Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh, my god

That website I was talking about?

Yeah.

I love it even more now. Why? Well. Because of stuff like this.


Orion wrote:


Oh my gosh. This is so good and so much fun. I don't even know where to start...first of all, your grammar and spelling is just perfect. That makes me happy-happy (just reading about that drug is getting to me?!). And even though the story deals with a lot of darkness, I didn't feel too depressed when I got to the end, because the team is so competent that I was mostly just excited to see what happens next. Your characters are so unique and interesting. When I first started reading, I thought, oh no, what if this is just like Ender's Game? But this is a take I've never seen-- what happens to the child soldiers AFTER the war. So fresh. Your style is fluid and easy-to-read, without sounding juvenile. You've given the characters interesting backgrounds as new layers keep being revealed. I LOVE that Ash isn't just the typical sarcastic bad-ass, but that she has a depth that makes me really want her to be happy. The way you reveal just a tantalizing bit of backstory in italicized memories every now and then is perfect to keep me reading, hooked. (Also, I love Markal. Purple coat + unicorns + eyeliner + bad-ace fighting skills = hilarious.) This is one of those stories that, just by reading it, I see how I can improve my own work. I would not be the least bit surprised if this ended up in the top five someday soon. : )


...

I don't know this person, but I think I'm kind of in love.

:))

Seriously--there hasn't been one bad review, and that is so weird! I was expecting some bad stuff...but there hasn't been any.

SO COOL!

Also cool?

Someone made me a cover.

Yeah.

Look.

It's so totally not what I would have done, but I kind of like it.

It's really different; a little more emo than I was expecting, but still.

Wow.

I am very pleased with the world right now.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

So very cool!

There is a website called inkpop.com.
If you want to be a writer, I suggest you use it.
IT IS SO COOL!
Anyway.
Sarah, the librarian at my local library, told me about it and I finally got around to checking it.
It's this thing that Harper Collins publishing does where kids can post their stories and get reviews.
My used name is Sammi207 and I've posted the first four chapters of Altered, my novel, on their for review.
The really cool thing?
If you get to a top five pick...
EDITORS WILL REVIEW YOUR STORY!!
!!!!!
Go! Review! Post! Comment and tell me you posted so I can review you!!
I am very much pleased by this site.
So go!

Friday, January 29, 2010

In short...sorry??

So, I have been writing for a fairly long time. I'm okay at it. For a fifteen year old kid, I'm probably pretty good at it. I've gotten partial and full requests at fifteen, so I hope by the time I'm twenty I can graduate from okay to really good. It's one of the best feelings in the world when writing goes well for me.

Part of the thing that makes me get better, though? I'm used to ripping my stuff apart. I mean, breaking it into pieces, sweeping those bits into the fire, and then watching it quietly burn. Then, with the ashes, I make little paper mache stories. I've gotten used to it; every time someone gives me critique, I start the process over.

And I tend to be rather . . . harsh, therefor, when I'm editing other people's stuff.
Not mean. But when I see a problem, I point it out. When I think 'this' should be 'that' I change it. I tear paragraphs apart and I have no problem saying that an entire paragraph should be rewritten.
It's occurred to me, however, that while that might be helpful . . . It's also a little . . . harsh. I know that when I first consistently started writing, that probably would have stressed me out and possibly given me a heart attack.
So.
You know who you are. I promise I'll give you the opportunity to rip my story apart. I know you haven't said anything to the like, but I was not trying to be mean. I really meant to be helpful. However, glancing over all the edits, I'm thinking I might have done ... Well, a little too much. I just like editing; it's kind of fun to me, and I'm relatively okay at that too.
Thank you for not stabbing me with a pitchfork.
Oh, and thank you for not wearing red satin gloves.
Anyway.
More later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recooperation

School is the ultimate drain on one's mental health. Parents will tell you it's work and that school is the best time of your life. I believe this to be a lie.
http://zeniamai.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/stress0.jpg
(This seems freakishly familiar.)
Yes. I know, it's shocking. Highschool is hard.
However, I got to take a hiatus today. I wrote 4000 words in one of my stories, edited some old chapters, and ate a day's worth of calories all in one little container.

