Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Highly Unmotivated

I've been feeling highly unmotivated as of late. I think it's because so many things in the other areas of my life are changing that putting effort into something else has just made me tired. I'm about to be starting a new job as a teacher. And while I am extremely excited for my first year of teaching at an amazing school, I know I'm going to be super busy. This means writing might not fit in, right away.

I'm the kind of person who likes to focus all my time, put all my energy on one thing. When I was in high school and college, I never read for fun; I spent all my time either studying, playing sports, doing music, or hanging out with friends. I'm scared this is going to happen again and I won't have time to write.

I'm also moving across town, no big deal, but it's also right before school starts. So it's just another thing on my mind. Packing is the worst.

So as I sit on my couch and write this post, I know I should be writing. I've written about 4k of a new WiP, but that was weeks ago. I love my characters, I love my setting, but I know something's off. And so the daunting task of letting the suck flow for a first draft has me at a stand still. I'm not sure what to do to get the energy to write. I don't know if I just need to take some time and get my outside world in order before I can create a new world on the pages.

What do you do when you're unmotivated?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Books I've Read Recently: August

Last week, I went on vacation to a cottage in Maine. In said cottage is no internet and very spotty service, so even the internet on my phone didn't work well. So I was left with the three books I'd brought. And all of them turned out to be so very enjoyable.

The first I one I read was MYSTIC CITY by Theo Lawrence. While I had some problems with the plot (a bit overdone with memory loss and a Romeo/Juliet storyline, but it was published two years ago so maybe that was before it was overdone), the setting was absolutely grand (that's the only way I can think to describe it). It was so atmospheric, gritty, and just overall what I want my current WiP to be. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes romance and atmospheric settings. I'll definitely be reading the second book to see where he carries the setting.

The second was Natalie Whipple's HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW. I loved how the magic was only in women and gets passed down that way; I just thought it was so creative and a really unique idea. I loved the relationship between Jo and her grandmother, which was really the heart of the story. And the grandmother was such a good character and I loved how there were reasons for the common witch themes (the no teeth etc). I don't usually do "witch" novels, but I couldn't put this one down!

And the last was THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab, the second in her ARCHIVED series. And I absolutely loved this book! I think maybe even more than the first which is so rare in sequels! Wes is probably my favorite book boyfriend/love interest (probably because of the guyliner) and finding out more about him in this book just made me love him even more. We also get more of Mac's life including school and her meeting new friends which is what I thought the first book was missing a bit of. Obviously the premise/world is awesome (which we knew because of the first book). I know there was some talk about the third book not getting published? I really hope that was resolved because this series NEEDS to be finished. Victoria Schwab is gradually becoming one of my fave authors (I really liked her adult book VICIOUS as well).

Now that I've finished these, I need some new recs! What do you guys recommend?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: A (movie) review

I’m finally back from two vacations. Yes, I know that’s a little excessive… blame my mother who wanted all the family bonding time since she’s now retired. So I dragged her to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I’d already seen it once and I thought she might like it because she loves Star Wars.

Anywho, I saw it, and I think I might have even liked it better the second time around. (And that * never * happens to me. I’m a one time movie type of person.)

There were just so many good things about this movie. Chris Pratt was hilarious and totally likeable even for a thief. I think Rocket might have even been my favorite character, even though I'm not head-over-heels for Bradley Cooper (despite him being from the town next to my hometown). They put just enough backstory for every character to make them worthwhile and make sense.

And the music choices. Brilliant. They way James Gunn (the director) put them into the scenes was truly amazing. Many of the songs were a dichotomy with what was going on in the scenes, but still managed to fit perfectly. For example, in the trailer it plays “Hooked on a Feeling”, this light-hearted song that doesn’t quite make sense for a prison scene. But the music starts once Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is getting tazed. I’m just like, that's perfection. It works also because the story is very comedic-centered unlike many of the other Marvel movies. Another great music scene is when the villain’s spaceship crashes into the planet, the song playing is “Ooh Child” and the lyrics are “Things are going to easier/better” kind of showing that the destruction won’t last forever, but again it’s this up-beat type of songs in the middle of this crash and all this debris. Seriously good stuff.

