Saturday, October 23, 2010

Me on A New Blog

i have a new blog called Me on Books.

it's pretty much just me talking about books while here will be more me talking about writing.

check it out at

Me on Blogging

so not a lot of people read my blog and no one really comments.

i think it's hard to get people to read your blog on a regular basis, unless you've got tons of friends who read it or you talk about something interesting every day.

or it looks all pretty and professional & you link to a lot of similar stuff.

or you use buzz search words like famous or celebrity sighting or win free stuff. or view live (something, i think you can guess what it might be) here where the girls might or might not be legal.

a lot of the time blogging is like venting or arguing with someone, but it provides the anonymity of the Internet. do you guys really know where i live?? i doubt it.

there's always talking about the news, but it's all depressing. riots, sicko murderers, economy in the dump, unemployment skyrocketing, boring election stuff, teen suicides. i've started to tune it out and am currently waiting for one of those happy puppy or kitten stories. ;) or a story that talks about what i'm interested in.

writing. publication opportunities. TV shows i like. books i like (we so need Book TV). music i like (vaguely punk/pop alternative). podcasts i like (lots of comedy ones, some book ones, one really progressive one that every so often surprises me but in a good way).

later this evening i'm going to set up a blog for reviewing books, then work on another review. i think i'm going to have to review a book almost every day for weeks, maybe months, to have it viewed as a legitimate review blog.

*long exhale* i think i'll review Freefall.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Me on NaNoWriMo

i like the whole idea of it, but i understand why some people don't like it.

it's more about quantity than quality, you could totally fake it and use a novel you already wrote, it's too hard to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and so on and so forth.

when i first did it in 2006, i hit 50,000 words in less than 30 days, then hit the wall & only got another 5,000 more before the end of the month. of course, i wasn't going to school then, or working.

well, i'm not doing either of those right now. ;)

finishing the first time showed me i could write a novel, even if there were plot holes and typos and bits that didn't really make sense. that didn't matter. i just needed the ego boost and the knowledge that i really could do it if i tried.

i'm doing it this year because when i came up with the GhostIdea i was writing out ideas for my next YA novel. i'd just finished the draft of the WerewolfIdea and started quick plotting different ideas. most were one or two lines that would be the core of the story.

then i got to the GhostIdea and it became a page and a half of plot bits and weird bits and character bits.

yeah, i was excited about this one.

so i'm working on the GhostIdea. instead of the 50,000 words, i'm looking more to finishing the whole novel at about 70 to 75,000 words. it's a first draft, it doesn't have to be perfect. this is about getting the bones of the story down and working out characters and their motivations, figuring out where the twisty bits and secret bits go and where to leave something hanging right in my MC's face so she has to suffer until she figures it all out.

if you want to friend me, click on the NaNoWriMo thing on the right side. it should go to my user page. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Me on Bleeding Violet

my first attempt at a book review. hopefully i don't suck too bad at it. ;)

i picked Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet because i think it's an underrated book. on Goodreads it's been rated 737 times with 224 reviews. most friends and people i follow on Goodreads have it marked as 'to-read.'

it's dark and twisted, haunting and mysterious, gorgeous, unique. it's a great book.

i've even bumped up my Goodreads rating from 4 to 5 stars because i keep coming back to read different parts of this book. it's sucked me in.

the cover blurb, also the summary on Goodreads, raised questions that drew me in.

love can be a dangerous thing.... ooooo, interesting. :)
hallucinations?? pills?? frilly, violet dresses?? hmmm, that's different.
a strange town filled with dark secrets?? *hypnotized face* tell me more.
anything can happen and no one is safe?? yup, i'm hooked.

first, Hanna. i love Hanna *book hug*. i'm curious if it's odd to say that reading a book about a bi-racial, bi-cultural, bipolar teenager is refreshing. characters need to be unique to draw in readers, they have to be believeable, they have to be flawed. Hanna is both unique and flawed. not every girl in every high school all over the world is going to be a bubbly blonde cheerleader that's mentally stable. teens are all different people, they're manic or depressed or bipolar or anorexic or bulimic or a cutter or a jock or a nerd or a drama queen. teen characters need these flaws to make the reader connect, to make the reader believe them.

with the added twist in regards to Hanna's bipolar state, it altered how i read the book through her eyes. Hanna is very brazen, blunt and rather calm, "charming and rational" as one psychiatrist puts it (pg.22), and i guess maybe not controlling but she knows what she wants. she wants her mother Rosalee to accept her and love her, she wants the town to accept her, she wants to fit in at school.

but her mother wants her gone, the town sees her as an outsider, and the kids at school think she's a nutcase that wears bright purple. clearly, they have no fashion sense. ;)

then there's Hanna's father, either a side-effect hallucination brought on by her bi-polar disorder or an actual ghost that's haunting her and her mother. i'm torn between the two.

and Portero. this town clearly has some demons, but what town doesn't?? these ones are just creepy and bizarre and supernatural/paranormal and outrageous. what i enjoyed about Portero is that no one in town lied to themselves about the creepy stuff. they all knew it was there and they accepted it. the weird stuff is normal.

i understand the purpose of the Mortmaine: they're there to help the town when the creepy stuff pops up and tries to kill someone, like paranormal cops. i did think that they were both afraid of change and puppets of the Mayor. Wyatt's resistance is welcome, as are the cards he makes. with the arrival of Hanna, the town changes a little. her weirdness gives them fresh eyes on which to look at the town, and if the town is going to survive, the Mortmaine have to change how they go about stopping and killing the dark creatures.

i would've been upset if there wasn't a romantic aspect to this book. it would've added even more for Hanna to deal with, which it did, even with the bizarre start to their relationship that Hanna and Wyatt had. and then there was Hanna's view of sex and how it seemed to be her decision for her and Wyatt to have sex. it was a little surprising, but teens have sex. it's true. not writing about it isn't going to make it not true. now, Hanna's not promiscuous, she's only interested in Wyatt, and it just seemed to fit with her character. she's brazen and bold, and adult enough to use condoms.

i hope this next part was intentional because it makes spots of the book so vivid: the focus on colour. the purple, the splashes of red everywhere (not always blood, but sometimes), the green of the Mortmaine, the white-blue of Rosalee's kitchen. whenever a colour appeared it popped into my head and filled my vision. the purple of Hanna's dresses, the lipstick red of Rosalee's kitchen chair. gorgeous. :)

in the end, after Hanna fights her way to become a part of Portero, breaking through the barriers established by Rosalee, the evil (and dead) Runyon, and the controlling Mayor. it's one of those 'over for now' endings, which i'm happy to find. not everything is wrapped up. it's Portero, there's still weird creatures and monsters creeping around in parks and windows, and that's fine. i never expected that to be the end. i did hope that the end would include Hanna making some kind of peace with Rosalee, badass and brutal as she is. i wouldn't have Rosalee any other way, because then she wouldn't be believable. she didn't have to melt like butter under Hanna's love, just soften the tiniest bit.

in conclusion, go read this book. i saw a (negative, unfortunately) review that said this book was a hot mess. i will agree, but that's what made it so good. nothing's perfect, and nothing's ever going to be perfect in Portero. what town is perfect?? what adult?? what teenager??