http://www.icecreamsource.com/assets/images/MicroDaries/Haagen%20Dazs/newaugust09/HD_pralinecream_lg.jpg
It's a demon in a cup. A very tasty, very beautiful demon.
Anyway, relaxation is lovely. I highly suggest it. That wasn't what I set out to write about though; I set out to say this.
This was a very good book.
http://jacksonville.com/files/editorial/images/images/mdControlled/cms/2009/11/08/513457901.jpg
I am so sick of paranormal. I mean, I see bloody fangs on a cover, or wings on the back, or fangs, and I barely even blink. It has to be good for me to care about paranormal right now.
This was very good.
There were ghosts. There was a cute British boy, and we all know how much I approve of that. There was magic and there was a ballet angle that was new and interesting.
http://dancefloortragedy.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/ballet_shoes.jpg
I so wish I could do that.
Anyway. I'm off to watch one of my favorite, mindless movies.http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mulan-classic-disney-564038_1299_888.jpg
Don't judge me.
**OH! Other thing I was going to say . . . Hilary Wagner interview soon! She has an amazing post up about agent search. Go. Read it. Now.**
More later.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Questions??

I was really, really happy with the interview I got from Holly Schindler. She put so much thought into her answers, and they really made sense. It was great. There are sooo many questions that sooo many of us have, but we never get to have them answered because, well, it's kind of hard to find authors to talk to. It was really great to be able to see answers to questions that I've wondered, and stuff that you guys have wondered too.
So.
I have good news.
Hillary Wagner, of the upcoming Nightshade City novels, agreed to an interview too!
Are there questions you have? I've asked some people at school, and the questions asked have been a little more personal. (IE what is your routine to write, what are books you'd recomend, ect. ect.)
Is there anything you are wondering? I have a couple of days before I send in the questions.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Interview with Holly Schindler!!


So, I just wanted to say thank you to the many people who were so
nice yesterday. It was really great of you guys. :)
And now, as a lovely treat, I have an interview to present to you from Holly Schindler! Yay!!!
This is her website. This is her blog. And this is my personal bit.
I was very nervous actually contacting someone about an interview. I mean, the blog is small, and I'm a teenage girl. Why would you care, right? Well, she did it anyway. She was really, really nice over email. I kept feeling like a huge dork--smiley face itis took over my writing skills--but she was great. I never expected such thorough answers!! When A Blue So Dark comes out, I am buying . . . oh, eight or so copies. Of course, the cover alone would have required one . . .

Without further ado. . .

Describe your book in a nutshell, please.

Here’s a quick synopsis of my debut, A BLUE SO DARK: Terrified that her mother, a schizophrenic and an artist, is a mirror that reflects her own future, sixteen-year-old Aura Ambrose struggles with her overwhelming desires to both chase artistic pursuits and keep madness at bay.

As her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet keeps drawing Aura toward the depths of her own imagination—the shadows of make-believe that she finds frighteningly similar to her mother’s hallucinations.

Convinced that creative equals crazy, Aura shuns her art, and her life unravels in the process.

…As a side-note, though, I have to say that when Crissa-Jean Chappell (author of TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER) sent a blurb for A BLUE SO DARK, I was really proud that she used the word “funny” to describe the book’s voice. I think that really proves that I managed to fully round-out Aura’s character. I mean, if we see bits of her humor in a book that deals with such a serious subject, then we’re seeing the full picture of Aura’s life…she’s more than just an artist or the daughter of a schizophrenic. She’s her own person.


How did you get the idea?

Oh, I get ideas…more than I know what to do with. It’s truly a disease: What-if-osis. I literally have STACKS of notebooks in my office that are filled with ideas for novels. Really, creativity has always fascinated me. Where do those ideas for novels COME from? What’s the source? And how do you balance creative ideas—allow just enough in to stay productive, but cut off the others when they start to become a distraction?

Essentially, for Aura, creativity and madness are inextricably linked. And there’s no denying that many of our great artists have been mad, so her fears really give readers something to chew on…


Was getting an agent difficult?

I actually sold all three of the books I currently have in development myself. But I think that’s really exciting and encouraging. It just goes to show you really CAN go from slush pile to publication…


Did you ever feel like it wasn’t ever going to happen?

