Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions: 2012 and 2013

Another year is coming to a close which means it's time to look back on the year that's ending and to look ahead to the year to come.

My resolutions for 2012:

1. Continue to strive to live without regrets 
I won't say that I didn't have any regrets this year, but it was a good year. I've made some changes in my life and I think I'm better for them.

2. Revise Cardinal Three
Better late than never on this one. Another WIP took priority this year, but I have started working on revisions for CT.

3. Get a 4.0 this winter semester
So close on this one! I'm very happy with my grades this year.

4. Start riding again
Some things just aren't in the cards and this is one of them. Someday...

5. Read 50 books
I made it to 47 this year. 

And now it's time for my resolutions for 2013...

1. Read 100 books

2. Read 10 classics

3. Volunteer more of my time

4. Volunteer to work as a research assistant to gain experience in psychological research

5. Do five things that I've never done before

Do you have any resolutions for 2013? 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Favorite Books of the Year

I managed to read 48 books this year, which was just shy of my goal of 50 books. Though the quantity was low, the quality was not. It took me forever to decide which books were my favorites. Which is why I'm going to cheat and do five books across three categories...

Top Three First Read (in no particular order)

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I'm late to the Game of Thrones party, but I'm already a huge fan of the series. The first book has me hooked and I'm on the second right now. Already can't wait to get my hands on the third. This is a long book, but it didn't feel that way when I was reading. Martin made me feel like I knew the characters my whole life after just a few pages. It's a masterpiece.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
If you put my feet in the fire, I would say this is the best book I read this year. It was beautiful and it made me sob harder than anything ever has before. I can't wait to read it again soon.

Every Day by David Levithan
This is another gorgeous book. I loved the originality of the concept and the characters. I loved the different glimpses into people's lives and how we all have our problems and secrets. I loved the romance and the bittersweet ending. 

Favorite Classic

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
This was my first Christie book ever and I have to say it did not disappoint. She had an unusual style that takes some getting used to, but is fascinating. I knew about the twist ending ahead of time and I still couldn't believe it. 

Best Reread

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is the second time I've read this book and it was even better this time, if that's possible. This a book that I highly recommend to everyone that I meet. It's beautiful and heart-wrenching. I knew everything that would happen and I still curled up into a ball and sobbed.

What was your favorite book that you read this year?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

RTW -- Writing Songs

YA Highway is doing a special extended week of road trips this week! Today's topics are:

- Best Music to Write To/Be Inspired By

The music that I write to is kind of random. I have more Pandora stations than I know what to do with. Generally I just choose the one that I feel like listening to and just write. I don't make playlists because I rarely ever have songs that I associate with my WIPs. When I do have specific songs, it's usually just one or two and not nearly enough to make a playlist out of.

Mostly I listen to my Nickelback station because it's easier for me to tune out rock music than anything else. WTS was mostly written to my Keith Urban station because it takes place on a ranch in Nevada and that felt more appropriate.

Specific songs that I find inspirational:

"Impossible" by Joe Nichols

"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" by Eli Young Band

"Crazy Town" by Jason Aldean (The song itself isn't really the inspirational part, but I relate the lyrics so much to the world of publishing and the writing journey.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

RTW -- Favorite Settings and Characters

YA Highway is doing a special extended week of road trips this week! Today's topics are:

- Best "I Want To Go To There" Setting in a Book
- Favorite YA Characters
For settings, I would have to start this off with Hogwarts, of course. All Harry Potter obsessing aside, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight really made me want to see London. Not that I didn't want to see it before, of course. Seeing London has been on my bucket list for years. Mark of Athena really made me want to see Rome. Twenty Boy Summer makes me want to go to a beach, any beach.

Favorite YA characters...I think I'm going to stick to the ones that I read this year. Otherwise I could be here half of 2013 trying to decide. 
First up there's Cassel in White Cat. I have to admit that I'm very late to the series, but I really loved the first book and the second one is already on my stack. I couldn't help but fall in love with Cassel, in spite of -- or maybe because of -- his conman prowess. 
Second is A from Every Day. He's such a great character and I love the way he deals with everything. 