Only things I didn’t like: Gamora wasn’t as bad-ass/scary as she was supposed to be (this I didn’t mind as much since I didn’t read the comics but the people I went with said this was the biggest deviation), and that Nebula’s motivation didn’t make sense with me as she seemed to flip-flop alliances for no reason (this is probably because she wasn’t even in the comics, again according to the comic-readers I went with).


Overall, one of my fave comic book movies, if not favorite one that I’ve seen. Go see it if you like comics/Star Wars type films/action movies/good movies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

I was tagged by Melody Marshall, my awesome CP, to do the Writing Process Blog Tour. You can check out her blog here or follow her on Twitter (@Melody_Writes) if you like discussing Doctor Who as much as I do :)

What am I currently working on?

I just started my new WiP, a YA fantasy, inspired by music and the hanging gardens of Babylon. The working title is called THE HANGING GARDENS but that will definitely change because I want it have to do more with the music magick that's going on. I'm reusing an old idea I've had, but kind-of turning it on it's head. I'm also excited about the setting because I want to make it really atmospheric and a bit darker than the other MSs I've written.

How does my work differ from others from its genre?

My WiP has two main characters who are brother and sister, and told from their 2 POVs (from 3rd person). Usually with dual perspectives it's the MC and LI, so I'm excited to get brother/sister points of view.

Why do I write what I write?

I've always been attracted to the fantastical, so I tend to write about that. (I watch mostly SF/F/Paranormal TV shows too.) If I'm going to have to read it a gazillion times then I'm going to write something I like!

How does my individual writing process work?

Usually I'll fast draft the first draft which I call a "draft zero". I love revising, so this allows me to get to that stage right away. My draft zeros always need *a lot* of revising, but I get at least a bare-bones draft that allows me to see everything on the page instead of in my head. I try to write Monday-Friday at least 1k when I'm drafting (though this week that hasn't happened). Then when I've revised it a few times I'll send it to the first round of CPs (usually 2) then revise again and send to 2 more CPs.

Tag!

I tag my wonderful CP Aubrey Cann whose 1920s historical fantasy I absolutely loved and whose blog I always look forward to reading :) She lives all the way on the other coast, but last time I was there, we got to hang out and it was awesome!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ready, Set, Write!

Today I'm participating in Ready. Set. Write., a summer blog hop set up by Jaime Morrow, Alison MillerKaty Upperman, and Erin Funk. You can head on over to any one of those blogs to participate and/or find out more. Every Monday, you can go to any one of those blogs and post a link to your check-in post. And don't forget to check out the other blogs!


1.  How I did on last week’s goals
Well this week is the first week I'm doing this! I just got back from a two week vacation (though I'm going away again in a week and a half) and I need a little bit of encouragement to get back into the swing of things.

2.  My goal(s) for this week
I wrote 3k during vacation, so my goal is 5k more, so 8k total. I have a lot to do this week, but I like making my goals challenging, so that even if I fail, I've still stretched myself.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
The inciting incident: my two main characters discover their parents attacked a young boy and the MCs don't know why/can't believe it.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week
I'm thinking it will be a mix of being motivated (because I'm still in vacation mode) and finding time.

5.  Something I love about my WiP
I love the relationship between my two MCs. They're brother and sister (written from 2 POVs in 3rd person). I'm really loving discovering who they are and how close they are to each other.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's up, Wednesday?

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch, hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk.

