Monday, April 26, 2010

Contests rock my socks off (vote for me!)

Alright, so I feel it's necessary to say that you should vote for the sentence you think is best.

BUT if you want to vote for me, do. Click here.

Now that you've voted for me, let me explain this shindig. Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency has a blog, and each of their agents writes about various things (but mostly advice about the publishing industry.

Jim McCarthy, in a post about the value of first lines, decided to do a contest:

"You’ve all surely heard that agents make decisions really fast, and if we aren’t entranced by your writing within 6.2 seconds or somesuch, we’ll just move on to the next thing. This is, for the most part, entirely true. So let’s see how quickly you can win us (and your fellow blog readers) over. Post the first line of your manuscript in the comments below by the end of the day on Thursday, 4/22. I’ll narrow it down to a select group of finalists, and then we’ll have a poll for you to judge who had the best, most intriguing first line."

I submitted my first line, not thinking much of it. There were hundreds of entries, but it turns out he liked mine enough to put it in the finalist round! The prize for the winner is consideration for a FULL MANUSCRIPT. Whew. That's a doozie!

My first line: "I wondered if the girl sitting at the front desk knew that things like me existed."

There are nine AMAZING sentences there, though, and (not to sound like a girl in a pageant BUT) I'm just really honored to be among them :)

So go vote!


Great Decisions!

As I said yesterday, I had to make a very scary, difficult choice regarding my series. It hurt a LOT, and I felt very freaked out for about a half an hour.

I spent that time talking to one of my writerly friends, and we decided that I needed a new project to sink my teeth into. I had about three serious ones sitting in my computer waiting to be written, and I started telling her the basics about them. One in particular seemed to dominate the conversation, and at one point she just stopped me and said "clearly this is the project you need to be working on."

After staring at her for a minute or so I nodded blankly and opened the three word documents I had on it. This roughly translated into 1,000 words, including the document where I ranted about basic ideas. As I stared at the two scenes I'd written, I realized that both of them would be useless. So I had 0 words.

I started working on it at 3:30 (after another ten minutes of staring into space and mourning the temporary hold on Morgantown 2), and by 5:00 I had a basic list of my main characters.

After dinner, we walked to the library (I went with the intention of writing an English paper), and by midnight I had a full, three page synopsis, a title, and actors to represent my main characters. The synopsis just kind of flowed onto the computer. I'm not going to lie and say it was effortless, but it was extra fun.

Back in my room, I wrote what will probably be the beginning scene for the book before my mind decided it was ok to sleep.

Moral of the story: I made a great decision yesterday, and I can't wait to write this thing.

Sidenote; I've been listening to this song for a solid half hour on repeat. Don't judge me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hard Decisions, Rainy Days, and Cool People

Things have happened!

1) It's raining. Not in a fun "let's go dance in the rain" way. No. There is rain, wind, and cold. Cold. I do not like "cold wet things" (Kudos to people who get the Twilight Movie reference there), so today was pretty much a bust in terms of weather. It's ok though, because I spent a while in Kafein writing, and I had appropriate Rainy Day Music. Rainy Day Music, you say? Do explain. By all means. Here:

I'm pretty sure that's more than enough videos to keep you occupied. You get the picture.

2) Today I made a relatively difficult choice regarding my writing. I haven't told everyone about it yet, but I think it's for the best. The book that I'm trying to get published right now, Morgantown, is part of a series. Though it can stand alone, I've sort of always known that there would be AT LEAST two more books in my protagonist's story. As of now, there are three more. I've been working on the second one while trying to get the first one published, but as of today, I'm going to put it away into a little folder on my desktop for a while.


Because the plot is still going crazy, the way the first book's went before I was ACTUALLY ready to write it, and the first one isn't published OR polished yet. It still may change, though I don't know how much, and why should I be writing the sequel when I'm still not even sure about the first?

I'm not giving up. I'm just giving myself some time to grow as a writer. I think I've got my hands on the beginnings of a new project, and I'm very excited about that, but Morgantown will always be there. I'll finish it eventually.

