Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Plays Favorite

(Look! I'm finally catching onto the personifying-days-of-the-week titles. :)

Aaaaand I have a confession to make:

Professor Umbridge is my favorite character.

No! Gosh no, not overall, noooo. Just in book five, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. But still, she has a favorite title. How is this possible? Umbridge? She's nasty! Sickly sweet enough to give you cavities! And, um, kinda sadistic! And I'm the first to admit I would absolutely, completely, and utterly hate her in real life.

So, how in the world can she be my favorite?

I'll tell you why: because every time she enters a scene, I know the story is about to pick up. Something exciting or infuriating or chilling is about to happen. And I'm going to feel something, a huge rush of anger and loathing and my hands will shake and I'll spin wild ideas about what I would do if I sat in her class and what I would say in the hallways and maybe just a bit what kick I'd drive right into her gut. (Kidding.) (Sort of.) (Violence is not the answer!) (In case you were wondering, totally a side kick.)

And that is why Umbridge is my favorite character.

Do you think that's kind of bizarre, having the antagonist be the favorite? In one of my WIPs, the antagonist is one of my favorite characters. I find this interesting and also kind of awesome, because many of my favorite stories have complicated, gray-area antagonists and even more complicated, gray-area relationships between the antagonist and protagonist. And if your antagonist can make people leap out of their seats and cry and go red in the face, I believe that antagonist is fully worthy of a favorite.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Shares a Secret

Or: What I Haven't Told You Guys

I don't know if you've noticed this, but I pretty much write strictly young adult paranormal fiction (usually paranormal romance) and some young adult urban fantasy depending on your definition of urban fantasy. With romance. Young adult romantic urban fantasy? Romantic young adult urban fantasy? TOO MANY WORDS. There be smooching in these here books.

Anyways, I haven't written contemporary in... um... let me check. Okay, this document says February 2010, and this one says August 2010. So the story behind that is, in February 2010 I started this story about a girl with a heart defect. It was contemporary and about eleven hundred words and holy heck it sucked. Then I fooled around with trying to write it again. 700 words that time and they still sucked. So that got trunked (and I don't really count it as a book.)

Do you remember that post I did about the magic in books where I explained why I write what I write? Well, I left something out.

I'm writing a contemporary book.

*listens for thuds of fainting bodies*

No, honestly, it's okay to be surprised. I was surprised myself. But I was listening to this song and I kept thinking, "This could totally be a book," and then I was looking at pictures on We Heart It (do you guys know We Heart It? It's awesome. This is me on there.) because I needed something mindless to do to unwind at night because the holidays stress me out and there were so many pictures of amazing Christmas stuff and I had SO MANY IDEAS.

So. Yeah. This THING happened. It's contemporary and it's 10k long right now. I don't know how long it'll get. It might just be 20 or 30k long. It feels shorter in my head and I don't think I'll hit 50k. So I don't know what I'll ever do with it, but that really shouldn't stop you from writing something you like, you know? Never, ever, don't write something for that reason, okay, people?

Anyways, I won't ever say that my paranormal/urban fantasy books are EASY (get me to tell you the Berserk story sometime if you want an example of a book that broke me a little) but the Christmas book (nickname, not title) is difficult in different ways. For one thing, nobody's trying to kill anyone. That *cough* happens a lot in my books. There's danger and drama and heightened emotion and it's AWESOME.

But unless my main character snaps and murders her annoying sister, that isn't happening in this book. There isn't a ton of emotional drama (this main character is relatively unscarred compared to my others), there's no paranormal stuff, and there is romance, but it's... not bad or anything, it's just a bit slow and sweet and a little less intense than in my other books. So I'm trying to write a book with a decent plot (always a problem for me) but no one is in life-threatening danger, there's a lot of people (I told you about my secondary characters problems last week), and the romance is less of a big deal (usually the smooching scenes are the easiest for me to write XD).

Oh, and there's no cursing.

So it isn't easy to write, but I think it'll be worth it in the end and sometimes I feel like, as a writer, I need to challenge myself. Maybe it won't always work, but I think I like the challenge. Is that masochistic? Eh, I don't think I care if it is. ;)

Tell me what you guys are working on now in the comments. What's your current project? Drafting, revising, rewriting, editing, querying? Leave it in the comments.

