Monday, July 30, 2012

Letting Go

We've all had to do it. As writers, it's a given. Letting go of some of our favorite scenes.
It's difficult, but at the end of the day we have to have a critical eye for our own work, and make the tough decisions. As much as we may love one scene in particular, we have to think to ourselves 'is this doing anything to further the plot and keeping the reader engaged, or does it mean something to me and only me?'.

 I did a lot of cutting this weekend. Thanks to some great feedback (shout-out to Molly and also Melanie). I'd been putting off changes for a while, possibly because I'm lazy, or maybe just plain scared of the work I would have to do, but once I started it became easier. My story used to be over 128,000 words (ugh!) and it is now sitting pretty at 100,388. It's still high for YA, but oh my gosh, it's actually less than my projected number. It feels good. The story is tighter, it flows better, and is now officially in the YA category. My characters started off in the middle of their senior year, with the story ending after their first semester in college. I had multiplepeople tell me that it might be a bit too old for YA. So, I went back and changed the timeline, which I'm sure you can guess, required many other changes throughout the manuscript. Hence the reason I was putting it off.

 One of the reasons I saw things more clearly is because I haven't worked on Fire and Ice for a few months and I had fresh eyes. I know you've heard it a lot, but put your manuscript away for while, let it rest, give yourself a break, and when you get back you'll be able to spot those problematic areas. I'm glad I listened to the advice and faced my fears. I'm not completely done editing, I'm going to do one more sweep before feeling comfortable enough to send it out. But my manuscript is closer than its ever been before and that's both exciting and oh so scary.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RTW: Reincarnation and Me

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival, where YA Highway’s contributors and readers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s take on the topic.

Here's this week's prompt: If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?

Holy crap! I can't even begin to imagine all the possibilities. There are so many characters I love and admire, choosing one just doesn't seem fair. I thought maybe a paranormal character, like a vampire or werewolf, but I really don't want to live forever and have no desire whatsoever to be that I chose Sarah from Labyrinth. Yes, the one created by Jim Henson. Now before you tell me that it doesn't count because it's a movie, let me tell that this is in fact also a book. There's actually a couple of books based on the movie. I LOVE this story. The idea of traveling to a different world and meeting the Goblin King, it's something I would have so much fun experiencing. All the adventures and characters you get to meet. I guess it's more the little girl in me that wants this. I was eleven when I first watched Labryinth and began my obsession. I might even change my mind and stay behind with the Goblin King, you never know.

I have to tell you, I could list like twenty more characters I'd love to be reincarnated as, but I won't bore you too much. What about you guys, any characters out there you would switch places with in a heartbeat?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Somebody Slap Me

I was minding my own business this weekend, editing my manuscript, trying to rework my query, when it smacked me in the chest.

The doubt.

My confidence crashed down, my shoulders slumping with the weight. It was quite sudden and really annoying.

I've been riding a high the last few weeks while working on my current WIP. I'm loving the story and it's flowing fairly easily, compared to past projects. I've been in my groove. So where did this sudden hit to my confidence come from? I don't really quite know. Maybe it's because I'm getting closer to querying Fire and Ice, maybe because I've been reading some really amazing books, or maybe it's just me being a big old boob. I'm not sure which, but I'm working through it. How? By WORKING through it. Yup, I'm still writing. I'm not going to give up that high so easily, especially when it makes me feel lighter and happier. My current WIP is special to me. Not that any of my other manuscripts aren't, but there's something about this story that's driving me, zooming past the limits. I just hope the doubt dies down for a while. And if it doesn't, I'll just punch it in the gut some more by ignoring it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Five for Friday

1. I had family in town from Monday-Wednesday and it was great to see them. My cousin, whom I haven't seen for five years, was here and it was nice to catch up.

2. I finished In Honor by Jessi Kirby. Another recommendation. Greatly enjoyed it. Confession: I was crying within the first few pages.

3. Got some writing done this week. I'm not on as much of a roll as I was a couple weeks back, but I'm not all dried up yet.

4. I really enjoyed doing the Bloghop this week. Looking forward to signing up for more.

5. I think I'm going to take the month of August off from blogging. We're going on a family vacation and school starts back up towards the end of the month, so I'll be absent. We'll see how things go.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hanging For My Hangers

It's time for the Hangers in this Bloghop! Once again, the ladies at Falling For Fiction are holding this shindig, so go say hello.

