3

Epic Book Survey - 2009

Well, instead of my original plan to post up a 2009 New Years post, I decided to go with YA Highways EPIC BOOK SURVEY 2009. Not only do I love surveys, but I loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore. A random winner gets Fire, the kind-of prequel.

Alrighty, lets see if I can fill them all in. It's going to be tricky; I'm having trouble remembering which books I read this year...which actually wasn't many at all. Stupid broke college studentness...

I really need to start reading again. Too bad I didn't get a chance to read the three books I got for Christmas. I'm sure I'd have a ton to add to this list. Oh wells.

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BOOKS
Most imaginative:
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Funniest: The Bro Code by Barney Stinson
Edgiest contemporary: Wake by Lisa McMann (though it's contemp with magical realism)
Creepiest SF/dystopia: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

SCENES
Most hilarious
: When Katsa shouts Po's name in Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Most disturbing: Janie's dreams of Cabel's past in Wake by Lisa McMann
Steamiest: Do non-agented friends count? Jordan/Adrian in Luminous by Sarah Harian
Most exciting: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Biggest tear-jerker: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!!) : Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

CHARACTERS
Best couple: Katniss and Peeta from Catching Fire
Who you'd want as your best friend: Wanda in The Host by Stephenie Meyer (heck yeah, alien for a best friend!)
Who you fell in love with: Peeta from Catching Fire
Worst (best?) villain: The Capital in Catching Fire
Best character twist (who you loved, then hated, or vice versa): Ian from The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Favorite all-around kickass female: Katniss from Catching Fire
Favorite all-around kickass male: Po from Graceling

MISCELLANEOUS
Best book cover:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Best title: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Most memorable voice: Clay from Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Most memorable first line: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Best setting: Prettytown in Uglies
Most beautiful writing: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
Will any of the books you've read in 2009 make your life list of Favorite Books?
The Hunger Games trilogy will definitely be at my top favorites, battling for number one with Harry Potter. While I'm pretty must done with the Twilight hype, being annoyed into disliking them my all of the obsessive fangirls, I really adored The Host, mainly for the character of Ian, who quickly went from hating to loving. Also, Thirteen Reasons Why struck a chord with me. It's at the top as well.
**********
Wow, I have about six books playing around on a loop. Goes to show how good my memory is at remembering books for an entire year...
It's also obvious how much I love Catching Fire...I'm pretty sure it dominated the rest.
2

Brain, I love you!


There are certain days where everything just seems to fall into place. The fog rolls away, the world seems brighter...and you become best friends with your own brain.

It seems that this happens a lot lately--mostly at 3am and after four shots of espresso--but it is still a raucous, overwhelming joy, mixed with a smidge of your heart trying to leap through your chest. And honestly, I can't get enough.

I'm proud of myself for how much I was able to write today, catching up with the days that I missed during the holidays and pulling ahead to complete 40k words, up from 35. It wasn't only the fact that I, astonishingly, reached my goal and brought myself to just under halfway finished, but I created an entirely new and more exciting plot twist for the chapters I was working on. An added bonus to completing my goal, which I set above my actual expectations in hopes of the elated feeling I'm having right now.

Of course, the worst part of finding my muse at 3am is I have no one to blab it to in person. Back when I lived in my last apartment, I would barge into Sarah's room, awake or asleep, and babble on about my exciting new discovery. Poor girl.

Now, however, I must keep it to myself, hide it away until tomorrow, where I will proceed to babble on to Sarah about my exciting new discovery. Again, poor girl :P

At least I have you, Blogger *hugs* You might prevent me from fursploding from excitement. No promises.
4

Almost done...

With the year, not with Concealed. While I'll admit that I've slacked (and felt terribly lazy for it) on writing with the Christmas holidays, I'm happy to say that I'll be back to it tomorrow. After a gift card for iTunes store, Forever 21, various trinkets, and a ton of food, I'm more than ready to get back onto that horse again. It was a much needed break after the constant rush of writing, but now I'm just eager for it to be done. I'm just worried that if I can't make it go the right direction, I'm going to end up writing myself into a hole.


I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

In other news, a big congrats to my favorite little writer *coughandbestfriendcough*, Sarah, who will be finishing her manuscript this next week...again. Same characters, same plot points, same length--different focus, dealing with bigger issues like morals and making difficult decisions. I think it's going to be wonderful, as is her writing, but I know that I can't wait to tear it to pieces--err--beta read it :D Much love, hun. You have me completely excited!

As a last little update, I have at least decided to get to 35k words before the night ends, which really doesn't mean anything since I've been at 34,870 for 3 days now. It's just more of bragging rights.

Anyways, Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope it was cheerful :)
12

Teaser Tuesday/Late Official Kissing Day



I must have missed the memo, too involved with writing to check the blog updates for the day. Well, at least I am posting now :) Here and ready to bask in the Official Kissing Day loooove. On with the show! Teaser Tuesday featuring Kissing Day!

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*snipped*

2

i can haz riting tyme?


Another late night up writing. It seems that lately this is the best time for me to write, uninterrupted and peaceful, my brain still buzzing with the days events. As mentioned in a previous post, this is when my muse is most active, it seems. After not being able to write anything in three days, then to come back and pick up at 11pm for a hurried 1k words in less than an hour...I have to say, I love nighttime.

With Christmas season approaching, I'm surprised how much I've had to limit my writing output for shopping, friends and family, work, and a wedding. I was able to write tonight, and it came out nice.

