Category Archives: Blog Post

April 2015 Roundup!

I’m feeling particularly proud of myself about this April. As a result, I’m going to tell you my accomplishments:

1. Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015

This past month, I’ve been writing my fingers off participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, a writing event run by the same people who put together November’s NaNoWriMo. The difference between November’s event and April’s (and July’s, which also has a camp) is that you set your goal anywhere between 10,000 and 999,999 words. That means people can use it for revisions, finishing a draft, and whatever else. Since I had a new idea for a book under my belt, I took on camp with the regular NaNo challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month.

I won in 19 days. I finished my story at 68,078 words in 24.

This is by far the fastest I’ve ever written a draft–my second fastest was, wouldn’t you know it, NaNo 2013, when I reached 50k on day 27, promptly dropped the manuscript for a week, and came back to finish it by December 7 with 64k words. This past April, I pushed myself a lot–I had four 5k days, and 11 3k days. This is unbelievable to me, as it means I’m capable of writing 100k in a month. Of course, to write that much would take a lot of planning, but man. Someday. It sounds like fun.

The draft is going to need a lot of work, and I’ll probably end up adding about 10k words like I usually do, but I’m glad I got it out as quickly as I did. Regardless of how quickly I write the first draft, the work will always come.

2. Reading

In addition to writing a whole book this past month, I read 10 books. Five of those books were in the past five days. My favorite of the bunch? I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. I borrowed THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE from the library before I even got halfway through the book.

This puts me at 30 books read this year, which is 3 1/3 books behind pace for 100 books–but psh. I can make up for 3 1/3 books :)

3. Critiquing

I also did a full read-through and critique for my CP, and started critiquing for another potential CP! Woooooooooooo books books books!

Bonus! Pokemon.

Perhaps not an accomplishment for some, but I’m pretty excited about it. I acquired four shiny Pokemon this month! Yaaayyyyyyyy.

Let’s hope May is just as fun :)

What’s Up Wednesday – March 18

It’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these! Now that I’m back on the horse, so to speak, and have pulled my blogging pants back on, I figure now’s a good a time as any to jump back onto the WUW train. So–hello!

WHAT I’M READING

Over the past year, I’ve been reading more than I ever have, and it’s been absolutely fantastic. Since April last year, I’ve read almost 100 books in a wide variety of genres, and it’s so great, if super time consuming. But I figure if I’m going to spend a couple hours a day poking at my crocheting or otherwise wishing I was doing something else, reading and listening to books is a great option.

Currently, I have a few books on my plate. I always end up reading more than one thing at a time, so this is nothing new. On my library Overdrive App, I’m in the middle of ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie, and I might actually break through and finish Veronica Roth’s ALLEGIANT–less than half the book left! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get through the entire book, but gah, it has. A couple months, not including the time in between check-outs when I’ve had to wait through all the other holds again and again. And I’ve already been spoiled on (as far as I know) the biggest thing in the book, so that doesn’t help matters. I also have TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE (Jenny Han), STRANGER (Rachel Manija Brown), and THE BITTER KINGDOM (Rae Carson) loaded up and ready to go. And then we get to the physical books I have–I recently got A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC (V.E. Schwab, aka Victoria Schwab) and GOING POSTAL (Terry Pratchett–my first of his, though I wish I’d read it before :( ). So, yes. Lots to read, and I’ll likely be repeating myself with most of these books next week.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m currently in the middle of a week-long light revision pow wow for draft 4.5 of WELL. (I call it 4.5 now, but just watch it be called draft 5 in the future for ease of reference and also because saying I have 5 drafts instead of 4.5 will make me feel better about myself.) Hoping to wrap this up by Sunday, and then I’ll be diving into planning for Camp NaNoWriMo in April! Yayyyyyyyyy!!!