Last and best, this wouldn't be a list of favorite YA characters if I didn't bring up Verity and Maddie in Code Name Verity. Their friendship is one of my favorites of all time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pets: Real Life and Fictional

I thought it might be fun to talk about my pets in real life and those of my character's. There aren't a lot of animals in fiction that aren't central to the plot and that's always kind of bothered me.

My Pets: 
I don't have any pets that I can specifically call my own because I live in a college dorm and we're only allowed to own fish. Last year I had a betta named Rory Williams who, sadly, did not live up to his namesake's ability to survive death. After I get back from break, I want to get a new betta named Bates (after John Bates in Downton Abbey). 

At home we have one dog and six cats. We have a Husky/Chow mix named Loki that's getting up there in years. Then there's Bandit, an orange and white male cat that we've had for as long as I can remember; Diamond, a black and white male that growls at everyone; Lyra, a sweet brown and white female; Talon and Mia, Lyra's two kittens; and Scoot-Scott, a pure black female that is only sweet when she wants to be and attacks the rest of the time.

My Character's Pets: 
Zeus and Athena are Troy's two cats. Zeus is a black male with an imperious attitude who doesn't like to be disturbed. He's based off my cat, Diamond. Athena is a tabby female who loves to play and has a no-nonsense attitude. Troy also has a young female Schnauzer named Brittany.

Skylar cares for and rides a buckskin mustang gelding named Smoke. He's a naturally proud horse, doesn't bond to people easily, but will do anything for the person who gains his trust. Kaye owns an abused gray Quarter Horse named Shiver. She's roughly based off my old Quarter Horse, Lady, who was gray but -- not to my knowledge -- ever abused.

What pets do you have? Do any of your character's have pets?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RTW -- By Any Other Name...

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.

Next week's topic: 
How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?

I have a friend with a really cool name who I've already told I'm going to steal it at some point. As for family members, maybe but only because I have family members with really common names. As for exes...never. I have trouble separating people from their names so when I name a character after someone I know in real life, I have to work to separate their appearance and personality from that character.

As for how I decide on names...that's a complicated question. A lot of my characters come with their own names. If they don't, then generally I just hop on my favorite baby names site and go down the lists of names until one of them strikes my fancy.

I also have a list of cool names that I want to use someday. The names on the list have come from just about everywhere. I like days when the teacher calls roll because it means I get to hear everyone's name and sometimes I jot down a few for the list. 

Here are a few of my MCs and where their names come from. 

Kaye -- Baby name site 
Skylar -- Came with his 
Helena -- Name from an old WIP 
Troy -- Mom suggested this one 
Wren -- I could say she came with hers, but I've just really loved this name ever since I saw Footloose 
Jesse -- Came with his 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mark of Athena Review

***WARNING: This is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. There will be spoilers for the previous two books and this one***

The Mark of Athena
by Rick Riordan
Heroes of Olympus #3 
Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand:
Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

I made the mistake of starting this book two weeks before finals. It was physically painful for me to have to put it down so that I could study, but it really motivated me to get everything done so I could spend my evenings reading. This is a fantastic third installment to the series. My friends (who watched me while I read most of the ending) would say they feared that I would flail so hard I would fall off the couch where I was reading and hit my head on the coffee table. 

The voice and pacing was great, as always. The story grabbed me and pulled me right along. 

I have to admit, though, the characters kind of upset me in this one. At one point, Jason gets knocked out and all Piper can worry about is him forgetting her again. Even Annabeth seems to spend a lot of time worrying about Percy. Then there were the characters constantly blaming themselves for things outside of their control. Leo spends the entire book blaming himself for attacking New Rome even though an eiodolan made him do it. The whole team seemed to spend a lot of time wandering about even though they were on a quest to save Nico and he had less than six days to live. 

