thing and it doesn't get any better in college where the tests are worth even more and are more difficult to prepare for. In a lot of my high school classes, we were given study guides and told the formats of the tests. In college, that doesn't happen more often than it does. Here are some tips on how to deal with it.

Remember the first exam is always the hardest
Try not to worry too much about what you'll get on the first exam. If you don't do as well as you expected, remember there will always be more exams. The first exam is basically a learning period on what to study and how the exams are formatted.

Study hard
The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. If there are a lot of vocab words, make flashcards to help you learn them. Skim through the chapters again. Do any of the questions at the end of the chapters. Review your lecture notes and the Powerpoints if they're available.

Don't cram
Don't start studying the nigh…