Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Basically, you can type in words and see how the trends of when they appeared in books. You can look at words that were popular during different time periods or how the choice of what word to use changed throughout the centuries.
Google draws the information from a database of more than 5.2 million books, so you get a pretty accurate response. You can click on the graphs and see the specific books that the words were used in.
I'm not quite sure why this would be useful to me, but I did waste a lot of time looking at when the word "canary" was popular and how it was used. I took a few other words from my book too. There's nothing like finding new ways to procrastinate from revisions!
Give it a shot and let me know what words you searched for to waste time on this web page!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I thought about putting them in order of how much I like them, but then I realized they were all fantastic.
Which of these books have you read or want to read? Share your thoughts!
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) 304 pages
Room (Emma Donoghue) 336 pages
The Duff (Kody Keplinger) 288 pages
You (Charles Benoit) 240 pages
The Mockingbirds (Daisy Whitney) 353 pages
How to Say Goodbye in Robot (Natalie Standiford) 288 pages
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Jenny Han) 304 pages
It's Not Summer Without You (Jenny Han) 288 pages
Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly) 496 pages
Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters (Natalie Standiford) 320 pages
Friday, December 3, 2010
That's not what scares me.
What scares me is all the times that I've finished my edits and think my book is ready.
And then it's not.
I have done a lot of revisions, many of them after others have read my book. Betas, agents I first queried, my agent, even editors, will come back with comments. Usually these comments are kick ass and make my book better.
That's what scares me.
The idea that I keep thinking my book is strong and then realizing that there are ways to make it better. Often ways to make it a lot better.
Because in between these edits, I've put my book out there thinking it's the best that it can be. I've sent it to agents in the beginning and editors after I signed with my agent. I've sent out what I thought was my strongest draft.
And then I realize it's not.
So as I'm making revisions again, I must admit that I'm scared. I will make these revisions with the thought that these are the ones that make my book the best it can be, the strongest draft I can send out there, but in my mind, I'll wonder if it really is.
How do you ever know that your book is ready?
Do you ever know?
Does this ever scare you too?
Also, if you want an honest look at the submission process (one full of the fears and ups and downs), Natalie Whipple wrote a great post here.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Anyways, the revisions are done and I sent the new draft to my agent about three weeks ago. We're having a phone conference today to talk about the book and our next round of submissions. I'm excited but nervous too. I'm hoping she likes my changes and that this round of submissions brings some very exciting news!
I'll keep you posted on her feedback and whether we're ready to submit again. In the meantime, what makes you nervous about your writing?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Baz Lurhmann is directing The Great Gatsby.
You know, Baz Lurhmann who directed Romeo and Juliet...one of the best movies ever made (partly because he cast Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, who together are awesome). I look forward to showing it every year to my freshmen when we finish reading the play. I was obsessed with the movie in high school (to the point where my friends and I tried to find t Claire Dane's dress from the costume party scene for prom....which my one friend did!).
The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books in the world. I read it almost every year and when my main squeeze and I first started dating, he read it too because I told him about how much I liked it. That's when I knew that he was special...any man willing to read Gatsby for a girl has to be the bomb diggity.
So far Leonardo has been cast for Jay Gatsby (squee!), Tobey McGuire for Nick and Carrie Mulligan for Daisy (both I think are a great choices). Although I must say, I don't know if anyone will ever top Robert Redford.
People are speculating about Tom, Jordan and Myrtle, and I have my choices. I think Ryan Gosling would be perfect for Tom, Natalie Portman for Jordan and Scarlett Johansson for Mrytle (if you want to go with big name actresses).
What do you think? Who would you cast? Are you as excited as me?????
We still have to wait over two years for the movie, so how about the trailer from R and J to remind you of how brilliant Lurhmann is?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Borders is giving customers a $15.00 gift card voucher for every purchase (books, music, even coffee or a bagel). This voucher will be used to make a donation to the public school of your choice through Donorschoose.org.
I urge you to go and make a purchase to donate to a school of your choice (and if you don't have one, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll hook you up with my school. We would greatly appreciate any donations).
It's soooooo important to get good books into our schools (especially YA literature) so kids want to keep reading.
Please consider going to Borders this weekend. You can check out the information here.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The first three are to show my book club love:
1) A Touch Mortal (Leah Clifford)
2) Liar Society (Lisa and Laure Roecker)
3) Witch Eyes (Scott Tracey)
The rest are based off of blogs that I love or books hyped on blogs that I love. I have a feeling that there are a lot more books coming out that I have yet to discover.
