Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm a Stylish Blogger!

Hey guys, take a look at the side bar. See that shinny award hanging out over there? No? ... It's possible I set it up wrong, so just in case, here it is again!

It was so generously awarded to me by the lovely Brenda Drake over at Brenda Drake Writes...under the influence of coffee. Now, this award comes with a few fun rules. In accepting it, you have to:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave the award
2. State seven things about yourself
3. Pass the award on to any recently discovered great bloggers

So... thank you Brenda! Seriously, you guys should check out her blog. It's awesome, and she has another contest coming up on March 1. Personally, I can't wait!

I'd like to pass this award along to Sarah J. Schmitt over at Journey of a Writing Hoosier where she discusses books and writing - basically all the fun stuff.

Now, onto the seven things about me...
1. I wrote my first novel in a glittery green notebook when I was 12 and it was awful. I've since hunted for said notebook, but I think it crawled away to die with whatever was left of its dignity many years ago.
2. The background of my computer is a scene from Howl's Moving Castle, one of my all-time favorite movies (and books). If you haven't read anything by Dianna Wynne Jones, you should correct that immediately.
3. I will be 24 in a couple of weeks and I'm still getting used to being 23.
4. I met the love of my life when I was eighteen and we've been together ever since. (that's almost 6 years, for those of you mathematically-challenged-writer-folk.)
5. I draw to get a feel for my characters and I've recently started thinking about my next project. Last night, said boyfriend, apparently feeling ignored, looked over my shoulder at the picture below and asked if I like that man with the Adam's Apple the size of a testicle more than him. LOL. The answer is no.

6. In drawing, the thing I struggle with most is feet.
7. Aaaand last but not least, I have one sibling, a little sister about the age of the little girl in that drawing. And she's probably my best friend.

So that's it! Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

DNA Writers Contest

Hey guys, so just in case you haven't heard, there's this awesome contest going on over at the DNA Writers blog. Go check it out. Right now. You'll thank me later.

But seriously, they're all being so generous with their time. And all you have to do is fill out a short form. Prizes include:
  • Brenda: Free $25 Amazon gift card.
  • Shelley: Free book from the Book Depository under $15.
  • Erica: Free book from the Book Depository under $15.
  • Cassandra: Free 10 pg MS critique or 4 pg synopsis critique.
  • Diana: Free $15 Starbucks e-gift card.
  • Janelle: SIGNED paperback of Lisa McMann's WAKE
GRAND PRIZE: Full substantial edit of 80k or less (MG or YA only) from Kari!
Me? I want the 10 pg MS critique. And of course the grand prize, but who doesn't? It's awesome! So wish me luck and go enter!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cures for the Writing Funk

It seems to me that for the last few days, there’ve been some writing funks lurking around the blogosphere. Myself included. Not because of anything in particular, just a general lack of confidence and feeling of hopelessness. Maybe querying has something to do with it. Putting yourself out there is hard, and it’s easy to convince yourself that everyone and their mother will shoot you down. Could be the weather. I think as writers, we’re generally more sensitive to shifts in our outward environments. At least I am. And this bleak weather definitely does nothing to improve my moods.

I was reading a post about this over at Operation Awesome yesterday. So how do you pull yourself out of such funks? I didn’t know. And then last night I found the answer.

Coffee ice-cream.

I ate an entire container of it at 11:30 at night. Not the brightest move in the world, but my boyfriend’s friend was over and they were using our bedroom TV to play videogames. We weren’t going to bed any time soon.

So I plugged in my headphones to drown out the sound of Spiderman’s web-slinging and decided to take another crack at writing. I’m guessing it was a combination of the coffee ice-cream and forcing myself to keep at it, but I actually started to feel better.

So I thought I’d compile a list of cures for the Writing Funk. Feel free to add to it if you think of anything!