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Talks about a Book First Date with Readers

The other day, I was cleaning my room when I found an old piece of writing from a few years back. It was horrible. Have y’all ever gone back and read an old manuscript/ draft/ scene/ etc and thought what on earth was I thinking? Yeah, it was one of those moments. The worst part about it was that it was full of clichés.

If a reader was on a blind date with your book, a cliché is the equivalent to someone who doesn’t know the difference between me and I (am I the only one who finds that annoying?). Clichés are a major turn off. I have put down a lot of books because they have major clichés going on.

How do we avoid these pesky clichés? A lot of people say read more of your genre to realize you genre specific clichés which is true. Each genre has their own clichés, but it takes a while to read every book in your genre. By the time you finish all of those books, new trends and clichés will begin, so I decided to help y’all out and point out a few I’ve noticed over the past few years. I read mostly paranormal romance (PR) so most of these are PR related, but I hope they help whoever reads this even if they don’t read/ write PR.

  • MIA family: I see this a lot with the MC having a dead/ missing mothers who leaves a locket for her daughter (which is another cliché for another time). This is an easy way to let readers sympathize with your character. One of the main things I hate about this clichés is that it’s mentioned, but the characters have no feelings about it. I know someone who lost her mom, and she thinks about her mom every single day. In Kieryn’s post on Tuesday, she talked about the Disappearing Wound Syndrome. Emotional pain, like physical pain, doesn’t just come and go when it’s convenient. It’s always there. Also the MIA family is used a lot to “surprise” the character and the reader into the secret past of the MIA family member except this is done so often that it doesn’t surprise the reader any more. Surprise us! Show us real emotion! Show us a real reason to care.

  • Love at First Sight: These feel like such a cop out to me (even though I just bought The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith which I am SUPER excited to read). I understand some people really have fallen in love with someone at first sight, but with all the instant love, I feel like most of these characters are just falling into lust. It’s easy to get the two confused. They are both four letter words beginning with L, but they have a huge difference in how the romance will play out. According to dictionary.com, love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person” while lust is “a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.” There are a few actual loves at first sight, but I feel most PRs have lust. After one look, the MC will be willing to stalk, fight, and even die for a guy they have only seen a few times. What really annoys me about this is that the MC always describes the guy as “beautiful” (I tend to see a dreamy guy and think he’s “hot”, “cute,” “easy on the eyes,” “an irresistible distraction,” but I have never really thought “beautiful”). They also focus on the eyes, talk about how perfect he is and how she feels this instant connection. This is great and all, but not enough for me to rationalize doing something reckless for him. I mean sometimes she won’t even TALK to him before she does something reckless for him. The reason Beauty and the Beast was such a great movie for me was because Belle didn’t let his menacing appearance from seeing what was behind the Beast to his heart. It takes time to see someone’s heart though. I think love has to slowly build. You can’t build a house in a day, and you can’t fall in love in a day. Let your characters find love that’s more than skin deep. Let your characters build a relationship worth everything for. Let your characters love, truly love someone.

  • The Love Triangle: These are another cop out for me. Love triangles add instant conflict. Yes, every story has to have conflict, but as writers, shouldn’t we be able to come up with more unique plot than a love triangle? A love triangle every now and then is fine, but book after book of love triangles and nothing but will make a reader want to rip their hair out. I feel like every book I see nowadays has a love triangle. The biggest problem for me with love triangles is that both guys are perfect and are Kens. If you do decide to do a love triangle spice it up a bit. Girl loves two perfect guys? Boring. Girl choosing between true love and doing the right thing (think Casablanca)? Interesting. Not the traditional spin on a love triangle. Conflict is the key but so is originality.

  • The Plastics: Notice the Mean Girls reference? I’ve moved a lot, but I never went to a school with one popular girl and guy. There was always the popular crowd, but no one person. Also, a lot of the popular people were really smart and nice and not the mean put Nair in your conditioner bottle people. Yes there were mean people, but they weren’t necessarily the popular people. Maybe I just went to one in a million schools (please leave a comment if you thing I’m completely blind or whatever and I missed the real life mean girls), but I never noticed an alpha popular who would do the conditioner thing. Whenever I read a book with an alpha plastic, I find it all very far fetched especially since they always say the most cliché things and back down when challenged. I get that a Plastic is an easy antagonist, but please make them more real. Remember even antagonists are people too.