Bleeding Violet
is freakishly awesome. thank you, Dia Reeves. i can't wait for Slice of Cherry to come out in January.

also, i love Swan and Little Swan and Ragsie. like a splash of adorableness mixed in with the blood. :)

so, that was my first ever book review. i hope you like it. i hope Dia Reeves likes it, if she ever reads it (which would make me kinda nervous, eeeep). maybe i'll do another one in a couple of days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me on The Hard Truth of My Life

this one's going to be hard.

i had a job interview last week, and over the weekend i debated with myself why i might or might not get it. as i found out today, i didn't get it. i'm not upset. i have experience, but not with children that young, and i have no formal training. my experience comes from accidentally falling into it, like i was the only option left.

some days i wonder if i've picked the wrong career to get into.

it's hard to stomach that it'll take years for a book of mine to be published, especially for my family because i think they think i'm ruining my life by picking writing straight out of university. i don't want to upset them.

but this is what i want to do. i hope they can accept that.

so, while i work on my YA novel writing and talk to wonderful authors and agents and editors online and soak up all the info and tips they give out, i'll write more short stories to send out to magazines, and i'll write book reviews.

maybe i'll look into getting more recognition for Canadian writers and those who want to be writers. do you know how many literary agents there are in Canada?? according to The Writer's Union of Canada website (link here), approximately 30.

30. that's shocking. if i had contacts in publishing and personally knew other agents, i'd become an agent.

maybe i'll become an advocate for books in print. i understand why e-books exist, i have e-books that i've bought and read and enjoyed, but my first love will always be books in paper form.

maybe i'll offer editing services. my English degree must count for something.

or maybe i'll forget all about this tomorrow and huddle under the covers and cry because i'll think i'm wasting my life.

if you see me blog tomorrow, you'll know i made it out of bed and found some tissues.

i was right, this was hard.

but it had to be said. i have to be honest with myself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Me on Giving Away a Signed Book

yay! :D

last night, Sunday, i drove almost 3 hours (including a 20 to 30 minute wait at the border) down to Lake Forest Park, WA (which looked very pretty from what i saw when i was busy focusing on driving the right speed limit) to go to Mindi Scott's book launch event party thing for her debut YA novel, Freefall.

and because i'm a dork and didn't remember until i was on the highway leaving Blaine, i didn't take a camera and so i don't have pictures. *head-desk*

so, i drove down. first time ever driving in the US. i was more worried about crossing the border than anything else, like the difference in speed limits. but i had our GPS and a little thing would pop up telling me what the speed limit would be in KPH, so all was good.

the event was fun. Mindi was adorable. i don't think she expected so many people to be there. :) i don't think the book store expected so many people, cause they soon ran out of books. i was lucky enough to grab my 2 copies before the people around me took 4 or 5 or 6.

why 2 copies, you ask?? well, while talking with Laina the other day on Twitter, she asked about getting some signed bookmarks, and i said i could get a signed copy of Freefall to give away on Twitter.

so i got 2 copies and they got signed. :D

this one's mine, though. ;) the other copy just has Mindi's blue pen signature in it. probably should've asked her to doodle in it, but i was a total goober and forgot after already forgetting to bring a camera.

after i post this, i'm going to Tweet something about win a signed copy of Freefall. RT it to enter. you'll have until next Sunday night at 11:59pm Pacific or Monday morning at 2:59am Eastern. i'm giving it so long cause it's my 1st giveaway and no one really follows my blog or RT's what i say.

this is open to Canadian addresses (cause i have 1). i've been wary of saying people with US addresses can enter because of how much shipping might cost me, but because it's 1 book and a paperback, i'll say yes to US addresses.

now i'm off to read my copy of Freefall after reading Mandy Hubbard's You Wish earlier this morning. very funny. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Me on ARCs

i know i blogged yesterday, but something came in the mail today which reminded me about a semi-rant i've had building since i returned to Twitter earlier this year.

i'm talking about ARCs, or advance reader copies.

if you follow me on Twitter, you noticed me gushing last week about winning an ARC of Becca Fitzpatrick's Crescendo from the nice people at Simon & Schuster Canada, or at least, the people who run their @SimonPulseCA Twitter account.

isn't this proof that Canada cares about YA and wants more authors to visit on book tours?? ;) that's another semi-rant for another time.

now, i know about ARCs because i read agent blogs and writer blogs and i know mostly how the publishing process works. i am not against ARCs, i think they're a great idea.

i'm just getting tired of people gushing over and over on Twitter and their blogs about all the cool ARCs they get sent straight from the publisher sometimes 6 months before the book is published.

i'm not published, i'm not a reviewer or book blogger, and i don't work in publishing, which means i never get to read an advance copy. this is a special circumstance (did i mention how much i love you for it, S&S Canada?? :)) that i never thought would happen. i've RT'd bunches of stuff on Twitter and got nothing.

i'm not against book bloggers and reviewers. actually, Madeleine Rex's review of Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement pushed me even more towards buying and reading (and loving) the book. i like Madeleine. she's funny. her reviews are really good. her book in progress is called The Lemonites. such a cool title. :D

i guess it's just a pet peeve of mine. there are books i want to read, like Andrea Cremer's Nightshade, or Ally Condie's Matched, or Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, or Mandy Hubbard's Ripple, or Lauren Oliver's Delerium, or Bree Despain's The Lost Saint, and because i want to read them so much because they sound so cool and interesting, i don't plan to read any early reviews by bloggers about them. i don't want anything ruined for me.

maybe this is just me whining about having to wait until the release date to buy a book i want to read, or to borrow from the library 3 months after it comes out, but i don't care. i'm (at the moment) unemployed and close to broke; if i got boxes of ARCs free from publishers that i got to review, i'd be all gushy, too.

i want to read the book, not have someone else read it and gush and talk about it while i have to wait.

reviewers and bloggers i follow on Twitter have Delerium. it comes out in February, 4 months from now. right now, that feels like forever.

it feels like i've wanted to read Anna and the French Kiss for years. it's going to be really really really good, but i have to wait like all the regular people to buy it in December. and i don't usually read contemporary YA, Stephanie Perkins. romance, yes. contemporary, no. somehow you've lured me in with promises of kissing and a cute boy with an irresistible accent and how romantic Paris can be. you are a genius. i bow to your genius. (ok, maybe i'm sucking up a bit, but can you blame me??)

maybe i'm just bitter. i still like you, book bloggers and reviewers. maybe you could gush a little less, or maybe let me read one once in a while?? i get it, shipping to Canada can get expensive, but me shipping it back to you is also expensive, so we're even. ;)

and even though i have the ARC, i'm still buying a finished copy of Crescendo. it looks so good. :D

oh, and i'm very anti-selling and buying ARCs on eBay. i may be grouchy and upset, but that is not cool. and not fair. i hope you get papercuts that get infected and all puss-filled and gross, ARC sellers.

keep an eye out for other semi-rants in the future, including one on how rare it is for YA authors to visit Canada on book tour and why i don't want to have to drive 3 to 6 hours south to Seattle or Portland to go to a signing.

(i saw Sherrilyn Kenyon once. it was in Vancouver (thank God i could stay in my province) at a Chapters. maybe 30 people were there. this was either March or April or May or June of 2006. not YA, but i like her books.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Me on Writing Groups

after finishing the first draft of what is the Werewolf Idea at the end of July, then waffling for a month, then starting the first draft of Ghost Idea in September and noticing that it's mid-October and i'm only at 6500 words, i've come to realize that i think i need a critique partner or group.

i loved the writing class i took in the spring because everyone shared and we fiddled and worked out kinks and rough spots, and i liked getting feedback from people on how to fine-tune the story.

grammar crap aside (boo on grammar, what teen in YA uses proper grammar when they talk??), i think i need someone, or some someones, to point out weak spots and strong spots in terms of plot ideas, and where i need to cut back on background and info dumps.

of course, i'm wary of searching for crit partners because the Ghost Idea is small right now and the Werewolf Idea first draft has holes i haven't fixed yet that i plan to fix in the second draft.

