Monday, December 20, 2010

We'll Be Back!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you guys know that we're taking a break for the holidays! We'll be back on January 3rd.

Merry Christmas for those that celebrate & have a happy new year!

-The YA Lit Six Girls

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On Talking to the Voices in Saturday's Head

Or: On developing characters.

First of all, though, I want to point out that thanks to Katie we have a brand-new blog button. I think it is absolutely adorable and quite love it myself. We also have a new Twitter avatar thanks to her, so go follow us there, too, if you're on twitter.

Okay, so onto my post. When I started rewriting my NaNoNovel, Berserk, I realized that my characters were not nearly as well developed as they could be. So of course, like any writer worth her snuff, I turned to Google.

I found this. Now, I know what you're saying. "But Laaaaaina, those are so BORING."

With me, the trick is to let the characters answer the questions, in their voices. Which for me is first person, but whatever works for you. And if it ends up turning into soundling more like a journal entry/running log of their thoughts, try running with it. For me, it helps me learn how the character thinks, and if I know how they think, I know how they'll react to things.

And... um, this is short. How about I promise to do better next week and we'll call it a day? It's the holidays, we're all busy, right?

Peace and cookies,

Friday, December 17, 2010


I don't really have time to write a proper post, so y'all are going to get some awesome writerly video's.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


As I work on my latest book, I've become increasingly frustrated with one thing: the repetition. I'm pretty sure every writer has this problem, but right now I feel like the worst writer in the world. My poor characters. They're stuck turning and saying and frowning, over and over again.

It's ironic; the English language is abundant. There are dozens of synonyms for just one word. Why, then, can't I seem to stop myself from using the same ones?

My technique is strict, if I do say so myself. Once I realize that I'm overusing a certain word, turn, for example, I won't let myself use it again. For the rest of the novel. Then as I go through it later, I'll deem it okay to use in certain places.

And that's it. That's all I have to offer for this week. I'm quite consumed with bashing this habit down with a crowbar, so I really do need to get back to it.

What are your methods to avoid turning and saying and frowning a million times?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quoteable Movies

A few weeks ago I talked about quotes, specifically in books. However, I've spent my bus rides this past week watching Mean Girls on my ipod, and it had me thinking about quotable movies as well. After all, someone (like Tina Fey!) wrote those quotes somewhere first. So, they're quotable quotes from a writer. And quirky/quotable movies always give me motivation to write quotable lines in my books.

Quotable quotes from quotable movies I've watched recently:

Mean Girls: (duh!)
"It's like I have ESPN or something!"
"There's a 30% chance that it's already raining!"
"That's why her hair is so big, it's full of secrets."

Steel Magnolias:
"My secret's out. I am having an affair with a Mercedes Benz."
"You are evil, and you must be destroyed."
"Smile! It increases your face value."

500 Days of Summer:
"It's love, it's not Santa Claus."
"You know, Henry Miller said the best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature."
"That's why I called her last night and told her I was sick, like a ninja."

See? What are your favorite quotable movies?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ask Harmony!

This week is insane for me. It's the middle of the marking period, when absolutely every assignment I've had so far is due, it's almost Christmas, I still have to fundraise like crazy, and life in general is just piling up on me. I had a friend change my Facebook password and my phone has been off most of the day - it's that crazy.

So, instead of writing a long post today, I'm going to open it up to questions. What questions do you have about me, my books, or anything writing-related? I'll answer the questions in the coming weeks.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Gets Distracted By the Holidays

Or: Saturday has been reading and blogging and watching Christmas specials instead of writing.

I think the holidays are an easy distraction for a procrastinating writer. Case in point, my blog has posts scheduled all through December, I read The Hunger Games trilogy in one night where I couldn't sleep, and I've planned my work themes pretty much up to March 2011. I hadn't quite gotten to the point of cleaning the house yet, but I was getting there.


I'm a little bit stuck. I hit 36,280 and stopped writing linearly. Er, this is sorta Laina-speak, so I'll explain. I write 2 ways. Linearly, (gosh, I hope I'm using that word right, otherwise I'm going to look real silly... says "Linear: of, consisting of, or using lines") by which I mean starting with a blank document and adding to it, not going back often, and non-linearly, by which I mean going back and adding in descriptions, fleshing out the characters, adding more scenes as they're needed. It's kind of a pre-revision thing, but I consider it part of writing because, well, it's not done.

I think this is one of the reasons that NaNo didn't really work for me, besides that I got sick, because I wasn't writing at my own pace. I rushed a bit too much and so I have a lot of skeleton scenes, one-dimensional characters who don't really have names very often, that kind of thing. Nothing that can't be fixed or would make me give up... but I'm a little bit stuck.

So right now, I'm listening to Harley's playlist trying to get back into her head. All my MCs (main characters) have playlists and they're all a little bit different. Sometimes I'll have the same song on more than one playlist, but they'll mean different things to each character.

Harley's playlist:

Howl - Florence and the Machine
We'll Be A Dream - We The Kings ft Demi Lovato
Good To You - Marianas Trench ft Jessica Lee (This is like Harley and Evan's song. Also, love the video.)
Here We Go - Mat Kearney
Siren Song - Bat for Lashes
Faithfully - Glee Cast
All You Wanted - Michelle Branch
Wouldn't Change A Thing - Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas (Shut up.)
Back to December - Taylor Swift
Sparks Fly - Taylor Swift
Bulletproof - La Roux
Blinding - Florence and the Machine
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer
Breathless - Better Than Ezra (I like the Taylor Swift cover, too, but this one fits better than the other. Weird, but true.)
My Heart - Paramore
Haunted - Taylor Swift

(All songs link to youtube.)

So I'm listening to that... and ending this blog post here before I procrastinate anymore with it!

Peace and cookies,

Friday, December 10, 2010


Motivation is something I lack in writing 80% of the time. I've tried the BIC (Butt in Chair) method and it just doesn't work. Write or Die (which is amazing) only makes me write up until the first 500 or so words and then I just stop caring. It is very hard for me to get motivated to write (and do homework). What do you all use for motivation? There are some people that I know who are just naturally motivated to write. But for those of us who need a little motivation- any suggestions?

I'm thinking that why this is happening is that maybe I haven't found the right novel. I don't really know.

I do have like... 10 different ideas floating around in my head at the moment, so I may start writing one of them.

