Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

Last year I wrote a slightly depressing post about failing everything I tried in 2011. I made an effort to make 2012 better. I think it's safe to say that I rocked 2012. Sure I've had some low points this year, but when I look back at it 2012 has been fantastic.

I won NaNoWriMo
I wrote a lot
I kept up with this blog
I vlogged for 30 days

There are a lot of goals I want to make for 2013. Like reading more, vlogging more often, and seeing if I can get somewhere with my writing.  I don't know where 2013 is going to take me, but I will happily be go along for the ride. Who knows, 2013 might be even better.

Goodbye 2012 it's been real.

See you all in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Road Trip Day 5


The Holiday Road Trip is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post several questions each day about the books you've read through the year. We have several different questions for each day. Answer one, answer a few, answer them all: anything goes! You can draw from books that were new in 2012, or ones that were new to you---this is just a great opportunity to reflect on the year of reading you enjoyed.



Today's Holiday Road Trip Questions:
- Most Anticipated Book Releases in 2013
 - Most Recommended (By You)

So I've basically just did the odd days. Anyway since it is the last day I'm answering both.

Most Anticipated Book Releases in 2013: 
Debuts:
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Reboot by Amy Tintera 
Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Sequels:
Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan (I finished Unspoken in basically one sitting. SO MANY FEELS)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Do I have to explain?)
Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton (Still need to finish Wings of the Wicked though)

There are a lot of books that didn't make the cut because I could not think of them all. There are also a lot of books in 2012 that I wanted to put on the list. I'll do a separate post about that. 

Most Recommended

I'm taking this as what books I am recommending to you. I'm limiting it to 2012 releases, but it's hard because I can't remember that far back. 

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (SO MANY FEELS)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer 
Origin by Jessica Khoury
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Actually I recommend anything by him)
Room by Emma Donoghue (not YA but it's one of the few assigned readings in college that I've enjoyed)

That's my list. I had a great time doing Road Trip Wednesday for YA Highway. I've made so many online friends along the way and follow some great bloggers. I can't wait for 2013.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Road Trip Day 3

The Holiday Road Trip is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post several questions each day about the books you've read through the year. We have several different questions for each day. Answer one, answer a few, answer them all: anything goes! You can draw from books that were new in 2012, or ones that were new to you---this is just a great opportunity to reflect on the year of reading you enjoyed.

Today's Holiday Road Trip Questions:

                                                                         - Best "I Want To Go To There" Setting in a Book
                                    - Favorite YA Characters

I didn't post anything Tuesday because I was too busy with my family. You know, because it was Christmas. And then Wednesday, well I'm posting this at midnight so I think it counts.

Now for best "I want to go to there" settings I'm pretty wimpy so there are tons of places in YA literature that I would not like to go. ***cough cough*** Panem ***cough cough*** Also I would not survive in places where there are mythical creatures roaming about in secret or in public.

I would however like to go to real destinations like some characters in books. Like Hazel Grace in The Fault in Our Stars I would love to go to Amsterdam. Anywhere in Europe actually. London, Rome, Paris, I just want to travel.

If I had to pick a fictional place that is 100% safe I to live guess it would be Genovia. I wouldn't want to be royalty like Princess Mia, that's too much responsibly. But I would love to go to a place and be fancy.

Happy Reading!

PS- Don't kill me, but I would not want to go to Hogwarts, I would not survive a day there. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Roadtrip Day 1


The Holiday Road Trip is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post several questions each day about the books you've read through the year. We have several different questions for each day. Answer one, answer a few, answer them all: anything goes! You can draw from books that were new in 2012, or ones that were new to you---this is just a great opportunity to reflect on the year of reading you enjoyed.




                              Today's Holiday Road Trip Questions:

- Best Book Of The Year
- Most Unexpectedly Delightful Book Of The Year
- Book I Wanted To Hate But Couldn't Because Game Recognize Game*
Book I Can't Get Out Of My Mind
- Best "New To Me" YA Author

I'm only answering the ones I put in bold. I didn't read much this year for a number of reasons, but of the books I did read I really enjoyed. 