WHAT I'M READING
I'm reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, the last installment of The Mortal Instruments. I absolutely adored all of TMI and most of The Infernal Devices, but this just isn't quite doing it for me. First, it's like 800 pages long, and it seems like most of it is build up or discussion instead of action. There are so many characters which is cool and not cool at the same time. And I also don't quite remember everything that happened in the last book, so I'm a bit confused at times.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I've started outlining my new WiP (working title The Hanging Gardens). It's a YA fantasy based on music magic, so I'm exciting about it. It's different than anything I've written because it's dual POV, (brother and sister), and also third person, so that should be interesting. I have most of it outlined, but I'm really embracing the J, in my INTJ, and making sure I have everything fully outlined before I started drafting. I'm in between a plotter and pantser, so I'm trying to make sure I have a really good idea of everything before I jump in.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
It's hard to be inspired when you're so busy. I know I have to *make* time because it's not going to fall in my lap. But lately I've just been tired from running around. I'm hoping my vacation will reignite my inspiration.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Mostly interviews and querying by YA sci-fi, THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS. I'm going away for two weeks for vacation (to Italy!), so that puts a bit of a damper on trying to find a job, so I'm a bit stressed about that. We're also apartment hunting, found the perfect apartment, but then they said no cats, and I'm just like arrrghghghg, it was perfect! So I also only have about 5 days to find an apartment, because of said two week vacation. But vacation should be amazing and I'm really looking forward to relaxing, seeing the sights, and eating gelato every day.

How's your week going? Any fun plans coming up?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (A Review)

I know I'm super late with this review, so I don't even know if it will be relevant to anyone. But I have thoughts, so I'm posting it anyways.

I was super excited to see this movie. I absolutely love action movies, especially superhero movies, and especially X-Men. And this had the present *AND* past X-Men including Nicholas Hoult, who obviously makes every movie better. But even the attractive Mr. Hoult couldn't do it for me.

The plot of the movie is basically, the X-Men from the "present" have to go back to the past to stop a guy from making these sentinels, which are basically unstoppable because they can adapt to the X-Men's powers. Sounds cool, right? The "present" was awesome. There's so much fighting and sweet graphics (Ice Man finally gets to use his ice as waves to ride on), and you get to meet some new sweet X-Men, albeit briefly. But when we get transported to the past, meh.

The best scene in the whole movie is when Quicksilver (never named, but we know who he is) takes out a whole room of guards in slow-mo. But then what to the X-Men do? Say, oh I guess he was only okay, let's bring him back to his mom and not actually use him for anything else. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. He's their best resource and they're just like, eh, he's young.

Mystique just seemed like a plot device for the whole movie and we never really get to her core. I also don't really like that era too much, but that's just my preference. One detail I did like was when it was alluded that Magneto killed JFK (because how else could a bullet bend) but he was actually trying to save him because he was a mutant. So that was kinda cool.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed. This just makes me more hungry for Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2.

Have you seen X-Men? What were your thoughts? Are you excited for Avengers and GotG?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, What's Up?

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch, hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk.

WHAT I'M READING
I finally finished AVALON by Mindee Arnett. It reminded me of Firefly/Serenity, more so Serenity, if you've seen the movie. I really enjoyed it, but bad things kept happening to Jeth (the main character) and I just wanted something good to happen to him once in a while! I'll probably do a vlog review about this soon.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I *just* started brainstorming the new WiP yesterday. I created a world that I'm really excited about, and I kinda have characters; I know what the relationships will be to the different characters in the WiP, but I have no backstory yet. Or plot. So yeah... still working on that. I have an inkling, but I'm not sure if I like it yet, so I guess it's just more brainstorming for now.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
Pinterest! I've been pinning pictures to my WiP board (called Hanging Gardens) for a while now, and I'm so happy I finally get to start. Looking at all the atmospheric pictures is definitely helping my inspiration because it was waning a little bit before.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Finally finished the chem praxis, so I'm just waiting for my scores. And applying to jobs. I'm getting super antsy because I just want next year to be nailed down. And I'm looking for new apartments, which is kinda dependent on where I'll be next year (and if I can afford it...) so I'm trying not to stress about it. Whatever's supposed to happen, will happen. (I just have to keep telling myself that.)

I finally saw The Fault In Our Stars! I dragged two of my guy friends along (one the bf and one the bff, because I knew the bf wouldn't cry and the bff totally would). Really enjoyed Ansel's portrayal of Gus and since I hadn't read the book in long time, it reminded me of all the themes of oblivion. I actually did a vlog about it, if anyone's interested.