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

My blog post from a couple days ago details a lot of what’s working for me lately, but here’s the short version: Writing prompts, and using them to exercise my creative muscles. It’s worked wonders! Lately I’ve also been exposing myself to more critique and participating more in the writing community, namely on /r/YAwriters on Reddit, Twitter, and the SCBWI Blueboards. That’s been fun, too!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

Not much. I started the Couch to 5k running program, and it’s been a strange experience to actually look forward to exercising. Of course, I’m only in the second week–so it could just be that I’m being tricked into the whole thing with easy workouts. ;)

I hope you all have been well! If you want to comment, I would love if you could post a writing prompt for me or others to work with in the future–it’s always fun to have something new come to the table! Maybe I’ll add a new tab to this site featuring some weekly writing prompts to share :)

Exercise

Last week, I started Couch to 5k. For the first time in a long time, I could tell people that I went running three whole times in one week. Three whole times, for a total of six whole miles. (Well, I walked for a good chunk of them. That’s just how Couch to 5k works.)

It’s a start. The first week of any program is the easiest, but it’s a start. When I did cross country in my senior year of high school six years ago–the only sport I ever did, where I was actually literally the slowest person on the team, if not on all the teams in the entire district–my coach set a goal for me to be able to run 5k in under 30 minutes. Psh, I thought. That’s ten-minute miles! I can do that!

I still can’t.

So I paid for an app with a program I can follow, because on those days I know I’ll want to stop, I’ll think, But… those $2! You could have bought an avocado and didn’t! (Honestly, I probably did buy that avocado.) And so far, even though it’s been a week, and even though I know it’ll get much harder from here, it’s been worth it.

Last week, I also started making myself do daily writing prompts.

For those of you who aren’t my CP or who don’t frequent the various places on the internet where I’ve been posting  lately (*waves at /r/YAwriters, the SCBWI Blueboards, and Twitter*), I’ve spent the last few weeks/months revising the fourth draft of my current huge project, WELL. Now, WELL is my baby. I love, love, love working on WELL and figuring out its problems. I love the characters. I love the world. But… I’m also gearing up to do Camp NaNoWriMo this April. And don’t tell WELL, but… I’m writing something totally new.

I haven’t written a new fantasy world in a couple years. I’ve tried, believe me, but honestly, I didn’t try very hard. I created a world of all-female witches that collapsed after a chapter and a half. I created another world that I’m not going to talk about because I want to go back to it someday. No matter what world I made, or how much I tried to build, I always came back to WELL, and WISPY (same world), and those friends in the good old town of Nowhere.

So when it came to creating a new world, I was kind of lost. I like my fantasy to feel natural; when I write my own work, I can’t bring myself to believe in the colored magic bursting out of  fingers, or the telekinetic powers of an exclusive group of people. It’s why my witch story didn’t pan out. When fantasy is organic, it flows. It’s the magic that comes from fairies that could be hiding in the tree in your yard, or the owl that screams when you talk to the crows too much. It’s Peter’s shadow, who never shows the wrinkles on its physical form, who stays a silhouette so that somehow, some way, even if Peter did grow up, you’d never know it from looking at his shadow’s face. The fantasy that flows–for me–is the fantasy that’s real. With this approach, you might be able to understand why it has been so difficult for me to come up with something for Camp NaNo. How do you come up with a whole magic system that still feels real? But I needed to figure it out. I needed to step out of my comfort zone, out of Nowhere, and into a new set of rules. Most of all, I needed to write.

The idea built slowly. First, I wanted to simply listen to a fantasy audiobook with a notebook in hand, close my eyes, and jot down notes for whatever came to me. Thinking about the idea, though, I realized it didn’t make sense. What kind of world would I make for myself if I was listening to someone else’s? Next, I did the same thing, but without the fantasy audiobook. I sat in bed for fifteen minutes with a blank page in front of me trying to make sense of the ideas I had bouncing around in my head. Nothing went on the paper. (Admittedly, if I’d waited longer, something might have ended up on the page. I prefer efficiency.)

Then, I thought, I should just do a random fantasy writing prompt off Google. I did the search and came away with this prompting first line: “I will make trophies of your spines.”

This was the best thing I’ve done for my creative mind in many, many years.

