Oct 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Eat loads of candy, but stay away from the forks and spoons. Unless you want to end up like this lady.

Oct 30, 2009

Angsty anyone?

As a rebellious teenager, I experienced my share of angst. We all do a lot of stupid, sometimes dangerous things when we're young. And, oh yes, I'm still young. So, after watching Vampire Diaries last night (yes, yes i gave in to the madness), I thought I'd do a post on angst and novels.

The ULTIMATE ANGSTY COUPLE has to be from my favorite show Greek. So, naturally, I will use them as an example and can only hope you'll somewhat follow along. The season finale is next week and a mourning period is in order. 

I'm TEAM CAPPIE all the wayyy. No, no Evan Chambers doesn't do it for me. Not at all. Cappie has my heart. . .Maybe it's because he shares some of my boyfriend's traits. Who knows.  Talk about angst though. I've been watching this show forever and waiting for the two of them to finally be together. Sure enough, it happens this week, and I'm in soo much tooth pain to really enjoy it. Luckily, I record it so I will watch the episode again. . .And every other one for that matter.

Okay, back to angst and books.

In my novels, I try to incorporate a lot of realism in my books. My teens are flawed--and even a bit badass. They have real problems and make serious mistakes (like, say, imagining having sex with her teacher). I don't know know any other way to build characters without having them come out like some mary sue. 

For me, angst is good. . .and a little dark. Think: dark chocolate. It's sweet on your tongue, then there's a brief bitter moment where you're thinking about milk chocolate and wondering if it's betrayed you. . .And, then the richy goodness seeps into your taste buds and you find yourself savoring every minute of it. In books, I go back to the best dialogue parts between the two who are getting hot and heavy. (not too hot thought because it is YA) On tv, well, I hit rewind. 

There has to be good build-up or else the final moment when they finally get together is rather. . .bland. Bland, bland, bland.  I'm all for edgy angst. The kind that breaks rules and has you cringing for the MC because you know what she's doing is so WRONG, yet you can't look away.

Hmmm. . .I guess that's why mine has an oh so wrong student teacher affair, huh? 

The thing about angst is. . .you never get your relief right away. No, it builds and builds and has you savoring those little moments here and there where you get some sort of dialogue/ action that makes you smile and hold out for another hundred or so pages. Your tension is like an elastic band, building and building until it eventually snaps. Only, hold out on the snapping for as long as possible before you have your readers screaming, "C'mon already!"

So, what do you think about teenage angst? Can you still relate to the angsty novels being written these days? Are your characters angsty wangsty? Do you have your favorite angsty couple? (yes, tv show can count!)

Oct 29, 2009

Oh, where have you gone?

Dear Veronica,
You're greatly missed, but rest assured your super sleuth ways will not be forgotten. If you haven't realized it, I'm watching VM reruns. Anyone else miss the show, and its witty dialogue?

Omitting Scenes

When is it a good time to delete a scene? Here's my main reasons for hitting the good 'ol delete button. Lack of emotions: the focus may be on something other than your MC, and you find him/her sitting in the sidelines.  Or, is it too slow: Will the scene cut speed up the action of the story? 

Here's some more useful information on writing scenes:

Step 1. Consider the scene's placement in the overall novel. Where are the characters coming from--both physically and emotionally--and where will they proceed once the scene is done? Understand how the scene fits into the complete narrative arc and what purpose it plays in moving toward your conclusion.

Step 2. Work out the basic action in your scene: Which characters are involved, what do they do in the scene and how does their behavior change (or not change) the course of the narrative? You don't have to be that detailed, at least not yet. You just want a bare-bones framework of how it's all going to play out.

Step 3. Generate a tone for the scene consistent with the emotions you want to convey. If you're writing an action scene, it should be tension-filled and exciting. If it's a romantic breakup, it should be tragic and painful. The tone can come out in the emotions of the characters or the tenor of the description, but it needs to be consistent throughout the scene.

Step 4. Establish a setting for the scene that fits the mood and tone. It can be just about anywhere, though it should have a logical connection to the remainder of the story and be conducive to whatever action you have set up. Describe the setting to the reader at the beginning of the scene. You should give a strong impression of the locale and include any important details, but otherwise refrain from devolving into excess description.