How's your week going? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Myers Briggs & Personality Types

So I've recently become obsessed with the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator. I've been trying to analyze all my friends and/or even actors if I can get a glimpse of their personalities from the interviews I watch. I even found a Harry Potter and Star Wars Myers Briggs profile that I've pinned on Pinterest for easy reference.

It's pretty amazing to me that everyone, in the world, can be broken down into just 16 types. Obviously that doesn't mean everyone is the same; I have multiple friends who are ESFPs and they are vastly different. But generally, they have very similar characteristics.

Despite being obsessed with this, I never really used it for my characters, but now that I'm thinking about it, it makes me want to go back and revise for specific types. It's a very useful tool, one that I have not been utilizing.

For those who don't know the Myers Briggs personality types, it's four categories, divided into two options each (which is why it's a total of 16). Myself, I'm an INTJ, so I am introverted (recharge by being alone), intuitive (plan ahead, utilize creative solutions, big picture person), thinking (make choices based on logic) and judging (organized and take responsibility seriously). On the flip side, you could be extraverted (recharge by being with others), sensing (live in the here and now, practical solutions, detail person), feeling (make choices based on emotion) or perceiving (disorganized, more care free, usually late), or anything in between.

What's your personality type and do you use it for your writing?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's Up? (Wednesday)

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch, hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk.

WHAT I'M READING
I just started AVALON by Mindee Arnett. I really enjoyed THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, so when I heard she was writing a YA SF, I knew I had to read it. So far I really like it, but I haven't had a lot of spare time (haha, spare time is a myth!) so I'm not too far in to it. But it totes hooked me by the first chapter, so I know I'm going to love it.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I'm... not writing anything right now. Currently querying TDoC, and I've been studying for my chem Praxis test, so writing's been on hold. I do have two SNIs, so I'm excited to finally start up again!

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
This sounds pretty bad, but famous authors who've had multiple rejections. Being in the query trenches is hard, so knowing that there were other great authors who have gotten tons of rejections is keeping me going! And knowing it only takes ONE agent to say yes. *fingers crossed*

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Besides studying for chem, I'm job searching. (Anyone know of any bio or chem high school teaching jobs in Philly? eh? eh?) Also trying to get back into running after a brief hiatus. Summer League for Ultimate frisbee just started, so I have games two nights this week, which is awesome. It's so nice to play and be active after studying for weeks straight.


What have you been up to? Anything fun??

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Writer's Voice Entry: THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS (YA SF)

I am very excited to have been chosen by the Rafflecopter to enter The Writer's Voice contest! My submission is below.

Query:

Dear Writer's Voice coaches,


Seventeen-year-old Tesla Sonenclare can decrypt a coded message in nanoseconds thanks to her ability to see numbers and letters with innate color. She has synesthesia, a condition that mixes up her senses, causing sounds, letters, and smells to all have colors. This allows her to see patterns in numbers more easily. But in a time when genetic engineering is the norm, not knowing a child's origin is taboo, and Tesla's bio parents were never found from their car crash; so she's not just adopted, she's "unknown". No parents' genes to tell her or the rest of the world who she is. Instead, people tell her that she, and her family because they adopted her, are second rate.

During her mandatory school internship at the General Intelligence agency, Tesla hopes her code-breaker skills will finally prove she's more than her unknown-status. She uses her synesthesia to decode a message that points to a security breach at G.I. But since no one else can replicate Tesla's decryption, her supervisor doesn't believe her. When the blueprints of G.I. are stolen, like Tesla predicted, she becomes the sole suspect.

And she's charged with treason.

Tesla must use her code-breaking skills to clear her name before any more of G.I.'s intelligence is stolen, and she's convicted of a crime she didn't commit. But when her adoptive family gets implicated, she must choose between her own deteriorating status and freedom, or the freedom of the people who gave her everything.

THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS is a YA sci-fi complete at 70,000 words. The sci-fi world will appeal to readers of Scott Westerfeld's UGLIES series and Marissa Meyer's LUNAR CHRONICLES series. It is a standalone novel with series potential. I have a bachelor's degree in biology and linguistics, a master's in education, and am currently working on my next novel.


