Friday, November 30, 2012

Ah The Sweet Sweet End....

So Nano hasn't completely come to a close in my time zone. It's only 9:30 here but, the end is looming. I've finished the 50,000 finish line a couple days ago, and would like to take the chance to congratulate everyone who has done the same.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!


My final word count was something like 50,877. Sharing is caring! What are you up to? Did you finish, or go down fighting? 

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving, and continues to enjoy the holidays. I'm throwing myself into finishing my draft and running through it so I have a chance to share it with critique partners after the first of the year. 

Anyone interested in reading about a phantom train, let me know. The faster you read the better (I tend to sit around and chew on my fingernails while I wait for feedback.) 

Anyhoo! Happy Holidays everyone, be happy, safe and loving.


Megan

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNo Update, Day 5

Admittedly I'm a little bit of an overachiever. I started doing Nano in 2012 and I hit 50,000 words in 12 days, and when that wasn't challenging enough I went for 100,000. The end result was terrible. TERRIBLE. Last year I was moving 2 states over at the first of November but I still tried to keep it together. I gave up halfway through the month with 22,000.

So this year I decided a happy medium would be best. As long as I had the bottom of the barrel 1,667 everyday I'd call it good. Who was I kidding. My average right now is closer to 3,000 a day, but I think that has something to do with frantically typing when my 3 month old happens to fall asleep in her bouncer or while my 4 year old is eating lunch so I know he's not getting into anything while I'm distracted.

I'm calling the extra my "room to get preoccupied." You know, for when life happens. It's also a little of my story sucking me in, and resurfacing to find its 1am.


November 5th- 14,988 words.

Where are you?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NaNo for YouNo?




It's almost that time again, the frantic expedition to 50,000 words!


When I first started doing NaNo I was a pantser. Writing an outline was something I definitely didn't want to waste the time on, but the end result was too garbled. So now I'm a reformed pantser, and I outline everything.

I've been working on my outline for three weeks now, and I'm determined to find the time to finish it in sometime in the next 6 days.


What's your NaNo strategy? Pantser, or outliner?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Understanding Being A Writer

I've noticed over the last few years that the only people who really understand being a writer are other writers. I'll be agonizing over a huge plot hole or wondering how to make a character less annoying when I suddenly notice whoever I'd been talking to- be it my husband, mom, best friend, Starbucks lady- is rocking that glassy eyed look. You know the one, where they're there, and they physically hear you, but mentally they're a thousand miles away? And who can blame them really? It's the equivalent of trying to have a serious discussion about a movie they haven't even seen.

I think that's why having critique partners and following other writer blogs can be so helpful. You get to see everyone else pushing through the fog of novel writing and you're surrounded by people who actually understand.

But sometimes it can be so frustrating! All I want to do sometimes is sit and talk about my story without feeling like I'm imposing. Writing can be so hard without support... 

Who listens to you ramble? Do they do it willingly or are they like my husband- fighting an eye roll the whole time? :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Not AGAIN!

I've been seeing a lot of editing advice out there about finding the words you overuse and stripping them out when you're revising your novel. I think for some people that's really hard, especially when you're not quite sure what you're overusing. Even when I'm reading pages for someone it takes me until about the second run through to stop reading as a fan, and start reading critically. That's when they start popping out at me.

Like,              *                        *
     Very, 
         So,                   *
   *        Well, 
                 Oh,                            *
                    But,
            *           There,       *
                              You, 
  *                      *        As,          *
                                     Really, 
                  *                         Because,        *                             *           etc.

The word I use more than anything is "Just." "I just needed to get around the corner." "I wanted to turn away but he just wouldn't shut up." "Just stop acting like my bodyguard!" "People just need something to believe in." It's terrible. They're everywhere, and I have to remember that while it might take me a little while to start reading critically, it won't be the same for a literary agent. It's their job to read critically, and the first thing they're going to notice is my overuse, when I'd much rather they notice how original my concept is, or the work I put into my main character.

Do you have a word you use too often? What is it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pitch Perfect?


Anyone else see the trailer for this? Fat Amy looks hilarious. 
"What are you doing?" 
"Horizontal running..."

 Lol!

I'm such a sucker for singing movies though...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quote of the Day!







When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
 

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, August 30, 2012

College?

So I've been tossing around the idea of going to college online. I've researched some Bachelors of Arts in English programs and the more seriously I think about it the more I can't seem to think of anything else.

I've posted before about my short attention span though, and the thought of enrolling only to quit a few months later is slightly painful (especially when you think that total, the degree would cost me somewhere around sixty thousand dollars.)

 But it's a testament to my admitted strangeness. The idea to go back to school popped into my brain when I was sitting here surrounded by a newborn, a 4 year old, and a 4 month old puppy. The TV was blaring, I was making lunches, doing laundry, listening to music, writing an email on my phone and rummaging through the freezer trying to come up with something to make for dinner. All at the same time. And suddenly it occurred to me that my life is pretty manageable. Hectic, yes, but not hectic enough. There are whole parts of my day NOT filled with chaos.