Anyway, I love the use of Roman and Greek mythology. The fact that they actually have to go to Rome is fantastic. There were some great appearances in this one. I absolutely loved Narcissus, Hercules, and Chrysaor. And the fact that the Romans literally stole Athena blew my mind. The way Annabeth saved her was so brilliant, even by Annabeth's standards.

Don't even get me started on the ending. I'm still in shock. Annabeth and Percy stuck in Tartarus? I know that they'll help each other to keep their sanity, but still! Is it October yet?? I need House of Hades and I need it soon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for Querying Multiple Projects

It's best to query one project at a time, but if you just can't help but query two projects simultaneously, then here are a few tips.

1. Best with diverse projects
Querying multiple manuscripts at once is best if they are all very different. Perhaps you have one non-fiction proposal and one YA novel. Or perhaps one is adult and the other is middle grade. This way your agent pool for each project is more likely to be segregated.

2. Write individual queries for each project
There should be one manuscript per query. Don't try to save time by putting summaries for all your projects into the same query.

3. Don't query the same agent with both projects simultaneously 
If you're querying the same agents with both manuscripts, it's best to choose the manuscript that you think would be their best fit. If you have a YA fantasy and a YA contemporary, and the agent is looking for all types of YA and specifically mentions fantasy in their wish list, don't send them the contemporary.

4. Don't ply agents with queries
Don't wait for them to reject one and then immediately send them the other one. The same goes for requested fulls/partials. Unless the agent asks "what else do you have?" don't immediately send them more queries after they reject one.

5. Keep careful records
Make sure to write down which agent has which query and which agents you haven't submitted to yet. You don't want to receive a full request for one project and then send them the other. (This may sound far-fetched, but it almost happened to me!) You also don't want to send the same agent the same query twice.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Things I Miss About Home

There are some things that you don't realize you miss about home either A) You're back at home, or B) You're on campus and realize how much you miss it. Friends and family are a given, so here are a few random things that I always miss about home.

1. My pets. The lack of animal companionship is one of the things that I hate most about living in the dorms. I mean, sure, you can have a fish, but you can't snuggle up in bed to a fish.

2. The ability to lock my bathroom door

3. Actual food

4. Being able to retreat into my bedroom and avoid everyone if I want to. I'm a major introvert, so the fact that I have to be around people all the time without any real means of escape can be exhausting, no matter how much I love my friends.

5. Being able to listen to music in the shower

6. Long showers without having to worry about someone walking in

7. Not having to worry about loud or drunk neighbors (Though, I suppose this could be a problem at home depending on where you live.) 

8. The smell of smoke from burning wood and leaf piles. I live in the country, so in autumn this smell tends to be everywhere. I'm not sure why I love it so much, but I do.

9. Video games

10. Having access to all my books all the time

If you're at college, what are some things that you miss about home?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Recs: Young Adult Part 2

Last week I talked about ten young adult books that I love. This week I'm going to talk about seven more.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he's found his other half until he blows it and realizes he has to get Noah back while everything is falling apart. It's a quick read with amazing voice and beautiful characters.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice's world everyone is divided into five factions, each with their own focus: Amity (peace), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intelligence), and Candor (honesty). When Tris turns sixteen it's time for her to decide where she wants to spend the rest of her life and the choice she makes surprises everyone, including herself. This is the first book in a trilogy and it's absolutely brilliant.

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
When Kendall's classmates start disappearing she has to push her problems aside and help to find her missing friends, even if it means teaming up with the one boy she shouldn't get close to. This is a beautifully written book with great characters, a real romance, and a huddle-under-the-covers creepy plot.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
When Tessa crosses to England to find her brother, she's kidnapped by the Dark Sisters and is thrust into a world of Downwolders and Shadowhunters. Chased by the Magister because of a rare ability -- the power to transform into another person at will -- she takes refuge with Shadowhunters and finds herself torn between Jem and Will. Cassandra Clare is known for rounded characters, sizzling romances, and amazing plot twists. This book is no exception. It's the first in the Infernal Devices trilogy which may be my favorite series by her once Clockwork Princess comes out in March.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is the heart-wrending story of Lis, a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany. It's one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. 

