Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy NaNo Eve! Oh, and Halloween too!

So while everyone else is eating candy corn and celebrating Halloween, I am completely focused on NaNoWriMo.  I'll go ahead and admit that I did all of my Halloween things this weekend, which mainly included watching documentaries on Vlad the Impaler and eating WAY too much candy, so it's not like I wasn't festive.

My NaNo idea is bubbling over the top of my brain, so I'm ready to write, but as always, I have to walk the fine line between letting the story play out in my head to plan a little bit and letting it play out so much that I don't feel like writing it anymore.

I'd love to say my pantser quality is all about letting the story flow freely from my brain, through my fingers and out into the world but that's not entirely true.  While planning stories does make me jumpy in a way that only a person with commitment problems can, my main problem with plotting is that if I let the ideas flow too much and I see the whole story in my head, I don't feel like writing it anymore because, to me, it already happened.  I know that's probably weird but that's just how I am.  My very first book took me a year and a half to write and I firmly believe that it's because I, trying to plan like I saw so many awesome writers talking about online, got tired of that story and it slowed me down. 

Knowing exactly what happens in my story takes me out of the game very early, so I try to keep the planning to a minimum (who the main characters are and the conflict), which is what I'm fighting right now waiting for NaNo to start.  I actually think I'm going to jump in at midnight because these characters are screaming at me!

I'm ready! And nervous.

I didn't do my regular blog posts last week, because I was trying to take a break from the computer in preparation for NaNo as well.  I developed a really awesome eye twitch while writing MISFITS, so this time I'm trying to be really careful with my eyes.  But I do plan on keeping the blog updated in November to document my breakdown experiences during NaNoWriMo.

Happy Halloween/NaNoWriMo Eve!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Meme, except not really.

I was going to do my normal Monday Meme about writing today, but my mind is totally, and completely full of NaNoWriMo.  So I thought that instead of answering questions about writing, I would talk about my game plan for writing 50k words in thirty days.  *deep breath* No, I'm fine.  Totally fine.  Not overwhelmed at all. *deep breath*

So last night I realized that there was not only a week left in October but that November, does in fact, come after October.  You do the math, people.  NaNoWriMo is coming up fast.  So, being the list person that I am, I sat down with my planner and figured out, with my schedule for November (which is nuts) what I'll have to write to make my goal.

November is the month where school work piles up in preparations for finals in early December.  It's also the month of my birthday and my mom's birthday.  It also includes a trip to South Carolina for YALL Fest and my niece's softball tournament, Thanksgiving and a midnight showing of Breaking Dawn.  Plus ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS.  But I figured it out!

All I have to do is write no less than 2k words most days, and on non-busy days, crank out 5k words, which I did every Wednesday while I was writing MISFITS.  That will help make up for the days, like the SC trip, where I highly doubt I'll write at all.  If I keep up with my schedule, I should actually hit around 60k before the end of the month, which is pretty much my norm for first drafts.

Besides being overwhelmed to the point of dizziness, I'm still SO excited.  This is my first NaNo, and it's something I've always wanted to do but my work schedule never allowed.  This year though, I'm in!

So, is anyone else around here doing NaNoWriMo?  I'd love to have a few people to keep up with, and hopefully help keep each other motivated.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


So apparently I've been in one of my I'm-just-going-to-watch-TV-instead-of-reading-a-book moods, because up until a few days ago, I hadn't touched a book all week.  I blame this on a few things: Number one, I was busy and using my brain to read felt like a huge deal and I wasn't into the idea of it, and Two: I'd been plowing through a lot of books and I think I burned out a little.  Either way, I've made a nice recovery the last few days and this was helped by really good books.

Honestly?  I completely imagine you all groaning and clicking the red X every time I mention the Vampire Academy series because it's all I talk about, but I can't help it this time!  I finally gave in and read Bloodlines by Richelle Mead this week, which is a companion book to the VA series.  I'd put off reading it because, while every book in the VA series was out when I started reading them, this book is brand spanking new and I knew I'd have to wait for the next one.  And I also knew what the last line of this book was and understood that I would be in physical pain if I read it now and had to wait until summer 2012 to read the next book.  But I'm a masochist, so I read it anyway.

