Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

So I'm sick with a wicked cold and totally out of it thanks to Thera Flu. I have about 13 hours to write over 9000 words to win NaNoWriMo. Hopefully they will all make sense. In the absence of the brain power to post anything really earth shattering, I thought I would share some random thoughts and a video that always makes me feel better.

Random Thoughts:
* It really bothers me that we don't use an apostrophe to show ownership when writing its. I know it's is for the contraction it is, but given that we use it for everything else, I think it should match. Plus, it makes me look like an idiot everytime I write it's when I should be writing its and I hate that.

* Every time I hear Love Story by Taylor Swift I wonder if she's actually read The Scarlet Letter?

* I want this:
and this: for Christmas.

* Why don't the Cullens get spray tans? It would make it so much easier for them to blend in, and they're rich enough that they could buy their own booth for their mansion so no one would even know. Plus, it might cover up whatever that stuff is in their skin that sparkles, and then they could go out in the sun.

* I really love the totally pointless What's Up With That? sketch on Saturday Night Live. Jason Sudekis's dancing in the red sweatsuit and curly wig in the background makes me laugh so hard I cry. Gerard Butler is pretty funny in this one too.

Um yeah, and with that, I'm off to try and form some complete sentences and win NaNo. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Contest Winners!

Here are the winners for my Best YA Books of 2009 contest as chosen by Random Number Generator. You all should have received emails from me, if I don't get a response from you by December 5th, I will choose a new winner.

1st Choice: Meghan from Meghan's Book Blog!
2nd Choice: Pixie from Page Turners
3rd Choice: Yay Reads
4th Choice: Kate from The Neverending Shelf
5th Choice: Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase

Thanks so much for entering! I will be doing more giveaways in the new year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What NaNoWriMo is Teaching Me

NaNoWriMo has been a really eye-opening and encouraging experience. I've discovered a lot about myself as a writer and as a person. I think I've come a long way towards figuring out what process works best for me (a perfectionist control-freak) to get a working first draft.

Approaching this story like I would a film has made all the difference. I write scenes and leave them open to change. I consider this first draft the same as filming the movie. When making a movie you use the script as a guide, you film everything and then some, and then the real fun comes from sitting down in the editing room and seeing what you have and how it best fits together. Editing is probably one of my favorite things in the world. To me it's where the real storytelling comes in.

I think it also helps that I had a concrete ending when I started. I didn't outline but I knew exactly where my story started, the central conflict, and the whole action packed ending. I had pretty detailed notes on my two main characters too. Writing towards the big finish, and seeing the pieces come together that lead up to it is a lot of fun. Getting to the end is one of the things that's kept me going these past three weeks. Hopefully I'll feel like it was worth it when I finish this week!

Somewhat Surprising Stuff I've Learned About Myself:
1. Despite considering myself a visual person (hello, filmmaker!) when drafting, the only description I tend to write is internal/emotional.

2. I am totally emo. Nothing makes me happier than oodles and oodles of angst (especially angst with kissing!). This shouldn't be surprising to me given that in my past life as a vidder all my vids were heavy on the angst, but somehow it was.

3. I have a limited emotional vocabulary (or okay, a potty mouth). When my characters are upset, they drop F-bombs and I don't even notice. Not even when reading through what I wrote. Although, oddly, my female MC almost always says fricken rather than the F-bomb because that's just the way she talks.

4. Every single day feels like I can't possibly write anything worthwhile, and then I do. For me, I've found that writing is all about courage. You face your fear of failure and wade right back into the mess you made. Every day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo Wordle - Week 3

Here's this week's wordle with a total of 35,248 words. It's interesting to see that my character names are beginning to take on much bigger parts (Rain, Chase, and Snake are all characters, not just words) and "something" is finally starting to shrink.

Wordle: whisper week 3

The dreaded "felt" is creeping up. Proof that I am writing stuff down as fast as I can rather than thinking up the best way to say things.

More than anything, I'm just excited I made the weekly goal and got up to 35,000 words! It was a rough week without much writing time and I still managed to pull it off. I guess that means I have no excuses in the future now. I'm finally on the downward slide to the end. Just 15,000 words to go and I know my ending will take up at least 5,000 of those. So exciting! I think I'm going to win NaNo!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Contest Update!

I've received more than 100 entries, (wow!) which means that I will be giving away 5 ARCs to 5 winners! The ARCs I'm giving away are:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
After by Amy Efaw
Candor by Pam Bachorz

Reminder: The contest ends tomorrow November 22nd at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Then I begin my long journey through Excel and random number generator! I have a busy week coming up, so I will post the winners after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Here's a teaser from my other WIP (currently on hold for NaNo) Sleeper.

"Even all pissed off that he had to talk to losers like Cody and me, he was still really hot. I kind of hated him for that."

I like this line a lot. I think it sums up my MC's personality really well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo Wordle - week 2

It's week two and I'm just under halfway done! Here's my week two wordle with 24,980 words.
Wordle: whisper week 2

It's interesting that the most prominent words now are words like "like" and "just" and "looked". I thought for sure that "shrugged" would be in there. I swear it seems like the only thing my characters do is shrug! I'm glad to see that that's not the case.

I didn't get as much writing done this week as last, but I'm still happy with my progress. I worked out a few new plot twists that will help me make my way out of the middle and overall I'm really excited to finish this draft so I can get started revising and making it into a manuscript I can be proud of.