*head-desk* maybe i'm just lonely. writing a book is solitary, especially when you don't have anyone to talk about it with.

so, i'm putting this out there for anyone who's writing and looking for a crit partner or group. i'm not sure about a limit, right now it would be about 10 people, but i'm thinking that's a bit much. maybe 5 or 6.

you know what i write: YA urban fantasy/romance that includes the hell that high school can be. you don't have to, but i guess you have to like it, or at least be interested in reading it. i'm open to lots of genres (i'm not big on westerns, though ;)), i read a bunch of romance, contemporary & paranormal, plus lots of YA. :)

this would be an online thing, not a bi-weekly face to face meeting in a cafe kind of deal. i live in Canada. odds are, you don't (no offence :)). since NaNoWriMo is on its way (where you can find me, check the link on the right), i'm not looking to start this seriously until December. right now, i'm just putting the word out, looking for people who might be interested and are looking for crit partners.

you can comment here if you're interested, or find me on Twitter. if you've got a group but you know someone who doesn't, then feel free to spread the word. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Me on Recent Books I've Read Part 3

or as i've been calling it in my head, "Quick & Dirty Book Reviews that Mostly Say How Much I Liked the Book." ;)

i went to the library on Saturday & walked away with 9 books. score. :) but i've only finished 4 books since then. boo. :(

my reviews are spoilery, but what review isn't, basically?? that's why i've avoided all Crescendo, Nightshade, Beautiful Darkness, Matched, The Lost Saint and Anna and the French Kiss reviews. no spoilers.

Take Me There by Carolee Dean: i'll admit, i saw the cover & went, ooo, happy ending, yay. and i read the summary & thought, ooo, bad boy & nice girl, yay. i was wrong. sorta. kinda. when i realized what it was about, how it was all the dark side of life (-ish) & juvie & prison & gangs & violence, but i still liked it. i think this made ReadingTeen very happy. the book was brutal & gritty, it was surprisingly (to me) realistic, & maybe practical. there isn't always a happy ending in life, especially if you get dragged into the kind of situation Dylan & Jess get dragged into. i'll admit, if i knew what really happened, i might not have read it, but i think i needed to. just to be reminded that life isn't always perfect, no matter how much you try, but it's not supposed to be. besides, it's really hard to make your life perfect.

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien: i kept thinking of the Hunger Games books mixed with a genetics lesson when i was reading this. it was interesting, it was okay, but i wasn't totally sold on the idea. it seemed kind of long to me, but maybe it just needs to grow on me. the situation with Gaia's mom seemed a bit cliched to me, and Gaia herself seemed really wimpy until close to the end when she had to take charge or she and her (SPOILER) newborn sister were going to die. i'll read the next one, it's an interesting concept. as someone who's pale and freckled (i blame the faint Irish genes), i liked the whole birthmark/freckle idea of Gaia's mother. it was cute. :)

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh: wow, a grown-up book. ;) in high school, i read a lot of romance, both contemporary & paranormal, then in university i added YA to that list so now i read both. this would be more urban fantasy, more action & less romance. i think that's what put me off. not quite enough romance for me, & even then Elena spent most of the book pissed off at Raphael for one reason or another. i'll admit, the angel/vampire thing was different, and it was a little interesting. i'm not sure if i'll read the next book in the series, this was just an interim read while i wait for the 1 copy of book 1 in Singh's Psy/Changling series (i know, i'm behind on it, i just wasn't sure if i would like them).

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev: gorgeous and magical, just like Eyes Like Stars. if you haven't read the first book yet, then avoid this very spoilery review. :) i loved it. Bertie is determined & smart, & very creative. Ariel was... Ariel, of course. sometimes a jerk, sometimes caring, almost always smouldering. ;) Nate was missed, i really like his pirate accent (accents are so hot ;)). and the little faeries were funny as always. i love Peaseblossom & her little marzipan boyfriend. :D i didn't see that coming with Bertie's father (she sure did meet him quickly, but i didn't have a problem with that), and Mantchev clearly knows of my love of pie (& @mstohl, if you've ever seen the #ITSALRIGHTTOPIE hashtag on Twitter) because i loved the pie car on the train. the triangle with Bertie, Nate, & Ariel is the best evenly matched love triangle i've seen. she clearly loves them both, even with the little detail about Ariel sometimes being a jerk. now i'm on pins and needles waiting for book 3, So Silver Bright.

i've got 8 books to read, plus i have to go up to the library again before Thursday cause another book is waiting for me. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Me on Writing in Sections

well, more like chapters & prologues & aside bits & dreams & so on.

i don't mind all these things in books. prologues can be helpful, can hint at what happens later in the book (Hawthorne's Dark Guardian series comes to mind, as does everyone's favourite to be hated Twilight series). dream bits are neat. i like the chat room bits in Alex Flinn's Beastly, they were funny. :)

in the Werewolf WIP i started to add dream bits that hinted at a past life, but then took them out (not deleted totally, i saved them in an extra file) because i thought they were cheesy.

in the Ghost Idea WIP, i'm going to shove in e-mails & journal bits, mostly because it's 2010 and e-mail & blogging are everywhere. most blogs are journals. i've done one like that before.

i'm also trying to cut down on the size of my chapters, maybe between 5 to 9 pages. i like Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series & those books have some short chapters, like 6 or 8 pages, but then there's 1 or 2 15 to 20 page chapters.

there's also a prologue, but it's barely a page & a half. don't judge me for sticking in a baby prologue. ;) it's choppy (i hope) & happens before the story, it's not a preview prologue, & it raises some questions that get brought up & revealed later on.

everyone had their own method of chapters & letters & prologues & epilogues. i don't mind them. i get a little confused when some agents & editors say they don't like them. i get that not every book needs them, but what's wrong with them?

i like epilogues when it's a single book & not part of a series, or if it's a romance novel & each book is about a single couple (thinking of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books, they're so good, even with all the rap music & 'ghetto speak,') & there's a concluding epilogue at the end when it wraps everything up. Lisa Kleypas' The Hathaways also has this. those books are really good, too. :) i'm apparently a sucker for a happy ending, like other single girls. ;)

come back Monday when i try to do an In My Mailbox post. i went to the library today and ended up on a 9-book book high. :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Me on Recent Books I've Read Part 2

here's part 2 of recently read book reviews, now that i'm all full of dinner (fish & rice & peppers & sauce). we get such good fish out here in BC.

