Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh My Gosh!

Wow, so today is a big day! So not only have I reached 50 followers ( 50! Bleepin,freakin,I-can't-beleive-it-50!!!!), but I've also received my first blog award (!!!), AND gotten a shout out!

Big day people. BIG day.

Okay, so the blog award. Or should I say MY blog award. ( You don't know how long I've wanted to be able to say that...)

Well, its called the Leibster Blog award, and I got it from J at Concrete Pieces of Soul (hows that for a title! pretty aweseome, right?). So first off, thanks J for the award!! And now, the rules:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all- have bloggity blog fun!

Now lets get down to business! So here are my top five:

1. Christine Tyler at The Writer Coaster
2. Jeigh at WriterBrained
3. Meredith and Erin at Mint Tea and a Good Book (sure, they blog about books, but I'm pretty sure that can count too)
4. Madeline at Madeline Bartos
5. Matt at Cockeyed Caravan (other than the underrated movies, he has a lot of good stuff that can relate to writing)

So there it is! First blog award: DONE. And now for the daily questions! So have you guys gotten any blog awards too? If so what were they ( and did you freak out as much as me?). Haha, comment below! :D

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sparkfest Tertius!! (thats Latin, btw. I figured I'd use something besides Spanish for once)

Okay, so I actually didn't know what I was going to post for my last Sparkfest entry, up until a couple hours ago. But then I watched The Adjustment Bureau ( good movie, not at all what I was expecting, but I liked it), and didn't get around to typing this up until now. At 11:30 at night. When I only got 5 hours of sleep last night ( wait.... this morning, actually).

Don't you just love procrastination?

Anyway, so this time I'm not really following a specific question ( and if there actually was a question for this, I don't know what it would be), soooo... I'll just jump right into it.

Okay, so if you've been around with me for a while, you would know that I gave a review for the book Divergent about a month ago. In case you don't feel like reading the review, I loved it. For a lot of reasons that I won't say now because I've already said them in the review and that would be pointless. Except for one thing.

I loved the message. Throughout the entire book, Tris is being pushed to be brave, and is being told to "Be brave", but all of the types of "brave" she needs to be are different. She is being pushed to be cruel, merciless, and strong: to be brave. She is told to have no fear: to be brave. She is told to be selfless: to be brave. She is told to act in spite of her fears: to be brave. And she must keep going even while her world is falling to pieces: she must be brave.

All of these are different views of bravery. And quite frankly, some of them aren't even true. One of my favorite parts of this book was to see Tris try to come to terms with what true bravery is. And while she was doing this, I learned too. I learned of new concepts of bravery I had never thought of before. And I thought. Alot.

Veronica Roth took a concept, a virtue, that in some ways has been warped by society. And she showed us what it really is ( and in a heck of a way, too). She showed me that bravery isn't about being the strongest, the bravest, and certainly not the cruelest. It isn't even about having no fear. Sometimes we think that we must overcome our fears, to squash them out of existence. WE DON"T HAVE TO. We just need to act in spite of our fears. Another thing I loved was that there was a point were Tris' life is just falling apart, and she just wants to sit down. And cry. And give up. To not have to go on anymore. But then she realizes that she must listen to what people have been telling her. And that she must be brave, brave enough to continue facing life, even when it no longer seems possible.

Haha, okay, so if I go any further, I might accidentally give something away, so I'll just leave you with that ( and hopefully a burning desire to read the book ;)

Anyway, so what do my deep thoughts on bravery have to do with the Sparkfest? Because while other books have made me want to share a message with the world, Divergent went beyond that. It made me want to share something that people haven't heard before, or maybe have forgotten. To show them new sides to things they thought they knew. I don't just want to share a good message that we've all heard a million times in a million different ways. I want to say something new. Something different. Something true.

And I want people to remember it.

Okay, so what about you guys? Have you read a book out there that had a unique message that truly inspired you, or got you thinking? Has a book ever made you re-evaluate your life? Answer below!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sparkfest Dos!

Okay, so here's the question: What author set off your spark of inspiration for your current WIP?

And the answer is (and I swear I'm not being a kiss-up here), none other than Christine Tyler! (Who, coincidentally is also the creator of this blogfest)

K', so here's the story: Way back when I first discovered Christine's blog (and hadn't even started my own), I was reading through basically all of her blog posts. And I was on her awesome post about secret heirs in disguise and pure evil and other such cliches, and she was ranting about character motivation. And she said "And really, did your hero just join this rebellion to get with the hot enlightened chick?", and then BANG, the heavens opened and God himself came down in all his glory and told me that I needed to write a book about a conceited guy who joins a rebellion to get the previously mentioned hot enlightened chick (well, it was something like that....)

