Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love James Frey

This is another one about James Frey because today, June 29th, 2011, I received My Friend Leonard back after about two months of waiting. If you don't know what I'm talking about click HERE or HERE.

And inside the novel was written:

If I can write a book and get it published, you can do it. Keep working keep writing keep thinking keep trying keep going, keep going, keep going.
Your friend--
James Frey

(PS....I typed this exactly the way he wrote it. No commas. I like him :) )

Just saying, spectacular days exist.

Today was an amazing.

I hope yours was awesome as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


When I edit, or even when I write, I need a lot of distractions. I am not one of those writers who turns off the music (I do turn off the TV because I can't stand talking. I can sleep with the radio on, too. Not the TV. I hate TV). 

Usually when I work I have Microsoft Word up, and then in a new browser; Twitter, Facebook, my blog, gmail, and other sources of distraction. 

On a daily basis, I use my friend's cool pack for my computer. He was over one night, playing on his own lap-top, and saw that I was editing, so he left me alone. Until he saw me switching between everything. But it's what I do--it's how I think.

The other day, I was bored while I was editing and I did something fun (which I hear a lot of writers do). I went through and as I was editing, songs kept getting stuck in my head. I realized that it was my main character's I typed it up. It actually helped me go through and write/edit more and give me a better feel for who this girl is. 

I'm not telling you to make a playlist, or even write. I'm just saying if you write, and you get bored with your project and need something...try making a playlist, or some other form of creativity that will keep you thinking like your characters.

Okay. That's all. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Edgar Allan Poe once said "The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetic topic in the world."

I don't remember where I was when I first heard this quote, but I think of it often. Hands down EAP and Sylvia Plath are my literary role models. Partially because everyone knows their name, partially because their work rocks, but mostly, because they weren't afraid to write dark works, to not give a shit and write what they felt like. It was raw, and ugly, and brave. Ms. Plath killed herself. EAP pretty much died in an alleyway, drunk. They both had incredibly hard lives, and essentially died alone. I feel like I will join this club, too. (Morbid, and I'm sorry, but it's the truth. Anyways, back on the blog topic:)

So what do you write about?

Personally, I write a lot about relationships. If you read my Twitter Profile it'll tell you I have commitment issues (and it is so, so true). A majority of what I write revolves around boy/girl relationships because that's what I'm bad at. I have a million fucked up little relationships under my belt, and none of them ended well, but I made some awesome characters out of some of the guys. Some of those guys I owe entire stories to, some I owe partial mannerisms.

So how do EAP and this blog tie together?

Well, awhile ago, YALITCHAT was discussing portions of novels, and their relationships and how many story lines are driven by the relationship. Poe said the death of a beautiful woman was poetic, basically you can write about her forever because it's just so damn sad, such a waste. But a dead beautiful woman would mean nothing without the person around to miss her.

And there my friends, you will always have a story worth writing about, and a story worth reading.

Someone said that we all kind of write from the loves that we've lost, and I think it's true. Even as far back as I remember there is this one him that finds his way into each of my stories; whether it was the way he held my hand or the way he made me feel when he touched me. It doesn't matter, he's still there and without him, I'm not sure I would be able to write. I know about love because of him, I know about betrayal, strength, loss, healing...all of these things because of him. (This also kind of ties into the Write What You Know advice).

So like, EAP's beautiful woman popping up again and again, I write about the lost loves, that constant ache because to me that profound loss is something that people should know about.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Preparing For A Conference

The schedule for LeakyCon's Lit Day has been posted HERE. I'm going to first talk a little bit about the first conference I went to, and what I experienced.

In 2010, I was still in college and my sister invited me to the AWP conference. At the time, I was really just writing short stories (yea, I had a novel written, but I had pretty much given up on it), and didn't really think it was for me. I spoke about it with a few teachers and they asked the price. It was $40 for a student, and they told me I'd be stupid not to go, so I went.

A few thousand miles later, registration was a mess. There were a million booths with the first letters of the last names, book booths, literary magazine booths, and people EVERYWHERE. It took me a few minutes to figure out where I was supposed to be and that I didn't really have time to follow the masses. Soon enough, I received THE BOOK, also known as the schedule, information, guide, table layout information...basically it's THE BOOK. My sister, Aimee, and I went through our books and started mapping out which panels we'd like to attend the following day.

When I checked in, I didn't realize how large the conference center was. After walking by myself the mile to the center, I had my first problem; Where the hell was the panel room? Thankfully, there were a million helpful people directing me around. Each day got easier, and I was blown away at each panel (hands down, my favorite was still Kerry Cohen's).

When the conference ended, I was sad because there was just so much there. This year, I attended again, and I had a much better grasp of what was going on though I didn't have my sister with me. I attended more social meetings, met an agent (just to talk), and had an amazing experience, but it wouldn't have happened if people hadn't talked me into going...if I hadn't talked myself into going.