Fantastic.  Just fantastic.  I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy this book as much because I was never a huge fan of Adrian in the original series and thought I'd be bored with him, but not so!  I mean, sure every time I saw the name Belikov, I giggled and Adrian isn't giggleworthy for me, but it's still very, very good.  Can't wait until The Golden Lily comes out next summer.

Last night I sat down to read the first few chapters of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick just to see what it was about and whether I should be excited to read it.  I. Read. The. Whole. Thing.  Granted, I got very little sleep last night, but still.  I'm pretty interested in the whole nephilim/angels thing being a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare but I haven't actually read that many books about them.  This was good.  Yes, it's very Twlight-esque, and some things the main character's best friend did made me want to slap her very hard, but in the end, I read the whole damn thing in one sitting.  That says something.  Also, this book probably has one of the most kick ass covers I've seen in a along time.  And of course the next book in the series, Cresendo, doesn't come out for another year.  *forehead slap*

Soooo, what are you reading?


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Writing Meme

Which words do you use too much in your writing?   "Just" haunts me.  I probably use "anyway" waaay too much.  And in the latest WIP I'm revising, I wrote the word "alien" like it was my job.
Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?  I've noticed a lot of "startled" lately.  Characters startling all over the place.
What’s your favourite piece of writing by you?  I can't really choose.  I love all of them differently.
What blog post do you wish you’d written?  Oh, I don't know.  I'm sadly not up-to-date on popular blogs.
Regrets, do you have a few? Is there anything you wish you hadn’t written?  I wish I hadn't taken so much time off from writing a few years ago. 
How has your writing made a difference?  For my life, writing kind of keeps me sane.  My head starts to get very jumbled when I don't write.  I don't sleep well and am just in general not fun to be around.  Although, I've been told I'm not fun to be around when I'm really into a WIP either, so who knows...
Name three favourite words  Any curse word, asshat and fantastic.
And three words you’re not so keen on  I'm not really sure.  I'm not big on all of the startling, that's for sure.
Do you have a writing mentor, role model or inspiration?  Everyone who writes is an inspiration to me.  I like knowing everyone's stories and processes.
What’s your writing ambition?
Just to make people not want to put my book down, to meet readers and write books until I run out of ideas.


Friday, October 14, 2011

When big ideas don't work and NaNoWriMo

So I've had this BIG IDEA rumbling around in my head for a while.  I've talked and talked and blogged and blogged about The New Project over the last month and yet every time I sit down to write it, I feel a little... weird.  I still love the idea and really love the characters but something is just off about this book, which I planned to write before NaNoWriMo in November.  Then, seeing how little progress I was making on figuring out what's wrong, I figured that I would just write The New Project for NaNoWriMo and spend this month planning.  I normally don't plan at all but this kind of idea needed it, mainly because I had no idea what I was writing about and there was a little bit of a historical background that I planned on using... and none of this has helped.  The idea feels lost.

I really hate that because I'm normally one of those, If You Start It, You Finish It, kind of people but I'm thinking this idea needs to go to the back burner for a little bit.  Or maybe it needs to marinate!  Or maybe I should stop watching The Food Network!  Either way, it doesn't feel like the right time to write this story.  I will write it someday, but now apparently isn't the time.  Does that happen to anyone else?  How do you deal with it? 

So with all of that said, I think I've finally settled on what I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo.  This is another idea that I've had for a while, with a folder on my phone and all, for when I think of something while I'm mid-conversation with someone, or when I'm grocery shopping.  It's growing in my head every time I think about it, so I'm taking that as a good sign.  For NaNoWriMo, you just kind of have to GO and this is the kind of idea I can jump out of the gate with.

And quickly, can I just tell you how excited I am for NaNoWriMo?  It's my first go round, although I've always wanted to participate.  With my last job, November was entirely too busy to dedicate to writing a whole book, but this year is different, so I'm going for it.  Is anyone else participating this year?

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


As I mentioned in my last post, this last week was nuts and my reading shows that.  I didn't read as much as I normally do but I did take a million exams, so I guess that's something.  Anyway!  It's quality over quantity, right?