But now, a couple months late, the MC is NOT conceited, and isn't even a guy anymore, but a girl who was mistakenly kidnapped ( and may or may not be suffering from amnesia...). So sure, the original "spark" bears almost no resemblance to the book now, but than again, isn't that the same with almost all books?

So what about you guys? Has your current WIP evolved to the point that its almost completely different? Or was your original idea just so dang awesome that it barely changed at all? Comment below!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

.... EEP!!

Okay, so let me just apologize right now for the major hyperventilation/ freak out that is about to ensue.

Twenty followers. TWENTY. That is a big number people! A HUGE number!!! Gah, I'm so happy!!! I mean, I leave the internet for a couple hours, come back, and low and behold, my follower count has doubled!! OH MY GOSH!!!! :D

Ahem, okay, so I'm done with the freaking out ( at least on the internet....), and thought I might as well thank all you AMAZING people for so willingly becoming my minions and speeding me along the process of total world domination- I mean, um, for.... following my blog. Yeah.

So... thank you. You are wonderful. And beautiful. And incredibly smart. I want you guys to know that, 'k?

And I promise that my next post will be about writing again.
(bear with me people, I'm new to this :)

And its Sparkfest Time!! ... Well, actually it was yesterday...

Okay, so in my defense, I have a pretty good reason ( if there ever was one) to miss the first day of my first blogfest that I've kinda been waiting for for about a month. Basically, yesterday was a big day for me, it was:

The start of Sparkfest (...duh)

My brothers birthday ( happy late birthday!!)

The day we were supposed to eat in the UN building, but ended up eating in an uber fancy steakhouse ( long story)

So, when I wasn't in the Big Apple, I was celebrating my bro's big day, and thus, didn't have time for the Sparkfest. I know, I'm terrible and should just shut-up right now because I've already failed as a writer.

But sadly, you have no such luck ( mwaahaahaa!)

M-kay, so today I will be answering: What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?

And the book is.... ( drumroll please)

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy! ( By Ally Carter).

Okay, so those who have been around my blog for a while might recognize this title, because its no secret that I love this book ( I mean seriously, I have a LABEL about it) . But not only is it my favorite, its also the book that got me back into writing ( kinda...).

So basically, when I was younger, I wrote alot. Like, all the time. I was that nerdy kid in class who would write a ten-page short story for the picture prompts ( and almost never finished on time). But then we stopped learning about creative writing in school, I lost the story that me and my friend were working on ( which is why typing is better), and then I kinda just dropped writing. It used to be my talent, me hobbie, and something I did with my friend, but now I didn't do it at all.

And then I read Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy ( for about the fifth time), and I got an idea for a book, one that I was really excited about. And then I joined the Writer's Club in our school. And then I found Christine's blog, and that was the final push I needed to decide ( and remember) that I LIKED writing, and I wanted to do writing, and that I didn't need a diploma to do it.

So, maybe I didn't read Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, and instantly know that I HAD TO BE A WRITER, but it was the first step in a long chain reaction ( well, long time-wise at least) that got me to where I am now.

And where am I? Sure I write again like I used to, but its NOT like it used to be. I used to write because it was fun and I liked it, but now I write not only for those reasons, but so I can meet writers like me, and one day get published and share my book with the world.

So what about you? Why do YOU write? And I'd ask what book got you started on writing, but most of you have probably already posted (or will) post that for the Sparkfest, so I'll just stick to one question today :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just Wanted You to Know...

Hey, guess what?

...Now I just need to figure out how to get the button....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So, I'm Kinda a Hypocrite....

So I've noticed a trend among writers, including (.... okay, especially) me. And I like to refer to it as the I-suck-and-shouldn't-be doing-this-because-other-people-are-better-than-me syndrome. ( And yes, this does not just apply to writing).

So, here are the symptoms: Person writes book. Person then reads another book. Person then proceeds to discredit their work and lose all motivation and or self esteem because author of said book writes "better" than they do.

The causes: Reading books by well published authors.

The cure: There is none. Your doomed for eternity and shouldn't even bother writing anymore because obviously there's no point.


So, I'm about to sound like a huge hypocrite as I give advice on something that I am (very) guilty of, but bear with me. First off, it OKAY to think that other authors are better than thus ( and in my case, I bet they probably are). BUT THAT DOESN"T NEED TO STOP US.