The first step is being brave, and actually attending. The second step, is being brave and TALKING. Talk to everyone you meet at conferences, they will help you along your journey.

Now I'll tell you what I'm looking forward to the most:

This one is fairly obvious as to why I'd want to be there. I'm an unpublished author, I want to break into the writing industry. Agents are step one in this process (well, actually, writing the novel is, then the query letter, then seeking out the agents). I'm expecting it to be like a live version #yalitchat

For the same reason as above. I've also never seen a real life editor and I think I'll have one of those "OMG, OMG, OMG" fangirl moments.

11am-Either the writing workshop or The Relationship Panel, I'm not sure which because they both sound awesome. I'll probably have a follow up blog after the conference so you'll know which I attended (it may be the writing workshop, though an agent I follow on Twitter will be at the panel...I JUST DON'T KNOW! I DON'T!)

Lunch. I'll eat.

12:30-Either Book Basics or Romance--Again, lots of agents to listen to, or to understand more about the query process. I'm so bad at making decisions!

1:30-Probably the Teenage Author panel, just because it may give me some hope :)

2:30--BOOK SIGNINGS!!!! I can't wait!! (Someday, I hope to have a book that people want signed :) )

There is a reception later, and a keynote address, and then it's just resting before the very long drive home. But I am soooo excited!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gay Bashing

I loathe the use of hate words. I don't think they should ever be used to insult someone and I do my best every day to not even allow myself to think such thoughts. Instead, I use clever insults, like asshole, or shit-bag, or fucker. I try not to attack based on gender, sexuality, race, or any other thing we as human beings can't control.

However, not everyone is as tactful or mindful. The only reason why I'm like this is because of a presentation from a reformed neo-nazi I met while in high school. At the time, I still thought it was okay to use words like 'fag' or 'gay' even if I wasn't directing them at a person. But it's not. It's never okay.

The reason why I'm writing this blog is because a wonderful girl yesterday was verbally assaulted at her place of employment by two ignorant teenagers. She was folding shirts when they cornered her and asked if she was a 'dike' 'lesbian' and repeatedly asked, 'you're gay, aren't you?'

The girl in question only recently graduated high school. She is a very soft spoken, very kind girl, and these visious bitches (see, clever word usage here) rendered her unable to speak or to defend herself. Once they left, she remained and asked another employee not to tell what happened because she didn't want to cause a scene.

But someone should have told a manager and had those girls removed from the store. This situation is completely unacceptable. Situations like these completely sicken me. They're not something to laugh off, and say that people are ignorant or jerks. That bastard church down south that harasses military families at their loved one's funerals should not be accepted. Gay bashing of any sort should not be accepted, whether it's a simple use of a word, or taking videos of gay lovers and posting them all over youtube. The hate needs to stop.

Acceptance needs to begin.

(Sorry this isn't a literary blog today. I'm just very, very angry about this entire situation. The girl in question is a very good friend of mine, and I wish I had been working so I could have defended her.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

YA Highway; Plotter or Pantser?

So, YA Highway blogged about being a plotter or a pantser. Don't know what that is? Neither did I. I think they put it best by saying that a Pantser is someone flying by the seam of their pants; you're not really sure which direction you're going and you let your characters kinda talk through. A Plotter is someone who goes through and is very meticullous and says "Yes, this is what will happen". Plotters have plans, (I also feel they're the type of person who like, makes a bulleted list and follows that for their story line).

Then, YAH asked the question, What are you?

Me? I'm a bit of a hybrid, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I think I'm more of a Pantser. Something will happen in my day and I'll hear my character's voice and start flying from there. The more he/she talks, the more I'll listen and try to understand why they're talking like that. Usually at some point during the madness, I'll know the ending, write it very, very roughly, and then connect the points.

The more planned portions of me will go through and make an arrow diagram just so I can keep the ball rolling (which is why I said I'm a bit of a hybrid). This will usually happen as I'm finishing up the story.

So...yep. That's my answer. What about you? :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tips For A Query Letter

So..I have massive amounts of writers block right now but I haven't blogged in awhile, so I figured I'll cover the basics of a query letter.

*Always address the letter to a SPECIFIC agent, not an agency, also not a "Dear Agent" you want "Dear X". 

*Make the letter personal but professional. Does this agent represent the genre of your book? Did you like the book? Why do you feel like your writing would be a good fit?

*What is the audience you're aiming for? YA? Adult? What genre is your novel? Paranormal? Romance? Heavy fantasy? Make sure to include this information SOMEWHERE in the letter.

*What is your novel about? --This is the hardest part of the query letter. Personally, I'm usually too emotionally involved in my writing to take a step back and say "This is my plot". I get help from friends who read my material and say "This is what I got out of the story". Make it interesting, use proper grammar, use correct spelling. It's like a mini-story.