However, I am falling behind on my own novel goal with the delays, not sure if I'll be able to finish in 50k words in 3 weeks plus a week of revisions. The goal was set to finish my WIP before my friend departs for Scotland for six months.

I wanted to finish around January 15th, 11 days before she left so that I would have time to revise and fix things, but that's not going to happen the way I imagined. I'll have to go till later and cut down the revision time from 11 days to 7 days or less. I have so many plot holes or points that need to be spruced up (as seen in my last post). I figured that it's a 10 hour flight with two layovers...she might want something to entertain her, assuming that it's entertaining of course :-S

If I can reach my goal, I'll not only make my friend (hopefully) happy, but I'll be ready to settle down and revise, revise, revise and query, query, query. Depending on how well Concealed goes, I'll either be working on a YA contempt/mystery/thriller-ish SNI that came to mind a week or so back. It's not an epic, world-building, magic trilogy with kickass characters, but it's still pretty epic. I'm pretty excited to write it, even if it does mean putting Feral and Concealed aside. I hope that one day Concealed will find a home, even if it means trying to sell another idea and coming back to that one. Don't worry Neira, Kalina, Adarin, and Dayne; I will never forget about you guys!

If the miraculous does happen and I'm able to finish 50k, there shall be a party.


Current word count: 32,246

Chapters: on 17

Pages: 127 Word/137 preferred text format

Words per day to reach goal: 1657

By golly, I think I can do it. It'll be difficult, but I guess since work has slowed waaaay down, leaving no events until January, I have much more time to dedicate to writing. Let's see how I do :)
4

Writing: fixing plot holes--complete with pictures!

When I started seriously writing almost two years ago, the barest essentials were all I had. Being a broke college student, it basically translated to: Ramen Noodles, the weekly Starbucks coffee from Sarah, and my computer. For the most part, it was the two of us, sitting on opposite couches, drinking French-pressed coffee, and listening to Two Steps From Hell or Transformers soundtrack. Nothing was more fun that that--the incessant giggling as we realized what was coming, or funny lines that we put in there.

Today, not much has changed. You can still find us sitting in her room, compies on our laps, coffee nearby, music playing from the speakers, still laughing at our own creative geniuses.

But I do use other things that actually really help when I'm struggling. For example: plot holes. Those dreaded little crinkles in your plans, clashing together like hot pink and red. With help from me and Sarah's inside joke, I present:


(Let's pretend my room is this neat)

That's right, me and Sarah's "Epic Board 'O Stickies' or 'Epic Board 'O Plot Holes' as I also like to call it. Of course, not all of these pretty little squares are holes. Some of them are future references, sections I would like to make better, or info on things like people or societies.

But I won't lie, 2/3 are plot holes.

I've also realized just how mean/demanding/snooty my inner editor can be. I do believe one of the stickies on the board reads in regard to a certain scene, "Too boring! Get more action in there." "So, is Dayne ageless? Might want to fix that." "Trackers come before branding, not after." Alright already! I'll fix it when I'm finished writing, sheesh!"

Of course, not only has the "Epic Board" helped me out, but so have these two fabulous items:

(They really do make a wonderful couple)

I've already mentioned coffee once, so I'll just say, 'God Bless!' and move on to notebooks.

Now, I'm really not one to be writing in notebooks--unless of course, I'm sitting in a three hour Econ class that I would always leave half way through every class because the professor was so monotone that I could barely keep my eyes open. Not sure how I ended up with a B-, but I just went with it.

Anyways, yes, I have written in a notebook before. I actually had a good...hmm...I dunno--50 pages of my old draft in misc notebooks scattered around my apartment. While I preferred my computer, I couldn't deny the appreciation I would give notebooks on those days when I had to wait some where for a doctors app or vet trip.

Recently, I decided to map out my thoughts, tidying up everything in my mind, straightening out the clutter.

(Again, let's pretend my room is this clean)

For the most part, there was a lot of scratching things out, smushing words into a corner, drawing a bunch of arrows. Had I not made it blurry, you'd be able to see the pure chaos going on here. The funny thing is, it completely worked. Brain unblocked! Clutter removal attempt: Successful!

Some days just don't go as smoothly. After attempting to write a decent, fairly emotional scene, I found myself making things worse. Not only was I repeating words within the same sentence, it took me forever to spell everything correctly. I was constantly backspacing words and retyping them once, twice--three times even. At that point, I gave up. No writing that night. It was just souring my mood.

Instead, I decided to work on something I haven't done in a long time: a puzzle. I'm not sure entirely what it is, but for the life of me, I swear puzzles are cat-magnets. The moment I had set it on my bed and grabbed up a small table, she was there, gnawing on my mini masterpieces.

(I was missing one piece when I finished the puzzle. I wasn't thrilled...)

Not sure how many times I had to shoo he away (which didn't work. She got grumpy, I got grumpy) but eventually, I managed to work around her. I had forgotten how A.) good I was at puzzles and B.) how long it kept me preoccupied. I had started at around 10pm, and when I looked at the clock after being 2/3 of the way done, it was 4am. Oops. I set it aside, went to bed, and finished the rest of it within the hour. It was a nice break.

After finishing it, I hopped on the computer where I started writing, getting a nice chunk done in FNW. I had to stop eventually because of an approaching plot twist, but it was nice to blow past the 30k mark, and even the 31k mark. I'm currently sitting pretty at 31,178 words, a plot hole free in my head (as far as I can tell. There's a lot crammed in there) and a maybe-query which I'll send Sarah's way. I'm pretty sure it's crap, because I don't like it, but I like her opinion.

