Sunday, August 30, 2009

In My Mailbox - 1

It's time that I come forward and admit my addiction to Amazon and reading in general. Here for the first time is my In My Mailbox post without pics or descriptions cause I'm lazy right now, might put them in later. In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

Shiver ARC by Maggie Stiefvater

My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Break by Hannah Moskowitz
Once A Witch by Colleen McCullough

Encyclopedia of Magic & Alchemy
Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft & Wicca

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the secret

I think I finally figured out what the secret to finishing a first draft is. It's not being afraid to write crap. I'm such a perfectionist, I agonize over one sentence until my eyes go blurry and I can't stand to sit at the computer one more second. It's stupid.

I already learned this with screenwriting, just get the draft out. Get words on paper and sort them out in the rewrite. I actually love editing, I love pulling the pieces together like a puzzle and honing them until they tell the best version of the story possible.

The difference between screenplays and novels though is all the words. There's so many words in a book! The thought of working through so many in a revision is overwhelming and so, rather than trusting myself that I will get the bare bones that I need for a good edit, I am constantly going back and revising or taking time away to rework the plot.

It's time to stop. It's time to put my butt in the chair, write some crap and sort it out later. Today, I'm giving myself the permission to write the worst scenes ever. I will finish this first draft in the next two weeks. No, really, I will!

Show Me Five Saturday - 2

That's A Novel Idea just started this fun new meme!

Here are the rules:
Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it
5 Stars or less for your rating?

1. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2. MG/YA, Awesome
3. NYC, 70's, Miranda
4. Liked: that it was set in the 70s, the plot - which I can't talk about without revealing the mystery, sense of place, realistic characters
5. 5 stars

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Finds - 2

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

This is a cool sounding book I discovered this week!

Here they are:

The Pace cover

The Pace by Shelena Shorts (released 8/19/09)

From GoodReads:
Weston Wilson is not immortal and he is of this world. But, aging is not part of his existence, and eighteen-year-old Sophie Slone is determined to find out why. In doing so, she could also uncover something about her own life expectancy that she may not want to know. Suddenly, immortality will mean everything and nothing all at the same time.

Intensely fascinating and rich with determination, The Pace brings together romance, mystery, and suspense in a compelling bond that is sure to have readers asking for more.

This sounds so interesting that I ordered it from Amazon! Can't wait to check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday - 3

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. I've been getting into boy books lately, so this week's choice is:

Maze Runner by James Dashner - release date October 6, 2009

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Ooh, sounds post-apocalyptic, and creepy and mysterious. Three of my favorite things! On Amazon it's paired with The Forest of Hands and Teeth (one of my faves this year) which makes me very curious and even more excited to read it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Finds - 1

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

These are books that jumped out at me this week and that are now on my Must Read list!

Here they are:

The Maze Runner cover

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Dirty Little Secrets cover

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I had been feeling really anti my book for the last couple days. You know the whole, "this sucks, why did I think I could write?" drama, and I couldn't figure out why. I was really happy with the last chapter and was thinking I was on the way to some really good stuff then all of a sudden I can't bear to write it.

It took some serious thinking (or okay, total distraction by playing the Sims) before I finally realized what the problem was. The next scene I needed to write was boring. It was going to involve sitting around having a long conversation full of necessary exposition and since so far the story has been unfolding at a fast pace - so fast in fact that I've wondered if maybe it's too fast - it was really going to slow things down. Once I figured that out, it actually made me more depressed. Oh no! I thought. How did I take such an action packed story and turn it into this?

It was another day of moping at my overall suckiness before I remembered one of the most important rules of screenwriting (which I think applies here) make the scene interesting. If characters have to talk about something, put them in the middle of something exciting. And that's when I knew. A car chase! My characters need to shout their exposition at each other in the middle of a car chase. It actually works out much better in the overall plot development too.

I can't believe I almost had them sitting around and talking. In a basement. Whew! Maybe I'll break 30,000 words and the halfway point this week after all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fun Book Meme

I came across this meme from Natasha Fondren via Alyson Noel's blog via Magical Musings and thought I'd fill it out.

•What book(s) made you a better writer?
The Writer's Journey is probably the one that had the biggest influence.

•What book(s) made you cry?
The Time Traveler's Wife, Shiver, The Lovely Bones, Twenty Boy Summer, The Last Time They Met, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (actually, I think almost all of them made me cry!)

•What book(s) made you laugh until you were in tears?
The Bridget Jones books are some of the few. I don't really read funny books now that I think about it.

•What book(s) made you feel like you could conquer the world?
Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting, which was The Secret before The Secret came out. Great book. I gave it to a lot of people as gifts.

•What book(s) have you read three times or more?
I know for sure that Are You There God, It's Me Margaret is on that list. I probably read it 10 or 15 times between 4th and 6th grade. I'm sure there are more from around that time but after junior high or so I pretty much stopped re-reading. Maybe Tuck Everlasting. I've read Harry Potter 4-6 twice, and will have read them 3 times once I do a re-read of the whole series at some point. Also, my favorite short story is All Summer In A Day by Ray Bradbury and I've probably read that around 20 times at least.

