Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
These kids in particular love asking 'why?'. They probably ask me why something occurs in response to 75% of the things I say. Them asking tons of questions helps me SO MUCH with my writing, which is good because I haven't been writing recently so I need all the help I can get. Hearing all the questions every day has made it so they're, in a way, ingrained in my brain. During those rare moments that I am writing, asking myself why something happened and what the consequences are, helps me out of my writing slumps. For example (this is totally off the top of my head)-
Plot 'seed'- The chicken crossed the road.
Why- To get to the other side.
Why- Because he had a hot date with a cute chick.
How did that happen- He was arguing with the supermarket clerk about how selling eggs was supporting cannibalism and then the chick joined in and said that she prefers the tofu eggs over the real ones.
Why- Because she agrees with the chicken and doesn't want to participate in cannibalism. She also has fond memories of sitting around her family Hanukkah bush, eating tofu eggs on toast and singing Hanukkah carols.
When I'm writing, I've recently taken to doing stuff like that. I actually started a document where I have conversation-type things with my characters in which I 'ask' them why they make the choices they do. I know that a lot of people ask themselves these questions on instinct, but I never really did- except for when I would do it subconsciously.
So that is something new I've discovered about my writing process recently. When writing/plotting, do you ask yourself questions? Are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person? Are you caught in the middle between the two? Also, has a little kid ever inspired any part of your writing? Tell me in the comments!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Here's one (okay, four): mirrors. Or windows. Or dark TV screens. Or shiny jewelry.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
As usual, I'm scrambling to type this at the last moment because once again, I forgot it was Saturday. I blame my hours. I was up at 5am the last two days. It messes with your inner clock. Or at least it does mine. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) However, I'm going to take inspiration from this and talk about time in books.
If you follow me on Twitter or read a few of my posts on here, you've probably heard me talk about my book SMN. (I never refer to it by its actual title because it make me giggle, but you could probably find that out if you looked. Or asked certain people who are in the know.) And if you've heard me talking about it, you know that I've called it weird, odd, stupid - this list goes on for a while, but the main one you need to keep in mind is weird.
SMN decided that it wanted to be my little freak. It decided that it not only needed to be plotted (I didn't plot my other books - I'm a total panster) but it needed to have a schedule.
Yeah, you read that right. SCHEDULE.
SMN takes place in October and the entire book leads up to Halloween, so everything else had to fit into the month of October. Because my brain is a little nutty, every time I said it was a Friday or Tuesday or whatever in the book, I needed to know it was actually that day. So I made a calendar of October of the year SMN takes place in (the simplest way to do this is just to make a table in a word processing program) and I have everything that happens in my book in that so that all the days line up like ducks in a row.
This is a little bit extreme for me (or most people, I imagine), but one thing it helps with is that there's never school on Saturday.
Do you keep track of time in your books? If so, how? If not, how do you keep from running into things like 6 day school weeks? ;)
Peace and cookies,
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
(Also. Sorry this is so late. My town's Christmas festival was yesterday and today and I've been gone most of today and I also forgot it was Saturday. So I'm writing this very quickly and hoping like heck that it'll be done before midnight because then it's still Saturday. Which gives me an hour and twenty minutes. LET'S GO.)
Sometimes the voice of one of my main characters will click and the emotions will be just right and the plot will be something perfect that I'm good at and the words will flow molasses on a hot summer day. (Is that a real expression? Sometimes I make up metaphors and they don't work. You know that book I talk about, Berserk? Book of failed metaphors. Seriously.) And that's lovely and good and all, but sometime they don't. Sometimes the writing is more like picking saffron one back-breaking thread at a time. (More metaphors!)
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, for me, it can mean that I'm not connecting with the MC enough, but sometimes that's just how the book or story or that part or whatever is going to go. But this can be really frustrating. So what do I do?
