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Friday, October 14, 2011

WINNERS!!!WINNERS!!!

Ok so if you guys remember I made that giveaway contest a couple months back....Yep it was THAT long and yep time does pass like mad when you are trying to squeeze everything into a short or long time frame. The contest HAS been extended previously, but I've gotten all the prizes here so that I can give them away to you. Sweet, right? Ok. Cool. Lets get started!


I decided to randomize the entries as this is a very comfortable thing to do because I don't pick favourites...lol...Of course not. Whoever had more points got more entries into the randomizer and this was an online thing since I didn't have much paper to write on...Shrugs. Believe it or not, I actually wrote my whole first novel on paper. Lined school paper. The good kind. Is there a bad kind? I wrote during French Class all year. My teacher took it away from me allot. But I always got it back in the end. It sucked. But it was my first writing attempt and I'm glad I didn't stop. I sort of started in the first place because I was bored...Off topic!!!

Back to the winners. So I am opening the randomizer right now. Typing the names in. I've got all the points and things and all that stuff and click. This one goes for first place. Its Loading. Loading. Loading. Is my computer THAT slow?

First place goes to...

Evangeline a.k.a Vangie

Congratulations!!

Second Place goes to...

FantasyGirl2000

Third Place goes to...

Kayeleen Hamblin

If you see this than e-mail me at arielemerald at rocketmail.com to collect your stuffs...HEHE. If you don't, I will come down to your blog to let you know...soon. Promise!

Cheers

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Battle & Action Scenes

I thought that a post about action would be a great idea for today. Action is apparently, according to a couple agent critiques, the best part of my writing. I love action and I am speaking about the type of action that happens in battle and in war. Yes, truthfully speaking everything is action, even Jenny going to talk to Sally is an action. But today, I want to talk about battle. The epic kind.

                                            

1. Visualize. That is your #1 target. You really have to see every swift movement of the body, every slice of the blade and describe it in order to create a very realistic scene for your audience. The precision, the fear, the consequence. When writing battle scenes, I think that seeing the scene in your head is the best way to get better and better at them.

2. Research and analyze. I don't do this often but I suppose that watching movies with lots of battle scenes does act as visual research on some occasions. The only problem is...Battle scenes in movies are rarely realistic. Keep in mind that many of them I notice glitches and issues in. Still...Basically speaking, you cannot write about battle if you haven't seen any battles and most us that live in North America only get to see really high quality battles in movies. Thus, sometimes its better to speak to someone who has a knowledge of realistic battle. That is a perfect idea of how to learn to write about battles. But movies are still great tools. We don't need dry battle scenes. We are writing Fantasy here. Since visualization is the key to a great battle scene in a novel, watching epic battle scenes will really get you the idea of what you are aiming for and how it is done in entertainment. In case you are treading unfamiliar grounds, and have never had the thought of battle it IS a very good idea to pick up a novel that has scenes of war and read. It is costly to make errors when writing about battle. Especially errors that are unrealistic and long time Fantasy readers would immediately notice, not to mention agents.

3. Stay Tight. We want to know what senses your MC is feeling as he/she battles his/her way through the war field. We want to know the emotional aspect of life and death, but never focus too much on this as when people fight, they tend not to think too much. Over thinkers will die. Because if you think too much, you don't focus. But you have to keep your focus on the main action, don't describe the wind, or how the sky looks or whatnot. Eyes on the prize.

So with these three points in mind, go and get your buts in your chairs and keep writing those battle scenes, but before you do...Don't forget to scroll to older posts and enter my contest. It ends on October 13! Cheers!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't care. Write. Live.



When I first started out on my writing journey I was fourteen years old. Now, a few years later, I am not published like I imagined I'd have been. In fact, when I look back at my fourteen year old self I can't help but giggle because I actually had sent out three queries and thought agents would be fighting for my novel and a quick F.Y.I to my fourteen year old self, the query sucked! Go throw that query out!

Here I am now, and I've been offered representation which I've declined because it wasn't the right fit. I'm looking at things totally differently. Writing a book is like walking a long damn road, super long, and littered with broken glass. All those ugly or may I say kinda interesting chunks of broken glass represent all those obstacles of getting published. But hey, I don't care anymore. I honestly don't care. Hell, I am enjoying writing and reworking my book so much that I'd rather wait longer to get it published and now that I look at it, I wouldn't have wanted my fourteen year old self to publish. Why? Because everything pretty much sucked. It was like the very start to a skeleton which I've built on, and if I would have published that skeleton, I would have never been able to take it back. Yikes. So basically I don't care about getting published as much as I used to and believe it or not, its brought me luck. I mean, I have a great agent waiting for a rewrite and a request from another large agency. We'll see how that goes. Just this time, I'm not dying from checking my e-mail every 5 minutes. What have you learnt from your writing journey?



Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding Mr/Mrs Right



Finding an agent is like getting married. That's what they all say, and I am not even going into that topic because this post will be ubber long in that case. First thing first. We all start at that one level where we are freaking out when we just get one request. We squeal and scream and party. OK, maybe not all but some of us. Anyways, that's just the first step, getting noticed. Once you've polished your manuscript and have an awesome story to send out to the world you WILL get noticed and that is when YOU are the one hiring the agent.