*Do you have credentials? Have you been published before? Where? For what? Would the agent have heard of you? Do you attend conferences? 

*Try to keep this under a page (approximately 250 words)

*Sign your name and give information on how to contact you (name, address, phone number, e-mail address, etc)

*Lastly, before you send that letter, make sure you've checked the guidelines. Did the agency ask for pages pasted into the body of the e-mail? A synopsis? 

Those are the fast easy tips that I've come across in a lot of industry blogs. Hope this helps! Good luck! Oh--and if you get rejected, don't worry. It happens to all of us. Just keep trying!

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's Monday

It's Monday and I've finished Character Defects....I just need to go through and actually merge the two (because it got so large my google docs stopped letting me edit it and for some reason my Microsoft Word lost its spell check. Not sure why). Once this is done, I'm sending the super rough draft to a friend before I even go through and edit it because I feel like I need some distance.

Right now I'm feeling really proud of my story, and I'm really excited to have others read it. I feel like this is the novel I'll go to conferences with and pitch. Why? Because I feel like it's the strongest thing I have in my hand. Next is Firestarters, which I also love.

When I go to the conferences I intend on having manila envelopes, just in case so if asked, I can say "Why yes, I have some pages if you'd like to see them." LeakyCon LitDay is a little more than a month away. I need to buy a plane ticket for PNWA but I'm ready for both.

After the chapters of Character defects get merged, I'm going to start pitching practice. I'm going to talk to myself, in the mirror and say "This is what my novel is about" or "This is why it's interesting". I'm going to know my story inside and out so I can answer any questions about it. I am ready for my break. I am ready, I am ready, I am ready.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Responce To The Wall Street Journal Article

For those of you who haven't heard, the WSJ has written an awful article about YA and how it's just so horrible now. How it's all dark and curses and it's just not good for teens today. They claim that years ago things were different (I take it they never read Cynthia Voigt's Izzy, Willy, Nilly or Fat Chance by Leslea Newman, or any of the other various novels....)

But here's the truth, if you're ready for it. Are you ready? is it:
High school can be a very, very dark place for some of us. 
Some of us don't even make it out alive.

When I was a freshmen, the very, very hot boy who sat near me in my seminar class was killed in a drinking and driving accident. His name was Fred Horak, and I barely knew him...just the sadness that surrounded his death (oh, and a year or so prior, his sister died of meningitis.)
As the year went on, my sister's best friend, Kara died from cancer. Less than 4 months later, my best friend, Kellie, died in a car accident (non-alcohol related). After Kellie died, I fell apart and nothing was the same. I couldn't deal with life, I barely moved or got out of bed....things just stopped. Then the girl who sat next to me in my creative writing class tried to kill herself because of a boy and other issues....It was like a slap in the face. When she came back to school, we showed our scars to each other and I tried to tell her that there was something to hold onto, but I wasn't even sure if I was telling the truth...

Add in the fact I lived with my crazy mother and her alcoholic and mentally abusive boyfriend...and things were not so happy in my world.
Soon enough the boy who made my world start revolving again cheated on me. (I found out the day before Valentine's Day). Then shortly after I tore my ACL snowboarding and had to get surgery and was told I may never run again. My high school cross country coach treated me unfairly to the point my sister cursed him out at a meet, in front of the entire team (and parents). I had to meet with the principal, the super, and various other higher up figures in the school system.
And then when I was 16-17, I moved out of my mother's into my sister's and the boy's because if not, if I had stayed I would have killed myself.
But this is my own, personal story and even still, I'm leaving out a lot.

And I survived.

Because I spent a majority of my time writing Confessions of an Immortal Heart, because I read books that kept me sane. Because I watched Soap Operas and stood up for myself and refused to be treated shittily ever again.

So here's to you, Wall Street Journal. For those of you who think that growing up is easy, or full of puppies and kittens and happy little rainbows, or whatever else kind of lies that you're looking for in our novels, it's not. If anyone tells you that it is, it's complete bullshit. Not all of us survive, and those of us who do are left with scars that will always be apparent, that will make future relationships difficult, staying alive even harder. And we write about these experiences with our characters because while, yea, they may be dark, they do happen in real life.

High school sucked for me, and I'm sure beyond any doubt that I am not the only one. So I write truth, and about friends who die, and mental health issues, and how deeply words can truly cut people because that is and that was real to me at the time.

YA Saves.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Holy June

May passed quickly. Very, very quickly.

Right now I'm swamped. I'm currently working 2 jobs, and may pick up another, so I will try to find interesting literary based things to blog about...but if I fall behind, it's cuz I'm probably napping and recharging.

On the novel front, I'm at 73,000 words (yay!) but I'm still not finished with Character Defects yet. I need to get on that soon as
LITDAY is just around the corner.
Then PNWA.


Anyway..time to start getting ready for work.
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