Thursday, January 31, 2013

Plotting

I am taking a short story writing class. And it's been pretty cool. My teacher is nice, my class is small, and I get to write fiction. The only thing I've been struggling with? Plotting.

Every week we are required to write a plot outline for a short story. We don't end up writing said story, just the outline. And if ever I've discovered I can't plot unless I have a concrete idea, this is it. I have been looking around my room looking for ideas, and when I'm done with the outlines I never want to look at them again.

Sure, I have a sort-of outline for Origins. But there is a lot of room for interpretation. I have the large events and motivations for my characters. I don't have a lot of space for the ones I do for class. They're only supposed to be a page long.

So, I'm still solidly in the half outliner half pantser camp.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Waiting Game

Publishing seems to be all about the waiting. Actually, anything not involving a book directly seems to be about waiting. Waiting for contest results. Sending off a new project and waiting to hear back from your critique partner as you chew your nails to ribbons. Waiting to hear back on queries. Waiting to hear back from an editor. So much time seems to be spent waiting.

Now, I'm not published, but I'm no stranger to the waiting game. I've sent off queries. I've submitted short stories and my novels for contests. I've waited for critiques. And it doesn't seem to get any easier. Just when you feel like the savvy old-hat, you realize you're supposed to hear back from a contest in 3 days and your imagination kicks into overdrive and you might end up rocking from side to side on your bed with your arms wrapped around your knees.

I have no solution. Part of me loves the waiting, the anticipation. The rest of me hates it. Did I mention it's 16 days till the ABNA results for this round are posted?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pushing the Limits

And, finally, some down time. After finishing off Eona I went back into "work mode" for the rest of the week. When I wasn't doing homework, I was doing internship stuff. When it wasn't internship stuff, it was meetings. And in those couple hours not devoted to sleep, I spent time with my friends. So when I went home for a couple days, I finally had some down time. So I read Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.

10194514
Retrieved from Goodreads
No one knows what happened to Echo Emerson before her perfect life ended and she became the "freak" with scars all over her arms. Not even Echo remembers that night. Last time she tried to remember she had a breakdown. But the school psychologist thinks she will never be whole unless she works towards the memory. At the same time, Noah Hutchinson is fighting for visitation rights and hoping for custody of his two younger brothers. He's a product of the foster care system, which he's sure doesn't give a damn about him. When Echo is assigned to tutor bad-boy Noah, sparks begin to fly.

This book dealt with a lot of heavy stuff. Abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, kids in the system who don't get good shakes, custody battles, death of parents, mental instability, an evil stepmom, an overbearing dad, fights, and mean kids at school. I'm getting tired just thinking about it. Pushing the Limits was an intriguing book, and the characters were well fleshed out and the story complicated. I had two problems with it. 1 - it dealt with too much. I know that's bad to say, but with so many awful things happening I couldn't sympathize with all of them. 2 - explanation. This book did a little more telling than showing than I thought was right. Personal preference though. Would still recommend.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Eona

Phew, it's been a busy couple of weeks. I knew what I was getting into of course, and I am enjoying being so busy. The only downside is not having much chance to read. But this weekend I had stayed on task so much, and gotten so much work done, that I got a a chance. I've been reading Eona by Alison Goodman since I got back to school. At over 600 pages it's not a short read.

7992995
Retrieved from Goodreads
Eona has finally admitted to being female, and has joined the resistance to put the rightful heir to the throne, Emporer Kygo, back in his place. This means killing his murderous uncle, Sethon, who grabbed the station in a palace coup. Eona now has the rank and power of a Dragoneye, everything she could have hoped for, but she still has secrets. She can't connect with her dragon power without the other spirit dragons attacking her. And she's becoming attracted to Emporer Kygo who trusts her to always tell him the truth. And deadliest of all is the secret of the black folio, possessed by the Dragoneye apprentice Dillon. It holds the recipe to bind a Dragoneye's will to that of the king. If it falls into royal hands, Eona could lose the freedom she craved all her life. But it might also be the key to ending the war.