Okay. Here’s the deal: I got my master’s degree in ’01, and I decided to devote myself full-time to my writing. And as three unpublished years turned into four…five…six…SEVEN, I definitely had moments of frustration. At times, I could swear I was wearing a flat spot in my head from banging it against the wall…BUT: I never thought it wasn’t going to happen. I always felt like I was getting just a LITTLE bit closer to publication. Rejections stopped coming quite as quickly…or I’d get rejections indicating what a close call it had been. I also had a few phone calls regarding A BLUE SO DARK before it found it’s final home, so I knew interest in the premise was pretty high…I just had to get that final manuscript in saleable condition.

I have to admit, I did have a few nightmares of being about ninety-seven years old when I got that first acceptance, though…


How strong is an author’s relationship with their editor?

You actually work with several editors as a book is in development…it’s proofed by several different sets of “eyes.” But Brian, the acquisitions editor at Flux, is kind of my main editor…the one who sends me global revision suggestions before any of the proofing is done. I really can’t say enough good things about him. He’s been absolutely fantastic. I completely trust him…COMPLETELY. He sent the revision notes for PLAYING HURT (my sophomore novel, due out from Flux in '11) just before New Year’s. They’re so smart, so right-on…He also worked in publicity at Flux before becoming the acquisitions editor, so I’ve been able to ask him all SORTS of questions about the book development process…and I’ve had plenty. (Sometimes, I feel a little like somebody’s four-year-old with all my questions…) Anyway, I think I speak for all the authors at Flux when I say we’re lucky to have him…


What say did you have in picking your awesomely beautiful cover?

I was asked for some input early on…I showed Brian some covers that I found intriguing, but in the end, the image was chosen and the cover designed by Ellen Dahl at Flux. And I agree—awesomely beautiful. I think I could search images from now until the end of TIME and never find a more appropriate or stunning cover.


How much of an impact has getting a book published had on your everyday life?

Well, since the book isn’t on the shelf yet…not TOO incredibly much…One way it’s changed is that before the acquisition, I didn’t have a thing up online…no website, blog, social networking. So now, a little bit of every day is devoted to online work. (Just before Christmas, I’d contact bloggers, and they were still responding, “Your book sounds cool. Thanks for telling me about it. I’ll have to check it out.” Now, I get messages saying, “I’ve already heard about your book, and am looking forward to reading it,” which makes me want to do the happy dance. Already heard about it! Yay! Word’s getting out…)


How many revisions did you have to go through before the final version?

Ooooh. I lost count. The book had at least four different TITLES before it was acquired, and I did change the title every time significant changes occurred, but I revised in-between title changes, too.

Basically, I was teaching piano and guitar lessons as I was trying to get my writing career off the ground…my students were primarily teens and tweens. And I loved interacting with them…my favorite parts of the lessons were when my students would just talk to me—about their friends, teachers…it just hit me how similar they sounded to the kids I went to school with. So I mined my old high school journals and notebooks…when I saw how similar my OWN teenage voice sounded to my nearly thirty-year-old voice, I was off and running. Drafted that first manuscript in just a couple of months! (I even included a few of the poems I wrote as a teen…but I tweaked them to fit the events of the novel.)

…Of course, as soon as I began to submit that first draft, the rejections started pouring in, and I started rewriting…and rewriting…and rewriting. I penned the first draft late in 2006. The offer from Flux came in January of ’09.


What other stories are you working on?

Two more of my novels have already been acquired: PLAYING HURT, my second YA novel (due out, as I said, from Flux in ’11), follows the flowering of an intense summer romance between two former athletes who have both endured game-related career-ending tragedies. But by playing hurt—entering into a love match with already-broken hearts—are they just setting themselves up for the kind of injury from which they could never recover?

FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS (due out from Blooming Tree Press in ’11) will be my first adult novel, and it’s definitely the lightest book in the bunch. This romantic comedy offers laugh-out-loud humor, quirky, lovable characters, and is a kind of fairy tale in which dogs, not dragons, rule the land…


What’s the journey been like from writing to almost on the shelves?