Best Book of the YearThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Do I really have to explain why I loved this book? It's charming, funny and I cried like a baby for hours after reading it. Well done John Green, well done.

Book I Can't Get Out Of My MindCinder by Marissa Meyer. I pulled an all nighter to read that book. I literally did not get any sleep the night after I finished it. If you remember from an earlier post I wrote a semi crazed fan email to her the minute after I finished the book. I can't wait for Scarlet. I just downloaded the prequel Glitches for my nook. I'll start it once the Holiday season is over.

Best "New To Me" YA Author: I thought really hard about this question and I decided not to go with a 2012 debut author because they are all new authors. So I chose Rachel Vincent. I bought a copy of Soul Screamers: Volume One at Target this summer it's a large book containing My Soul to Lose (a prequel novellas) My Soul to Take and My Soul to Save. I wasn't expecting much since I never heard of the series before that day. I bought it on a whim and I was not disappointed. The second volume is already out I think. I might have to pick that up soon...

There's my list. I'll be back tomorrow with more questions. If you want to participate check out yahighway.com

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

YA Highway RTW: The Name Game


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic: The list of top baby names in 2012 had us talking about naming characters. How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?

I hate naming characters. It's actually worse than titles for me. I change them all the time. Sometimes when I need a name in a pinch I do what most writers do and go to babynames.com. When looking for names I don't go for the top names. I usually search by the meaning of the name to see if it has something to do about my characters's traits. Like in my WIP one of the character's name is Val and Valerie means strength. Val is a very strong character mentally and physically so the name fits her.

Other times when naming characters I like to have fun with the meaning. Susan Black the MC from my NaNo Novel Suspension of Disbelief has the powers to control all forms of earth. I wanted to name her after a flower so I chose the Black-eyed Susan. See what I did there. Grayson Clark was a name I had fun naming. Since the it was a superhero novel I took his name from two different superheros. Guess in the comments which two. I also played with alliteration for some names because Stan Lee does that in most of his comics to remember his character's names. I had help with Grayson's superhero persona's through a forum, but I'm still struggling with villain's names. That's something I have to do a little more research on.  

Sometimes the names just come to me. I really like having unisex names for the girls most of the time. It's just a quirk I have. I also try to avoid naming characters after people I know. It's just weird. But I can never avoid it really. There will always be some character that has the same name as a friend or coworker. When the name is right for the character there's no way around it.

That's my weird process of naming characters. It's not really my favorite thing to do, but it has to be done. Who do you do about naming characters? 

Happy Reading 

Friday, December 7, 2012

End of Semester Refletion

The semester is OVER!!!

The past five months have been insane, stressful, and wonderful all at the same time. There are things I wish I could have committed to more, like my vlog and finishing the first draft of Unremarkable. But there are also things that I am proud of accomplishing, like finishing NaNoWriMo and keeping up with this blog. All and all the first semester of my junior year was successful and I can only hope for the best second semester.

Things I want to accomplish second semester:

1. Read more: I've only read a few books this semester. I have a lot of them on my bookshelf, but I never make the time to read. I have the time, I do. But the challenge is picking up the book and actually reading. There are so many books on my TBR list, so many series I want to finish. I think next semester I should make an effort to read two books a month. In high school I read two books a week. But that was when I had all the time in the world. With my limited time, I think I can make this goal a reality. 

2. Write more: I proved I could write 50,000 words in a month. Now I need to apply everything to my daily writing routine. Finishing NaNoWriMo has put a lot in perspective. Much like reading I've always had the time to write. The challenge was just opening the document and going at it. Even though I am taking a Creative Writing course next semester, I want to make time for my own personal writing. I want to be published one day, I can't sit around saying that I'll write later. "Write Now." That's not just a motivator for me it's for you too. I don't want these bad habits bleeding into adulthood. I still think I can't get over the shock that I'll be out of school in a year in a half. I need to shape up now.

3. Be a better Leslie: This is pretty self-explanatory. I think before I could really be successful I have to be comfortable in my own skin, as a writer and as a person in general.

Well that's all the philosophy I can dish out in one post. Finals are next week and I'm going to need a lot of chocolate to survive that.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

YA Highway RTW: Revisions


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic is: For many, December is a post-NaNoWriMo revision haze! How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?

