Thursday, December 26, 2013

Inspiration: Las Vegas

picture owned by smemon
Hello all!

I hope all of your holiday's out there were great. This year I spent my Christmas Eve and Christmas in the great Las Vegas. If you have never been there, you should definitely go some day. It's a beautiful town and the atmosphere is amazing.

What's really awesome about Vegas is the inspiration that just oozes out of the town. That's what I want to talk about. Inspiration. Shiny new ideas as the people on AbsoluteWrite call them! While walking down the Strip I saw a man in a mask on top of a bridge and in the flash of the neon lights, the man disappeared. And with that, a shiny new idea came to my mind!

It's funny really how this stuff just comes up in the middle of no where. I want to hear about when weird ideas come up to you. Let me know, because I find it interesting. One of my creative writing teachers once told my class that writers see the world in a different way. The kid part of us never goes away and we never stop day dreaming. So tell me some times when you thought of story ideas!

Also, I start editing my novel from nano last year. Well, started again. For a while I was tired of it, I didn't want to look at it anymore. But my love is back and I'm getting it done!

P.S. In case you were wondering, I did stay in the Paris hotel, but that is not my picture.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Finish Nano: Check

owned by Nano
Hello all of you out there.

As you can see from the banner above, I have won Nano! I ended up finishing the novel too, clocking in at almost 51 thousand. I'm very excited about this. I've now finished two novels! I will say, however, they are both far from being done and ready to be sent out.

It's exciting to have finished though. I now have two novels under my belt! It still baffles my mind to think about. I struggled a lot this month with school work and what not, and it's nice to have been able to finish this along with so many other tasks.

This leads into my next topic point. I've been neglecting this blog a lot this month. Last year I posted multiple times almost every week. I think this year I have one other post. However, that will change. I am done with all of my hard school work for this semester, minus one ten page paper. I will have much more time to write and reach out to others. I also plan on starting up on Road Trip Wednesdays again (run by YA Highway). 

I'm very excited for what's coming up! I hope you'll tune in too! And tell me, how was your Nano? Did you finish the 50k? Did you love what you wrote? Did you hate it? Talk to me!

also owned by nano
And in the spirit of finishing Nano, here is an excerpt from mine! This year's was a YA Contemporary.
               I watch him close his eyes and hum, tilting his head towards the sky a little bit. With the sun shining on his hair it looks almost white. “Thatch,” I say, my voice barely audible over the music. He looks at me and smiles. “I do like you.” He slowly walks over to me and stands a couple of feet in front of me. “I just... I need time.”
               He smiles again and puts his arms around me, pulling me close to him. “Dance with me.”
               “Right here?” I ask, looking into his eyes.
               “Why not?” he says, smiling again.
               He pulls me closer into him and I wrap my arms around his neck, wresting my head on his chest. I feel the heat radiating off of him and for the first time in months, I feel whole.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Falling Behind During Nano

So I write this for reasons that are obvious in the title. I'm falling behind in my WIP. When I first started I took off. I was ahead, and I mean really ahead, of the game! I thought I was going to cruise through this nano (click here to figure out what you're missing) like no other!

It only took a day or two of being busy with other things (like one of my two jobs, my internship, or my classwork) to fall behind. At the end of today, which is technically Sunday, I need to be at 16,666. As of right now I'm at 12,688. So yeah, this is happening.

I know that doesn't sound like a lot, and some of you reading this might even say I could catch up tomorrow, but the thing is there are other things in life that take up our time. Tomorrow night I'm working, and I have other work to do on my floor (RA PROBLEMS!) andddd I have to work on my final projects for class, seeing as finals are coming up.

I'm not feeling overwhelmed yet, but we'll see how this month pans out. I haven't given up hope yet. Last year I was behind for a majority of the time and then over the course of a day or two I just lost my mind and finished that dang word count!

But as of right now, I'm feeling like Michael Scott.

How are you doing on your word count? Are you nervous? Happy? Brag or vent in a comment!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pantser or Planner?

My ideas notebook!
As I'm sure a lot of you know, Nano is coming up (CLICK HERE TO LEARN) and for a while my story idea was struggling. I actually completely changed what my idea was going to be from the last time I posted a blog post. Speaking of which, my blog posting will get better this next month. It's something I do to distract myself from nano, so expect a lot more updates!

Anyway, I was completely freaking out because I finally got my two main characters in my head, and even some side characters, but I had not yet decided when my conflict was going to be. Last year I had been planning my novel in my head for months, so I was definitely a planner. I knew almost every scene that was going to happen, or some variation of it. I knew what I wanted to happen. This year, it looks like I'm going to be a pantser. 

Now there is an in between the two which is a percolator, I believe that's what they called it, and I guess I could be considered that. The notebook in the picture above has some brief outlines of events I want to happen or could potentially happen. Nothing is definite.

Either way, not being a planner is an extremely scary idea to someone like me! I like to have things planned out! I like to know when something is going to happen and how it's going to happen and I even plan out every ending in my head just so I have some vague idea of all the possibilities. 

But I guess trying out something new will be a good exercise for me. Pushing my boundaries might actually help me grow as a writer, so that's a plus. I'm just worried that by pantsing it, most of it will be crap because it'll be stuff I spewed out just to get word count. I want something to work with by the end of the month.

This fear is struck deep inside me. What do all of you out there do when you write? Do you plan every detail? And if not how do you calm that organization monster inside you?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nano Creeping Up

owned by Nanowrimo!
This year has been extremely busy for me. As soon as school started I felt like I got sucked into a whirlpool! I honestly feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off, but hey, that happens to everyone every now and then, right?