So what's your helpful tools? Any other programs, methods and/or items that help get you out of trenches and holes?
3

29k? I'll take it!

I've just passed the 1/3 mark for my story, which I'm very happy about. I really only started cranking down on writing a little over 2 weeks ago and I'm nearing the 30k mark. This also makes me a tad sad, realizing that I could have easily done NaNo had I not switched stories in between. This is okay though. No use fussing about it now. This new idea is better than anything I had written before. Better idea, insane plot twists, hopefully gut-wrenching emotional scenes, and heartfelt family bonds. I'm pleased with the comments I've been receiving on snippets, even though the drafts are so raw, most of which aren't even read through before I post it. So naturally, I'm having plot holes galore right now. It's thrilling, watching my Epic Board 'O Stickies turn into an Epic Wall 'O Stickies. I'll hit that mark soon, but that's the problem with writing and suddenly changing your mind/coming up with a better twist/conflicting plot twists etc...All a part of the writing package.

I currently stand at 29k on the fifteen chapter, 114 Word Pages.

At this rate, I'll be to my goal by the end of January, which is what I'm hoping for so I can give my friend Kaitlyn the manuscript to keep her entertained while she leaves for a missionary program to Scotland. I wanted to be able to write and do one set of revisions to fill in the holes before I give it to her, so writing, writing, and more writing is in store.

As a last little humorous note, I decided to post the screenshot I took after I updated Twitter. I use the web program Google Chrome, finding it more useful than Mozilla and Internet Explorer, but I've come to realize that it likes to imitate Microsoft Word and correct misspellings for me.
Or in this case read minds:


Taylor "Tautness". Yeah, I pretty much fursploded while reading it. It catchy and it applies.
1

Sexy Baddies and Road Trip Wed

This post was spurred by a convo between me and Kristin and our love for dangerous guys.

What is it about the sexy villain--the guy we KNOW is evil--that just pulls us in further? When it comes to attractive, mysterious, subtly evil male villains, it's like we swallowed a huge magnet, pulling us unwillingly towards towards him. So what is it?

I like to think that girls are attracted to evil, handsome guys because of the redemption factor, the What-if-I-could-save-him-and-turn-him-good-again. But when he's actually good, we lose a bit of interest. It's the bait they offer, the thrill of the chase.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the good guy. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games is a freaking doll--hands down my favorite male book character. But nice characters, with me, sometimes get the shaft when a brooding, charming villain is introduced. Take Draco Malfoy for example. For the most part, I was obsessed. The dark, sisister, and angsty aura that followed around him was like a freakin drug. Cue reading fanfiction, cue browsing fanart, cue writing fanfiction. I stumbled upon Cassandra Clare's Draco Trilogy years and years ago before she even had an agent, fell in love with her characters, plots, descriptions. She managed to capture Draco in a sense that I think would fit him. We never really got a good look at his character, never delved inside his head, but it was always fun to imagine.

I'll cut it short here and move onto Road Trip Wed so I don't bore everyone...or make it insanely long :D

What are the three best books you've read this year?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I have to put this one on my list, being that this is my favorite book series tied with Harry Potter. Peeta was adorable, Katniss was brilliant, mean cliffie ending--I loved it all!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. One of the most beautifully written, tear-jerking, adorable books I've ever read. There was laughing, tears, anger--everything. After the last roadtrip Wed, I had to *facepaw* myself for forgetting another crush on the list: Clay. The more I read about his inner dialogue or how he felt about a certain person or people, I more I loved his character.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. At the encouragement of my best friend, Sarah, I finally caved and bought the series. While I am stile finishing Pretties (because I've been more obsessed with writing than reading, which I suppose it good :D) I fell instantly in love with the first of the trilogy. The title is deceiving, showing no signs of the epicness and action that lay between the covers. I was pleasantly impressed with everything about it

If you could meet one author (living or dead), who would it be?
I know these are going to sound completely generic, but it's a toss up between J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkein. I honestly can't choose who because these two authors are responsible for so much. Harry Potter was the reason that I loved to read. I picked up the first book in sixth grade, 11 years ago, a year after the first book was published. This was a series that I literally grew up with. It got me started on reading and writing fanfiction--helping me to decide that I loved to write.

J.R.R. Tolkein taught me to create a world bigger than my own, to conjure up stories of magic and good triumphing over evil.

Without these two authors, I wouldn't be where I am today. They literally changed my life.

What book are you most looking forward to in 2010?
Hunger Games (Book 3) is a given, so I'll post another one, which is Kody Keplinger's The DUFF. I'm very excited for her and to read her book. She's an amazing writer and I can't wait for her book to hit the shelves.

Well, I suppose that should wrap up this long blog post. Guess I'm just making up for lack of blog postage :D
3

Nighttime: My Muse's Muse

It's one of the unexplainable phenomenons , like Stonehenge and Jello.

It's late. Lying in the bed of your cave (or bedroom. Whatever normal people call it.), you close your eyes, attempting to shut down your mind, only to suddenly snap awake. You scramble out of bed and to your roommate's door, knocking quickly because the world will just end if you don't tell them what is so important. Without waiting for an answer, you burst in, waking them from sleep.
"What?" they ask, grumpy from fatigue and being scared half to death from the door slamming against the wall.
"I just had an epiphany!"
Blank stare.
"I know how this section of the story is going to end."
You close the door just as the pillow hits, a smile on your face.