This is so short because I have mounds and mounds of homework (sorry!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beta Readers

Someone asked a question on Laina's post this last Saturday, and even though it's been mentioned here and there on Y.A. Lit Six, I thought I would expand on it.

Beta readers.

Or betas, critique partners. There are several names for the person that reads your work and offers constructive criticism. This person can be anyone. He or she doesn't have to be a writer and doesn't have to even be a reader. It just has to be someone who can offer an opinion. An aunt, a teacher, a best friend, or even someone you don't know that you met online (though you do have to be careful with the online beta readers sometimes). A beta reader takes your work, reads it, and tells you what they think. That's all. What needs work, what characters are inconsistent, etc.

But where to find them?

I'm going to mention a site that I've been on for years now, and I'm completely sincere when I say that being on it improved my writing drastically. Laina also mentioned it. The Young Writers Society. There are other sites to find beta readers, of course, but this is the one that worked best for me. I love it, and though I'm not browsing the forums or posting my work so much anymore, it still offers that platform for writers.

I realize this post is brief, but if anyone has more questions on this, just e-mail Y.A. Lit Six.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

True Story

In English class, we're in the middle of a really neat unit on African literature. I've read two texts, Things Fall Apart (Achebe) and Purple Hibiscus (Adichie) and I really enjoyed both. Along with this unit we've been discussing "single stories" and how to find the other side of a story or stereotype.

As you can imagine, this unit comes with a super cool project. For mine, I get to write a story. YAY. This is the first time I've gotten to really use a creative writing element in an English project (without a page limit!!) in years.

For a story project, I have to tell "The True Story Of _____." Think of the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I get to tell the other side of any character from a book or movie.

So, of course, I thought Disney.

I'm creating a story about Ursula from the Little Mermaid. I'm so excited to write this-- I must have spent at least 55.7 hours of my childhood watching that movie. And I find the concept of the "true story" and "single story" really interesting...

How about you? What Disney (or, okay, non-Disney) character would you want to know the "true story" of?


Monday, December 6, 2010

Life Experiences

(Just a short post from me today because I'm about half-way through Becca Fitzpatrick's CRESCENDO and I want to finish tonight.)

If you follow my blog, you'll know that I'm currently fundraising to go on a trip to Guatemala. The trip takes place as the end of March and I'll be spending 10 days in Joyabaj, Guatemala. I'm SUPER excited about this for a variety for reasons but today I want to talk about one in particular:

Going on this trip would give me an INSANE amount of things to write about. It'll give me all the experiences of traveling, of being in a foreign country surrounded by people I can only half understand. I'll be exploring ancient Mayan ruins and eating Spanish food. For once in my life, I will be somewhere that's not a one-redlight (literally) town.

Those are all things I've never experienced before. Chances are I'll learn a LOT about myself on this trip and I believe that the more in-tune you are with your emotions, the better you're able to write emotional scenes. And really, how awesome would it be to write a novel written in Guatemala?

I'm not saying this trip is going to make me a fabulous writer. It's not. The only thing that's going to make me a good writer is myself. And a LOT of practice. But, I think to be an outstanding writer, it's important to actually LIVE, to EXPERIENCE, to LEARN. I'm not going to do any of that sitting in this tiny town, like I have for the past sixteen years. This opportunity is too big to pass up.

Which is why I will be fundraising my butt off until I earn every penny I need.

What about you? Are there any experiences that have shaped your writing?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

How a Saturday Writes a Book

Or: A Glimpse Into Why I’m Insane

Warning: This is probably going to be a long post. Also, I might not be here right now. My town’s doing this festival thing Friday and Saturday so I’m not sure if I’ll be around or not.

June or July 2009: Had a dream that inspired an idea for a werewolf novel. Wrote it down. Had the idea linger so much that I started writing scenes and scenes and eventually it decided it wanted to be a novel. I run with this. (There was a novel thingie before this, but it wasn’t going anywhere and was frustrating and I decided it was time to retire that.)

Probably right around this time, maybe a little bit before or a little bit after, had another dream which eventually became the basic idea for Spyder. I can’t remember the exact month, but it was definitely early 2009, probably spring. But at the time I had the idea, I jibed more with the werewolf novel, so I just let it simmer.

For the next… oh, six months or so, I write the werewolf novel. During this time, I write about three scenes of Spyder, but at that point it didn’t have a title. And my MC didn’t have a name. And one of the major characters hadn’t even made an appearance.

On, erm, December 18th, 2009, I finish The Werewolf Novel at 42, 749. (I know it’s short, I’m still calling it a novel. Since it only exists on my hard drive, I have that right. *snicker*)

Since I wouldn’t let myself jump into revising, I fooled around with a possible sequel, but that was mostly just for fun and only got to 11k or so. That petered off, not in a crash in burn way, but in a “what the heck am I doing writing a sequel when I’m barely done the first book” way. That went til about the end of January, I do believe.

At the end of December (2009), however, I did have the goals of revising book one, and finishing book two, and “maybe work on spidervamp if I have time.” (It was a nickname. I didn’t know enough about it at the time to give it a good title. I know how cheesy it sounds, but it was NEVER going to be permanent.) I didn’t plan on explaining or working on it until late 2010.

So, where are we now? Right, January 2010. Working on the “sequel” to The Werewolf Novel til that peters out, then revising, revising, revising The Werewolf Novel, blah, blah, blah. During this, I’ll admit Spyder was on my mind quite often, especially Sebastian, and I read over those few scenes I’d written a bunch of times when bored, but I was busy since I was rewriting The Werewolf Novel and sending to a beta reader 3 chapters a time.

In March, 2010, I tweeted a random teaser sentence featuring Sebastian and got a really good response, and I think that’s about when I realized how much I liked those characters. The MC still wasn’t named at that point, though, and I wasn’t quite ready to write it, so I let it simmer and kept revising. (And rewriting – rewriting was slow.)

Around April or May-ish, I think I finished my rewrites, but my beta got super busy, so I wasn’t doing much of anything besides irritating her. :P I read some, but basically didn’t know what to do with myself. Tried a couple of other projects, but nothing clicked.

Then on June 3rd, 2010, I started a document for Spyder and started writing. In the middle of this, my beta’s crits came back, but I barely bothered reading them because I was so engrossed. I went away for a couple days in the beginning of June and didn’t write, and that irritated me quite a bit. Got so engrossed in it that I didn’t read, didn’t really go anywhere, just wrote and wrote and wrote.

