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?