Nighttime writing: the most amazing gift I've ever received. I don't know what it is about the darkness, the quiet, and the growing fatigue that makes my mind race with ideas. I've already laid out my hours of operation, which is mostly from 11am or noon to 3am, leaving me a nice 8-9 hour sleep. A part of me doesn't like feeling that I waste my entire morning, the other half is calling me and idiot because it knows I like the nighttime better. My insulting half won.

Of course, the above story never actually happened...at least not that way. When I lived with Sarah, there was no pillow throwing, irritated voices, or blank stars (*snickers* Okay, there were those). Mostly it was calling me a nerd and laughing as I closed the door and went back into my room to reflect on my own brilliance.

For the most part, I'm curious if anyone else is like me--valuing the ideas that nighttime gives, or perhaps you have their more inspirational moments in the morning after you first wake up. Maybe it's in the middle of the day.

Most inspired time to write. Go!
1

Shiny new contest!

The wonderful peeps over at YA Highway are having a contest! Very excited one at that. Go check it out. Go ogle books and bookshelves. Enjoy! :)
7

Crushcrushcrush

And no I don't mean the super catchy Paramore song.
YA Highway asked the question, "Who are your fictional crushes?" and because I love a question to rant about my loves, this post is dedicated to all those nerdy, mysterious, I-just-want-to-pounce-on-you dream boys from YA novels. The type of oh-so-adorable guys who could make my heart melt in one minute and then explode from frustrating/irritating/so damn cute it's almost nauseating moments. Prepare yourselves for this :)

*WARNING* There's a few spoilers here. Just a heads up for those who don't want some of the books ruined.
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1.) Peeta Mellark - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blond, cunning, and willing to do anything to protect the girl. What is not to like?! I grew an immediate attachment from the moment Katniss recalls how he had given her the strength to keep living with just a simple loaf of bread. The bruise and the reprimanding didn't steer him away from his need to help her then, it certainly didn't throughout the rest of the book. He remains a knight in shining armor without the leading lady even realizing that he meant every word he had ever spoken and all moves he had ever made.

It was bad enough trying to see through the hearts pounding in my eyes every time I read about him; I can only imagine how worse it will get once the movie (Screenplay written by Suzanne Collins herself! *squeeeeeee*) comes out in 2011.

Quote: "Maybe not that long," says Peeta. "What was that you were saying just before the food arrieved? Something about me...no competition...best thing that ever happened to you..."

"I don't remember that last part," I say, hoping it's too dim in here for the cameras to pick up my blush.

"Oh, that's right. That's what I was thinking," he says. "Scoot over, I'm freezing."


2.) Ian O'Shea - The Host by Stephenie Meyer

So I know that it's technically an adult novel, but for some reason, my brain reads YA. Maybe because the MC-host Melanie, in the flashbacks, is 17. A crush is a crush right?

What's funny about this crush, is he tried to kill the MC-alien--which I take as a symbol of love. He wasn't just choking the life from her, he was doing it with love and compassion. In all honestly, he quickly became my favorite character in the book, and most likely the series with SM finishes the next two books. Fear can make people do strange things, like attempt to strangle the half-alien, but only acceptance can make him love her. The book had a lot of messages, good messages about sacrificing anything for the ones you love, accepting and understanding what you are afraid of, and admitting that you were wrong. This book has it all, and so does Ian. To watch his character turn from an asshat to the most sincere person in the entire camp is a fun transition. I find that every time I read The Host, I crush even more.

Quote:He nuzzled his face against mine until he found my lips, then he kissed me, slow and gentle, the flow of molten rock swelling languidly in the dark at the center of the earth, until my shaking slowed.

3.) Ron Weasley/Draco Malfoy - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

This decision was too difficult. I adore Ron, who has always been a fictional crush since the middle of the first book. The comic relief, awkward schoolboy, and has "the emotional range of a teaspoon," his personality had me dying to read more. There were so many moments when I just wanted to smack him over the head, wanted to *facepalm* at some of the things he did, but all the same, I couldn't ever hate him, or stay mad for long. Just a cute redhead with a boyishness charm.

Quote: "...from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell 'die, Ron, die.' I'm chucking them in the bin where they belong."

On the other hand, despite all of the cruelty and taunting he gives, there is something about Draco Malfoy that just grabs me, reeling me in. Completely mysterious, dark, and brooding--we all see him joining the Death Eaters. But wait! Do I see redemption in the future? Is my psycho fangirl crush not completely psycho after all? We never really get a deep look into his character, which is a shame in my opinion, but we do see this unexpected side of him in the sixth and seventh book. Angsty and proud with a hint of sarcasm and insecurity. Don't worry, I'd be happy to take him under my wing ;)

Quote: "Azkaban - the wizard's prison, Goyle. Honestly, if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards."

4.) Cabel Strumheller - Wake by Lisa McMann

What's hot about a nerd-gone-popular who is actually still a nerd? Everything. There were many things I enjoyed about Wake like the language, which captured teenagers very well. The premise was interesting, the first-person present was bearable. But those things didn't keep me reading. It was definitely the secretly attractive Cabel. Mysterious, intriguing, heartbreaking--you got it all with him. You also got his caring, his compassion, his understanding. While Janie struggles with a life she never asked for, in a world she believes really doesn't care, her path wanders into that of Cabel, the person who will love her unconditionally, who--without even knowing what was going on--sheltered her, held her numb hands, shooed away anyone who was curious.
Plus, he ends up being an undercover cop. *fans self* 'Nuff said :)

Quote: She feels like crying, and she does, a little. She closes her eyes and doesn't move. Can't move. The tears leak out. Cabel wipes her cheeks gently with his thumb.
That makes her cry harder.