Wake by Lisa McMann
For Janie, stepping into other people's dreams is a normal occurrence and one she's thoroughly sick of. Until she steps into a dream more terrifying than any she's seen before and she becomes more than an observer; she's a participant. This is the first book in the Dream Catcher trilogy. All three are absolutely brilliant. They're beautifully written books that grab hold and don't let go.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
When Auden goes to spend the summer with her dad and his new family, she doesn't expect to find the life her overbearing mother has never allowed her to have or a kindred spirit in Eli, a fellow insomniac who lets her into his nighttime world. This is a very sweet book with a great romance and wonderful characters. It's a relatively quick read and a great book to curl up with on a rainy day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RTW: Measure a Year in Books

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: 
About how many books do you read in a year? Do you want to read more? Or, less?
For the past few years, I've been averaging about 50 books a year. It was a lot easier when I was in high school and had more time to read. Now that I'm in college, there isn't a lot of free time for pleasure reading. So far this year I've read 46 books and my goal is 50. 

I would really like to be able to read more. My to-read shelf on Goodreads is 457 books and counting. At this rate (assuming that I don't add any more books to the list, which is impossible) it will take me 9 years to read all of them.

I'm thinking next year my goal is going to be 100 books, but I doubt that I'll make it. That was my goal my senior year of high school and I barely hit 50.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CRUSHED Release Day!

by Dawn Rae Miller
For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.

However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him - Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.

Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.

Check out her website for more information and the first four chapters!

Happy book birthday, Crushed!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The "FINALLY" Moment

The "Finally" moment is a major factor in the majority of TV shows, movies, and books with romance as a big element. That's the moment where two characters finally get together after a long period of sexual tension and beating around the bush and readers/viewers screaming "Just kiss already!" 

There's a fine line between dragging it out and building up to just the right moment. There's commonly a lot of "almost there" moments where it almost happens, but it's not quite the right time.

There needs to be tension and it needs to feel right, but there's always the potential that it's going to start dragging on forever.

A couple good examples of "Finally" moments that come to mind right now...

Ross and Rachel in the finale of Friends is the ultimate "Finally" moment. That's actually the scene that inspired this post. We always knew they would be together from the first moment to the last. It was a ten year span and, while it was frustrating, it wasn't over the top. They dated, they had moments together, they had a baby together. But it wasn't completely right until that final moment.

A more modern one is Castle and Beckett in Castle. I'm not going to say anything more because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but they've always been brilliant together and waiting for that "Finally" moment makes me want to explode from all the teasing.

In summary, the build-up to that "finally" moment has to have close misses and a lot of teasing. There needs to be moments where you know that they're going to be together and moments where you scream "COME ON KISS" even though you know the characters aren't going to listen. At the same time, it shouldn't be dragged on forever. When it feels right, it's time. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

College: How to Survive Finals

It's that time of the semester again: finals. The time when the library is always packed and free time is in extremely short supply. Here are some tips on how to make the stressful time a little easier.

Start studying early 
Don't wait until the day before the test to read the chapters for the first time. Instead, start early. Make flashcards a week in advance and study them every night up to the test. The same thing works for notes. Every night before you go to bed, read over your notes. Studying often implants the information more deeply into your brain.  

Study the way you do best
Some people learn best by reading the information multiple times and others by listening to the information. Review notes, make flash cards, complete study guides, listen to lectures, review Powerpoints, read chapters again, have a study session with a friend in the class, and anything else that might help. Do whatever works best for you.

