Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On My Writing Playlist: Weezer

"Troublemaker" is the first song I put on my new playlist. My main character is a guy who is as easy to love as he is to hate and sometimes I laugh at his attitude. Much like how I laugh at this song. At least that is how I feel, but he is hardly on the pages yet, so this is really based on his personality in my head. Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Report Monday: I am Number Four

 Title: I am Number Four,  Lorien Legacies Book #1

Author: Pittacus Lore (James Frey & Jobie Hughes )

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I Am Number Four is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.


(from Goodreads)

My Review: This is a great example of a book which blends genres well. I mean, it has teenage aliens with magic powers, a loyal canine companion, and just a splash of romance. What more do you need? If you just said, "an adorable, nerdy best friend" then grab a copy, because it has one of those too.

I read a lot of mixed reviews for this. People complained that it was too predictable or that the writing was too choppy. This is a fast paced and fun book to read. The characters are pretty believable, though a few are just two dimensional stock. They don't stick around long enough for you to care. The love interest is the popular girl who dated the bully, football player who can get away with anything because of his athletic ability and that is cliche, but it is not the main focus of the story. And let's not forget that these things do actually happen in life, sometimes they are going to happen in books as well.

John Smith AKA Number Four has been on the run with Henri, his guardian, since they came to Earth ten years ago. They move from small town to small town, waiting for John's powers to develop and hope the Mogadorians, don't find them.

Now, I need to watch the movie and compare. I have heard that some people enjoyed the movie more than the book, which is rare.

Recommendation: This will definitely appeal to younger teenage boys.

Next Week: TBD

Friday, September 16, 2011

You Betcha, Beta!

If you have been following my blog for the last few months then you are probably tired of reading about me editing my YA Fantasy. Well you are in luck because I am changing my focus to a new story which at the moment is only an outline and a few hundred words of nonsense. The new story is a YA Retelling, there are fantasy elements, of course.

The YA Fantasy will continue to be edited and critiqued two chapters at a time with my super fabulous critique group. But I won't be waxing on and off about here.

I have finally sent copies to a few Beta Readers.


It isn't perfect, far from it actually. However, it is time for it to be read. I am tired of keeping it to myself. I keep thinking about what Ursula LeGuin said.

"An unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”

I want it to come to life, to be a proper story. And then I want to perfect it. I want to know other peoples' thoughts because I am getting lost in the minutiae. For every hundred words I add, I remove just as many. I need to talk to someone who has read the whole thing, so they can ask questions.

It's time to let my sweet betas breathe some life into it and see if it can stand.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On My Writing Playlist: Brandi Carlile

I can never find a live version of "My Song" on YouTube that pleases me, so this will have to suffice. Brandi Carlile is one of my favorite artists, she's best known for her songs being featured on Grey's Anatomy. I've never seen the show, but whoever is responsible for the music selection has great taste.

How this song relates to the emotions of a teenage girl is pretty obvious. Just a warning, listening may result in feelings of angst and rebellion. Results will be intensified by an increase in volume.

Next week I am going to switch gears. I'll still be posting songs every Wednesday but they will be from the playlist for my new project.

"And there was much rejoicing. Yay!"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On My Writing Playlist: Dar Williams

I love this song. "It's Alright" is about change and acceptance and it rocks, even though you may cringe at Ms. William's use of "alright" over the more grammar friendly "all right." This song could probably be on every writing playlist, since characters inevitably change over the duration of a story. So go ahead and steal it for yours.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Report Monday: The Little White Horse

Title: The Little White Horse

Author: Elizabeth Goudge

Synopsis: When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort -- a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it -- and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?

Why did I pick it up?: J.K. Rowling said this was her favorite childhood book. Also there is quote from this book which has stayed with her throughout her life, "Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people -- those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment and those who find comfort in food."

As she is one of my favorite writers, I picked the book up right away.

Favorite Line: "Don't waste hate on a pink geranium."

My Review: I took my time reading this. Whenever I had a minute to spare I'd read a few pages.Until I reached the middle and then I curled up on the couch and finished it in one sitting.

This is everything a children's book should be. Full of just the right amounts of magic, adventure and romance The Little White Horse is uplifting without being too predictable. Maria Merryweather is feisty and clever but full of quirks which make her believable, the best kind of heroine. Her friendship with the townsfolk, her uncle and the animals she meets along the way is real as well as heartwarming. With every page the fantasy elements increase, so that you feel as though the world of magic is presented in a gentle manner which makes it feel all the more realistic.

Connections to Harry Potter abound. Needless to say that pleased me greatly. One of the most obvious similarities is a tunnel with its entrance hidden by a great tree, exactly like the Whomping Willow. The way food is presented and described is also very similar to the Potter series. As is a particular house cat at Moonacre Manor who like Crookshanks is abnormally intelligent.

Recommendation: Children and fans of The Secret Garden and The Hobbit will enjoy. It will appeal more to girls.

Next Week: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Friday, September 2, 2011

Completed . . . well sorta.

I have finished editing my rough draft. Cue the dance party.

Okay, enough of that.

By finished, I mean I am done with this round of edits. There remains a great deal of editing ahead.

My rough draft was completed in May and at that time it was 61,000 words. Now my...dare I call it a first draft? Well, I don't mind if I do. My first draft is 72,000 words. Phew, that's a lot of additions, but it is for the best, the rough draft was really bare bones in places.

I feel good. I am going to send the current draft to some betas, keep at it with my rockin' critique group and switch my focus to my new project.

Which brings me to my new project, which I have been oh-so-eager to start. The way I feel about this unwritten story is like the beginning of a love affair. I am giddy whenever I think or talk about it and I could really see us going the long haul together. There will be pitfalls eventually and we'll fight but how can I think about that now when it is all so perfect? After months of editing, which is much more akin couple's counseling I am beyond ecstatic to sit down and write.

"I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?"

I cheated twice and wrote a few paragraphs. Nothing huge, just scenes that wouldn't leave me alone. I also began some research and wrote my query letter, it's not perfect but it captures the story well enough.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend.

I intend to spend it laboring over my Netbook.