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And that, ladies and gents, is my fangirl crushes, in order of my favorites. *sighs dreamily* And I can go visit them any day that I want.
1

New layout.

Like it. Love it. Snuggle it.
That's what I did :D
15

Teased!

Why yes, I have started Teaser Tuesdays again with the lovely ladies at AW. I must say, it feels excellent. A seriously brief update first followed by a section of Concealed that I really like as an unofficial query.

Words: 12446
Chapters: 7
Pages: 46

Not too bad. It's going by quickly. Well, only the teaser :)


*************************

*snipped*

1

So. Much. Better!

Just thought I would give a brief update about how my writing is going. As the title says, it is going so well! I currently just finished chapter three, which I'll admit was a tad boring in the beginning, but got better in the middle. In fact, the first two and a half chapters are not spectacular. It's interesting, I will say that, but I feel that I delivered an amazing intro paragraph, and from there, it's blah. Then there is the third chapter, where you get to unofficially meet the famous Seducer. The fifth or sixth chapter is when my favorite Healer appears. That is what I cannot wait to write. Hopefully me and Sarah get our Write-a-thon tomorrow, allowing me to get to chapter five or six where the fun begins. Excited!

Anyways, here are my stats so far, if you haven't read the Progress Bar:
Words: 7635
Chapters: Starting 5th
Pages (using Hunger Games font): 32.4 book pages/28 Word pages

It's a bit slow writing-and-book-wise, but it is starting to pick up and get more entertaining with the more characters I introduce. As of now, it is only Neira (MC) and her older sister Kali, who is also an MC, just not from her perspective.

I have decided that I do indeed have a dark mind. The direction of this book is edgy, angst, dark, but it is also giddy (at least I think so), heartwarming, occasionally sad. There are thing that I added into this book that weren't in the last, and there were things I took out of this book that were in the last. Some of it I regret not adding in, but mostly, I'm just happy with how this is turning out. I really feel like this will go over well with agents, if I don't get rejected immediately for a X-Men or Heroes wannabe plot. I don't suppose begging them to read it so they understand that it is definitely not X-Men or Heroes is out of the question? *shrug* Guess I'll just need to query it right when the time comes...
2

Where to start....

No, really, where do I start. I'm actually ready to start writing my new and improved idea (mostly because Neira, Kali, Adarin, and Dayne and threatening to beat me up if I don't write them into something) but I find the beginnings so hard. We as writers have to make it interesting. We have to capture our reader. If you character is sitting in a chair studying, that won't do much for people. If she is studying and suddenly a car crashes into her room, that's a little more intense. To me, beginning is everything when it comes to writing. Doesn't matter how awesome your story gets or how rockin' your characters are, if they can't get past the beginning, it's over.

I suppose all I can hope to do is grab a cup of tea, put on some epic music, and sit my butt down.

Let's do this.
1

*poof*

Yeah, I seem to do that every now and again. *poof* in *poof* out. I could give the big ol' speech about being busy, but every one has heard it.

What has changed from the last time I blogged, however, is this: NaNoWriMo. It didn't take much convincing from Sarah for me to do this. More along the lines of:

Sarah: Hey, I'm doing NaNoWriMo challenge. Will you do it with me?
Me: What is it?
Sarah: It's National Novel Writing Month.
Me: Okay...but what is it.
Sarah: You write 50k words in a month.
Me: I need to write anyways. Okay, I'll do it.

Fascinating, yeah?

Anyways, I won't be taking my computer up to Idaho because I hate carrying it around the airport and my dad has no internet (You made me laugh about that "Oh God, no computer?!?" comment, Sarah.) I dunno, I kinda like writing it down by hand. It's...old school. Who knows, maybe it'll get me to think up some new edit ideas for JP while I'm writing The Catalyst, which is the new idea.

Well, I suppose that's all from my end. Add me on NaNoWriMo. I'll be sure to add you back when I return.
6

Teaser Tuesday 11

Eleven weeks without fail of TT. I'm pretty proud of it, actually.

Anyways, here is the first page of a short story I wrote a few weeks back entitled Silver. Thank you to the lovely Sarah for help editing. I keep forgetting to send it out to try and get published in a literary magazine.

Read it while it lasts. I'll be taking it down before I start sending it off :)
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*snipped*
8

Teaser Tuesday 10

So, I feel that I've already posted this snippet, but for the life of me, I can't find where. I really love it as it shows Adarin's playful personality and Neira's unwillingness to play along. It's just one of my favorite fun moments between the two. So here it goes, another exerpt from JP
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*snipped*

1

It feels so nice to read again...


As the title says, it feels amazing to be able to buy a book, pick it up, and read. Having gone for several months unemployed and attempting to skirt by in my apartment (Gotta love broke college life and parents that want to make sure their daughter doesn't end up eating the furniture due to lack of groceries), it's a relief to have a job and money to spend. Of course, there are also other expenses, which definitely narrows how often I can buy a book, but that's alright. A book here and there is perfectly fine with me.

The lovely Sarah has been nagging me to read a lot books (and I'm so glad you did). Between posts for OPWFT group blog and browsing the Absolute Write forums, we've picked up several recommendations for books. So far, they've all been fantastic.