Plan your studying
Make a list of everything that you need to do before your finals and ration it out. Plan what classes you're going to study for, how, and when. Different classes require different study techniques. Of my four finals, one of them has a study guide; one of them requires me to make flash cards for theories, dates, and laws; and one of them I need to review all my notes. When you study will also depend on which finals you have when. I have two finals on Monday, so I'll have to study for both of them over the weekend. My last final isn't until Wednesday, so I can take all day Tuesday to study hard for that one.

Find the ideal place to study
There are a lot of different places to study and they all have their pros and cons. Make sure to find the best one for you. I like to study in our designated study room during the normal school year, but during finals week I actually prefer to study in the dining hall. There's total silence in the dorms during finals week and I like a bit of noise when I study. I could listen to music, but that doesn't work depending on what I'm studying. Whether it's the library, the dining hall, or your own dorm, make sure it's somewhere your mind will be on studying.

Set aside a little time to de-stress
Even though your number one priority should be studying finals, don't forget to set aside a little time to relax and let your brain unwind. Take short breaks during long study sessions and give yourself an hour or two every night to just chill. Last year during finals week I managed to make it through two books -- both old favorites -- because I would read when I needed to de-stress.

It's okay to say no to social events
Don't be afraid to say no to things if you really need to study. Even the weekend before finals week has things happening. Know your limits and find the right balance between relaxing and studying.

Check and double-check exam locations and times
Finals are oftentimes during different times and in different classrooms than normal classes. Make sure to check that you've got the right time and location. There's nothing worse than missing your final or ending up at the wrong room.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Recs: Young Adult Part 1

Continuing with my series of book recommendations is my young adult recs. Part two will come next week.

Every Day by David Levithan
Every night at midnight, A shifts into a new person's body and has to be them for a day. A is fine with this, until one day he breaks one of his own rules by falling in love with his current body's girlfriend. This book is absolutely beautiful. It has wonderful characters and great writing. It's one of those books that I recommend everyone read. It's a great "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" kind of story.

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Parker -- cheerleading captain, teacher's pet, and future valedictorian -- starts failing all of her classes and drinking at school in reaction to a traumatic event that just might be her fault. This is another beautifully written book. I love the characters and the plot and the writing. It's all true to high school life as well.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
When Verity -- a spy for the British during WW2 -- is captured by the Gestapo after her plane crashes, she weaves a tale about her past and her best friend, Maddie, as her confession. It's a gorgeous book and I love every bit of it. I just read it recently and I'm already dying to read it again.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles world has been one big "nonevent" until Alaska pulls him into her messed-up and self-destructive world. This is another book that's really true to high school life. I love all of Green's books, but this one is one of my favorites. 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 
Hadley expects the day she has to fly to London for her dad's second wedding to be one of the worst days of her life, until she meets Oliver on the plane and it turns out to be one of the best. It's a very sweet and quick read. The whole book takes place over a twenty-four hour period and yet it doesn't at all feel rushed.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
When Jenna awakens from a coma that everyone says she's been in for a year, she doesn't remember anything from the life she has before and she can't help but feel that something is terribly wrong. It's a great story that deals with some issues that are prominent in today's society. There's a sequel, The Fox Inheritance. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
Anna isn't happy when her senior year plans are disrupted when shipped off to a Paris boarding school, until she meets Etienne St. Clair, perfect in every way except for the fact that he's taken. It's a very sweet read with great characters and an adorable romance.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda is ostracized by her friends and classmates after she calls the cops on an end-of-summer party, but only she knows the truth of why. It's a very real book and I recommend that every high school student -- girls especially -- read it at least once.

White Cat by Holly Black
Cassel is the only one without magic in a family of criminal Curse Workers, but he does have a dangerous secret: three years ago, he killed his best friend. Now Cassel is sleepwalking and having nightmares about a white cat, and starting to wonder if his two brothers are keeping secrets from him. It's a book with an absolutely brilliant plot, great writing, and an interesting cast of characters. It's the first in a series.