The past couple of months I've seen up's and down's in my life that I never in a million years could have imagined. With those up's and down's came extreme sacrifices and decisions that I never thought I would have to face.

But, we're trucking through!

As many of you know, or should know!, Nanowrimo is just around the corner! People will come together, and freak out together, as they try to push a novel out of them in just one short month. It can be a hard and daunting task, but when you finally finish it, it's exhilarating!

For a while I thought I wasn't going to be able to do it. I thought that my life was crazy and hectic and adding one more thing would just make my entire life fall apart. However, recently I've relieved some of that stress that's been holding me back and I think I'm going to jump back into Nano this year. Last year was my first year participating, and winning!, and the feeling of actually doing it made me want to cry and jump around with joy!

I can't give that up. Especially when life is so stressful! I know that when I finally do complete Nano this year, I'll be happy! It's something to look forward to!

Did anyone else have second thoughts about Nano this year?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sexism in YA

Just a funny sign.
So I know that sexism, along with homophobia and racism, is still a thing and turns up pretty much everywhere (as seen on the ad I have posted above). It's sad really that things like this are still around and people must be told WHY they're being racist, or WHY they're being sexist, and so on.

That's why I believe it's good to write strong female and LGBT characters along with characters who are not white, as they are predominant in most YA writing. I think it's a good thing for people to know that you don't have to be a straight, white, male to accomplish something and be a hero.

Nowadays it seems that these types of books are coming out. They empower all people instead of putting them down and making them feel like they are less because of how they were born. However, there are books that still come out today that just blatantly surprise me on how sexist characters can be. I will not name book titles, as I don't want to skew any views on a book before someone else has read it, but seriously author I will not name, what is wrong with you?

I have talked to my sister about a book in particular and while the character is very sweet to his girlfriend, at least in her opinion, he still says sexist things to her pretty much constantly. And although I'm still reading this book, she has informed me that the other male characters are all pretty much like that. To top off this cherry sundae of stereotypes, the female character is the typical teenage emotional girl that makes bad decisions.

The book I'm working on has a female lead who I believe is strong willed. She may make bad decisions, but that's not because she's a girl, it's because she's human. She's lost someone close to her, and that would make anyone kind of lose it. Now that I'm realizing this kind of thing in other stories, I wonder if my female character is just a stock character.

I want her to stand strong and not be a character that when read you roll your eyes and say "Why is she in this book and not in a high school drama book?"

Ugh, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what my beta readers have to say.

Anything like this in YA anger you?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

MFA Ranking, Applying, and other nonsense.

2013 GrassRoots

So I'll start off by telling you guys, I'm not sure if I already have, I got the Senior Co-Editor of GrassRoots. For those of you who haven't read this before, it's the job I applied for a while back that is co-running the undergraduate literary magazine at my college. I really wanted this position and for me it's like a dream come true!

I think of this job as, it has always been my dream to see my name in a book and if I can't do that, I want to make others come true and give that to them. (My name does appear in this book through, twice on two of my works and once under staff, a smaller position.) I want people to feel that same feeling I had when I found out my name would be in print! So here's hoping to a great year.

On top of wondering what all is going to come with that job this Fall (my senior year might I add) I have been working on my MFA applications. As anyone out there who has ever applied to MFA programs, you know how stressful this can be. There are so many questions you have to take into account. Do I take the GRE? How much money will I need to apply? Is this program right for me? Will I want to shoot myself living in such a small town, even if their program is ah-mah-zing!? (Yes, there is one of those on my list.)

This is proving to be even more stressful than I had originally thought, and trust me, I thought it was going to be EXTREMELY stressful. I'm now worried that even if I do get into a program what if their stipend isn't enough money to survive off of? What if I end up living on the streets? I can't live in a cardboard house! Urgh!

Only time will tell.

Friday, July 5, 2013

World War Z and Changing Your Story

World War Z. I just saw the movie the other day with the boyfriend and let me tell you, it was great. I literally jumped out of my seat multiple times and I was scared! I'm pretty easily scared at scary movies though, but not what I expected from this. I will say that it was different than the book, but anyone that's read the book knows it can't really be the same because the book doesn't have a main character! But this isn't a movie review blog, so I'll move on.

After watching almost every single movie, I go onto IMDB and read the Trivia section for said movie. If you've never done this before, I recommend it. You can find out really cool things about the movie that you didn't know before. They often put who was originally cast for a role, if it has changed, and who else was considered for roles. It's fun to imagine someone else in the movie!

While looking up the World War Z trivia, one of them really stuck out to me. The original script called for a much more dark ending. However, the studio wanted a different end so the entire third act was rewritten to fit the new ending they wanted. Now this wasn't an early on decision either. This decision was made so late in the game (figure of speech, don't get confused!) that it caused the release date to get pushed back.

In my current work in progress I made the same decision a couple of weeks ago. I'm rewriting the entire last two or three chapters and changing the ending. I'm doing this because, while I'm planning a trilogy, I want to write it so that it can be sold stand alone. I have read lots of articles, and direct advice from agents, that a lot of them are weary about signing on a new writer to a trilogy when they don't know how the first will do. So I'm changing my ending.