The hangers go along with the five hookers I posted on Monday
1. That string finally seemed to be pulled too tight, and it snapped away.
2. The ride home was going to be longer than I had anticipated.
3. Then I released her to a world that no longer made any sense.
4. “Start explaining.” My voice was tight.
5. Then maybe, if it was possible, I would find the green-eyed gem that had unknowingly changed my life forever.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Get Hooked On My Hookers

It's Bloghop Time! FFF is running the show, so stop by and read some more Hookers. Mine are below.

 These are from Fire and Ice. I hope you guys enjoy.

1. Here's the deal; I was pissed.

2. She was staring off into the distance the first time I saw her.

3. Work was crazy busy

4. I finally managed to successfully get my so-called best friend off the phone

5. Sitting on the edge of my bed with dry clothes, a blanket around my shoulders, did little to block the cold air trailing my skin, leaving a numbing sensation.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five for Friday

1. I devoured Something Like Normal by Trish Doller in half a day. Okay, it's kind of a slim book, but it never felt lacking, in my humble opinion. I was even satisfied with the ending. It felt authentic. The author did a great job of getting a guy voice down, I even heard a dude narrating it in my head. (I may need to get that checked out). Warning: there is drug and alcohol use, foul language, and sex, but nothing is graphic.

2. It was over a hundred degrees here ALL week long. Needless to say, we didn't go out much. And air conditioning is now my best friend. As weird as it is to say (or write), I can't wait until it goes back down to the 90s.

3. I watched Mirror Mirror yesterday (you know, that other Snow White movie that came out this year) and it was super cute. Predictable, cheesy, and sugary enough to give you a tooth ache, but I enjoyed it.

4. On the writing front, things are still progressing. They're a little bit slower since I've hit the middle and am kind of going through a bit of writer's block, but I'm working through it.

5. They have Downton Abbey season 2 available on Hulu Plus! I watched the first two episodes this last week and already I'm nervous about the fates of certain characters. I'm sure I'll shed a few tears.

Happy weekend, All. Keep hydrated!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday

Today's RTW topic is a bit controversial. Here it is: What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?

Uhhhhhh...yeah. This one is a bit tough. I can give PLENTY of answers when it comes movies that sucked compared to the book (*cough, Ella Enchanted, cough*), but that's not the topic. It took a little bit of thinking, going through my DVDs to see what movies I had that were based on books, and I found one. And it's not necessarily better, I just enjoyed it a bit more than the book. Okay, here it is...The Princess Bride. Yup. Here's why: while I truly enjoyed the book, I felt like slapping Buttercup across the face through the whole thing. She is a complete ditz in the book, and it kind of ruined her for me in the movie. She actually delights in telling Westley what to do all the time, it's kind of sadistic. And she cries too much for my liking. She's a silly girl and it makes me upset to see her so...weak. Especially because in the movie she seems to be quite the opposite. I guess that was my biggest gripe with the book. And I love the movie so much I'm afraid that the book might not have lived up to expectations even if I wanted it to. It's a tricky thing when it comes to favorite movies vs. the book. At the end of the day I think you should still read the book, if only to get a better grasp at the world William Goldman created, it's quite inspiring. And it's a funny book. You'll definitely laugh. Who knows, maybe you'll love the book more than the movie.

Monday, July 9, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons

You go to the store and buy lemonade. Isn't that the way it goes nowadays? We have so many conveniences at the tip of our fingers I think some of us may have forgotten how to *make* lemonade. I was thinking about this the other day. My six year old still doesn't know how tie his shoe laces. I'm pretty sure I did at his age. Not calling my kid stupid or anything, but it makes go 'huh'. With velcro shoes all the rage, it doesn't seem as important as it used to teach him how. Not that I won't. I will. He is going to know how to tie those shoe laces by the end of this summer if it's the last thing I do. But honestly, can you think of all the things younger generations won't need to do or learn because of how many advances we've made as a society? Not just with perfecting the art of making velcro shoes, but with computers, internet, cell phones. It amazes me.

As a writer I have to take these things into consideration as I put them in my writing. Some of things my character's are doing when it comes to technology, or even saying, as is often the case, aren't going to be relevant in the future. While I was working on Fire and Ice I had my MC's exchange a few phone calls. Now remember, I started writing Fire and Ice way back in '08. I've since then deleted all those convos. Why? Because no teenager talks on the phone anymore! Texting is the name of the game, and if you don't do it you're totally lame.. Seriously, my little brother is four years younger than me and whenever he's around all he does is text, text, text. Every time his phone makes that dinging sound I want to throw something at his face. But that's what it's like now. People don't communicate anymore, they text, IM (hey, I used to do this too. I guess I'm not that old), facebook, tweet at each other (wha???Never thought back in the day that this would be a 'thing').

