Hello fellow March Madness-ers!
How are you doing on your goals? So far I’ve been super productive and I’ve hit my tasks exactly as scheduled. “Scheduled?” you ask. Well, more on that in a moment. But first I’d like to give away another prize from our huge prize arsenal today!
Today’s winner is…
Deana J. Holmes!
Congratulations, Deana! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Email Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.
And if you didn’t win, there are still LOTS of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day…
Now, I’d like to talk about goal setting. Specifically, setting small bite-sized goals that are not only realistic but achievable. In my day job as a Project Manager (in digital publishing), one of my main tasks is to create milestone schedules that break down large projects into smaller “deliverables.” This way, each person working on the project knows what they need to get done in a particular week. I usually divide projects into batches that each have their own due date, so if a smaller task falls behind, it’s okay as long as the batch due date remains the same.
I’ve started to apply this same scheduling philosophy to my writing and revisions and since then my productivity has greatly improved. This is an example of a schedule I’ve created to help me track revision tasks. This is a blank version:
|Chapter #||Task Name||Type of Revision||Duration||Due Date|
|Batch 1 (Chapters #-#)|
Here is an example of how I’m using the schedule for my revision. I’ve made it generic so as to remove any details about the book, but basically I am turning a straight Contemporary novel into Magical Realism and adding a mystery element with clues and a search.
|Chapter #||Task Name||Type of Revision||Duration||Due Date|
|Batch 1 (Chapters 1-5)|
|1||Add in info about what Protagonist wants||Line edits||1 day||3/1/2014|
|1||Add: Antagonist gives Protagonist a key||Line edits||1 day||3/1/2014|
|2||Delete scene with brother||Delete scene||1 day||3/1/2014|
|2||Protagonist finds the first clue||New Chapter||2 days||3/3/2014|
|3||Remove info relating to Old Subplot||Line edits||1 day||3/4/2014|
|4||After Protagonist gets to class, add in brief scene where she searches for Antagonist online. Love Interest catches her||Addition to scene||1 day||3/5/2014|
|4||Reset location of date with Love Interest||Line edits||1 day||3/5/2014|
|5||Protagonist and Love Interest find second clue.||New Chapter||2 days||3/7/2014|
I’m proud to say I’ve actually ahead of schedule at the moment. I’ve already completed all tasks for Batch 1, which gives me more buffer room in Batch 2.
And good news, March Madness-ers! I’m putting up a blank Excel version of this schedule (with an example tab) for you to download and use yourself!
The Excel version looks a little different:
It includes additional tabs to log new issues that need to be fixed in a 2nd revision pass. For example, in chapter 5 I realized I needed to change the timeline from a Wednesday night to a Friday night, so I wrote down “Fix timeline consistency in chapters 1-4″ to tackle in pass 2 so I can keep forward momentum of the revisions without constantly backtracking.
Now how did you do today?
And don’t forget to stop by Denise’s blog for Thursday’s check in: http://denisejaden.blogspot.
My longtime friend and critique partner Denise Jaden has a new book coming out. I will share my awesome review of it in a few days, but for now, hear about it in her own words:
Rather than doing a traditional interview-filled blog tour, Denise Jaden is celebrating the release of her new nonfiction writing book, FAST FICTION, by dropping tips about writing quickly at every stop of her blog tour, and offering some awesome prizes for commenting on any of these posts (including this one!)
The more you drop by and comment, the more chances you have to win these great prizes:
Denise’s Fast Fiction Tip: Keep All Ideas Together
One of my biggest fast fiction tips is to brainstorm, brainstorm,
brainstorm, because the more ideas you have to work with, the less you’ll get
stuck when it comes time to drafting your stories. My second biggest tip is to
keep all of these ideas in one place. I’ve always been a fairly active
brainstormer, but I admit, up until the last couple of years, I wasn’t very
organized about it. I’d have notes on characters in every notebook in my house.
Sticky notes littered not just my desk, but my kitchen table and nightstand.
The thing is, it only took me a few minutes to sit down and plan a strategy to
change this and put it into place. For me, this came in the form of an iPhone
app (A Novel Idea). It’s an easy
place to jot down all of my character, setting and plotting notes, all
separated into the novels I think they’ll work for. I always have my phone with
me, so whether an idea hits me at the grocery store, or when I’m dropping my
son off at judo, it’s now super-easy for me to make sure it gets recorded where
I’ll find it again right when I need it.
