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Genius and Thievery!

16 Sep

Hi everyone! I have been super busy today, and still have a ton of homework to do before I head into school tomorrow. So, for today’s post I’m totally cheating and re-posting an awesome idea from Brigid’s blog My Life as a Teenage Novelist. After you read her awesome advice below go ahead and check out her site!

Fun with Wordle

Howdy, y’all!

So, if you don’t know what Wordle is, let me briefly explain how it works. It’s a nifty little website, where you can enter a bunch of text, and then it creates a “word collage” based on what you enter. The more frequently you use a certain word, the bigger it is in the collage. Fun, right?

But not only is it fun, it’s also a useful tool for writers––because it shows you what words you might be using too much.

For example, here’s what happened when I entered the entirety of my book UNRAVELING:

 
Uh wow, the word “like” is freakin’ HUGE! Same with the word “know” … and there are a lot of other words that are relatively large. 
 
Now, this is what happened when I entered six of my books at once:
 
 
The results are actually pretty much the same. Looks like no matter what I’m writing, I use a lot of the same words. Particularly “like” and “know,” for some reason.
 
Well, I take this as a sign that I should go back through my manuscripts and take out some of those words that I’m using way too much. 
 
So, my question of the day is: What are some words that you use too much? Have you ever used Wordle to find out––and if so, did the results surprise you?
Isn’t she a genius? Check out her site!
Re-posted from My Life as a Teenage Novelist

How I Edit

16 Mar

I edit others work. A lot. A lot, a lot. Did I mention I do edits a lot? No? Well I do. I’ve always loved going over others work, combing through it, making it better.  Helping great writers get even greater. (And in the process it makes me a better writer too) It’s awesome. And so, I thought today I would share how I edit.  I’ll be demonstrating how I crit using an entry from the ‘On Thin Ice’ Flash Fiction Contest’ I hosted back in January.

This piece is by one of my lovely followers. Rae Ann. Who asked me to critique her piece for her, and was lovely enough to volunteer to be featured in this post. You can find her blog  HERE.

The first thing I do when reading a manuscript is do line edits. Oh how I LOVE LINE EDITS! (Some of you call them track changes). The thing is, I don’t like doing just global editing. Sure global editing is important, but if I can’t get all the little nuances out-of-the-way how can I focus? So, I go in and do cross outs, (add a comma or period here and there), but mostly, as I go I make comments about mood, character, and what I’m feeling (or worse, not feeling) while reading here is a photo of Rae Ann’s piece all marked up (you can select the photo for a zoom in):

To get a better look at what my line edits look like i’ll give you some specific examples:

EX 1:

Like pins and needles, it stabbed, pricked and pierced * into my  feet. it seared through my soles and to the nerves,** slowly but mercilessly ***scorching my spine, burning into every fiber of my body.


And this is what I said about my edits in the comments:

*I would use only one of these. Using all of them adds a lot of bulk to the sentence that it doesn’t need.

**If your saying that it’s making her feet prickle/stab/ etc. then they are obviously tender. I would recommend cutting this.

***I would choice either slowly or mercilessly both of them make the sentence sound too clunky in my opinion.

EX 2:

My muscles squealed with a throbbing ache* as I forced myself **to take a few more steps. The cottage swam shakily into view, and I blinked my eyes a few times to make sure that it was still there.



I chose this one because it gives a good example of how I add in writerly tid-bits. I always feel like I should put one of those cheesy “tips” columns in like they do in how-to books when I write something like this. These are the corresponding comments:

*Not sure how I feel about this sentence. I would cut or change it. It reads awkwardly to me.

** Sorry… freaked for a minute there, but you want to stay away from using as if at all possible. As it stutters the ‘time stream’ that I was talking about earlier. As, is… well, how do I explain this?