This just goes to show how fluid writing really is. It also shows how much power, as writers, we really have. We have the power to shift a story and completely change it if we decide. Sometimes it's required, and sometime we just want to. We can kill, or save, characters. We are in control, and if you aren't happy with what's going on in your writing, you can change it. You can make it what you want it to be.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

RTW 186: Best Book of June

Road Trip Wednesday: Best book of June. (Click here to see details)

Let me first say, it's crazy to think that June is already over! I feel like it was just yesterday that June 1st hit and I thought, this summer is going to be long! Now I have little over a month until I have to go back to training for work at school. Luckily it's my senior year.

Back to the best book. The book that really made me say, "wow" was The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard.

I won this book on the Goodreads giveaway section. If you haven't noticed, quite a bit of my book collection comes from this website. (Tip: If you don't have much money, the giveaway section is a great place to win free books, just make sure you leave a review as a thanks.)

It's about Kirsten, a young girl who idealizes a teenage girl that ends up dating her brother. The teenage girl goes missing and Kirsten's brother is the last to see her. The town, and even the family, start to implode. When I started reading this book I was weary. While it sounded interesting, it wasn't a book I'd normally pick up.

After I started reading it, I got more and more into the groove of the story. It was interesting reading the book with the teenage girl as a character, knowing she was going to disappear; just waiting for it to happen. (By the way, I didn't spoil anything, it says on the back of the book that the girl disappears!)

Then, I hit a spot in the book where I just felt like I was done. I knew what was going to happen, and I wanted to stop reading. I felt like I had all the answers and the book was just dragging it out to make a page length. I almost put the book down, and almost skimmed parts. Boy am I glad I didn't.

The ending hit. And when I say hit, I mean HIT. This book has one of the most mind boggling endings I have ever read. Others said it was out of nowhere, but looking back there were clues to this ending. I can usually see endings coming when watching movies, tv shows, and reading books, and this often takes the fun out of it. However, upon completing this book my jaw literally dropped and I said "holy crap" really loud, causing my boyfriend to give me a weird look. This ending goes down as one of my favorite endings of any book of all time. (Next to Divergent and Insurgent, which both pleasantly surprised me!)

Definitely give it a read if you get a chance!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

RTW 185:Superhuman Skills

This week's Road Trip Wednesday, which you should know about and if you don't can find out about HERE, is "If you were reborn faster, stronger, and quicker healing, what's the first thing you'd do?"

Let me start off by saying, if I were reborn with all those attributes, I'd hope to look like this.

Basically your worst nightmare. (Picture owned by epSos .de)
Beyond terrifying children with the way I look, I'd like to use my newfound life for good. I know you'll probably roll your eyes because every other person out there will say this too, but come on, who would be willing to admit (at least in front of people) that they'd use their powers for bad!?

So, I almost skipped this week because I didn't know what to say, but then I realized, I had to answer. One of my favorite movies of all time was The Incredibles. I loved it growing up and still do to this day. I have finally admitted to myself that I unfortunetly will never wake up being able to control things with my mind, or create force fields, etc. However, with these powers, I could be my own brand of super hero! 

I could be Kevin: Man of Steel (I saw Man of Steel in a special premiere the night before and LOVED it!). I would come up with a much more awesome name of course, but I'd be an incredible! Who could pass up on that? Some of my blogger friends on YA have picked other things like spy and I say BAH! (That might be fine for you, but come on, YOU COULD BE AN INCREDIBLE!) 

Although, Spy Kids was one of my favorite movies growing up too, but I am too old to be a spy kid and I feel like adult spies die way too often. I'm to the point of rambling.

So I cut myself off.

Incredible. I'd be an incredible. =D

Saturday, June 15, 2013


picture by nathangibbs
So, I'm sorry if I've talked about this before, but it's weighing on my mind. I thought about coming up with a clever title for this, but there's not clever about rejection is there? It's just... well, rejection. No clever titles. No glitter to mask it. Just rejection.

It sucks. Let's get that out of the way right away. There's no happy party "Yay I got a rejection!" You do that when you get a yes.

And probably a whole lot of this.
But they're not the end of the world. They really aren't. I've had enough of them to know that they won't brutally murder you like you think. They won't make you go into a deep depression and cry until your eyes fall out. Yes, you'll be sad. You might even get angry and want to tell of the people that rejected you (BAD ADVICE! This will completely cut you off from future submissions to that source).

I got some great advice from a teacher once. She is the head of the MFA program at Southern Illinois  University, Allison Joseph. I took her intro to poetry class as an Undergrad (which I still am) and she really is a great woman. She's a genius and knows what she's talking about. One day we talked about rejections. She told us that when she first got rejections, she gave herself to be sad/angry/whatever else she wanted to feel. As time progressed and she got more rejections, she told us that she gave herself a week, then a day, and then an hour.

The idea here, if you didn't pick up, is that you don't dwell on them. You give yourself a little bit of time to be sad/angry/whatever then you move on. Just because one magazine didn't like your poem/short story/etc doesn't mean a different magazine won't. It doesn't mean it's bad, or that you should scrap it. It means you write. You continue to try new magazines, new poems, new short stories, and you move on. Don't let anyone stop you from writing. You write no matter what others say because in the long run, you aren't writing for others; you're writing for you. You're writing because you love it.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Minecraft and Living in Your Own World!