The greatest thing about writing prompts is that there are no rules. Writing prompts are unrelated to anything else you do, so you have free reign to do anything. You can write a genre you’ve never written before just to see how bad you are at it. You can try to write in the style of your least favorite author, only to be surprised at how much you actually liked what you wrote. You can make your characters–even ones you’ve already created in other work–say or do anything and not have it technically count in your actual WIPs. And when you can do that, you can figure out what’s natural. Even more important, you can figure out what is decidedly not.

That first writing prompt ended up being three short paragraphs about a girl practicing her most villainous line–complete with a cape–only to be laughed into shame by a rival villain-in-training. Since then, I’ve branched out anywhere and everywhere–in one instance, I even revisited my fanfiction days and resurrected my favorite Harry Potter pairing of my own invention: Scorpio Malfoy and Lily Luna Potter, the only Potter kid sorted into Slytherin. True. Love.

In other prompts, I found voices for my Camp NaNo story. I found my new world. What I wrote the night I drafted this post might be my favorite thing I’ve written in months and months and months.

So if you’ve found yourself in a creative slump–and even if you haven’t–I encourage you to try this out. Exercise those creative muscles and get moving (see how I brought around that whole Couch to 5k thing?). Dedicate a notebook or a Word document solely to writing prompts. (I use a moleskine-like notebook so I can guilt myself into wanting to fill it up.) Grab any old random writing prompt and write something, if only for a paragraph. If the writing prompt is too boring, make your story liven it up. If the writing prompt takes itself too seriously, have a character laugh at it. Either way, write. Write like it doesn’t even matter–because it doesn’t, not really. Most of the words you scribble out for these prompts won’t even make it into an actual story. Whatever. It’s all yours. It’s all a product of your creativity. THAT is what matters.

Run like the wind? Well, you can try. But you know what you can do with wind?

Write it. Go.

Freckles

It’s a Tuesday in March, and I haven’t blogged for a while.

I have an idea for a new story that’s been knocking around in my brain for the past couple weeks. Another YA Fantasy, because that’s what I write, and that’s what I love [the most]. It needs more time to percolate, but I really like what I have so far, which is saying a lot considering I’ve been stuck in my Neverland-like world of my other YA Fantasy for a couple years now. I’m not saying my other world has gotten boring–far from it. I love it so much. But I want to write something new. I want to discover something new. I want to go beyond what I already know.

So here’s the new worlds with new beginnings. Here’s to finding new characters and giving them voices. Here’s to setting coming alive and cats’ claws leaving freckles on your shoulders. Here’s to writing stories that will let people know they’re not alone.

Oh, and here’s to revisions, too. I still have to work on those.

What’s Up Wednesday – May 21

Aaaand I’ve missed a couple weeks. But that’s okay! I’ve been fairly busy–preparing for graduation, writing, revising, planning, trying to dig myself out from my TBR pile… But more on that in the post :)

WUW1What I’m reading:

I don’t have much to report here–I’m still plugging away at my TBR pile. I was reading PRODIGY, the next in the LEGEND trilogy, but my ebook check out from the library expired before I had the chance to get halfway… so now’s the wait. Approximately 23 days.

It’s a good thing I have other books to read. I’m currently rereading Patrick Rothfuss’s THE NAME OF THE WIND. Hooray! This story in particular is one of the great ones that is so much fun to reread because you catch something new every time based on what you know. Definitely recommended to read again and again.

What I’m writing:

I just finished the second draft of one of my stories last week! Woohooooo! Now I can dive into planning my next story (witches?!) and finally get into a new world. My last two books took place in the same world, and while I love it to death, it’ll be nice to discover some new things about a new place. I’ve gotten a few thousand words into the new story, buuuut I’m hitting a snag when it comes to plot and voice. This story (we’ll call it WK for short, because I feel like I’ll be talking about it more than just this once) is one that I went into without a ton of knowledge–I was trying something new, and decided that I was going to info dump to my heart’s content. I’ve slightly deviated from that line because I got to thinking too much about plot and ending up with a couple chapters that don’t quite have the YA voice I want. I need to concentrate on the info dump. Definitely–and hopefully that’ll help me get the plot sorted out, in addition to giving me words for this (planned) monster of a first draft.