Do bear in mind that I don’t work in the summer because the library hires a summer student, so I had a lot of free time to totally mess up my schedule and not sleep and basically live in the book. I don’t particularly recommend this route.

On July 7th, 2010, I finished Spyder at 61K. (Not sure of the exact number, I didn’t write it down.) That day, I added about 2k reading through the final draft (and things like last names…) and the total final count was 63,601. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep that day, so I might have done some small amount revising the next day just to tidy up any typos.

Around maybe the 8th or 9th, I sent it to a friend of mine to read and since it was summer and she didn’t have school, she read it superfast and between her getting back to me on the 12th or 13th, and the 25th of July, I got up to 73k.

Around July 29th, I sent Spyder to my crit partner and (again, because it was summer), she also read it superfast, but she took longer to get back to me because she really critiqued it awesomely and that takes a while. I revised, yada yada, and sent a much cleaner, tidier draft back to her. That’s the draft she has right now.

Now, it’s summer so I didn’t have a lot to do. Insert lots of reading and reviews, contest entering, an empty Google Reader and me cleaning several rooms in my house. Basically I was bored out my mind. I played with a couple of ideas, nothing clicked (does this sound familiar?), and I tried to write #TheGenieBook from like late August to early October, but that was a hot mess that fizzled out mid-October. I’d still like to write it someday, but that someday isn’t now.

Then around… oh, the first or second week of October, a certain somebody told me I should do NaNoWriMo. I, of course, had no idea what to write about. Then I’m barely awake and the first line came to me. I wrote it down (but nothing else, because that’s against the rules) and researched like crazy, plotted, thought about character stuff.

On October 30th, I woke up with a fever so bad that my head was splitting, I had chills, rolling over took me like a full five minutes… and I had a cold until November 10th or 11th. I stuck it out, though, writing as much as I could, each day. And I was doing pretty good – then I got sick again. November 21st, to be exact. Had another fever, the cold came back and I ended up on antibiotics.

I gave up on winning NaNo and let myself be sick. Read a lot, watched movies, and didn’t write for five or six days. (Honestly, I’m amazed I wrote at all the first time I was sick. Something about the combination of the general icky feeling and the cold medicine makes the words not come right.)

I’m not giving up on the NaNoNovel, though, because I do really like it. I’ve worked on it the last couple days, just not at as fast of a pace as I would have, and I have a feeling I might finish the first draft soon.

So! This is how a Saturday writes a book. I do not recommend this process to anyone, because it’s ever so slightly INSANE, but it works for me.

Any questions? :P

Peace and cookies,

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Dream Guy

We all know of him, don't we? The perfect guy. The one who makes you swoon to the extreme. This YA boy drives me crazy, and not the good kind of crazy. These boys have emotions but not emotions. Despite my dislike for them, I still fall for them when I'm reading a book. When I first read Twilight, I thought that Edward Cullen was amazing (my opinions have changed since then). There are also characters like Etienne St. Claire from Anna and the French Kiss who are totally not perfect and they are even better characters.
I love characters who are crazy emotional and have flaws because they are more like actual people. When I'm writing, I find it really hard to not write the perfect guy. Because writing the perfect guy is easy. So what are your thoughts on the perfect men of YA? Do you find it hard to write guys who aren't perfect?


and PS... I got my dog!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


When you have a story idea, storyboard, summary, anything, you're usually excited to write it, right? And what are the parts you're most looking forward to writing? For me I usually look forward to the dramatic moments, and action scenes. However, when I reach those scenes in the actual draft, I find myself writing slowly,wording and rewording. It seems to take me almost three times as long to write the fast-paced scenes as any other.

And the scenes that flow quickly into the draft, that I spend much less time rewording, are the less action ones-- they're usually the scenes that take place inside a character's mind, or a conversation. Dialogue, internal and external, forms much more rapidly than action.

How about you? What types of scenes do you write quickly, or slowly?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Juggling Two Projects

Remember last week when I said I was going to start revisions? Well, right around that time, another idea I've had for a while starting banging on my brain. "Let me out! I want to be written!" it demanded. So I grabbed a notebook, wrote the title on the front cover, and wrote the opening paragraph.

But, I couldn't just abandon JESSICA. I want to start querying by summer and it requires a few more rewrites before it's finished. This new story would not leave me alone, though.

So I've come to a decision. I'm going to handwrite this new WIP while I rewrite JESSICA. My goal is at least one chapter of each a week.

I'm not sure how this whole jugging thing is going to go, as I've never succeeded at it before, but we'll see!

Do you write more than one story at a time?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday's Life Get in the Way

Or: Why I won't finish NaNoWriMo.

Remember when I got sick? Then I got better around the 10th, right? So last Sunday I wake up sick again. Fever, sniffles, sore throat, the lot. Tuesday I went to the doctor and turns out I have either a throat infection or a sinus infection (they weren't certain). Anyways, I'm on antibiotics now and I'm starting to feel better, but I'm so horribly behind in NaNo that I'll never catch up and here's why:

I can't write when I'm sick. Something about the combination of medication and the whole not feeling good thing makes it near impossible for me to actually get any words down, and when I do, they aren't usually very good. Plus when I'm sick, especially if I have a fever, I have a hard time being on the computer.

But I'm not stressing about it. I got up to 31k and that's a LOT to be working with, plus I really do like the characters I'm writing about, so I know I'll keep going, just maybe not at the 1700 words a day pace.

So basically, here's this week's lesson: If you finish NaNoWriMo, AWESOME!!! But if you don't, that's okay, too. It's not the end of the world and getting anything done is an accomplishment.

And I haven't taken anything (besides my antibiotics) today, so I'm feeling a little bit icky. So this is going to be a short post. I'll have a better one next week, promise!!

Peace and cookies,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let's Discuss Non-Fiction

I love reading as much as I love writing. Don't get me wrong, all books are great. But there is one genre that I dislike reading and writing. That lovely genre is called Non-Fiction. It's informational and I'm sure people really love writing it. It just doesn't make sense to me. Almost everyone I know that loves to write, writes because they love the thrill of the characters lives. The love to be able to tell a story that will affect people.
Non-Fiction just doesn't do it for me. When I write a book, I don't research it. I know I probably should and it would probably make my writing ten times better. I just REALLY dislike research. School makes you write Non-Fiction reports and essays and I don't understand why you would want to do that in your spare time. So somebody- please (in the comments) explain to me the thrill of Non-Fiction. Why people write it. Why people dislike it.