When we are desperate, we do desperate things and sometimes go into a binding contract that leads to the wrong way. When you research an agent go into full depth because even though you are super excited and think that you are that close to publication you may not be. I've recently been in a situation like this and it IS quite upsetting but eventually you get over it. What about you? Still searching for Mr/Mrs right?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Its ending soon. I've extended it for now, though.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The WORST opener in the history of writing

This is my entry for the Absolute Write blog chain for July. This month's prompt: the Mini Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. The Mini Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest means trying to write the worst possible first line of a book or story in the spirit of Edward "It was a dark and stormy night..." Bulwer-Lytton. "Worst" in this case is subjective, but florid and ridiculous purple prose is probably closest to the spirit of the thing. Here is mine:
 
It was an unusually well told dark and extremely out of the ordinary stormy, because thunder groaned in the abyss like a mad man, night, and by night the vultures cried yelps of pleas for the melancholy in the air had built up and just wouldn't vaporize.

Please visit all the awesome participants...Cheers!

orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com

AuburnAssassin - http://clairegillian.com
dolores haze - http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
Horseflye - http://thecozylittleplot.blogspot.com/
Proach - http://www.deannaproach.com/
BigWords - http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/
jkellerford - http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/
Euclid - http://euclid-thoughts.blogspot.com/
Diana Rajchel - http://blog.dianarajchel.com/
pezie - http://www.erinbrambilla.wordpress.com/
Guardian - http://daewrites.blogspot.com/
egoodlett - http://wordlarceny.blogspot.com/
Alpha Echo - http://writersramblings81.blogspot.com/

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down and enter my HUGE blog giveaway! Loads of prizes that range from brand new books, to Amazon gift cards, to critiques. Cheers!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

HUGE Blog Contest!

I miss blogging so much. Life has gotten sooo in the way, and of course so has writing. I've been waiting to do this blogging contest and I did plan to do it earlier...No excuses. My bad. But by now, I've definitely stocked up on more things to give away! Woot!

Let me start with your fave part, and mine too of course. The prizes!
Oh and did I forget to mention that this is my 100th post? From now on, I'm going to try to make blogging daily. I'm really behind.

First place:

- A brand new copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth, Graceling by Cashore, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!!! That is not even all....Scroll down.






- You ALSO get a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate! Awesome!
- And a critique of your query and partial by yours truly, me. I have experience with these things and I was just recently offered representation which I'm putting on hold, but that is another post.

So that is that for the first place. I think I'd like to win that myself!

Second place:

- You still get a copy of Divergent, but you also get the chance to win my second $25 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Third Place: Last but not at all least! You get an e-book PDF version of Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card and a critique of your query and partial by me. Great book by the way, and the cover is sick!


The rules: There have to be rules, right?

To enter simply leave your name and e-mail in the comment sections.
To get extra points:
Add 5 points if you blog about this contest. You have to add a link and add up your points.
Add 1 point for tweeting about the contest. Once again, add the link please.
Add 5 points if you are an old follower or if you're new add 2(if you followed me before today).
Have fun!

Cheers!

***Contest ends October 13!!! so hurry! 




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June Blog Chain - Description

This post is part of the June 2011 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s challenge is a simple descriptive setting.

Here is my piece of descriptive writing from a novel which is on submission.

Alexis hated how her father always picked the cards she was dealt. She hated the way the Moscow streets smelt, and the way she could barely say a word in Russian when all eyes were on her. Inhaling, she stepped forward and pressed her hands deeper into the pockets of her parka. The warmth comforted like her mother once had in the chill of the night.



The soil below her boots was moist, the kind of moist that seeped into small puddles and sogged into the leather, making her shiver. She looked up at the moon. It looked too much like the same moon that she saw from her balcony in California, it was the same moon, yet it felt as if she was in a different world. A world she didn’t belong in. A branch cracked and she spun around, darting behind a prickly rose bush for cover. If her father would see her out at night he would…She froze.


The figure that came into the garden stomped over the flower beds with his boots and retrieved a tiny carton, probably a cigarette pack. Alexis kept completely still as tiny vapors of the evening mist condensed on her brow.




Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:


orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com

juniper - http://www.katjuniper.com/
LadyMage - http://www.katherinegilraine.com/
dolores haze - http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
jkellerford - http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/
AuburnAssassin - http://clairegillian.com/
pezie - http://www.erinbrambilla.com/
Inkstrokes - http://drlong67.wordpress.com/
WildScribe - http://DionneObesoBlog.com/
Guardian - http://daewrites.blogspot.com/
Lyra Jean - http://lyratorres.wordpress.com/
egoodlett - http://wordlarceny.blogspot.com/
cwachob - http://www.corriewachob.blogspot.com/
Aheïla - http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/
faerydancer - http://digitalinkwell.wordpress.com
TheMindKiller - http://www.jabberwocky.ws/
Irissel - http://irissel.blogspot.com/

Contest post coming up tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I give this award to...

Ok. I admit it. My fault. I'm quite late, but I'm still going to award you. Isn't that sweet? So I got this award from Kayeleen's Creation. Sweetness all the way, eh?




There are rules for this award.They are as follows:


1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.

Thank you!

2. Share seven random facts about myself.

Here goes...