I bribe myself. Because bribes WORK. (Seriously. I bribe the kids at Storytime to be good listeners with stickers, I bribe the 8-year-old girl I baby-sit with stickers that will add up to earning a prize.) For SMN, I bribed myself with a necklace from Etsy if I finished the book. (Which is currently lost and I am very annoyed about, so let's not focus on that.) I also use smaller bribes than that, like a cookie for every 250 words. When I was working on my synopsis, I had a box of three Lindt Lindors and my reward for finishing the second draft of the synopsis was the last two Lindors - an especially good bribe because I hated writing that thing and I love Lindors. They're my favourite.
A little while ago, I also bribed my biffle/crit partner about finishing a revision of her book. I told her that if she finished it, I'd let her name a character in the book I was writing. (I thought it'd mostly be a shiggles thing, but I think it worked. You'd have to ask her if it helped.)
Okay, so, do you guys give yourselves writing rewards? If so, what?
Peace and cookies,
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I love pictures. Now, I'm not a great photographer (partly my camera really sucks, but partly I'm just not a very good photographer) but I really do love pictures.
I'm not always a very visual person, so I like having photos that make me think of my WIP, either in atmosphere or subject. To me, it's kind of like how each of my books has its own playlist.
Scream My Name (it's about banshees...):
So what have we learned? That photo posts like this take a long time, I have a TON of We Heart It photos, and I really like Taylor Swift.
Tell me your thoughts now, okay? I'm going to go collapse in an exhausted pile.
Peace and cookies,
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Before I go about writing this post, can I just say how much I HATE writing that word? Seriously, I can never spell it on the first try. Or the second. Or the third. Bah. Hate it.
Now how about some links to people who will say (and spell) this better than me first.
Go Teen Writers
Confessions of a Wandering Heart
Where Ladybugs Roar (This one is less about the synopsis itself, but it’s got some really good points about summarizing and this is my post so I’m linking to it anyways)
I’m not querying yet (January, fingers crossed) but I’m working on getting there and I am very bad at the stuff that comes after the whole writing and revising thing.
(My query letter? I’ve written like twelve different versions of it. And that’s full scrapping-and-restarting versions, not tweaks. And you know what? I hate query letters. Where was I going with this again? Oh, right. This is why I shouldn’t write blog posts running on no sleep and over-caffeinated.)
Anyways, like I said, I’m not good at this part, so I figure better to get it done before I need it to have time to work on it, right?
Right. That’s what I figured too. Except the thing is, I hate summarizing things. With a passion that burns like the fire of a thousand sunburns. This is why I tend to mumble and grumble and complain through the “Plot” section of my reviews. So what I’m trying working on it one chapter at a time, going backwards. Then I’ll – hopefully – be able to mash them together into something that makes sense and edit until it doesn’t sound like a 7th grade book report.
(I’m totally stealing this from Hannah, by the way. She’s seriously awesome, if you haven’t noticed. And also I have signed magnets from her that I use to hold my calendar to my closet door when I plan my clothes for the next 2 weeks.)
Stay tuned for how that works! (Seriously, do you guys want to know how it turns out? Let me know.)
Peace and cookies,
Oh, don't forget that we're looking for new members!
Friday, November 18, 2011
…or as I like to call it, NaNoFailMo. Every year, for some crazy reason, I tell myself that I can participate in NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month). I get myself all geared up for the crazy month ahead and I hit NaNoWriMo full force. I continue at full force for about three days. Then I crash. This is my 4th year participating in NaNo, and it’s my 4th year throwing in the towel. So, even though every November I quit- for those of you who don’t stop
believing writing, I congratulate you. For those of you who are like me, I give you a virtual high-five. Though I’m not a NaNo expert, I have come up with some writing tips for NaNoWriMo. They haven’t kept me writing the whole month, but they did help for the time I was writing.
1. Make Your Characters Interesting
Please, do this. Please. I suffer from making my characters boring in every first draft I write. It makes the whole ordeal painful. I don’t even care if the characters quirks don’t make sense. This is NaNoWriMo we’re talking about. Nothing you write during NaNo is going to be perfect.
2. Write as Fast as You Can in the Beginning
Don’t go slow. Write as much as humanly possible during the first few days of NaNo. Write so much that the thought of touching your keyboard gives you a headache. Then write some more. This is what I do, because even if you do throw in the towel, you have like 30k words of a book that you can work on in the future.