In other news... I might be getting a puppy today. *main word being might* If I do, I'll take a picture and post it somewhere.
I hope those of you in the US had a lovely Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

That Perfect Guy

He seems to pop up in every book. The male lead, the flawless body, the perfect contrast to the main character. He has different names, yes, and he's dark or light, but I keep seeing him in every book I pick up. One thing I plan on focusing on in my writing - to an excessive level - is making my perfect guy... not so perfect. Making him different.

For instance, in my last book, my male lead had a crooked nose, and he wasn't very cute. He had a personality, though, that made me want him to leap out of the pages and ask me out on a date. He was real. He made jokes, he got angry, he worried. I'm tired of these tall, dark, mysterious strangers seeking out these young girls who, let's be honest, wouldn't normally be picked out of the vast crowd of women in the world. For me, perfection isn't what makes a guy desireable. It's his imperfections. Does that sound screwed up just to me or are you thinking it too?

There are so, so many books out there now. Especially in the young adult genre, we see this perfect guy. To make that counterpoint character really stand out, really make readers take notice, he needs to have a reason behind noticing your main character. He needs to be human - or, if he's not so human, he needs to have those flaws that make him genuine. I've found that those flaws can be the smallest things, too, just a tiny peek into that window of his soul. Maybe he chews his nails. Maybe his front tooth has a chip in it. Maybe he snorts when he laughs. Maybe he listens to opera in secret. Forgo the mysterious dark clothing and brooding silences... to a point. I'm not saying avoid these things entirely. Just make sure to add to the image.

Sorry, ranting finished. This has been on my mind lately as I've been catching up on my reading. I feel like I don't know any of these boys I'm supposed to care about. Then I remembered that I can do something about it - in my own stories.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


So this is going to be my last YALitSix post and I don't have any idea what to talk about this week. I don't have anything planned.

So I'll just say goodbye, I guess? I'm still going to be blogging over at Ten Cent Notes and maybe even incorporating more writing-related posts now that I won't be over here.



So I guess I'll leave you with a nice youtube video. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I like a good story. I love a great story. I especially love a great story with great writing--I could even go for reading a good story with great writing.

But writing is so subjective. Everything about books is. So how do you define good vs. great vs. amazinglyfantastic writing?

For me, the better the writing, the more quotable it is. Disregarding characters, plot, setting, et cetera-- there are just so many vivid, hilarious, amazing, breathtaking, quirky quotes.

For example...

Funny (my favorite):
  • "Due to scientific limitations and more than a touch of narcissism, we believed everything in the universe literally revolved around us. It was a theory called geocentrism, which was originally egocentrism, but they spelled it wrong." ~Earth, The Book (Jon Stewart)

  • I sank into the kitchen chair and stared at James. "I'm having a life crisis. Pass me the Teddy Grahams."
    He handed over the box. "All that's left are little paws and legs in the bottom of the box," he said. "It's a massacre."
    ~Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  • "My English teacher has no face. She has uncombed stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her part to her ears and then neon orange to the frizzy ends. I can't decide if she had pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman." ~Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • "Their choruses made you wish you could fly, and we drove so fast on those nights, the orange streetlights lighting our way, taking us home." ~Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
What books jump to your mind as quotable?


Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm starting revisions on my WIP, Jessica, this week. For me, first revisions = total rewrites. My rough drafts are uber-short (Jessica is 12k, it's a MG so it needs to be at least 25k) and basically just outlines. When I rewrite, I change EVERYTHING. The plot generally stays the same but I add characters, develop characters, develope the setting, move things around, add things, and of those things. But you know what? I LOVE it. I love getting to know my characters more.

The first thing I'm doing is printing the rough draft out. I put it in tiny font (8pt) to save paper and then one night I'm going to sit down and do a total read-through. Then, I'm going to jot down things on the paper.

I might also go through and make a list of scenes but then again, that might wait until the next rewrite.

I'll get a few sticky notes, though, and write "Things to Remember" on them and then list things like "Develop character more" or "Keep tension throughout" and every so often, I'll look at them to remind myself to work on those things in this draft.

After this draft, I'll take a break and probably fast draft another story, and then do a less-extensive rewrite of Jessica. Then I'll send it to beta-readers and then rewrite a few more times.

So yes, rewriting is a long and extensive process. But it's something I think is vital to every writer.

How do you rewrite?


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Shares

Or: I'm at this volunteer thing all Saturday (actually typing this up on Friday) so this is a bit of a lazy post.

Okay, first: I got interviewed!! Check it out.

I'm not feeling so hot today. Ran on too little sleep and crashed like crazy, then scratched my eyelid and my eye swelled up... so, I'm going to post an excerpt of my WIR (work-in-revision) for you all to read. Let me know what you think!

Oh, yeah, there's some PG-13 content in this. I've starred out the swears, but read at your own risk.


It snowed all night, which was just fabulous. More f*cking snow. Just what we needed.

Reaching up with the weather muscle in my brain, I pressed and poked and prodded until the clouds opened up, pouring rain down on our fair city like the tears of a broken heart.

When Mason yelled at me to get out of bed and get ready for school, I pressed harder. Felt for the buzz of lightning deep in the clouds, the electricity. I hoped for enough of a storm to keep me home and away from the noise.

Nada. Mother Nature refused to comply, deciding to be satisfied with a steady pounding downpour. Much like my own mother, Mother Nature could be a real bitch sometimes. Once things got this far out of my control, I couldn’t get them back.

I gave up on the idea of staying home and got dressed.

“Come on, I’ll give you a ride to school so you won’t be late.”

Mason greeted me with the offer from the kitchen table as I clomped down the stairs.


Mason stood up, still wearing his work clothes. Light blue dress shirt, black dress pants. No radio or gun belt, though. He always took them as soon as he got off duty and locked them away in the safe within minutes of getting home. It made me nervous if he left them out and I think it made him nervous to leave them out when I was home.

“No time. You’re nearly late already.”

I grabbed the coffee pot and a mug. “Coffee.”

Like he did every morning when I came down late, he took away my mug and hustled me out the door. Damn older brother. Why did he always have to be so freaking responsible?

Mason parked his truck right next to the curb in front of the school. “Have a nice day, kid.”

I muttered something back as I slid out of his truck, unable to come up with a decent – nice – response this early in the morning, and ran for the front door.