Your solution may not be an iPhone app, of course. But I
encourage you to take just a few minutes and decide what a smart strategy would
be for you. A thick notebook that will never run out? A voice recorder? Or a whole
file cabinet, containing a file for every novel, character, and plot detail?
It’s up to you, but organization is a fast-drafter’s best friend!
- Compliments of New World Library: They will be giving away A BOX of copies of FAST FICTION by Denise Jaden and GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett (US and Canada only):
- Compliments of Denise Jaden, TWO BOXES of great fiction (US Only). Details on Denise’s blog.
- Audiobook copies of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden!
- A critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise’s agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!
All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win (at the bottom of this post, I’ve included links to all of the other blogs where you can comment for more chances to win).
About Fast Fiction:
Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period for thinking through plot, theme, characters, and setting. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn merely workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.
A portion of publisher proceeds will be donated to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
Praise for Fast Fiction:
“Fast Fiction is filled with stellar advice, solid-gold tips, and doable, practical exercises for all writers who want to draft a complete novel.”
— Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway
“Being a ‘pantser’ I have always resisted outlining, but I have to say that Fast Fiction changed my mind! Denise Jaden takes what I find to be a scary process (outlining) and makes it into an easy and, dare I say, enjoyable one. Fast Fiction is a hands-on book that asks the right questions to get your mind and your story flowing. I know I’ll be using Fast Fiction over and over again. Highly recommended for fiction writers!
— Janet Gurtler, author of RITA Award finalist I’m Not Her
“Fast Fiction is full of strategies and insights that will inspire and motivate writers of every experience level — and best of all, it provides them with a solid plan to quickly complete the first draft of their next novel.”
— Mindi Scott, author of Freefall
“Fast Fiction provides writers with the perfect mix of practical guidance and the kick in the pants they need to finish that draft. This book is a must-have for writers of all levels.”
— Eileen Cook, author of The Almost Truth
“Practical and down-to-earth, Denise Jaden’s Fast Fiction makes a one-month draft seem doable, even for beginners, any month of the year.”
— Jennifer Echols, author of Endless Summer and Playing Dirty
“One of the greatest challenges any writer faces is getting a great idea out of one’s brain and onto the page. Fast Fiction breaks that process down into concrete, manageable steps, each accompanied by Denise Jaden’s sage advice and enthusiastic encouragement. And anything that helps streamline the drafting process is a-okay by me! Fast Fiction is a great addition to any writer’s toolbox — I’ve got it in mine!”
— Catherine Knutsson, author of Shadows Cast by Stars
“Forget the fact that this resource is directed at those wanting to complete a fast draft — if you’re out to get your novel done, period, Jaden’s Fast Fiction will be the kick in the butt that gets you there, from story plan to ‘The End’. . . and beyond.”
— Judith Graves, author of the Skinned series for young adults
Where you can find Fast Fiction:
Blog Tour Stops:
Comment on any of the following blog posts celebrating Fast Fiction’s release to be entered to win prizes galore!
(All Fast Fiction blog posts should be live by March 9th, or sooner. Contest will be open until March 15th. If any links don’t work, stop by http://denisejaden.blogspot.com for updated links.)
Additional Participating Blogs:
Remember, all you have to do is leave comments to get lots of extra entries to win some great prizes.
Don’t know what to comment about? Tell us the name of your favorite writing book!
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Get your typing fingers ready, writers. It’s that time of year again. Time for March Madness! No, not the boring basketball kind (okay, I actually do kind of like the basketball kind). The writing motivation kind!
March Madness is an annual challenge started by Denise Jaden for writers, readers, bloggers, or anyone who has a goal they want to achieve. Set a goal and we’ll hold you accountable for it! It’s a great motivational tool because the daily check ins offer a way to keep yourself on track while also helping you win fabulous prizes!
So think about what goal you want to challenge yourself with during the month of March. Off-peak NaNo-style first draft? Tackle that massive revision to-do list? Write and pre-schedule a bunch of blogs? Finally read behemoths like The Goldfinch or Infinite Jest?
I’m plotting (quite literally) a big revision of one of my WIPs that I’d like to complete in March. So big I’m even creating a revision schedule. I’m converting my book from straight-up contemp to magical realism, which basically requires an all new Act 1 (amongst other big changes). So let’s make a deal, blog readers. You hold me accountable and I’ll hold you accountable!