Hello all! As you can see above I do enjoy playing some Minecraft. In fact, I've been doing it quite a bit while reading at the same time. It's a skill I've learned that not many can posses ;). One thing that I find really fun about Minecraft is that I can create things that I'm writing in my story. Buildings, areas, etc. I read on absolutewrite that apparently a lot of people build their characters and what not on Sims, which I ALSO love, but I have yet to try that! It's really fun to be able to walk through a place that I've only made in my head. Seeing it also comes in handy when writing. It's just a really fun way to help my writing, and be a distraction when I need it! I think it'd be really awesome to do it in Second Life, but I don't have that either.

Anyway, I've been editing my WIP progress lately and it's turning out a lot better than I expected! I've added on about twelve pages and I'm not even half way through. The best part is that this is just my first read through so that I can change it from past to present. In case I didn't say specify in my my old post about past or present, I'm going with present. The story just reads so much better now that I've made the decision and I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

On a different note, I'm going to be applying to Grad school soon, EEK! I'm really nervous about this and my sister keeps telling me I need to work on my writing sample, which I know I do, but it's a really scary thought! I can't believe that it's coming so soon! My senior year of college is going to go by so fast I won't know what hit me. Before long, I'll know whether or not I'm in an MFA program and my entire life is going to change. I'm just a wee bit stressed here!

What's going on with your life out there? Inform me! Distract me! I like hearing from others! =]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

RTW 183: Best Book of May

This one was really hard for me. Last week the RTW was what book really swept you off your feet. For it I talked about Recipes for Disaster by Tess Rafferty. The thing is, it really did sweep me off my feet, AND I read it in May. However, I didn't want to do the same book, or put the same link up, so I'm deciding to not give all my praise to one book and do another that I really liked that I also read in May!

I'm a little torn here. I've read plenty of good books in May, but it's hard to choose one to talk about. I think I'll go with a different approach and talk about one I won on Goodreads, SURPRISE THERE (sarcasm), that is a Middle Grade book. Hold up, before you roll your eyes and close your browser, read the rest of this post, hear me out!

I normally don't read middle grade novels because, well, they don't appeal to me. Don't go yelling at me, "It's because they're for middle grade aged readers!" Bologna! If Young Adult books were only read by YA aged readers, well, you can only imagine! But, I won the book The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace by Adam C. Veile and let me tell you, it really surprised me at how good it was! Veile even signed the book and sent me a personal message on goodreads to top it off!

Anyway, the book is about a boy who faces things most kids his age face, girls and bullies, then moves onto him dealing with things like foreclosure on his house. Veile has managed to intertwine subjects usually meant for adults into a kids book so that they can relate too. It's sad that in today's time kids that age actually have to deal with things such as this. Blake, the main character, even talks about what it would like to live on the streets!

The storyline was actually really compelling, and even managed to address things like death in a way that younger kids can understand while not being completely freaked out. The idea of the dreamcatcher that Veile uses is something really unique that I had never heard of. Blake is so realistic, you'd think the book was written by Blake himself. The suspense, yes there's suspense!, is so good I actually found myself not able to stop reading!

There's so much more that I could say about this book, and if you have any questions feels free to comment, but I would like to keep this post shorter than book length. I find myself actually interested in reading the second book when it comes out. (The first cleverly set up a storyline in passing conversation that could be stretched into a series.)

I highly recommend this to anyone that would like a quick read or even to those of you who have kids, you could read it to them if they're younger or have them read it. Definitely worth picking up!

Have any of you ever been surprised by liking a book in a genre or subject matter that you normally don't gravitate towards?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Editing and Scrivener

Hello all! How are you today? Grand I hope!

It stormed really bad here (Southern Illinois) last night and I know it stormed bad in a lot of other places too. So, I hope everyone out there stayed safe through the night!

On a lighter note, lately I've been editing my novel (and by lately I mean I've been doing it more adamantly after taking a break after Nano). This is only my first read through and I'm editing it from past to present tense, which is proving to be more difficult than I originally thought.

I've done about 20 thousand words and I have about 45 thousand words left to edit. And this is only my first read/editing! I haven't even added in the, at least two or three, scenes I want to add in. This editing process is no joke people! I'm sure most of you already know that though.

My question is, you people out there, do you use Word, Scrivener, etc. to edit your novel? Right now I'm using Word but I have only read good things about Scrivener, and to me it seems to be the most widely used by writers. I have also read it has an insanely long tutorial that most people skip. I am interested in buying Scrivener but I'm not sure if it's worth the money!

At least it has a cool logo!
Are there any other editing programs out there that are, in your opinion, worth looking into? I'm open minded and willing to look at new ones, just have to inform me!

Also, with getting closer to being half way done with my first edit, the idea of a query pops in my head. Yes, yes, I know that I still have a long time before I should even be worrying about it, but hey! A boy can dream! The idea of a query also freaks me out! Namely because I've read online that if an agent passes on a query, it's a general rule not to query them on the same project, even if the query is different. What if all the agents hate it!? I guess it'll just be time to move onto the next project, eh?

Anyway, what do you people out there use to edit? How do you go about writing a query and not being so stressed/scared?. Let me know your secrets!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

RTW 182:What book swept you off your feet?

Awesomely hilarious.
The book that really swept me off my feet was Recipes for Disaster by Tess Rafferty.

Now I know what you're thinking, who is Tess Rafferty, right? Yeah, I said the same thing. In fact, when I woke this book on Goodreads in a giveaway, I didn't even remember entering into the contest. I can't say how happy I am that I did win it. Tess was once a writer for the show, The Soup, and it really shows through in her writing.

