Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crunch Time

It's almost time for NaNoWriMo! This will be my second year participating in this glorious month of word vomit. I have two books planned out, and I'm not sure which of them I'll be writing yet. One is about horses, always a good topic with me. The other is a low fantasy novel about friendship.

The great thing about NaNo, as countless others have said before me, is how it gives you some accountability for getting work done. Also, it allows you to write badly. Because the important thing is just to write, not to worry about being brilliant, just get those gears churning.

Happy almost NaNo!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bucket Lists and Star Wars

Last night, on the first night I've allowed myself to completely relax in a while, I finally got around to watching  Star Wars (Episode IV: New Hope). I've been trying to get through movies when I've been home from school, which hasn't been much this year. But I know, as a proclaimed geek/nerd, I needed to see this movie.

Loved it. Han Solo, Leah, Luke, all of it. And in particular there was one part that I identified with very closely. The scene on Tatooine when Luke walks of his igloo-house thing and looks up at the sky and you can just tell he wants to be anywhere else in the world. See things, experience another place. Kinda corny, I'll admit, but it resonated with me.

I've had that feeling before. I love to travel, experience things, do things that scare the daylights out of me. My bucket list is 5 pages long. Funny how a movie would remind me how much I want to travel and do. Tonight it's Episode V.

NaNoWriMo is also coming up, so I'll be posting my progress more frequently!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tattoos And Debuts

As I have yet to do anything worthwhile in the book world this week besides realize I'd picked up the novellas accompanying I Am Number Four instead of the actual novel, I have a little philosophical post for today.

Tattoos are a lot like debut novels. You want them to be important, and mean something. You don't want to be that person who has a cartoon character on your forearm where everyone can see it, when you know in five years you'll be interviewing for a job and they'll give a confused look and politely shake your hand as you are bowed out of the office.

Debut novels are an author's chance to make a first impression. And I think that's why a lot of the time we writers freak out about which novel we want to have published first. Because it can determine the genre you'll be writing in for a while, especially if it's the first in a series. Our fans will recognize us for that genre, and probably expect it from us. Generally only the J K Rowlings and Kiersten Whites and Lauren Olivers can change genres. They're popular enough that their fan base will follow them from genre to genre. Most of us can't do that. I include myself in "us" because I am an optimist. I am not published. But I will be!

Think before you ink, and before you publish that debut!

Friday, October 19, 2012

YAtopia Relaunch

The blog YAtopia, manned by ten aspiring and some published writers, is being relaunched with some new staff! Follow the link below to check it out, and the prizes you can enter to win!

http://yatopia.blogspot.com/2012/10/yatopia-re-launch.html

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Um, what?

I have had piddling chance to write or read this week. Why, you ask? Well, because next week is midterms. Um, when did that happen? Didn't I just move back to school last week? It feels like it. And I've had even less chance, or inspiration, to blog. I feel bad coming on to blogger with no progress to report on Origins, or querying, or even reviewing. I have books to read, I swear. And I will be back soon with a review of I Am Number Four. And for those 20 of you out there who read this blog, I am sorry.

Trust me, this is hurting me a lot more than it's hurting you. Truly. Ow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Editing Voice

For all of you out there who have edited your own work, or someone else's, you know you have a certain way you like things to sound. It is hard to set aside our own style and adjust our editing voice to someone else's tune. Of course, there will be times when you're right to use your own voice - perhaps you are the world's leading expert on dialogue punctuation. In that case, you'd be right to use your own set of skills. It takes an outsiders opinion to show an author how a piece is seen.

Now, if you're the world's leading expert in writing about fungus, and you're editing a paranormal romance about fairies and werewolves, this is probably not going to help. Might want to save that knowledge for your own book. About fungus. Not sure how you'd use that. ANYway! the point is that everyone has an editing voice. Bringing in someone else's opinion is a good thing, though you fungus experts may want to hold off.

I personally like commas. A lot. Probably too much. This reflects in my writing, and my editing.

What's your editing voice?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Riddle Me This

Nearly half way through the month and only five posts. I don't think I've been this busy or uninspired to blog for many a month. Was it just August when I was worried about blogging too much? Well, anyways, due to massive amounts of reading assignments and a day spent with friends ending with a possible concussion, I haven't had much time to read for pleasure. I Am Number Four is still in my purse, begging to be read.

So for today I give you one of my new favorite poems by Jonathan Swift. I think you'll like the answer.

In youth exalted high in air,
Or bathing in the waters fair,
Nature to form me took delight,
And clad my body all in white.
My person tall, and slender waist,
On either side with fringes graces;
Till me that tyrant man espied,
And dragg’d me from my mother’s side:
No wonder now I look so thin;
The tyrant stripped me to the skin:
My skin he flay’d, my hair he cropped:
At head and foot my body lopped:
And then, with heart more hard than stone,
He pick’d my marrow to the bone.

To vex me more, he took a freak
To slit my tongue and make me speak:
But, that which wonderful appears,
I speak to eyes, and not to ears.
He oft employs me in disguise,
And makes me tell a thousand lies:
To me he chiefly gives in trust
To please his malice or his lust.
From me no secret he can hide;
I see his vanity and pride:
And my delight is to expose
His follies to his greatest foes.
All languages I can command,
Yet not a word I understand.
Without my aid, the best divine
In learning would not know a line:
The lawyer must forget his pleading;
The scholar could not show his reading.

Nay; man my master is my slave;
I give command to kill or save,
Can grant ten thousand pounds a year,
And make a beggar’s brat a peer.