Instead of losing confidence in our writing, we can ADMIRE these other authors, and let them INSPIRE US TO DO BETTER. For the personal confession of the day, I'll admit that I have a huge problem with self esteem and confidence, and am constantly noticing how others can do things better than I can. And for awhile I let that get to me and pull me down and discourage me. But now I realize that I don't need to let it do that to me. When I see somebody do something that I wish I could do, instead of letting it make me feel bad about myself, I'll let it motivate me to do better.

And you can to.

So next time you sit down to read the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Twilight, you name it, and you start doubting yourself as a writer, tell that part of you to shut- up. Because sure, maybe your not published, and maybe your not the best ( or even a good) writer out there.

But that doesn't mean you can't be.

So what about you guys? Do you guys also have those days where you doubt yourself? Whose your favorite author, or whose writing do you admire the most? Answer below!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Life is COMPLETE.

GAH!!!!!!!!!!! I think I might go die now ( unless I already have, and this is heaven...).

Ahem.... sorry, I'm just a little.... excited (freaking out). So let me explain:

Ally Carter, my FAVORITE author...ever, ( wrote the Gallagher Girl and Heist Society series), was touring in the west a couple weeks ago, and would be visiting Provo Utah. Problem was, I did't live in Utah. In fact, I live about four and a half hours away from Utah (... by plane). Luckily, it just so happened that my older brother was going to school in Utah, and he just so happened to live in PROVO Utah, and he just so happened to have a membership to the Provo City library.

So I sent him my copy of Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (my favorite book ... which I mentioned in the last post) and instructions to go get it signed at her signing session on July 24th (... please). And then I waited.

And waited.

And then holy crap, I looked at the calender and it was July 25th!!!!!!!

Since my brother had told me to remind him about the meeting ( and I ... forgot....) I started panicking and thinking I had missed my opportunity to COMPLETE AWESOMENESS. So after preparing myself for the worst, I called my brother.

And found out that HE GOT THE BOOK SIGNED!!!!!!!

.... And that I had to wait two more weeks to get it from him.

So I waited.

And waited.

And then we flow out to Utah for a family reunion, and I met up with my brother.... and he forgot the book at his house. Which we didn't have time to visit. And so we went the next day... but were to busy playing with his new kittens to get the book. And then we were to busy to go back to his house the next day.

Finally, we went back to his house to get his suitcase, and were so busy smuggling one of the kittens into the car ( long story...), that we would have left with out the book, BUT, I happened to remember it and ran back to get it.

And THAT, is how my life was made complete, and I got a signature from Ally Carter ( with MY NAME!!!!!)

S0, the reason I'm telling you this? (other than the fact that my family wasn't nearly as excited as I am about this) DON'T GIVE UP.

I could have looked at the touring locations and thought that I lived too far away, that it was hopeless. Or when I found out that you had to buy tickets for the event ( a week ago), I could have decided that there was nothing I could do. But no, I wanted that signature, an dang nab it, I WAS GOING TO GET IT!

And that is how we need to be with our books. If someone says that they don't like something about our book, we don't drop it. If we realize that we got A LOT of work to do to make it better, than we DO IT. And if an agent turns us down, then we listen to their advice, make our story better, an try again ( but maybe with another guy).

And then, when all out work is done, our patience is tried, and that book appears on the shelf, we freak out. A lot. Kinda like I did when I finally held this book :)

So, has anything ever happened to you that made your day... or your life? Or was there something that you tried very hard to make happen, but then at the last minute, it didn't work out (or at least seemed like it wouldn't)? Or is there something completely random you'd like to say? Comment below!

Maybe I Should be a Director Instead....

When I read a book, I don't just read it. I visualize it. I pay attention to every little detail, whether the author mentions it or not. I imagine the slight change in a characters voice while they're talking, the tilt of their head, how they stand, walk, what they do with they're hands. I map out (most) of the buildings that they go to beforehand. If the book says the MC walked into a friends room, I stop right there and then imagine their room with every detail down to the color of their pillows. Basically, I'm crazy.

And I noticed that I do it in my writing too.

When I write, I try to make sure that the reader "sees" things exactly like I do. I write down every little detail to make sure that they interpret the story the same way that I do.

And this makes for bad writing.

