Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Word count:  4218

I'm kind of bummed.  I only worked on this project once in the last week, but lately my free time has been entirely gone--so I need to grateful I even got this much done.

Goal for next week:  AT LEAST up to 5500

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life Lessons from Sesame Street

So this morning while watching Sesame Street...

(Heck yes I watch Sesame Street. I know it's probably my best time of the day to do dishes, or fold laundry because the two-year-old is occupied... but why do dishes when you can sit on your couch with your toddler and watch Sesame Street) 

Anyway, I was saying... I came across this video and it totally made my day.  I think it's something everyone needs to hear (especially writers who are sick of getting kicked to the curb).

But... we are special, we need to dream big and realize we just need to keep our heads up high...

I'm the only me.  And I love me. 

My sister and I used to play the "I love me because..." game.  Which sounds totally vain and weird, but it actually is a really good self esteem booster to realize what you love about yourself... and realize being you is amazing--even if you're the only one (you know of) who loves you.

So what do you love about yourself?


I love me because I can (usually) cheer people up when they are feeling cruddy.

What do you love about you?  I really want to know.       

Monday, September 27, 2010

Powerless by Matthew Cody

Title: Powerless
Author:  Matthew Cody
Genre: Middle Grade, Superhero
Rating: Thumbs up (Best MG book I've read this year)

What I liked:  This book is so cute.  It has really great twists for a superhero story.  The main character has no powers and this is what actually helps save him and his friends (who do have superpowers).  I think this would really resonate with Middle Grade readers, because everything revolves around the time before you grow up.  No grown-ups have the powers, only the kids.  I just love this idea.  This is a great boy book if you know any guys this age, especially if they have a hard time finding books (girls will love it too though :) ).  My favorite line of the book trailer is:  "You don't need superpowers to be a hero."


Really cute book trailer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brain Malfunction

So I have brain problemos sometimes.  

Maybe it's just following directions issues... but either way I posted this a while ago.  I guess it was supposed to be today... so anyway without further ado, my link to writing compelling characters...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WIP: Sick

I think I'm really over my cold.  (crossing fingers)  This wouldn't be such a huge deal if I weren't involved in a relay race on Saturday...where I have to swim 1.2 miles.

In  other news, I'm also so sick of my old WIP and have decided it's officially time to move on (until Natalie gives me her feedback...which will probably send me into a whole new slew of revisions...).

I'm so excited about this new idea...because it's fun.  I've been chewing on it for a long time and it feels so great to start it.  I'm such a dork.  I get these bursts of inspiration where I'm cracking myself up while writing.
I love writing a first draft.  I don't hate doing revisions...because I usually figure out how bad the first draft is and I love rewriting scenes to make them better.

But there is something about having a blank canvas again.

It's a little scary and super exhilarating...

I have an outline, but I don't get detailed.  I just write and see where things go.  I love this part of writing... all kinds of crazy things pop up that leaving me saying:  Really?  And then I grin and think:  Yes, really.

And even though I know I will eventually hack it to bits and make it better... it's awesome just to word vomit and not care if my ideas seem lame in another month--because you have to have these 'awesome' first ideas to build on them later and make them magic...

So official word count of shiny new WIP = 3529 only 56471 to go... yes!

I'm shooting for 60,000 because last time I totally over shot and had to hack away a lot of words, we'll see how this goes.

Final (kind of) word count for E.I.G. =   68,998

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My day just got made :)

So I just won this contest.

Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!

I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Really.  REALLY.

But that just totally made it better... that and the fact that my sister was able to help me take care of my two-year-old, my friend decided to make me dark chocolate, craisen, nut clusters... and my husband got to be home early today... You'd think it was an awesome, spectacular day.  Which in many ways it was... except for I've spent the last three days lying on my bed/couch feeling rotten--like I'm-dying-in-the-pits-of-hell rotten, but I think the sun is starting to come out.  (yeah I didn't even check my email, that's how bad it was)

Anyway, I guess that's all for now, because my eyes are starting to cross.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I just read this blog post by Meg Cabot about what it was like to be in New York City on 9/11.  I was a junior in High School  when the attack happened.  I was sitting in Mrs. Ackerman's English Class watching  the news and just plain shocked at what was going on.

Grab a box of kleenex before you read it.

I really just want to say how grateful I am to live in a country where Terrorist attacks aren't part of every day life, that I have a safe place to raise my family, and for people who risk their lives to help others.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Step Friday: Writing Compelling Characters...

1.  Examples:  

Pull out your favorite book.  Hunger Games, Stargirl, The Giver, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Heist Society, Unwind, Paranormalcy...Whatever.  Yes, Twilight is fine. 