3. Have FUN
This kind of ties in with #1. Nothing you write during NaNoWriMo is going to be perfect, so why not have fun? You want a talking walrus in your contemporary romance book? GO FOR IT. Twins with detachable eyes and fingers? Go write those twins! (*cough* This may have been in my NaNo.)
So that’s it. Three of my tips for surviving National Novel Writing Month. Since NaNoWriMo is nearly over, if you’re writing, chances are you’re doing pretty darn good.
Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? What’s your story about? Were you like me and stopped writing half way through? Tell me in the Comments!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
You may have noticed that the blog has been rather quiet lately. You know, since *cough* August or so. A couple of us had internet issues and we lost a couple members. But we're back and we have NEWS!!
The YA Lit Six is looking for three new bloggers!
-- You must be under 25.
-- You must be a writer. (Well, duh, right?) State of publication does not matter.
-- You must be willing to commit to blogging every week on your day.
-- It would be nice you wouldn't mind tweeting from the @yalitsix account once in a while since I suck at remembering to do that and I would love if someone did that.
-- That's about it!
If you're interested in joining, please send a sample post to email@example.com, pasted into the body of the email. No attachments. Since it's November 12th today, we'll give you until December 13th (because that's my birthday) to send in your posts.
We'd love to know a little bit about you, but no introduction posts, please. We are looking to see how your writing style would fit with ours and get an idea of your blogging ideas. Try to have it be somewhere around 250-350 words, but use your best judgement. Last, please list in order which days you would prefer to have. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are available.
We look forward to seeing your posts!
Peace and cookies,
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
By that I mean, I like foods more for their texture than their taste. Not that taste doesn't matter, texture just...matters more. Which has me thinking, we hear a lot about sounds, sights, even smells in writing, but what about texture?
I love when I'm reading something and texture is described. For a moment, I'm even more engrossed in the story, trying to feel the same surface--table, clothing, pathway--as the character. Especially when it's worked in subtly (e.i. without "it felt like" every time).
I gave it a try a few scenes ago in my WIP. So, as something like an example...
I lean forward, resting my knuckles against the edge of the table, the weird texture that always reminds me of hard cottage cheese biting into my skin. Who would make card tables rough, anyway? Don’t people have to write stuff, like scores? Someone should complain.
(Incidentally, does anyone know what kind of table I'm talking about? Yeah, that kind. What are they even good for anyway? My guess is birthday parties. Put the cake on them. That's all I ever see them used for.)
Do you have any good examples of texture in writing? Or maybe another sense you wish writers explored more?
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
"...some juniors like Julius, some seniors like me and Ariel."
"...some juniors like Julius, some seniors like Ariel and I."
"My ears still ring, either from the file or the ancient copy machine, so I waste no time putting the green car into reverse and stalling (twice) before maneuvering the car onto the main road where my poor driving skills are free to terrorize the not-so-general public, meaning most people are inside, and I encounter few obstacles on the way home."
Saturday, July 2, 2011
So let's start by saying that I'm not the best person to ask about naming characters. It's one step down on my hatred list from titles. (I suck at titles. Seriously. My second novel? The original title was "My Crazy and Insane Relationship With a Berserker" and the only reason it had even a joke title was because I needed a title for NaNoWriMo and my crit partner suggested it. Then because "My Crazy and Insane Relationship With a Berserker" is WAY too long to use as a document name, I nicknamed it Berserk. It stuck. And that's the story of my title.)
Anyways. Names. With me, not every character has to have a name. My main characters have to have first names, but they don't always get last names til the second or third draft. (Seriously. My main character/narrator in Berserk didn't have a last name til the second draft.) In SMN (my newest book), for a good 20 or 30 thousand words, my main character's best friend didn't have a name at all. (It was a bet between me and my other crit partner. I bribed her into hurrying up and finishing her revisions so I could read her book by letting her name a character in my book.) So for a long time, the character was (Biffle) so I could do an easy find and replace when she eventually did get a name.