In last week's Reading post, I told you all that I was a few chapters into The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.  Let me tell you something, I read that book so quickly, albeit with one eye closed because of the creepiness, but still.  I tore it up... and I mean that in the good, eating cake really fast way and not the page ripping kind of way.  Michelle Hodkin wrote a fantastic book, even though there is a cliffhanger, and it borders on bothering me just because I still don't know who in the eff Mara Dyer is, I liked it.  So I guess if you're going to write a cliffhanger, write it like this one.  Great book.  I can't wait for the next one.

I also read Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and really enjoyed the read.  I have that sinking feeling that I may not like how this story will turn out because I'm firmly on the opposite side of the guy the MC ends up with in Nightshade, but I still enjoyed the book a lot.  The second book, Wolfsbane came out this summer, so I'm going to check that out soon.  The third in the series, Bloodrose, is out in January.

And that was it.  I only read two books this week.  But like I said, there was life and all of the things that needed to be done.  I'm trying to revise a lot and hopefully doing a lot of beta reading, so we'll see how much reading I get done besides that this week.

So, what are you reading now? TELL ME. ::ahem::  Thank you. :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Writing Meme

Hey everybody! I hope you had a good weekend.  Last week was The Week of Crazy and between emergency vet visits, school and life, I'm happy it's Monday.  I know.  I'm surprised too.  Anyway, here is the Monday Meme!  It's about books this week because I thought maybe I was hitting the writing memes a little too hard and wanted a break.  As always, no rules.  Let me know if you use it so I can check it out. ;)

1) What book character would you say is the closest to yourself?  Ugh, you guys.  You've got to be sick of me talking about the Vampire Academy but Rose Hathaway is so much like me that when I told my mom about her, she went, "Oh, so she's a hot head like you, huh?" So yeah...

2) Who is your favorite protagonist of all time?  Probably Stephanie Plum.  She just bobbles and stumbles through life but with an fantastic sense of humor, which makes her awesome.  She's followed VERY closely by Izzy Spellman.

3) Who is your favorite secondary or minor character? Ron Weasley. Best BFF ever.

4) Who is the most annoying character in any book you've ever read?  Ah, dangerous questions.  Hmmm... okay, so I'm not wimping out, I just can't think of one.

5) Who is the best villain or love-to-hate character? I love so many villains! Snape comes to mind but he wasn't really a villain.  I really loved the Volturi in the Twilight series.

6) Who is your favorite romantic couple? Rose and Dimitri in the Vampire Academy series.  Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman.  Oh and Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss.

7) What is the most unbelievable romantic couple?  I hate picking on books, so I won't.  I'll just say that I've recently read a book that I didn't buy the couple.  I felt like I was being TOLD to believe they loved each other instead of actually seeing it in the writing.

8) Which character would you love to see in another book, and what book is it? Any of the shadow hunters from the Mortal Instruments books fighting with the Guardians in the Vampire Academy books.  Major ass-kickage.

9) What is your favorite ensemble cast of characters?  Every single character in the Stephanie Plum series.  From Morelli to Lula, I love them all.  I think this is a huge part of why the series is so successful.

10) What ending do you wish had turned out better for a character, and how would you re-write it?  I'll just say that I was Team Gale in the Hunger Games, so you know...

11) If you were casting your favorite characters in a movie (whether it's been made or not), who would play them?  Oh jeez.  Here's my thought on this.  I find that if I can't easily picture an actor as one of my characters OR any other character, than they are a really good.  Or I hope that's true because I haven't seen one actor that I thought looked just like any of my characters.  This isn't to say that if I CAN picture someone that the character's bad though.  I pictured Alex Pettyfer as Jace through the whole Mortal Instruments series and that character rules.

Okay, so that's it.  Remember to let me know if you use the meme!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


So it turns out I like writing about what I'm reading.  I also like having things to blog about every week and since I read as much as I breathe, I figured this will become my Wednesday post.  Some weeks this will be slower than it has lately because I tend to read a little less when I'm writing, but The New Project isn't happening the way I want it to.  I've mentioned before that when I get writer's block, I take it as a sign that something's not right, so I'm sitting back and taking a good hard look at that WIP.  It just so happens I have two other WIPs to revise, so I'm not going to be bored or anything.  I'll figure out what's next for me in time for NaNoWriMo, which I'm stupidly excited about.

Anyway, here is what I've read in the last week and my thoughts.  Remember to let me know what you're reading in the comments, so I can add to my TBR pile!