Just before I reached the school stairs, a tall boy pushed in front of me. He stopped dead in his tracks and I walked right into his back. My face smashed into the cold, soaked fabric of his jacket with the force of a slap in the dark.

“Agh!” I jumped back. “Godd*mn. You freaking did that on purpose!”

He didn’t even bothering to turn around, just muttered, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t walk so close to me.”

Oh, man. I knew that voice all too well.

You got in my way,” I said, fists clenching at my sides. Why did it have to be him? What did I do to deserve that?

He shrugged. My pretty gold eyeshadow now graced the back of his jacket, a bright contrast to the black fabric. I didn’t want to imagine what my face looked like right now.

“Probably. Watch out,” he said and jumped up the last of the stairs.

Watch out for what? Without thinking, I looked up just in time to see a load of wet slush slide off the roof.

Onto my face.


I stumbled forward, swiping at my eyes and smearing my makeup further. At my annoyed noise, the boy glanced over his shoulder. His dark hair fell in a wet tangle over his eyes but I caught a glimpse of one dark eyebrow lifting before he spoke again.

“It’s not ladylike to curse.”

Ladylike? Well, it wouldn’t exactly be ladylike for me to punch him in the gut either, but I fought back the urge to do just that.

I sloshed up the stairs just in time to watch the heavy metal door slam shut. The jerk wasn’t exactly a gentleman himself.

Inside the school, I headed straight to the bathroom. Cursed again when I saw myself in the mirror. I looked like some sort of reject Broadway raccoon. It took a full five minutes to clean the melted makeup from around my eyes and the rest of my face.

Before I had time to put some back on, several giggling, far too bubbly girls invaded the bathroom. I bailed for the relative safety of my locker.

I slipped out my damp sweatshirt, pulling on another, dry, hoodie from inside my locker to cover up my tank top the second I had the damp one off. Over the years I’d become good at that, and I had both arms in the sleeves almost to my shoulders in seconds.

Frigid hands landed on my shoulders, shocking cold where the last few patches of my skin were bared.

I shrieked and drove my elbow backwards into the owner’s stomach.

An all-too-familiar voice gasped my name, sending my own stomach plummeting towards my knees. Oh God, what had I done now?

Barely breathing, I turned around.

Half bent over, Cameron stared at me with shock on his face. I’ve never, ever, hit him like that. I pounded the crap out of him a couple times when we were kids, trying to be like the boys, but not like this.

“Wanna explain that?” he asked.

Explain why I’d just assaulted the only friend I actually had? No problem.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled. “You scared the crap out of me. Why are your hands so freaking cold?”

He stared at me like I’d lost my mind. I probably had. “Because the bathrooms never have hot water and I had to scrub paint off my hands? What’s with you?”


“Nothing. I’m going to be late for class. See you at lunch, okay?”

He still looked at me like I had gone round the bend, but he nodded. He always did. We’d eaten lunch together everyday since he moved here, except for when he caught chicken pox from me. And, of course, when my bruises were too obvious for me to come to school.

The noise became too much even before the class filled up. I put my earbuds in and shoved the volume up as far as I could stand. It didn’t matter what kind of music, as long as I turned it loud to block as much sound as possible.

The voices came anyway.

What is she wearing? Tacky trailer trash slut.
Good God, I need a hit.
Wonder if he’d put out on the first date.

I slipped my hand into my pocket and turned the music up louder.


Okay, that's my excerpt. My first one ever, too!!

Peace and cookies,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Morning Class, Today We Have a New Student

I don’t really know how to start this off because I am a really shy person. Actually, I’m only shy in real life. So… HI. My name is Zoe and I like to write. *wow… how original of you Zoe, everybody here likes to write, you genius*
Oh, and I also have a really weird inner monologue.

I’m 14, so I think that makes me the youngest? Some people call me Toast, there isn’t really a reason why.
I’m currently writing like ten different things, and editing one. I’m editing a novel that involves werewolves and ninjas and secret societies and LOVE. I kind of quit doing NaNoWriMo, but my NaNo novel is about alternate universes, saving the world, and angsty teenagers. The other novel I’m writing is about love and British boys in a quirky town.

I review books at Zoe’s Book Reviews. I love musicals. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and dancing around in my desk chair. Glamorous, I know.
I’m honored to be taking over Fridays and I’m hoping I can live up to how awesome Chelsea is. I’m also a bit of a TV and Movie junkie *gosh I love Netflix*.

I’ve been interested in books and writing since I was 9 or 10 when I first started reading YA books, and I’m not talking Middle Grade. One of the first YA books I read (besides Harry Potter) was Looking for Alaska by John Green which is not the cleanest book in the universe. After I started reading more I discovered David Levithan’s books. He is the one that inspired me to write. I saw how many lives he has changed and I thought to myself “Woah, I want to do that.” So here I am, 4 years later slowly working towards that goal.

I’m excited to be posting here every Friday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The One Rule

We’ve all heard it before: Show, don’t tell. But what does that even mean, really? How do we stop ourselves from doing it? Where’s the harm? People tell writers this all the time, but sometimes I feel like even I don’t know what to do with that.

I simplified it to the best of my understanding. Correct me if I’m wrong, and this isn’t the show-don’t-tell scenario. Here it is, in a nutshell:

Telling: I was angry.
Showing: My fists clenched at my sides, and I could feel my eyes burning as I glared at him.

Showing is so much more work. But isn’t there such a thing as too much showing? How do we know when we can tell rather than describe? Is it instinct? Is the distinction something that you understand better as you grow as a writer? Because to the best of my knowledge, there is no basic formula for this rule. There’s a delicate balance between too much and too little.

Myself, I follow instinct. If I feel the reader needs to know something right off the bat, I’ll tell you. But if it’s a dramatic moment, a climax, or something important hinges on a certain scene, I’ll run off description like it’s going out of style.

Show, don’t tell. How I hate those words. I think it might be one of the most consistent rules that writers have to follow. Strange, isn’t it, considering writers don’t really have rules?

Share time. How do you guys know when to show, tell, describe, inform, and so on and so forth?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


In eighth grade, that photo studio thing on the computers was considered the best possible way to spend a study hall. You know, the program—I can’t remember the name—wait, Photobooth!—where you take pictures of yourself and your friends and change settings to make it look like you guys were slammed onto the page of a comic book or painted in oil. (Well, not that cool, but still.)