KT (the one I was just talking about) is awesome when it comes to names. We play the "name game" when I need to change (sister) or (girl) into actual names and she's helped me come up with a lot of names for this book especially. (No, I'm not sharing her ;) ) I used to use Behind the Name's Random Name Generator quite often, but KT's more fun. Though when I used the RNG, it was quite amusing to mock the names that I found funny. I'm nice that way.
One thing to consider when you're naming characters is their family. With SMN, a lot of the characters have Irish parents or grandparents, so I consider some Irish names, but sometimes (a lot of the time) I just use names I like and don't worry about where the name comes from. 'Cause, I don't know about you guys, but my name has a different background than me. ;) And I'm a mutt anyways, so I'd have to have like 10 names to accurately reflect my heritage...
I also like to use 1000 top name lists for the years the characters would have been born, especially for smaller characters. I think it adds a touch of accuracy to things.
How do you guys name your characters? Any favourite websites or tricks?
Peace and cookies,
(PS. Also. This is late because I forgot today was Saturday because yesterday was a holiday. So happy belated Canada Day, everyone!)
Friday, July 1, 2011
Right now, I'm not writing my WIP. I should be, but I'm not. Technically, I'm camping without internet, but I'm writing this on Tuesday night. Let me explain why I'm not writing my WIP.
I have problems focusing. You all write, so do any of you have that problem where you are *so close* to finishing a novel and then you stop writing it? That happens to me. For instance, I'm probably 3/4 of the way to finishing my WIP. For some reason about two weeks ago, I lost the writing bug. I haven't worked on that WIP for a good two or more weeks and I don't even feel guilty. This problem probably stems from my lack of confidence or the possible lack of engaging plot in my novel, but I think it is happening for a reason. I think that the reason I haven't written a single word in Lovely Lies is that I am afraid.
I know I talk about fear a lot on here, but oh my gosh writing is such a scary thing. I know a lot of people who aren't even scared a little bit by writing or the business, but I am clearly not one of those people. So once again, lovely people who read YA Lit Six, I am going to talk about fear of writing and the business.
It is completely normal. The publishing business is so full of negativity and failing and bad stuff that it is totally OK to be afraid of it. But don't be like me. Please, for the sake of your writing and yourself, don't let your fear or writing and publishing stop you from writing. It gets me every time and it doesn't do any good.
Everybody has that one part of writing a novel that scares the hell out of them. For some it is beta readers, for some it is editing, for me it is writing first drafts. I have this huge fear that it will be all crap (honestly, it will most likely be all crap) or my characters will hate me or something tragic will happen to my finished WIP.
So that is why I haven't been writing. I've been hiding from my novel because I don't want it to end and because I am afraid. How do you all deal with your writing/publishing related fear?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
So let's start by defining past and present tense before we do anything else, okay? Just so we're all on the same page.
Present - I am writing a blog post. I type this as we speak. My feet are cold. (This is first person present tense, to be exact.) Also - She runs her fingers through her hair. She is sick. (This is third person present tense.)
Past - I rubbed my forehead. My eye twitched. (First person past tense.) Her stomach ached. She walked across the room. (Third person past tense - also, all my examples are kind of depressing, aren't they?)
So most of the time I write in first person past tense. (I'm not good at writing in third person. Really not good.) Both Spyder and Berserk are first person past tense.
You know that new book I'm writing? The one that if you follow me on Twitter, you've seen me call weird, annoying, weird, frustrating, weird, etc? It's in first person present tense. Which is... wait for it... weird. But when I started writing it (in past tense), it didn't feel right. So about four thousand words in, I scrapped the draft and started again - this time in present tense.
Now there are benefits and disadvantages to both.
Advantages to present tense:
- More immediate, more right in the action
- It's harder to do well
- Some people really don't like it.
- If you're me and you start writing in present, when you go to write in past, your tenses will slip.
Advantages to past tense:
- More traditionally accepted
- Somewhat easier
- Some people really don't like it. (And this is why you shouldn't write for other people. Write for yourself.)
So what do you guys write in? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?
Peace and cookies,
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In Rain I threw in details about Mel's outfits because it was important to her character as a practical, girl-world-challenged spy. In Flawless Ruins I describe a fair number of dresses because it's part of the world Morgan lives in. In my current story, I always note the way one character dresses the same each day, because that will play into the story later. That one character isn't the main character, though. I don't think my main character really has a distinctive style, and noting what she wears the same way I note the other character would seem superfluous.