I've read food memoirs (the cover says memoir but don't let it fool you, it's a food memoir) in the past, Toast sticks out in my mind whenever anyone says food memoir, but this one was different. Tess goes about food in a way that is not only honest and true, but hilarious. She always seemed to have a positive way to look at things even if they were unbelievably terrible. She focuses on having dinner parties and makes them seem horribly stressful and extremely fun at the same time. She also gives advice on how to cook for picky eaters (picky by choice and picky by food allergies) that will come in handy to anyone who cooks for someone with food allergies. For example she is allergic to most fruits and vegetables, something she talks about a lot during the memoir.

Her tips, and recipes, that showed up at the end of each chapter were hilarious and totally doable, many of which I plan on trying out (all with alternatives for food allergies). The entire time I was reading this memoir I felt more as if I were talking to a friend rather than reading a book. Her positive attitude and ability to make extremely stressful things seems fun have made me want to start having dinner parties of my own! I recommend this book to anyone that likes to laugh, cook, or drink (there is a lot of drinking involved).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Long time, no see!

Oh, hey!

I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but please, don't start sharpening the pitchforks and gathering the townsfolk! I have a legitimate reason! I recently moved into my apartment with my boyfriend! Moving is not easy, as I'm sure a lot of you know. It took a lot out of us and the reason why I have not been updating is because we are still without internet. I will be getting it on Wednesday though and I plan to go back to every Friday posting as before.

Because I have not had internet, or cable for that matter, I have managed to get quite a bit of reading done. I finished three books in four days! I mean, it wasn't like I was reading some super intellectual, heavy stuff, but reading is reading. And I managed to edit a chapter of my WIP in those four days so that was nice also. I am very excited about all the stuff I will be talking about coming up so make sure you check in on Friday, and possibly on Wednesday depending on what the Road Trip Wednesday is.

How have all of you out there been doing? Swell I hope!

Monday, May 6, 2013

One Life to Live: Revival

So, I have a thing for soaps. And I will admit, when One Life to Live premiered on Monday, I was one of the first to watch it. I'm not ashamed of this at all. I've been watching it for about seven years now, on and off through college. It started with my grandma and then my sister getting me into them, so they have a bit of sentimental value behind them.

One thing about soap operas that I'm tired of, which I've talked to my sister about, is the stereotyping that comes with it. They assume all watchers are white women who have no jobs and stay at home. I'm not exaggerating. A reporter at the NYtimes essentially said that. A person my sister knows said to her "people who watch soap operas don't contribute to society and live vicariously through the characters." It's comments like these that make people who watch them seem... well... crazy.

Sometimes, yes, soap operas can be dramatic, but so what? The average person I know, or come into contact with, on a daily basis have lives more dramatic than that. I'm rambling a little bit, let me get back on track...ish. I will admit the story line this week was a little weird, but hey, they're getting back into the groove and it'll pick back up. I'm excited to see what's going to happen next and plan on watching it faithfully!

Judge me if you'd like, I think they're fun.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Genre Writing

If you can't tell, I like GIFS... and Spongebob.
I've been thinking a lot about what I write lately. A couple of different things have popped up that have really got me thinking about the fact that I write Young Adult. First was over Winter Break when I started looking up MFA programs that I wanted to apply to. I knew most of the programs wouldn't have any kind of YA type things but I wasn't prepared for the fact that almost all reputable programs say specifically no genre writing. This really got me down. But I've talked to my sister, who is getting her PhD at University California Riverside and my personal mentor, and she helped me realized something. Just because I don't get into my program off my YA writing does not mean I can't still write YA.

Another thing that happened was I recently applied for a position at the schools undergraduate literary magazine Grassroots. For my interview I had to bring them a writing sample. I know most people look down on YA writing as not real writing, so I decided to bring in one of my non-YA works. This also made me realize, and I will restate, most people look down on YA writing. For all you YA writers out there, you know this stinks and is a common thing. It really is a bummer that most people see YA writing as not real or not good.

The third thing that happened that made me think about it was an article I read on YA Highway's blog. It asked the question, do you read outside your genre. My answer is yes. I have to. Because of my school classes I am required to read almost exclusively things that are out of the genre that I write. I think this is good for me though. It really helps me improve my writing. However, it makes me realize how little YA is read in college and the fact that it really isn't credited well.

I know I have led you down a long and depressing road of what seems like anti-YA but I have a point. The thing is, if you're out there and are like me, feeling like YA isn't looked upon well, then what I have to say is, forget them. Really all that matters is you're writing, right? You're doing what you love, no matter what genre. While I think it is a good idea, and very important, to read other genres, just remember to stay faithful to what you love. Don't let someone else persuade you that your writing will never be good enough because the characters aren't the right age, or the fact that your setting may be a little fantasy. Do what you love, and forget the rest.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Books, books, and more books.

As you can see, I like cats.

This is pretty much what I've been doing for the past two weeks while lying in bed, thinking about all the homework I have to do. It is quite a nice time waster.

I have been so swamped with end of school things that, to be honest, made me have no time for this blog. I apologize for that! However, school things are starting to wrap up so I will be on Blogger more and posting every Friday, as promised.

Although it takes up a lot of my time, my schoolwork does introduce me to quite a few good books along the way. I have recently read Donald Duk by Frank Chin and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. My teacher informed us that Zadie Smith is quite popular, especially with her newest novel NW. They actually offered NW as a goodreads giveaway not too long ago. I did not win that one though!