3) I mentioned frustration and nerves in my last blog post, and I have to say here and now that all of that worrying was for naught. Seriously, I was freaking out for no reason. Basically, the lunch went great and I think I made a new writing friend (who may or may not be reading this now. Hi, if you are!). It was awesome, albeit a little surreal, to meet someone who I met on twitter.

Meeting super-cool-author made me lament all the cool people I know on twitter but might not get a chance to meet in real life. Sigh. I love twitter. And the digital community of writers. Speaking of, if you're looking for a writing community, and you write young adult, check out YAlitchat. SO MUCH helpful feedback. SO MANY cool people.

Alright, I'm off to work on my shiny new book idea!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beautiful Creatures, Date Night, and Publishing stuff?

Stuff is happening!

1) I finally bought Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I've heard nothing but positive reviews, and if twitter is even half-right, this book is spreading through the YA nation like wildfire. Am I stoked? Is the pope Catholic?


2) Tonight, instead of working (apparently I had my schedule wrong), I went to Chipotle (which was SO good!) and saw Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell. The two actors are so amazing normally that I assumed the movie would simply exude crazyawesomesexyfunniness. I was not mistaken, dear friends.

Unfortunately, this will probably lead me to quote a few lines for the next few months, and really, they're not funny out of context.

Oh well.

At least I'll have a few good laughs, right?

3) I'm frustrated. It's sort of a long story, but I'll try to shorten it up for the sake of my beauty sleep. The publishing world gods have smiled upon me, and tomorrow I get the chance to talk to a mega-cool, soon-to-be-published author. This is not the cause of my frustration. What's frustrating is that usually I'm a big huge ball of questions. It's ridiculous. And now? I got nothing.

I have no idea what to ask her, and I'm afraid of sounding like a moron and making a bad impression. I've sort of been meeting writers on the internet for a long time, but to actually meet someone in person? Well, I just hope I don't act like TOO much of an idiot.

Alright, peeps. I'm heading to bed (or to start Beautiful Creatures. Who knows?)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hair (And why blond Protagonists must exist)

I've got too much of it, and I'm officially sick of my "long, golden tresses."

Because the truth is that those tresses look more like hay than gold, and long hair is a BITCH to de-snarl. I come to this conclusion every few years, and decide to cut it in one ridiculously short style or another. Why so short, you ask?

It's guilt. Everyone says I have good hair, and even though I don't always believe it, I can't let however many inches go to waste. Inevitably, I decide to donate to locks of love, and this time is no different.

So here I am, committing to it now: On June first (give or take a few days), I am cutting off AT LEAST ten inches of my hair and donating it to locks of love.

But come on now, I've done this twice before. Let's spice things up a little. I will also DYE MY HAIR. Yes, people. I will dye my hair permanently. The closest I've ever come to that was a poorly-chosen bottle of purple dye from Hot Topic. This is the big leagues, and I'm a bit nervous. Let's do it! I'm treating myself to a professional dye job, to minimize the risk of catastrophe.

Now should I go for black? Or brown? Red, maybe? Or should I try blue, green, and pink (in varying streaks)? I need suggestions, as I'm probably not qualified to pick a proper color myself.

It should be said, however, that I do not hate blond hair in general. It should also be said (because I love to tie EVERYTHING back to writing) that my MC is not blond because I am blond. I made her blond because I am SICK TO DEATH of the brunette heroine and the blond bimbo stereotype. All (or most) blonds in the books I've read are either weak, evil, or stupid. Take your pick from this trifecta of terrible personality types, but I'll have none of it.

So, um, that's my rant about my blond MC, pictured above (look familiar?).

A Monogamous Relationship with Blogger

I've decided to commit to this blog, after a hiatus in which I took LiveJournal for a spin. It didn't work, all of the switching between the two although hypothetically, it was necessary. See, I have strong opinions. Opinions that may or may not offend or anger other people. Usually, I tell people to deal with it, that I am who I am, and you can take it or leave it.

But. (And there is a but)

I think that any public figure needs to be professional. And I understand that a published author may or may not count as a public figure, and I am aware that I'm a far cry from being a published author, but I don't want to start off on a bad note.