I think everybody’s got this preconceived notion that writers are all introverted, shy people…and, okay, I don’t really break that mold. But I’ve learned this year there’s absolutely nothing shy about writing. Once my book was acquired, I had to get out there online and do some preliminary promotions…and it also hit me for the first time this year that writers let the entire world into their heads, in a way that a lot of performing artists don’t. Singers don’t (unless they write their own songs)…actors don’t…But instead of scaring me, as I’ve gotten closer to publication, I find it really exciting. I mean, A BLUE SO DARK is ME, first line to closing sentence…as an introverted person, I’ve certainly never shared so much of myself with so many people. It’s pretty cool, when you think about it…


I also want to let everyone know that I am in LOVE with the book blogging community. And I’m constantly posting updates on my blog: hollyschindler.blogspot.com. Come on over—or better yet, follow…I absolutely can’t WAIT to see A BLUE SO DARK on the shelves…or in readers’ hands…


Thank you Holly! This was really amazing. It's so cool to me that you've done so much without even an agent, and your books sound amazing. Dogs instead of dragons? That book will be in my hands as soon as it's out.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
:D

...
(See. Told you. Smily-itis.)
I don't even care.
Thank you again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In respect

I was going to use today to post my interview with Holly Schindler, but something happened that pushed it tomorrow. This is also a downer, serious post. I promise I'll be happy tomorrow.
A boy in my school committed suicide. He went missing on Thursday, his body showed up yesterday, and I was appalled by the reaction in school today.
I wasn't expecting a mass mourning.
I also wasn't expecting jokes about it.
I don't find it funny.
I know that hardly anyone reading this knows the boy, and I'm not going to put his full name to be googled. It was a gunshot wound, if that satisfies your curiousity. No, that's not being mean. That's just . . . yeah. Well. For someone who wants to be an author, I'm having issues finding words.
I also know that suicide is considered cowardly and weak. But I used to be friends with him. That was a while ago, before he fell into bad stuff. I haven't talked to him in over a year, but it doesn't matter. People shouldn't have joked. When something likes this happens, more people should be sad. Maybe it's just my opinion, but . . .
Ugh. I don't know. It just seems like . . . The feeling of desperation that leads someone to that point? No one--no one--deserves to feel that.
So. In respect, I'm posting this.
Logan, I'm so sorry.
Rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just utterly fantabulous

I have read some absolutely amazing books lately.
So what, you might say. Don't you think every book is amazing?
No. I only post about the ones I like, true, because I don't feel the need to be mean to books that someone spent months working on. Somebody out there probably likes it, I just happen not to. Besides, this isn't a review blog, so it just isn't necessary.
Anyway. Minor rant. Back tracking.
These particular books? Yeah. Utterly fantabulous.
I mean, as fantabulous as Alex Pettyfer. And that's hard to beat.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_sw6-mHqJZVQ/SfIg4d69vCI/AAAAAAAAIzM/am5iamWbfZA/s400/Alex+Pettyfer.jpg
(Someday I will get tired of making you look at pictures of pretty boys. I promise. It might even be soon.
Um.
Well. I mean, don't hold your breath or anything.)
Back to the books.
First, there is this one.
http://sabpen.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/generation-dead.jpg
My local librarian recommended this to me. Now, normally, I am not a fan of zombie books. Too often they turn into this.

Zombie-Bleh. I eat you.
Very pretty but misunderstood heroine-NO DON'T EAT ME? DON'T YOU REMEMBER ME? WE WERE FRIENDS!!!

Or--
Very pretty and yet totally kick butt heroine--ZOMBIE I KILL YOU!
Very pretty but soft and sensitive male-- Zombie Killeress, you are very pretty. Let's date and eventually live together happily after our entire world recovers from being infested by zombies.

No, I don't count that as a negative review. I count that as what will probably happen to vampires--they get overdone and so therefor, sometimes, they get done badly. Both of those plots can be done well. They are often, however, not.
This book was not like that.
This book was well written. The characters were well developed and the plot was verrrrrrry good. It goes into equality and human nature and all the good stuff. Plus, the ending was a surprise to me. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. Not to brag--really, not to brag--but I'm usually relatively good at seeing that stuff.