  • Coffee ice-cream. Try it. You can thank me later.
  • Wallow-music. It’s different for everyone, but whatever makes you feel better when you’re down.
  • A good book. Nothing better to take your mind off things. Unless, of course, it starts to remind you of your mess of a WIP. In that case, try…
  • Mindless TV shows. Self explanatory.
  • Exercise. They say it helps clear you’re head. Try at your own risk.
  • Cleaning. I can’t think straight when my surroundings are a mess. An early spring cleaning is a good way to order my thoughts. The act is refreshing and it’s mindless enough that you can mull over ideas about WIPs.

Can you think of anything else? Write it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing Heroes

We all want to be heroes. We all want to think that we’re the kind of person who would stand up and fight. No one wants to be the one who ran away, even if staying means you’re probably insane.

But the truth is… we’re writers. There’s a reason we write about other people’s heroics. There’s a reason we don’t put on capes and prowl the streets in search of crime. Heroes are stoic, composed. Writers? Well, we aren’t typically known for being calloused. Unless you count the funny looking bumps on our fingers where we hold our pens.

So where do we get this hair-brained idea that we know how to write about heroes?

We might not dress up in capes or save the world, but like our beloved characters, we know struggle. We know rejection. Heck, maybe the whole publishing industry is set up the way it is just to help us become better writers. There's no way our struggles won't spill over into the lives of our characters. And who wants to read about a character's smooth sailing?

The good news? The battle never ends. There will always be people who think we’re crazy for doing what we do. But anyone who pursues a dream that might be a little “unconventional” knows that the hardest battles are fought within ourselves. We can have the support of the world, but there will always be that little voice in our heads telling us we’re insane. The struggle is in refusing to listen to it. And that is good news, because without it, we'd be writing about sunshine and rainbows and forget there was ever a storm.

So go ahead. Write those heroes. You’ve earned it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's it Called?

Ever since I finished the first draft of my manuscript, some eight months ago, I've been searching for a title. Originally, it was The Kingery Ring Conspiracy, which I thought was okay... But after all my revisions, it didn't really fit anymore. And I was worried it was too Middle Grade. So I've spent the last few weeks calling it this or that, hoping something would stick. And I think I finally came up with something I like. So here goes... *drum roll please*


Be honest. Like it? Hate it? *bites nails* Either way, it's something to work with while I query. Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Hazards of Writing

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! But seriously, didn’t we *just* have last year’s like… a month ago? I can’t believe how quickly this year went for me. I don’t know if this happens to you guys, but whenever I’m writing, I feel like the days pass so much faster than normal.

January 2009, I started my WIP. After many, many edits and rewrites, I finished it about a month ago. And this is really the first time I’ve resurfaced since I started the thing. And I’m realizing that that rewrite I did a month ago was actually more like six months ago. And that first round of edits? More like nine. Apparently I’ve been swimming in a writerly fog.

I think the feeling comes from living in two worlds. It’s like in those fantasy novels when a character finds a hidden world and discovers that time passes differently there. What might be just a few seconds in fantasy world can be years in the real one, and vise versa. I feel like one of those characters. I’ve lived so completely and for so long in the world I created that coming out again feels… strange. Everything is a little less familiar. And I can’t for the life of me figure out where all those days went.

Does that happen to you guys? Does time lose you when you’re working on a project?

Monday, February 7, 2011

It was a Dark and Stormy Blogfest

Hey guys! So Brenda Drake is hosting this super cool blogfest over at Brenda Drake Writes. Go check it out! There are three awesome prizes offered by literary agent Weronika Janczuk from D4EO literary agency. To enter, all the entrants are posting the first line from their completed manuscripts.

Here's mine:

YA Fantasy
The Kingery Conservatory of Elemental Enchantment

I grabbed my backpack and glanced out the front window, half expecting to see a pair of eyes watching me from between the trees.

I changed it after some great feedback. I actually originally had it in two sentences, but for some reason started to second-guess myself and mushed it into one. I suppose I should have just trusted my instincts the first time around :-)

Anyway I've returned this to my first paragraph:
I grabbed my backpack and glanced out the front window, half expecting to see a pair of eyes watching me from between the trees. Which of course, was ridiculous, since it had only been a dream.

Thanks for all the feedback. Keep it coming! And good luck to all the entrants. This should be fun!