How was week two for you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Contest Update!

My contest where you can Win Some Of The Best YA Books of 2009! has a new end date!

I've decided to change the end of the contest so that the winners will get their prizes before the end of 2009.

The contest will now end on Sunday November 22, 2009 at 11:59 PT.

Right now you can win Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

It's getting close to 50 entries, which means that After by Amy Efaw will be added as a prize.

If I get 100 entries by 11/22 Candor by Pam Bachorz will also be a prize.

Read the rules and enter here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

It's Teaser Tuesday! I thought for a change I'd share a teaser of my own work. So here's a couple of the few sentences from my nano project I'm actually willing to show the world right now.

"They found Jenna in the woods, her brown eyes gray with early morning frost. Laid out amongst the moss and tall grass like an offering to some goddess of the forest."

There you go! Now back to writing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Things I Do When I Should Be Writing - Fake Cover!

Ah procrastination, how I love thee!

So today my goal is 3,000 words on my nano project, which will take me to 20,000. What have I been doing? Making a totally craptastic cover for my unfinished book. Check it out:

Um... yeah. What's sad is that my female MC is not even on the cover (that's her dead best friend at the bottom) and also, I realized after I finished, my story takes place in early April so none of those trees should have leaves. This was actually particularly distressing because it totally ruins the mental imagery I had going for the book. How this escaped me before now I don't know. I blame it on all my years living in LA, where the trees never lose their leaves.

Anyway, back to writing! How's it going for you? Anyone else make a cover? I'd love to see!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In My Mailbox - 4

I got some really good stuff this week!

In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

The Naughty List ARC by Suzanne Collins

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaNoWriMo - week 1 Wordle

So I'm obsessed with Wordle. I've been using it every day on my nano project. It's been interesting to watch it change over the week. Up until today, the biggest word by far was "Jenna" which was funny because Jenna is dead, the murder victim at the core of my mystery. Today she's finally evened out with most of the rest of my characters. I'm still so amazed that I'm over 15,000 words in just 6 days!

Week 1 Wordle:

Wordle: whisper week 1

Just a note, the word "something" is what I use when I need to come back and name something or fill in detail, so that's why it's so big. I think!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Twittercation Day 5

So I've been off Twitter for 5 days now, just 2 more to go, and I have to admit, Nova Ren Suma was right, Twitter kills novels. Because in just four days I managed to write over 11,000 words on my NaNoWriMo project. 11,000 in 4 days!! It boggles the mind. Most of it will need major revision but I'm still really happy with the way the story is flowing. It's so much darker than I thought it would be, which I love.

I've seen a lot of other people do this and I figured why not. Here's one of my favorite lines I've written so far:

"I stared out at the lake, wishing I could smell the water, feel the sand, leave an effing mark - something that would prove I was a part of her world." Ben - Whisper

How's NaNo going for you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Contest! Win Some of The Best Books of 2009!

This contest has ended. Check back next week to see the winners!

Since the gift giving season is coming up, I thought it was time to have my very first contest! And since 2009 is drawing to a close, I thought it's the perfect time to share some of the best books of 2009. So...

I'm giving away ARCS! And here's the best part, it's INTERNATIONAL! That means, if you win, I will ship your book anywhere in the world.

Here's what you can win:

These are ALL ARCs - not hardcover copies.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Maze Runner by James Dashner

If I get 50 entries, I will add another ARC. (After by Amy Efaw)
If I get 100 entries, I will add another ARC again! (Candor by Pam Bachorz)

You MUST be a follower to enter! (I need followers, help me out!)

I'll pick three winners (or 5 if I get that far). First winner gets to choose the book of their choice. Second winner gets second pick and so on until the books are gone.

+1 Comment and leave your email address!

+5 Blog - an actual blog post - about this contest (put link in the comments)

+5 Link to this contest on your sidebar (put link in the comments)

+3 Follow me on Twitter I'm valeriekwrites. (Let me know your Twitter name so I can give you credit)

+1 Tweet about this contest (put link in the comments) - you can tweet it once a week until the contest ends, leave a new comment with the link each time.

Contest ends 11/22 at 11:59pm PT

Monday, November 2, 2009


I have to say, I'm really enjoying NaNoWriMo. It's the first time I've written for fun, without concern about how it comes out in a long time. Until I saw others talking about it at the blueboards, it had never occurred to me write about what I want to happen when I can't quite work out the details about how I want it to go. Usually when that happens to me, there is much staring off into space then typing, deleting and typing again. Often for days, until I decide I'm stuck and should take a break until I can work it out. SO unproductive. I think NaNo might have just changed my life!

It's so liberating to write "something happens where his stepdad does something mean and makes him feel like crap" rather than spend days trying to figure out what that something might be instead of moving forward.

So far I've written over 5,000 words. I've written out of order and I've made some huge, wonderful discoveries about my plot and my world. When I started this book, I knew there was going to be a murder. I had no idea who the murderer was or why they did it. About 800 words in yesterday, a new character I hadn't pre-planned appeared and soon after I realized they were my killer and I knew why they did it. If it weren't for NaNo, I wouldn't have even started writing this book because while I knew the beginning and the end, I didn't know the murderer and that was too important.

I hope I can keep this up. Right now I'm in love with NaNo and I hope we never break up. This is the most fun I've had writing in a long time.

How about you? How's NaNo treating you so far?
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