That doesn't sit well with me. So I thought "Maybe I should get my degree?" and promptly made time to research graduate programs and tuition prices. I even filled out FAFSA. Apparently I qualify for a Pell grant...

And the whole process made me wonder exactly how many writers have a degree in English? How many writers have a degree at all?

I'm obviously not considering going back to school because I NEED to. If anything I'd probably get the diploma, hang it on my wall and forget all about it. But English is really the only thing I'd be interested in studying. I've taken courses at The Institute of Children's Literature that really improved my writing, and I was invited to take an advanced course in Young Adult Novels (the first course was mainly basic writing skills and submissions for children's magazines.) But I wonder how I'd do in a full blown college situation. I suck at math, and science, and basically anything that isn't English. Who needs equations or beakers when you have Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte?

What about you? Do you have a degree? Is it in English? Is it in any way related to what you do for a living?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quote of the Day!


When the world says, “Give up,” 
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
 
- Author Unknown

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Believing In What You Do

The other day I mentioned something to The Husband about writing, or one of my stories. (At the time I was on about 3 hours of sleep, so I don't remember what I said exactly.)  Anyway, I said what I said and the husband stops watching his food rotating in the microwave (I remember THAT because he was eating the leftovers I wanted) and he sort of laughs and says "Why does it matter, you never write anymore anyway."

So I took "his" food and stormed out of the kitchen, naturally.

Just kidding. He was absolutely joking, but in my limited sleep state I found it less funny than he did. So suddenly I was remembering all the times in the last few months that he mentioned my stories, wondered aloud when was the last time I wrote, joked about buying me an iPad when I get published, "If you ever actually write anything, I mean." All the NAGGING! 

And they say wives are the annoying ones...

In his defense, he sees it as encouragement, not nagging. Either way it's a sad little reminder that I HAVEN'T been writing and probably should have made more time for it before everything got crazy with the new baby. I knew my due date, I knew time was running out, and I still stayed about as far from that computer as I could. Not on purpose, it just worked out that way. And it isn't the first time I've done this. There's a whole ton of STUFF I've bought over the years- painting supplies, jewelry making tools, sewing machine, piano lessons, karate classes, etc- that I eventually just stopped doing. 

Do I think I'm done writing? Absolutely freaking not. In fact, writing seems to be the only thing I always go back to. Why? Well, probably because learning how to half moon walk across a dojo, or proper finger placement on ivory keys didn't touch my heart the way characters and settings do. Somehow I stumbled on the thing I'll always go back to, whether it's babies, or zombies standing in my way. 

It's got to have something to do with believing in what I'm doing. I absolutely believe this is what I was supposed to do with my life. I may not be ready to throw my stuff out into the world yet, but I will be. It's what makes me smile and kiss my husband on the cheek rather than steal "his" leftover meatballs when he makes fun of me for being lazy. 

When you're putting so, SO much time into something as complicated as a novel, when you pour yourself into your characters you have to have the drive to see it through, no matter how long it takes. The key to that drive is believing that writing is supposed to be a part of your life and never giving up no matter what happens. And that doesn't just apply to writing. Believing in yourself and your ability to do whatever you want is one of the most important things you can have. 

I have it. Do you?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Yes, I'm Alive!

Hello! According to Blogger it's been almost two months since my last post, and if you've been following me in the sense that you actually read my posts, then you'll know its because I had a baby!

My daughter, Pemberly Katherine was born July 23rd and has effectively taken over every ounce of my life that wasn't previously used up by my three year old son and our four month old beagle. So, of course while I'm up for a 3am feeding, or wrist deep in diapers all I can think about is writing, and plotting, and outlining, and changing this, and moving that, and cool titles, etc, etc, etc.

But with all this cuteness, I can hardly complain!


And while she's currently only 3 weeks old (almost) I'm chomping at the bit to get back into the swing of things; meaning regular posts, commenting on blogs, actually writing, and hopefully a critique partner search. In the mean time all the available space in my brain is taken up by people who don't exist and places I've never actually been to.

That sounds insane, but you know what I mean. I hope. Am I nuts? I hope not.


Diaper time. Toodles. :-)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Revisions Suck...

It's so hard to cut things out of your story!! At least, it is for me.

Most of the time my WIP's end up about 25,000 words too long, and I don't even get the chance to see how frustrating cutting things out is because I can't even figure out where to start. Wolfy Love Story is another thing entirely. I have maybe 5,000 words to cut out (a feat that is simultaneously easier and so much harder.) Now I actually have to start hitting delete.