4) XVI (Julia Karr)
5) Across the Universe (Beth Revis)
6) Like Mandarin (Kirsten Hubbar)
7) Bumped (Megan McCafferty)
8) Divergent (Veronica Roth)
9) Possession (Elana Johnson)
10) Bad Taste in Boys (Carrie Harris)
11) Audition (Stasia Ward Kehoe)
12) Paper Covers Rock (Jenny Hubbard)
What books are you looking forward to reading?
If you want to join the challenge...check it out here!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm now able to focus on my current book again. I've been spending some time rereading and brainstorming about it this week, and it's been amazing to come back to something with a fresh eye. I don't think I would have had the patience to set it aside if my agent would have made me do another round of edits.
One of the things that keeps nagging me is the main character and her age. I keep wondering what the book would be like if she was younger (I'm think 12 instead of 16, the age she is now). I've always loved young adult literature and think of myself as a YA writer, but the more I think about my novel, the more I want to try writing it as a middle grade novel. I feel like it would be a lot stronger if I did.
I read a lot of middle grade when I was growing up (tons of Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, The Babysitters Club, Sleepover Friends and Sweet Valley Twins), but I haven't read any lately.
That's where I need your help. Are any of you Middle Grade readers? What's big right now? What books should I read? My book is comtemporary, so I'm looking at stuff that isn't paranormal/fantasy. I'm looking for current books (maybe published within the last three years). Any recommendations would be appreciated!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Well, I just finished a book where the last sentences were at the bottom of the right hand page.
I was reading and reading and turned the page and found out THE BOOK WAS OVER!
Really? That's how you want to play this game?
I don't see anything cool about giving me no warning that the book is ending.
Shame on you, book publishers!
I don't know about you, but I slow down when a book is almost done and I almost always savor the last few sentences.
I have to admit that I was fuming when I turned the page and saw that there weren't any more words. Grrrrr!
What about you? What has been getting you angry lately?
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
However, I was very very impressed by the play. While they were unable to realistically depict the kites flying (which was my biggest disappointment), the playwright was about to capture the essence of the play. The first act was done with dual characters of Amir, the young Amir and the older one. The older Amir narrates the action during the first act and takes over during the second. The emotions and messages from the book were all shown in the play. I think the only thing missing was the history of Afghanistan. One of the reasons I loved the book was because of the background and history of the country that Hosseini depicts. Overall, I thought the play was great.
The adaptation got me thinking about other play/movie adaptations. There are few that I've seen that have done the book justice:
*Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
What about you? Can you think of any movie adaptations that did the book justice?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The week is full of writing and producing new work in an environment of writers. We work in small groups with a published writer and it's required of all of us to share something we wrote in front of everyone in an open mic type setting.
The first year I was the last participant to present. This summer I was the first! I was nervous, but I liked going first because I could enjoy everyone else after.
The recordings are posted and you can listen to my piece "Red Rover." It's the very first one on the Tuesday, June 22 Participant Reading.
There are some other great readings on each of the nights including an amazing piece by my mentor for that week, Ron Carlson. It's from his new book and worth listening to. The instructors read on Monday, June 21.
If you have a minute, download the readings and let me know what you think!
Addition to orginal blog...The prompt I read was to create a story with 26 lines. We had to start with "A" and go through the alphabet in order. If you listen close, you can hear it!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The prize of a book contract (on the publisher’s standard form) covering world rights for a hardcover and a paperback edition, including an advance and royalties, will be awarded annually to encourage the writing of contemporary young adult fiction. The award consists of $1,500 in cash and a $7,500 advance against royalties.
1. The contest is open to U.S. and Canadian writers who have not previously published a young adult novel. Employees of Random House, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates, and members of their families and households are not eligible.
2. Foreign-language manuscripts and translations are not eligible.
3. Manuscripts submitted to a previous Delacorte Press contest are not eligible.
FORMAT FOR SUBMISSIONS
1. Submissions should consist of a book-length manuscript with a contemporary setting that will be suitable for readers ages 12 to 18.
2. Manuscripts should be no shorter than 100 typewritten pages and no longer than 224 typewritten pages. Include a brief plot summary with your covering letter.
DATES FOR SUBMISSION
1. Manuscripts must be postmarked after October 1, 2010, but no later than December 31, 2010.
Writers will be notified between January and April as submissions are evaluated by the editors. Final contest results will be announced on our Web site on or around April 30, 2011.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Yeah, I haven't folded things in a long time. Thank goodness for guest room beds!
I promise that I almost (almost!) have a handle on things and will be back soon. And not only will I be back, but I also have a great Fall contest complete with cozy knitting items for when you're writing.