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and Alan are always on the run from magicians to use demons to work their magic looking for a charm that Nick's mother stole, until Nick begins to suspect that everything Alan has told him -- about their family, past, and the reason they're running -- is a lie. This is the first book in a trilogy. This is one of those books that grabs hold and doesn't let go. This one has it all: great writing, rounded characters, shocking plot twists, and a brilliant premise.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RTW: Approaching Revisions

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: 
For many, December is a post-NaNoWriMo revision haze! How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?
I'm in the midst of revising right now (a project that is not my NaNo) so this subject is definitely on my mind. Here are three random tips that I like to use: 

1. Break it down
I break my manuscript into chapters and scenes and then, using Scrivener's notecards, I summarize each scene and chapter so that I can see how things progress. even if you don't have Scrivener, you can use a bulleted on a separate document or Post-It notes on a corkboard (this also works well to make a calender to check for timeline issues).

It makes it easier for you to see where information is revealed, any places the pacing slows down, and how the plot progresses. For manuscripts with multiple points of view, I find it helpful to break them down by PoV character so that I can keep track of where everyone is and make sure that nothing gets tangled.

2. Do a preliminary read before starting revisions
Before you make any changes, give the manuscript a complete read-through. Don't make any changes here, just take notes. I keep a "revision letter" on a separate document of all the large things that I need to fix. This might include character motivations, plot changes, pacing problems, removal or addition of characters, new scenes that should be added, worldbuilding issues, things that need to be clarified, and any other enveloping changes. I also take notes on the document of smaller things like typos, awkward sentence structure, grammar issues, unrealistic dialogue, and other line-by-line issues. 

3. Get betas
A fresh pair of eyes will look at your manuscript in a whole new way and catch things that you, as  the writer, might miss. I recommend not sending the manuscript to them until you have made it the shiniest that you possibly can by yourself. Smaller rounds of betas make it easier to manage all the feedback and you can do multiple rounds.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Misuse of Apostrophes

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I'm going to say it anyway. We need to talk about the correct use of apostrophes.

Recently I've picked up on a lot of misuse of apostrophes. I have a Game of Thrones poster that I've found no less than three mistakes in so far and I also went to a craft show over the weekend where I picked out two things that misused apostrophes.

So, here we go.

Apostrophes have two uses:

1. To indicate possession 
Amy's husband's name is Rory. [There are two apostrophes in this one. The first indicates that the husband is Amy's. The second one indicates that the name "Rory" is the husband's.]

I need to borrow six doctors' white lab coats. [In this case, "doctor" is plural so the apostrophe goes after the "s."]

2. Contractions
Let's = Let us
Can't = Can not
Won't = Will not

Next up, some situations in which apostrophes are NOT appropriate, but somehow get used anyway.

1. Sports teams 
Correct: Lions, Wolverines, Bears, Red Wings, Flyers, Pistons (Can you tell I'm a Detroit girl?)
Incorrect: Lion's, Wolverine's, Bear's, Red Wing's, Flyer's, Piston's

2. To make things plural 
Incorrect: There are twelve car's in the lot.
Correct: There are twelve cars in the lot.

There is one exception in these that should probably be mentioned and that is "it."

It's = It is (Ex: It's a beautiful day.)
Its = the possessive form of it (Ex: "My priority has always been and will always be the welfare of this school and, of course, its students.")

Monday, December 3, 2012

NaNo Wrap-Up

I made it! I'm tired and behind on my homework and sleep-deprived and I'm not sure what to do with this bit of free time that I now have, but I've had it! I hit 50k on Tuesday. For now, Hacker (that's the nickname for my WIP) is going to be trunked. It needs a complete rewrite, but that's okay.

Final word count: 50,520 

First line: I remember the murder very clearly. 

Last line: Everything's not back to normal, but everything is okay.  

I'm really excited about this one and its characters. It's just going to take a lot of time. For now, I get to concentrate on getting caught up on homework and finals that are only a week away. 

Did you do NaNo this year? How did you do?