What inspires me right now:

Long talks with the CP (click!) are the best. They’re so helpful and wonderful. And it’s so fun to be able to talk endlessly (and with as many run-on sentences as we want) about both our stories. Some serious fun right there.

What else I’ve been up to:

I made another Oobie! And… well…

BatmanBasically, I can’t stop screaming at how cute it is. It’s so nice to do something creative that has nothing to do with staring at a computer screen. Also fun is when I’m on a Skype call with Boyface and I type “nananannananannaa” while flying my little Batoobie around.

This week’s WUW is pretty thin, but there’s really not much for me to say today. I hope everyone’s week has been great! Check out other WUWs here.

What’s Up Wednesday – April 30

Hello, all! I hope you week since the last WUW has been fantastic. Can you believe it’s already the end of April? IT’S GONNA BE MAY. *insert N*Sync gif here* *I’m not sure how to get gifs to work in blog posts, so I’m not going to insert one today.*

WHAT I’M READING:

I just finished Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL this morning, and I basically exploded all over my keyboard when emailing my CP about it, haha. It’s really good! I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but it was definitely an interesting read. There were points when it made me extremely uncomfortable because… well, like I said, no spoilers. But just… AHHH.

I was reading the book as an ebook borrowed from my library (borrowing ebooks, by the way? SO COOL), but there was a point last night when, 85% of the way into the book, the app I was reading through suddenly couldn’t connect to the servers. And then the app crashed. And it did that every time I opened the app. And did I mention I was EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT done with the book?

So yeah. That was pretty torturous. The app got working again this morning, and I finished the book from the comfort of my bed. Sigh.

I’ll likely read Marie Lu’s PRODIGY next, the next book in the LEGEND trilogy, since I also borrowed that on ebook, and it has a shorter check-out time for some reason (two weeks instead of three). I’ll also be trying to finish the other library books that I’ve had for like two months, thanks to renewals. Here’s a promise to myself: no borrowing new books until I finish the ones I have. Also, no more renewing.

WHAT I’M WRITING:

Still working on the revisions I started last week. Nothing much on this front that is of interest, haha. I guess that’s chalked up more to the fact that I’m relatively private about my writing than about my reading… but yes. Revisions. Rereading. Critiquing. All that fun stuff. :)

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW:

Reading a lot–and this week, GONE GIRL especially, has made me look even more closely at character motivations, which I’m currently weaving in more for secondary characters in my revisions. People are very interesting and strange, but there is an element of truth in the fact that truth is stranger than fiction. In stories, everything has to make sense to some extent. It gives you a lot to think about.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:

The usual. My friends with whom I started the crafting day the other week (the oobies, remember?) have decided to basically make a club out of it, featuring us three, and possibly a couple more people when summer comes around. Planning that has been ridiculously fun, so hopefully that continues!

How has everyone else’s week been?

Check out this week’s WUW posts here.

What’s Up Wednesday – April 23

Another week, another WUW post. Let’s get right to it!

WUW1

WHAT I’M READING:

Please excuse me while I remove the foot in my mouth to say that I loved LEGEND by Marie Lu, and that I am slightly more open to the dystopian train. To be honest, somehow, LEGEND felt more like a fantasy to me than a dystopian. It totally isn’t fantasy, though, so I’m not sure where that feeling came from. The world building was solid, and I think that helped submerge me into the story.

Many of the emotions and circumstances within the story seemed much more visceral than some of what I’ve been reading lately, and it helped pull in my reader mind a lot more than it engaged my writer mind–which is a good thing, as it means I am unconsciously thinking more as a reader who enjoys the story, instead of as a writer who picks up things that could be written better. Thinking about it, I feel like my immersion has to do with the characters’ roles within the world, as both are (sort of) in positions of power in their social classes. Lu also created a world that I feel like is a lot closer to ours than other dystopians I’ve read, at least when it comes to the concept of free will. Even if the government could be in control, many of the actions of the citizenry can be classified as being in their hands, rather than being dictated by rules and the like.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone. It’s a really great book. I borrowed my copy from the library, but I’ll be adding it to my collection the next time I go to a book store.