I think it's something that only other writers can fully understand. To a non-writer it's like "So what? I don't know what you're complaining about. Just erase some stuff." But it's never that easy is it? Because when you're ready to delete that giant paragraph in the middle of chapter 2, you suddenly see that really clever line that came to you like a bolt of genius lightening. Suddenly you're trying to figure out where to move it, and sometimes it just doesn't fit anywhere but there. So do you delete the paragraph, and the amazing line with it, or do you try and keep it out of sheer will?

Some things are easier to let go of than others. I think it's one of the most important lessons you can learn about revisions- How to cut without taking away that twinkle that makes the story so special.

But when cutting words gets easy you have another problem. That means you haven't written anything worth hanging onto like a starving orangutan with a banana.

I just keep reminding myself that there may be some gems I have to let go of, but without doing that I can't find the diamonds behind them.


Megan.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our New Puppy!

 Say hello to Chloe!

Isn't she the cutest thing you've ever seen?


In other writerly news, I'm almost done with a major run through of Wolfy Love Story. Next up is a break from the wolves while I try and come up with an actual title and finish up another project. 
(Wolfy Love Story is catchy enough, but something tells me it's not quite right. Ha!)

Toodles!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ah Revisions...

So I'm smack dab in the middle of my second week of revisions for Wolfy Love Story. Admittedly, this is new territory for me- since I have the attention span of a fruit fly and almost never see a story idea all the way through the end.

And I find I have several tasks ahead of me. Fist, and most importantly, I've got to go through and lengthen the parts I rushed and slow down the parts that drag on so the whole thing flows better, but that's much easier said than done.

What do you delete? What will you regret deleting? Does that part where the two MC's are having that heartfelt conversation at the beach really move the story along, or do you just like it?

It's really hard to find that balance. Even with feedback from a crit partner, but that's mostly because I'm always fighting that voice in my head that says "She just doesn't understand the characters as well as you do, that's why she doesn't think is necessary."

That little voice gets on my nerves about seven hundred and twelve times a day and there's no shutting her up.

I also have to figure out how to get from around 112,000 words to around 95,000, which is better than I expected. It would be a lot harder to chop out say, fifty thousand words, but when everything still feels vital, even five hundred is like tearing off your own skin.

Normally at this point I'd set Wolfy aside and  start on something else, but this story is so ridiculously stuck in my brain that I dream about wolf tracks in the sand, and I can't listen to country music without totally zoning out into that little coastal Maine town that lives in my mind. I even catch myself keeping track of how full the moon is!

So I'm in need of some tips! When you're wrapped up in a story like a raccoon caught in a fishing net, how do you distance yourself when taking time away just isn't an option yet? How do you separate the cute from the vital? How much of the love story can you sacrifice in favor of action before you lose the characters drive to do the things they do to save each other?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

When real life gets in the way...

Sometimes I feel like I get so wrapped up in my writing world that the real world sort of vanishes for a little while, and then other times real life is so damn insistent that I can't do anything but focus on the mundane. :-( 

This last month was like the latter. There's a surprisingly small amount of time left in the day when you're packing, moving, unpacking, and trying to find the charger for your laptop- while pulling a certain little boy out of empty boxes so the movers could finish packing. And real life is so much less fun than my imaginary life. Full of writing checks, and grocery shopping- not a single werewolf attack to break up the ordinary a little. 

A few exciting things are happening in the real world however! I'm smack dab in the middle of month 7 with baby #2! Since we're having a girl this time, I have no use for about 2 tons of baby boy clothes with sayings like "Mommy's little boy" and "Daddy's tiny pilot" and have to start over with pink and yellow. I wouldn't complain except for how expensive baby clothes are. But my mind is full of tiny little flower headbands and tutu's. :-)

Also on the agenda is a new puppy! We pick her up next Saturday, she's a six week old Beagle, and my three year old says he can't decide what to name her, but apparently it's a toss up between "Chloe" and "Monkey." I'm rooting for Chloe. Monkey is a funny name for a puppy, but not so much for an 11 year old arthritic dog that likes to dig in the neighbors yard. Can you imagine running through the neighborhood yelling "Monkey! Get back here!" Nope, neither can I.

We have 3rd pick on a girl, so one of these will be ours:


They're adorable! And for my 3 1/2 old it's just about the most exciting event in his entire little life.

On the writing front I finished my rough draft of Wolfy Love Story and sent it off for a first read through by my fabulous CP Celeste. She's too nice as usual, but now that I have her feedback I feel like I have a good footing for where to start with revisions. So as soon as real life settles down a little I'll dive into revisions and I'll be looking for some beta readers around the middle of July. I figure I can send it off then, and they can take their time reading through while I'm knee deep in newborn diapers and can't think of anything but sleep. :-)

If anyone is interested in doing some reading for me in a couple months just let me know! I'll happily return the favor.

So to recap, boring real life, moving, 7 months pregnant, new adorable puppy, and finished rough draft. :-) It's been a crazy month...

