Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Was it good for you, NaNo? 'Cause it was good for me!

I just won NaNoWriMo 2010.


I never had any doubts about this. (Well, maybe a few on the days I skipped writing because I was annoyed with the main character and the monotony of some of the story, but we'll just pretend those days didn't happen.)

I'm so happy to be able to call myself a third-time winner... but I decided I hate this novel and want to bury it in a drawer and never see it again. And that is okay. Even if I never put it through revisions and put it on submission, and even if no one else in the world ever reads it, it was still really good practice for everything else I will go on to write.

And now I can go back to my revisions of FAKE!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Music time!

KT posted this little iTunes shuffle game and I just love doing stuff like this :)

Open your iTunes. Turn it on shuffle. And write down the first 15 songs that come up.

I'm cheating a bit, because there are definitely songs on my iTunes that I hate/don't care about/don't want to share with you guys! And KT said it's okay to cheat!

Here's my random 15:

1. A Little Piece - The Jezabels
I discovered this song last week when it was on the soundtrack for this amazing video. It has a larger-than-life sound, perfect for what I've been writing this week.

2. The Old Apartment - The Barenaked Ladies
I love, love, love The Barenaked Ladies. They have such an iconic sound, and all of their songs are so evocative of Vancouver, my home city. Anytime I hear their music on the radio it reminds me of home. "The Old Apartment" is especially like that, totally has that Vancouver sound. Also, it reminds me of my own feelings for the place I used to live - I really wish I could break in and see what the new people did with it, even though I know it would make me really sad. But yeah, this song totally has that rainy city feeling.

3. Oh Comely - Neutral Milk Hotel
Oh, crap. This song had to come up, didn't it? Neutral Milk Hotel is fantastic, very unconventional and strange but I could (and have) listened to their album In An Aeroplane Over the Sea on repeat. "Oh Comely" is haunting, slightly disturbing song. Don't quote me on this, but I'm quite sure it's about Anne Frank. That's what I imagine it's about, anyway. But it's totally haunting and powerful when that's the context you use to think about it. My favourite line, and probably the creepiest, is "50 years later I wish I could save her in some kind of time machine."

4. Into Your Arms - The Maine
This song is a complete 180 from "Oh Comely" - it's bubbly and fun and romantic and doesn't take a lot of thinking about. Still pretty and nice though. Actually very good to write to. Plus the guys in the band are gorgeous!

5. Air Dry - Teddy Geiger
One of my favourite songs from one of my favourite artists! Teddy kind of fell of the edge of the earth, I think he was supposed to have another album out but it kept getting pushed back or something - but his first album is still perfectly great to listen to. This particular song is underrated and adorable!

6. I Woke Up In A Car - Something Corporate
Favourite band ever. Not my ultimate favourite song by them, but it's a good introduction to them.

7. Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells
Totally random electronic/rock. I actually really like it though. Super fun to drive around town to!

8. Kiss Me When You Come Home - Hanson
Other favourite band ever. This is off their newest album, Shout It Out, and it mixes piano and gospel choir-esque harmonies with rock. Loooove.

9. 1984 - Anaïs Mitchell
Creepy, creepy, creepy George Orwell-inspired song by an under-appreciated singer-songwriter. She opened for one of my favourite artists when I saw her last year, and Anaïs stole the show!

10. Could I Be Your Girl - Jann Arden
Love me some 90s girl rock. This song is the best.

11. Only Ashes - Something Corporate
My favourite thing about Something Corporate is that they can be rebellious punks on one song ("If U C Jordan") and they can sing melancholy, heart-wrenching rock ballads like "Only Ashes."

12. A Journey to the Past - Anastasia Soundtrack
I adore animated movie soundtracks, and this song is particularly beautiful.

13. Beauty in the Breakdown - The Scene Aesthetic
If FAKE were a movie, this song would definitely be on the soundtrack. As it is it's featured prominently on the FAKE playlist in my iTunes. I love the singer's voice. So emo but so gorgeous.

14. Musical Ride - Hanson
Another Hanson song off the new album. When I saw them live in September they said they wrote this song for the people who had supported and loved their music since the beginning, so I can't help but feel that I have some ownership in this song.

15. As Long As You Love Me - The Backstreet Boys
1990s pop FTW!

And there you have it! :) This was fun. Thanks to KT for the idea!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on TRICKS

I LOVE Ellen Hopkins. I love how she is completely fearless. Not at all afraid to write about the ugly stuff, whether it's sex, violence, drugs, incest, she's written about it all, completely unapologetic. She knows that this stuff happens in real life, and that no good will come of covering it up and pretending it's not there. Any time there is any controversy over her books (like earlier this year when her invitation to a book event in Texas was revoked) my heart breaks for her and the readers that censors are depriving of her books.

As well as being fearless in the topics she chooses to write about, Ellen Hopkins is also not afraid to experiment with the way she tells her stories. Her novels-in-verse are groundbreaking in both the stories they tell and they way they tell them. She's made the YA novel-in-verse what it is today.

Tricks, which was released last year, is about five teenagers who fall from grace in various ways and all end up as teenage prostitutes. Eden ran away from her controlling religious family. Whitney was lured away from her upper-class family by a manipulative older man. Ginger, the daughter of a prostitute, ran away after being raped by one of her mom's johns. Seth leaves his conservative Indiana home and becomes a kept boy for a rich older man. Last but not least, Cody turns to drugs and prostitution after his stepfather's death to support a gambling addiction. At first each teen's story is isolated, but they start to weave together and overlap at the end.