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough: i wasn't sure what to expect from this, but i was hooked when i saw family of witches when girl has no powers of her own in an overview or something for this book. it's almost become a cliche, but i like books like this. especially ones with witches (yes, i had one of those high school Wiccan phases). Tamsin was cool, & not just because of her name (i love odd names in books). she's a little bitter, but still interesting & very family-oriented. plus Gabriel is hot & he doesn't give a crap about Tamsin's lack of powers. awww. looking forward to the next book. :)

Wake by Lisa McMann: at the beginning i was unsure about liking it. it took me a couple of days after reading it to realize i liked it. i think what put me off in the beginning was how it was written. present tense, kinda choppy, no absolute concrete chapters. but then i got it, how Janie's pulled into people's dreams & how dreams can be weird at the best of times. Fade and Gone are on my to read list, as is Cryer's Cross. (i also still have it so i'll be reading it again in an attempt to write a better review)

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: i'd either pushed this series to the back of my mind or decided to wait until it was over to read all the books, but it took me this long to read the first one. it felt like lots of things were squished together, like vampires AND magical/witch-like powers AND goddesses that have their favourites, and it felt like i was reading something written for a teen audience, the teen slang felt obvious & not natural. Zoey's name is cool.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff: holy freaking crap. i love this book. Mackie was confused and tortured and a gorgeous hero (book crush). Tate was brutal and sad and so kicked butt (girl book crush). the concept of fae-ish creatures replacing human babies with their own kind sent me back to grade 6 when a teacher gave me a copy of Eloise Jarvis McGraw's The Moorchild. i'll admit, reading this book late at night did jack up the creepy factor, but it so added to it. this book is supposed to be creepy. if it wasn't, it wouldn't have all the Morrigan or the Lady or the Cutter or the blue girls. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves was another book i read at night that had enhanced creepy. in conclusion, i love this mysterious and haunting book, & Mackie is hot (proof can be found here ;)). and yay for it debuting on the NYT children's bestseller list. :) also, this was not a library book, i bought this one cause i wanted it so much.

Torment by Lauren Kate: i really liked Fallen, and this just continued it. the lack of Daniel was to be expected, but Luce needed him not to be there so she could figure things out. the cover jacket flappy thing is unbelievably soft, i keep wanting to stroke it. the almost end felt a little hokey (i know how big Thanksgiving is to Americans, it's not as big here in Canada), & then the end was a shock, but a good one. the first book was all Luce's intro to what's going on with her, the second is her dealing with that & learning what had to happen/might happen/did happen, as well as her growing a spine & not being passive. the end sure was ballsy, and i approve. :) i have one question, though, which might be spoilery if you haven't read the first one, but i have to ask: if the reason the bad people went after her in the first book was because she wasn't baptized as a baby, why didn't they emergency baptize her once they saved her butt? this one was also bought with actual money. :)

so, that was the last 10 books i've read. i have 3 library books i picked up yesterday, plus another i have to pick up soon before they fine me for letting it sit there for too long.

and more props to @abbymumford. i really need to blog more.

Me on Recent Books I've Read Part 1

(and props to @abbymumford for making me blog)

i've been reading a lot lately, mostly because i just figured out the password for my library card for the library in downtown Vancouver. ;) i also learned that i get 50 free holds a year. i've been using them.

a lot. :)

most have been YA, because i've come to love it over the last few years (thank you, children's lit class). i haven't been writing enough of it because of this book overdose that started last Monday, but i'm going to try and write some more. i really need to get this book out of my head and into the Word file.

below is a quick and dirty review list of recently read books. most i really liked, some i sort of liked. none i totally hated, so yay. :)

and Falling, Fly by Skyler White: i don't think i read enough urban fantasy. i read a fair amount of paranormal romance, though, and i sort of wanted a change. plus it sounded cool: angels and vampires. :) i liked it. i thought the change in tenses/narrators was a bit odd (1st person when focusing on Olivia, 3rd person for Dominic), but it was okay.

A Year in Europe: Three Novels by Rachel Hawthorne: i've read 3 out of 4 of her YA werewolf novels, & when i saw this at the library i had an instant high school flashback when i'd read 1 or 2 of these 3 three stories. reading this was a wonderful refresher, and i felt it was like a pre-read for Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (X-mas present hint hint ;)). it was cute YA chick-lit that appealed to my inner 16 year old hopeless romantic (and so i bought my own copy because i know i'm going to read it again). ;)

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev: YA plus Shakespeare plus magic. it was sweet and beautiful. it brought me back to my love of Shakespeare, especially the comedies. Bertie is wonderful, a young girl having grown up in this strange magical theatre, surrounded by characters from many different plays. her close friends are the faeries from the plays, like Peaseblossom and others (i'm spacing out on the names, please forgive me). i want my own copy of this book. it reminds me that theatre is far from dead, & that YA doesn't always have to be about kids in high school dealing with peer pressure. book 2, Perchance to Dream, is in my library book bag upstairs. :) also, i loved Nate. love interest who's a nice pirate?? yes. ;)

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston: the spine had a little Canada flag sticker on the spine cause Lesley's a Canadian author. :D i loved this. this was like book 2 out of 2 in my YA Shakespeare/faerie pile. more in the modern world than Eyes Like Stars, more dangerous & action-y, still good. i bought a copy. i want to read the next 2, then Lesley's next series. i'm all for supporting Canadian writers & their books (& also for getting more YA authors to come up to Canada on book tours, but that's a topic for another day *getting off my soapbox*).

The Devouring by Simon Holt: it was creepier than i'd expected. i thought there'd be an easing into the Vours and Reggie's little brother getting taken over by them, but no. and then there was all the weird stuff about what the Vours do and the Fearscape and Reggie going after Henry to find him. i liked it, don't think i didn't. it got weird and twisty and turned into a book i didn't expect to read (The Replacement also did this to me).

part 2 with the rest of my mini-reviews will be up later tonight. i have to make dinner. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Me on Forgetting More Things

i really need to blog more. it would keep me from talking to myself.

i think i forget because i don't think i have anything interesting to share. usually nothing exciting happens during the day for me, unless i get something in the mail or i have to go to the store and i see cookies on sale.

why does that sound like i'm middle-aged?? i'm only 23.

maybe i should share what i'm researching for the Ghost Idea (search #GhostIdea on Twitter if you're curious). it's pretty much what i'm working on right now, a YA paranormal novel about a teen girl that starts to see ghosts after (almost) dying in a car accident.

or share what i've been reading. i really liked Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Take, and Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim books. and Kiersten White's Paranormalcy. :)

or what music i'm listening to. right now it's Keane's "Your Eyes Open." very good. :)

hmmm. well, with any luck i'll remember to blog more often. maybe.

if i leave myself a note. ;)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At Home with Paranormalcy contest entry

in case you weren't sure, i loved Paranormalcy. it was wicked cool. Evie was interesting, Lend was so hot (book crush), Reth was... not quite sure how to put it. what word means creepy and dangerous and attractive all at the same time?? but i like Lend more. ;)

and i think Kiersten White is funny. i wish there was a signing closer to me. the closest right now is on the 11th in Salt Lake City. but it would be a 16 hour drive. *sigh*

so, when this contest came up, i thought i would enter. i've only ever won one contest before, and that was for some makeup and i forgot i'd entered it. then there was the signed copy of a Michele Jaffe book that arrived in the mail one day. i was really confused for a little bit, cause i thought i'd entered for that 6 months beforehand. hmmm.

well, even if i don't win this one, it was still fun to plan out pictures. i'll put up all the other ones on Twitter so you can see my weird ideas.

i think this one was the best, though.