WHAT I’M WRITING:

I’m working on revisions for one of my stories, and starting to plan another one. Because the other book I was planning for the last couple weeks is a sequel, I’m still on the fence about actually writing it. It could just turn into one of those projects that I turn to when I need a break from what I’m working on at a particular time. But still… more writing! Pushing on!

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW:

Reading books like LEGEND is definitely up there. Also: video game lore.

I started playing World of Warcraft back in November, and it seriously amazed me how much lore there is within the world. Though I haven’t been playing as much for the last couple weeks, all the storytelling still fascinates me. WoW has been around for years and years, and people don’t pay as much attention to the world as they used to before the expansions, but if you take it slow–and with all the WoW expansions, you’d be playing the game really slowly if you want to get all the lore–the game is really built around an entire story that encompasses years and worlds. It’s seriously amazing how much work goes into just the storyline, and kind of saddening in a way that so many players grind through all the story to gain levels and items–which is fun, but it kind of seems like a waste of the story.

However, there are books and things published about the WoW world, and some YouTube people have compiled video playlists that go through the world and explain the lore, so it’s not like the story is lost on those who grind through the game. I still don’t know most of it, and it almost makes me wish that I’d played with years and years ago, when it was still “vanilla”–basically WoW version 1.0, without all the extra expansions. Back then, everyone was in it for the story as well as the gameplay. It would have been fun to get a better understanding of the world from the beginning, and even more enjoyable to do it in the company of everyone else discovering the game for the first time.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:

I’ve been consistent with my exercising for the past week, which is fantastic! *flexes muscles* *deflates* (I don’t have flex-able muscles.) I’ve also been watching anime, sewing Oobies (little plush monster things), and avoiding cleaning my room. The Oobies are especially fun–my friend and I are planning to make an entire army of Oobies in different costumes. The first one I made is wearing a haz mat suit with a green visor. It is super cute.

Oobie Haz Mat

I mean really.

Check out other What’s Up Wednesday posts here. If you’re interested in my outlining/writing prep process, take a gander at my post that compares outlines to ghost hearts. Ghost hearts are seriously awesome.

Have a great week, everyone!

Ghost Heart Outlining

Before you get any farther, read THIS. Seriously, read it and be amazed at science and also because otherwise, unless you have previous experience with ghost hearts, what I’m saying will make less sense. It might still make sense, but depending on how successfully I convey what I mean… well…

How about we move on. After you check out the whole ghost heart phenomenon.

As I mentioned in my WUW post a few days ago, my method of outlining isn’t chapter-by-chapter, at least not before I actually start the book. I have to outline my stories completely, from beginning to end, but not on a deep level. In fact, outlining each chapter paralyzes me. It puts me under too much pressure when I barely know what’s happening in the first place. It’s like dropping me on a map and telling me to go when I don’t even know what my final destination is supposed to be. (I am not a fan of driving without directions.)

I, for one, would rather not resort to going in circles before making an informed decision. It’s just not how I roll. Drive. Travel. Whatever.

Instead, I build a ghost heart.

My method could be likened to the snowflake method, but with a lot less pressure to know exactly what’s going to happen. That is, it starts small and builds up and up until I have a one-page synopsis that I pieced together from my previous steps. The benefit for me is that I have a one-page synopsis when I’ve finished (albeit a bad one), and I also have a much better idea of my plot and my characters.

One of the things I find absolutely paralyzing about the beginning of the snowflake method is how much the method demands from the beginning. It’s hard enough to come up with an elevator pitch–that is, one to two sentences detailing your plot, ideal for snagging people’s attention on short notice–after you’ve already written the book. To do so before I’ve even started, before I’ve truly discovered my characters and plot, has never been something that I can accomplish in a way that I find satisfactory. The best way I’ve found to combat this is to *not* put the condense-your-whole-book-in-twenty-words pressure on myself. Instead, I figure out everything about the story instead of the entire story by itself.

My first step is 99% mental, 1% maybe writing things down if I don’t want to forget them. Here, I let myself percolate on plot points I think I know, letting them simmer until I have enough to tease out into an actual story.

