Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: January 24th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (originally published in 1993)
Format: Paperback, 179 pgs.
Source: Purchased


When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. Now, it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Be True to Your Writerly Self

On Twitter the other day, someone told me that I couldn't edit until I was finished writing, and while it's sound advice it actually kind of pissed me off. I know I've told a couple of writers to just try to finish the book before the start editing, and my reasoning was that they haven't finished one because they get caught up in the editing. Going back over passages over and over and changing their minds and the story so that it's never finished. This type of editing is not good, at least not to me.

But the thing about writers is we're all unique. Each and every one of us does things a little differently. Some people spend months hammering out their storyline with sticky notes and whiteboards. Others sit down at their computers, open a blank document, and begin typing furiously until, less than three months later, they have a first draft. And then there are some who toe the line, doing a little of this and a bit of that; but no two writers follow the exact same method. We each bring something of ourselves to the table, just like we do in our actual writing.

Now this person, I'm sure, didn't mean any offense when they told me I couldn't edit until I was finished writing. Only there's something about my writing that person didn't know: I wasn't just writing. I was editing.

You see, like all of you, I have my own method, and it's still growing and changing as I do. I thought about my TSA during school last semester, and I refused to work on it until I had free time. I jotted down notes, made comments on plot points, just little things (mostly during Biology, I'll be honest). And when I finally sat down to write it, it took me all of about three months to hammer the entire first draft out. My first draft, read like a third draft, something that's never happened to me before. So I know this method works for me. I let my idea simmer, so that when I wrote my first draft I already knew my story, which allowed me to focus more on the characters and the writing. It was awesome.

Now here's where my method branches off a little. When it came time for me to edit, do you know what I did? I opened a brand new word doc, and I started completely over. This draft is 100% new words. I don't copy and paste from the 1st draft at all. I may open it up, as I occasionally do, to double check some things, but this draft is both writing and editing. I'm changing the story and the characters with every new word I write. Making it better in so many ways.

My method, is not your method. In fact, my method may be the exact opposite of yours. But the point is, that we all have our own way of doing things, and we'll all write our books and make it to the finish line whenever we do. It's not a race. It's not a competition to see who can write a first draft fastest or best. Though I'll admit a little friendly competition can be nice. It's about the story. It's about us. We're writers. We're unique, and each and every one of us is made of awesome.

So when someone tries to tell you how to do your job, remember, they aren't you, and they couldn't possibly know what works best for you better than you do. Go, be awesome. : )

Friday, December 24, 2010

Review: Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: October 19, 2010 by Philomel
Format: ARC 453 pgs.
Source: Contest


Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Jessica Z.

Jessica Z. by Shawn Klomparens 

Age Group: Adult
Published: June 24, 2008 by Delta
Format: Paperback, 340 pages
Source: To Review


Welcome to Jessica's world...

When Jessica Zorich met a tall, charismatic artist at a San Francisco party, her life had been all about coping: with a baffling and dangerous world, with a mostly inane job, and with a sweet but meandering relationship with her upstairs neighbor. But Josh Hadden doesn't cope: he's a man of action, of big visions, and of relationships that span the globe; a man certain of his passions, politics, art, and desire. And what Josh desires most is Jessica - at a time when being desired might be the most desirable thing of all.

In this daring, mesmerizing debut, a novel that brilliantly captures the angst of a generation, Jessica gives herself over to an erotic, reckless relationship with a man guarding deep secrets - and to a perfect storm of lust, doubt, joy, and fear. Now, against her better judgment, she is following Josh into his mystifying life and brilliant, dizzying work, where she will find out how much she has been missing, how far she has yet to go, and what the price of this intoxicating adventure will be.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Kristi over at The Story Siren is hosting the 2011 Debut Author Challenge in which lots of book lovers come together in an attempt to read as many debuts as possible throughout the year (12 minimum). This year, I will (try) to be one of them.

Here's the starter list of 2011 debuts I want to get my hands on:

XVI by Julie Karr
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Possession by Elana Johnson
Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
Banish by Gretchen McNeil
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

And those are just the ones I've been looking forward to for months. :)

Will you be participating?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why hello there!

What's this? Another new post? It's a miracle!

I know. I know. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. It's harder than you'd think. Sigh.

Anyway, I finally got to start writing again. I'm on draft 2 of TSA, and boy did I miss it. I broke 12k the other day; I was seriously beginning to wonder if it would ever happen (pushing 13k now - WOO!). I've got some big goals for this one over the break: finish draft 2, edit, send to some readers, edit, send to a couple of agents. We'll see if that happens. But I'm certainly going to try!

On a slightly related (if you think in terms of publishing and books in general I suppose) I had to stop reading for Awesome Agent because of school, which totally sucked by the way (school AND not being able to read for AA). But since she's made of pure awesome (hence the name) she's taking me back, at least for the break. I've already looked at one partial and have another to read for her today. I love this business, and knowing that makes the thought of moving from Arkansas (don't judge me) to New York that much easier. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing than bringing my own and others' books into the world, except for playing my instruments, but that's an even harder job to get into. O.O

Books. There are so many that I haven't had a chance to read and so many more that have come out. It's crazy. I'm going to do so much reading over the break, because I have at least 3 books that I have to review that desperately need to get read. Sigh. Sometimes I fail at life.

And on that note, have any of you had any success while I was away? Book deals? Agent signings? Do tell!

(Did I mention how much I missed all of you?)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Knock, Knock

*looks out at followers* Are you guys still here? I know I recently lost two of you, and that saddens me, but ya know 2 months without an update is a good reason to go.

But, I'm alive!! Really, I'm right here. I promise. And this semester is so close to being finished it's funny in one of those I'm-going-crazy kind of ways. I haven't read a book in, umm, a long time. It hurts me. I think it's been longer since I had time to read than since the last time I posted, if that tells you anything. And it's been just as bad with my writing.

HOWEVER, I totally had time to open up my 2nd draft and do a little work on The Sandman's Apprentice!!!!!  So, really, guys, I'm back. Promise. I've got a few finals left, but then it's nothing but reading, writing, and doing some light working at the library. And then there's the bit of Christmas break I'm actually going home for, and then next semester, which should be a breeze compared to this one. I will never leave you again for two months. Even when I move to NY. I will find internet. I WILL talk to you all.

Anyway, all that to say that I missed you all, and I hope you don't hate me for dropping off the planet.


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