1. I was told that my first written novel has potential to be best-selling if I work harder on it! WOOT! And that was by an agent.
2. I write songs.
3. The more I write, even the same novel, the more I love it, breathe it, live it.
4. I hate my ipod at the moment! First it got lost, then its lost its cable. GRRRR....I realize that that is my fault.
5. I don't like to admit my faults, but hey, I do, didn't you just see that above?
6. I don't believe in age. Its a number. I hate numbers. I am still in my teens, but I don't think we need to clasify everyone with age. That really pulls many people apart.
7. Coffee actually inspires me. Weird, I know.

3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.

This was HARD....So many great bloggers and blogs, I'm lost. Ok, not anymore. Ive made up my mind. The award goes to: Wistfylly Linda, Flights Of Urban Fantasy, My Scientific Attempt, Ink Spells, AND Loren Chase!
 4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

I am about to do that. Thus, its done! Its done in the future if that makes sense. The future me did it. Yep. CHEERS!
X

P.S....My contest is still coming and even better than I planned, so heads up!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Blog Chain - How to show relationship dynamics?

Describe them. The May Blog Chain with Absolute Write is in full swing and this month’s theme is relationships. Before me went Pezie and after me, Inkstrokes. The full chain is at the bottom of the post.
Instructions:

Show a character’s approach to relationships in a short scene. A harmless exchange between mother and daughter? A submissive character overwhelmed by a dominant partner? A passionate lover’s quarrel? A forlorn, unrequited letter?


Use your characters’ interaction to show the dynamics of their relationship, show how they’re growing together or growing apart, or just have silly fun. Character descriptions at the beginning are forbidden this time around–let them speak or act for themselves!


So, I'm going to go ahead and post a small part of my novel which is on submission and has received lots of full requests. Yay! Here goes...
I move the twigs aside so that I have a clear view of Lexa diving into the lake. Splash. I catch my breath as she surfaces, her skin shimmering like spider silk below the moonlight. She throws her head back and laughs. She is alone, and I am here. I take a step forward, miscalculating the results. Leaves crunch. “Shit,” I mumble and freeze. Lexa is already looking my way, her eyes wide, her hands hugging her bare chest.



“Who is there?” Her voice sounds forced, almost scared.


I stay still. What a coward. But what would she think me if I came out? Would she call me Dusty Cummins the stalker? She’s called me that before, a stalker.


“Who is there?” She looks back and forth, reminding me of a swan that has lost her way. Her hair whips against her shoulders.


God, she is so beautiful, so fragile, and when she said she hated me she didn’t mean it. I know she didn’t. She’s only afraid of the others, showing that she likes Dusty Cummins, the son of a poor beggar, the laugh of the school, the poet. She doesn’t just like me, she loves me, and I love her.


Lexa dips back into the lake so that only her head pops out and she shivers. Her shiver sends the hairs on my neck on end, and I want nothing more than to comfort her, to hold her close.


“Lexy, where are you?”


“I’m here, in the lake.”


That would be Lavelle, her boyfriend. He doesn’t deserve her. I turn to leave, but Lavelle isn’t there, and Lexa is still here. This in my only chance to be alone with her, to tell her what I feel. I tuck my hair behind my ears, straighten my suit, and emerge from the foliage.


Lexa’s mouth drops open.


I smile. She knows she’s happy to see me, I’m sure of it. She just isn’t showing it, yet. She’s just surprised, maybe even scared that Lavelle will see me with her.


“Dusty Cummins?” Her face scrunches and she frowns. “What in all hell are you doing here?”


Sand trickles in my shoes as I trudge through the beach and pick up her clothes. They’re warm to the touch from the summer breeze. A soft scent of flowers and fresh bread lingers with her petticoat. It’s the same scent her golden locks smell of from afar. It’s an indescribable scent.


“Put my clothes down,” she yells. Her hand comes out of the water holding a pebble, and she eyes me suspiciously. “I swear I will stone you if you won’t.”


She is just scared. That is all. As I stare into her widened eyes, the last poem I’ve written for her rings in my ears and I have to recite it to her. “I've written you a poem, Lexa. Like desperate souls, two vain beings stand. Forgiven of sin, forgotten of love. The darkness retreats, and she’s back in his arms. We call on a the sky with its billowing wisps, where seagulls will churn and fall to the depths” Before I can finish the first verse, she throws the pebble.


Tell me what you think and visit the other awesome bloggers!!!


orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com


Proach - http://desstories.blogspot.com/
Yoghurtelf - http://thefarseas.blogspot.com/
AuburnAssassin - http://clairegillian.com/
aimeelaine - http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog
Della Odell - http://dellaodell.wordpress.com/
jkellerford - http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/
LadyMage - http://www.katherinegilraine.com/
pezie - http://www.erinbrambilla.com/
xcomplex - ME!!!
Inkstrokes - http://drlong67.wordpress.com/
ElizaFaith13 - http://www.girlspwn.blogspot.com/
dolores haze - http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
juniper - http://www.katjuniper.com/
Steam&Ink - http://steamandink.blogspot.com/

Gosh, my spacing is really messed up and I can't seem to fix it. Sorry! Also, I will be giving out an award and hosting a contest in the next couple of days!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'am having a contest! *Pick your Prize*


80 Followers! Yay! That's got to be a milestone. Thank you awesome people for following my blog. Because of this, I want to hold a contest to give away a YA novel. Also, I'm in a great mood. I am in for another rewrite, but I've gotten great feedback and am very excited because I know my novel will get there if I (work) *slave* on it hard enough.