Wake by Lise McMann was a quick, enjoyable read that I was able to finish in roughly 3 and a half hours. While the third person present tense bothered me a bit, I fell in love were her characters, mainly Cabel, who I couldn't hate no matter how much I tried. There was just something about him that made me want to like him, that, despite Janie's anger towards him, made him compelling. The language was amazing, as it wasn't made up of Mary Sue stuff that you always see. The perfect characters who can do no wrong. Teenagers are not like that. I don't know a single teenager that acts perfect like that. There was cussing, there was sex, drugs, violence...this is a part of average, normal, everyday life.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher couldn't be more different. Where as Wake was on the rough and ragged side, Thirteen Reasons Why was brilliance and beauty. I'm not sure if I could love another character more than I loved Clay (Well, besides my own characters :D). I don't know how many times I got teary eyed when he spoke in between her lines, how many times I "awe!"ed at a certain scene, or laughed at one of his more amusing lines. He was adorable and caring and kind, and as you see in the book and in real life, people like him are so hard to find.

I find that I respect these authors and novels because they show (in my opinion) more of young adults than most YA books I read. They are closer to what we all have experienced: highschool, drama...moments that destroy us and make us stronger.

I loved reading these two books, which I was able to easily read in two days. They were completely captivating and inspiring, which just makes me want to find more books like them. Days off like this make me happy.
8

Yet another Teaser Tuesday...9!

Wow, nine straight weeks of teasers. I'm going to have to post something else soon. I think I've given away most of my beginning rewritten chapters. Bad Leah!
Anyways, this is something new. I decided to skip ahead on the rewrite and do a snippet from a completely new idea. There was a chunk of about 3 chapters that are getting cut completely and replaced by a different idea. This is the other idea, designed for my MCs now-younger age. It's long, but it reads easily.
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*snipped*

10

Teaser Tuesday 8 :D

I know, I've been a bad AWer. Been so busy with work, family, and friends that I haven't been able to hop on except once in a blue moon. I won't, however, stop posting Teasers for as long as I can help it. That and the group blog are really my only links to AW.

I apologize that I won't be able to read everyone's teasers until late, late, late tonight or tomorrow. Trying to squeeze in as much writing and blogging and lurking as I can get between work.

Anyways, here is an exerpt from Jaded Portal.
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*snipped*

2

I have to post this because I couldn't stop laughing.

For some reason, I have a thing for taking online quizzes. They're just plain fun, albeit completely ridiculous.

So here I am, browsing Twitter, checking out the Trending Topics and I see the phrase "Who's Your Fantasy." Of course I'm looking at this with a raised eyebrow, but I cave in and take a look. It's a quiz. Who's your fantasy boyfriend? Oh no, not another one, I think. But I click the link anyways. Just a mere eight questions asking me about my dream guy. Where would I want him to take me on a date? Beach? Sounds great! What do you want him to have? Facial hair--duh! My mouse clicks around the screen in frantic anticipation to see the results. I don't do it to see what the answer is, but rather what the results say. More often than not, the results are hilarious.

I was not disappointed!

"Your result is....Harry Potter." I proceeded to snort into my cup of juice.

"We don't need to read your tea leaves to know that you are meant to be with the 'Boy Who Lived.'" I snort again.

"Harry makes you feel like you are under a magic spell, and he doesn't have to shout any Latin words to do it." The best mental image of him shouting Latin on a date floats into my mind...

"No matter how many lives your boy wizard saves, he never lets it go to his head." Lol my boy wizard? That's funny.

"He doesn't want to be adored--he just wants to hold your hand at a Quidditch game or take you to Hogsmeade for a warm butterbeer." When has he done that--ever?

"Even when he acts like a regular boyfriend though, you never forget how magical he is." He's going to make me magically vomit rainbows.

"Aww...give his lightning bolt scar a kiss for us." You all have some weird fetishes...really.

Well...that was awesome for a good laugh. I'm curious at what the other quizzes are. Everyone should go here and post their results in their blog. I need some more good laughs :P
0

Nooo! Why oh why do I have to miss this?!

Tomorrow July 24th at 5pm Willow Bridge Bookstore in my hometown of Oakhurst, CA will be hosting an event. Appearances include:
Jay Asher--author of Thirteen Reasons Why
Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Elizabeth Wales--Owner of Wales Literary Agency and
Stacy Hague-Hill--a Science Fiction/Fantasy editor for Tor Books...

And what am I doing? Working. ARGH!

I would give ANYTHING to be able to attend this event, but having just started my job during its busiest season...yeah, enough said. I am going to try to ask my boss to come into work two hours late, but I'm not sure that will fly.

The event, which continues in Madera, CA on Saturday is a no-go as well as I already promised my step-sister that I would be attending her birthday party at the lake.

It would be so fantastic to meet those people, especially considering the group blog I am involved with, Old People Writing For Teens, has done an Agent Spotlight with Laura Rennert from Andrea Brown and an interview with Jay Asher. I would love to add to those spotlights with information from Elizabeth Wales and Stacy Hague-Hill.

They all sound completely wonderful, which only makes me more sad that I have to miss this!
7

Teaser Tuesday 7

So I decided to post from Jaded Portals this time, but this scene will actually no longer be in the book. There is a scene in the book that takes up three to four chapters that is getting completely cut. I need to write it for a younger age, and in this teaser, they're 21. Doesn't work anymore now that they are 17, but I enjoy tension, so I thought I would throw this out there.
But I am glad that I am getting rid of those chapters. I honestly can say that I never really liked them except for a few parts. This snippet is alright. Its some of my old writing, so its not very well written. Guess that's what rewrites are for, eh?
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*snipped*

3

Teaser Tuesday 6/Harry Potter 6 thoughts (No Spoilers)

Due to spending 10 hours in line for Harry Potter 6, this Teaser Tuesday post is a bit late. I didn't get a chance to hop onto the lappy.