Never ask me for advice. EVER. Since I finished NaNoWriMo I've been in slowly working on revisions. Nothing too heavy because I don't want to tire myself. I'll take a break after this first edit.

How I approach revision: 

1. I do a super basic grammar and spelling check. I fix sentence structure and add some more detail and description. Add scenes to fit inconsistencies. I find it easier to just go over the simple stuff on the computer.
2. Print it, shred it, burn it and scatter the ashes all over central Indiana.
3. Print it again. This is when I freak out and delete/rewrite everything. Scenes get cut and added, more setting and detail are infused characters die (or come back to life).
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 about six billion times
5. Done

When I do have it printed out. I like to read the story without making any corrections, notating what I need to work on when I go back to it. Sometimes I like to use Post-Its to indicate what I needed to change.

That's all I got. Does anybody have any revising advice? How do you approach revisions?

Happy Revising!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Journey to 50,000 words

I finished NaNoWriMo for the first time. After failing the first two attempts and never finishing any of my WIPs I lost confidence in myself as I writer. With all of that on top of college and rehearsals I wasn't sure if I could do it at all. So this year I made a real effort to finish. The first thing I did was made sure everyone knew what I was going through so I would not back down. A lot of my friends were constantly supportive and asking about my progress. My internet buddies were also a big support group. Without their constant support and cheering I probably would not have finished. I lost some twiter follower this month because I tweeted my word count everyday. I'm over it.
If you weren't following my NaNoWriMo Chronicles here is what you missed:
I managed to keep up the pace for the first week and a half. I fell behind a little during week two but once Thanksgiving break started I was kicking it into overdrive. I wrote between 2,500-5,000 words a day that week. My family was really supportive during that week. Eventually I got to a point in my writing where I was comfortable enough to attempt to finish it a week early. When I hit the 50,000 words I stopped there. I realized that I had no ending, but I was okay with that. The goal was 50,000 words and I reached it and I really needed a break. I'm glad I had it because the last week of November was crazy hectic for me.

Things I learned from NaNoWriMo that I can take to my everyday writing:
1. Plan: For a long time I thought I was a pantser. That's how I approached all of my WIPs and I never finished. Since I was so determined to finish within the frame I needed to know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. Obviously I did not follow it 100% but I had a clear idea of of the the book I wanted to write.
50,00 words and a finished charm bracelet from my ML
2. Dare to suck: seriously while my inner editor was still peering over my shoulder at sometimes I just had to tell it to shut up and use write. Sometimes I has sentences like "I went to the door and opened it." Seriously, it's awful, just like first drafts should be. I'm okay with that. that is what revisions are for.
3. Write everyday: Even when I was busy I manged to get the bare minimum or a little less. I never stopped written even when I was ahead. There were times while writing were I felt the scene was going nowhere and instead of stressing over it I wrapped it up and moved to the next scene.

What's next?
A better look at the bracelet
1. Revisions: I've decided to do my first round of revisions without the ending. Hopeful once reread and fix a few things I will have a better idea of how I want to end it. Also I will be changing the ENTIRE novel to present tense. So please if you care about my well being send chocolate, or pictures of chocolate.
2. Critique Partners: Now that I actually have a somewhat finished novel, I should start looking for some again. I still kind of have one, but we've both been busy because of school. I should email her... Anyway in the next couple months I will be scoping Absolute Write again, hopefully I'll find a perfect match. If any of you are interested let me know by sending me a DM on twitter.
3. We will see: Honestly I don't know. I'm not one of those people who jumps on the querying bandwagon right away. I want to do this properly, and if that means not sending it out ever then so be it. I'm still going to write and I still want to be published someday. Just not until I'm ready. Hopefully I'll finish my other WIP I put off for NaNo and see where that will take me.

So there it is. One month, 50,000 words, sanity still intact. Okay that last one is a lie. To everyone who finished congratulations! For those of you who did not finish don't give up. Finish what you started and come back the next year with more determination. Believe me, hitting 50,000 words after two years of not finishing is worth it.

Happy Revising!