To the contest...Because I know that's what you all want to hear about. So I was thinking which E-novel I should give away and some that came to mind were...Game of Thrones (Its on TV now!), Twilight, Blade Itself, or Pathfinder. Those were some of my thoughts, but I would like to hear would you guys would like to read! Now, the e-book will come in PDF and of course once you win the contest you can't give it away or distribute it or what not, because I purchased it. So please comment and tell me what you wish to read. I would prefer your choices to be YA and Fantasy or Sci-Fi, but if you like other genres and the novel is great than post it right in. So comment and spread the word, because I am hoping to have this contest on next week.

Speaking of contests...I just won an e-book and there is another great contest you can enter over at Loren Chase's blog! Go on and take a look because you can win a fabulous ARC copy of BEAUTY QUEENS by LIBBA BRAY and all you have to do is comment and spread the word.

CHEERS!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do YOU really love to write?

Writing is hard work. If you remember the day you first sat down to write, you probably just thought about the beauty and the whole greatness of your story. I look back now, and the first time I wrote a story was probably when I was under 10, but it wasn't a novel. It was a (I actually thought I would publish it!) picture book written with terrible grammar. Ha! Writing a novel is after all a great accomplishment, and one which we forget after we fail with query letters. Yes, everyone goes through it. At least the majority. Everyone gets rejected. Whether it is your first manuscript which was rejected or you are still getting rejected, we all do some time in our life. That's when I looked back and asked myself one question. Is this really worth my time?

Life is short and time is limited and in order to prevail (I am starting to speak like my characters) you have to use it wisely. When you are receiving dozens of rejection letters you slump. So many people I know have given up, thinking that giving up proves they are strong enough to admit the truth. So many writers I know actually stopped writing. Those that did didn't love their craft. They thought that they would send out a query letter and their dream agent would fall in love. Like that really happens...And the ones that did really love the craft came back years later only to shed tears over the fact that they are now late and they have less time to pursue their goal. I have had a share of rejections in my short life and I understand them more than anything. I didn't give up. I kept writing and rewriting and most of all I enjoyed it. Every bit of it. Now that my first novel is finished and I am nearing completion of perfection on my 13 other works I miss writing about those characters and those world and I have to keep writing. I just have to.

So I have passed that slump where I felt like giving up my dream of publication and realized that I don't write for publication. I write for myself, I write for my characters. Now, I've been struck with luck as one might call it. Or perhaps to be truthful, I've simply improved my writing a ton. The requests are piling up and I am at a very satisfactory rate of rejections. 46% positive responses. I couldn't ask for anything better and I can't wait to see what happens. Maybe I will have an agent before I am an adult! Amazing and exciting, not that age really counts. But mainly, I would have never seen those responses if I would have given up. So ask yourself this...Do I really love writing? Trust me, I know you won't stop.

Just for the fun of it, have you ever quit? Have you ever stopped writing for even a week just because you were in a slump?

Oh and another update...I have been reading up like mad in my genre...I guess reading is essential for writing, but I don't feel I've learned much yet I will be hosting some great contests to give away awesome best selling fantasy novels! YAY! Spread the word wonderful followers :D

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Incarceron

I have been recently picking up books of alike genre to my own, and reading those great sellers. Today, I am reviewing INCARCERON by Fisher, and I actually read through this one quite quickly. Tell me what you think if you have read it! By the way, don't you like this font better? It seems more user friendly to me...hmmm :) Anyways...


My Rating: * * * * (4 stars/5)
In case you are wondering, this review does contain SPOILERS.

Incarceron is a New York Times best seller, and while I think it was a good book and has a great premise, I had some problems with it. It starts off with action. Yipee! The main character is introduced, his name is Finn and he lives in Incarceron which is sort of a living, breathing, prison that was created by the outsiders. Originally, it was meant to be a perfect world, but something went hugely wrong and it turned out far from perfect, especially that only criminals live there. Chapters go from Finn to Claudia, a girl that lives outside with the Warden, her father, and is getting married off to a very nasty earl because the previous guy, Giles, was killed. Claudia actually wanted to get married to Gilles. Now, the setting is great. Outside, we are supposed to believe that the kingdom froze time to keep it Victorian and follow protocol. I thought that was very interesting.

Now, the plot. Well, I loved the idea, and I thought I would see some huge twists and knots and exciting changes, but it didn't, really. The only twist that there is in the novel is that Finn finds out he is Gilles. Him and Claudia both want to escape and they both find a key which they communicate through. Finn and his oath brother and an old man, Gildas, along with a girl (Her name is Attia and I feel she is mostly there to create a love triangle in the future with Finn travel to escape the prison, and Claudia helps with her master Jared along the way., Claudia and her). Ok. One thing I had a problem with was also the parts with action. I felt that the writing was really loose and it sent me into major confusion over what in the world was going on. So toward the ending, they fight Incarceron and manage to escape. But Keiro, the oath brother, can't escape because he is half-man (made by the prison) and Gildas dies. Only those that hold the keys can leave. So, Claudia and Finn escape the prison at the very end and basically push out the evil queen which doesn't have that much reason to be evil. I liked the read. That's why I rated it 4/5. But, I felt that it was missing that something that would have made me love it. Perhaps it was the characters...