Before the post, I must say that HP6 was completely fantastic. It was hilarious, epic, very close to the book...it was by far the best one made yet! I was blown away. Normally after seeing an HP movie, I'm not sure if I like it. I'll have to watch it another time to decide. This one didn't even make me pause to think. I need to see it again because it was too amazing, not because I need to decide if it was good. Brilliance. Pure brilliance! 10 hours waiting in the hot sun, $30 spent on tickets and food, a work orientation at 1pm tomorrow...all completely worth it. If you are a fan of the book, I don't think this will disappoint!

Anyways, here's a post from Feral, my second WIP. Sorry I haven't read any teasers yet. I'll get around to it after work :)
By the way, all typos on the word 'elevator' are intentional. It's a little joke with my MC, Samara, who doesn't know what the word is and refers to it differently each time she thinks/speaks it.
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*snipped*

1

OPWFT Blog Post

You heard right. We have the Old People Writing For Teens blog up and running. It just so happens that tomorrow is my day. I won't say what I'm writing about on here, but it's relevant to what I'm doing currently. If I'm doing it, why not suggest other people do it as well. Every little bit of writing helps, right?

Now, I know that I'm not old (me and Sarah being the youngest in the thread at 21 and 20) but the people there are just too amazing. I don't fit into the teens anymore and it just feels more comfortable there. I'm very happy to be a part of this group. They can't be more awesome if they tried :D

Anyways, be sure to check out the blog. It's only been up for under two weeks and we've gotten a decent bit of attention. Let's keep it going!

EDIT: The post is now up under the Writing Tips section. I think it'll fit in there okay...
6

Teaser Tuesday 5!

Alrighty, you know what day it is. Teaser Tuesday is in full swing. I decided to do another JP teaser, because I don't want to post too much of Feral. I'm only 5500+ words in. Definitely want to save the humor, tension, and intensity for later

Anyways, here is an teaser from JP revised chapter two. I'm pretty proud of the outcome...
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*snipped*

1

Another successful NW

Good news: I'm finally starting my new job tomorrow and Saturday.
Bad news: I miss two night writes.

I must say, I think I'm having major success with Feral. The change of perspective coupled with her sarcasm (which is somehow unexplainably different from Neira's) makes it very refreshing. I've been having really good success with The Jaded Portal and I am in no way not making it my priority, but the burnout from rewriting it has me down a bit. It'll take me a bit to finish the rewrite, and then I have to start the editing process, which is going to be just as big of a pain in the ass. As soon as I finish the rewrite, however, I'll be trekking into Query Letter Hell, a perilous journey into the untamed forests of agencies. It's about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender...

Anyways, I would say QLH starts in roughly two months, maybe more, maybe less--it depends on how much of JP rewrite I have left to do (which is quite a lot, I believe) and how burnt out I get.

I guess I can only wait and see.

5638 words for Feral and growing.
Jaded Portal has, astonishingly, grown larger with this rewrite. I don't know the exact word count, but I would probably say closer to 103k words over the original 102k. I don't even know how that happened...
0

Do you ever...

...have one of those moments where you hear a song and a novel or short story pops into your head? It just happened for me again.

Wine Red by The Hush Sound caused me to spur a short story that I'm quite proud of. I have Sarah reading over it. I'm hoping she'll like it. Then again, I like it. I suppose that's all that matters.

It could use some work, but it's not bad for typing it out in two hours, briefly editing, then sending it to her. If I get a good review on it, I think I'll edit it more and then send it to some literary magazines. Hopefully I could get it published. Not looking to Query Letter Hell. Just an FYI.

Okay, going back to the short story entitled Silver, Sarah loved it, which has gotten me all sorts of excited. Her input means a lot to me, not to mention, she's better with all of the literary stuff, having taken several classes for it. Having her like it is the icing on the cake. Next step is editing, and then sending it off.

I might die if it does, just because then I could say, "Hey, I'm technically a published writer." :D
6

Teaser Tuesday 4!

My new favorite day of the week! While I appreciated the amazing support of Feral last week, I'm gonna have to go back to Jaded Portal. I've been informed that I need to read Uglies, Pretties, and Specials by Scott Westerfeld because my teaser was looking strikingly familiar to it, and I've never even read a summary of the books. I guess I just have an imagination that is in sync with his...

This is a teaser from my chapter two rewrite, which is coming along amazingly. I was very happy with this, but I think some bits that I've written are incredibly intense and gorey. I'm not sure how that would settle with people, so if I could get some feedback on that, I would love you all forever!

Here it goes, from the newest rewrite of the Jaded Portal. I apologize for the length. There wasn't really a good part to cut it off at:
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*snipped*

1

FNW---Pure awesomeness

I don't think it's even possible for this night to get better. I'm going to have to agree with Sarah on all counts.

Friday Night Writes on AW was more fun that I had even imagined. I had been bouncing up and down in my seat for the last six days waiting for this night. Apparently, it had been done on different nights as well, though I had been busy all previous ones. It was so insane that it took the better part of the hour just reading and reviewing everyone else's work. Then there was a good 20-30 mins dedicated to your own writing. It was perfect though! I can FINALLY say that I am finished with the rewrite for chapter one, which was the entire reason for my writer's block. I needed to make it interesting, something worthwhile, suspenseful. I'm hoping I pulled that off well. All the compliments were wonderful and had me grinning ear-to-ear most of the night. I am happy to say that I personally find the changes I've made a complete turn-around from what I had written a year ago, which was terrible. The second chapter is moving along smoothly as well. I'm excited to start writing that tomorrow...err...later today. All I have left to rewrite is the first 1/3 of my book...sigh. But hey, it's progress.