Step 5. Write a draft of the scene based on your conclusions in the previous steps. Include any dialogue between the characters, descriptions of the things they do in the scene, a proper beginning, development and an end (which should logically proceed to the next scene).

Step 6. Revise your scene, cutting out any unnecessary details. Polish the prose if it needs work. Some authors like to do this as part of revising the novel as a whole. Others like to do it scene by scene, in order to keep themselves focused on the immediate task. Whatever method works best for you is the right one, but no scene is complete until it goes through at least one careful revision.

Tips & Warnings.
As your writing skills improve, consider experimenting with the way you write scenes. Work on flashbacks, cross-cutting, use of the present tense and similarly creative alternatives. Like everything else, it's preferable to start out with the basics, but plain-vanilla scenes can get boring after a time...as well as prevent you from stretching your wings as a writer.

Source: eHow.com

Oct 28, 2009


I've gotten a few emails asking more about what I'm going to school for and what insight I could offer when it comes to dead bodies. Some people have trouble getting the emotions down, so I'll try my best to help, but be warned this isn't an easy matter to write about.

Recently, I watched a forensic pathologist inspect a dead body for causes of death. The man was burned alive and I held on to my friend Kurt's hand to resist from throwing up. A lot of people write about dead bodies in novels. They write details that you want to believe, but that are usually not true.

Seeing death firsthand, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about it. So, I've decided to finally share my experience since I'm still rather out of it from my pain medication after having my wisdom teeth pulled. I never wanted to write about it, but maybe it'll help someone writing a novel that involves death.

Warning: If you have a weak stomach, stop reading here.

Walking in, I could smell nothing but burnt skin, and his face. . .Oh, god, his face--something I'll never forget. If someone's writing a ADULT murder mystery, they should know the facts. Like that the smell stays with you for days, and you usually have to burn your cloths. Or the fact that the mouth generally droops after so many hours. The face becomes distorted, twisted into a horrific grin that makes the face look as if his/her face had been ripped in half from the jaw. Sort of like the Black Dahlia murder if you've ever heard of it. 

My soon-to-be job isn't pretty, and I'll probably never get completely used to seeing dead bodies, which is okay because that's not the field I'm going into anyway. Many of you know I'll be going into ICE once I graduate, an I'll probably be working on human trafficking cases or marshals. 

Writing is a hobby to me, I've never looked at it for the possibility of being famous and having loads of money. I do it because ever since I had cancer, well, I'd like to think it keeps me sane and helps me think about things besides death. And now, I can't imagine ever stopping. Writing is something unbelievable and the ability to put my words on paper so easily is a gift, which I thank God for everyday. Sort of like my volunteer work. I feed animals at a BIG CAT REHABILITATION SITE. Lions, tigers, and ever bears I have the opportunity of feeding and nursing the little babies which is pretty sweet if you're into that sort of thing.

So, there's my random blog post that's probably making you , er, scratch your head. But, hey, all my experiences help me write my Veronica Mars esque novels. . .Have a great night.

Oct 27, 2009


Oh, no.

Today, my fellow writers, I'll be having my wisdom teeth pulled. Yes, I can hear the Jaws theme song playing in the background now. Hopefully, you'll be having a great day, while I search the internet for funny videos and pictures to make me laugh (not literally of course because that would hurt). 

So, stay tuned. I'll be back tomorrow with some writing post or some out there thoughts. Or , maybe, some of the funny pictures/videos I stumble across today.

Oct 26, 2009

Tackling Tone

Narrative Tone:
A style mistake that can seriously undermine your story.

Most well-written stories have consistent narrative tone. The world of the story is predominantly frothy, ironic, comic, tragic, horrific. And, whatever the ups and downs of the plot, the narrator will have a distinct way to tell them

Why am I stating the obvious?

According to professional ghost writer Roz Morris, the most common problem agents/editors come across in novice manuscripts is an inconsistent and uneven narrative tone. When that happens, the experience of the story is off balance. 

Readers NEED to connect with the narrative tone and the kinds of things the narrator says. Once the trust between reader/author is built, you have to remain consistent. Any sudden change in tone could put your reader off if its not welcome and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. 