How much do you describe the outfits/style of your characters? How important do you think it is to the story?
(Personally, I like these spy outfits. Anyone else watch this show when they were little?)
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I have the most awesome betas and crit partners. Sometimes people ask me how I found them and I don’t have a good answer like Absolute Write or anything. My answer is just that I whined on Twitter.
No, seriously. I was almost ready to want people to read Spyder and I mentioned it on Twitter. Then I finished the book, did a week or two’s worth of revisions, and then looked at the tweets I’d saved and basically chose randomly. Thankfully, I got really lucky with the beta I chose. She was my second beta ever, but the first on that book, and she was just… awesome. (I hope you know who you are if you’re reading this!!) The rest of my beta/crit partner stories go pretty similarly to that.
Anyways, I didn’t really want to talk about how I found my readers. I was going to talk about when people are allowed to read things and what I’ve learned from people reading my books.
No one is allowed to read a first draft. No one. The people I trust the most might get to read the beginning if I need reassurance that it doesn’t totally suck, or a passage or two, but no one is allowed to read a first draft.
What I’ve learned:
It will always make me nervous.
People won’t always get my slang.
People think I’m funny.
They will always see the typos.
Nobody likes a dryer link analogy.
Sometimes I'm really, really Canadian without meaning to be and it confuses people.
Switching from gooseflesh to goosebumps is apparently a no-no.
Alrighty, it's your turn now. Who reads your writing? When? What have you learned from having people read your writing?
Peace and cookies,
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If I didn't love English class so much, I'd probably hate it.
I know, that sounds kind of obvious. But really, it took up so much time this year--reading, essay-ing, analyzing, thinking--and if every minute of it hadn't been full of utter awesomeness, I'd resent it for taking away time from writing my stories.
But I don't resent it, of course. English class this year wasn't just English class, it was Life class. Every day I found something outside of class that applied to the unit we were doing, and vice versa. We didn't just talk about words and books made out of them, we talked about humanity and ideas and morality (on a Kohlberg scale, for example). All of which, needless to say, are ideas I'll use in writing someday. (Also, a reason this class took up so much of my time was because I willingly spent more time on assignments because a) I wanted to do well and b) they were fun.) (Also x 2, I had one of the most awesome teachers ever, so, yeah, envy me.)
I had my English final today. Now I must endure two more days sans my favorite class. Not sure I'll make it. I feel all hollow inside. (Hence the title of this post.)
What do you think? How did/does English class contribute to your writing?
Friday, June 3, 2011
Despite my unwillingness to succumb to the restrictions of book deadlines (that will be fun if I ever become a published author... *insert sarcasm here*). I do believe in deadlines, I think that they can help you plan out a book really well even if you get behind like I do.
Now on to the second part of the post. Writing Months are like NaNoWriMo, and there is one this summer. The people who run NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month in November) have decided to host a summer NaNo. NaNo is the main reason I want to finish my WIP by June 17th. The problem with starting NaNo writing after finishing a book is that I'm planning one thing while writing another. So now I have two story ideas looming around my brain.
I don't know, I suppose the point of this whole post is to talk about deadlines. Deadlines are good and they help plan out novels so that you can move on fluidly.
*I know this post is totally random, but it is late. *
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
June 1: Jennifer Wylie http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/June 6: Just Another Book Addict http://justanotherbookaddict.blogspot.comJune 9: Sean and Conner http://www.seanandconnor.com/June 13: The Bookish Babes http://thebookishbabes.blogspot.com/June 14: Coffee and Cliffhangers http://www.coffeeandcliffhangers.com/June 15: Modern Romance http://robertauld.blogspot.com/June 20: Harmony Book Reviews http://harmonybookreviews.blogspot.com/June 24: Carla Veno Jones http://cvj237.wordpress.com/June 28: Candace's Book Blog http://www.candacesbookblog.com/June 30: Eating YA Books http://eatingyabooks.blogspot.com/