•What book(s) kept you up all night reading?
I stayed up late to finish The Forest of Hands and Teeth in one sitting, same with Deathly Hallows. Identical. Pet Semetary was the first horror book I read and I stayed up all night when I was home alone reading it because I was too scared to go to bed!

•What book(s) do you want to read again?
All The Pretty Horses - which I loved, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Talisman, Are You There God It's Me Margaret, Shiver, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Harry Potter series, Catcher In The Rye, Shutter Island, Paper Towns, A Wrinkle In Time

Waiting On Wednesday - 2

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. This week I decided to go with a book that I haven't seen too many people mention:

The Ask and The Answer (Chaos Walking Book 2) by Patrick Ness - release date September 8, 2009

Reaching the end of their tense and desperate flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical government. Todd, meanwhile, faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives — Todd’s gritty and volatile; Viola’s calmer but equally stubborn — the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

This book is the second in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. The first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go came out last year. It's a really great story set in the future about a boy, Todd, raised in a town of all men. The town is on a new planet they had been sent to colonize, but when they got there they found it was inhabited, and the inhabitants unleashed a virus that makes all men's thoughts hearable by everyone. As in, everything they think is said outloud, as if they're speaking it. They call this Noise, and it only affected the men. Todd, the last baby born in the town, has been led to believe that all the women on the planet died of disease when he was a baby. But did they? Or is it something much worse? It sounds complicated and strange, but it's really a really great book. Despite the fact that it's set on a new planet in the future, the towns are very much like the old west. There is action and adventure and suspense and possibly a little romance. I highly recommend reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, and then getting it's sequel, The Ask and The Answer. I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Meridian by Amber Kizer
I fell to the road, tears streaking my cheeks as flashes of each person's life played like disjointed movie trailers in my mind. Mom lifted and dragged me farther and farther away. p. 11

Monday, August 17, 2009

Revising Tips

Rachelle Gardner has a great post on her blog today about tightening up your manuscript.

It's funny how many of these (particularly adverbs, too many adjectives, and the elusive passive sentence) I can spot so easily in my crit group's work and then fill up my manuscript with the same thing and not even notice!

Read her great tips here!

Massive YA Book Giveaway!

Princess Bookie is giving away a ton YA of books!

Seriously, a ton! Here's a sample of the biggest prize, just one of many being given out:
1. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ARC
2. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen ARC
3. Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters ARC
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater ARC
5. Troy High by Shana Norris ARC
6. Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott ARC
7. Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn ARC
8. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
9. Death by Series by Linda Gerber (3 books total)
10. a 5 dollar giftcard from Walmart (you can buy yourself half of a book with it, lol)
11. 3 Sarah Dessen books ( Just Listen, This Lullaby, Someone Like You)
12. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
13. Fire By Kristin Cashmore ARC
14. Last but not least, I have some extra amazon cards, so I will also include a preorder for CATCHING FIRE BY SUZANNE COLLINS. It will be shipped to on or around Sept 1st (whenever they ship it)
AND a book of your choice (under $15.00 please and it can be a preorder as long as it comes out in September-so many good books get released)

Contest ends 8/24! Enter here!

Ballad Trailer!

Maggie Stiefvater has posted an awesome new trailer for her upcoming book Ballad that she made herself! Check it out:

She's also having a contest, post this video on your blog and get a chance to win an ARC or finished copy of Ballad (release date October 1, 2009)
Contest ends Friday at 9pm EST!

Dreaming Up Ideas

So last night, just as I was falling asleep I had a vision, so to speak. An image of a cute boy with a backstory so interesting that I knew immediately that he had to have his story told. By me. In a book. Probably, several books.

One problem. Writing his story will require massive amounts of research. I mean MASSIVE. I need to learn about an ancient religion, folklore, a major city I've been to once, for one day, and of course, magic. For most of the topics, I don't even know where to go to get the info, so I would have to research researching! Still, I'm pretty fascinated by the idea. These are all topics I've been interested in for a long time. I'm going to build him a little room in the back of my brain and see if he tells me something more about himself and where his story is going.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bringing on the Heartache

I'm about to bring on the heartbreak for my main character. Is it wrong that I am sort of insanely excited about this? And of course, I'm also feeling guilty.

I used to read writer's blogs when they would talk about how bad they felt about putting their characters through trials and tribulations as if they were real people and I would wonder what that must be like, to think of them that way. When writing screenplays, so much of a character's inner monologue is left out, and it's such a tiny snapshot of their lives, that I never really felt as connected to the characters as I do with the characters in my novel. I think writing in first person has something to do with it too. At any rate, poor Caitlyn has already gone through some pretty life-shattering events and is questioning who she is and all that good stuff. But recently, she just had something really awesome happen, something that has given her hope, and I am about to rip that hope right out from under her and leave her with practically nothing. I'm so mean.