As says that your character is doing something at the same time as they are doing something else, usually this isn’t good to put in because it causes the reader to have to add something to their mental image, instead of naturally flowing into the next sentence… does that make sense? I hope so… I’m not very good at explaining this am I?\

Anyway, after I do line edits/track changes, I always do an ‘Overview’ letter. If I’m doing a novel edit I sometimes do this for each chapter. Basically this is where I try to lay out the big picture issues and high points of the novel/story. This needs work, but this is awesome, kind of thing.  Here is what Rae Ann’s overview letter looked like. It was rather short since I only had four pages to edit.

I guess that’s about it.

How do you all do edits? Any tips?

Que the PANIC

28 Nov

Holy crud I have NOTHING DONE! NOTHING… and now I am a mess of panic, and am madly scrambling around my room trying to figure out where I went wrong! I have had to email my chapter of ABLAZE to Carolyn for THREE DAYS NOW! THREE! And have I written it yet? NO! Why? I’m not sure, because I suck at life probably. UGH!

Also, I have less than a week to complete edits on the manuscript I’ve agreed to look over (and that is WITH an extension)!

All I have to say for myself right now is OMG why am I on WordPress writing a post? WHY!

Because I can’t deal with the total sludge that is coming out of my brain when I try to write, that is why. I mean it’s bad, I don’t like to say I have WB (don’t even want to use the word), but I hate staring at the crap that comes off the keyboard. It’s bad, and I have to SHOW IT TO SOMEONE. I have to show this first draft crap to Carolyn, and act like that is okay? What! It’s not okay, folks. Not. OKAY!

I think I need to go take some Advil, and a nap, because Thanksgiving break is over, and that means I had school today. 6AM wake up calls, and no sleep do not equal a peppy wonderful glittery person/first draft.

I guess I have no choice but to go write some terrible blubbery junk, and email it… And Cally, if your reading this, please ignore any terribly grumpy comments your manuscript has on it. Blame sleep deprivation and my utter crappiness as a writer.

Okay, end rant. I feel better now… sort of.

(Sorry caps button I think I broke you…O.o)

A Chat About Religion in Novels

17 Oct

I hesitated to post this. Spent an hour switching between Jango.com and here, mouse hovering over the PUBLISH button. But finally I decided to go through with it. Here goes nothing but blah:

I’m discovering that BTE has a bit to do with religion.

Is it a religious novel? No.

Is its main focus religion/spirituality? Again, No.

I’m finding that BTE is a society  into the future where things have degraded to a level in which no god, or religion any longer exists. The bible, and other books alike have slowly been forgotten or traded away in favor of food or clothing. Most traces of our society as we know it today have been washed away by a utopia that has fallen into desperate disrepair.

You see that was the original idea for BTE. What happens after a utopia falls? I mean we’ve read countless utopian books, MATCHED by Ally Condie, THE GIVER Louis Lowery, etc, etc, etc. But I began to think what happens when our heroes die? What happens after the utopia is gone? Without a government what happens to the people? And that is how BTE has evolved into a sort of steam-punk/adventure type…. thing.

Anyway, back to the “religion” thing.

You see I’ve noticed recently that my MC is in desperate need of some religion, or something to trigger her main character arc. And with the way the society has revealed itself to be I was thinking “religion”. I’m really not trying to make a statement about anything, but I once read somewhere that “religion gives people purpose, and hope. Without purpose and hope there can be no civilized society.” granted that’s not a direct quote but that was the idea behind it.

And I can see that. If people have nothing to work toward, no hope of things getting better if they do so (in this life or the next) What is it that they hold themselves accountable to, especially when there is no really government to enforce any kind of  moral or ethical rules?

Even before I began thinking of this, BTE had little hints of spirituality. The order of the “Guardians” is based upon old testament scripture (though twisted and corroded by time and the order itself) to lay down its laws.

I’m not one to take on controversial subjects, but I think that religion in every form is a very interesting if not touchy subject to use in a novel. What do you all think should I cut it for fear of a turn off to readers? Or keep it and hope for the best?