How is your spring going?  Have you been inspired or suffering writers block? 

Toodles!

Megan.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Missing Out!

Somehow a new Safetysuit album came out in January and I've been completely oblivious! I feel a little bit like that person that runs around telling everyone news that stopped being news months ago. HOW DID I MISS IT?

I might add that I'm SO completely addicted to Safetysuit. I listened to their last album so many times I dreamed about the lyrics. Yes, I'm that pathetic. So for me to not have this thing on pre-order has to be some kind of crime.

So I've spent most of today blaring the new album in my headphones while I worked on Wolfy Love Story some more. (The Blood Train needs a little break, you know how it is.) So I'm writing two books at the same time, to my favorite band of all time.

You know how some days are just better than others? Today was just one of those days.

Who's your favorite band? Who can you listen to over and over?



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Finding Your Writing Fingerprint

What do all your favorite authors have in common? What do they have that makes their books feel so special to you?

They have voices. I can pick up anything written by Cassandra Clare, or Nicholas Sparks and without looking at anything but the writing I can tell you who the author is.

When I think of each and every one of my favorite books I know they all have that in common. The way the author strings together their words, the way they describe their characters, how they approach action or romance, it's all unique to them and their own personal writing style.

I like to think of it as a writers fingerprint. When you first start writing, all you have is that lonely arch along the top of your finger. It's a start, but nothing to identify you by. Then a few months or a year later- maybe after you've got a terrible finished manuscript, and several dozen amazing reads under your belt making you feel completely unworthy- that lonely arch becomes a carefully curved pattern of arches slowly wrapping its way around in a distinctive pattern.

The longer you write, and the more books you read, the closer you are to finding what works for you as a writer. You get to see how you can attack revisions without pulling your hair out. You find a way to describe a person memorably, so you don't feel the need to repeat how they look in each chapter so your readers remember. You see a pattern of words you like to use, and comma placement, and whether you prefer the semi-colon or the dash. (I'm a dash sort of person myself- in case you haven't noticed.)

And before you know it you have your own writers fingerprint. Your words are woven together so uniquely that they're discernable from everyone else. As unique as that little pattern on the ends of your fingers.

So next time you're reading something that just makes you feel like you'll never get where they are, or someone small minded tells you that you have a better chance of getting struck by lightening than being published in this market, look at your fingers. At one point they weren't all that unique either. The longer you write, and the more effort you put into it the closer you are to finding that thing, whatever it is, that makes your stories fly off the page and grab someone around the heartstrings like a vice.

And remember, the chances of you being struck by lightening are never going to change, but the chances of you being published improve with every word you write.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme


Yesterday Tracey tagged me for the Lucky 7 Meme, and I know I just said no more tagging... but this one is fun! So here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

I would have given just about anything for one of Richard’s knives.

Fight or flight. I scrambled over the next seat faster than I’d ever moved in my whole life. There was hissing all around me, and I could hear the snap of their little jaws as the more vicious ones tried to bite me from the floor.


A few feet from the door I saw something fall out of the luggage compartment above me and I freaked out and smacked it away before it landed on me. A jet black cobra landed on the seat near my foot and reared up to strike.

Ha! That ended in a pretty cool place! So there you go, page 77 of The Blood Train :-)

Now for my 7 tags!

Cherie Colyer
Avery Marsh

Ellen Faith


Jesi Marie
Debbie Barr

and
Kimberly Zook


Have a great day!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tagged, Tagged, Tagged, and Awarded!

Ok, so I've been really lazy. I've been tagged several times for several different things, and never actually got around to answering any of the questions, which makes my two new awards feel a little unearned.

So this is me earning them!

First of all, a big thank you to Alyssa for the awards! I think I'll dive into this first. So I've got to do the usual thing, answer the questions, pass it on, repeat.

First up is the Sunshine award!

Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite animal: Hummingbird
Favorite number: 11
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Lately? Fruit punch, but then again, I'm almost 5 months pregnant and I usually hate fruit punch, so lets blame that on the baby shall we? Normally, its strawberry lemonade. :-)
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
My passion: Writing. I never really understood passion until I started writing.
Getting or giving presents: Giving! I love thinking of just the perfect gift.
Favorite pattern: Pattern? I guess polka dots. I wanted to put them on my car, but my husband pointed out that polka dots on a brand new Kia probably wasn't the best idea.
Favorite day of the week: Thursday. I'm a Vampire Diaries addict.
Favorite flower: Lilies.

Alrighty, next up is the Kreative Blogger award!

This one requires seven interesting things about myself:

1. I've lived on both the east coast and the west coast
2. I got bit in the face by a dog when I was a baby
3. I'm addicted to the sour mix Jelly Belly jellybeans
4. I met my husband in high school
5. I can not for the life of me drive a stick shift
6. I'm scared of the ocean (Jaws did me in,)
7. I think Lake Placid is the funniest movie ever.