I picked up Firespell by Chloe Neill kind of randomly at the library last week.  Somehow, I'd never heard of her but being the cover lover that I am, I picked it up and wasn't disappointed at all.  This is a nice little book and the first in The Dark Elite series with a feisty MC that I'd like to be friends with. I'm going to pick up the next book, Hexbound, soon.

You'll notice as I write these posts that I'm a habitual re-reader.  I have books that I read at certain times of the year, every year.  Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer is one of those books but that's for another post!  This week, I re-read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins to prepare for her next book.  I'm pretty sure I've written about Anna before on the blog, but I simply cannot tell you how cute this book is.  It also makes me want to work harder in my French class so I can run off the Paris one day.  The inner dialogue in this book cannot be beat.  The "does he or doesn't he?" aspect kills.  It's just so good.  Anyone writing contemporary YA (or any one else on the planet) should read this book.  This is my third read, just to put it into perspective.

Naturally, the next book I picked up this week was Lola and the Boy Next Door, the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I was a tiny bit worried about this book, only because it is a companion book and I was concerned I would be too caught up wondering what Anna and St. Clair are up to instead of focusing on Lola but that was unnecessary. Lola held her own even in scenes with the couple and, let me just say, Cricket is the best love interest.  I constantly wanted to hug him, so I figure that's a good sign.  I had major laugh out loud moments and overall, really enjoyed it.  It's absolutely worth the read.  I can't wait for the third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After that comes out next fall. 

I'm on the second chapter of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin right now, so I'll have my thoughts on that next week.

Sooooo, what are you reading? I have a pile of books on my bedside table but I could always use more!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Writing Meme

Hey everybody!  I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine was spent with words, so obviously it was fantastic.  I swear, what drives me to work so hard throughout the week is to simply make time to read or write.  And I'm totally fine with that.

Anyway, here are some random questions for the Monday Meme.  You know the rules: there are none.  Just let me know if you post it so I can stalk you check it out.

1.  When did you decide to take a real swing at writing?  Or have you yet?  I have.  I remember writing my first book, finishing it and being all, "Well, no one's allowed to read that mess!"  But then I wrote my second book and thought I should let someone read it.  The safest person was my best friend and she demanded to read more and I thought maybe I was on to something.  I've been dedicated to writing ever since.

2.  Who is your writing role model? Any one who writes everyday while living and working like a "normal" person is my hero.  It's so hard and so admirable.  Also, J.K. Rowling.  She wrote these little books that I'm sure you've never heard of and I remember reading the first chapter and hoping someday I could take someone to another world like she took me.

3.  If you've been published, what is your favorite part of your job?  If not, what do you look forward to?  Not published YET. :)  I would love, love, love to sit and talk to people about books, mine or others.  Since I write mostly YA, the idea of sitting down with teens who love reading makes my heart grow like the Grinch's. Also, just holding my own book would blow my  mind.

5. What inspires you? I love finding out how people deal with weird things.  I'm a people watcher and, even when I was little, I would watch people and wonder what their lives were like.  Then I would think that maybe they looked normal but really they were a secret superhero or a government agent and wondered how they dealt with that.  This explains all of my books so far.

6. What traits shows up in all of your characters, if any?  Hmm, they all have secrets and I put them in odd situations.  And most of the guys are tall.  That's a personal preference from the writer. ;)

7. Biggest pet peeve in books? Probably cliffhangers that don't answer the questions that are posed in the beginning of that book.  Some loose ends are fine but... we'll just say that there have been times I've read the first book, didn't have any answers and refused to finish the series because of it.

8. Have you ever based a character on a real person?  Not totally.  I take little traits from people I know and use them sometimes.  The mom is KILLER CUPCAKES reminds me a lot of my mom.  All of my guy friends had a crush on my mom and she thought that was awesome. ha!

9.  Do you tell people that you're writing a book?  Sometimes.  I still feel a little silly telling some people what my books are about or that they are YA.  I hate that, "Oh, so you're writing another Twilight?" question because A) I wish, and B) People that ask those questions are helplessly ignorant.

10. Pantser or Plotter?  And why?  Pantser and mainly because writing an outline makes me feel itchy and committed, and I hate that feeling.