August & Questions for YOU!

1 Aug

I like the idea of a new month. I like the idea of numbers restarting from 31 back to 1. I like that every four weeks or so we get a fresh slate. Even if it is only in our heads since, the significance of July turning to August only exists there, but anyway, August…. this is me telling you the plan for August. Me being all in desperate need of goals I think it’s probably a good idea to begin on a Monday, at the beginning of a new month.

So to recap, within the last month of July I’ve accomplished absolutely NOTHING. Alright… maybe not NOTHING, but not anything notable. I mostly worked, and skimmed over BTE (D1), started D1 of CARVE (though that came to a screeching halt around day 5, because I really wanted to work on BTE, and lets face it, if I don’t want to work on it, it just won’t happen.

Anywho….geee, where do I begin? (ever have so much floating around in your brain that you just CAN NOT sort it out into a logical composition?…. That is happening right now.)

Lets start with THE BLOGGING PLAN:

I’ve noticed, and I’m sure you all have too, that I seem to sporadically post. One week they’ll be 7 day consecutive posts, the next they’ll be nothing at all. This doesn’t really help gaining readership (and while I’m a quality over quantity girl) I’m sure this also has some of you scratching your heads. Half the time you think I’m dead, and the other half i’m ADD. This “situation” has shown me that we (okay…I) have to make some changes.

Posting schedule needs to be enacted. Meaning I post on specific days (every week) consistently.

I’m hoping this will help you guys to check in on every post (since you’ll know when to look), and that it will help me gain readership (while keeping myself organized).

All I have left to decide is how many posts a week, and on what days. This is where you all come in. I’m leaning toward a three-day a week posting system, but do you all think that’s too much? Too little? I need your opinions here all! Don’t be shy… though I’ve seen I can count on you not to be…lol

Second THE WRITING PLAN:

August will be the official kick off of BTE (D2), even though I have already started the draft, I just like to have my dates even. (call me OCD, but come on… you know you do it too.)

This brings me around to the fact that I ALSO need a schedule for writing… I’m thinking doing the same thing with BTE as with NI (Novel Ideas). I figure whatever days I don’t blog i’ll write (maybe with one day off a week) So three days here… three days there and one (lets say Monday, because I never get any work done on Mondays) all for me! Of course this is all bound to crash and burn…. but “restarts” make me feel like I can do these things “when I just can’t NEMO!” (Yikes! Ally broke out with a DISNEY quote… O.o)

So here is what the schedule is shaping up to look like:

M- freedom!

T- writing

W – Blog

T writing

F-Blog

Sa- writing

Su- blog

Hows that looking for you all? Suggestions? Again I could use them!

this is all very likely to shift around so don’t view this as set in stone quite yet! I’ll be back with a BTE update, some writing advice posts, etc. very soon! See you then folks

There is a Little ‘Bad Boy’ In All of Us

6 Jul

'nuff said

You know what I’m talking about,  the sultry hunk of your dreams wearing that leather jacket, and flipping his dark hair across his deep tortured eyes… Oh YEEEAAAH.

No… No, Not Really.

The Bad Boy of YA fiction haunts everyone’s deepest  nightmares… or dreams, depending on who you ask. Granted, A bad boy is undeniably mysterious, which of corse adds a new element of conflict to a book. After all if the girl picked her perky BFF every time where would the story be?

For example:

Clary Fray meets Jace Wayland

Meghan Chase meets Ash The Ice Prince (No seriously that is his title… can it get anymore Bad boy?)

Bella meets… (Do I even have to say it?) Edward

Without these lovely mentally upset boys where would these YA tales of love and adventure be? No where. But there is also along with the wonder and mystery that comes with the bad boy persona a cliché that transcends the ages. I deep ingrained piece of culture that has not been weathered or worn by time.

Seriously, do you image an 16th century princess going “Oh I want to marry him he’s so… nice.” or something like “Did you hear about the scandle he had with So and so I wonder what he’s hiding. I have to find out.”

