Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm knee deep in revisions today so I thought I would share just one of the many distractions that keep me from getting work done. Whenever I sit down to write, I'm faced with this:

How can I say no to that? (Pay no attention to the messy house in the background!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Debut Extravaganza

So you already know I'm a book junkie, but did I you know I have an extra special place in my heart for debuts? This year is so exciting for me because so many of the authors whose journeys I've been following are debuting. Some of them (like Michelle Hodkin) I remember from contest entries, and now they're real live books! So here's a few of the YA author debut books I can't wait to read this year!

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (debuted 1/11/11)
ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton (debuts 2/15/11)
THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker (debuts 3/1/11)
BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton (debuts 5/24/11)
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth (debuts 5/3/11)
HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire debuts (5/24/11)
POSSESSION by Elana Johnson (debuts 6/7/11)
IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma (debuts 6/14/11)
BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris (debuts 7/12/11)
WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight (debuts 7/26/11)
THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab (debuts 8/2/11)
THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin (debuts 9/27/11)

What debuts are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Confessions of a Book Junkie

I admit it. I'm a book junkie. I see books I haven't read lined up on a shelf and I get excited. They're like tiny Christmas presents wrapped up in pretty paper. Each one holds a whole world that I can slip into and discover. And like Veruca Salt I want them ALL and I want them NOW. And that's a problem. If books were food, I'd be 200 pounds overweight.

So this year I've come up with a plan - not a goal, but a plan. I do have reading goals, mainly, to read a few classics. (I started Great Expectations before Oprah chose it for the book club.) But my PLAN is to dig deep into my massive TBR pile. I got a bit overzealous with the book buying last year, and a bit overly optimistic about how much free time I would have. (This is just some of the books I got in December of 2011 - only two are ARCs.)

Last year my goal was to read 100 books. Up from the 80 or so I read in 2009. I thought it would be simple. I'm a fast reader, so two books a week would be no problem. I started off great but then writing, and critiquing became more important and I got WAY behind. I think I finished the year at something like 44. So THIS year, like my Sister in Scribe Kristi, I'm not going to count books. I'm just going to read them.

My rule this year is that I'm not allowed to buy ANY new books (save for a few must have pre-orders I placed last year) until I've read at least 20 of the books I already own. If this takes me all of 2011, so be it. Um. I hope.

What are your reading goals this year?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Writing Goals & What I Learned in 2010

I don't make resolutions. (Um... anymore.) I think they're too broad, and they don't bend to real life situations. I'm the kind of person that needs to feel like they're making progress, and I work better when I have a set of conditions to meet, so for me it's all about setting goals.

Last year I was coming off the high of finishing my very first complete draft of a novel. I set some HUGE goals that I now know were not just overwhelming, but also misguided.

2010 was a difficult year for me in many ways, and an amazing one in many others. A death in the family left me unable (both literally and emotionally) to write or revise for about two months. I entered into that long dark tunnel called "revisions". Where I learned that no matter how good you think your first draft is, there are always thousands of ways to make it better. And some of those ways take a full revision before you can see the path to them.

So where am I as I start 2011?

After an extremely busy holiday season I am FINALLY reaching the end of what turned out to be an almost complete rewrite. I have learned A LOT about story structure, plot, and character arcs. Much more than I would've thought possible in a revision.

From my revisions I've learned a lot about myself as a writer, my tics, and ways to make my next first draft a much better starting point. (Also, Scrivener changed my life when it comes to story, plot, research, and chapter organization!)

I have felt the pain of killing my darlings and the joy of having a CP fall in love with my favorite character.

I've fought the pull of shiny new ideas, found ways to stay focused (although this will be a continuing battle for me, no matter how excited I am about a project) and discovered that I CAN write on demand and turn out something I'm proud of (thanks Tangled Fiction!)

I have made some truly awesome friends who get my obsession over writing and YA.

And I have been humbled and honored by some very kind and encouraging words about my writing.

So what are my goals for this year?

Last year I wanted to bang out the really rough first drafts of two novels. This year that's not good enough for me. I want to complete one really well thought out, solid first draft.

I want to make my current ms the absolute best it can be before it goes out into the world.

I want to write more short stories and on a regular basis, which okay, is a given thanks to Tangled Fiction. But I want these to be stories I'm proud of, not stories I make excuses for like "well, if I had more than a couple days, this would've been awesome!"

As a whole, I just want to keep getting better at writing by actively pursuing ways to do so. Whether it's conferences, retreats, challenging myself to styles/genres I've never written before, whatever.

And of course, I want 2011 to be the year I sign with the perfect agent for me and my book!

What about you? Are you going full steam ahead with a list of resolutions? Setting small goals? Did 2010 turn out like you thought it would?
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