It's a scary feeling. I'm moving right into the middle of my book. The thing I fear more than anything, even spiders! I'm at that point where even though I've plotted out some basic signposts to reach, I have no real idea what paths I'm going to take to each of them. It feels like my story is about to spin out of control and all I can do is follow along behind and hope for the best. As a serious control freak, this is the thing I hate and love most about writing. It's like going skydiving. It always feels like a risk, and I don't know if my parachute will open up and save me or not. Looks like I'm bringing on the heartache for myself too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Show Me 5 Saturday!

That's A Novel Idea just started this fun new meme!

Here are the rules:
Each Saturday You will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it
5 Stars or less for your rating?

1. Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
2. YA, Mystery
3. Cody, Colorado, Vermont
4. Liked: sense of place, realistic characters Disliked: main characters continuous low opinion of his intelligence, mystery too easy (for reader)
5. 3 stars

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday 1

It's my very first Waiting on Wednesday! WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. There are so many books I'm looking forward to right now, but I decided to start with:

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting - release date March 18, 2010

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself. Summary courtesy of GoodReads

This book has been on my pre-order list since April! It was originally coming out late this year but it's been pushed to 2010. It definitely sounds like my kind of book. Can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's like the universe read my mind

No, really. I just spent half the morning writing a big old emo post about how I can't seem to write more than a couple thousand words a week and now Maggie Stiefvater posts this awesome post, totally calling me on my BS. Fortunately, after blogging, and before reading her post, I forced myself to sit down and hammer through a scene I had been terrified to write and 1,500 words later I'm excited about the new direction my book is taking. So yay me!

Thank you universe, internet, and Maggie for getting me back on track!

Also, if you haven't already, you must buy Maggie's book Shiver. Best book I have read in a very, very long time. Totally one of my new all time favorites and I don't even like werewolves. Or, I mean, I didn't.

Procrastination Tango

I'm finding that I have a pattern with writing. I hesitate and ruminate on what's going to happen in the next scene until finally, I feel like I know where it's going and then I psyche myself up for a few days until I can sit down and force myself to write it. Then I think, wow, that was easier than I thought! It's kind of good! Or it will be, once I revise and revise and OMG what did I write? and revise it some more. Then I realize that what I just wrote doesn't necessarily match up with what I thought I was going to write next, and I panic, and then the whole process starts all over again, leaving me with an average of one scene sequence and maybe 2,000 words done a week. Which is oh, about 8000 words less than my weekly goal!

It's especially annoying because when I started my current WIP I was so excited, and so clear on what I was going to write that I sat down the very first day and wrote almost 5,000 words! In something like 3.5 hours. The only reason I stopped was because I had to go to a family event. Usually when I'm writing, that's how it goes. I get this idea and it comes on so strong that I end up getting out of bed at 5am because I can't stand to sleep anymore and I need to get started. I find that the faster I write something, the more cohesive it is, because I'm right in the middle of it the whole time. Right now I feel my character's voice wavering. Not so much that I'm losing my who she is, but more like I know there's a ton of stuff I'm going to have to do in revisions to really make her personality come through.

I've been trying to figure out if the reason is because I have set this goal for myself to really write a book, and I have an outline that goes all the way to the end. In some ways I think I feel a little trapped knowing that I have to follow a path to a complete ending. Even though I am not particularly attached to the ending in the outline. I'm open to seeing what happens but I think I'm just at the point where I'm starting the middle of the book and I feel like I'm just flailing around in a raging sea of indecision. I feel like I have no idea how I'm going to pull all the threads I laid out together into one climax that doesn't suck. I'm worried the ending won't live up to the beginning, something I always hate. Or maybe it just seems harder because it's so important to me, and I think, like one of my crit partners said, that I "have a book" in there. This is probably the best writing I've ever done. I love my concept and I think other people will like it too. If I can just get it finished!

Thank God for Write or Die or I'd never get anything written!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


So I'm finally getting around to starting a writing blog. I have been meaning to forever, but every time I log into blogger I end up reading all the blogs I follow and then it's time for me to get back to writing. Hopefully this blog will follow my journey from completing my first YA novel, through the whole submitting to agents process, and all the way to publication because what's the point if you don't have goals, right? I'll also be reviewing books from time to time.

A little about me. I'm a filmmaker. I have written and directed my own screenplays and even won a few awards. I also direct and edit music videos. I have always loved to write, and was actually a Creative Writing major in college before I decided to pursue the film industry and graduated from film school instead. I figured one day I would write a novel, (one day far in the future) but in the past year, my love for YA has been rekindled and suddenly my mind was filled with the kind of ideas that would work much better in books than movies. So here I am. I have been so amazed by the community of YA writers, it's so welcoming and supportive and have made me feel like writing a book is something I can really do.

What I'm writing - my current work in progress, Sleeper, is best described as My So-Called Life meets The Bourne Identity. Yes, really! I guess you could call it something like a YA Contemporary Sci-Fi Thriller or Urban Fantasy. I'm just about 20,000 words in, and am hoping to finish the first draft by the end of August. I also have an untitled YA Paranormal Romance in the works. I'm 10,000 words into that one but I put it on the backburner when the idea for Sleeper popped into my head.

Anyway, that's it for my first post. Whew! That was easier than I thought!
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