Eona was a good book. It had some interesting revelations and interactions between the characters. The ideas of free will and gender roles are especially prominent. I loved that not everything could be solved by Eona, and that not everyone liked her, even if that person was a good guy. And the character of Lord Ido, the only remaining trained Dragoneye? Amazingly twisted. What I wasn't crazy about - how long it took to get there. Eon was a hefty book as well, so the size of Eona made sense. But I thought it could have been trimmed at the edges to make it flow better.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Friday, January 18, 2013

In Which I Make A Confession

I do not find music inspiring. I know a lot of people have a playlist for every book they've written, and listen to music when they're blocked. I have never been able to do that. When it comes down to it, my writing always happens when I'm alone and it's quiet. A song can convey a lot of emotions, don't get me wrong, but I have never associated  my characters or stories with one.

What do I find inspiring, especially when I'm blocked? Reading. Watching a show with amazing dialogue or setting. It jumpstarts my imagination and gets me back in that writing world where everything is crisp and clear and anything is impossible.

So, that's me. I don't journal and I don't listen to music when I'm writing. What about you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Last week I was tagged by my critique partner Seabrooke for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. The idea is to answer some questions about my latest WIP. You can find Seabrooke's answers here on her blog! She's awesome, so you should check it out.

My answers are part of Week 33 of the Hop.

  1. What is the working title of your book?
    Origins
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
    It's really cliche, but the idea came from a dream where I was on the beach and was able to move things with my mind, but I couldn't control the ocean. When I woke up the idea completely evolved into a telekinesis story about superheroes.
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
    Low Sci-fi
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    I don't really know actors, especially from a teen age group. So I'll just go with describing how I'd want them to be. The main character, Jane, would be moderately tall with dark straight hair and very pale. She'd have to have anger underneath the surface at all times, and be stubborn and confused about who she is. Brian, the other main character, would have to be tall and reasonably muscled. Cold to mask his insecurities and distrustful of anyone but his father. Alistair, Brian's father, would be suave. Chocolate hair, light eyes, and just a small amount of oily craziness. And Alicia would be classically pretty with more physical insecurities than any one person should have to deal with.
  5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
    After Jane Rossi is approached by a man who isn't afraid of her telekinesis to fix his son's eyesight, she is swept into a life of government intrigue and the circle of a madman who is creating "superheroes" for his own devious devices.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    Ideally by an agency. I don't have much money to put into self-publishing at the moment, and I'm vain enough to think I can land an agent with my work even though I haven't been published before.
  7. How long did it take you to write the the first draft of your manuscript?
    I'm still in the process of writing it, but with all the prep work I've done, I already know the story front to back. And I started it back in August, so about 5 months in the making, minus November/December when I was NaNoing/letting my brain rest from finals. So about 3 months in the making really.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    At the moment the only thing I can think of to compare it to is a dark sci-fi version of Rick Riordan's work. Where his work as trolls in hawaiian tshirts I have kids addicted to a drug which mutes their powers. Honestly, I've read more high sci-fi than low sci-fi, but I haven't seen anything like my book before. Of course, that's not to say it isn't out there.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    Sorta already answered this, but I was at the end of my last project and wondering what to do next. That night I had a dream, then I went for a long walk on the beach and formulated a story around it. Little did I know that I would fall in love with it so much. It incorporates many things I love - New York, superheroes, a creepy villain, and character back story that is important to bringing down the bad guy
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
    I already have the trilogy worked out. It has unconventional superheroes who use their powers for evil, but are not at all evil. Well, maybe. You never know...
Rules: Answer these ten questions about your current WIP on your blog. Tag up to five writers/bloggers with their links so we can hop over and meet them.