I saw that I used WAY too many adverbs ( I know, and I called myself a writer), and described things so much that it slowed down the pace of things. MY WRITING SUCKED. And when I realized this, I had another (slightly painful) realization too:

IT'S NOT OUR JOB TO MAKE SURE THE READER SEES THE EXACT SAME THING WE DO. We don't need to constantly write down the little details of how this person did this, and the color of that guys shoes. ( Unless, of course, its important). Okay, so maybe I never got that extreme ( shoe color), but I definitely used way too many details ( aka: adverbs). This was largely because I'm a perfectionist ( And no, its not OCD, no matter what my friends tell you) and I like things done MY way. And to realize that I shouldn't even try to have it "my way" with my book felt.... weird.

And why should we not " have it our way"? Because: PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS READ A BOOK DIFFERENTLY. We all interpret and imagine things differently than the person next to us (or than the author) AND THATS OKAY. Because we as readers will take care of the little details, and when the author robs us of this opportunity, it kinda takes the fun out of reading.

In my favorite book, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, by Ally Carter, there's a scene where two people went on a study date. But she didn't actually write about how the MC sat, or when she pulled out her text book, or if she put her elbows on the table, etc. She left that for us to imagine. She DID write about how the date sat pushed his chair back onto the back two legs, and how when he was asked a question, he raised his eyes, but not his head. She gave the IMPORTANT LITTLE details, but not the INSIGNIFICANT ONES.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when there are details that bring the story to life. But don't over do it ( like I was). So when you sit down to write, don't be afraid to take out some of the small (and insignificant) details that most readers will just add in anyway. Too much detail can bog down writing and slow the pace of things, which, well, is obviously not a good thing. Of course, I'm not saying get rid of ALL small details, because they can be important to writing.

Im just saying ( for about the third time now) to get rid of the INSIGNIFICANT ones.

So what do you think? Do you also think that too much detail can be a bad thing, and would you mind, as an author, if readers didn't interpret things the same way you do? Also, when your reading, do you take time to visualize everything to extreme detail, or do you just imagine what's written on the page? Answer below!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's the End of the World!!! ... Oh, Just Kidding

We've all read those stories where the MC "snatches victory from the jaws of defeat" at the last possible moment. Where one second it seems there is nothing they can do, the bad guy will has won, but then somehow the good guys pull through and save the day ( and the world). It happens alot. In fact, sometimes its even predictable. But we love it anyway.


1. WE LOVE UNDERDOGS- Everybody loves reading about a hero who even though their enemy is 10 times more powerful, doesn't give up and tries their hardest and ends up winning). Its inspiring. Its dramatic. And its fun to read.

2. WE CONNECT WITH THE HERO- If the bad guys just hanging around minding his own business in his summer home, who cares? But when he's about to take over the world, we feel the urgency along with the hero to take down the bad guy. If the guy's evil, but not doing anything at the moment, we're not going to be able to connect with the hero, and aren't going to care about the fight and the cause as much.

3. DRAMA- Aaaah, drama. However, this gives a different type of drama than love triangles( although those are good, too). This is more, that dramatic, climatic, kind of drama. If Harry Potter just snuck up behind Voldemort in the seventh book, before the battle and the elder wand, and killed him quick with a spell, it would have been anti-climatic. It would have left us feeling empty and cheated. No, JK Rowling let Voldemort get the elder wand, become "invincible", unleash his death eaters on Hogwarts, heck, he even killed Harry! That way, when Harry comes back and kills Voldemort, its EPIC. Its dramatic, climatic, everything a final battle should be.

No body likes it when things are too easy for the hero. I once read a book where everything went according to the MC's plan, where she accomplished things that had previously been thought impossible, and everything went smoothly. She did something that others had died trying to do, and she barely broke a sweat. SHE HAD NO TROUBLE AT ALL. And it annoyed me. Because then she seemed distant, unreal, untouchable. I couldn't connect to this character who could so easily overcome everything thrown her way. When things don't go according to plan, when the enemy is stronger than them, we connect to the characters because our lives aren't easy either. Things hardly go the way I would like them, and sometimes it seems like I'm up against and impossible challenge I could never accomplish ( even though its usually not saving the world...)

So go ahead. Be mean to you characters. Make it hard for them. Make their enemies tougher, stronger, more powerful than them. And let them grow and become stronger ( in more senses than one) as they learn how to never give up and to overcome their challenges (or better yet, when to except defeat, because that can be even harder, but more on that later). So go make a dramatic epic ending, and most of all, DON"T BE AFRAID TO MAKE YOUR CHARACTER WEAK. If your hero's all powerful, it alienates your audience. But when its your antagonist that's all powerful, well, now that's another (very good) story.