"Queen of the Mountain" ;)

tsk tsk, Paranormalcy. beating up on some of my favourite YA books. and they're all there: Hush, Hush (i'm on pins and needles waiting for Oct. 19th). Jealousy. Linger. The Dark Divine. Sisters Red. (oh, the werewolf love :D) Forgive My Fins. Sea. Sea Change. (mermaid love. :) now i'm thinking about Lish. oh, bleep) Bleeding Violet. Wings. Vampire Academy (and Spirit Bound). Revelations. The Forest of Hands and Teeth. plus, there's a hidden Meridian by Amber Kizer in there somewhere. :)

and, of course, Scott Pilgrim. :D

so, this is what happened to me when Paranormalcy arrived: she kicked some book butt to show who's boss (and without a taser, too).

oh, and no books were harmed during the taking of this picture.

i might've gotten a paper cut, though. ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Me on Writing Distractions

so, to be a total nerd, i'm going to make a list of things that have distracted me from writing. these are all possible reasons why it's taken me this long to get to... (checking the Word file) 66,517 words and 268 pages.

wow, that sure is a lot.

okay, distractions, cause i meant to write this thing about half an hour ago. crap.

#1: the Internet

i love the internet. ever since i first experienced it in the fall of 1999, i've been entranced by its ability to feed me useless information. over those 11 years, it's evolved, as has my way of accessing the Internet (i love you, new laptop), but now it's become overwhelming. you can do everything over the Internet (mostly, as far as i know), and it has the ability of sucking my will to write straight out of me.

the subsections of Internet distractions are: e-mail, news websites, weather websites, Wikipedia, Twitter, Google, webcomics, and the list could go on for days.

#2: TV

this is a big distraction when i haul my laptop down to write in front of the TV, because then the bright flashy pictures grab my attention away from a white page with black text.

#3: Books

now, i love books. i recently bought a lot of books to read because i love reading books, but reading and writing can't necessarily happen at the same time (unless it's an audiobook, and even then it's tricksy). usually i'll use my awake time for writing, then read for a bit before i go to bed. sometimes i'll write and then conk out and the reading has to wait. sometimes, like today when i read Maggie Stiefvater's 'Linger' in the span of a few hours, reading takes over.

i'm not against reading, it's actually quite helpful, but you have to share time.

#4: Music

i lied, music isn't a distraction. searching for music to write to, however, is.

#5: Life in general

i used to loathe going to class, because that meant i had a bunch of the day ripped away from me, leaving me with fewer hours in which to write. now, it's more like housework and general house upkeep, but that time (used properly) is good for totally zoning out and thinking about what you want to write next, so keep a notebook handy when you're vacuuming the living room.

#6: ... ummm, is there a number 6?? Twitter could be number 6 all on its own.

oh, Twitter. how I love yet hate you so.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Me on How I Write

i don't mean like a schedule thing, like from 9am to 11:30am i write, then i eat lunch, then at 1pm i get back to it until dinner, then again at 7pm until i go to bed and so on.

i mean the process i use, and my thoughts on outlining versus discovery writing (or, as i always thought of it, writing by the seat of your pants).

when i first got the idea during a YA fiction creative writing class last October/November (thank you to Cathy Stonehouse and the other 4 girls in that class), i went out and bought a little notebook to write down all my ideas in (why i was in a YA fiction class is a whole other story).

in the beginning all i had was a standard family feud idea, which turned into a werewolf pack family feud idea.

i have this issue with reality and why i wish we did have vampires and werewolves and shapeshifters and the like wandering around. some days, reality seems a bit boring. i get that people have interesting lives, and that i have to actually leave the house to have an interesting life, but it's that extra pop of the abnormal and the unexpected that draws me in.

once i wrote something about shifters that ran a bar, but then there was an electrical fire and they had to deal with the aftermath. it was normal, but there was that splash of the paranormal.

(end mini-rant) ;)

so, back to last fall. i started writing down a bunch of ideas in this little notebook, like character descriptions, setting/location/time period info, and a rough outline of plot ideas. now, it's about half-full and it's become a catch-all of plot point ideas, edit ideas, fine-tuning characterization, writing music suggestions, and possible sequel book rough outlines.

i'm wary of writing a totally detailed outline with fiction. when i wrote lit papers in university, i really needed outlines. with fiction, as long as i know vaguely where i want to go, i stick my headphones in and write. if i stray in the little fiddly details, it's because a better idea popped up. if i stray in a big idea, then i really have to think about why i strayed.

i know where i want the story to go, that's so important. as long as i know the destination, the journey can be as fast-paced or twisty and confusing as it wants to be.

now, as i've been working on this WIP over the last few months, and especially the last few weeks (thanks to Patrick Alan, Tawna Fenske, and #1k1hr on Twitter), i've had some good edit ideas. i've worked them in to what i'm doing now, and it kills me to keep from going back and editing before i've finished but it has to wait.

i watched a friend of mine get stuck in the revision loop, where she wrote something, got into it, then went back to edit, then went back to edit, and so on. i don't want to get stuck in that.

for the moment, my process involves writing when i can, writing to music as often as i can, and editing and revising once the first draft is done.

plus enjoying the day long plot epiphany i had yesterday. :D

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Me on Writers Who Aren't Published Yet

because i am one, like a lot of you.

sometimes i feel left out in the writing community because i'm not published yet. i'm working away on my laptop in an attempt to write something interesting and different and exciting that will one day find me an agent, an editor, a publisher, and readers.

i love writers/authors who talk about what it was like when they were writing their first book, or their second (or in the case of me, my fourth), because it makes them sound human. it's nice to know they were once me, all full of hopes and dreams and novel ideas they hope aren't complete garbage.

i really hope mine isn't complete garbage.

a couple years ago, when i was hoping it would be easy to be a writer after i finished university, i was listening to The Writing Show with Paula B ( i will admit, i didn't listen to all of the episodes, but i listened to the 'Getting Published' series of episodes that featured Paula talking to someone who was writing something they hoped would find them an agent and get them published, especially the ones with Mark Leslie (

he's Canadian and he was working on a werewolf novel: my attention was totally grabbed.

i loved the episodes with Mark because he was writing while dealing with a day job and a family and all the other ways that life can get in the way of writing a novel.

i want more of this. i want more people trying to make it as a writer talking about how they're trying to make it as a writer. i want more acknowledgment to people who aren't there yet but want to be so much. i want to see more blogs by book reviewers and how-to-write people about the not-there-yets, the people who are writers but not published authors.

i'm still a writer, i'll always be a writer, even if it never works out. i hope it does, i really think the novel i'm working on will be a good one, but i'm still working on it. i'm barely halfway through my first draft.

this is for all the aspiring writers, because you're out there, working hard every day, writing as much as you can in the little gaps of time you're given.

and because you're out there, i want your thoughts.

i want you to talk about what it's like as an aspiring writer, unsigned, unpublished, and not yet ready to throw your novel into the giant slush pile that's out there waiting.

you could do at your own blog, or comment here, or talk about it on Twitter. whatever you prefer.

it would be an interesting thing to do as a podcast. hmmm. *pulling on my thinking hat*

now, i'm going to go write as much as i can for the next hour. it's almost time for bed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Me on What I'm Doing With My Life

so, it's all official and stuff. i'm now the proud owner of a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

is it wrong that i'm a bit panicky??

i feel kinda old, like i should have a totally solid life plan and stuff, but i don't. i barely have a job right now.

well, i kinda figured that i'd take the summer to think about what i wanted to do and look into some things, so i'm not totally worried at the moment. i guess in August i will be, but not now.

so, for the moment, i'm taking things one day at a time, trying to write every day (even if it sucks, because then i'm still writing something), and doing things around the house so it looks like i'm being productive.

and now, because i'm fun (i am, i promise :D), here is the latest info on my work in progress.

i'm still working on it, and i'm still enjoying it, which is good. you need to enjoy what you're writing. i keep thinking of bits to add, to takeaway, to edit and fiddle with, but i'm trying to move forward and write down what i want to fix so i can go back later and edit it.

the fact that i want to go back and edit it to make it better is a good sign. it means i'm taking it seriously, that whatever i write first isn't always the best. the hard part comes when i have to decide what needs fixing and what doesn't.

i thought up a good plot twist the other week, and i'll have to do some editing to work it in a bit more, but i think it'll be a good twist. i like it. it makes the whole book seem kind of MC in the dark and sneaky.

i do think i'll need beta readers, but not until i finish this first draft, and the second, and the third, and maybe a fourth, but i'm not sure. three drafts before beta readers/critiquers sounds okay to me.

i can only hope that by the time i query agents, they're still interested in werewolf MC struggling to figure out who she is coming of age YA novels with a romance subplot but it's not the main plot.