I never got too caught up in the idea—why did I need that many pictures of myself making faces?—but once in a while I goofed around with my friends. One of those times resulted in a story idea. A fantastic story idea.

It was me and Katie and my other friend Sophie in the computer lab. I was in the middle of editing Rain, so when Sophie pulled up Photobooth, I was going to suggest that we pose like spies. You know, all James-Bond-Girl-esque. But Katie quickly suggested silly faces, and we were immediately comic book goofballs.

Then Sophie clicked this really cool setting. I don’t even know what to call it, and the countdown for the picture was going 3, 2, 1, and I decided to do a “Shh,” spy pose. After, when the picture was frozen onscreen, I saw it was perfect. They’d practically read my mind, posing in a secretive manner as well. And immediately I said, “Save that! I’m going to write that story.”

I love ideas like that, that come from an image or phrase with so much untapped potential. Have you ever had an idea from a picture?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Creating Original Main Characters

First off, Chelsea (Friday) is leaving us. She's in college and super-busy and while we'll definitely miss her, I'm happy to introduce our newest YA Lit Six member...Zoe! Zoe will be making her first post this Friday.

One of my main problems with writing is that all of my main characters always.the.same. I mean, sure, I might change their looks and a habit or two but it's like they're all different versions of the same people. They're nice and caring and fall for a boy and overcome some type of struggle.

And try as I might, I can NOT create characters that are totally different than that. It's like I can't. I don't want to create a character I hate and I have trouble writing about people completely foreign to me.

I also have a habit of wanting to name all of my characters "Christina" and "Anna". I have no clue why.

The thing is, if I'm going to be a good writer I HAVE to create original characters. They can't just be various versions of me.

How do you create your characters? Do you have the same problem? Any suggestions for how to create unique characters?


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday's Gets Week 2'd

Or: Saturday's NaNo Update

So remember NaNoWriMo? It's insane. Totally freaking awesomely insane. I'm at 21,560 right now which is almost halfway and hoping to hit the halfway point this weekend. The biggest challenge for me isn't so much how much I have to write as writing it everyday. If I'm mid-novel, I can do anywhere from a thousand up to even three or four thousand a day, but then there are days when I don't write at all. So writing everyday is a challenge for me.

It's going well, though, and I really do like the book I'm writing. I like my characters, my MC's voice is really strong which makes everything easier. I'm slightly worried that I might fall under the word count, but I know I usually write short and could go back and easily add more. I know where I'm going plotwise, pretty much, so I think I'm good.

Now, since I've run out of ideas for this post because I've only been up a while and I'm not creative yet, how about some photo inspiration?

And if you get stuck:


And always remember:

(Hey, a picture's worth a thousand words, right? Though whoever said that probably never wrote a thousand words. A thousand words is a lot!)

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The End

Sorry this is so late. I know you guys must be tired of hearing about NaNoWriMo, but really, that's all that's on my brain right now. I keep chanting to myself as I press on: 50,000, 50,000, 50,000. Because I've made an excellent habit of procrastination, this November I'm pushing myself. As is the policy for NaNoWriMo, it's all about quantity, not quality. And whew, is this book not about quality. For once, though, I'm not going to let that bother me.

This week I'm going to talk about ending a story. Not finishing a novel, because that's completely different. See, lately I've been noticing that pretty much every young adult novel that comes out - not all, mind you, but most - are part of a series. The Vampire Academy, Morganville Vampires, The Mortal Instruments, The House of Night, Twilight, are the few big ones that come to mind. The list goes on and on. And in a couple circumstances, I thought, You know, it would have been okay to end this story with the first book. (Not with my examples). The book I'm writing now I found myself trying to plot out a sequel to it. Then I realized that, hey, what if the story is actually done by the time I type the words THE END?

Maybe this is more my own realization than anyone else's, but I realize that I've been feeling this pressure to pound out this amazing story... and continue it in a seven-book series. It's affecting the plot, maybe not in a good way. It's actually okay to end a story in one volume. If you feel the story is done, then be done. I think we should only keep going with a certain set of characters, setting, plot, etc., if we feel that hunger. The sense of unrest. There's more to it, these people aren't finished. I'm going to look out more closely for this feeling from now on, just to save myself some time and pain.

So, yes, that is what was on my mind today. Check in with you guys next week. Oh, two more things. For those of you who haven't yet,  feel free to stop by my blog and sign up for Secondhand Saturday, a book-a-week giveaway. The other thing is NaNoWriMo again. I'd like as many writing buddies as I can get. This month is going to be bloody.

Happy reading and writing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Jealousy is my problem. Not my only problem, of course, but one of the biggest ones. I can remember instances of jealousy as clearly as if they were snapshots, moments frozen in time and preserved only to haunt me later. The girl who read more books than I did during the Summer Reading Program one year as a child. That kid in class who always did just the tiniest bit better than I did. The girl that my crush liked.

I'm not mean. I don't insult others or pick fights or talk trash about other people, not even the ones I'm jealous of.

I try really hard to be a good person...
but I'm still jealous.

And being a writer who's predisposed to jealousy is a killer. There's always someone better, someone succeeding where you're not, someone to be envious of. I'm barely into my 20s and already there are quite a few authors who are younger than me, writing books that are getting published -- and writing them well. There are writers with agents, book deals, editors, and pub dates while all I seem to have are novels that are good, but not quite good enough. And even though I'm genuinely happy for these writers, even though many of them have books that I enjoy and in some cases absolutely love, I can't stop the fact that there's a part of me that won't stop being jealous.

I know that jealousy is a useless feeling, that it's negative and mean-spirited and horrible. I know this. I know that when I'm jealous of all these other people the person I'm really jealous of, the one I really want to be, is my Ideal Self -- the version of me that's prettier, smarter, a better writer, who has all those things that I want. That's the girl I'm really envious of.

And I know it's stupid.
And I try not to be that person, that jealous and insecure girl.

But I have to wonder... I've read a few posts recently about jealousy in the writing world, about how it's so very not good and we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to others. That's all true, so terribly, completely, absolutely true, but I have to wonder if there's anyone else out there like me. Who sometimes often can't step those kinds of feelings and who really, really doesn't want to be mean or petty or negative but sometimes it's so hard.

So what about you?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I had some homework to do over the weekend, so naturally I tried to think of other things to do. I ended up browsing through old stories, and it felt like seeing old friends after way too long-- because each main character had a different personality.