There are three main reasons why novice writers do this:
1. To provide comic relief or moments of humour
2. To show contrasting world views
3. To make sure the reader has the correct opinion of the character

So, what should you do in each of these cases?

1. Comic Relief- Some writers design characters whose main contribution is to add humor, which is not a bad thing. But they then feel they have to signal that these characters will be the clowns of the novel. So they switch to a slapstick narrative tone, and the depth of characterization goes out the window.

Here's the thing. . .There's no need to switch! 


Let's take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which had comedy throughout without abandoning its mainly tragic mood. Imagine if Buffy had a laugh track every time something amusing happened and what it would do to the story.

Luckily, there's a way to spot and fix this. Reread your comedy moments and ask yourself if you've added a laugh track. If it doesn't fit with the rest of the novel, rewrite it. Remember: If you're putting comic moments into a story, don't put on a different narrative voice for it.  If your emphasis is on character depth, get your comedy from this - put the characters in a situation that will bring out amusing reactions and behavior. The reader will get it, honestly.

2. World Views- Another reason writers break their narrative tone is to contrast different worlds or world-views. (Wow, spelling world make me look at the word funny. Seriously, isn't it a weird spelling?) For instance, a high-schooler's lonely home life is contrasted with the joy and frolics at the local college's fraternity party, waking her up to all the cute boys she's been missing. Clever idea, but what people often see is the boring home life scenes narrated with sensitivity and insight, and the frat party as though it was bitchy chick-lit because it's meant to be wild and frothy.

Ahhhh, no.

The effect isn't fun, its jarring. People who read sensitive, insightful novels may not be the same people who'd enjoy bitchy-ness. Vice versa. Like before, your narrator needs to stay 'in character' while conveying the contrast.

3. Correct Opinion of Character- You might decide to write a novel where you tell us what to think of each and every character. Or your novel might present the characters and let us make up our own minds. . .Got it?

The problem here is when the author will let us make up our own mind about a bunch of characters, but with others they tell us what to think. The change from subtlety to spoonfeeding is like being booted into a different book. Downright irritating. Readers who enjoy subtle characterization are usually different from readers who want to be told.

You can fix this by narrating all the characters, not matter how despicable, with the same degree of perception and depth.

Oct 25, 2009

Query Wars

Hmmm. . .So, it seems I haven't posted an update on my query wars the entire month! Well, not much has happened except one partial reject and another partial request, but I'll put it up anyway.

For those interested in my stats:

Total Queries: 31
    Q. Rejections: 13
    Q. to Partial Requests: 7
          In consideration: 4
          Rejections: 2
          Turned to Full: 1
     Q. I'm still waiting on: 11

Oct 23, 2009

Making your first page SPARKLE

If you want to be published, the first page of your novel HAS to be good. It HAS to draw the agent/editor/reader in.

Here are two links to read up on how to make your first page shine:

eHow and DarcyPat (my favorite)

Now, I'm off to work, and I won't be post anything tomorrow. Sorry guys, but I'll be doing the Buddy Walk (Down Syndrome) in my town. Have a great Saturday!

Oct 22, 2009

A Thought on MC

Problems can creep up on you like a shadow. And, very slowly, they grow over time like a plot. This thought just came to me, so bear with me if I don't make sense. Anyway, everyone needs a shadow. They need to learn from their shadows to help them develop.

So, here's a personal rule I thought up when writing your conflict: 

Every MC should have a shadow. And, the only way to get rid of the shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness and face what they fear. Head on. If your MC doesn't accomplish this in the end, then you, my friend, don't have a plot. You don't have a resolution, and you wind up leaving everything in the air.

You end up with unanswered questions, and readers who are scratching their heads.

Teaser Thursday

*closes excerpt*

Thanks for the comments! Next time I'll try to post it earlier in the day!

Oct 20, 2009

Another Book Contest! Ends 10/26

Click here for a chance to win the Cirque Du Freak series!

THAT guy

Okay, so today I did something bold. Very, very bold. Like how I put it in bold? Anyway,  I hung out with THAT guy.

"What guy?" you ask.