Here is the #MarchMadness blog schedule. Don’t forget to check in on Carol’s blog on Saturday March 1st to announce your goals!
Mondays – Laura – http://lstaylor.blogspot.com
Tuesdays – Shari – http://www.sharigreen.com
Wednesdays – Shana – http://www.shana-silver.com
Thursdays – Denise – http://denisejaden.blogspot.
Fridays – Tonette – http://www.tonettedelaluna.com
Saturdays – Carol - http://careann.wordpress.com
Sundays – Angelina – http://yascribe.blogspot.ca
It’s time for my annual recap of Books Read this year! I had a goal of 50 books, which was more than I read in 2012, 2011, and 2010 but less than I read in 2009. I’m happy to say I not only reached my goal of 50 books but I surpassed it! A few of these were did-not-finish for me, but I gave each book at least 100 pages before I officially gave up on them. Out of respect for the authors, I won’t say which ones those were but it’s only 4.
Yes, I know Gone Girl came out prior to 2013, but I’m counting it for my list since I personally read it in 2013.
- Contemporary: 18
- Sci-fi: 13
- Paranormal: 10
- Dystopian: 7
- Fantasy: 3
- Ones I Wasn’t Sure How to Classify: 3
- Young Adult: 48
- Adult: 3
- Middle Grade: 2
- ARCs (acquired at ALA, BEA, Netgalley, or through friends): 29
- Books Being Turned Into TV Shows Airing in Early 2014: 2
- Books Being Turned Into Movies: 3 (including Allegiant)
And so, without further ado, here are the books I read in 2013 in the order I read them:
- The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
- The Archived by Victoria Schwab
- Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
- Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
- Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis
- The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
- Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
- The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
- Icons by Margaret Stohl
- The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
- Also Known As by Robin Benway
- Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
- Endlessly (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
- What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Adorkable by Sarra Manning
- This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
- Half Bad by Sally Green
- Jessica Darling’s It List #1 by Megan McCafferty
- The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
- How to Love by Katie Cotugno
- Mind Games by Kiersten White
- False Memory by Dan Krokos
- False Sight (False Memory #2) by Dan Krokos
- Tandem by Anna Jarzab
- Just Like Fat by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
- The 100 by Kass Morgan
- Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
- A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maass
- All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
- Splintered by A.G. Howard
- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
- Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
- Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
- The Returned by Jason Mott
- Teardrop by Lauren Kate
- Speechless by Hannah Harrington
- Pretenders by Lisi Harrison
- Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
- The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
- Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
- Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (re-read, first read in 2007)
- Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Jen Hayley gave me the idea for this writing manifesto:
- Writing is the only thing I ever want to do.
- Writing is not something I can quit. I know, I’ve tried.
- I write even when I don’t want to, even when I have to start over from scratch, even when the path toward publication seems to take me backward instead of forward.
- I write for the readers I hope will one day pick up my stories.
- I write because I choose to. Every word I add to a story is a choice.
- I write when an idea is so powerful, I need to get it out.
- I write with silence, so I can listen to the characters.
- I have never written a story without a romantic element.
- I have always written stories I would want to read.
- I write in spite of the heartbreak I’ve suffered in this business.
- I don’t write when I’m tired or hungry.
- I should write right now.
- I might write the best scene/sentence/character I’ve ever written today. Because every day is an opportunity to do so.
- I will write until I have nothing left to say.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. My list is in no particular order.
1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss is in my Top 5 all time favorite books and Lola and the Boy Next Door isn’t far beyond. So of course I can’t wait for Isla–and to go back to Paris! And to reunite with Etienne St. Clair, who is my boyfriend, not Anna’s.
2. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Cole is my other boyfriend. He was my favorite thing about the Shiver series even though he didn’t show up until the second book (much in the same way Finnick is my favorite part of the Hunger Games series). I can’t wait for a novel all about him! I hope he’s naked a lot.
3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Obviously I’m not the only one who caught the Rainbow Rowell bug this year. I loved Fangirl so much and I can’t wait to see what she does with a non-contemp premise.
4. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Any time Laurie Halse Anderson releases a new book, I must devour it immediately. I love her writing voice so much, but not just her writing voice–I love her writing advice. She gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received at SCBWI LA in 2011. I had loved her before that but now I love her even more.
5. Panic by Lauren Oliver
I’m so glad Lauren Oliver is doing contemporary again. I love Before I Fall more than her dystopian series so I’m excited to read this.