That’s what I’m saying people. The Bad boy, though, at times cringe worthy is a fundamental part of our society, and we see him coming immediately, don’t we? As SOON as we meet Prince Ash we all knew there was no way Puck had a chance with Meghan anymore, even if it wasn’t fair or right. We knew.

So that brings us right around to my delima. To bad boy or not to bad boy.

You see, BTE is being completely re-thought at the moment, and in editing I realized that my main love interest has absolutely NO PERSONALITY he is not good. He is not bad. HE IS BLAH! So… I began musing on whether or not to bad boy him up, and am dangerously teetering on the fence.

After all… can’t he be interesting and not a bad boy… No… no i suppose he can’t. I mean, not going to lie,his life as a child was kind of wack-o. Being raised inside a cult doesn’t really support the “I’ll bring him home to mom” type. especially in a cult where you battle with swords at the age of 7…”So yeah…

*ehem* *cough*

Oh, who am I kidding?

I love a good bad boy!

I hope you enjoyed this lovely rant about ‘bad boys’. I was inspired by this awesome post on WOVEN STRANDS. What do you all think? To bad boy or not to bad boy?

A Prompt: Nightmare Shards + A HINT

5 Jul

Hey I’m here again with another original prompt on Novel Ideas. Please don’t hesitate to join in the fun and participate. (Be sure to comment or ping-back your response!) And stay tuned for a Hint about BTE ( Draft 2)!

Today’s prompt:

Dreams can tell us a lot about what’s going on in our characters subconscious. What they’re most scared of, what they feel even when they won’t reveal it themselves. Write a reoccurring dream that your character has, it can be a good dream, or a nightmare, just make sure to reveal something about your characters inner most feelings/thoughts.

Today I’ll be using my character Violet (again name change soon to be en-acted ha-ha)

I am running. I am always running in this dream. My feet pound inside the metal grooves of the tunnel floor. My breath is heavy, burning in my lungs. I don’t know where they are. I can feel the panic in my stomach rising into my throat, hot and acidic.

I need to find them, I have to, or else… I don’t know what will happen. That makes me run even faster. I feel the echo of my foot steps buzz off the concrete walls. The sound is bouncing off in all directions. I am consumed by the darkness of the tunnel stretching forever into blackness.

Suddenly all I am is that blackness. I can no longer feel the metal below my feet. I can’t hear the smooth whoosh of air that moves past my ears as I run. There is nothing, and the panic rises, sending bile shooting up my wind pipe. Where are they? Where is my brother Marcus?

Then, in the distance, I see something. A white dot, like a ghost in the blackness.

Rania comes into focus. She is all white and colorless. Her pale skin neon against the dark velvet of the tunnels. Platinum wisps’ of hair  are floating around her, strange against her cloudy blue eyes.

“Where is my brother?” I yell, but my voice is empty and distorted, as if I’ve yelled it underwater.

Raina smiles her thin lips opening into a gaping maw. Sharp teeth jut out of her mouth, and suddenly she is not Raina, but a giant white cave fish, cloudy eyes fixed hungrily on me, “You will not find him…” she hisses, and then she chargers at me. Mouth open. I scream.

The dream shatters around me, like broken glass, the shards falling around me as I cry out into darkness, trying to ward the falling pieces away, but they cut into my flesh; horrid and fresh, like always. Each piece of the dream coming back to me, broken, but there. I see the images flash across my mind, and whimper, my stomach feeling hollow. Marcus is here, he’s safe, I tell myself. We are all safe…. I hope.

I hope you enjoyed today’s prompt. On another topic, I’ve decided to do “hints” for BTE (D2) by showing you all a picture that either (Literally or metaphorically has something to do with the book). Enjoy today’s pic! And I hope to see your prompt responses soon!

Hint #1:

Nice view huh? haha

Current Music: Rainy Girl by Pete RG