When reading Incarceron, I thought that Claudia and Finn were very mundane. I found that the secondary characters were much more developed. Keiro was quite unpredictable and I thought he was going to betray Finn and I found that Jared was an interesting more intelligent type. Claudia herself was selfish. The whole reason she takes Finn out is because she doesn't want to marry the earl. She doesn't care that his friends are stuck inside, she only cares that she's got what she wants (I forgot to mention, she finds out that her father isn't her father and she was born in the prison.). Finn could have been developed more and is a bit passive and "follow the plot" type of character. So that's what I think! Let me know if you read Incarceron and how you liked it :)

If you guys write YA...and you didn't enter this...ENTER :D


YAtopia is holding a great contest for a chance to query Natlie who is really closed for submissions now. I won't explain too much. All the info is here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April Chain - 2011

I am a bit late, but none the less, things have been busy. This months AW blog chain is a great idea which I love. It has two parts: First, describe one of your characters in 50 words or less. Second, have that character interview you. (Thanks to Orion from nonexistent books).





Part 1: 1865 - Dusty Cummins is an everything but extraordinary teenager, living in Victorian England. He is shy, introverted, and a bit of an oddball. He is forced to live with a terrible secret. A secret which will change humanity (I won't give that away yet *wink*).  He has shaggy black hair, light skin, a bit of a longer nose, and piercing green eyes.

Part 2:


Go ahead and imagine that it turns out your world isn't real and that there is a persona sitting at a type writer or what you seem to call a, what was it?
A computer, Dusty.
Right. Sitting at a computer and typing away your life. How would you feel about such a revelation?
I think that I would ask them to grant me my desires if I had a chance to speak to them.
Is that an offer?
Not particularly.
How come?
Because life is hard.
That's if you make it hard for me, right?
Basically. Can we return to the interview?
Sure thing.
Questions?
Yes. If that is really the case, and I don't exist, how did you come up with me? Why come up with a person like me? Why make my life miserable?
Let me just say that you were inspired by a sketch of mine.
Is that so?
Yes.
This is all very unsettling. I feel like I am on the verge of losing my mind. That's it, isn't it? I made all of this up to drown out reality. I made you up.
If that's what you'd like to think, feel free.
Thank you. I suppose that means I should try to stop talking to myself, in my mind, and try to forget you ever existed.
Goodbye, Dusty.
Hope you enjoyed meeting my oddball protagonist. He isn't much of a talker as you can tell. Don't forget to check out the other participants in the April Blog Chain:


Steam&Ink - http://steamandink.blogspot.com (link to this month's post)
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com/
Yoghurtelf - http://thefarseas.blogspot.com/
COchick - http://joannchaney.blogspot.com/
xcomplex - http://www.arielemerald.blogspot.com/
pezie - http://www.erinbrambilla.com/
aimeelaine - http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog
auburnassassin - http://clairegillian.com/
Della Odell - http://dellaodell.wordpress.com/
Juniper - http://www.katjuniper.com/
Proach - http://desstories.blogspot.com/
allmyposts - http://becomingprince.blogspot.com/
LadyMage - http://katherinegilraine.com/
dolores haze - http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Listening to the RIGHT critique

Critique

Critique is an art of intuition. An art, just like the prose itself. Critique. It is personal stuff that will sometimes lead you in the wrong direction. To be truthful, and to get to the point, I have been working on my query submission like crazy lately, and have actually gotten lucky. 7 requests for fulls and 21 rejections. Wonderful in my honest opinion. But why?


Especially on forums we writers go on and post and we wait and we shed tears over harsh critiques (maybe that is a little over exaggerated) and we change our writing. But when do we know if we really need to change?


Taking critiques is like critiquing yourself, because many critiques are purely opinionated. For one, I have proof with my own personal experience. My query was shed and shredded on a great writers forum (AW). I was sick to death of revising and changing, so I said thank you and went back to the original and sent off 21 queries. Requests! Ka-ching! Sweet, and everyone seemed to say that something in my query didn't make sense and the plot didn't show. But I did something right in order to get such great responses. So before accepting critique, even from your closest friends, think twice. Maybe think three times. Because writing is art and art is about expressing yourself in your own prose and your own style. Everybody thinks and perceives in a different manner, and that is what makes art beautiful.


So how do you know when to accept critique?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Covers that Rocked!!!

I am all about the covers and I decided to dedicate today to the awesome covers that are out there in the YA section. Thses are the covers I picked up when I was buying books and I have to say that the artists did an amazing job!





So check out these great novels. Also an update...
If you don't already follow the YA Lit Six. Follow them. They are YA (like myself) that write YA. Their blog is great and they have great advice as well as a sweet contest that is now on. Don't we all love contests? I know I do. I actually won once from Freckle Head. Woot! So here is your chance to win some amazing prizes and even a copy of "Rain" signed by the author. The prizes are...

First prize: A signed copy of Rain by our very own Kieryn Nicolas, a custom header/button combo made by the lovely Katie from KD Designs (who made our gorgeous blog button) and a full manuscript critique from all of us.


Second and third prizes: A custom blog button from Katie (see how awesome she is?), and a critique of your first chapter by all of us.

Check them out and follow. Happy Writing.

Cheers!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Struck...


