Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts on Will Grayson, Will Grayson

OMG DAVID LEVITHAN AND JOHN GREEN TOGETHER OMG!!!!!11!!!1

Pretty much my thoughts on learning about this book. I've been a David Levithan fan since my 14-year-old self discovered the amazingness that is Boy Meets Boy. All his other stuff is great, as well. I had never read anything by John Green before but heard he was incredible (however, since Will Grayson, Will Grayson I've read Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, so it's safe to say I'm a huge fan now.)

I love this book. I've read it twice since I got it, and often think about it and pick it up again off my shelf just to hold it and stroke it and remember it...

/end crazy

So anyways, this book is about two teenagers who share the same name but have never met. Then their lives intertwine and all hell breaks loose, basically.

Like David Levithan's other collaboration novels (with Rachel Cohn), one author writes one character, the other writes another. This is enormously effective - each character has an insanely different voice and there is no mixing-up of characters even though they have the same name. Sometimes when single authors write two POVs, it can get muddled up and difficult to figure out who's who. This never happens in WG, WG. Each Will is wildly unique.

My favourite Will Grayson was David Levithan's, who is severely depressed and cynical and basically everything I like characters to be. His chapters were written in all-lower case, and he came off very sedate and sardonic, yet filled with intense loneliness and a desire to be loved and he just broke my heart.

The romance in this book is fucking top-notch. Seriously. Paranormal romances need to take a leaf out of John Green & David Levithan's book (literally), because the romance between DL's Will and Tiny Cooper was amazing. Crazy sexual energy, the chemistry was great, and when they kiss it raises goosebumps all over your body.

Now, as much as I loved this book, one aspect made me so incredibly sad and sent me into a spiral of denial (it didn't really happen, it didn't, it couldn't have!!!), so on my second reading I stopped in the middle so I could pretend it didn't happen.

:]

But, final word... read this. Read it if you love John Green, because JG's Will Grayson is a perfect addition to his canon of awesome characters. Read it if you love David Levithan, because it is another shining example of his incredible understand of the teenage mind. Read it if you love romances.

Oh, and read it if you love kooky, crazy musicals. Because there's a good one in here that I wish I could see in real life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finished!

I have just completed the first draft of FAKE.

:)

I am a happy writer. I can't help it, I have to start Draft #2 right now!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

45,000 words!

The first draft of FAKE is almost done. Just a few thousand words more.

I'm in love with it, guys. I am beyond ecstatic about this. Best thing I've written so far, I'd say.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In My Mailbox

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Whoa, you guys... I bought so much crap today. And by 'crap' I mean good books and stuff that I love. It was like a book-buying orgy. I feel kind of guilty I spent so much money, especially when I'm pretty much broke right now. But anyway. I got:

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I recently watched the movie, and OMG. My mom loves this book so I just have to read it. It is 1,448 pages long!

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev - This gorgeous cover and title have been beckoning me for so long... so when I saw it in paperback I was like HELLZ YES.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst - Came highly recommended, and the premise reminds me of The Golden Compass. So I suspect I will fall in love with this book.

The Wicca Bible by Ann-Marie Gallagher - I'm Wiccan. Just so you know.

Enchantment of the Faerie Realm by Ted Andrews - I'm a Wiccan who believes in faeries.

True Magick by Amber K - Yeah. I went to a New Age bookstore and it was love at first sight.

I also purchased a Book of Shadows! For those who don't know, a Book of Shadows is a blank book, a witch's personal book of spells. In it you record your journey and growth as a witch. This will be with me the rest of my life, so I'm pretty excited to finally have it.

That's all the shit I got today!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beta readers are scary

I quickly finished my edit today and sent Ambulance off to my trusty beta readers. I'm actually amazed I got so many volunteers. Two are my best friends, one of whom is a big reader (good thing in a beta reader!) and the other is the most incredibly detail-oriented, cynical, nick-picker ever - which sounds like it would be bad, but he also really loves me, so he's not going to be afraid to tell me the truth. Another is a friend that I only talked to in high school a few times, but we've been online BFFs for like three years. He's one of the most randomly supportive people I know. Another is a girl I met in university last term. And then my cousin volunteered earlier today.

So wow. I managed to get so many, just from a quick Facebook status asking for volunteers. What amazing friends I have! I feel bad for friends of writers... we're such needy, insecure people.

But now there's definitely some stage fright going on. I actually had to turn down a reader, my aunt, because I was totally worried what she'd think of me if she read my book. I mean, it's full of sex! FULL of it! And a swear word every few sentences. Not that I'm ashamed of what I write, but it's different having friends read my writing, and having older, wiser family members read it, especially when they're writers too and basically got me started writing when I was little.

So yeah, this is overwhelming. But all I can do now is sit back and wait, right?

Except that I'm sure (once again!) that I've written this thing completely wrong and that I should start over from scratch (AGAIN). This book needs to go die in a corner.