Let me explain who THAT guy is before I talk about what happened. In every group of friends, I've noticed there's THAT guy or THAT girl. I can describe his/her personality. They're the quiet one in the group. The friend you hang out with, but never alone. You may want to hang out with him/her, but you're all set.

Why? People fear hanging out with THAT guy messes with the group's dynamic. Think about it. What if you hang out with him/her and then you find out. . .He's a dud, and you knew there was a reason no one hung out with him outside of the group gatherings. The person is generally fine within the group, but their personality never seems to stand out or shine through whatever. 

My friend Josh (I'll call him Josh on here for the sake of privacy) warned me the other night not to hang out with THAT guy. He said people used to in the past, but they stopped. I found this odd and asked why people didn't hang out with him outside of the group.

You ready for it?

Josh said he didn't know why. So, I told Josh that was ridiculous, and I reminded him how he seems alright and that we should include him more. Well, we were going to a nearby boxing place, and I decided asking the seems-alright-but-who-knows guy wouldn't be the best idea. Sure enough, THAT guy showed up with some of our other friends at the boxing place. I took this as a sign.

After about an hour, I called it quits, walked over to THAT guy, and asked him what he's doing later. He said nothing, and I invited him to hang out with Josh and me. My first mistake was telling a fellow C Major that I was excited to get to know him better. Uh, let's just say we've all learned the tell-tale signs of lies, and he picked up on mine instantly.

Despite everything, he showed up--unfortunately Josh did not. There I was, left alone with THAT guy. We went for a run (a few of us are applying for an internship with ICE and we have to pass a tough physical exam. loads of running and stuff) and after the run I sat down beside him and asked him what's up.

Uh, two hours later, I found out there's a reason no one hangs out with THAT guy. He said seven words the entire day, and I know this because I counted. I tried to chalk it up to nervousness, but then his inner jerk emerged. And, man did I not like it. He said something about my friend Kim (again, not her real name either), and I flashed him a smile before telling him his major should've been Sexist Ass rather than Criminology.  

I went home, called up Josh, and told him WHY no one hangs out with him alone.

Turns out, THAT guy doesn't get asked to hang out outside of the group because his inner personality seeps out like poison--an example being jerkness.  So, there you have it. My first experience with THAT guy.

Going to go work on my current WIP. . . You've been warned about THAT guy people. Pass this revelation along!

Oct 19, 2009

Email Alert

My WIP is about a high school student under house arrest. I'm very much hoping that because of your major you may have useful information on the matter. Your help is very much appreciated.

So, I got this question in my mailbox today and decided I'd post the answer on here since it might be useful to someone else as well. First off, if your novel is a thriller, I'd suggest watching the movie Disturbia.

Let's take it from the top. Your MC will more than likely go through the stages of an arrest and preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is an appearance before a "disinterested person," and the facts of a probation violation or arrest are presented, and it is determined whether probable cause for revoking probation exists. (If your MC was on probation. Unfortunately, I don't know the backstory.) During a revocation hearing, the probation agency presents evidence to support its claim of violation, and the probationer can attempt to refute this evidence. Then, sentencing occurs--the presiding body rules against the probationer. The judge must then decide whether to impose incarceration and for what length of time.

This is where home incarceration comes into play. It's a community-based sanction in which offenders serve their terms of incarceration in their homes. Only low-risk offenders are eligable for this, so make sure your MC didn't do anything too bad or else it won't make sense! Sometimes there's something called Shock incarceration, but you don't need to know that.  Home incarceration requires the offender to remain in the home at all times, save for medical emergencies. Programmed contact a type of electronic monitoring system that consists of an offender being contacted periodically by telephone or beeper. (We hardly use this system nowadays.)

Listen carefully here because this is one of the most important things you will need to know, and I suggest researching it because I'm not going to go into it extensively when the information is easily found on the web.

Okay, lastly, you should know about "continuous signaling" because your MC will be wearing one of these. It's an electronic device that the offender must wear around the wrist, ankle, or neck, which sends out a continuous signal to the authorities. 

That's all fine and well if your MC is and adult. If you're writing YA then your MC wouldn't be under home incarceration. He or she would be under home detention. It's a sort of lesser level of home monitoring that requires the person to remain at home all times--with the exceptions being school, job, counseling, or other specified activities such as grocery shopping or religious stuff. 