Have a great weekend!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
That's a lot of reading, but I always look forward to it. I love the characters in the play. Abigail is so mean and so vicious, you cannot help but be drawn to a character like her. I like the power these teenage girls had and the idea that they could basically control a town.
The books I teach are definitely my most read books. However, there are also books I own that I go back to year after year. I usually need about a year time in between, but I never fail to fall in love with them again and find something new in each reading.
Some of the books that I revisit are:
The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Looking for Alaska (Green)
The Man of My Dreams (Sittenfeld)
The God of Animals (Kyle)
The Secret Garden (Burnett)
Charlotte's Web (White)
White Oleander (Fitch)
Coming back to these books are like visiting an old friend. I look forward to rereading them just as I look forward to starting The Crucible again with my students.
What about you? What is the book(s) that you can read over and over again?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Check out my guest post on Kristan Hoffman's blog about writing superpowers.
Leave a comment and let us know what your writing superpower would be.
I promise to be back with a blog post of my own tomorrow...woo-hoo!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Kate (my main character in CANARY) is a bit passive during the first half of the book. The circumstances allow her to be more passive (she's trying to fit in at a new school among the elite and popular), but you don't want a weak character. This is somewhat of an oxymoron to me.
For example, take one of my favorite character, Melinda from Speak. I see Melinda as passive throughout most of the book. Yes, she made the choice to be quiet, she makes the choice to retreat inside herself and exclude herself from school, however, you root for her. You want her to speak up and do something. Why is that? Does she become less passive as the story goes on? Do the circumstances in her life allow you to view her as passive and still connect with her.
My mind is spinning on how to create a character that allows things to happen to her, but does not seem completely weak or passive.
Is your head spinning too?
How would you answer this questions? Any ideas or thoughts? Or maybe you want to argue with me and show me how Melinda is not passive throughout the first half of the book. I would love to hear from you all!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Amelia had planned to wear the dress to Homecoming, a dance no one had asked me to.
Her boyfriend Tommy made a big production of inviting her. He set up candles in our back field in the shape of a heart. He called Amelia to tell her to look outside. The two of us stood in our parent’s bedroom window and watched the candles, some flickering out to make a lopsided heart.
“Hey, look, “I had said. “Now your heart is broken.”
Tommy couldn’t just have invited her to the dance like the rest of the kids at school, pushing out an awkward invite in the halls, texting the question or deciding during lunch to go as just friends. Tommy had to light up his love, even if the flames started to blow out when the winds blew too fast.
I started to try on the dress a few weeks after Amelia disappeared.
I put it on when Dad was at work and Mom was in the shower, running the water to cover up her wails that I could still hear.
I would slip into it and jam my feet into Amelia’s shoes that were two sizes too small and stare at myself in the mirror. I allowed myself for a moment, just a moment, to smile because I was here. I was strong and alive.
I would then take the dress off and hang it back up in the closet among Amelia’s other shirts, sweaters and tennis shoes that sat waiting for her.
Tonight I got dressed in the downstairs bathroom.
I watched for the headlights to Tessa’s ancient old Buick and slid out the door. I ran barefoot to the car, out of my house before anyone could ask where I was going. Amelia’s dress skimmed the ground, stirring up a fog of dust around the bottom.
I was shorter than Amelia and the dress wasn’t the same on me. Nothing was quite the same.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Getting engaged wasn't the only thing that I did in California. It was a great trip! Do you want to see some pictures?!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
And how much do you wish you came up with this idea for a YA book?
And she gives a shout out to Judy Blume! Loves!
Okay, it comes out September 17, so we don't have that long to wait. Phew!
Click here to view it without the bad formatting that blogger does. Curses, blogger, why can you format right?!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I have a steady list of blogs that I read every day. I've found a lot of them through my readers, through google searchers on various agents/editors and things like that, and a few have been recommendations.
Here are some of my favorite non-writing blogs; perhaps you'll start following some of these!
Knitting Lemonade: Kara talks about writing, knitting and bike riding. I wish she'd post more, but every time she does...it makes my day!
Girl Who Knits: This is Kara's sister and she does some amazing knitting projects...amazing! Again, please post more!
A Friend to Knit With: I love this blog...it's full of every day simple things and her pictures make me smile (oh, and she knits too...ha!).
Lottie and Doff: Warning...this blog will make you hungry. Very hungry!
Lisa Leonard Online: My mom, sister and I all have necklaces made by Lisa. Her designs are beautiful and so are the pictures that she takes. Her blog is about her life and family.
Pink Picket Fence: Another more domestic blog with great pictures and crafts and fun ideas.