So there you go. That's it for the award questions, now all that's left are my 10 nominations! (And these are ten people who I believe deserve both because they're awesome!)

Madeline Jane

Leigh Ann
Sommer Leigh

Lena
Sarah Perry
S. L. Hennessey
Cristina Dos Santos
Lyla Lee
Melissa Hurst

Now, as for the tagging... here's a bit of a problem. You see, I was tagged about ten times, and it seemed like every one had different questions! So I'm just going to list them all. Feel free to skip to the bottom, this could get boring... or possibly a little embarrassing (I'm a tad bit sleep deprived at the moment, so I might read over this tomorrow and think "What the &>$% was I thinking?")

You have been warned.

1. If you had one week left to live, what would you do?
Wrack up a ton of debt trying to get my skydivers license as quickly as I could. The powers that be frown on skydiving while you're carrying a little melon in your belly otherwise I'd be up there right now. But, babies come first, so I'll just have to wait until August. :-)

2.What quote inspires you?
"Write the book you most desperately want to read." I know who said it, but I can't remember exactly at the moment.... I guess you could Google it.

3. What movie scene inspires you?
Anything that makes me feel what I imagine the characters on screen would feel. The one that first comes to mind is that scene in the rain in The Notebook, when Allie finds out that Noah wrote to her every day. But then again, I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks.

4. What comedy do you end up watching again and again as the years go by?
The Love Guru! Cracks me up! "Like I say in my book 'Stop hitting yourself, Stop hitting yourself, Why are you still hitting yourself'" Lol.

5. Do you think love can last forever?
And ever and ever and ever.

6. What fictional character would you trade lives with if you could?
Hmmm, well there's Frannie from Personal Demons. It would be cool to Judo kick a demon. Or lets see... Clary from The Mortal Instruments, Alice from Twilight (because seeing the future is just AWESOME) or Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. You just can't pass up Mr. Darcy.

7. What historical character would you marry if you had to choose someone?
Ummmm..... I have no idea. For some reason the only historical person I can think of is Abraham Lincoln, and that beard... blech...

8. Which do you prefer coffee, hot cocoa, soda, vegetable juice, or water?
Hot cocoa! With a candy cane stirring stick. :-)

9. How long would it take you to drive to the beach from where you live?
Unfortunately, about 14 hours.

10. What are you currently reading?
Original Sin, by Lisa Desrochers

11. If you choose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct
a. 25% There are only 4 options. :-)
b.50%
c. 60%
d. 20%

Tag number 2

1.What two characters would you like to see battle each other?
How about Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries), and Luc Cain (Personal Demons) -but before Luc stopped being a demon. That would be pretty cool to see.

2. Who is your greatest inspiration?
Each and every author that makes me feel unworthy. I'll get there someday.

3. If you could change places with any book character, who would it be and why?
Already answered this one. I think I'm going to have to go with Elizabeth Bennet though (Of course I mean the one from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Everything is cooler with a katana sword. lol)

4. Sum up your current WIP in one sentence.
On the way to visit her father a girl gets sucked onto the wrong train and ends up in a twisted, alternate place that's been kidnapping people for centuries and torturing them with their worst nightmares.

5. Are you a plot-driven writer or a character-driven writer?
It depends on the story, and what pops into my brain first. If I'm inspired by an idea for a character, then the story that unravels is very character driven, but if its the plot that presents itself first, that's what drives me.

6. What is your biggest fear?
That someone will drop me in the middle of the ocean and I'll be devoured by sharks, or giant squids, or a whale or something. There's just too much under you that you can't see until you're swallowed alive.

7. When you walk into a book store where do you go first?
The YA section. Every time.

8. Cats or dogs?
Dogs, totally a dog person. Cats scratch me.

9. You've just been placed in the Witness Protection Program what's your alias?
Megan Belly, the sudden, inexplicable heiress to the Jelly Belly fortune and-more importantly- secret recipes. ;-)

10. Would you rather live in outer space or under the sea? Why?
Under the sea, as long as there was very thick glass between me and the creepy ocean crawlies. And the sea, because the idea of being in space sort of creeps me out. I mean, you get stuck in the wrong chamber and your brains get sucked out of your nose.

11. If you HAD to lose one of your senses which one would you choose to live without?
Smell. There are enough bad smells in this world I'd be OK living without.

And another one...

1.Dessert or main dish?
Dessert, all the way

2. Coffee or tea?
Tea please

3. Biggest pet peeve.
When the person behind you at the checkout line stands so close to you that they're breathing on your neck.

4. Who inspires you?
Anyone who writes better than me... so A LOT of people lol.

5. If you could speak a (another) foreign language which would it be?
Italian. Sarebbe incredibile

6. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Ah, I'm more of a Stargate fan myself. Sorry Spock.

