Monday, June 27, 2011

Back at it...

Just over a month ago I posted that I had scrapped my current WIP story line to revamp it.  I am not currently back up in my word count to where I was before I erased it.  And it feels good.  The story flows more smoothly, has more dynamics, it's just overall better!  No other way to say it.  I like it!

I've got the first eight chapters out with my crit partner and a few friends getting all the feedback I can.  While they are reading it over I'm continuing with the story.  I'm moving along quickly, which means lots of late nights since I work an 8-5 job Monday-Friday and have a little one to take care of.  Happy to say I'm slowly training myself to run on less sleep.  It's rough because I gave up drinking caffeine back in early March so when I get really tired I have to resort to other measures...like cranking up the music and dancing around the room.  I have to say it's all worth it!

I can't tell you how excited I am to finish this WIP!

It feel so good to be back.....

Currently listening to (no, not Eminem, but I did sing his song in my head as I wrote the last line): ET by Katy Perry.  I can't stop listening to this song!  I heard it for the first time (I mostly listen to a rock station, no KP) during The 9 lives of Chole King preview (don't watch the show, just saw the previews) and couldn't get it out of my head, so I downloaded it and keep listening to it over and over!  Not sick of it yet!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Writing is like...Raising a child...

What in the tarnation is a Meme?!  I'll admit, I googled it.  I wanted to see what I was getting myself into!  So this is what Wiki had to say: meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. While genes transmit biological information, memes are said to transmit ideas and belief information.

Simple enough.  So here is mine:  Writing is like... raising a child...

Although I do not have a published book or have a full grown child, this is how I imagine the process.  Before you submit to an agent or editor.  From idea to critique.  From birth to flying to coop…with no disgusting details.  *shudders at thought*

First you have an idea.  It's new and it's beautiful and it's brilliant.  Congratulations, it's a ___ (insert baby sex here).

Then you give it a plot.  And sub plots.  Character names.  Scenery.  You just keep adding and adding and adding.  Like a child learns to sit, crawl, stand, walk and talk. 

Next you edit.  If you’re like me, you like to edit as you go.  Make sure it's as good as you can get it before moving on to the next scene.  Like preparing a child for the world.  Sending them to school, helping with home work.

Last step is to send it off to be critiqued.  Your child leaves the nest for their next phase in life (although you know no one is really sitting there waiting to write on your child with a red pen, you do know they are being watched).  You hope you've done a good job.  That people will love it.  Respect it.  Help it along the way.

And all you can do is wait.  Wait for feedback, the good and the bad. 

That's what I've done.  I've taken the first four chapters, cleaned it up as best as I can (i.e. all I could stand to do) and sent it off to two amazing women who are fellow writers (and one even snagged herself an agent!) to be judged, ripped apart, and hopefully get some good feedback.  I’ve also sent it out to two former co-workers who are like my cheerleaders.  I told them to let me know what they like, good AND BAD!  I stressed the bad.

We need it!  Just like I want to know if my child behaves I want to know if my story is good.  Or what I can do to make it better

Do I know they will slash it apart?  Yes.  Am I prepared for that?  Yes.  But then again no.  I've been warned that this is hard, sending your work off and having it looked at and then ripped apart.  For that I am ready.  But I know it will be tough.  I am quite positive there will be tears.  This is something I have worked hard on.  Just like raising a child.  You bring it up the best you can, but then you have to leave it in the care of others—crit partners or teachers, fellow readers or future bosses—to make it, and them, the best they can possibly be.  Without this step you may never know what your potential is.  You will never know how well you raised your child.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thank you to the lovely Melanie (who seriously needs to teach me how she made her blog so awesome...check her out) for tagging me in this game.  Melanie is all kinds of awesome and one of my fellow writings buddies who keeps me working hard to meet my daily goal (although she likes to distract me too).  She's got me hooked on the TV show Firefly.  See, distraction!  

Now, here are the rules (yes...I'm copying from her and pasting here...)

The goal is to come up with your own metaphor defining what "Writing is like..."

"like ice cream on a hot summer day"

or

"like a foray into an abysmal pit of loneliness"

Now it's my turn to tag three lucky bloggers to play this game with us!  The winners are.....(that was my drum roll)
1. Anna - It's not like she's going through edits or anything.
2. Anita - Who's blog posts are always fun and entertaining.
3. Ashley - Maybe this will help you keep writing.

Check out the blogs of these lovely ladies...well worth the time.