  • The Fortune Teller who Foreshadows the Future: The fortune teller is an easy way to foreshadow the future except done in a completely obvious way. It tends to go like this: MC goes to fortune teller because of the MC’s friend believes in the stuff. They go even though the MC thinks it’s total Bologna (why is it spelled Bologna if it sounds like ba-lon-EE? What is “bologna” even made of?), but she goes anyways to be a good friend. The MC’s friend gets a typical fortune about how she’s going to be successful and whatever basic fill in the blank fortune anyone could give. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! (Did you hear the telemarketer voice?) When the fortune teller gets to our MC, *world shatters* the fortune teller actually becomes legit and gives our MC a fortune about how she’s in danger and bad mumbo gumbo is coming her way. No more details. Just a simple “beware.” I could get more off of a “Beware of Dog” sign. At least then I would know that I need to be on the lookout for a man eating dog. Of course, at the end whatever the fortune teller says comes true after our MC totally forgets about it. To me, this cliché is telling when you should be weaving. Good foreshadowing is weaved so seamlessly that the reader won’t even notice. Is this cliché an example of a bad foreshadowing? Not necessarily. Yes, if you do the copy and paste version of the above, it might be boring but the great thing about writing is that you can make this cliché new again.

Done well, these clichés can be amazing. I have read some well written novels with these clichés that I loved, but clichés send a red flag to readers. Give your readers a reason wave the white flag in surrender and admit that (insert your name here) created an amazingly unique twist on the clichés that thought they hated. Let your story make it past the reading first date to the point that readers beg for a second.

Have you noticed any of these clichés as well? Do they annoy you as well? What other clichés have you noticed? Leave a comment if you liked this because I might post more clichés if y’all find this helpful. Thanks for taking time out of your Vampire Diaries, Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, etc to read this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday is a Thief

I mean... *cough* no, I'm not talking about secondary characters either.

(also, I'm blogging in school. Blogger isn't blocked. Isn't that cool? It is. Trust me.)

So. Saturday (Laina) posted about secondary characters after I suggested it to her. So. Seeing as I'm different, and write differently, I thought I'd talk about secondary characters, too.

Because I freaking love secondary characters. Maybe a little too much. Though, in my WIP I'm currently revising, some of the characters lie in an area between being a main character and a secondary character because I have a large cast (it's an epic fantasy...casts tend to happen). Anyways, I often sometimes focus a lot on my secondary characters and stray away from the main plot when I do this.

It's important to know your secondary characters well and great ones can make the difference between an amazing story and a good one. But make sure they don't take the place of your main characters. Save their entire story for weird little extra shorts or novellas you write (Oh...I'm the only one that does that? Okay).

That being said, make sure you DO write about your secondary characters, or they won't be authentic. Because that's how I came to know mine and love them so much. I don't fuss over trying to characterize them because I try to write and think of them as naturally as I do my main characters. And whenever I get stuck or they seem boring, searching for different mannerisms or characteristics to give them is always helpful.

What's also a great way to characterize secondary characters is by making a lot about them the polar opposite of your protagonist. Not so much making them an antagonist, but just different. For instance, in the WIP I'm revising, my main character has a sister that's one of those muddled-on-the-line secondary characters. My MC's sister is flirty and quick, more violent and bit more eager about magic, while my MC is more reserved and scared of magic (as I said, fantasy XD) (and my classmate just looked over here and asked what I was doing. That was awkward). Anyways, I think making the characters contrast brings out the personalities in your characters more and it makes it a lot more fun to read.

Another good way to characterize your secondary characters is to base them more so on real people. I don't like to do that so much with my main characters, but I feel like secondary characters are more free reign to.

And that's that. Secondary characters are fun.

And so is stealing.

(just kidding. Follow the law)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Have you noticed this, too?

And by "this" I mean the Disappearing Wound Syndrome. There are times, as I'm reading a book, I'll notice a character running from Ze Bad Guy and I'll do a double take. Because, wait, didn't he/she just get in a knife fight two pages ago? I feel like the gash across his/her thigh would not be conducive to the current chase scene. And then the injury that two pages ago was so grievous is given a small "the cut throbbed" mention, or, more likely, no mention at all.

I'm not talking about action scenes in which a character hardly notices/doesn't notice an injury until later--that's called adrenaline and is within the realm of possibility. The Disappearing Wound Syndrome is more like when a wound has served its purpose and discarded. Unfortunately, this is not how wounds work. They hurt and bleed and scab and form scars.