7. The best gift you ever received.
I don't know if this is the best gift, but it's certainly the coolest! My husband got me throwing knives for Christmas. Ha! I'm going to kill myself before I learn to throw them right, but by God I'll have a skill when its time for the zombie apocalypse!

8. If you could go back and relive your high school years, would you?
Knowing what I know now? Sure! I'd rule that place. Lol

9. A book you wish Hollywood had left alone.
Twilight.

10. Strangest thing you've ever written in a note (e.g., random pieces of paper, your hand...etc)
Ummm... I have no idea. Knowing me, it was pretty good though, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

11.PC or MAC?
Mac! RIP Steve Jobs and your turtlenecks.

And another... (yawn!)

1. What’s your favorite book genre? YA

2. Are there any beloved books that you don’t really enjoy? Harry Potter. I've tried and tried to get into them, but I think I have a problem reading the early ones when he's so young, and I can't seem to get through them to the older ones! Frustrating.

3. What was your favorite class in school? English

4. Do you write under a pseudonym or use your real name? I think I'll use a pseudonym. I just want my writing life to be a separate thing from my personal life.

5. Do you prefer reading first person or third person? First.

6. An old question, but e-books or paper? Both. I always buy both if I have the money. If I'm strapped, then paper.

7. You’re stranded on an island that has plenty of food and water, but no electricity or way to contact the outside world. But you have one object of your choice with you. What is it? Umm Pride and Prejudice. That thing could keep me occupied until help arrived lol. I've read that way to many times...

8. Which do you like more, Facebook or Twitter? Again, Facebook.

9. Coffee or tea? Again, Tea

10. Pick one word to describe yourself with. Nutballs. No, Crazybeans.

11. If you had one wish, what would it be? (PS: no fair wishing for more wishes) That I could get my stories down on paper the way they are in my head.

Couple more...

1. You're on a deserted island for six months with one person ~ who would it be and why? My husband, because when I freaked out and started talking to a coconut I know he loves me enough to shake me and snap me the hell out of it lol.

2. You were caught in a meteor shower which left you with strange abilities. Now every time you eat chocolate, you can ... what? FLY!!!

3. A friend takes you to an abandoned castle that has been hidden for centuries. She heard a rumor that great treasure was hidden in the sixth tower. Would you venture inside or turn it over to the authorities to investigate? What would you find? Um, I'm not a fan of the creepy castle, so I'd probably pay someone else to go in for me. I'm a chicken like that though, willing to exploit the thrill seekers of the world so I don't have to face the creepy crawlies in the shadows. :-)

4. You can only drink one type of beverage for the next year - what would it be and why? Fruit punch. (We've already been over this)

5. Have you ever had to face a fear of yours? What was it and how did you overcome it, if you did? I face my fears every time a spider is rude enough to attack when my husband is at work.

6. Have you enjoyed certain ages in your life more than others? What is your ideal age and why? Well I'm only 22, so my options are a little limited, but I'll go with 17. It's the year I met my husband, and I didnt have to worry about bills.

7. Has anyone totally amazed you in life? Who and why? Yes, my son amazes me every day.

8. Have you ever written in a character in a story patterned after a real person ~ out of spite, because that person ticked you off? Oh yes. Sometimes, when I meet someone who is just extremely unpleasant, I'll rewrite my villain to match them. Take that!

9. Do any of your characters make you totally crazy because they have a mind of their own and take you places you hadn't planned on? ALL THE TIME.

10. What is your most favorite phrase/paragraph that you have written? Can you share it?
I could, but I won't. ;-) Not yet anyway. (It's a spoiler)

11. If you could sit down and talk shop with any writer from any time period - who would it be and why? Easy. Lisa Desrochers. She writes whatever she wants to, sex, swearing, religion, whatever, and doesn't apologize for any of it.

One more!

Do you use Word Verification and why? (Better check first)
I know it says check, but I'm too tired. You tell me, do I use word verification?

When visiting a Blog what bothers you most about the format?
When I'm trying to follow them and I cant find the damn button!

Do you have your email address listed on your profile, if not, why?
Yup! I want people to be able to contact me if they want to. :-)

How often do you post?
Whenever the heck I remember. I swear, I'm worse than an 80 year old woman. I'd forget to breathe if it wasn't involuntary.

Are you on Facebook or Google plus?
Facebook.

How often do you check your stats?
Rarely. My stats don't matter to me so much as the comments.

What influences what you write about?
Dreams, people in my real life, other books and what they make me think about.

What is the most important thing that happened to you last year?
My husband went into the military.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland. Hands down. I'd like to go find my distant family over there (the ones that didn't bail when the whole potato thing went down) and scare the crap out of them with my crazy American manners and unwillingness to eat things stuffed in animal stomachs.

If you could talk to a dead person about writing, who would that be?
Jane Austen. I'd love to ask her how she balances out a character so well that you both love and hate them at the same time. Genius.