P.S.  I don't really say tarnation...hoping to get a laugh out of a certain blogger buddy who thinks it's funny when I say "y'all"...and I say that a lot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Two Cents...

I am not a teenager or young adult, I'm 29, but I am an avid reader of young adult fiction.  And I most likely always will be.  It's what I love to read.  It's what I feel comfortable reading.  I read to escape real life for a little while.  I want it to be fun, not a chore.  I do read some books that are not YA, but they are always few and far between.  Nothing against them, I just enjoy YA more.  People laugh when I tell them what I like to read.  But what they don't understand is it's not a reading level, it's the content.  I don't want to read a full blown sex scene.  It's just not me.  I don't want to have to stop every few pages and think "what's going on?"  I read for fun.  I don't want to have to pick up a dictionary every other word.  That's too much work.  I want to sit back, get lost in a story, and enjoy it.
I'm going to say I didn't like what I read in the WSJ article about young adult books (which I'm not going to link.  It's out there to find and most of you have already read it).  I do want to give my opinion, not so much on the article, but on the topic.  Mostly on what's out there and about censorship and who should decide what's suitable or not.
I do feel the mother of the teen age daughter said a good thing.  Direct quote from the article: "she felt, 'nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter.'"  I wholeheartedly believe that parents are the only ones who should decide what their child should or should not read.  Only they know what they can handle at their age.  What's out there might not be suitable for her thirteen-year-old, but that doesn't mean it's not good for all teens or young adults.  In my opinion, yes, most of the stuff out there is not suitable for the majority of thirteen-year-olds.  I'm sure there are very few that are prepared to read it.  Every child is different in what they can and cannot handle.
For instance, my father wouldn't let me read Stephen King until I turned eighteen.  Did I disagree with this?  Heck yes I did!  I was a teenager.  All of my friends were reading it.  I even got busted hiding one under my bed that a friend lent me (no, my parents didn't search my room.  We had a dog who liked to sleep under beds.  When she got older, she grew bigger and would get stuck.  My dad was getting her out when he found it.)  Should I have been reading these books?  No.  And my father knew it (although I've never told him this).  He would tell me the books are far worse than the movies (and I'd only seen the TV edited versions) and he knew that I wouldn't handle that well.  Parents know their children.  I have yet to read a Stephen King novel because now that I'm older, I know I don't need to read them.  I know it's not a story I will enjoy or benefit from.
Now as far as the writer of the article to say there is nothing out there?  That everything is too dark?  Then people aren't looking hard enough.  B&N is a company trying to make money, just like any other.  They have to make a profit, so yes, they are going to market what sells.  That doesn't mean that's it, take it or leave it.  Look harder.  Try the children/middle-grade section.  Look at used books stores.  Order on-line.  But there is something out there for everyone to read.  If not in the current market, go back a few years.  It's there.
And to me, YA should be diverse.  It needs to be.  It needs to show that everyone is different, and that it's okay to be different.  From books about the trials of babysitting to books about torture and everything in between.  The article prompted people to voice their opinion and in doing so the hashtag #YASaves was created.  Take a look.  It will move you to tears.  It did me.  

While books were just something to keep me company growing up, they were changing lives for others.  I had never thought about it before, but after reading post after post about how a book helped someone realize they weren't alone in their problems, how they could make a change for the better, I couldn't agree more than YA Saves.  If a girl needs to read about another girl cutting to help her understand, make it available.  If a boy needs to read about a boy getting tortured for a number of reasons to realize bullying is not right, make it available.  There are countless examples I can give, but if one person thought it up long enough to put in a book, I guarantee someone else is living it.  It should be the message that counts.  The rest is just entertainment.  A way to get kids to read, make it fun and interesting.  If it takes a sparkly vampire to get teenagers reading again, why not make it available?  If it takes a group of chosen kids to fight to the death to learn about perseverance and standing up for what you believe in, why not make it available?  Kids are smart.  They know vampires don't exist.  They know we don't live in a post-apocalyptic world where killing is a sport.  They will get the message.  

In the end, I can't imaging reading books like these when I was a teen (10-16 years ago), but I would have loved to.  There just wasn't a market for them then.  

To sum it up:
Parents should be the ones to judge what their children read.  Maybe read it for themselves and talk about it.
Kids are smart.  They will figure it out the difference between what's real and what's not.  
And just because YA Saves is a trendy twitter topic, doesn't mean it's not true.