Right below home confinement is curfew. It's the lowest level of home monitoring that requires offenders to be in their homes at specific hours (usually at night).

Phew! That was a lot to write, but if it helps some others then it's all good. If anyone else has questions, feel free to email me.

Oct 18, 2009

Ripped off?

Click here to see what all the buzz is about. It's been said that her rights as an artist weren't protected, and it makes me really consider the word "plagiarize." This brings me to my next subject:


If you didn't already know, I'm an L.J. Smith fan and a certain author who shall not be named has a remarkably similar story line as one of her night world series plots. To make matters worse, said author has TWO chapters that start off with the same sentences as Smith's novel.(and the sentences aren't brief descriptions. oh no they lead in deja vu chapters, too) Now, I'm not one to point a finger, but where did originality go? Has it vanished? Will plagiarism increase steadily over time?

What about self-published books? Are they checked for plagiarism? Is it a possible for them to write rip off novels of best-sellers and make money off it by selling them for half the price? I'm sure you've heard about Thomas Nelson's self-publishing division. Could that be used as a cheap way to make a buck with some knock-offs? I sure hope not, and yes, I've realized I'm probably the only one who thinks of crazy scenarios like this.

A professor of mine pointed out some frightening statistics. TEACHERS, that's right teachers, plagiarize as much as their students. How you ask? Well, they print out handouts and such from other teacher sites and pass it off as their own. Crazy, right?

All of this makes me wonder how far some people will push until they get label "plagiarizer." Granted, story ideas are a dime a dozen and most have been done in some form or another, but why oh why are there DUPLICATED sentences being dropped into novels? Maybe if I wasn't so obsessed with Smith, I would've never picked up on it, but, well, I am.

And, now for some UK book signing news that has absolutely nothing to do with the matter click here

Oct 17, 2009

Dreading your Query?

First off, don't forget to post your name here so you can win a free book!

Okay, well, if you are then this is the post for you! I've decided to share my query writing process ( if you check out my query war post on my previous novel, i think it's safe to assume I'm doing something right). This is only my opinion, and you don't have to listen if you don't want to!


Writing your first draft can be rough. Generally, you're in on of two categories: you wrote too much info or not enough. And, there's those pesky sub categories that involve grammar, sentence flow, voice, and things like that. So many worries can confuse the heck out of you. That's why focusing is key.

I'm going to skip the word count, genre, title, agent specifics, and things like that. All I'll be focusing on is the summary, because (hopefully) everyone has a general understanding of the rest through research.

These are the rules I go by and hope they'll help someone else:

The first sentence should summarize the first thirty pages of your novel. If you can't do that, then your opening is either too slow or too complex. The next three sentences I keep brief. No world-building, no character names except the MC, and no themes/morals. Honestly, when has that ever drawn someone into a book? And, when I'm all done, I toss it, and quickly re-write what I remember. It helps me shrink it to the main conflict a little better.

The second draft I tweak here and there to convey the tone of my novel better. It could be humorous, mysterious, whatever. Just be careful though, if your query doesn't match your novel an agent might not be interested. If you watched a trailer with tons of jokes and laughing, would you be pissed to walk into the theatre and find out it's a serious coming-of-age story? I'd demand my money back, or make them give me boxes of candy. Either way.

When it looks decent, I let it sit for a week or so and think about the ending sentence. To me, it's as important as your opener. It HAS to make the agent want to read more. Here's the closing sentence of my query for my previous novel:

"Love can be used for many things, and in this case, it may be for a trap."

See what I'm saying? I didn't mention exactly WHO was being a sneaky little evil man, but I made sure to end the last sentence with a line that would make an agent want to find out WHO the Mr. Evil Man is.

After I read it out loud and to some friends, I jump for joy that my query mission is accomplished. I send it out to five agents: one on each business day. And wait two weeks for replies. If I get a partial requests, then I know my query is solid and send it out to five more agents. I repeat this process every two weeks, until one of two things happens: I receive an offer or I run out of agents. Or I planned to anyway, right now I've stopped querying and am waiting on partials and fulls because if I get feedback, I'll revise something that bothered an agent and let the novel sit for a week or two, reread it, and THEN begin querying again.