February. The month of love. In that case, happy Valentine's day. So many great love stories come from great novels and scripts. Think about love struck Romeo and his love. Probably the greatest love story of all time. Yes, I have read the play. Nearly every single novel I read and every single movie I watched had "Love" in them. Perhaps it is because love it the one emotion that we all endure through life. Perhaps it is because people enjoy love, or perhaps it is because it is a feeling we all understand. Whether it be parental love or romantic love.

The main thing when weaving romantic tension between two characters is that it needs to be believable. I can't emphasize that enough. If it isn't believable the tension is simply not there and the reader won't care. Nearly every fantasy has a romance, whether it be a triangle or a classic weave, but it is the way that it is told in the back story that makes it "great." The way the characters interact and the way that descriptive words are used.

Another important aspect in weaving love into your novel is having like able characters. Both of them or three of them. Many stories are based highly on love despite having a different genre. So, who knows. Maybe your novel will be the next best love tale.

Cheers!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Absolute Write February Blog Chain

I tend to heart blog chains when they come. I love to see the very different opinions on one subject and for this time we will be seeing different characters. Yay! Sweet. Oh, did I mention we are talking antagonists? Even better. I'm currently on the publishing road with my YA Fantasy novel, so I don't want to disclose too much now, but I will be discussing my antagonist for my new adult fantasy. So there is two parts to this chain and these are...


Part one: Describe the antagonist in your novel in 50 words or less.

"Escalanto is a dark man. Not even a man, more a ruler that is sinned to the point where he can no longer be trapped within the limits of a human body by the gods. When he rips away, he will take everything, along with the power that earth holds."

Part two: What would you say to your antagonist if you met him or her in real life? Post a scene in response to this question in 100 words or less.

Me: "Why did they ban you to human form?"

Escalanto: Glares at me and says in his raspy voice, "Give it a wild guess."

Me: Shrugs.

Escalanto: Laughs. "Why don't you let me show you."

He reaches his hand out to me. I feel the chill of his hand, the bitterness of his gaze and I take a step back.

Sweet! He is quite a dark fellow, yet he has a big story behind him and this novel is really an idea I am super excited about. Read all the other awesome entries on AW and comment :)

Proach: http://desstories.blogspot.com direct link to my post

Steam&Ink: http://steamandink.blogspot.com/ direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.com/ direct link to her post
dolores haze: http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/
xcomplex: MEEEE
LadyMage: http://katherinegilraine.com/
aimeelain: http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog
jonbon.benjamin: http://jonbonbenjamin.blogspot.com/
CScottMorris: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/
Ralph Pines: http://ralfast.wordpress.com/
GradyHendrix: http://www.gradyhendrix.com/
Orion mk3: http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com/
Forbidden Snowflake: http://www.silversnowflake.net/liv
knotane: http://knotane.wordpress.com/
JerseyGirl1962: http://writerlystuff.blogspot.com/
FranYoakumVeal: http://thejourneyofthewriter.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 10, 2011

E-books, Small Presses, Agents, Penguins, Oh My!

There are so many ways to get published, despite the dam difficulty of getting an agent or an editor to take a peak at your work. You can self publish, you can query, you can search for an agent, but sometimes life leads you on a completely different path than you might imagine.

Fortunately and of course the horrid unfortunately there are many pros and cons to options that I have gathered and tried.

E Books:
Pros:
  • Cheaper for audience to purchase.
  • Kindles are popular now!
  • It's easier to get your novel in the attention of an e-publisher than it is to get an agent. Trust me.
  • You can self publish an e-book.
  • You can spread the word, for you don't have a marketing team.
Cons:
  • Didn't you always dream to see your book with a hard cover? Even a paper cover?
  • Low costs. If you self publish, you will be earning quite badly unless it goes viral.
  • No marketing. Even if you have a publisher for e-books the marketing vs. traditional publisher is not comparable.
  • Rights. You lose your rights for a limited amount of time. (This depends on the contract). 
Small Press: 
Pros:
  • Well, your book is published at the least. Small presses may be easier to target. Easier to communicate with.
  • Personal attention.
  • You never know when a press may grow. Hey, you could be targeting a future corporation.
  • Positive attitude. I noticed that the smaller presses I contacted were very friendly.
Cons:
  • Distribution.
  • Channels of sale.
  • Marketing Ability.
  • Design force (That's your cover).
Agent:
Pros:
  • Worldwide publishing connections.
  • Chance to bring attention to your novel with large publishers.
  • Knowledge.
  • Care. If you found a good agent, they will care about your work and perfect it by your side.
Cons:
  • They take a percentage of your advance etc. That doesn't bother me, but...if it bothers you...
  • Not all agents succeed.
  • Not all agents have the right connections.
So when you query, you make the choice. Many authors go with what flows, if you know what I' am saying. Whoever accepts you is not always the right way to go. Personally, I have had success with agents (yet I AM unagented) and I stopped querying after a larger press requested revisions. So when you query who do you target? Oh, and for the penguins...Penguin books were just recently accepting submissions. I am not sure if it is still up, but you can go and check that out.

Cheers!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

VOICE - Getting the hang of it

VOICE...
It was very recently, that I took a lot of note to voice. I even started paying attention to how I speak to others, how others speak, how they act, in order to bring out the best of my characters. The most real. But that's off topic. That's dialogue. Voice is a tricky subject. Every author has a voice, yet it is something that is developed over time. We each carry our own unique personalities. I can guarantee you that no one is the same as every one. No one has the same voice. In a novel, voice is the core, its the grip factor. Sometimes voice makes you pick up a novel and sometimes voice makes you put a novel down. The major issue with voice it that you have to find it. You have to release it.