But at the same time, I've been working on it for more than four years. I've abandoned so many other projects, but this one sticks with me. That must mean there's something to salvage, right?

I guess I'll just wait for the peanut gallery's input.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thoughts on Dirty Little Secrets

As a horrified but morbidly fascinated fan of the TV show Hoarders, I was really, really stoked to read this book. I always wondered about the inner lives of the kids of the people on that show, and what it was like to be one of them. Plus the situation of this novel is somewhat similar to the premise of my current WIP.

All that, and a gorgeous cover? I was desperate to get my paws on Dirty Little Secrets.

It did not disappoint.

I mean... wow. This book really puts your emotions through a wringer. I just ached for Lucy, the main character. Her situation is truly unimaginable. I can't really say much for fear of spoiling. Trust me, though, this book is emotionally absorbing. The writing is really good, too.

The main thing that impressed me about Omololu's writing was the scope. Dirty Little Secrets essentially takes place over one day, with some flashbacks mixed in. It was truly incredible how the author put everything under the microscope. No event, no item in Lucy's disaster of a house, is without significance. I only realized that it had only been about a day in novel-land when I was at the end. Lucy's world is amazingly vivid.

The best part of this novel was Lucy's growth. Again, can't say much, but I will say that the choices this character makes are unimaginable, and it takes a writer of incredible strength to successfully create such a dynamic character.

And the ending!

You guys, you have to read this one. 5/5. Favourite book of 2010 so far.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Whoa

I am one line-edit away from being finished the MS I've been working on for the past four and a half years. It's scary, to say the least.

I've always thought it was really, really sucky - I mean, I started writing it when I was fourteen! And no matter how much raw talent I had, I had NOT reached a level where I had any kind of eye for... well, anything. My writing was bloated and my prose was very, very purple. I was over-dramatic and wanted this story to be the next Romeo and Juliet. I was convinced it had to be this sweeping, epic tragedy.

But something about it stuck with me. I finished the first draft a few months after I started it, but I've been re-writing it ever since. Every year, from writing other novels, I've gotten better, and I bring that new knowledge back to this MS. Somehow, I'm still as passionate about it as I was when I started it, and so a few weeks ago when I discovered Valerie Kemp's amazing post about first chapters, I realized the potential it had.

Needless to say, after 4.5 years of rewrites, it is not even the same book anymore. Hell, only two of the four important characters were even in the original draft. Not a single scene it contains now was a part of the original MS.

I have my completed MS.

I have a kick-ass (I think!!) query letter.

And now, only one line-edit and four beta readers stand between me and starting to query agents. Ahhhh!!!

Kristin Briana Otts' Contest!

I love Kristin's blog, Socially Acceptable Schizophrenia. She has a great contest going on that I really want to win... all about blurbs. You could win a copy of the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents and a first chapter critique from Kristin herself! What are you waiting for? Enter here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughts on Before I Fall

Yesterday I finished reading Lauren Oliver's debut, Before I Fall. I kind of bought this on a whim. It was there on the shelf at the book store during the 20% off everything sale, and it was so pretty and hardcover-y and I had just gotten a big paycheque... love at first sight.

However, I'd read some really mixed reviews about it. Sometimes mixed reviews just propel me into reading a book, because I just have to find out for myself.

Well... I loved it.

It's huge, almost five hundred pages, but I whipped through it in a couple of days because, seriously, it's awesome. It's about a girl who dies, and then has to live the last day of her life over seven times to unravel the mysteries in her life. Like Groundhog Day.

I've noticed recently that dead-main-character books are becoming a huge trend with books like Before I Fall and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, which both harken back to The Lovely Bones.

Anyway... the protagonist, Samantha Kingston, was unbearable in the first few hundred pages of the book. I just hated her. She was a rude, self-centred mean bitch. But as she started to change and develop with each of the days she relives, I began to understand that this was a purposeful move on Lauren Oliver's part. So it was okay in the end, I actually really liked Sam by the end.

Lauren Oliver is a fantastic writer. This book was a breath of fresh air for me. Lately it feels like I've been reading books with kind of flat prose, flat description, boring characters, but this was was the opposite of all of those. The description was absolutely magical in places. And all of the supporting characters were very well-developed, even the dopey superficial Rob, Sam's boyfriend.

And the REAL love interest, Kent... omg, melt. I haven't rooted so hard for a YA pairing in a long time.

But the thing that struck me the most right from the opening pages... Before I Fall paints a bang-on picture of high school. None of this stereotypical cheerleader, jock, geek stuff. Everyone went to big parties together, people were popular or not based on their personalities and what they did, not merely what label they fell under. I was cheering the entire time. At my high school, there were no cheerleaders or football player clich├ęs. No book has ever really presented a high school in a way that resonated with me, and this one really did.