I should reach this stage in a month or so when I begin to hear back from my fulls and a few partials. Hope this helped! One of my favorite query examples can be found here.

I'm off now to work on my current WIP and (high unlikely) study for a test on Monday about dismantling a bomb. No, no I assure you I'm NOT a secret agent. . .yet anyway;)

Oct 16, 2009

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway! *Now Closed*

Ghosts, witches, and werewolves. . .Oh my!

For those interested in YA books, I'll be holding a give away off of this post. So, post a comment underneath here with your name to be eligible!  The winner will get to choose between three lovely books that I will send through mail come November 20th! 

NEW RULE: If you're a follower of my blog, you'll get two entries!

Okay, okay. You want to see your choices before you enter, right? Well, here you go:

What are you waiting for? Enter now, but be sure to include a name. No anonymous submissions will be allowed unless I see a name in there!

And the winner is. . .
Robyn @ Crobynd1@aol.com

Congratulations! I'll be sending the winner an email, and if there's no response within 48 hours, I'll choose another lucky winner. As for everyone else, don't be too disappointed. Go check out my End of the Year Contest to win some more brooks.

Writer's Block

Here is an interesting post on it that you should check out.

How can you NOT agree with her? Luckily, I've never been on "hibernation." I've had just the opposite sometimes and that's TOO MANY ideas floating around in my head. It's hard to shove those babies out.

Also, seeing a reference to Joan made me smile because I haven't thought about the show in so long.

Oct 15, 2009


Two posts in one day! Man, I'm on a roll. . .Okay, so I know I talk A LOT about my views on writing, etc. BUT I've noticed I've hardly spent anytime on me, like, what I'm like. Therefore, I'm going to share some news with you.

Today, I had my first ICE Academy training session. Yeah, I'm still in college, but I'm leaning toward a job as a special agent in a certain division of ICE. I'm an investigator, and if I could, I would quit college and become a private investigator, but being talented means you have to have experience and I haven't gotten that yet. Sure, I do articles for the school newsletter, but that isn't enough. I love creative writing, and I especially love the mystery I'm working on now, which I'm happy to say has reached 55,000 words. Go me! 

The other day, however, I was offered the chance to write an article that I REALLY love, but he topic had involved a friend of mine. I turned it down. Maybe I shouldn't have. Maybe it was my only chance to do a front page story, but I just couldn't.

This brings me to my question. What would you do if you had to chose? Have you had a similar experience that you would like to share?

Teaser Thursday

*closing teaser now*

thanks for the comments!

Oct 14, 2009


Fey left me a comment a little while ago that made me think about characters in a novel. Now, I'm not a "fluffy, pink" kind of girl, and I don't get wrapped up into stories that consist of girl meets boy, girl can't have boy, but girl ultimately gets boy due to the "soulmate" reason. Those books are fine and well for others, and I can see their appeal, but they don't do it for me. I love action, and humor, and a cast of characters so vast that I see little traits in some of them that make me go, "Hey! That sounds like my friend a little!" 

I thought I'd share the stages of reading a novel that lead up to falling in love with it. I call it:

 "Seven steps to an unhealthy relationship with your book."

First, I begin to form a bond with the characters. This is called "crushing."

Second, the plot is making me wonder what's the conflict. This is called "dating."

Third, there will be a time in the novel where I can sort of sense a scene build-up and am smiling or cringing. This is called "taking it to the next level."

Fourth, the conflict is getting so good that I'm putting important errands or college work on hold. This is called "getting engaged."

Fifth, the end is drawing near and I'm thinking to myself, "No! No this can't end yet!" This, as you can probably guess, is called "getting married."

Sixth, the end is over. Done with. Finished. Gone. And, I'm pissed that it's over because I want more. I need to read more about these characters. This is called "breaking up."

Seventh, finally, is six months down the road (maybe even a year) when you learn the next book is coming out. Yes, it's a series. I do the dance of joy--well, mentally because I'm not much of a dancer. This is called "making babies."

There you have it. The seven steps to an unhealthy relationship with your novel. 

(Yeah, I've realized I haven't discussed character sketching like originally planned. . .Maybe next time!)