Voice is the way your writing sounds upon paper, the way your writing sounds when you read it aloud. It makes your writing different, unique (make sure that's in a good way). When I read something by one of my favorite writers, I often have the feeling that no one else could have written it. In most good writing, the individuality of the writer comes through. When we sense this individuality, we’re picking up on the writer’s voice. Voice is the way your character experiences the plot of the story. It's the way he/she sees the setting and feels the emotion. My main advice, to find your writers voice is to write and write. When I started out I didn't know voice. Hell, I didn't know what a query was. Just a couple months ago, my writing suddenly shifted. I started writing and everything began coming our differently. I compared. I could SEE the difference. Of course, I hurried and began to rewrite my novel with voice for the publisher that's still awaiting. I had to. I got addicted to my new voice. I can't actually say new, because the later was more just simple telling. There was no spark to it, no sophistication. Voice may be something you can't really describe in a simple post, for it may takes years to find your hidden voice, but it is something you shall search for. It's worth finding your true voice in the end. Trust me.

Cheers!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

So, what if an agent finds your blog?

So, What if an AGENT locates your blogity blog???
This post is actually inspired by a question that was asked on absolute write.

Agents are people. I can say that a million times over, they are no different than us. Some authors have that strange thought of agents being query reading machines. They search and they represent what they personally enjoy. They are people, yet they are busy people who don't want to waste time searching each person who queries them. So if you've queried them and were rejected, they probably never searched you up. When an agent is interested, that's a different story. They may search up your name to try to better know you before they make the call. They just may land on your blog and they just may be reading the very words we write. But in what measure does that affect representation? Well, if your blog is written horribly and your grammar is terrible, I’m not so sure they would decline the offer. Maybe, they would talk to you and talk and wonder. Maybe they would reconsider.

In a way, I started my blog, knowing that its such a fun thing to do. Also, I wanted to be out there when I query, so the agent knows that I am here for the long run. Personally, I may have some grammar mistakes (hurried), but I feel that a blog is a great way to be a part of all the amazing writers out there and show the agent you query that you are really out there and that you are really committed. Of course, it has to be a working blog to show that. Claps to you all for keeping up such great blogs which I love to read! Keep it up and you never know, an agent just may find you accidentally. Speaking of that, did you know I actually connected with an agent through a forum and got a request?

Cheers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Celebrity Authors

This may be a off my usual posts, but this is something I wanted to talk about. Just recently, I was shopping for books online for my sister and I noticed that Hillary Duff released a novel. Nope, it wasn't non fiction like Justin Biebers biography (lol, him writing a biography at that age is pretty far fetched even if he is famous) it was an actual paranormal novel. Then, a couple day's later I see another celebrity "Snookie" that wrote a novel and its fiction. I didn't know who Snookie was, but still...She is a celebrity. I assume there are plenty more of famous people that wrote books, but I noticed there were some very angry writers on forums that felt this quite unfair. Me, personally, I don't know if I find it unfair. Publishers know that the audience already knows these people, so they will buy the books. The books will make money. This doesn't mean that publishers and agents still don't accept great manuscripts from unknown authors. In fact this are completely the opposite.



At the very same time, when I used the look inside feature for Snooki's book, I couldn't imagine how it got published. It's not horrible, but it is extremely shallow and cliché. When I looked at Duff's novel, she wasn't the only author. That made me wonder, if she wrote the book herself. No, don't get me wrong. If I was a celebrity I would still probably write my novel and want it published. So when you put yourself in their shoes it's more eye opening. This doesn't stop us from being published and certainly, nothing stops us from taking the spotlight in our own lives. Go for it!

Cheers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Write that novel: The Flesh

So yesterday I talked about the skeleton of a novel and today I figured it would be quite relevant to discuss the FLESH. So, once you have the skeleton of your novel complete, next comes the flesh. That's the juicy part. That is the characterization, the detail, the subplot, the setting and of course the theme.


Let's start with characterization...This is the method used to develop your character. The first thing I do is I come up with the characters motto, idea and setting. What are these characters for? What will they do? To me, coming up with characters comes naturally. The second thing is the name. This is an important part. When picking a name, your character has to match it. It has to resonate with him/ her in order to resonate with the readers. Of course you might also add a few quirks and want to make the character's name memorable and unique. When the name is developed, think of appearance. How do they look? In order to paint a great picture of your character for the reader, you firstly need to know exactly how they look. Then you go to the meat of the character. They have to have personality, values, their personal goals and hates. That's the fun part!

Detail is what makes a novel a novel when it comes to finishing touches. Think of tiny things that create characters, or tiny sub plots that twist and turn. Think of the way she bites her lip, or the way he gazes at her. These tiny details in you novel will spice it up. Just make sure to keep the spice at a minimum. Not too little, and not overdone.

Subplot has a vast connection to the major plot/skeleton. These are the little twists and turns that add so much sparkle to the plot, to the skeleton. We could call it spice as well. After all, a lot of the flesh is in fact spice! Zing!