I tag: Nicole, Megan. The rest of the blogs I follow have already done the hop or are agencies who don't know my name. Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

ABNA

Last night at midnight the submissions period for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest began. For those of you who don't know what this competition is, basically you submit a pitch of your book, an excerpt, and the entire thing. Through a series of rounds contestants will be eliminated based on one of those items. If you get far enough your entire book will be read.

The winner gets a $50,000 advance and a book deal. And it is hard to win.

Last year I made it to the second round with Griffin's Song. When it came time to get my reviews from the experts both were very positive. But I still didn't make it to the next round. The main problem? Pacing.

So this year, since I don't have much time to write, I am going to do another sweep of revisions on Griffin's Song and submit her again. I don't think my other three books are ready to be seen. I highly encourage you to submit your manuscript - it's tons of fun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Opinion on Journals

I've taken several writing courses by this point in my education, and one thing I've noticed is that teachers always recommend a journal to write down ideas. And I'm split.

Yes, it's nice to have a place to write down ideas or images as they come to you. But honestly? I do just fine without one, too. During the day my mind is so caught up in school and social life and just regular living that I don't have time to whip out a journal every time I see something cool. If it's neat enough, it'll stay with me long enough to get back home and type it up. If not, then it probably wasn't worth.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I know several writers who use journals in day-to-day life. I am just not one of them.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Old Friend

My first novel was originally 119k. I have since queried it, received many a form rejection letter, edited it, submitted and gone on to the second round of the ABNA contest, and edited some more. Then I shelved Griffin's Song for a while to focus on my third novel Balancing Act. It took longer than I expected and it wasn't until August that I finished the first draft. Then came the beginning of a new school year and then NaNoWriMo.

All in all, Griffin's Song has gathered some dust. Now at a much more reasonable 87k, I am not quite ready to shelve this novel. Perhaps it's sentimentality. Or perhaps because it's a good book. Whatever the reason a few days ago I opened Griffin's Song and began to read it again. I edited a good 70 pages before I got tired. 

I still think it's a good book. Do I intend to query it? I'm not sure. I know I want to focus on Origins in the coming months, but I also want to keep editing Griffin's Song. I'm still in love with the characters.

When have you decided to shelve a book?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Lightning Thief

Ahhh now here's the adventurous romp I've been looking for. My past couple reviews have been more negative than normal, either because the story wasn't fleshed out enough or because the adventure didn't seem to matter to the story. Well, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan delivered and delivered well.

28187
Retrieved from Goodreads
Percy Jackson is just about to be thrown out of boarding school for the sixth time in six years. But really that's the least of his problems. Gods and creatures from Greek mythology are suddenly out to get him, either to lend a helpful hand or to kill him. Mostly to kill him. He winds up going to Half-Blood Hill summer camp where he discovers he is a demigod, and has also been accused of stealing Zeus's master thunderbolt. Percy has ten days before the solstice to track down the bolt and return it to Mount Olympus, or he's toast. Accompanying him are an anxious satyr named Grover and Athena's daughter Annabeth.

Why did I enjoy this book so much? Simple - it was funny, the action sequences made sense, and I cared about the characters. And what really got me right off the bat was the fact that being a demigod wasn't exactly conducive to leading a human life. It made you dyslexic because you were hardwired to read ancient Greek. And ADHD because the demigods are more suited to being physical. So a demigod would be the kid always being kicked out of school and failing classes. That was a neat concept. The book wasn't as polished as some of Riordan's later works but I still loved it!

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

Well it's that time of year to be profound about how next year I'll improve myself and work harder, complain less, enjoy life etc. etc. But honestly? I'm pretty happy with life. I have amazing friends, a great education, a great family, a great job, and I have books.

But of course I have plans for the coming year. I'm going to finish writing Origins, which I've started now that I'm not travelling. That is my big goal for this year. I love this story too much not to give it the time it deserves. I also plan on working hard in school and having a social life. And did I mention I got an internship? Yay! I'm going to be very busy.

But I will always make time to write.

Happy New Year, everybody!