*crossing my fingers*

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Me on Trying to Break the Writing Block

me: *looking over at Sam sitting next to me on my nest of blankets on the floor of my bedroom* dude.

Sam: *looking down at one hand while chewing on the fingernails of the other* what?

me: where've you been? it's been two weeks since i've written anything that wasn't a typo fix or a line added on to the previous scene that might make sense.

Sam: i'm not the one writing this, you know. you are. aren't you supposed to be able to get past these dry spells?

me: not if i don't know what's going on. did you ever have that talk with your mom?

Sam: *glares at me from her spot next to me, still chewing on her nails*

me: you ever think she would've been happier if when your dad died she died, too??

Sam: are you asking me if i think Mom's suicidal??

me: not really. like, if they'd died in the same accident.

Sam: *looking out the window* well, she wouldn't be in the giant depressing hole she's in now. i don't know. for all i know, i would've gone nuts without her after Dad died. you thinking of killing her off??

me: *glancing off into the opposite corner* it's crossed my mind.

Sam: you think it would make for a better story?? there are a lot of single parent family deals out there, like that Hush, Hush book. Nora's dad died, too.

me: yeah, but from what the summary of the next book says, there might've been a reason for that. i don't think someone wanted your dad killed. not even your grandparents.

Sam: *scoffs*

me: no, really. sure, they're manipulative jerks and need to get the sticks out of their butts, but he was still the prodigal son and everything.

Sam: and now i'm the prodigal granddaughter.

me: sorry about that.

Sam: *waves it off* so.

me: so. *giant pause while i try to find a better song to listen to* do you like the title i came up with??

Sam: yeah, even if you did steal it from that song.

me: it's not stealing if i say where i got it, like when i wrote all those papers and had to quote sources.

Sam: *fake snoring sound*

me: *giving her a dirty look* bitch.

Sam: damn right. *nibbles on her thumbnail* what're you going to do?

me: something. i need this scene, even if i haven't quite figured out your mother's state of mind and motivation and all that crap. and my butt's falling asleep.

Sam: sit on the bed.

me: *waving it off* nah. *sighing* why can't the first draft be perfect?? i've got craploads of edit ideas.

Sam: you're the writer, not me.

me: i hate you.

Sam: then why're you writing about me?

me: self-torture??

Sam: *chuckling* probably. *makes a face* i don't like this song.

me: *glancing over at her* it's not your song, is it?? so, deal with it. i could make you end up with Gabe.

Sam: *cringing* i'd have to scrape off the slime every morning.

me: yeah. sometimes i wish you liked him a little more, like you'd shoved him right into the friend zone instead of the don't like him zone. would've been interesting.

Sam: *drilling her finger into my shoulder* edits.

me: maybe. i don't like him, either. it's kinda hard to make you sort of like him.

Sam: make me?? *giving me a look*

me: you know what i mean. *looking at Sam out of the corner of my eye* you just want to pump me for info about Jack.

Sam: *turns her face away after i catch a glimpse of her blush* you're the one who's got him talking to me.

me: that's cause he wants to. why else do you think he asked about that project thing?

Sam: *shrugging* is his mom going to hate me?

me: hate you? no.

Sam: *glancing out from under her lashes to look at me* but?

me: but what? *rolling my eyes when i get what she's asking* oh, i don't know yet. look, dude, you're like if Romeo and Juliet had a kid. the purists from both sides see you as a smack in the face. not everyone's going to like you. besides, i thought you didn't care.

Sam: *making a growling noise* i don't. i just don't want the whispers to continue.

me: me, too.

Sam: it's not fair to Mom. maybe it would be better if they'd both died in some kind of accident.

me: then everything would get dumped on your shoulders, you know, and then i'd have to come up with some cousin or aunt or uncle, and i'd have to re-write a bunch of stuff before i could continue. i hate making big changes when it's still a work in progress.

Sam: i know, and you've written that intro chapter like, 4 times already.

me: i'm going to do it this way, and when it's done i'll see if i like it with your mom there. if i don't, then i'll change it.

Sam: *nodding while we both sit there as the song changes* is it still raining out there?

me: don't think so.

Sam: darn. i like the rain.

me: me too.

Sam: *reaches up to fiddle with the ring on her necklace* am i going to change soon?

me: soon. i have to write everything in order.

Sam: cause you're neurotic and anal-retentive that way??

me: pretty much. i know what i want to happen. i think i'm better off writing what i want to happen without caring about word count, even though it's hard not to care. then, when all the basic stuff is done, i can fill in the little gaps and do the edits i want to do.

Sam: is everyone going to be the same in the edits?

me: *sighing* i don't know. Evie's good at being normal. you need normal.

Sam: yeah. could you kill off Morgan?

me: no.

Sam: why not?

me: because if you want a sequel, Morgan probably should exist. i don't think she'll be around a lot, except for an argument or two, and then that big fight at the end.

Sam: *nodding* that'll be fun.

me: yup. *looks outside while both of us don't say anything for a minute or two* you think you're ready to talk to your mom now?

Sam: if you turn on the light and sit on the bed. and get rid of that song. it sucks.

me: *sighing* i'll get rid of the song, okay?

Sam: deal. should we do that spitting in the palm handshake thing?

me: no. eww.

Me on Forgetting Things

i've been forgetting about this darn thing again.


i might do something funny and writing-related later in an attempt to get back into the writing mood.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Me on Self-Editing

or, why i'm feel nauseous when i have to edit something i wrote.

i don't really know what my deal is with editing. probably cause i've never really had to do any major editing on something. except for this past semester when i had a first draft due early March and had to edit it by mid-April.

for some reason, probably a bad one, i'm used to writing something once and not going back to check it or edit it.

i've also had little workshop critique experience, so i've never really had a lot of edit suggestions from other people.

the other day i finally realized that what i'm working on now will need lots of editing. i've written bits that, while i put them in there cause i thought they should be there, i know that they don't totally need to be there.

when i'm done this first draft/zero draft, i really want to print it out and write all over it with a pencil and a pen, marking it all up.

i'm still sort of afraid of doing it. i know what i want to put in it, but will it be what someone wants to read??

the best I can do it edit it to where i totally love it (and hopefully not take forever), then send it off to find an agent who totally loves it, too.

i can only hope i don't totally suck at self-editing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Me on Twitter

it's okay. i use it mostly for babbling. i babble a lot, but that's not the point.

okay, so i don't use it mostly for babbling. i'd like to think i use it for future networking when i've finished my current WIP (and i mean finished like written and edited and polished to the best of my ability) and start querying agents.

it's also a way to secretly stalk authors and writers who write books i like. :D

maybe stalk isn't the right word, but it's made them a lot more accessible as well as a lot more human. after taking English lit classes in a university setting for the past few years, and after being in university for the past six, it's bizarre when you have to make assumptions on what the author's beliefs were when they're Charles Dickens or H.G. Wells or William Shakespeare.

following writers on Twitter, from published to hopeful nerds like me, makes everyone sound human and fallible. i'm not perfect, and seeing published books in bookstores that are the same genre i'm writing in intimidates me.

plus i'm 23, so i've got most of my life ahead of me, but when i read about teenagers getting multiple book deals for their first novels, it sucks just a bit, knowing i lacked the motivation to finish writing something earlier and query sooner. but it's good for them. they deserve some props.