6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
E. Lockhart is another author where I must pick up her new book as soon as it comes out. This one sounds more in the vain of Frankie Landau-Banks than the Ruby Oliver series and I’m totally okay with that (even though the Ruby Oliver series was one of the influences to my daughter’s middle name Ruby).
7. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
This one sounds amazing! I’ve played with the similar idea of a girl doing bad things to people and then having to face the consequences in my own writing so I’m super curious to see how Julie tackles this.
8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
This one sounds swoony and romantic and everything I love in a contemporary.
9. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page
You all know how much I adore retellings and this one sounds really different and unique. I love the idea of making a beloved literary character into a villain.
10. Raven Boys #3 by Maggie Stiefvater
Goodreads says this comes out in 2014 and I sincerely hope that’s the case because I cannot wait any longer than that for this book! Ronan is one of my fave characters ever, and I love Gansey too. The writing in these books is gorgeous. I must have this in my hands soon!
Back my popular demand, here is my recap of Fall 2013 TV!
Here are all the shows I am DVRing that are currently airing, just wrapped, or will be airing before the end of 2013.
|How I Met Your Mother||I am so freaking bored with this season. The pace is slow and the dragged out wedding weekend is unnecessary. Ted’s quest for getting Robin back bores me when we know who we ends up with. Except we don’t know who he ends up with because we DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HER. And I’m still not convinced ANYONE would be willing to put up with Ted. Also, why is Marshall on a random road trip? Plus, I wish my baby would stay that quiet on that long of a road trip. If I had other shows to watch at 8pm on Mondays, I’d be inclined to give this one up.|
|2 Broke Girls||I generally enjoy watching this show but I always save it on my DVR until I’m done watching the shows I like better.|
|Sleepy Hollow||This is my biggest surprise of the season so far. I almost didn’t watch the first episode because gore is not my thing and headless people tends to fit into that category. But I absolutely love it! Abbie is great, Ichabod is super sexy, and I really love the supernatural twists they are giving history.|
|Teen Mom 3||I have like 8 episodes saved on my DVR. I’ll watch this as an absolute last resort when I run out of everything else. I’m still annoyed that Mackenzie had her son (illegally) forward-facing in the car at 9 months old.|
|The Originals||MmmmKlausmmmm. He is just so damn sexy. I don’t care if he kills a bajillion people, I’ll still watch as long as he speaks in that yummy accent and goes shirtless once in a while. I don’t really care about the battle for New Orleans but I don’t care that I don’t care. Not feeling Hayley (or even Elijah) but I like Rebekah still and the teenage witch storyline.|
|Ravenswood||I don’t really get this show and how it can be clearly supernatural when the nearby town of Rosewood (Pretty Little Liars) is still in denial that there are no supernatural forces behind “A.” This show is trying to be separate but I can’t really separate it myself when there’s so much character crossover. Still, I do find this show intriguing. Maybe moreso than PLL, but that’s probably only because the mysteries on this haven’t been dragged out for seasons yet without going unanswered.|
|Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.||Oh Joss. You’re killing me here. I love all your stuff so so much but I am having such issues with this one. I don’t really get what this show is and I don’t think the writers do either. Not to mention I still don’t care about the characters and the character that is supposed to be our “eyes” into S.H.I.E.L.D. because she’s new is just so unlikable. I’m sticking it out because season 1 of Buffy wasn’t the greatest and look what that became. I have faith, Joss!|
|New Girl||Hubs and I really love this show and one of our fave TV writers is now showrunners now. But this show really does not know what to do with the Winston character and they are turning him into a cartoon. Please stop. Actually, on second thought they don’t know what to do with any of the characters right now or even the Jess/Nick relationship.|
|Brooklyn 99||I think this show is hilarious! I consistently laugh out loud each week. And I don’t usually like cop shows.|
|Awkward||I love the voice on this show and the supporting characters are still amazing as always. Tamara is awesome. Ming is awesome. Lissa and Sadie are awesome. But Jenna…is not. I know she’s supposed to be unlikable this season but she’s deserved to be unlikable for a lot longer than that.|
|The Goldbergs||I’m not sure how I feel about this show. I was too young in the 80s to really get the inside jokes. I think the show is cute, but I don’t really feel invested.|