But, while I thus my life relate,
I only hasten on my fate.
My tongue is black, my mouth is furr’d,
I hardly now can force a rod.
I die unpitied and forgot,
And on some dunghill left to rot.

Answer: A pen.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Checking In

Hey, I'm sorry to have gone missing for a few days there. I have taken on many more projects this year at university, and this week was particularly busy. Lots of reading, bonding with my floor-mates, and attending meetings. On the plus side, it appears as if I am almost half-way done with my history major! And I applied for my English major. Terrified. I hear back next week.

So I will be back, hopefully tomorrow, with a review of I Am Number Four. This weekend isn't as busy as some of the next ones will be, so I'm hoping to get in a good dose of pleasure reading. And writing. I really need to work on Origins. A scene has been bobbing around my head all week but I haven't had time to write it. And perhaps I shall tweak my outline for Saddle Sore, this years choice for NaNo.

What's been keeping your life hectic?

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm Not Weird, I'm Quirky

So this weekend I went home for the first time since arriving back at university. And what did I do, might you ask? I made cookies, crocheted, did homework, and wrote. I nearly doubled the word count of Origins, and meanwhile snacked on peanut butter and nutella cookies. Can you say yum? Because I can.

Today I read an interesting post over on Natalie Whipple's blog about writing standalone novels. She says that she's a bit scared of debuting with a standalone when the YA market is dominated by series. I completely agree. Most of the books I have in my mind are standalones. For those of you who have been with me for a while, this includes Balancing Act (complete), Water Dance and Fire Crackle (incomplete), and Wings (incomplete). My first two books are part of a duology.

Origins is the first time I've decided, and even outlined, a trilogy. My mind generally doesn't work that far in advance. I like to be surprised by my characters and where they're going. But Origins hit me like a train and demanded I give it more attention than one book. I now have twenty pages just of character profiles and outlines, which I spent this weekend refining a bit.

While most people would go out into the big world, especially with the gorgeous weather we've been having here in the Pacific Northwest, I stayed inside and finished off the first chapter of Origins.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Throne of Glass

I believe I've mentioned it in the past, but back when I was just a munchkin, I was obsessed with fantasy novels. You can thank Tamora Pierce for that. Of course, I have widened my spectrum since then, but I do love me a good fantasy novel. Throne of Glass is a good fantasy novel.

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Celaena Sardothien was the empire's most renowned assassin before she was betrayed and sent to die in a salt mine. That is, until she is sought out by the Crown Prince and his Captain of the Guard to compete for the title of King's Champion. Along the way Celaena develops a strange attachment to both of the men who saved her. They help her train for the trials she must endure, and help her keep her sanity. But meanwhile, her competitors are dying off one by one. Celaena needs to discover who is murdering the kingdom's best assassins, or risk being the next victim herself.

That I loved: The banter. Especially between Celaena and the Captain of the Guard, Chaol. Also, the friendship between her and the princess of one of the conquered kingdoms, who knows more than she seems to about the banished magic.

Other: I thought it could use some trimming. Not much, just here  and there. More filling out of the character who wants to sabotage Celaena because she wants the crown. For playing such a key role, I didn't know much about her. And finally, more dialogue on the part of the two men in their personal scenes. Most of it was internal narrative.

Overall, would definitely recommend to anyone who loves fantasy and a sassy heroine.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Scorpio Races

It took me over a week to read this book. Who knew University would be so tiring? I'm loving my classes, and the teachers seem nice and encouraging. So last night, after I'd finished my homework, I sat down and finished off The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

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I'd heard through the grapevine that this book was incredible, but that it starts off slow. I ended up agreeing. The cast of characters was well fleshed out, and the setting was impeccable. It just took a while for the ball to start rolling.

Puck Connolly lost her parents a year ago, and since then she's been struggling with her two brothers to get by on their meager wages. She loves to horseback ride more than anything. Sean Kendrick is a four time winner of the Scorpio Races, a vicious annual race in which the meat eating water horses run along the beach on the day they want to return to it the most. Puck's brother is about to leave for the mainland, and if she doesn't win, she'll lose the house. Sean wants to be free of his employer Malvern, but he wants to bring Corr, his water horse, with him. If he doesn't win, he'll lose both his job and Corr.

My favorite part of this novel was the interaction between Puck and Sean. They interact during practices, and eventually form a strange friendship. By the end of the book I didn't know who I wanted to win. And that's great. I wasn't sure what ending would make me happiest, and the one that happened almost made me cry. Puck and Sean had very distinct personalities, which were evident not just in their words. I would definitely recommend it.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Next up: Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

Monday, October 1, 2012

In Which I Rant

I don't often let my temper get the better of me. In fact I have never, to my knowledge, yelled at someone. This of course excluding when I was a small child and yelling was the "in thing to do." And I am not often tempted by anger. What will get me going though, is that condescending little smile I get when someone asks me what my major is, and I say "History and English."

They don't get it. They think I don't know that I won't make a lot of money on this path. They think I don't understand that there aren't many jobs in this field. They think I'm stupid because I chose to go into humanities instead of something like computer science or engineering.

Well, they'd be wrong. I'm very aware that the chances of making it big in the publishing game are slim. That's why I'm honing my craft now so when I do get published (and I will) it will be not a good book, but a great book. I know there aren't many jobs available. That's why I'm looking into internships, and getting as much editing experience under my belt as possible. And, as for being stupid? I took math and science all through high school, staying a year ahead of where I was supposed to be. I am not an idiot. I choose to study English and History because those are the subjects I love. And in the words of Confucius, "choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

I love writing, editing, and history. That is all.