First 250 words:

The reds of the song, mostly crimson and burgundy, mingled with the blue breakfast smells, making it hard to taste anything at all. The musicians outside The Digital Snackbar turned down their synthetic amps, relieving me of the overpowering colors. That was the thing about synesthesia; it always jumbled my senses. Music and smells turned into colors in my mind, so music in the morning always distracted from the smell of breakfast. And I loved breakfast.

Color floated around the restaurant like one of those ancient lava lamps. My mother had given me one for my seventeenth birthday a few months ago, but I couldn't get it to work. I hadn't figured out a way to convert the old plug to LiteEnergy. 

The family behind us whispered in their plasti-carbon booth. The plastics in the seat cover made a distinctive fuchsia sound as the family repositioned themselves in their seats.

"She looks so different from the rest of her family," the father said a little too loudly. His eyes didn't stray from the booth as he shoveled in his breakfast, but I knew he was talking about me. They always were.

I put down my spork and massaged my temples.

"Her hair -- it's just so blond," the daughter said. "It's practically white. And the others are just so... dark."

"I think I recognize them," the mother said, "from that news article a while back. I think she's the... 'unknown' one."

I went to turn around, but my mother grabbed my arm.

"It's not worth it," Mom said, shaking her head.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why I love YA

Many of my friends who read adult books don't quite understand why I love YA so much. I get asked this frequently because I love to read so much. So I've explained my reason in a vlog as to why I love YA. I do read an occasional adult book (usually thriller or fantasy) so it's not to say I hate adult books, my preferences are just with YA :) (Link is below.)



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Words Have Meaning

I think with online communities it's easy to forget that there's a real person behind the profile picture or screen name. This doesn't happen so much in the writing community, but in other forums or YouTube there is a lot of nastiness, simply because we forget we're talking to real people. So I decided to vlog about it and the power words have (good and negative).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING
I just started THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern. This is actually the second time I got it from the library because the first time I never got around to reading it (because I had like 8 books from the library and had to return it before even opening it). But I'd heard so many great things about it, I had to get it again. I'm only a few chapters in but it's so different and intriguing and atmospheric! I really like it so far.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still working on revisions and the query for TDoC. I haven't done any actual writing since it's with a few CPs, but I've already realized a few small tweaks I have to make before querying. And I'm researching agents. (So not actual writing, but has to do with writing.)

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
For my education classes, I'm reading about fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. Fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence and talent is fixed; that it's innate and cannot change. Growth mindset is the belief that you can acquire more intelligence or talent as you grow and learn. This concept is reinforced by telling students they're smart (fixed) or telling them they're hardworking (growth). [You can read a NYTimes article on this here if you feel inclined.] I thought this concept is really interesting because I kinda fell in the middle before hearing about it. I always thought I was decently smart/not quite talented in English (I was always told I was good at science), but I work hard at it. I attributed my wanting to write to stubbornness over talent. But that stubbornness is actually just a growth mindset, that I can keep learning and become skilled at it. So this makes me feel inspired that I can grow in to talent by working hard.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Still working on my YouTube channel. I've started doing nerdy crafts which just doubly adds to the mind set of creating things. On Monday, I made a dalek from Doctor Who, which didn't quite go as planned, but seeing it on my shelf is pretty cool, knowing that I made it myself (without a guide and only from a picture!) If you'd like to check out my channel, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/user/StessaSays

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Queries: summarize the whole book or just first third?

As I'm rounding out revisions for TDoC, I'm also revising my query. And I'm in a bit of a predicament.

I've researched how to write a query, know that you need a hook, setup, conflict and consequences. But I've heard differing things about how much of your story to put in the query. Should it be the whole thing? Or just the first third or so?

Now my story has different conflicts (as many stories have) and there are two or so main ones. One comes more toward the middle/end, and one comes at the beginning/middle. Both are parts of the overall conflict but just kind-of different perspectives. The middle/end conflict is the one that really packs the punch and has (IMHO) the better stakes/consequences. But it's at the middle/end. Is that the conflict I should write my query around? Or should I use the beginning/middle conflict because that's what happens first (and agents might not get to the end)? And I've been hearing differing things about which to include.

