Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey ladies, are we too nice to each other?

There's an article circulating on Twitter this morning (check it out here ) about female bloggers/reviewers, mainly in the YA world, who the author calls "faking nice." It's an interesting look at our little community here online but I'm not so sure I agree with all of her points and I'm actually still processing it all until I form an opinion, but while it's fresh I thought I'd post about it.

Are we too nice to each other? Too protective? Are reviewers not being honest enough in reviews of fellow female writers?

I'm not qualified to answer that but I have a theory. If this is indeed happening then wouldn't it have something to do with the fact that we do get to know a lot of writers on a personal level? Or so we think. Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc all make it possible to get to know your favorite authors that wasn't possible years ago. Combine that with the huge popularity of both reading and writing YA and it's bound to change things.

As someone who's on two sides of the fence (running a fansite for a popular YA author while I write my own YA books) I can't say that I've only seen niceness happening out there. In fact, there are quite a few blogger/reviewers out there who I've seen become downright mean about books they hated. But what qualifications exist to become a book blogger or reviewer? Can't anyone start up a free blogger account or write a novel? Last time I checked, yes.

Some of us (myself included) intentionally choose not to post negative reviews, meaning I just don't say much about the books I don't like and instead choose to make a fuss over the ones I do. Is that right or wrong? Who knows, but it's my decision and one I'm happy with so I guess if someone were to come check out my blog they might say I'm "faking nice." Can't say the faking part is true but whatever.

I have a lot more I could say here from the writers aspect but that's a whole new conversation. Enough of my opinion! I'd love to hear what you think on this topic. Please take a minute to share your thoughts in the comments section to keep the conversation rolling.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great Expectations

As a writer I've learned how crucial it is to start my book with a bang. Heck, even the first line needs to be kick-ass. But the odd thing is that very few books I've read achieve that. Hello, the book overall but the first chapter is a total snore. But the book I started last night, SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce, is one of the best examples I've ever seen. WOW. I'm only on page 40 something but I cannot wait to read more to see if it can maintain the awesomeness it started with (I'm pretty sure it will after what I've heard about it so far). And this is the very thing I'm working on in my current WIP. Yet again the right book has fallen in my lap at just right the time....

Here's a summary of SISTERS RED from Jackson Pearce's site.

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Missing blogger

Sheesh, I've started about three new blog post drafts and keep getting pulled away to do family stuff or you know, that little thing called writing... Which I'm about to go do now since this morning is a writing morning with Nate being at nursery school for a few hours. I do have some exciting stuff coming up here. A Q&A and giveaway with Dia Reeves, the author of BLEEDING VIOLET. Such am amazing book so I'm super excited to have her here and share this incredible book on May 3rd. Stay tuned for details.

I'm going to post my my new query for feedback with some thoughts on how incredibly different this one was from the one I worked on for SAGE which took a year and still wasn't knocking my socks off. The one for FORTUNE'S TELLER took one night and I'm truly madly deeply in love with it thanks to the assistance from some rockstar writing buddies. I've also had a bit of a breakthrough after flipping back and forth between real-life YA and fantasy YA the last few weeks that I think will really help me get my WIP in a better place. Hopefully! So I've started rotating my reading list by going with fantasy then real-life then fantasy then real life and so on. I really like the perspective it gives me aside from the obvious write your ass off and tell a good story thing.

And lastly, there's no way I'm going to meet my goal of finishing my WIP by the end of this month but the good news is that I've been revising as I go and I feel really great about the changes and the pace in regards to not having to go back and do extensive revisions when I'm finished. And THAT makes me a very happy girl.

Anyone else have some good things to share? Come on, I want to hear the positive things happening out there!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Books! Help me decide what to read next...

Check out what I ordered with my Barnes & Noble gift card. I hopped on there right after I got it to check out the Sarah Dessen books (my new obsession thanks to Miranda!) and found two of them in the bargain section under $4 each with the sale buy 2 get 1 free! So I got both of them and the first Blue Bloods books. I loved The Truth About Forever so much I bought my own copy. Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear what you think. I'm torn with what to start with...Will Grayson, Will Grayson or This Lullaby?

That Summer
Sarah Dessen

Just Listen
Sarah Dessen

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods Series #1)
Melissa De La Cruz

This Lullaby
Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever
Sarah Dessen

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green, David Levithan

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Venturing into some real-life YA

I probably should have said in the title of this post I'm venturing into reading real-life YA not writing it. Not yet. I've had some ideas that won't leave me alone but I tend to shoosh them and push them to the back of the line for fantasy stories. I know, I know, I'm mean for playing favorites. But the more I read contemporary YA stories the more I think I want to take stab at writing one.

Both of the "real-life" YA books that I've read lately were recommendations from my fabulous critique buddies. Jamie suggested Paper Towns by John Green, which I LOVED (I've gushed about this one before), and just last week Miranda suggested The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. Clearly, the know what they're talking about.

They were both dead on with how awesome both of the stories and authors are. So thank you girls for pushing me out of my little fantasy world to check them out. If you haven't read these books GO now. They. Are. Amazing.

I feel so behind on the Sarah Dessen thing. Miranda is SO right about how incredibly she writes character growth. It's easy to stay up late reading a fantasy story with all the action and suspense, but I stayed up until 2 AM (much later than I planned) to finish The Truth About Forever. I just had to know what was going to happen. Wow. So good.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to go hoard all the Sarah Dessen books from the library.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting over the hump

Sweet victory. I crossed over the 30k word hump in my WIP last week. This time around it feels ever sweeter considering I've been revising as I go. (thank you, Miranda!) With how extensive and often I revised the last story I really love the idea of having less at the end. Editing is one thing but revising huge portions of the same story is not my favorite way to spend my time. I can't imagine it is for anyone.

The other thing I'm doing differently now is waiting to have my regular readers read later on when I'm near or completely finished. Even with the reader who's helping me as I go I'm waiting to share larger chunks of chapters. It's been strange to pull back with someone like my sister who is used to reading something from my WIP on a daily basis. A lot of times I want to bring up something about the story but hold my tongue so I don't spoil anything. And I miss chatting with my other critique partners about my characters and plot and all that good stuff, but I know it will be worth it to have them read it start to finish with fresh eyes and give me feedback as a reader in addition to their writing critique.

If it keeps going well I think I may have found my new writing method. But one thing I can't imagine changing is my fabulous readers/critique partners help.

I'm curious to hear what methods you all use while you're writing a first draft?