I second Sarah's next comment on Steve Jablonsky. What would I do without your epic/beautiful/dramatic/tramatic music. I will always, for the rest of my life, look back and remember the ideas that had come to me on the fateful trip to Oregon with Arrival to Earth playing on a constant loop in the background.

The same goes for you, Sarah. I don't think it's possible for me to have a more amazing best friend. One who will take the babble that comes from my mouth when I get too excited about a certain part. Who will sit on the couch opposite of me with coffee in hand, listening to Two Steps From Hell and Transformers soundtrack. Who, when I get really, really emo about writing, can still manage to make my stubborn self feel better. And lastly for just being there for the game of "Hey Cow," which was in fact, a llama. Ahh, the joke that ensued afterwards about us driving back and seeing a llama dead from cardiac arrest. I heart you!

Again, thanks for making this night really fun and progressive! All of you are incredible!
10

Teaser Tuesday 3!

It's technically Tuesday and everyone at AW knows what that means!....We all get a lovely round of teasers! I'm very excited to keep reading. Everyone has such amazing ideas and writing styles and humor...I can't get enough! I'm happy to post something new, instead of JP excerpts. Don't get me wrong, JP is my baby, but I'm tired of never having new characters, new plot, new settings. Today is an exerpt from Feral, the new YA Urban fiction. I apologize for grammatical errors and the like, I didn't really edit. It's fresh off the computer :D 2860 words written today alone on Feral. I even did a good 500 words for the JP rewrite. So proud!
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*snipped*

3

A tad late Teaser Tuesday...

Work, work, work...
I know I'm a tad late, only about 2 hours, but still. Worked the closing shift, so naturally I didn't get out of work until midnight. Blasted random bands that I hadn't heard in forever, like Aqua. That was fun. Called Sarah. Waited in traffic at midnight for 20 minutes. That wasn't fun. Made it home thoroughly saddened that I missed, yet again, another party with friends. Sometime I'll actually be able to hang out with someone for longer than a few hours...

Anyways, enough with my ranting. On to the (slightly late) Teaser...

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*snipped*

3

Teaser Tuesday!

New blogroll for AW Young Adult forum. Teaser Tuesday is basically sharing sections from your book. Most are longer than the ones I already post, so I'll just have to find a long section to post with this one. I think that I'll probably stop posting teasers except on Tuesday, that way I'll have more things to post and won't run out of sections that I want. These Tuesday posts will be longer to make up for not posting any other time during the week.

Here we go! Teaser taken from The Jaded Portal:
*snipped*

1

Well what do ya know...

Here I was, minding my own business when an idea appeared out of no where. It had been a while since any idea had visited me, so I wasn't at all expecting it, but I welcomed it warmly. The small talk ensued immediately.
"Hello Idea," I said politely. "It's been a while since you last visited me."
"It's been too long," Idea chirped. "I decided to stop by and see if you needed anything from me."
I pondered that, but only briefly. "I do think I could use some assistance," I said with a smile. "I'm can't seem to put all my pieces together. Any concepts you could throw in for me in my struggle to right the first book."
Idea frowned. "I think I've helped you enough in that section. You can definitely finish the rest of your first book. Just use your head. You are so close!"
I mimicked his frown and nodded, defeated.
"But," he continued, "I have a gift for you."
My ears perked up. "A gift? What is it?"
The gift was better than I imagined; it was the plot of my second book laid out before me. The minor details would, of course, come to me as I wrote, but the overall picture hit me in the face like a dodgeball to a nerdy kid.
It's moments like these that I feel like I'm invincible.
2

The return...

It's been over a year since I began this blog. The first thing I did was post once, and then proceeded to forget entirely that I had made one. There had only been one post, an introduction really, but this is where the good stuff starts.

The mysterious and miraculous powers of the Absolute Write forums have gotten me back into my writing, slowly, but surely. That isn't to say that I'm still stuck on my editing. I've managed to complete twenty five chapters and 353 Microsoft word pages and all I can seem to do is give myself a headache attempting to think about how to tie it all up. Changing ideas after I had finished the frame was better than changing it during the writing process, but that still leaves me with the fact that I changed ideas, and there is one key point missing that will wrap up the package I have here with a pretty little bow. What the plot point is, I haven't the faintest clue, but it's there; it's taunting me. I'll discover it soon enough, most likely when I'm lying in bed, ready for sleep. That seems to be one of my more brilliant times for creativity. I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

On a second note, I'm almost done with moving out. Thursday is my last day in my apartment, and while I'll miss living on my own, I won't miss this place. Sure I've had good memories, but the yelling, the music, the children rolling a soccer ball-sized rock down the concrete steps, the man hacking up a lung across from us...they outweigh the good. It will be a relief to actually sit in an air conditioned room in the quiet woods with my family. I think I need this though. I'm not looking forward to commuting an hour to work two or three times a week, but I'll still be saving money and hopefully not worrying about the stresses of having none. Of course, I won't actually have much money for the first month or two. I have too many things that need to be fixed. My car for one is looking like it might go to that big garage in the sky. I'm sure it still has a few more years, but the noises make me worried. It's long past due for an oil change and tire rotation. I need to refill the air conditioning...it has a leak and the air doesn't blow out as cold as it should be. The list just keeps growing, but soon enough, I'll be able to let that wave of relief rush over me when I can say that my list of things to do is gone.
 
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