Book number two.
http://successivecaprices.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/snyder_poisonstudy_cover.jpg
I read this book a while ago, actually, but we just bought it. (It had a new shiny cover and it's worth the reread.)
It's a very good concept. I mean, very good. The main character is a poison tester for a Commander. It was fascinating to me. I've never read a book from that point of view. I mean, we all know about them. We know what they do. But it was really interesting to see it from her eyes.
Oh, and there's a good plot too. So yay!
Book Number Three
http://oldpeoplewritingforteens.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/hate-list.jpg
Sad! So sad! It's a school shooting book. Again, like the zombies, I tend to be jaded on this subject. I've read several books that demonize the shooter. Now, I obviously DO NOT agree with anyone shooting up a school, but I find it one of society's major flaws that we don't try to empathize. It's the only way to understand it and keep it from happening. At my school, we had an 'attempted' shooting last year, or so said the rumor mill and various teachers. Apparently the kid's friend turned him in. Not once did anyone ask 'Why?'
I think that it's a question we really, really need to ask.
This book is from the shooter's girlfriend's point of view. For me, that was probably the most interesting view it could have taken. She wrote the 'List' with him--the list of people they 'hated.' To her, it was a joke. To him, it wasn't. Afterwards, she had to deal with being the girlfriend--with being the one who penned in the names.
It was very, very good.
And then the final book I am listing today. I'm not actually done with it. However, it's good enough for a pre-mention.
http://readwhatyouknow.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/beautifulcreatures.jpg
I like southern books that don't stereotype. I mean, I live in Missouri. I know the hick jokes. I know accents and I know deep fried food. I'm not even deep in the South, and I know that. But Southern does not equate stupid or hick. When you can make a book that uses Southern dialogue without being condescending, it's kinda amazing.
Plus, it's just good.
More later, I'm sure.
:)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yay!!

Yay, I get an award! Thank you very much, Ms. Cipherqueen. :D
To fulfill this award, I must now list 10 things that make me happy. Well, that shouldn't be too hard. I'm putting pictures as I go, instead of at the end, so bare with me. :D
:D In no particular order....

1) Reading!! Reading some more!! More reading!! Books!! They're so pretty and shiny and awesome and they make me very happy indeed. :D
http://www.artsjournal.com/bookdaddy/Home_Photo_books.jpg

2) My fantabulous friends, online and off. They keep me amused, annoyed, happy, and exasperated all at once.
http://lizaklimenko.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/best-of-friends-poster-c10048568.jpeg
3) Shoes. Heels, boots, clogs, sandals, exspensive, cheap, all the way. Shoes, shoes, shoes.http://blog.navx.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/05/30/12.jpg

4) Shiny things. Sparkly things. Things that glitter. Things that glitter and that are gold. :Dhttp://vanessakennedy.com/Sparkly.jpg

5) Debate. It's a stress reliever and it gives me a chance to exercise my sarcasm.

6) Scholarships. College is so flipping expensive.
http://oysterinmypants.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/scholarships.jpg
7) Cute boys. :D Yes, you knew it was coming. I'm sorry. It just had to be said.http://gofitcoach.com/gofitcoa/resources/celebrity-endorsements_files/emmett-kellan-lutz.jpg
(This is Emmet, from Twilight.)

8) Writing! Even better than debate for stress, and plus, it's just fun.
http://www.galesburglibrary.org/tempimages/writing.jpg
9) Partial requests. Oh, and full requests. Oh, and editing. And . . . yeah. Basically, succeeding at writing.
http://www.wilbers.com/LaptopAA021481.jpg
10) Happy endings. It's obvious, but I like them. In real life, in books, in movies--I like things to work out.
http://www.imperfectwomen.com/wp-content/uploads/F-500Z_f500Z_Happily_EverAFter1.gif
And now, I have to pick some people who deserve the Happy Award....here goes...

Maggie,
Brandon,
Kendra.
Maddison.
The Green Bean Teen Queen (Hah, that's fun to type.)
Anyway.
Carry on! :D

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The joys of public education

I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in California the other day, and we were comparing classes. Now, I go to a good school. I take hard classes. I work hard, and I like working hard. I don't always feel challenged, but I usually enjoy school.
(Well. I hate waking up, but other than that, it's usually okay.)
It's interesting to me to hear about schools in other parts of the country, so I decided to show what a day in the life of a Missouri teen would be.
In . . .
*drumroll please!!*
PUBLIC SCHOOL!
http://www.neisd.net/huebner/images/T%20pics/funPics/schoolhouse.gif
(I really don't know why people I meet online are always so shocked and horrified by this. But hey, whatever. :D)
So. This is a day in my school schedule.