I say, as a writer, be careful about the Disappearing Wound Syndrome. Our goal in telling stories is to transport a reader to a world as realistic as possible. And yes, even if it's a fantasy or scifi or paranormal it needs to be realistic and follow the rules you have constructed for your world. So if a world has a special property in which all of its inhabitants heal super duper quickly, make sure to say that. If not, follow up on the wounds.

What are your thoughts on the Disappearing Wound Syndrome?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday on Secondary Characters

Or: Wednesday (KT) suggested this idea so I don't really have a subtitle.

Alrighty, how about a quick definition so we all know what I mean.

Main characters: The people who are in your books the most. A lot of the time people will use main character and narrator (the person telling the book) interchangeably but I personally believe you can have main characters who don't narrate anything. For me, most of the love interests (that's a weird phrase) in my books are also main characters because they're important. (The romance in my books is kind of a big thing.)

Secondary characters: This one is harder for me to define. I want to go with the lazy way and say, "Everyone else," but I googled and came up with this: Minor or secondary characters are ones that are necessary to populate the story believably. They play a supporting role rather than a central role in the story. Many secondary characters are non-essential - the story could still exist without those characters (although they probably make it more interesting or believable.) Some secondary characters may have a permanent and essential role in the story.

SO. I like that and I'm lazy so I'm going to say that works as a definition.

One of my books would have the narrator and her love interest (or... interests... depending on the book) and those would be my main characters. My secondary characters could be their friends, siblings, parents, and whoever's trying to kill them. (*cough* Not that that's a thing in my books or anything.)

I do struggle with this, though. It's hard for me sometimes to figure out how people act if I'm not in their head telling their story in their voice. (Which is why I suck at third person.) But I'm trying to work on that and to write my secondary characters so they have their own distinct personalities, quirks, and issues.

So how do you guys deal with writing secondary characters? Any tips?

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday is Too Old for Barbie

You would think by the time we go to high school, college, get our first job, get married, or insert milestone that we would finally put Ken and Barbie in that tiny box of our childhood, but I don’t think we really do. Barbie is a major figure head for most girls’ childhood (Sorry any boys read this! Just substitute Barbie for action figures or G.I. Joe or whatever you guys played with).

Barbie was this image girls wanted to be like. Even now, girls still want to be like Barbie. Barbie is tall, blonde, skinny, talented, popular, successful, and gorgeous. Her boyfriend, Ken, is the same way. Now imagine reading about beautiful Barbie and her perfect boyfriend Ken. Boring, right? People don’t like reading about perfect people.

So why do we authors write Barbie and Ken characters?

As authors, we don’t want our readers to rip our characters apart. How many times have you read a story where everything the character did was so completely stupid that you wondered how they even found a way to get up in the morning without messing something up? Why would we want that brutality on our own characters when we could add a few more positive traits? Sadly, this results in the Barbies and Kens of the world. I see this more so for the main love interest (you know the type: tall, dark, handsome, completely loyal to the protag, and well… the perfect guy). These characters are flat and one-dimensional. Big no-nos in the literary world. You would think we would have outgrown Barbie and Ken, yet they pop up all over the place in novels. As readers, we want more.

The key to great characters is balance. Now I’m sure you’ve heard the advice: you have to understand them better or whatever. It’s true, but I wanna take it a little farther. I can’t give you a magical percentage or formula for the perfect character, but I can give you my best advice. Our characters are only human (or not human if you write paranormal). Don’t force them to be more than they are. Yes a tall, blonde, skinny, talented, popular, successful, gorgeous girl (i.e. a Barbie character) sounds good, but they are too good to be true. Nobody’s perfect (yes you may cue the Hannah Montana song), so your characters shouldn’t be either. On the other hand, nobody is completely imperfect. You have to feel what’s right for you and your character because the balance is what creates the living, breathing people we imagine them to be. Let your readers see them as that and not as Barbie dolls/ stupidity walking because your characters are so much more than a plastic doll that people will forget about.

Understand the limits people have that your characters should have too. The beauty of characters are how real they feel to us. Yes you should know them better, but it’s important to remember that at the end of your novel they are real. Real people aren’t perfect, but they are beautiful in their own imperfect way.

Let your characters be fantastic not plastic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Gets Inside Your Head.

In other words, I'm going to be annoying and talk about psychology.