Both books are quite good and I would recommend them to anyone who likes to read about people coming to terms with their identities. Donald Duk is about a Chinese boy living in America and not wanting to be Chinese. It's really very good and it's a quick read. White Teeth is about many different cultures and beliefs coming together with a London setting. It's very well written and informative. If you can, pick them up and give them a read.

Any book recommendations you people out there have for me? With summer coming up I will have plenty of time to read!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Exciting News!

Hello all!

I have some exciting news to talk about this week! Earlier this week I found out that I was the runner up in a poetry contest that my campus held (Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry contest)! I got to read my poem on stage in front of people, including the guest judge Nickole Brown who is a professor at Little Rock, Arkansas.

Brown read some of her work, and oh man it was awesome! It was really great talking to her afterward about the poem that she had picked for runner up. It was a totally new experience to me and it was really all around awesome! It was nice to know that my poetry is good enough that an author picked it, especially considering I'm a fiction person and not a poetry person.

Being chosen basically led to.. well... this!
Then turned into this...

But I made it through! I talked a little fast, and I felt a little awkward at first, but I got through it! And I enjoyed it! I won a notebook to write in and a 25 dollar Amazon gift card. Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

So guys, what have you won/been recognized for/etc!? Brag/share/toot your own horn!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Epiphany: Outlining

owned by.... well you know
Have any of you ever had an epiphany moment? When you're just sitting there, day dreaming when you should be doing something else, and you just think, "Yes! Yes, this is it!" Well, I had one of those.

I was sitting in class, talking about a super long poem that I actually enjoy, I was just ready for Friday, and I started thinking about my trilogy I've had in mind for a long time now. Along with that I was thinking about an old Veronica Roth post about how she hated outlining also. (Which you can read HERE)

So, after deciding that, even though I hate outlining and it may not be that bad to do, I started thinking about what would happen in the second and third books, if I do go on with them. In my head I now have planned what will happen with almost every character in my series! I understand that these things may change and what not but, for now, they are planned. It's an exciting thought to know exactly what will happen (roughly) later on!

Another thing Roth pointed out that I had never thought about was, if I outline my story I don't have to write it in order if I outline. Let's face it, sometimes there is a part of our stories that we just don't want to write but it necessary for the story to progress or make sense. Roth made me realize that with an outline I can write any part of the story I want because I know what is happening now, then, later, always. I love it! Now I'll be able to write every day because I won't be forced to write that scene. I won't moan and say, "Oh, I'll just get to it tomorrow!" I'll do it now.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Exhausted like a... kitten?

picture owned by Ella Mullins
So I've picked this picture for two reasons. One: I LOVE cats. Who doesn't? Look at it! Sleeping there! Two: This is how I feel right now. I would like to apologize for not posting yesterday, but as most of you know, I'm sure, sometimes life throws your curve balls. It's really not anything to do with writing or such so I'll just go ahead and jump back into the groove of this blog!

I'm very excited to say I've been asked to read at the open mic on campus for the literary magazine that is going to be publishing me in May. I plan on reading a poem, which is nerve wracking, because I don't consider myself a poet. But it's an adventure!... right?

Another thing is, I've never read my work in front of a group of people before, so this ought to be interesting. I will either stutter, vomit, or cry. Possibly all three, you never know! I'm also not sure if I want to read something I've already written or something new. They don't want me to read what I'm getting published because they want me to read that at the release party! So many readings, so little time!

Besides all that news, I'm about 10k into editing my WIP! I want it to be ready to be sent out to beta's within a month of two. We'll see if that actually happens! I'm very determined to get it done though because I want to start querying to some agents soon!

How is everyone else's writing/editing going?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Break '13

Well hello there fine readers!

Today is a great day. As you have probably already inferred by the picture above, it is great because today marks the day that Spring Break starts for me. The glorious thing about Spring Break for me is not the beach, or drinking, or partying. For me, it means time to relax and work on my writing. Part of the reason for this is because I am working at the front desk of my building over break.

I feel like recently I've been neglecting my work. In fact, I know for sure I have. Sometimes it happens. Being a full time student can take up a lot of time! (As I'm sure being a full time parent and career person can also.) So, when you finally get that break, you just want to jump for joy, am I right!?

This is going to be a short post today because I am very excited to getting back to work and watching my WIP become the best it can!

What are you all planning on doing for your Spring Breaks? And if you aren't in school, how do you find time to work on your WIP's with such a hectic schedule?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RTW 171:Quarterly Check In!

owned by niteowls
Hey guys! Looks like I'm doing another Road Trip Wednesday! This weeks topic is that we're one fourth done with the year, where are you with your writing goals.

It's crazy to think that this year is already one fourth done! Well, almost, it won't quite be done until the END of March, but still! haha

My writing goal(s) for this month was to have starting editing my novel, which I have done! I'm currently editing my WIP, although at a slower pace than I would like, I'm still doing it. My goal was to have my first round of edits done by summer, but we'll see if that happens! As of right now it looks like it may. I've already had one beta go out, am sending out another within the next few weeks, and have a third going out at the beginning of April. My writing goal has been up to par so far, let's see if I stick to it for the rest of the year!

My reading goal was a little different. I didn't want to set anything extremely high because seeing as I am in the English field in college, all I do is read book after book. This year I've only had time to read 2 books that were my own personal choice. I'm hoping that that changes this summer, after school is over, and I can start reading (and editing/writing) more! If you aren't in college yet, be prepared to be doing work pretty much all the time!

How are your goals for reading/writing going?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Writing Fun

Broadway Tour
Hey all!