So, I give it a 5/5. If you were on the fence about reading Before I Fall, hesitate no more. Consider this your permission to lose yourself in it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Raven Desk's contest!

Soooooo Sumayyah over at The Raven Desk (a blog I looove) has this awesome contest going. The prizes include a book cover for a manuscript, an original soundtrack cover, and a blog header. These are killah prizes... so personal and creative! I really want to win this one, so this is my lovely blog post about it!

The contest can be entered here.

Thoughts on Cracked Up to Be


I've decided that I'm too cool and awesome to stick to the review criteria I made up a while back. If I'm going to do reviews, which I really want to do more of, I need to have a looser and more free-flowing way to do them.

And so I present to you, my review of Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers.

Well, I kind of bought this book on a whim while I was on a road trip about three weeks ago. I was already buying a few things from my wish list, and wanted one more book to round out the purchase. So I saw Courtney Summers' debut on the shelf and nabbed it because I'd heard a lot of good things about it.

It wasn't the book I was most desperate to read out of the three I bought, but after reading the first page, I was sucked in. I ended up devouring the whole book in one and a half days. It really is a page-turner, and I loved the narrator's voice. She's so snarky and awesome.

However... she is a very mean girl! Her relationships with pretty much everyone were so mangled. While this is good respite from the sugary-sweet YA girl narrators you get sometimes, I just found it to be kind of overload. She was downright rude a lot of the time.

For the most part Courtney Summers' writing was phenomenal, though.

The only problem I really had with the book was the "why" of the plot. I kept turning the pages, wanting a fantastic revelation about everything going on - and it never really came. It's a mystery, there's something about a missing girl... but I still don't really understand exactly what happened. I think it needs rereading, but still. If the main resolution isn't clear at the end of one reading, something's kind of wrong.

But for the most part this was a very entertain read, with really good characters. Especially Jake. I'm a Jake fan for sure.

I'm going to give it a 4/5

What's up with me?

So last night I was writing and generally thinking about writing, and something popped into my head: I remembered two novels I wrote about two years ago that I had somehow forgotten about.

How I did this, I do not know. But that brings my count of novels I've written up to 10.

Yeah. I don't even know how I did this, seeing as I always feel like I'm struggling with writing. Anyways, this was a really sweet confidence booster. Especially since I crossed the 30,000 word mark on my current work-in-progress, FAKE. The 33,000 word mark, actually, as of last night.

So that's what's up with me, basically. Even though I know no one is reading this.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lazy Sunday

YA author Hannah Moskowitz has a post here all about rules. Rules of writing, that is. All those things you hear from editors, agents, and fellow writers about what you should and shouldn't do. It's a very good post, I recommend taking a look.

Anyway, it got me thinking about my own writing rules, and what does and doesn't work for me. A lot of the NaNoWriMo rules work wonders for me, like write-fast-don't-edit-as-you-go. During November I always turn into a crazy writing machine, and it feels so good and I just lovelovelove it. So I guess I really produce under pressure. Also, I've learned that I'm a really competitive writer - competitive with myself. I LOVE wordcounts. I keep my wordcount visible at all times as I'm writing. It's thrilling to see it go up with every few keys typed. Especially when I fall into a bit of a spell and the words are just melting off my fingers and then, holy crap, I've written six hundred words in like three minutes.

I write a thousand words a day, minimum, these days. At night. I'm just not a morning writer, even though it seems that everyone else is. For me mornings are for menial tasks like eating breakfast and running a few quick errands. Or going to work. I write between 10pm and midnight or so, whenever those 1,000 words are finished. Which is what I should be doing right now.

Hee hee. I'm going to go get those numbas upppp.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Back!

Okay, yeah, I took a break... actually I kinda forgot about the blog. I've been reading tons of other peoples' blogs and neglecting my own. But that's okay, because I have now made a pledge to do more with this.

So my new WIP is called FAKE. I forget if I mentioned that in my last post. I hit 20,000 words on it today and it's going incredibly well.

Does anyone want to hear what it's about? Anyone? ANYONE?

Okay.

It's about a seventeen-year-old girl, Jen, who is the sixth of fifteen children. She's caught between wanting to be invisible and wanting to stand out, so she makes an account on a social networking site. She starts posting fake pictures and fake information as Elliot, a gay fashionista with tons of drama - Jen's drama, just twisted and flipped around. Jen is having so much fun with it, but when "Elliot" meets Orlando online, everything gets serious. Orlando is falling in love with Elliot, but Jen knows that she can't string him along forever. Or can she? The pressures of living in her uber-religious family are mounting, and Jen's mind and soul are becoming more and more divided: there's the Jen side, and the Elliot side. Which one is the truer side? Which one will she ultimately choose to become?

So that was a muddled description. I'll probably save it and play with it for when it's query letter writing time! :)

Speaking of queries, I wrote a good one for Ambulance, too. Maybe I'll share it tomorrow.