I guess what I'm trying to get at is, don't show your age in your writing, especially in YA. Kids are more observant than we give them credit for, and picky, and if your characters are calling each other and having real conversations that aren't face to face, they'll 'call' YOU on it. Don't be a mom or dad in your writing, be cool. Not that I know how to do that anymore. I'm not sure if I ever was, now that I think about it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

That Time I Signed Up For a Bloghop

Okay, guys, I don't know if you've heard but Fall for Fiction (also known as FFF) is holding a Hookers and Hangers bloghop.

This is how it's going to work:

Hookers & Hangers Blogfest July 16th & July 18th

We all know how important the first and last lines are in every chapter. This blogfest will hopefully get your HOOKERS and HANGERS polished making it impossible for readers to put down your book and leaving them begging for more!

On July 16th, post the first sentence from each chapter.

On July 18th, post the last sentence from each chapter.

Post as many as you like!

We will be judging everyone’s first three HOOKERS and first three HANGERS. We’ll each pick two winners (MOST ENTICING HOOKER and MOST IMPOSSIBLE HANGER) making a total of ten winners! Winners will receive a 10 page (double spaced) critique and a Friday Spotlight on FFF!
Awesome, right?!? I think I may post my Hookers and Hangers from my current WIP, which I'm sort of really excited about. If you would like to sign up, click HERE.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Let's Talk About: Downton Abbey

We interrupt ourregularly scheduled writing post. Okay, so I finished the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix and I have many FEELINGS about it.

First off, superb writing. Great settng, intriguing subplots, and wonderful acting. One thing i want to discuss is my immediate dislike of Mary Crawley. She got on my last nerve. It wasn't until the last couple episodes that I wanted to do something other than roll my eyes when she came on screen, which was a lot since she's a pretty major part of Downton Abbey.

Mary and Edith: someone please put these two in time-out, for realz. The whole time I watched them interact with one another I kept thinking "please, please, please don't let my daughters grow up to be like them!" I didn't feel bad for either  one  when they started messing with each other's lives. They deserved what they got.

Sybil: Now there's a girl I like. She is my favoritist. And I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that. She's sweet, kind, generous, and foward thinking. I can see a romance subplot invovling her and a certain chauffeur for next season. I hope I'm right.

Dowager Countess Violet Crawley: kicks ass. Makes me laugh. Perfection.

Isobel Crawley and the Dowager: I want more of them together. They are awesome . Their interactions were by far my favorite thing throughout the season.

Matthew Crawley: Too good for everyone except for Sybil, but I don't think that's going to happen. I'm glad he wasn't some guy who was going to stick around and get walked on the whole time, that would have been boring. I hope he does more of that in the next season.

Mary and Matthew: Please let them do something with Mary to redeem all of her awfulness in the first season. I'm sorry, i didn't root for these two at all. I kept wanting Matthew to slap her in her superior face.

Thomas: The character you love to hate. I didn't like that they made him mean for no apparent reason. I want back story! And I want to see that side of him that makes you kind of like him even though he's the bad guy.

William and Daisy: Daisy, Daisy, Daisy, you are cluless. But they would be so cute and perfect together. Make. It. Happen.

Mr. Bates and Anna: Poor Mr. Bates. I really felt for him. Out of everyone, I wanted him to get a happy ending. And I like him with Anna.

Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes: I liked that you got a little info these two, like the fact Mr. Carson and danced and sang for a living, or that Mrs. Hughes had a marriage proposal at one point. I enjoyed watching scenes that involved these two.

Ms. O'Brien: Another character you love to hate. I'm not so sure about her. What she did to Lady Grantham is pretty much inforgivable. Not sure what to expect from her next season.

One other thing that made me go 'huh?' is the Turk storyline. I'm not so sure about that one. I'm curious to see if it continues in season 2.

All in all I greatly enjoyed Downton Abbey and am pretty upset that Netflix doesn't have the second season available yet. I do like that the characters aren't so black and white, that there are gray areas with them. Hopefully that continues. And I'm hoping that at some point I start liking Mary.