Oct 13, 2009

To Outline or Not to Outline?

So, today I've been working on my new WIP. It got me thinking. . .Should my outline be more concise? Of course, I decided no. No way, because my novel is taking a turn of its own, where one character is screaming at me that HE should be the killer. Naturally, I've decided to let him pillage the village or however that saying goes. And, believe it or not, he's doing a pretty good job at being evil--though my MC doesn't know it's him yet.

The question is: When does outlining  a novel work?

Personally, I have to have a sense of what my story is and where it's going. If you're writing a mystery like me, then you know you have to have a good idea who the crime solver and killer are and who wins in the end. 

Of course, having a not-so-normal killer can be difficult. Take my novel for example. I had to have a good grasp on the ending, because, well, my killer can't exactly have handcuffs thrown on him. Nor can he live it up with a bunch of jailmates.

Yeah, that's why I needed a solid outline for this one(though I'm always up for revising it). In order to make something believable to others, I have to believe it myself. And, I can't do that if the ending doesn't flow and become feasible. 

The one thing I ALWAYS do, however, is the whole character sketching. Not right away, anyway. Then, I write a sample chapter where I let the characters interact, and generally, I am able to figure out their personalities from there and build on it.

That's just me though. 

Oct 12, 2009

Donating Your Time

Quote from a very admirable woman I know:

"You take your chances, get cancer, and then fight like hell to survive. When it comes to cancer, there's no time to give up or cry 'why me?' All you can do is try, try as hard as you can to beat it. Because, in the end, YOU are what's going to save you. No one else."
If you have the time, I strongly suggest walking for a cause.

Like Breast Cancer, which you can check out here.
Or Down Syndrome, which you can learn about here.
Maybe Ovarian Cancer. . .here.

Or whatever else you feel strongly about supporting. Maybe you're really not a walker. That's fine. Donate a little to a charity, play cards at a veteran's home, or sing at a nursing home. Whatever you decide to do, I can guarantee it will make you that much happier with yourself. After all, you're helping people in need, and there's nothing greater in the world than knowing that you've made a difference.

Oct 11, 2009

Warning: Churchy Post

My pastor had an interesting saying today, and I figured I'd share it with you all:

"When the game is over, it all goes back in the box."

Simple. Short. Sweet. . .But, what do you guys think about it?

Oct 10, 2009

Author Interview: Nina Malkin

A Q&A with the extremely talented Nina Malkin!

Can I just say this is one of the most attention-grabbing covers I've seen in a while? You know the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover". . .Well, I do. All the time. My favorite books have some of the most intriguing covers, and Swoon is a perfect example. So, I suggest buying this book if you haven't already.

I know, I know. You want to know what the novel is about, right?

"Swoon, Connecticut, stands proudly on its heritage and the good behavior of its Lilly Pulitzer-clad inhabitants, so semi-psychic New York transplant Candace (Dice) sticks out like a sore thumb. On the autumnal equinox, Dice's sweet and gentle cousin Penelope suddenly changes into a dangerous vixen, and only Dice is able to see that she has been possessed. Dice knows she must exorcise Sinclair, the ghost of a handsome young man from the colonial era, but she has fallen deeply in love with the appropriately nicknamed Sin. Finally, Dice follows Sin's directions for an exorcism, which frees Penelope from his hold and releases Sin into his own physical form. The golem-like Sin finally reveals his goal: to exact revenge on the descendants of those who unjustly hung him for the murder of his fiancee. Since Sin awakens the quaint town's denizens to all of their suppressed urges, this steamy and suspenseful romance with a psychic slant and time-travel twist will pull mature teens. . ." --Booklist

Rambling and Interviews: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Nina Malkin: When my poetry was published in third grade. Well, not published. Mimeographed. I can still smell the mimeograph chemicals. Mmmm…

RI: What inspired you to write Swoon?

NM: Betrayal. The idea about the spirit of a boy from the past who possesses a contemporary girl had been kicking around awhile, yet I didn’t do anything with it till I’d gotten seriously screwed over by someone I trusted. This wasn’t in a personal relationship, but it was really rough on me. Betrayal became an obsession, and it’s helpful to write out your obsessions. The day I hired a lawyer was the day I started SWOON.