That got me thinking. Out of the stories I've written, my strongest main characters are the ones that are very different from each other. I have a way-too-goal-oriented spy who balks at emotion, a vocab-challenged space cadet who can never stay angry, a doctor-wannabe who asks too many questions, and an assistant curator who can't stand paper cuts but runs towards crime scenes.

So, who am I when I'm writing all these different characters? Am I pretending to be someone else, or are all of these characters facets of my personality?

How about you, who are your different characters in relation to yourself?


Monday, November 8, 2010

Why I Can't Write Short Stories

I was going to write today about why I gave up on NaNoWriMo but then I came up with a more interesting topic:

Why I can't write short stories.

I'm taking a writing workshop class at my school and I love it. We did a bunch of assignments on creating a storyline and our final assignment was to write a scene or chapter. I decided to write about this scene that had come to me in a dream a while ago. I plan on turning it into a book someday (it was actually going to be my NaNo novel) but there was this one scene that I could NOT get out of my head. So I went ahead and wrote it.

It was pretty easy to write - I've had the first part outlined in my head forever and the rest just came to me. I was really pleased with the first page and indifferent about the rest.

I had to read it to the teacher to get revision comments as part of the assignment.

When I finished, she said "this is your ROUGH draft?! If you would've turned this in, I would've given you full credit!" She went on for about 10 minutes about how I only had to make minor changes - italicize a few words and clarify one paragraph but other than that, I shouldn't change anything because it was awesome as it was.

I was totally beaming. It had renewed my confidence in my writing, which was something I needed after my meh journalism article.

But then I reread it to finish up the revisions.

And I hated it.

Because there's so much more to the characters than what's in that scene and that girl just shows up, and OHMYGOD what about that other character?! She can't just like him because she has a BOYFRIEND. And noo, I can't stop here because it GETS SO MUCH BETTER. Except, oh crap, I'm already above my word count limit.

Now, maybe this is a good thing in this specific example because it leaves me excited to write the book. But it happens with EVERY short story I attempt to write. I cannot get a story down to just 2,000 words and be happy with it. It's just not possible. My ideas are never that small.

What about you?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Is Afraid of Double Spacing

Or: Despite my best efforts, this doesn't relate to NaNoWriMo at ALL.

Like the title says, I'm afraid of double spacing my documents. Not in a serious, phobia, oh my God, keep it away, keep it away! type of afraid, but it's something I avoid until my third or fourth revision. This drives my crit partner and beta readers nuts.

(My lovely beta who I absolutely adore and love read Spyder on... well, I finished it, did a readover once to basically make sure everyone had last names, and sent it to her. Then she sent it back, I read over it again and, with help from her notes and suggests (she really is awesome), I added about... 10k? I think like 10k. And then I sent it off to my crit partner. (Who is also awesome.) She did her thing, I revised a bunch, sent it back and she has draft 4 right now. And I can't believe it's only draft four.)

Anyways, I sent it back this last time double spaced so she wouldn't kill me, but it wasn't really easy. I know how weird this sounds, but there are a couple reasons.

First of all, sometimes double spacing fools my brain and I can't judge the length of paragraphs and things correctly. Like with this, if I double spaced the rough draft, I'd have a hard time juding when to start a new paragraph. Which is about now in this case.

The second reason is a bit strange, but here it is: double spacing makes it look too real. "Real" manuscripts are double-spaced, see? When you start to submit things to places, be it agent or contest or whatever, you have to be double spaced (and a lot more formatting, obviously). In school, you always double spaced the final copy that you handed in to the teacher.

When I double space my WIPs, it feels to real. I'm not sure if I'm ready for it to be so real... but at the same time, I want it to be real so badly. I want to be ready to query, to get rejections... but it's scary, you know?

That's kind of the way I felt before NaNo started, especially the last couple days of October. I was ready and I desperately wanted it to be November so I could start writing... but it was scary at the same time as the closer it got to November, the more real it felt.

(Then on Saturday the 30th I had an insane fever and was loopy and out of it all day and Sunday I barely dragged myself out of bed. I really wanted another day in October to rest up and get better, but that didn't exactly happen. :P If you're wondering, my word count's fine, though, I'm not behind or anything. And I'm feeling better!)

Well, look at that, I did manage to relate it to NaNo.

Anyways, I don't really remember where I was going with this, but I guess this is what I was trying to say: Writing is scary. It's okay to be scared when things start to feel oh-so-real. But don't let it stop you.

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today as I was desperately pecking away at the keyboard I suddenly wondered, Would I still write if I knew that the rest of the world would never read my work? A seemingly random thought, I realize.

I’ll tell you what led me to the thought: At work today I had to get a hold of B. Dalton (the bookstore), and the number was disconnected. It filled me with worry and speculation. We live in the digital age. We pass our days in a world where we read books off of a screen, and buy the books off of a website. Book stores are swiftly becoming expendable. We all know about Barnes & Noble and Border’s troubles. What if, one day, there are no more bookstores? Would literate sales rapidly decrease? Would agents fall off the map? Would it be nearly impossible to become an author, and have that dream of publication come true?

Perhaps I’m buying trouble, but all the worry led me to discover something: Even if the world does somehow become an illiterate place, I would still write. Not because I want people to read it—which I do—and not because it’s some biological inclination. It’s because I want to. Writing provides more than the initial rush of excitement when beginning a story, it provides more than a brief escape. Writing is a constant. The one thing I can count on, the one thing I can control. Even if we’re surrounded by people that don’t understand, this is ours.

We are writers. If it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if the world doesn’t know it. So, deep, profound question for the day: Would you write, if it was just for yourself?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Just wondering here... what are the YA books you think best represent the genre? What are the ones that you think everyone should read? The best of the best, so to speak.

PS. Sorry. I would make this post longer but I am just SO TIRED and it is so difficult to type correctly. Plus my brain. It is not working like a brain should work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Car Wandering

When I'm in a car for longer rides (like the one I'm about to embark on) I usually do one of two things:

1) Read

2) Daydream

I can rarely do homework, and sleeping is nearly impossible unless it's dark, the middle of the night, and has been almost 24 hours since my last shut-eye. I do usually listen to music, though.

I call the daydreaming part "car wandering," because my mind wanders all over the place. I keep a notebook with me in case I get some fantastic story ideas, which I do. What about you? Do you read in the car? Daydream? Listen to music?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Unofficially NaNoWriMoing It!