(my first actual novel was written in high school and should be burned. it's that bad, trust me.)

Twitter also makes it possible for the writers to hear from the readers about what they really think. sure, they could get slammed, but i bet they really love it when they get a reply from someone who said they just read their book and loved it. i don't think i've done that yet. probably should. (*wave to Becca Fitzpatrick and Maggie Stiefvater because i loved both Hush, Hush and Shiver, i'm waiting not so patiently for the next books ;) *)

because i'm always on Twitter, i'm going to copy and paste some good tweets i read over the past few hours (feel free to find me on Twitter at @writing_goober and go through my who i follow list for more Twitter fun):

@mstiefvater: Sharpie on laminated bookmark is slippery. I have signed my desk twice by accident. Come back, you little bugger.

@tawnafenske: Agreed! I will join you in your noble battle. RT @DanKrokos: The skinny jeans plague must be stopped.

@ScottWesterfeld: Some sequel ideas for Jude the Obscure: Ned the Mundane, Jill the Obtuse, and Mel the Unkempt. #hardyharhar

@HeidiRKling: I'm writing a scene that takes place on one of these: SO FUNNY

@emilytastic: I feel like 80% of my friends/Twitter feed is at LA Times Festival of the Book. AND I AM CRAZY JEALOUS. #latfotb #grumpyface

@heatherbrewer: The lady behind me just said "I cheated on Michael". *gasp!* I wonder who he is & if he knows! #soapoperaairport

@melissa_marr: For the not-yet-pubbed writers out there: Harper is doing a contest where the prize is crit notes from me.

see, Twitter isn't so bad, except for when the Fail Whale appears.

stupid whale.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Me on Writing and Motivation

it's been a while since i updated this thing. probably should, since it's the weekend and i'm not really doing anything.

i should be writing, working on my WIP, but i'm not. it's because i'm a slacker. sometimes i wonder if i've got the right work ethic to be a writer. i've barely got the right work ethic when it comes to cleaning up around the house.

i have to drill into my head that having the Word file open does not mean i'm writing. i can think about what i want to write next, what chapters and scenes will come after the one i'm currently working on, and i can write down outlines in little notebooks at 3 in the morning, but when i sit down to write my brain freezes and i start playing games instead (the current game is Virtual Villagers 4).

i don't recommend anyone writes where i currently write: in an armchair in front of the TV. my laptop's plugged into a nearby outlet, and so i sit in the chair and write. well, sometimes write. the past few days when i've tried to write something, i've barely averaged 1000 words.

what i need to do in order to write more each day and treat my WIP as something serious that I want to query to agents once it's written and edited and polished to the bast of my ability is to take my laptop back up to my room. TV is terrible when it sucks you away from writing.

i imagine that if i had an actual real serious deadline for my WIP i'd be writing a lot more, and i'd have a lot more than 15,000 words written.

i did that NaNoWriMo thing one year and hit the 50,000 word mark after 20 (or 25, i don't remember) days. of course, that was when i wasn't working and didn't have class that semester, but i still did it.

with me not having class right now and work not a whole lot except 1 or 2 afternoons a week, i should be able to write more than what i'm writing now.

i'm sick and tired of not writing when i should be. after dinner, i'm taking my laptop upstairs to write more than 1000 words tonight.

i need to write. i have this compulsion to write, but i also let things get in the way of me writing.


until dinner, i'm going to try writing, finish watching Dogma (so funny), and play some more Virtual Villagers.

and maybe babble some more on Twitter.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Me on Novels versus Short Stories

Since I prefer novel writing, I enjoyed what Hodgins wrote in his “Structure” chapter in A Passion for Narrative. There’s always been something about novel writing that appeals to me more than short story writing. You have to limit yourself in short stories, you have only one or two points to discuss, and you have a few characters to introduce. In a novel, you can introduce many characters, have more than one setting, and have a variety of ideas and plot points to show the reader.

I don’t mind reading short stories, especially ones that are connected to other stories I’ve read or ones that end with a joke, but I don’t think I like writing them. I could write and write for pages and pages, but with short stories there’s usually a word limit, maybe 5,000 to 10,000 words. Novels are often upwards of 90,000 words long, with a number of chapters. Novel writing makes more sense to me. I can tell a story for a longer period of time, drag it out, tease the reader with twists and turns and red herrings, and end it with a satisfying ending (that might hint a sequel).

What bugs me about short stories is that I always have the ‘what happens next’ question after I read them. Sometimes they end abruptly with only solving the main problem, and I always want them to continue on with the story so the plot can keep on moving.

With novels, just about every question is answered at the end, satisfying the reader, and what isn’t answered can lead to a continuation of the series.

I think I’ve got a strange fascination, or obsession, with writing and reading series of novels. There’s one big story that involves all the same people with different personalities, and in each book there are little stories that move the big story along. It’s like watching a TV show, only there are words and no pictures. Well, often no pictures.

i hope you people are enjoying these forays into my brain. i can be odd at times, but i hope these bits make sense.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Me on Setting

Sometimes it’s hard for me to describe the setting of a scene when I write. I can see where the characters are in my head, and I can write what they’re thinking, saying, and doing, but describing their location is often an afterthought. I forget that not everyone can see all the little details I can see in my head.

In regards to my workshop assignment (my current WIP), I imagine not everyone saw the posters taped to the walls inside the school, the papers tacked to the cork board of the classroom, and the grey clouds, heavy with rain, hanging in the air outside the building.

Writing a descriptive paragraph, or paragraphs, isn’t hard, but I have issues in terms of selecting geographic locations as my setting. It’s difficult writing about a place I haven’t been to before, and so when I have to guess it feels awkward in my head. I tried setting a novel I wrote in 2006 in Dublin, Ireland, but I had to guess a lot in terms of building size and street layout because I hadn’t ever been there. I actually made it to Ireland in 2008, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. Of course, I probably should’ve looked online for pictures of the city, but at the time, that never crossed my mind.

At a writers’ conference last October, I overheard two women talking about one woman’s manuscript. She had set half the novel in the US and half in Thailand, but she’d never been to Thailand. When she pitched the manuscript to a literary agent the year before, the agent asked if she’d been to Thailand, and the woman said she was going in a few months. When she returned from the trip, she rewrote almost everything and set the entire novel in Thailand.