What about this book makes it good?  I'm sure, somewhere in your list of will include "compelling characters".  

So what about the writing makes us want to know Stargirl, to be Katniss, or fall in love with Edward?   

They seem real.
2.   Details: 

What makes a character real is their depth.  You want them to have layers, motivations, emotions, likes/dislikes.  They need to be tangible to you before they can be tangible to anyone else.

Interview your characters:  Have a survey for each one of them.  This is more important than knowing what they all look like (even though your questionnaire can include that).  This is where you discover who they are, what kind of report card they get, how they like their eggs, etc.  Know them inside out and then incorporate their personality quirks in your writing.  

3.  Flaws:

Perfect is boring.  
All Characters need a flaw.  Something they are bad at... even Edward has flaws.  He's just plain stupid over Bella sometimes...

Katniss is an awful actress.
Percy Jackson has learning disabilities.
Connor, from Unwind, has a temper that gets him into fights. 

What I love about these flaws is that they are short comings, but the characters are made more endearing by them...

We love Edward because he's so ridiculously in love with plain ol' Bella.  
Katniss can't fake it, but being herself is all anyone really needs.
Percy may have felt like a misfit because of his learning disabilities but then he finds out his brain is really programmed from Greek...
Connor only fought when he was standing up for something or someone.   

4.  Arc:  

People change.  Characters should too...  but realistically and sometimes subtlety.

You don't want your character to be an entirely different person at the end of the book!  You want your character and their voice to be consistent.  But you want aspects of that character to change, their perspective, or facing a fear or coming to terms with things... This should be gradual in your writing, and is a definite show not tell situation.  Put your characters in positions where they learn something and then stick them in another where they use the wisdom they've gained...    

Back to Connor from Unwind.  I love his transformation because the author, Neal Shusterman, took his flaw:  fighting--made you realize he fought for the right reasons and because he was an alpha--had another character point out that fighting wasn't always the best option and then put him in situations to test what he had learned.  By not fighting Connor was even more powerful and a better leader to the other 'unwinds'.    

Example of a Character Sketch/Interview: 

1.  What's their favorite... food, drink, color, music, hobby?
2.  What kind of personality do they have?  
3.  What's under their bed?
4.  Who do they go to for advice?
5.  What is their biggest strength?
6.  What's their weakness?
7.  Who are their friends/What are they like?
8.  What does their bedroom/locker/the inside of their fridge look like?
9.  How many siblings do they have?
10.  Where is there favorite spot?

Good luck creating your characters, I'm looking forward to meeting them.  

What questions do you like to ask your characters? 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Monday: Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy and I texturing the garage.  
I think Evie was having more fun than I was, at least she got to wear  her super cute prom dress...  

Title:  Paranormalcy
Author:  Kiersten White (she has such a great blog go check it out) 
Genre: YA Paranormal :)
Rating: Two Thumbs up

What I thought:
Oh bleep, where to begin.  Loved Evie.  Loved her.  The voice in this novel is so fun.  It was a light, funny read.  Really entertaining.  I really enjoyed the love interest in the story and seeing their relationship develop.  I liked the baggage of Evie's ex-boyfriend.  This is really different than other paranormal books out there.  It's kind of like Men in Black but with a Paranormal twist... There is a government agency that supervises all paranormal activity and Evie is a sixteen-year-old who works for the agency because of a special ability.  I really liked that I couldn't guess where this novel was going.  It was a great read.    

(The pic above is for a contest Kiersten has on her blog, it ends on Sept. 12 so go hurry and buy a copy of Paranormalcy and enter the contest

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WIP: Brainstorm Edition

My last Beta read my MS.  Dun Dun Duuunnnn!

I've got some tweaking to do.  Tweaking's good.

Need to fill out the ending.
Beef up a couple of characters.
Sprinkle in with some minor details.
Play with the idea of a Prologue.

And then Viola... I'll be done and buy a ticket to query land.

Wait what?  A PROLOGUE...but you never even read those... 

Yes I know a Prologue.  I've started sketching out a couple.  IT'LL BE SUPER SHORT I PROMISE.  We'll see how it goes... If I can possibly insert some of the information/story of my villain in a different way--I will do it.  But right now this seems like the most smooth/best way to get 'er done.

What do you think?

Do you like writing or reading prologues?

Are they confusing? Do they add anything?

I'm curious what other people think.  In the meantime I'm going to keep reading this awesome blog I just found:     Between Fact and Fiction--Natalie Whipple

She has amazing insight and has helped me not throw in the towel... go check out her archives with stuff about:  writing a synopsis, critique groups, querying.  It's great.

 I'm seriously addicted to chalk...