Character psychology, that is.

I've been taking AP Psychology this year, and I've found it remarkably helpful with writing (as one of my CP's could tell you. Like, helpful to the annoying level).

But honestly, you have to be in your character's head, right? Well it's a little important to know how a mind works, assuming your character is a human, yeah?

For example, let's take my character from my 2011 Nano, Ember. She says hi.

She had a problematic childhood. And then lived in a forest alone from the age of eight until she was almost 18. Obviously she's going to have psychological effects from that.

Or, we could just say she's weird. ;)

For Ember, she'd grow up without the presence of a lot of people and would therefore be scared of them and not socially adept. She also would think more like an eight-year-old than an eighteen-year-old because that's how she knows to act. She doesn't have the experience and observations of peers as she grows older. Ember would also probably have symptoms of feral child syndrome.

Conveniently, I was learning about all of this in psychology (and sociology) while I was writing my Nano (I did not plan it that way, I swear), but if you don't have a psychology textbook handy, research on the Internet is undeniably a great idea.

Characters will sound way more authentic if you know them really well. And if their brains work the same way ours do.

Unless they're alien. In that case, I would like to know about alien psychology.

(DO you have any alien character?? Or just ones with problems, like me?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Obligatory endings?

Addressing You, The Author:

The general rule of thumb, it seems, is Bad Guys get What They Deserve (WTDs) and Good Guys get Happy Endings (HEs). But are these endings obligatory?

Don't get me wrong--I am a fan of WTDs and HEs. I'm just wondering if the motivation for these outcomes is intrinsic of extrinsic. Do we give our favorite characters happy send-offs because we fell in love with them over the course of telling their story? Are the suitably in-your-face outcomes of the antagonists drawn from an innate sense of justice? (Maybe the antagonists reflect qualities you, as the author, find repugnant, and you have a personal issue with giving them a Happy Ending, or even a Somewhat Boring one.) (<-- This, by the way, is totally okay. That is the beauty of fiction.)

Or, perhaps it's the external ideals--the world of fictional justice saying, the Bad Guy ends up dead/destitute/in jail. The Good Guy gets the girl/fortune/restored family honor/all of the above. That's how it is. That's what people like to read.

I'm wondering--if we took a step back from both internal and external Fictional Justice Agendas, would we find different stories hiding under the frameworks of our novels? Near the end of my last story I made the decision not to have my character share her knowledge about the "real" Bad Guy with the world or seek legal justice. Instead, she internalized the information and used it to reassess her worldview and sense of self. I think it fit much better with her character--I also think other writers would have handled this very differently. (I'm also not saying I have an opinion either way. I've enjoyed books that have clear HEs and WTDs, and books that have not as well...except for some books I've read for school. A few were just flat out unfair. Um, A Separate Peace? Finny did not deserve that. And where was Gene's WTD? Arrgh.)

Now, addressing You, The Reader:

Are you always satisfied with HEs and WTDs, or are there times when you think Fictional Justice is not the right ending for a story?


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Needs a Little Magic

Or: Why I write what I write.

First of all, go give a welcome to our new bloggers, KT and Jewels! We're very excited to have them joining us and you guys definitely need to go check out their awesome posts.

Okay, so. You might have noticed that whenever I talk about the books I've written, usually they're paranormal or urban fantasy or something along those lines. Whatever you want to call it, I write about magic and things that go bump in the night.

The reason? Because... well, to me there's magic in stories about this, and for me, the possibilities are endless. Think fairy tales. Let's take the story of Cinderella. We all know that one, right? Girl abused by wicked stepmother and stepsisters, not allowed to go to the ball, insert fairy godmother. Fairy godmother turns mice into horses and horse into footman. (Because that's logical. Don't make the horse prettier or anything. It's totally easier to make a NEW horse.) Girl goes to ball, girl dances with hot hot prince, girl is very happy. Midnight hit, girl runs, loses glass slipper. Prince later uses slipper to find girl. Girl and prince live happily every after.

That's a pretty cool story in my opinion to start with. (Shut up. I have a romantic heart. Shut up.) Then as a writer, as far as I'm concerned, you have the right to mess. things. up. as much as you want.

Think about this. What if Cinderella didn't love the prince? What if she was in love with a stable boy? What if the story went more like this:

Girl's stepsisters and mother treat her fine but are cold and distant. Girl spends more time in the stables than in her house after her father's death. She develops feelings for the stable boy who tends their horses but she's too shy to talk to him.