1st hour:
Honors Geometry
.http://www.advacademy.com/images/geometry.gif
If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you've probably heard me whine about this class. I don't like math. Therefor, this class is not that fun. Plus, I either feel not challenged at all or pressed for time in this hour. Not a very interesting hour for me.

2nd Hour:
Spanish 2.
http://schools.woboe.org/Schools/LMS/Teams/WorldLanguage/ecollado/Fotos/spanish_keyboard.jpg
I love the teacher. I like the language. I love the culture. However, it is worksheet after worksheet after worksheet. I memorize and then toss away in the corners of my mind. I couldn't even tell y0u last month's vocab.

3rd Hour:
Biology.
http://www.ebi.ac.uk/microarray/biology_intro_files/cell.jpe
Eh. Equations sometimes. Labs often. Lots of notes. Good teacher, but not my favorite class. Right now, we're doing the various phases of Meiosis.

4th Hour:
Honor's English Two. This is my absoloute favorite class. (Yeah. Surprise, right?) I love the people in it, and I love the subject matter. We're writing book reports right now. (Literary Analysis, excuse me.) Mine is over this book:
http://www.robandheatherblanks.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/a-long-way-gone.jpg
I loved the book. It's a true and terrible story about humanity, and I probably wouldn't have read it but for the class.
I loved A Separate Peace earlier this year, and I loved poetry. Grammar, not so much. However, I have learned the power of complete sentences. :D Now I just have to make sure and use that power wisely.

5th hour-Study Period. It's a school wide thing. My teacher hates my class. I hate my class. Often I try and escape to another English teacher who I've actually never had, but I kind of love. It's like half an hour. This is the time I stare mindlessly at my Honor's Geometry book and think If I ever join a career where this stuff is actually needed, I will have failed in life.
(Failed in my life. No discrimination against those who enjoy higher math. My own sister finds it fun. It's freaky, but hey.)

6th hour
: American History Two.http://blog.anuragsinghrana.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/american-flag.jpg
History is my favorite subject. Unfortunately, there's no Honors class; he tends to do projects that cater to students who don't care as much, and that tend to frustrate those of us who do. My friend and I are currently doing a project of Khmar Rouge. I'm finding it fascinating.

7th Hour: The biggest waste of my time. The most hated hour. The real reason public education gets a bad rap.
Gym.
http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2005/writers/alexander_wolff/12/09/frost.heaves/t1_gym.jpg
It's not my gym, but I would still probably hate it.
I find it stupid and inane.
I have no problem working out, but that isn't what you do. You run twice a week, and the rest of the time play pointless games. Boys jockey for the shot, the catch, or the whatever and most girls don't pay attention. If I liked games, it would be one thing. However, I don't. I REALLY don't.
I could be taking Sociology, Mythology, or Economics. Instead, I waste my brain in Gym to fulfill a pointless requirement.

8th Hour: Debate.

Thank goodness. Debate is my life at times. Yes, it's nerdy. However, it's filled with the most entertaining people I know. This includes my couch, who is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. (One of the only people who can say 'I'm disappointed by that' and get a real reaction. Of course, if you told him this, he'd mock you mercilessly.)
This month's topic is whether or not Obama's plan for troops increases is good for America. We're debating in class, and I get to feel superior because I'm relatively good at debating. After gym, it's needed.

Anyway. That's my relatively boring schedule. Next year I get to take all the fun stuff.
Now, I am off to burn my math homework.
I mean . . . Research Khmar Rouge. Or reread A Long Way Gone. Or . . .
Sigh.
I guess I'm going to do my math.
YUCK.

*Edit* Stay tuned for the fabulous Holly Schindler's interview in the next few days!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Alert, alert!

So, I sent an email to Hollie Schindler, a local Missouri author who's book will be published later this year. She accepted to do an author interview!!
(Enter my squealing.
Enter more squealing.
Okay, I think it's over now.)
I'm probably going to be sending the email with questions late tomorrow.
This is her book.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_dcAuU5T-UbQ/Sw9VwVhEylI/AAAAAAAAB2c/4aKJU9HKVi8/s1600/a+blue+so+dark.jpg
(Which I am totally loving the cover for.)
And this is her website.
http://hollyschindler.com/
I was wondering: I know a lot of us have questions. What are some you want me to ask?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Accesorize

I've always had a thing for princess's. I blame Disney for that. My heroes when I was younger? Yeah, well. I'd love to tell you I, like Einstein and many other brilliant minds, worshiped political leaders or a murdered saint or something.
Not quite.
After all, they didn't wear pretty dresses. My heroes totally did.