Setting means everything. I really cannot emphasize that enough. The setting determines the mood and the atmosphere and of course setting isn't something we want to over focus too much. I don't really want to know the way the snowflakes were shaped or how her lips were a mix of petal pink and mahogany. Don't over spice!

Theme. Extreme importance, despite its littleness. Theme will set your story. It will set that bubble of emotions that you want to prepare your readers for. Whether it be grief, love, joy or misery.

To top it off. Flesh is the spice we grow upon the skeleton to paint a beautiful picture.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Write that Novel: The Skeleton

Every writer I know talks about establishing a great plot. A plot is what makes a book, but how do you establish a plot and how do you know you have a good plot? The plot is not the writing, nor is it the hook. It is the skeleton of your novel. Flesh comes later.
We all know this chart. Yes, its simple and yes we all know how to do this, but do we really? The Skeleton of your story refers to the bones that hold up the flesh. Literally speaking. This is your core. Sometimes the skeleton of the story makes most people fail to see the idea of the structure. Artists insist that there is no point in the structure, because it clogs off your creativity. It blocks those emotions. Truly, every single story spices and tingles your emotions because it is based on a basic structure. Flip through ANY book. They all have the same skeletal structure as shown above.


Even query writing depends on this. A query is the tale of the very key skeletal structure. The very main points. You don't tell back-story, you don't show unneeded information. You focus on the key points. This structure applies to all genres worldwide.

Exposition is the information needed to understand a story. (Don't confuse exposition for back-story).

Complication is the catalyst that begins the major conflict.

Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when characters try to resolve the complication.

Resolution is the set of events that bring the story to a close.

Cheers!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Graceling: A Review

I just finished reading Graceling last night by Kristin Cashore. I have seen lots of great reviews on it, so I picked it up and it also seemed like it was based on the more medevil sword figfhting era, which my novel is based in, so I wanted to see what the hype was. This book was admired by a lot of girls my age and after reading it I can say, I am really not so sure if it would be loved by boys (Forgive me if it is, lol) and I really don't understand why it is rated PG 14. If you have not read the novel, keep in mind that this review contains spoilers.

My Rating: * * * (3 stars/5)


So I will start with a short summary, and then get to the point of my review. If you are interested in having your novel reviewed by me, feel free to drop me a comment. Anyways, the summary...Basically Katsa is a girl who can kill people with the nail of her small finger. She has a grace of killing. Graces in the novel are more like specialty talents that are portrayed when somebody's eyes change color at a young age. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

My Review:

Love the idea. That's why I bought the book, but to me the execution and plot was dull. Katsa is somewhat an annoying character. I know Kristen Cashore tried to make her a very strong female lead, but I found her to be very Mary Sueish at times and angry for no reason. Anger management, dude. Seriously. Her grace is a bit confusing to me and I find that if I wrote this I wouldn't call it the grace of killing but maybe of like fighting or something along those lines? Maybe strength? Because everyone has the ability to kill, its just the way she does it...She does though find out later that her grace is not killing, but survival. The fights were very swift and to me I found they were described too shortly. Like she just hit men with her boot and bam! Ten men down. What confused me was that how in the world she overcame graced fighters so easily.

Now, there were great things in the novel but let me continue my ramble...She is king Randa’s slave and when she meets Po, he tells her that she shouldn't be his slave. Ok, thinks Katsa, I’m going to go kill him if he doesn't let me leave. Randa fears her, for she can dodge arrows, but I am sure if he wanted her dead than he could arrow her down with a thousand or so men. I am sure it’s impossible to dodge that many arrows. So with Po who is the grandson of the stolen Lienid grandfather, she leaves to search why in the world the grandfather was stolen in the first place. Po lets her beat him up every day and I am surprised he hadn't gotten a hematoma from her punches to the head. I mean I was in a car accident and I hit my head....2 months off, brain bleed. Eeek! I think Po is a well described character, I liked him, but he takes allot of things that I really don't know if a real guy would take from Katsa. Actually he is probably the only one she is really nice to and I liked how she slowly evolved into a more humane girl throughout the novel.

Another thing, the whole giant back-story description of the kingdoms was confusing. I skimmed. It was like Wester, Nender, Ender, Blender and I was like what??? And all of those kings and queens and yikes! I think it would have worked better if it was weaved into the narrative. So anyways, she and Po leave to find why the grandfather was stolen. Their travel lasts forever and through that travel they get to know each other until, more than halfway through the novel, they find that king Leck stole the king and he is playing with minds. Did I mention Po (whose real name is Greening) is a mind reader? Oh, and I felt their romance was somewhat off and undeveloped...So they find Bitterblue who is running away and is the daughter of Leck. I think this could have been done better because a scene or two later, when Po sacrifices himself, Katsa kills Leck with a dagger. Easily. and I don't feel the defeat and victory that I should feel when an antagonist is killed. Of course they travel with Bitterblue to get to Leck (there is allot of travel) and when they get to Po's castle, guess who's there...Just guess...Leck! She kills him and they find Po who went blind and live happily ever after with Bitterblue as the queen.

Overall thoughts...I loved the idea. I enjoyed the read, but I thought there was allot of back-story, telling and not enough action to amaze me and engage me. Graceling didn't exceed my expectations but it served as entertainment and I think that it was a fun read overall. Katsa was interesting...Po was a very beta male I will do anything kind of person. So overall you should read it if you haven't! Cheers!