The characters were, for the most part, very three-dimensional, but I found that they started to blur together. I had trouble keeping Ginger and Whitney separate in my mind. Five POV characters is a lot, and it's commendable that Hopkins was able to do it as well as she did. Their stories were extremely realistic, in a heartbreaking way. At times the downward spirals of the characters were predictable, but I think that's what made it so sad. You really started to like the characters in the beginning, and when they started to slip into drugs and promiscuous sex, it really breaks your heart.

Although I still like Burned better, Tricks was a great read and I really recommend it to readers that aren't put off by drugs, sex and violence. Since I really like all those things in a book, Ellen Hopkins gets my support 100%!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Welcome back, Sanity. I missed you.

Last night I finished the last of my term papers. Yay! Now I just have some homework, a quiz and a final portfolio to do before my two exams and then term is over. Wow, it feels like term just freaking started. Not complaining, though.

So hopefully I will have a lot more time for reading in the coming weeks, and returning to my revision of FAKE.

In other news, I was a few thousand words behind in NaNo, but last night I managed to catch up! I hit the 35,000 word mark around midnight. I love hitting 35k - it's almost as satisfying as 50k. The end is in sight! Except not really, because I still have no idea how the story's going to end.

I'm sure it'll all turn out all right. Anyway, soon the pressure of school will let out and I'll be blogging more. I'm really looking forward to diving into my big TBR pile and posting some reviews :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deathly Hallows, Part I

Yes, it's almost 3am. Yes, I just got back from Deathly Hallows part I.

Yes, it was amazing.

The next few months are going to be torture.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halfway Through November

It's November 15th, and that means I'll be hitting the 25,000 word mark sometime today. It also means my term papers are coming up due this week (I should probably start those...)

But anyway, on a more silly and fun note, my query is on Evil Editor today!

I've done this a few times, and the minions never fails to give some great insight. I'm usually so close to my story that I can't see the forest for the trees, and hearing what the minions think about my query and my general idea really helps. Go check it out if you want to see what I'm writing about. It's for How To Be Ruthless, the WIP that's on pause for NaNo but I'll be working on again once December hits.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leah Clifford's amazing contest!

Leah Clifford, one of the YA Rebels and author of A Touch Mortal (coming out in Feb 2011), is having an amazing, unique contest on her vlog this week.

What you have to do to enter: suggest a boy's name for her to use in the sequel to A Touch Mortal and tote it all over the internet.

What you can win: a signed ARC of A Touch Mortal, your suggested name used in its sequel, AND Leah will include your name in the acknowledgements of the sequel!

Isn't this awesome? What are you waiting for, go enter!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNoWriMo, Day 9

The past few days I fell behind, and this morning I calculated that I needed to write 2,946 words to catch up to the goal.

I was discouraged, but promised myself that after every block of 500 words, I could eat an Oreo.

Guess what? I hit the goal. My word count is now 15,012, well into the awkward teens. Actually, halfway through the teens.

This bodes well. I'm completely rejuvenated and back on track! :)

Although I'm also enormously stressed. I have two major essays due soon, one next Thursday and one the Monday after that. And I haven't started either one. I usually thrive when I have to work last-minute, but I think my sanity is starting to erode.

I wish I wasn't so good at procrastinating!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yay, blog award!

KT gave me the Honest Scrap award! Thanks, KT! I'm very honoured :) So now apparently I'm supposed to share ten facts about myself. This will be fun!

1. I love Hanson. Yes, the band of long-haired blonde brothers from the 90s. I first became a fan when I was seven years old, and last month I saw them in concert and realized my childhood dreams. Have you heard their latest stuff?! Amazing.

2. I wrote my first novel at 13. It was a thinly-veiled School of Rock fanfiction. I also wrote a lot of Harry Potter fanfic. Who didn't?

3. I'm terrible at poetry, which is bad because I have to write a lot of it for my creative writing classes.

4. Despite being thoroughly not-Catholic, Catholicism is one of my biggest interests. Go figure.

5. I drive a 1999 Saturn SL that kind of sucks but I love it anyway.

6. I don't want to move out. I love my parents too much.

7. I loooove silly words. Especially IKEA brand names. Like I love how this lint roller here is called a Bästis.

8. I've read all of Jane Austen's novels.

9. I don't like ice cream. It's too cold on my sensitive teeth.

10. My favourite TV show of all time is Friends.

Woohoo! Aaaaand now I get to give the award to other people! And I pick:


Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo, Day 4

I was originally hoping to do a daily post on NaNoWriMo, but that's proving difficult. School is amping up and it's all I can do to stay on top of everything!
That being said, I'm making sure NaNo is a priority. I love it that much. I don't want it to suffer just because of some lame schoolwork. Seriously, if there's one thing I'll willingly cut to make time for writing, it's my social life. Luckily I have understanding friends.

It's going pretty well. I was a day ahead but it caught up to me today, when I didn't have much time to write. I'm just getting to an important part - the first mermaid sighting!

Oh, by the way, I'm writing about a lesbian who meets a mermaid. It's called AN ELEGANT NOISE, and that's all I really know about the plot so far :)

So far, though, loving it. NaNo rocks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And they're off!

So it's November 1st, and you know what that means!

I only just got home from school (where I managed to rack up 300 words during class), so NaNoWriMo begins for me... now.