Today is the first day of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month), for those that live under a rock and didn't already know.

I wasn't going to NaNo this year. I figured, I've been writing manuscripts in a week. What do I need a month for?

But then I looked more in-depth at my process and I realized two things:

1. All of the books I've written in a week or plan on writing in a week are fun novels, usually MG or lower-YA.
2. My upper-YA ideas are much more involved and need more than a week to develop.

So I said, why not? and decided to unofficially NaNo this year.

I say unofficially because the story I'm going to be working on is one I already started, which is against NaNo rules. It was one of my WIPs when I started this blog that I haven't worked on in a few months but I'd really love to get back into it. So, NaNo it is!

We'll see if I can make it!

Who else is doing NaNo? What are you writing?


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday Is a Sunday

Or: I got a fever and my body tried to boil my brain.

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat, a killer migraine, body aches, and I couldn't warm up to save my life. Long story and Nyquil later, I'm feeling better but not better enough to write a post. Sorry guys!!

Happy Halloween,
Peace and cookies,

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.

Tim Burton is kind of a genius.

Since it's Halloween weekend, I thought I'd talk about one of my favorite horror flicks when I was a kid. I'm not necessarily sure why I liked this movie - I'm pretty sure I had no idea what it was about, since I watched it when I was, like, five or something - but I always, always watched it when it was on.

The plot is about a "bio-exorcist" who tries to scare away this couple who recently moved into a new house inhabited by ghosts. The ghosts aren't happy with the newcomers and hire the infamous Beetlejuice to do the job.

And this brings me to my topic today: plot. There are so many ways you can twist a conventional story into something new and unique. Instead of telling an average ghost story, where humans try to exorcise ghosts, Michael McDowell (the original script writer) decided the ghosts needed to exorcise the humans and Beetlejuice was born.

So say you get an idea that doesn't sound really original but you'd love to write. One that sticks in your head. It's happened to me several times, and I sat with that idea and talked to it. How can I make you scream, idea? How can I make you unique and witty and zany? And we discuss it over a cup of tea and decide on some key elements. There are a lot of things that can make an unoriginal idea original: writing, characters, the plotting itself, and setting.

So say you have an idea for a romance story. But it's just a romance story, you say to yourself. How is that original? Try setting. Make it in Alaska. Make it in Germany during World War 2. Make it in an entirely new world you create.

Say you want to write a horror story. But it's just a horror story, you say to yourself. Try something new with your writing. Write from the point of view of the horror creature itself. Beowulf's Grendel, written by John Gardner, probably came from this same idea of thinking. Take that monstrous thing and write through it's eyes.

Say you want to write a comedy. But it's just a comedy, you say to yourself. Tell the characters to stop being lazy and speak to the readers. Tell them to do something interesting, daring.

Don't ever not write a story idea that's eating at you because you think it's unoriginal. Make it your own. Spin it, weave it, write it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


When I volunteered to do a post on TEH FUNNY I didn't quite realize that NOTHING I WRITE IS EVER COMEDY. Instead there's always an underlying current of tongue-in-cheek humor, little lines here and there to lighten the emotional load. Because the stories I write are about families torn apart, the death of a friend, alcoholism, and love stories that never quite go the way they're supposed to.

I'm not a comedy writer, but you have no idea how much I sometimes wish I were. I can spend hours watching shows like 30 Rock, Community, and The Office, and trying to figure out why the funny works as well as it does. So it's no surprise that, when doing a post on TEH FUNNIES, I'm going to be looking at both television and books.

Elements of Funny
Keep in mind, please, that there's no reason to use EVERY SINGLE ELEMENT unless you just want to. This is just a list of common funny things I've noticed that some hilarious works make use of, if that makes sense. And, because I didn't have a whole heap of time to write this post I only came up with three. SOZ BOUT THAT.

Spencer, from Suite Scarlett
Alpha, from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (arguably)
Spencer, from iCarly
Tracy Jordan, from 30 Rock

This is the character that makes you laugh. You learn pretty quickly that this character is never going to have a not-funny scene. They just say the darndest things. Or do the darndest things. This is the character that you can always rely on to be funny. (For all you TV tropes fans, the funnyman can sometimes be the Cloudcuckoolander, but not always.)

In television it's fine to have a character whose sole purpose is to be funny, but one of the reasons that Spencer (the Suite Scarlett one) works so well is that not only is he the funnyman in pretty much every scene, but he's also one of the most important characters and has a very strong relationship with the protagonist. He's not the primary main character, but he's close.

Everything 30 Rock does
Most of Community
Everything Spencer from Suite Scarlett is ever involved in

These are the situations that, even on their own with no characters to support them, are completely insane. Things like putting on a Shakespeare play (complete with unicycles!) in your home, breaking into a KFC space shuttle simulation and being towed away. Those things. They just sound ridiculous, and if you can fit something that ridiculous into your completely-grounded (or even un-grounded) story, KUDOS TO YOU. It's funny.

The best example of this one is Serafina67, in which the entire book is told in blog format and there are whole chapters (including scenes and dialogue) written in... wait for it... LOLCAT. For serious. It's undoubtedly off-putting to some readers, but for others (like me) it's absolutely hilarious.

I'm not telling you to write your book in lolcat. But telling it in an interesting, offbeat way usually gives it some humor.

I absolutely love jokes. I wish I could write them into my stories, but I have no idea. I know nothing about them, but obviously they're hilarious.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Traveling gives me weird dreams. I mean, I have weird dreams normally, but traveling gives me really. Strange. Nightmares. Which is awesome, because half of them are great story ideas, if I can remember them long enough.

I had one of those strange dreams Friday night, and I remember it quite vividly, as I had to wake up in the middle of it to get to the airport (you can only remember dreams you wake up during, right?). It was the perfect combination; crazy dream, vivid recollection, and lots of time sitting in moving vehicles to mull over it.

Needless to say, bam, new story idea. The characters and their relationships are already so clear in my head that I was itching to start writing. So, I did. (Not going to say in which class.) By the end of a surreptitious half hour, I had four pages written. Normally it's hard for me to write that fast, except when writing a flashback scene. Which I was.

Why is that? Almost every time I write flashback scenes, I write at least twice as fast as when writing present-moment scenes. Anyone else find that happens to them? Any thoughts why?