|Trophy Wife||I watched the first episode and liked it. I watched the second episode and hated it. The rest are piling on my DVR and I’m not sure I want to continue.|
|The Mindy Project||I watched all season 1 but I never reallllly liked it. I laughed a few times but that’s it. I’ve watched the first two episodes and the rest are piling on my DVR. Last year I only watched this when I ran out of everything else so I guess the same fate will apply here.|
|Pretty Little Liars||I put this in Fall 2013 because of the Halloween episode. But all I want to say is I am SO GLAD the finally made Ezra evil. Because he’s been way too creepy for too long.|
|The Middle||I adore this show. So so much.|
|The Tomorrow People||I’m watching and I like the premise and the sci-fi twist on paranormal powers but I don’t really care about the characters or their quest yet. Though it was nice seeing Logan Echolls on here.|
|Modern Family||This show has gotten worse, IMO. But I’m still watching.|
|Super Fun Night||This is cute but also kind of meh.|
|Survivor||This is a show I keep watching but never really enjoy it. I mostly fast forward through everything but the challenges. Even the tribal council.|
|Vampire Diaries||Long time readers of this blog know this show is my guilty pleasure. Five seasons later and I still love love love it. My only complain is that sometimes Ian Somerhaulder wears shirts.|
|Parks and Recreation||I’m really sad that Ann and Chris are leaving after 13 episodes. Leslie has been great as always but Ben has been kind of boring.|
|Once Upon a Time in Wonderland||I think I’m the only one watching this show. You all know my love for all things Alice. Though the only thing this really resembles from the original is the characters’ names. I wish it aligned better or twisted up the original more.|
|Grey’s Anatomy||Again, I’m still watching and never enjoying. I think I only watch for Jackson Avery’s pretty eyes.|
|Big Bang Theory||This show is hilarious as always!|
|Glee||I’ve been toying with giving up this one. The plotlines are ridiculous. WHY is Sue STILL trying to get rid of the Glee club? And how in the world is she Principal? It’s so ridiculous it’s beyond the realm of believability. But I like the song performances. Maybe I should just fast forward and watch those and ignore the plot.|
|The Crazy Ones||I thought SMG was a terrible actress on Ringer but she’s much better here. I don’t really care for Robin William’s antics but I’m enjoying the show enough to stick with it.|
|Reign||I’m not really all that into history but I am kind of liking this show.|
|The Millers||I liked the first episode, hated the others. It’s now gone from my DVR.|
|White Collar||I love the twisty way they solve mysteries and the constant blur of the line between Neil being good and evil. But I think he’s just a liiiiiitle too evil this season. I want to believe he’ll stay good, not the other way around.|
|The Neighbors||I still find this show adorable.|
|Saturday Night Live||Hasn’t been as good as in years’ past. Probably because of all their good people left and the people who have replaced them are forgettable.|
|Once Upon a Time||I’m liking this show more this year. I adore the love triangle between Emma, Neal, and Hook. Though she should clearly be with Henry’s father, Hook IS pretty hot. So that’s a tough decision.|
|The Amazing Race||I wish they would stop doing challenges that involve fish. Gross!|
|Revenge||This show is much better this season. I love crazy Emily.|
|Witches of East End||I am absolutely loving this show!|
|Masters of Sex||I watched the first episode and liked it but haven’t had a chance to watch the rest yet. Will probably binge watch them in December.|
|Doctor Who||Needless to say I am ridiculously excited about the DAY OF THE DOCTOR and the return of my beloved Ten. I am far less excited about Peter Capaldi.|
|Downton Abbey||I am super excited to binge watch the most recent season soon, probably over Thanksgiving.|
I used to think Writer’s Block was simply being unable to put words to a page. I imagined writers sitting at their desks with their fingers perched above the keyboard and not being able to think of a word to type. A form of paralysis. Or maybe it was more like you could write but each word you wrote sucked. Everything came out as cliche and boring and without voice.
But the thing about the problem mentioned above is that it doesn’t matter if the writing is crappy because that can always been fixed in revisions. What matters is when you don’t know what to write. And that’s the real writer’s block.
I’m not talking about not knowing what comes next when you’re deep into a story because even that, too, is fixable. Usually when you don’t know what comes next, it’s because you wrote yourself into a corner. There are ways to fix this form of writer’s block. You can backtrack and erase the latest scene, chapter, plot direction until you get back to a point where you can move forward again. You can map out different options on where to take the plot until you figure out where to go next.
The real issue with writer’s block is not knowing where to even start.