Whats one thing in the grocery store do you always want to buy?
Bread. I'm always buying bread.

OK! Done. I have officially fulfilled my tag and award obligations! So I would really appreciate it if nobody tagged me for a few days! I need a break!

Just kidding. OH and HAPPY LEAP DAY! See you again in 4 years. ;-)

Toodles!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Broke 100!!


As of... sometime this morning, I finally broke 100 followers! It only took about a thousand hours of my time and two Campaigns, but holy moley I'm excited!

So to celebrate, I've compiled a TON of information on queries.

It cracks me up seeing websites like SlushPile Hell and Query Shark if for no other reason than the sheer number of bad queries out there. Now, don't get me wrong, I would never ever read someone's query and say some of the things they say, but you have to admit they have a point.

There are literally thousands of websites out there about queries. Your favorite agent has guidelines about what they want right there on their websites. There are hundreds of Wikipedia, and About.com articles on what to do and what not to do. And yet.... there are people who still start off their query, telling "To whom it may concern" (since apparently it's too difficult to personalize a query with a specific name) how lucky they are to have such an AMAZING opportunity in their hands, and how stupid they'd be to turn it down, since it's so obviously the next Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, Etc.

In my opinion, comparing your book to anything that's already a bestseller is a bad idea. Why would you want to tell an agent that your novel is the next anything when it can be the first of something new? Why compare yourself to someone else, when you're great just being yourself?

So, I sit around when I'm procrastinating on my own novel and read all these queries on these sites, and I'm cracking up. There are so many people who honestly believe they're doing an agent some kind of favor by even sending them a query! Which, in the grand scheme of things, I suppose all potential authors are, because without any query letters, agents would pretty much be out of business. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOUR SPECIFIC QUERY IS SAVING THEIR CAREER.

If you didn't send yours, they'd have 759 others sitting in their inbox. So before you do anything, remember that they're taking time out of their busy day to read what you've sent them, not the other way around, and the least you can do is send them a personalized query.

(By the way, if you're one of those people who think your manuscript is God's gift to the world, I'd say I'm sorry if I've offended you, but I'm really not. Being published is like driving a car. It's a privilege, not a right.)

So if you're rounding that corner to query land like I am with The Blood Train, then the following list could be pretty helpful! But the most important thing to remember is that a query is very simple and very short. All you need is what your story is about. That's it. An agent might be really interested in your long journey to publication, or the fact that your YA novel was inspired by your kids/dog/mother-in-law/Bigfoot figurine/etc but not in the query.

So, without further ado:

Writer Beware- How to write a query letter

What NOT to do!

How Nathan Bransford says you should do it
How to write a query courtesy of eHow.com

Rachelle Gardner's Tips
Scribendi.com's Advice, and some Do's and Dont's
Top query letter mistakes
Janet Reid: What you need before you query
What's NOT a query letter
About.com sample query letter
Writing a query

Some good examples:

1
2.
3.
4.

Some very BAD examples:

1.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 etc.

Sorry, I would have gone through and found some more links, but there are just so many amazing examples of what to avoid at SlushPile Hell that I just didn't see the point. (Plus its anonymous so I keep from offending people.)

Oh, and in other news, that nasty spider bite has healed up nicely and I'm back to my old self! And now that I've taken about two hours compiling the right links for this post, it's time to get back to The Blood Train.

I'm almost ready for some critiques, so if anybody's interested in doing a read through you can shoot me an email! There's a tab at the top for The Blood Train if you're not sure what I'm talking about. :-)

Have a great day everyone, and Happy Tuesday!

Toodles!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Just Wanted To Say...

To all my new followers, I'd like to say a huge HI! I'm so happy to see you here and share my writing adventures with you, and see how you handle the crazy world of writing. :-)

To all my old followers, I'd like to say...You're so great!

Sorry, I'm on this crazy medicine that's been called "Benadryl on Crack" even by my doctor and besides making me a little jittery, I also can't seem to post in normal little letters!

But, even though my hands are shaking, I still wanted to take a moment and thank everyone, new and old for your support and I hope I can be there for you all as much as you have been for me!

Oh, and since I can't help but share really gross and morbid things, I'd also like to share that the "Benadryl on Crack" is to treat the spider bite of the century:





Boo!
Yeah, it's terrible.


I hate spiders.


Look for a post later this week about all the query information available out there on the internet and the best way to sift through it all. I promise, that post will be much less jittery, and a whole heck of a lot less spider-y. Yes, I said spider-y.

Toodles, and happy writing!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sharing Is Caring!

I'm in the sharing mood, and since I did nothing but procrastinate on the internet today instead of finishing my draft of The Blood Train, the least I can do is share my spoils with my lovely readers!

Most importantly, and most excitingly... it's time for another Campaign! Rachael Harrie has decided it's time for her 4th Writer's Platform Building Campaign, for all those aspiring authors to build their audience! I participated in the 3rd campaign and had a blast, so I hope you will too.