Next, I figure out what I’m writing on the more technical level–Do I have a title? What’s my genre? What are my themes? How long might this be? (I usually have a pretty good gauge on how long my first drafts are going to be, so it’s useful for me to think about this because it tells me if I have a viable novel-length story with which to work.)

Then, I move into the specifics that I know. Who’s my protagonist? Antagonist? Secondary characters? Tertiary characters? And then I figure out what kind of people these characters are. What are their motivations? Why should the protagonist have the book told from his/her POV? The antagonist has to have a better reason for being MUAHAHAEVILLL than being mad. So what’s his/her deal? And who are all these other names, and why are they indispensable? Would they have a tendency to slow down the MC, or are they good catalysts to get the MC moving? (Both types are useful and necessary.) Are there too many pushers? Are there too many pullers?

After that, I figure out setting. For the book I’ve been working on outlining, I put a very vague description here and skipped it for a while, filling it in as I figured out more of the plot. Since the story I was outlining is set in a world I’ve worked with before, I didn’t need to put a ton here; however, for books in a totally new world, I’d put a paragraph or two about the magic system, what kind of people live in the world, any aspects of politics that I know, and other elements that tell me what my characters will be dealing with in the environment.

Then it gets fun. (Also more difficult.) Because now I’m at what I call the bare bones. On the surface level, it’s pretty simple because I only have to identify five aspects of my plot: The introduction, Disaster 1, Disaster 2, Disaster 3, and the Denouement. They’re all the parts that move the book from exposition, to Act 2, to Act 3, and to the end. If you’re not mentally in tune with your plot, this part can be really difficult. However, figuring out these plot elements at this point is important to me because it gives me scenes to move toward and away from. Whatever those disasters are, they have to be BIG; otherwise the book lacks a good balance of tension (not the case for every book, of course, but generally). So the only pressure I have is figuring out those BIG parts–which is easier to do than piecing together the lulls, because the disasters are often what gets me excited to write a story in the first place.

Once I get the bare bones, I tease out more of the story with the Save the Cat “beat sheet” by Blake Snyder, recommended to me by my lovely CP, Marika. You’ll be able to find plenty on the beat sheet if you do a quick Google search, but it’s basically a fill in the blank with these criteria:

  • Opening image (The first thing readers see, whether that be emotionally or visually)
  • Theme stated (What’s the theme?)
  • Setup (Backstory–but not too much!)
  • Catalyst (What changes things?)
  • Debate (Character faces a conflict and makes a choice)
  • Break into Act 2 (After the choice is made, there’s a big change)
  • B Story (Subplot)
  • Fun & games (“The promise of the premise,” the fun stuff)
  • Midpoint (Could be a false high or low; stakes are raised; things are not as they seem; the fun is over)
  • Bad guys close in (things getting worse)
  • All is lost (The opposite of the midpoint, but it is another apex, and motivates a change in direction)
  • Black moment (self explanatory)
  • Finale (The climax)
  • Final image (the opposite of the opening image)

Once I have all those pieces, I have all the parts of a synopsis. From there, it just comes down to putting together the different parts in a cohesive way, and I have an outline and synopsis.

And then I’m ready to start drafting.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I made you look at that ghost heart at the beginning. Well, it’s pretty simple, really–while I’m outlining, I’m putting together all of these pieces, all of the parts that get to the heart of the story. With my outline, I’ve constructed the ghost heart of my story. I have the structure, and everything is present to make the story work–all the veins, the motivations, the chambers. I have everything.

Except the blood. The life. Those comes with the actual drafting, and then my heart will be red and pumping.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you used a beat sheet while outlining or during revision? Let me know, and tell me how you liked it!

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for my WUW post–I’ll be talking about LEGEND by Marie Lu!