During August, I was between projects. I’d sent off my sci-fi YA to crit partners and I wanted to outline and then draft a MG while I waited for their feedback. I had a MG idea I loved with really fun characters…but no plot. I only had a catalyst but I had no idea what came next or what the characters really wanted. I tried to outline but I kept getting stuck in the same place, basically I could never get past the inciting incident despite trying all different plot routes and character motivations.
It was frustrating because all my critique partners loved the MG idea, I loved it, I was excited about the characters, but…I was stuck. And everything I tried couldn’t get me unstuck.
This was a strange new concept to me since the YA sci-fi I just wrote basically fell out of me when I wasn’t looking for it. I was revising a different book and the scenes just kept coming to me so I kept jotting them down and when it came time to start that project, I had a full outline already without even meaning to.
That’s the thing though, isn’t it? Book ideas always come when you’re not looking for them. And I was staring at this MG idea head on.
I took my conundrum to my critique partner Chandler Baker to see if she had any thoughts as to why the book wasn’t working. And she suggested I look at it from an entirely new angle. Turn the premise on its head.
Best advice ever! Suddenly I realized why I couldn’t figure out what came after the catalyst because the catalyst itself was wrong. Not only that, but my POV character was wrong too. I had to reverse the story completely so it wasn’t from the girl’s POV but the boy’s. Because the boy had the real story to tell and switching to his POV literally opened up a new world of possibilities. The plot fell into place. He had a clear goal and obstacles in his way. The stakes were higher with him as the POV character because he had more to lose than the girl did. Not only that, but the initial high-concept premise actually became even higher concept when it switched to his POV.
Same characters but different catalyst and an inverted premise. And it works!
So next time you don’t know what comes next in your story, it might be because you’re trying to tell the wrong story entirely!
Hey everyone! Thought I’d give you a little update as to what I’ve been up to lately.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I was diving straight into a MG first draft after finishing the first draft of my sci-fi YA. I ended up outlining the MG, but instead of writing the first draft, I decided to let the outline marinate for a bit. Plus, I had enough time away from my sci-fi YA that I was able to go back to it with fresh eyes and revise it. I’m almost done with this round and then it’s out to my critique partners!
I also wrote proposals for another MG and another YA. Very excited about these as well.
I am very excited about this:
;@garbage Shirley! Indeed the bitches *are* back, and we couldn’t be more psyched. Life is strange and Lovely. XoN
— Veruca Salt (@verucasalt) June 10, 2013
That’s right! My favorite band from the 90s, the one that dedicated a song to me at a concert when I was 14 because I made them a ridiculously cute-but-dorky scrapbook and managed to smuggle it to them during a concert at a small venue, the one where the cute drummer kissed me on the cheek after that concert, the one I used to run an e-zine for that had over a thousand subscribers IS GETTING BACK TOGETHER!
Yay throwback to my teen years!
And that’s not the only thing coming back from my teen years:
A Sailor Moon reboot!
This was also my favorite thing when I was 14! This time the anime will follow more closely. According to this announcement, the anime will debut sometime in December 2013/January 2014. I can’t wait!
The baby now says three words. “Up,” “down,” and “hi!” And she likes to call me “dada” except she doesn’t call her actual dad that, lol.
A Friday Five is appropriate today since it’s July 5th. And I have much to celebrate this week!
1. I finished the first draft of my new book! WHOOOOOOOOO! It’s now marinating for a bit so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.
2. I celebrated finishing the first draft by diving into the outline of a MG idea I’ve been playing around with. I’m excited to try my hand at MG.
3. Yesterday was America’s birthday and tomorrow is my baby’s birthday. I can’t believe she’s already a year old. How did that happen? In celebration, she learned to climb the stairs this week. In related news, I now find it much more difficult to go up the stairs thanks to the gate blocking my way.
4. She hasn’t said her first words yet but I’m working really hard to ensure they are “Doctor Who.” She can’t say “mama” yet but she can almost say “doctor.”
5. This was the first year since I graduated college 10 years ago that I didn’t watch the Macy’s Fireworks live, either in NJ in Hoboken or in NYC. I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, to be honest, but it still felt weird to go to bed at 9:30 last night and miss them entirely! But I knew the baby would be up at 5:30am like she always is despite me wanting her to sleep until 8, and so I had to be old and lame. Oh well. At least I’m refreshed and ready to write today!