Belle was smart. She knew about books and she got a really cute prince in the end because she wasn't shallow. (Oh, the irony.)

http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/6300000/Anastasia-childhood-animated-movie-heroines-6398626-600-590.jpg
Anastasia was sarcastic and so there for, a kind of goddess. Plus, she hit Dimitri whenever he was being annoying. Of course, you know, that was before I knew all about abuse and how bad it was.
Fine.
I still find it amusing.
http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/6600000/Jasmine-Wallpaper-aladdin-6603746-1024-768.jpg
Jasmine had a pet tiger. Really, do I need to say more?
Yes? Well, fine. She was smart, too, and she ran away from her palace because she didn't want to get married. She got to ride on a magic carpet, and she yelled at the guards. So, other than the tiger, she was still pretty cool.
Why am I rambling about Disney Princess's, you may ask?
Well, I'm rambling because they are characters that have enchanted little girls for years. What makes us like them? Is it the dresses, the jewelry and the pet tiger? Or is it the other stuff--the smart stuff, the fiesty stuff, all that?
I think it's kind of both. I mean, it's shallow, but the dresses were really attractive to little girls. The dresses and the jewelry and stuff are their accessories.
In books, you don't like characters who have no accessories. I'm not just talking about the sparkly stuff, either. I mean the sort of thing that makes them individuals. People, on some level, can be defined by what they like. You don't define them by that, but it makes them more real.
For instance, Jace from City of Bones.
http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/7200000/Jace-Wayland-city-of-bones-7264552-839-1024.jpg
He's a character that teenage girls across the country seem to adore. Why? Well, he's snarky, he's cool, and he kicks demon butt. Accessories that define him? Just look at the picture! Tattoos, or steles(Knife thingys, for those of you who haven't read it.) These certainly aren't the things that make who he is, but they help round out the character.
Or what about Hermione Granger? (No, I will not tell you what she is from. If you do not know, then shame on you.)
http://api.ning.com/files/DvQ*ZWcPQktKU1mfiyJ24vSRPrxQSTyBVJcHJmtLtcnaTaVSHAtOn1TYUI1EQ4qSJrLLI0gz06Maa8RjS8-AK0tq-QpJWYU4/emma2.jpg
Well, I guess the shame is void, since it's in the picture. . .
But anyway.
She's bookish. She's always defined by books and by good magic. If she didn't always have a book, it wouldn't matted how much you were told she loves to read. It just wouldn't be the same.
It doesn't have to even be material goods, but I think the material things do help flesh out a character.
It isn't even the immortal battle of showing versus telling in writing. It's just making a character seem real. You can use little things, quirks or weird addictions, to make it happen. A hobby even. In Beastly, by Alex Flinn, the main character likes to garden.

That makes it so much easier to find him human. The accessory is enough to make him real, and turning paper to human beings is amazing.
It's also really difficult. In my opinion, one of the hardest things about writing is making a character real. Yes, I am kind of stuck on this lately. It doesn't matter how well you write, though, if people can't see the character. It doesn't even matter if they love them. It just matters that your character comes to life on the page, breathing and reading and kicking demons back into their dimensions.
I loved Disney princesses because they seemed real. They weren't fluffy, candied girls; they seemed like actual people. Belle had her books. Anastasia had a desire to find her family. Jasmine had her tiger and her curiosity. You could actually see it in them. To make real characters, I think you have to write human (of fayrie/elves/vampires/ect) qualities into the people.
Of course, easier said than done.
However, as many a stylist has said . . .
Thank god for accesories.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Checking in

I actually don't really have much to talk about. However, I'm mildly bored, so here goes.
Hmm.
Well. It's another snow day. This time, the phone rang at a reasonable hour so it's a little easier to enjoy.
I'm at the library again. I was actually going to go talk to one of the librarians, but I didn't think I was coming today, so I didn't mention it--and I really don't want to be that terrible person who shows up randomly. Oh well, I still might.
I'm reading this:

Which is actually kind of good. It's not techincally my favorite genre, but I'm weirdly attracted to it.
On another, more random note, I CANNOT WAIT For this movie!!
I'm sitting here watching the movie trailer and it looks
sooooo good. I cannot wait. I love that series.
Greek Mythology is amazing. I love books about it--that really is my favorite sort of genre.
I'm off to go stare at the trailer. The main guy looks remarkably like Zac Efron to me. . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blame the morning

Snow days are lovely, right? Yeah. Well, they are, except when the phone ringing to tell you that it's a snow day wakes you up at five and you can't get back to sleep. After all, sleeping in is the highlight of no school.
Oh well. It's pretty.
http://cedarlounge.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/sun_snow_oak.jpg
Of course, it's still too dark to look like that, but maybe we'll get there.
Anyway, that wasn't what I was going to talk about.
Okay. So, for Christmas, I requested a book about writing. I like them. Sometimes, they can actually be really helpful. Gail Carson Levine's is pretty amazing.
http://www.writehisanswer.com/Writing%20Magic.jpg
It's short, but worth the read.
However, the one I requested is a little different.
It isn't bad. Some of it's helpful, even. But there's one bit that bugs me.
It's a book about writing YA, so a LOT of it is about getting inside the teenager's head. How it's dark and dangerous and a confusing time. It's like walking down a scary, dark road...http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2387/2152978601_7976048db1.jpg
Yes, well, it can be. Sure. But if people go into writing thinking we're all angst filled emos who hate the world, the books that would emerge would NOT be pleasant ones. I've read books like that. We probably all have. You get about half way through them, put them down (or throw/drop/beat them against the wall) and think What?!
It isn't a good What?! either. It's a 'I'm seriously disgusted that you have this opinion of the average American Teenager. This is not how we are.'
It goes to what I was saying the other day. If you can't experience it, please have the decency to try and get it right. Maggie put it really well: use the experiences you have and go from there. If you've been a teenager, even a depressed teenager, you can use that. If you have been a bright, bubbly teenager, you can use that. But even depressed kids have bright spots and even bright teenagers go through depressed phases.
Plus, it isn't that hard to research teenagers. I can think of at least eight blogs that I personally know of all written by kids. If you want to get to know something, you research it. Relationships can be hard, yes, but I still think research can get you halfway there.
As far as I know, most kids are a little scared of something. I am personally prone to having bursts of 'I'm only going to apply to Ivy League Universities and then I'll get accepted nowhere, OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO FAIL AT LIFE' moments. (And I'll get accepted and then have no money when I graduate OH MY GOD moments usually follow.) But that isn't a dark and scary road. Sure, it's a road. But it's more this kind than anything else.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3087/3284961230_0364043447.jpg
Sure, there's tree. Sure, you can't see too far ahead. I'm sure an occasional suicidal squirrel will run in front of your car and make you swerve and there will probably be a few uber obnoxious drivers who try to take both lanes. But it's there and it's mostly just a pretty way to get where you're going.
(Which, by the way, is not a dark, scary castle. Even though that could be kind of cool too.)
http://features.cgsociety.org/galleryimages/4029/dark_castle.jpg
Yeah. I would live there.
Anyway, not the point. Blame the morning for my rambles, maybe, but I think this kind of sums up the other day's post. It's an example of not being able to live something but still pulling through. So many adults have written amazing books. Actually, adults pretty much write all the books. (For now. [; )But there are a few that think kids take the dark road and then completely insult all of us in the process.
Plus, in those books, they don't even end up at the dark castle. They end up at this one.
http://www.environmentalgraphics.com/eg-murals/C835.jpg
Note the fairies and flying unicorns. Not even a Pegasus; no, a flying unicorn. It's cool, and it's pretty, and it's every eight year old's dream, but it's also unrealistic.
Most of us aren't going to end up at either. Books that say we will look over the different parts of teenagers and even just the different parts of humans in general.
...
*cricket*
...
Okay. I think I have officially rambled myself out. I'm going to go try and fall asleep. Oh, or I could study. Or do my debate homework. Or research Ivy League colleges and how much they cost.
Or I can go live in a pretty castle. Like this one.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/benatti.barbara/R-gUaMePeuI/AAAAAAAABMA/cajTuaGHVb4/100_0222%5B4%5D.jpg
I'm done with the castles now. Promise. Maybe.
...
Okay, fine, probably not.