I haven't really found that many new blog lately. It's just my standard ones, and I feel like I know enough about the authors that I can take on a few more and start following their stories. Isn't that the cool part about blogging? That you start following people's lives and root for them and their successes?
I'm asking for you...my readers...to share some of your favorite blogs with me. This includes your own blog if you don't think I've started to follow it yet (and I should....geez!). Please include the blog address in the comment section and perhaps a description, although I'm sure I'll visit all of them and take a look.
Thanks! I look forward to some great new reading!
Friday, July 30, 2010
I thought I would share it again because I would like your thoughts on the topic...what makes you a writer.
Read it (or reread if you were one of my early followers...thanks!) and then share your "writerly traits" with me!
When my old roommate started law school, the school had a special night to prepare the new students for the three years that lay ahead. My roommate came home with a bunch of pamphlets that reminded me of an abridged version of the book WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING that you give to newly pregnant mothers.
After I started working on my manuscript, I realized that pregnancy and law school weren’t the only places that needed information pamphlets. I decided to create my own list of what to expect when starting a manuscript:
*You will protect your external drive like it’s your first born child. In fact, your hard drive may become even more important than your first born child
*You will find the strangest places to write down story ideas: receipts, napkins, parking passes and maybe even texting lines to yourself from your cell phone
*You will act out parts of your story in the car, laughing at something a character may say, and stop when you turn and see the person in the lane next to you staring at you
*You will also find people asking you if you’re okay when you’re deep inside an emotional part of your story. You’ll have to assure them that nothing is wrong with you, but your characters may be another story.
*You will get to know the first names of all the workers at your local office supply store, as you buy mass quantities of printer ink and paper to perfect one single manuscript.
*You will hear somewhere that showers cause positive ionic charges in your brain, and suddenly feel the most creative in the shower. You will start to take long showers just to try to get ideas out.
*You will find yourself scowling at people who have the same name as an antagonist in your story
*You will develop rituals in order to procrastinate about writing. Your writing may depend on that one special pen, the right table in a coffee shop or song on your ipod.
*You will find yourself with a new obsessive compulsive disorder causing you to hit the save button on your computer hundreds of times while you are writing after you lose a piece of your writing for the first time
*You’ll convince yourself that the piece of work you lost was the piece that was going to win you the Printz, Pulitzer or National Book Award
These are just the start of the examples I’d include in my pamphlet. I’m sure you can add more…what else would you add to the list!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
My main squeeze picked the winner...
Thanks for entering and here is all the great writing advice that you shared with me:
*Playlists! I write best when listening to music, especially if certain songs speak to my character.
*Don’t self-edit! Wait until later before you edit otherwise you’ll second guess yourself.
*If the juices aren’t flowing, don’t try and force yourself to write anything serious.
*Dance parties to celebrate victories and really motivating for finishing.
*Brainstorm with a buddy.
*Write what you know
*Give the who, what, where, when and why.
*Adopt a plain writing style
*When stressed out, eat a cookie.
*When editing, read the manuscript from back to front.
*When querying, make sure you’ve got your genre right.
*Grammar—live it, learn it, love it!
*In the time you just spent whining about how you don’t want to revise, you could have revised two pages.
*Spring House Balsam fir candles. If your story is set in a forest and you live in the city, these can take you straight to the woods as soon as you light one. I’m big on scents when I write and have different candles for each story.
*Don’t write what you know…but rather write about what you care about.
*Love your writing like you love your dog; unconditionally. It might not always be perfect, but at the end of the day, you can’t live without it and it makes your soul smile.
*Completely ignore the editor on your should while writing. The little demon isn’t there to improve your writing, he’s there to sidetrack you so you never finish.
*The biggest one is to just sit down and write. Everyone thinks they can write a book, but very few take the time to do it, and that makes all the difference (of course, if they had a pen that smell like watermelon, I think they might be more motivated).
*Go see something artistic and brilliant. I do my best thinking about movies, symphonies, art galleries….I always feel compelled to write after I’ve beheld something triumphant someone else has tossed out into the universe for us to enjoy.
*Write something everyday.
*Read everything (books, blogs, etc.) and apply what inspired you to your writing.
*Spring House candles, Ipod music that fits whatever work you are currently writing and homemade sugar free vanilla lattes!
*Don’t let anyone discourage you from writing. If you want to write, write.
*Read other books
*Finish your novel
*Keep you butt in your chair and write everyday
*Write what you want to read. Forget about everyone else's thoughts/opinions and tell the story you want to tell. Go with your gut.
*Always go for the highest stakes. What is the worse possible thing that could happen?
*Kill those babies (things you love in your writing)...the new ones will be better!
*Read Stephen King's On Writing
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010