What are you waiting for? Go sign up!

In other news!

YA Highway shared an awesome post on why it's not a bad thing to start over.

Nathan Bransford, former literary agent extraordinaire, gave some helpful advice on how to get back into the swing of things when your writing life decides to take a little detour.

Rachelle Gardener sheds some light on when it's OK to call an agent or editor.

And last, but certainly not least, my favorite commercials from the Superbowl! It's tied between the Audi vampire party, and the naked M&M.






What do you think? Which one was better?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fantasy VS Reality

I'd just like to point out, that I would much rather be writing somewhere like here:


Then on a laptop, on my couch, while my three year old watches the same four episodes of Backyardigans. Just saying.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do You Character Profile?

One of the most difficult tasks I face as a writer is forgetting who I'm trying to write about. I know, that makes me sound senile, but it's true! I remember the personality, and what happens with that character, but it's difficult for me to remember their physical traits.

More often than not, my main characters will start off with black hair, and end with red. They'll have a tattoo in the beginning that never ever comes up again. And from beginning to end, their eyes will hit the entire range of the color spectrum. If you were to read the character description in the beginning, and try again at the end, it would seem like two entirely different people with the same personality.

My solution? A character profile.

I make a new one for each story idea, since each story will need certain traits listed. For instance, if I'm writing a YA Science Fiction story about various aliens living on one planet it might look something like this:

Age:

Height:

Race Name:

Skin Color:

Skin Type:

Special Markings:

Number of Hands:

Number of Eyes:

Hair Type:

Hair Color:

Special Features:

Etc.


And if I were writing about normal humans with normal features it would be more limited to basics: hair color, eye color, height, weight, skin tone, special markings, age, full name, birthplace, birth date. Most of the time my characters have seven pages worth of profiles, with everything from the basics to a characters fears, and likes and dislikes. Before I'm done I even have my main characters favorite movie documented.

Before I'm done my characters are as real to me as actual people and it helps me keep my stories straight.

How do you keep your characters straight? Are you a fan of the character profile or are you more of a "write now, fix the hair later" sort of writer?

What is the most important question you have for your main characters?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taylor Swift & the Hunger Games

I don't know if you've heard, but Taylor Swift has a song on the Hunger Games Soundtrack!

I'm so excited!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Swearing in YA? What the #&%@!


There's a lot of controversy in the writing world when it comes to teenage characters and curse words. On one side are the people writing these foul mouthed characters, arguing that real teenagers swear all the time so why not use it if it feels natural to the story??

On the other side are the parents/teachers/librarians/etc who feel its their duty to protect children from bad influences such as sex, violence, and curse words in their literature.

My stance? I think it's OK. Realistically, there's absolutely nothing a teenager is going to read about in a book that they won't hear coming out of their peers mouths, especially the older they get. Hell, most high school seniors swear more often than Marines.

But I think there has to be a reason behind it. If your character is just cursing because that's what teenagers do, then I don't see that as a necessary part of your story. If, however, they're cursing at their boyfriend who just cheated on them, or dropping the f-bomb after breaking their arm- and its a natural response to the situation- I at least won't bat an eye.

As far as the adults looking to censor what their children read, or see on television, I completely understand their position. I think its important for parents to have opinions on their children, but there's also a line. Do I believe its inappropriate for a 13 or 14 year old to read a book about a child prostitute? Yes! Of course! Do I think that someone older than 16 is going to be damaged by reading a character dropping the F-bomb? Nope.

So for me, it all comes down to the age range. In my own writing I'll limit swearing if I'm aiming the book for the younger side of the YA scale. Of course I won't curse up the whole story just because its for older teens. A swear word is a choice just like every other word you choose to use. It has to have an impact and a purpose, otherwise its just unnecessary.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my position? And how often do your characters drop a four letter word?

Do you put swearing into the same category as sex when it comes to YA??


What else is YA taboo in your opinion???



Toodles!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Long Have You Been Writing?

I started writing about two and a half years ago; and when I say "writing" I mean fumbling through stories that had absolutely no plot, no arc, and pretty much raced through twenty or so thousand words and then spend forty on the big climactic ending.


Yeah, it blew.

But I was sitting here a little while ago and just thought "Holy crap, I've been writing for years!" I guess it still feels like I just started doing it and then all of a sudden here I am, roughly 1,000 days, a writing course, and two years worth of NaNo later.

Time flies when you're having fun, and I am most definitely having fun. :-)

How about you? How long have you been writing?

Are you like me, with dozens of unfinished manuscripts, or have you actually completed something? Lol.

Ps: Anybody like me, please speak up. Most days I feel like an idiot for having such a short attention span! :-) And to anybody NOT like me... I'd tip my hat to you, if I were wearing a hat...

Keep those words flowing writing friends.

Megan.