One day, her stepmother and stepsister get an invitation to a ball. Girl isn't invited but she doesn't really care. The night of the ball, she casually mentions it to the stable boy. Stable boy has been hearing about about this for weeks from all five of his sisters (he comes from a very large family). He's seriously sick of hearing about princes and dresses and things, so he snaps at her that he doesn't give a darn about the prince or his ball and if she cares that much, she should just marry the prince herself.

Girl runs away into the garden, crying because she thinks stable boy doesn't like her at all and it kinda ruined her day. Suddenly, a woman appears. She talks a million miles an hour and poor Cindy can't get a word in edgewise. The woman claims to be her fairy godmother and before our girl can tell her she doesn't want to go to the ball, Cindy's in a big poofy dress, glass slippers and she's a horse-drawn pumpkin carriage on her way to the ball.

To her surprise, the prince asks her to dance. And he's handsome and kind and he looks at Cindy like she's the prettiest thing he's ever seen. She's swept off her feet.

Right until midnight. Then she runs, losing one of the glass shoes. When she gets home, the stable boy is waiting. He apologizes and, suddenly, kisses her.

The next day, she's floatin on the happiness of the kiss when suddenly the prince shows up with her slipper. It's, of course, a magic slipper, so it only fits her foot.

Now what does she choose?

(End rambling story.)

I rambled like crazy in this, but you get my point, right? I write about unreal things because I love the magic.

What do you guys write? What's your favourite part? What draws you into what you read?

Peace and cookies,

(Also. It's 11:57. It's still Saturday! It counts.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Hopes to Help

Hey, I’m Jewels, and I’ll be posting on Thursdays. My blog is My Amazing Writing Blog (Not). I haven’t posted there in awhile, but I’m planning on blogging more often if you want to keep a look out. Sorry for the lateness of my post. Holidays got in the way, but better late than never right? I know y’all probably weren’t sitting at the seat of your chair dying to read what I have to say, but I really hope you give me a chance. I hope that one of y’all will read something I post and go “oh yeah!”, “that’s exactly what I needed to read”, “I never thought of it that way” or whatever. I really hope that I can help someone in their journey through writing even if I play one of the most insignificant parts.

I love YA literature. YA literature made me fall in love with reading and eventually writing again. I used to write all the time as a kid (which will never see the light of day), but overtime life got in the way, and I sorta lost the passion. I hated reading as a kid though. I had to lie on my reading logs, but *sound the trumpets* then I read the Harry Potter books. I fell in love with J.K. Rowling’s writing like almost every other sensible person in the world. After that, I read like crazy. The more I read the more I wanted to write again. Now I’m constantly reading or writing (though not as much as I wish would).

Though there are some days, I really wish I didn’t have a writer’s brain (i.e. during a test, church, etc). I swear my mind waits for the most inconvenient times to give me an amazing idea. It’s times like that I wish I had something attached to my brain to type my every thought… then again scratch that. Bad idea. A writer’s brain is a scary place.

I don’t know really what else to say, so I’m gonna list some random facts/ quirks about me.

1. I tend to accidentally hit the CAPS LOCK key when I try to hit A.
2. I type with all my fingers except for the pinkie which is the reason for number 1
3. After I read historical fiction, I suddenly have the urge to speak in a posh British accent and act like I would if I lived during that time.
4. I sometimes say well instead of good even if good is grammatically correct
5. I prefer to write companion novels instead of sequels
6. I develop my secondary characters more realistically than my main characters (because I’m scared if I make my main characters too developed that they would become unlikable)which is the reason for number 5
7. One look at my book playlists will tell you exactly what artist I was obsessed with that day. I’ll have ten Taylor Swift songs on one, but none on another playlist. My music taste tends to change everyday
8. I have a fear that someone will see all the baby naming sites I use for writing and get the wrong idea.
9. I have a really bad habit of switching verb tenses.
10. One day, I hope that I’ll write something amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday is BACK!

...and late at it. (My apologies. Things got a little crazy and tense at home before I left for work XD)

Or, also, I suppose you could say Wednesday is NEW.