What’s Up Wednesday – April 16

I’m late today! So we’re jumping right in:

WHAT I’M READING:

I just got back from the library to turn in my copy of MATCHED by Ally Condie (which I borrowed from the library… yesterday). Suffice to say that I enjoyed the read. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite read, since I, like a lot of people nowadays, have gotten a little tired of dystopian, if only because they come with many similar themes (most often the horrifying notion that not everything in the characters’ lives is under their control), and pretty much always lead to rebellion. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing… but it does start to feel like you’re reading the same thing over and over, despite the beautiful, diverse, and feel-inducing situations of each book. Maybe I would feel differently if it had been a while since I read/watched my last dystopian. (Looks at DIVERGENT, THE HUNGER GAMES.)

I’ll probably be totally throwing away that whole last paragraph by admitting that after I returned MATCHED, I checked out LEGEND by Marie Lu. Sue me.

WHAT I’M WRITING:

I’m currently planning out my next book! Hoorayyyyyy! I am totally an outliner, no question about it, and I love this part of the process. What I like about the planning stage is that I have the freedom of discovering my world right away. There are some writers who love the joy of discovery while writing first, and I love that, too… but somehow, knowing some of what’s coming and exactly what I have to look forward to helps keep me going, and keeps me excited about my projects. It also helps me write scenes with much more impact from the get-go, and I can be more precise about how much emotion should be shown in a particular scene, and just how much of a future plot point I can give away/foreshadow in an earlier bit.

I don’t outline chapter by chapter, but I do work with a synopsis and the bones of the work. I saw a post on Tumblr the other day with the picture of a heart that is translucent white–it was a whole heart, but all of the blood had been–actually, I’m going to stop talking about this here and start drafting a post about outlining. I hold you in suspense! *clings*

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW:

If you can find it, check out Delicate by Kina Grannis. (Music). There’s also another song of hers, but it won’t be officially released until May 6. I’ll probably write up a whole post about Kina someday.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO:

Basically I’ve just been doing a lot of reading and some writing. Attending baseball games, though I won’t be going to another one for another month. (GO MARINERS! Hometown pride! I hope they actually do well this year!) (cough) Not much else. I should really do some cleaning…

Anyway.

I hope you’ve all been well! If you want to leave a comment, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite recent reads, and whether you have any book recommendations for me–any genre. If you haven’t read them, here are books I recommended to my friend just today:

– CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (YA historical; very good and feel-inducing)
– ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins (YA contemporary romance. Lovelovelove. It was published in 2010, so if you haven’t read it, get on that!)
– ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (YA contemporary set in the 80s. Amazing.)
– GRACELING by Kristin Cashore (YA fantasy. Fantastic. And not just because it’s fantasy.)

Pretty much all of these have already been published for a while, which is all the more reason to check them out. Maybe you won’t even have to wait on the holds list at your library when you put in a request! Oh man. I love libraries.

As always, check out the other WUW posts HERE.

Excitement and Disappointment

It has come to my attention that the past couple weeks have included a lot of *flailing* from me. I’ve noticed it in my emails, in my Tweets, in my conversations, and even in my real life actions. I lift my arms and wave them around. I dance in my chair. I get up and rock side-to-side, spinning in a circle with my arms hanging loose.

I flail.

I guess all that means is that I am finding reasons to get excited. Not even necessarily about exciting things–maybe it’s just that I’m easily pleased. I’m not as easily disappointed.

Publishing is fraught with rejection, but you don’t hear about it all the time. It’s not just authors who get rejected while querying or proposing an idea to a critique parter–or, for that matter, in trying to find a critique partner at all. Rejection is part of every stage. Agents could reject edits. Editors could reject agents. The top banana at publishers could reject the editor who loves your project. Writers could reject an offer that isn’t right for them. Readers could reject the story.

So yeah. Lots of rejection.

But for me, keeping the outlook of easily-excited-and-not-easily-disappointed is healthy. I’ve been keeping an eye on publishing ever since I became serious about it as a sophomore in high school. It’s changed since then, and it’ll keep changing, and I’m okay with that. I know it’s what I want to do, in some form or another. But as an observer and hopeful participant in the more bookish side of the world, I know I have to have thick skin going in. I rejoice at the happiest of happys and take the disappointments as they come. They’re never going to stop coming.

But that’s okay. I’m a lot happier to be happy with what I have. And I’m excited to keep adding to that happy pile.