So that's the conundrum I'm in right now.

What do you think? Should I use the end conflict that has better stakes/consequences or the middle conflict that comes first?


Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

I'm over on YouTube discussing the book All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill! Absolutely loved it. Click the link below to get to the review if you feel inclined :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's up Wednesday

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING
I started reading THESE BROKEN STARS and have to admit, I almost put it down. Actually, I did put it down. It couldn't buy into the angst and the liking each other and then almost insta-hate, but I found myself still thinking about the book and the setting. And if I was still thinking about it, I figured I'd give it another try. And once I got passed that beginning (slash kinda the middle) I started really enjoying it. The setting is wonderful, but so different than the SF I'm writing, and I started really liking the characters and what was going on with them. I haven't finished yet, so I'm interested to see how it ends.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I've been finishing up the (hopefully) last draft of revisions for THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS, my YA SF. I hope to query it sooner rather than later, but I'm not putting any deadlines on it. I think I'm gonna have one last round of critiques just to make sure that the revisions I did aren't totally off-base.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
I've been a little down on the inspiration front lately, but then I started reading Jack Canfield's The Success Principles. I'm only a little ways in, but I already feel more invigorated. He talks about creating goals and then doing everything in your life with those goals in mind, and only doing things that line-up with your goals. While this is a bit extreme, it was a good reminder that your goals should be at the front of your mind. I was kind-of forgetting this. So I realigned my work with my goals and feel so much better!

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I've been working on my YouTube channel.  I was apprehensive about it at first because I thought it'd be something where I'd run out of ideas or that it would get old, but I'm really enjoying it.  I post book reviews, vlogs, nerdy things I've made, random thoughts and obsessions, and I keep getting more ideas.  There's just something about creating videos that I really enjoy, something that you can point to and say "I made that".  It's similar with writing, but with that, it takes much longer to point to something and say "I did that".  If you feel inclined to check it out, you can find my channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/StessaSays


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Standalone with series potential

Sorry for all the revisions talk, but it's what I'm currently doing and it is hard. *noms some chocolate*

As of now my WiP is a standalone (obvi), but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about a sequel. Emphasis on *thinking*. I haven't outline a sequel and don't intend to, (unless I get an agent and it gets an editor and they say go for it), so that whole business is waaaay down the line, if it even happens at all. But right now I'm working on the ending, and with the thought that maybe some day there could be a sequel, I'm starting to wonder if my ending is too "wrapped up". I've gotten a few notes from CPs saying they thought it was too wrapped up, attributing it to a different point. But maybe it's too wrapped up because there should be a hint at a sequel.

Now this is a fine line. I want my story to feel complete, that my MC's journey is over. But maybe there's an unanswered question or two. My MC solved her problem, but maybe there's a bigger problem, lurking in the end pages, that never gets solved. Would it still feel like a completed ending then? Or would it be too obvious that there could be a sequel? Fine line.

So that's what I'm working through right now, how to make this manuscript a standalone with series potential.

Have you ever come across this problem?  How did you solve it?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fangirl: A vlog book review

I'd heard so much about this book that I finally had to read it.  I ended up liking it even more than Eleanor & Park (which I absolutely loved!)  If interested, below is my review via vlog (just click the link).

Let me know if you've read it and what your thoughts were on Fangirl!



Friday, February 7, 2014

Endless Revisions And Those Scenes You Try To Sneak By CPs

Even Max is ready to be done revisions
So I posed a question a few posts ago about how you know when you're book is "done".  And what does
that really mean?  And while I'm still pondering that, I think I'm a little farther than I was before, in answering that question for my current WiP.  (Emphasis on "my", and "current".  I'm sure it is different for everyone and every book that they write.)

I've revised this WiP so many times that I've lost count.  I also have a pretty weird writing style, that it kind-of doesn't translate into how many drafts I have.  Everyone is different, right?  Yerp.