I think you have to have been where you set any piece of writing, whether it be an apartment, a house, a farm, or a different country. Unless you’ve seen the buildings and smelled the air of the location, you can’t describe it accurately enough when you establish setting.

happy Easter weekend. enjoy the chocolate.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Me on Titles and Title Block

so, i've been working on an idea i got for a YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel. something's been bugging me about it, and a few days ago i figured out why.

i don't have a title. not even a working title that i can chuck and replace later on.

it's been bothering me. usually i've got an inkling of a title when i'm working on something, or i make myself come up with a title before i start writing. not this time.

i've got title block.

i hate title block. it doesn't help that i also suck at titles. titles are the hardest part for me, and it's ruining the fun of writing this novel because i like the story and the characters.

the title has to be good. it has to suggest something, get your point across, but not give everything away. i'm going to look at some books i've read recently (or discovered recently) and tell you what i think of their titles.

Amber Kizer's Meridian: the name of Kizer's narrator/main character. an interesting choice, but it's not just her name. the MC is a meridian herself, which is a compelling idea. when i finished the book i thought it was very good, and the ending left it open for the possibility of a sequel.

Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels, Betrayal, and Jealousy: i have to admit, i was expecting something about angels in the first book. there were vampires and werewolves and zombies (i need to read more zombie books), and so i didn't quite think the title made sense. i still enjoyed the book, enough that i read it right after i finished it for the first time, and then i waited for the second one to come out. it wasn't until about 10:30 this morning that i wondered if the two guys the MC meets are her 'strange angels' in a metaphorical sense. if so, then you're a genius, Lili St. Crow. after reading the second book, the title made sense, and with the third coming out this summer, i can only imagine what it'll be about. i'm currently waiting not so patiently for it to come out.

Lauren Kate's Fallen: i think with the word 'fallen' there's a certain assumption that the book will have some kind of fall, perhaps even a fall from grace. the book has twists and turns, but i don't think i was disappointed. i don't remember the name of the next book, but i'll look it up.

Bree Despain's The Dark Divine: the title grabbed me once i read it. i purposely drove 25 minutes out of my way to get this book because only 1 bookstore in my general area had it, and i was able to snatch up the last copy they had. the title hints at something sinister and something amazing, because what is dark and divine at the same time. and Daniel being so hot didn't hurt, either. ;) (i also love the way there were little headings giving us the time of day and what day of the week; i have big issues with moving forward in time when i write, i feel like i have to write about what happens day after day)

Kiersten White's Paranormalcy: it sounds so funky and bizarre and mysterious. i was instantly hooked.

Judith Graves's Under My Skin: i'm not sure what to say. all i know is it sounds intriguing and suggestive. so many things can get under our skin, and i can only imagine what gets under the MC's skin. (i'm going to have to order this book soon)

so, there are more of my thoughts. i can be kind of rambly at times. i should get back to writing before i get distracted again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me on Types of Prose in Fiction

so, here's the continuation of my thoughts on writing. who knew homework would be so helpful?? :D

Hodgins describes the different types of prose in fiction and gives examples of them, but I’ve found that when I write I can’t separate them out in my mind. Everything is written the way is happens in my head, whether that be exposition, narrative, or a scene. It’s all a bizarre, and fun, mixture of showing and telling.

I need all of them, though. Exposition is great for back story, for informing the reader, for bringing the reader into an alternate reality that I’ve created. Narration is helpful, especially because I often write in first person. Sometimes I have an issue with how time moves in what I’m writing. I could easily write what happens to my narrator and characters one day and then the next and then the next, but it gets a little boring after a while. Being able to gloss over a few days with some of the narrator’s random thoughts mixed in is helpful.

I think I like scenes the most. Very often, I start either a chapter or something new with dialogue because it’s easy to use dialogue as a source of humour when writing. Sometimes jokes in the narrator’s thoughts don’t always work, but when someone is saying the joke, it seems to be funnier. You can be so informal with dialogue, fiddle with words and maybe even add an accent so when someone reads it, it’s even funnier.

I once heard that young adult fiction is written in scenes, but I think it’s more like young adult fiction is written in sections. There’s often one main idea occurring in every chapter, which is why in some I’ve read recently chapters can be five pages long or twenty-five pages long.

Chapter length doesn’t seem to matter, but it all has to flow with that correct mixture of exposition, narration, and dialogue, that correct blend of showing and telling so often found in good fiction.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Me on First Drafts

i'm taking a creative writing seminar right now as part of my B.A. in English lit, and every week we talk about the readings we have to do. they're all about fiction and writing, filled with examples and tips and advice and prompts. since i'm not sure what to talk about here, i figured i'd post them here for you people (if you exist) to read and comment on. the next one will be up in a couple of days.

While doing the readings for this week I found myself enjoying Hodgins’ A Passion for Narrative more than the others. I think it’s because I found it more accessible, and the language, to me, is a lot less formal than Wood’s How Fiction Works. With A Passion for Narrative, it feels like the writer is speaking directly to me and not to a general sense of ‘everyone.’

I was fascinated by Hodgins’ comments on the first draft, and how you should “[w]rite the first draft for no one by yourself. Write to find out what you’re writing about” (38). I heard someone say this at a writers’ conference, and I thought it was an interesting concept.

There’s something special about first drafts. You’re taking an idea, which may or may not be good, and you’re turning it into a story. It’s becoming something far more tangible than just an idea circling around inside your head, and it’s on its way to becoming an actual short story or novel.

When I first start writing after finding an idea that’s excited me enough to want to write about it, I do get emotionally involved. It’s something I created, something I had to search hard for inside my head, and it becomes important to me.

Hodgins’ idea is one I hope to use for all my future fiction writing. I hope it’ll help me distance myself from what I write, which will hopefully make self-editing easier. Keeping the first draft for myself lets me write it just for me, and then when I finish it, I can go back, look at it, and hopefully find areas to change that will make more people enjoy it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So, let's try this again

i've blogged every so often for the past, i don't know, 4 or 5 years, but i could never do it on a regular basis. i'd do it for a little while, then i'd run out of interesting things to say and i'd stop doing it.

i figure that since i'll be graduating from university this summer (as far as i know), it'll be something to do to keep me from getting bored. i should be graduating. i've done all the required stuff.

so, i imagine an intro on my odd life would be helpful.

i'm Lindsay. i'm, currently, an English lit major in my last semester of getting my B.A. i sort of work, doing after-school tutoring with kids, but i'm tired of how what i'm required to do keeps evolving and plan on giving notice soon. i'd like to say that all of my spare time is spent on writing, but it isn't. some of my spare time is filled with writing. the rest is filled with either reading way too many books or watching far too much TV.

i don't have anything published yet, but i'm working on it. my current work in progress is a YA urban fantasy coming of age type novel. at the moment, my basic premise is that my main character has moved back (with her mother) to the town her parents grew up in two years after her father was killed in a car accident. the town is divided, with two werewolf packs fighting for dominance. because her parents were the town's Romeo and Juliet without all the death, my MC is caught in the middle with one side pressuring her to choose them while the other continually reinforces the fact that the choice is ultimately up to her.

i want it to be more of a focus on my MC and what she's going through instead of the two guys who want to date her, but i'm getting the feeling that it'll be a mixture of both.

i don't really want it to be a stand-alone, i like writing series, but at the moment i don't see how i would continue it, unless the next one involved cops and mysterious dead bodies and strange werewolf ritual bits.

promise you won't steal my idea, people who might one day read this.

i'm not really sure what this blog is going to turn into. maybe i'll just write about my views on writing and books and other stuff. i really don't think i'm all that interesting.

just a girl who wants to grow up to be a writer.