Thursday I saw Book of Mormon at the Fox Theater in St. Louis and let me tell you, it was hilarious. I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes musicals, comedy, or South Park. But while watching it, I learned something, not all writing has to be serious!

I have never in my life thought about writing something satirical until I walked out of that theater. Now I have ideas running through my head. Of course my MS will be my first thing to work on, but thinking about a new thing couldn't hurt!

It's interesting to think about writing something I've never done before. Ever sense I finished the first draft of my WIP I thought it would be fun to try and write a genre that I didn't normally dabble in. Horror, sci-fi, mystery! I guess comedy is another one I'd like to try out.

Another thing I'd like to try out is writing a stage play, and possibly one day a musical. I think I'd have to get the feel for stage directions and what not before I jumped right in, but, who knows, maybe one day! I guess what the main point of this post is to just say, don't be scared to write outside the box. Try something you've never tried before, or at least brainstorm a new genre!

Have you guys ever tried writing a genre outside your norm?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

RTW 170: Best Book of February

Hey all! I know I'm breaking my 'posting on Friday' thing, but as I said before I will do this from time to time!

So I have decided to participate in my first ever Road Trip Wednesday put on by the good people at YA highway. (If you don't read their blog, you should, CLICK HERE to get to their blog.) It's just something to get people to write about either reading or writing topics. They're quite fun and I suggest you take a look at them! A lot of great people take part in them!

Anyway, this Wednesday's topic is the best book you've read in February. Unfortunately, with how busy I've been this past month, I haven't been able to get much reading done. However, I just today finished a really amazing book:

The Animal Gospels
By: Brian Barker

This is actually a book of poetry. I know for a lot of you out there, this may make you cringe. For a long time, the thought of reading any poetry made me cringe. (Still to this day a lot of older poetry makes me scratch my head in confusion.) However, this book is really great. It's a quick read that really draws you in. Some of the poems in the book aren't as good at the others, but there are multiple within that really are a must read. His voice is fresh and stays modern throughout all of the poems. Some are sad, some are funny, and some are just out there. This book sells for rather cheap on Amazon (I had to buy it for a class) and I would definitely recommend picking it up!

What was your best read of February?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Revision Hell

picture by photosteve101

Hey all!

I know it's technically Saturday because it's past midnight, but I'm doing it!

I have been busy the last few days trying to revise and work on my story. I've been going over some beta comments, which have been EXTREMELY helpful, and I've been going back through and changing it all from past to present! The story definitely flows better now that it is in present and I'm really excited to have it all done!

I've even come up with some new scenes to add in, something I told myself I didn't think I'd be able to do, and I'm very excited about them! Have to keep them under wraps for now though, because I'm not sure how they'll turn out, so who knows, I may not even keep them! Revising is a fun and scary time for my writing, but I'm trudging through it!

I'm really excited to just have a finished manuscript (and I say finished lightly as I know if it ever gets picked up it will be changed again). I mean I guess I have a finished one, but not a polished one! Okay, now I'm rambling.

In other words, I'm having one of my good friends recommission my cover, and yes I understand that if I get picked up they'll make their own cover, but it's just fun and exciting to have a cover! I know I have a past cover, and you can see it in THIS blog post, and I appreciate every minute that was put into making it, but I feel like it no longer fits my story, as I have changed it and somewhat matured it.

Another dilemma I've been facing lately is the name of my novel. I originally named it Divided We Fall, and I also feel it has outgrown this name. Now I'm faced with trying to think of something that will do it justice.

Anyone out there have suggestions on book title brainstorming?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Past or Present Revisions

Hello all! I know it's been a while since I have updated my blog and I have decided something. Now if I've promised this before, which I may have (I have a terrible memory), call me out on it! Because I'm not sure how often is too often to blog and how long is too long to wait, I'll be posting a new blog on Friday's afternoons. That way you know when to look for it and you'll know that I haven't given up on writing!

Now it's time for the real subject of this post. I've been reading a couple of different books lately that I've won off of goodreads and have been thinking about what I'm writing. My manuscript, as it stands, is written in past tense, however, upon thinking more in depth about it, I wonder if my story should be in past tense.

I know a lot of people don't like present tense because blah, blah, blah, etc. However, the story that my book is telling is a story that isn't one the main character would want to look back and retell, which is basically what past tense is, it's a retelling of the story. I also have some scenes in my book that I feel would be more dramatic, intimate, and sad in present tense.

I have gone on the absolutewrite forums and talked to some people who have helped me come up with the idea to rewrite some chapters in present and see how they turn out. As of right now I'm not sure how I feel about it. I know the chapter I rewrote, the first, is not my favorite chapter in the book, so that may also have something to do with how I feel about it.

Alas, I sit here and stare at my book and basically have... well... look like this...
picture owned by this guy
I feel guilty almost for just letting my story sit as it is right now so I'm trying to work on revising it, but with my brain laughing at me, screaming nonsense, it's hard to decide what I want to do with it. This is the future of my book and manuscript in my hands and I'm just juggling it right now!

Questions, comments, concerns? Please tell me your opinion.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Facing the Facts

Photo owned by Scott Beale
So I found out some news about my stuff being published, and I guess I should have seen it coming, but why didn't I? I was walking around in a perfect little world where nothing could touch me or my writing. Wrong!

It turns out that the literary magazine that is publishing me gets to decide what to edit in the story and what to cut out. I don't know why this surprised me, but it did. Then I read the changes they made. It wasn't anything astronomical, but one little line they cut out just got to me. It's still bothering me, almost a week later. I plan on emailing them right after and asking them to put a line back in, but it's just weird. It's weird to think that someone else has domain over my writing; someone that isn't me.