RI: Will there be future books involving Sin and Dice?

NM: Series are compelling to a lot of readers, and I understand why—you get invested with a set of characters and you want to continue the relationship. Yet much as I love Sin and Dice, I’m not that motivated towards series as a writer. The characters in SWOON are free to do what they want without me now, and I’m more drawn toward the embryonic story ideas and fledgling protagonists clamoring for my attention.

RI: Is there a message in Swoon that you want your readers to grasp?

NM: Oh, just the obvious: Love conquers…not everything, but a lot. Nobody’s perfect. Forgiveness is healing. Hypocrisy sucks.

RI: Do you have anything specific you want to say to your loyal readers?

NM: Thank you very much. Writing is a lonely craft—well, not lonely, because you have all your imaginary friends. But you sit there in your sweats battering at a keyboard and you never know if anyone is “getting” it. So if someone does get it, and they write to  tell you so, it’s  fulfilling. Because that’s why you write—to reach people, for them to go, “Yeah, I feel that way too.” 

RI: Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?

NM: I’ve heard some writers don’t love to write—that floors me. Then why do it? For most of us, it’s not glamorous or lucrative. So my advice, if it can be considered advice, is love writing. Love the process, have fun, amuse yourself. I wrote fiction for many years before I had the privilege of publishing, and I had a blast. Plus, for every book I’ve had published there are plenty that never saw print—I loved working on them, too. 

RI: What's the one question people never ask, but you wish they would? (And, answer please!)

NM: I wish people would ask me if they could come over and clean my house. The answer would be yes.

3 Quick Questions:

Favorite Desert—

Ice cream, because it is so easy to procure…

Favorite Book—

The Dictionary

Favorite Quote—

“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” Not because I prescribe heavy drinking or have no faith in primeval brain surgery, but because I think it’s the cleverest thing ever expressed. If I ever came up with anything nearly that smart I’d have to retire, since I’d never be able to better it.

RI: Again, I can't thank you enough for answering these! Tons of my fellow writers love your work and will appreciate the interview.

NM: You’re welcome, Ash. I love that you’re nurturing a community of writers. I hope to be seeing your stuff soon!

Oct 8, 2009

Must See: Paranormal Acitvity

"The entire auditorium was freaked out of their minds. . .
people were physically shaken."
--Dread Central on the screening

Check this out. 

Need I say more? I'll definitely be seeing this movie real soon in my town. Heck, I'll drive to Tampa if I got to. 

Oct 5, 2009

I've been a bad, bad girl.

Okay, so the past week has been hectic! Very, very hectic with all the schoolwork, agent requests, and my grandmother having the flu. therefore, i've been at her place waiting on her hand and foot like the good little granddaughter I am.


On top of that, I'm finally back to work--and making sure there are absolutely NO lemons, oranges, or banana peels near me. Even sunday I had work, so there was no way of going to church this weekend. bummer. now i feel a little off like i might become a delinquent in the next few days. Ha, feel free to ignore my corny joke.

The other day I had a character whispering to me. A real smart-ass, too. So, I've dropped my current WIP and started a Nancy Drew type novel. Can't say too much about it, but I'm slowly falling in love with it. All those murders and stuff I study are getting to me because I feel the need to create a smart-mouthed, troublemaking character solve high school mysteries. I finished the outline and first chapter. Planning out my evidence, criminal slip-ups, interogations, etc. This whole turning what I've learned into a novel is definitely fun!

Hmmm. . .What else shall I talk about?

Oh, how about television since my favorite show is on tonight. Sound good? For those of you who don't know the show GREEK, I suggest you give it a go tonight on ABC family if you are into college shows. You can catch up on it by watching it online.

Besides that show and grey's anatomy, I don't really watch a whole lot of t.v. So, anyone have any suggestions? I'm willing to give some newbies a go.

Also, has anyone watched the news lately? I'm very disturbed by the fact that reporters are saying crimes are out of control. Um, hello? Do they look up statistics? In my college state alone, crimes have dropped 6% from last year. That's A LOT. I've also researched other states with my professor and found he same results: varying between 2% to 7% drops in crime.