But along this road of revisions, you kind of know when things don't work.  You're just waiting to see if they slide past your CPs.  Welp, they don't.  Ever.  And I think this last round of critiques for TDoC, I didn't have any of those scenes that I was trying to sneak by.  Or I knew I had them, but I needed some help with how to change them.  And now I have that help.

So I finally admitted to myself that I may be rounding the end point.  I even told the roommate he could read it.  (Though he doesn't really read.  At all.  So we'll see if that happens.)  It's this feeling in my gut that it's the best that I can make it.  And I guess that's really the stopping point, right?  It's either good enough and it'll get an agent, or it's not, and I'll continue with writing my next book.  There's not much more I can do with it at this point.

Now I still have some tweaks to do and a whole 3 page list of things to change, but that's it.  After those things, I think I really am "done".

Is it just me or are those words absolutely terrifying?  (And exciting?)  (At the same time?)


Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review (in vlog form!): The Distance Between Us

Recently, I finished The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, and I absolutely loved it.  I felt it was the type of book that might get looked over, but that I thoroughly enjoyed, and wanted to spread the word.  I also recently decided to start a Youtube channel.

So I decided to mix the two together.

Below is my (spoiler-free) review of The Distance Between Us.  (Click the link.)  My YouTube channel won't just be books; it will include other rants, creations (of art and non-art), and vlogs of adventures.  (There are a few other videos already up, if you're intrigued to take a look.)

Let me know if you've read it, what you thought, or if you've read Pivot Point (because I absolutely loved that book too!)





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Does Done Really Mean?

On Saturday I sent the latest revisions of my MS to some CPs.  I've revised this manuscript so many times that I've lost count.  But each time, it's gotten better.  So naturally I'm thinking, if I keep revising, it will continue to get better.  But will it?  There is such a thing of revising too much.  So when is a MS done?  That's something I'm still trying to figure out.  When is good enough, good enough?  And do I really just want good enough and not good?  What's the difference?

It's these things that run through my mind as I sent my MS off to *fingers crossed* the last set of critiques.  I'm hoping, except for a few tweaks, that this might be it.  That I'm done.  That it's good.  Or good enough.  Or something.

I've never queried, and frankly, the thought kinda terrifies me.  I don't want to put something out there that isn't close to being ready.  But I think it's really hard to be so subjective with your own work.  There's always something that could be revised again.  Just a bit more tension here, a few tweaks there.  Can always keep working on the same piece.  And as a perfectionist, that's what I tend to do.

But at the same time, if it's done, it's done.  I shouldn't prolong it because of nerves, that could lead to over-editing.  Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to query at some point, but also terrified.  And I want the MS to be the best that it can be.

This where I have to trust my gut, I think (and my CPs).

How do you tell if your work is good enough? (Whatever that means.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Resolutions A Day Late

So it is officially 2014.  *woohoo*

2013 was decent, but I never ended up querying like I thought I would.  And I'm totes okay with this.  I saw someone tweet the other day reminding herself it's not a race, and I had to remind myself of that too.  I saw another tweet that said don't query before you're ready just because of some goal you made, "to query before the new year", and I thought that was a really good thought too.

In 2013 I decided to shelve my first MS because it needs a total re-write and I just didn't have the energy to concentrate on it anymore.  I'll go back to it someday.  I concentrated on my second MS, THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS, which I hope to query at some point, and wrote a "draft zero" of a third (which I will get back to after TDoC).  I learned a lot about myself writing wise and in life.

But now it's time to push forward, and that means resolutions.

I've been toying with the idea to start a vlog/YouTube channel, to kinda keep track of my experiences (in life and writing).  Writing is such a solitary endeavor that sometimes I forget just to go outside and do things.  So I thought vlogging/videoing it would be an interesting way to kinda remind myself to do things and also to create other art when I can no longer look at a screen.  I just want to make sure it doesn't fall apart when I get busy.

So those are my resolutions: write, read, video and create.  (Maybe throw some exercise in there too.)  What are yours?