I'm KT and I'm the new blogger for Wednesday!! Here's a little bit about me:

-I'm a high school senior. I graduate in May and am going to be majoring in English (with a concentration in creative writing) in the fall. Don't ask me where, because I'm still trying to figure that out.
-I wrote my first book when I was in first grade. It's about a blue snake.
-I work at a library.
-I blog at Just Left of Imagination Avenue and my twitter is @thatwritergirl7

I'm super excited to be here and to start 'really' blogging with the YA Lit Six. And I hope you're happy to have me XD

Well, I need to stop being lazy and do homework and revise. It's hard to get back into gear over a break when you were lazy.

Were you guys all lazy over break, too? Or were you unlike me and super productive?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The circle of life.

Who do you share your stories with?

This is an important question. Unless your writing is done solely for your eyes--and there's nothing wrong with that--feedback from eyes that do not belong to you is highly important. For me, in fact, it's a huge motivator. I can't write just for myself (at least, nothing substantial). I've attempted to keep journals and about three entries in, every time, they fizzle out. However, I can write a letter with great enthusiasm. What does that say, that I can write pages for someone else but can't write the same amount in a personal journal?

Well, it says I write to express myself.

If I am expressing myself, then, I want to share. And therefore I need a group of people to share with, people I don't mind reading my rough-drafty sentences when they're hot off the press (er, keyboard) and I just can't wait to share because I'm so, so excited. Really, if there was no one to send it to, my fingers might slow as I reach the end of a scene. Maybe they'd slow as I start. The anticipation of sharing what I',m about to create drives the actual creating. And the feedback received after sharing makes me want to write more. It's the ciiircle of life...oh, wait, that's the Lion King. It's the circle of writing, I mean.

What drives you to write?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday on Scary Things

Or: 2012

I've been trying to figure out what do write for my first YA Lit Six post of the year for... approximately six and a half days. I thought about being sarcastic and funny (like I'm never not?) but I decided to be a bit serious this week.

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I feel like most people don't keep them and I know I wouldn't, so I just don't. I do sometimes make goals for the year. Of course, the last time I did that I ended up scrapping them and going with something else entirely... but I have one for this year: Do a scary thing.

So I've decided 2012 is going to be the year of scary things. Mostly writing-wise, although I did do something scary for me and posted a picture of myself on facebook... but the important scary stuff is related to my writing. I'm going to start querying this year.

And that's terrifying.

This is seriously short, but I can't seem to think of anything else to say, so, tell me this instead: Do you have resolutions or goals or something else? Are you planning anything scary for 2012?

Peace and cookies,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

{squiggly bracket implied meanings}

Happy New Year!

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the adjective--could be stressing the happy part, perhaps encouraging someone to literally have a good year, or if paired with a question mark it could even be sarcastic: "Happy New Year? What's happy about it?"}

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the newness--something about it is surprising. "New Year? I thought it was Old Year! How silly of me!"}

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the noun--the year part is very, very important. Grand. The grandness is the point of the sentence. "Happy New Year! Wow! Year! A new year is like equal to twelve new months! This is huge!"}

As you've probably guessed, the above illustrates the importance of slanty italic stylization. (I can make up words, yes?) The shift of style from one letter to the next conveys an entirely different meaning, as well as a bunch of read-me-between-the-lines meaning as well (I put that stuff in {squiggly brackets}).

I find dialogue is generally a good natural habitat for dialogue. For example, a passage from a story I wrote in eighth grade...

“Yeah, she may be her own boss,” I mutter, “but she sure as heck also thinks she’s ours.”

“See how annoying it is?” Kori says, finally looking up at me.

“I’m your sister,” I try to explain. “I’m supposed to give you constructive criticism.” {Italics here say: I, the speaker, am supposed to. Implied: the "she" referenced before is not supposed to.}

“It’s not constructive criticism, it’s bossy criticism,” she counters. {Italics say: compare these two adjectives. Do it. Right now.}

“Maybe if you weren’t so sensitive….” {Italics say: compare THIS adjective.} I trail off, seeing Kori’s face start to squinch up. I sigh. “Look, can we give it a rest?”

She nods. “I don’t like fighting with you.”

“Hmm…it’s fun sometimes.”

“Karly,” she complains.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be as much fun if your reactions weren’t so predicable,” I advise.

Karly! {Italics say: didn't you hear me the first time??}

I might've overloaded on the italics here, but it's a good way to show hidden meanings. When used appropriately--ehem, sparingly--italics can pack a punch every time they appear.