I've accepted what they've done and just plan on asking for that one line to be added back in, but then my poem came up. They added in an entire stanza. A stanza I'm not particularly fond of. I'm going to tell them to take it out or it's not being published. Some of you may say that's stupid of me, but it's my work and now it just feels like a frankenstein baby! When an entire stanza I did not write makes its way into my work, it's no longer mine.

But I have to face the fact, that if I want to get published there will be an editor and a publisher that ultimately has say in everything that goes out there, and as much as it sucks, that's my life. I'm okay with it though, people are reading what I've written and that's all that matters... right?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happiness Is A Warm Pen

Hello all!

Late Thursday night, and Friday morning, were both just full of awesome things for me. Thursday night I finished the first draft of my work in progress, which I have mentioned before. I am very excited to be able to say I've written a novel all the way through. I know it has a lot of work and it will take a long time, but that doesn't mean I didn't finish.

Then on Friday morning, while brushing my teeth, I opened an email that basically led to this GIF.

My happy dance. (Also my best friend reacted the same as Amy Poehler.)
Picture own ed by SNL.
My school's undergraduate literary magazine, Grassroots, emailed me to inform me that they are going to be publishing one of my short stories and a poem! I was in shock at first, then the rest of the day I was Tina Fey. This will be the first time I will ever be published and that's, just, pretty exciting, haha. There's no other feeling like being told that your work is being selected to be published.

This really set the wheels in motion for me and I have fallen back in love with my writing. A little thing that bothered me was, I had JUST edited the short story they chose a few days before so now I feel like they don't have what was really meant to be seen! But that's okay! Happy dance^^^!!

So, because I'm happy, I am going to post another excerpt for Divided We Fall. I would like to remind people that everything posted is subject to be changed, and most likely will! Enjoy!


          Then something caught my eye. Five stories up I saw her, standing in a floor length window that was on the far side of her office. Helen stood, arms crossed, staring down at us. I couldn't see what expression she was making, but her stance looked guarded, almost angry. As I stared at her, the ground started to shake. I grabbed onto Winnie and the violent jerks beneath us continued. I heard yells and screams from the other side of the wall, telling me we weren't that far away from other people.
          “Fi, what's going on?” Winnie whimpered. He his voice cracked with fear. I felt Adler as he wrapped his arms around us, trying to protect us.
          “Just hold onto me, okay? I won't let anything happen to you.” I looked up at Adler who looked just as confused as I felt. Behind him on the wall the chimeras ran back and forth frantically while the harpies batted their wings as if they were about to take flight. Some of the looser bricks began to fall off the wall, crumbling as it hit the grass below. Then it stopped. The ground stopped trembling and there was no more screams. I turned to look up at Helen but she was gone.
          “What is she?” Adler asked to no one in particular.
          I gazed at the window. “I don't know.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can I Get a Minute?

Short answer? No.
Here's a cool looking clock! Owned by ToniVC
It seems as if writers never have enough time in the day. I have made, what I would like to consider, a close friend through NaNo. Funny thing is, it was after NaNo had ended. We have been talking and one major thing that seems to be reoccurring between the two of us is our complaint of not enough time.

I have talked to other writers, through my classes and what not, and it seems as if this is a problem that stretches across every kind of writer, be it poetry, short story, novelist, etc. It seems as if we want to get writing done, we have to sacrifice something. Sometimes it's relationships, or a social life, sometimes even sleep.

So what is it that writers can do to get more done? I won't give advice, because I've tried it and I don't feel as if I am experienced enough to give out advice. However, what I will do, is put some things down that I do.

Let's say I have a free hour. Instead of watching TV I'll try, and I say try because sometimes TV wins, and write. As long as I get something out, I'm writing. And when I'm really worried about missing TV, I just watch it while on the elliptical at the gym. (I did it this morning, it was great. Dance Academy for the win!)

That's just one thing I try and do; write whenever I can. I'm sure all of you have something that helps you. Share in the comments and let people know what you do, maybe you'll really help someone out!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sickness Blues

picture by t0msk

Hello all! I would like to apologize for it being so long since my last post. I wish I could say something cool, like I was out on a spy mission, or on some fancy Christmas-time vacation. However, the truth is, I was sick. I have noticed that a lot of people have been cropping up sick lately, as always, and this year it got me!

It was terrible and full of coughing, sore throat, and congestion. The whole she-bang. I was secretly waiting for someone to sing me soft-kitty, but alas, it did not happen. However, I have been severely drugged up for about a week and a half and am now feeling much better.

Since my recovery, only a couple of days, I have banged out page upon page in Divided We Fall (my work in progress). I'm really happy with where the story was going and I'm really excited about the section I am writing.

I will admit, through the month of December I kept coming up with excuses, and I did have finals, but I could have been writing some of the time. I'm just happy that with the New Year will come new opportunities. One of my New Years resolutions is to write more everyday. (Yes, I know this is broad. If you have suggestions about a more specific one, comment and let me know.)

I am interested in everyone out there's New Years resolutions (writing and non-writing ones alike). So comment below and let me know! What is it about the New Year that inspires you?

I know this was a short post, but I just wanted to let everyone know I am back and I'm sorry for being gone for so long! I will be posting again within a few days, promise! Make sure you come back and read, and comment below people! I like the comments!

Keep writing!