So I separated my writing life (and put it on LiveJournal) from my personal life (which had long since been posted freely on this blog), and ended up neglecting both blogs. Womp womp.

I gave up on that plan, so here I am, back in action.

Hi! (Waves at readers)

Now, to today's post:

I love twitter. It's become an obsession worse than facebook because quite frankly, it's better than facebook. There are so many cool people on twitter (really on it, as opposed to their agents or publicists on it for them), and sometimes I actually get to talk to them!

Well, not talk, per say, but... communicate! It's like a 140 character fan letter, and sometimes they write back! (Like yesterday when Paulo Coelho informed me which of his books he'd previously quoted! I flipped out!)

If you have doubts, check out this informative post by Kiersten White. Oh. Then subscribe to her blog, and pre-order her upcoming novel of awesome, Paranormalcy.

Then go watch Supernatural, because it's amazing, and Dean is hot. Look at the top of this post for proof. See? I told you.

I'm going to go work on my papers, because I'm a college student and life sucks. But not really, because I have iced tea!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quarter System

It sucks to be on the quarter system.

No, really. It's the most depressing thing in the world to be working on midterms as your friends gab on facebook about how many weeks until summer vacation.

Weeks, people.

I'm just about ready to tear my hair out in anticipation of my amazing summer, but today especially, I feel like there's so much standing between me and freedom.

Which is not to say that I'm completely defeated. No, despite the hormonal Chicago weather, the mountain of reading and papers, and teachers who talk to hear the sound of their own voice, I will survive. I will trudge through, and cling to the little things.

And the not so little things, like the wonderful Saturday coming up in which REGINA SPEKTOR is coming to campus.


I love her. If you don't, watch this video, and then you will:

As this dreary quarter rolls past, I cling to the crazy (but inspiring) songs of Regina, and I cannot wait until she comes to campus.

Other than that, there's not much to say about my life. I'm trying to learn to be funny (though I've yet to make it to a meeting... yes, it's because I'm a wuss). I'm working on the book (despite the rejections that pour in from all sides), and I'm writing the second one (which is WAY more fun than revising the first).

Oh yeah. My weight loss goals. I'm trying to lose weight for my friend's wedding (well, more using the momentous occasion as the catalyst for something I've been attempting for a while), and this involves heavy gym-age, a lot less sweets, and my hesitant (albeit exciting) enrollment in a belly-dancing course. Yeah. We'll see how this turns out, as my first class is on Thursday. You'll be hearing from me, if I live to tell the tale.

Hope your week is more sunny than mine is here in Chicago!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green Tea

It's awesome, and I'm becoming slightly obsessed with it. Arg.

My life is going well I suppose. Not to sound like a bitter girl living the upper middle class life, or anything. This quarter is going well, the weather is increasingly beautiful (although last week was so damn warm we got to go to the beach and this week... not so much), and I'm writing like a fiend.

Summer plans are almost finalized: About a month in Puerto Rico (bumming at a combination of my amazing relatives' houses and a hotel), A bit more than a week in Florida (A bit at the Queen's house near Orlando and a bit in a Key Largo hotel), and a whole bunch of time in Texas. I think I'll spend a grand total of two weeks in my hometown, Milwaukee, which will save me my sanity.

I like my hometown like I like my coffee: In small doses and only when I need it. Don't get me wrong, I miss my mom, I miss my friends, and above all, I miss my cat, but I can't take Milwaukee for very long before the insanity factor starts to creep in.

In fact, I can't foresee finding ANYWHERE I'll be able to live for very long before I get antsy and ready to leave. I'm not quite that kind of person.

I blame it on Eliza and the Thornberries, one of my favorite cartoons. The show is about a girl who can talk to animals, but as cool as that is, it's not why I loved it. See, their parents dragged Eliza and her sister all over the world, and as a result, they saw so many things that I'll probably have to work my entire life to see. I just think that would be so cool, you know?

Just traveling and living my life. That's what I want to do. Which brings me to my post-college plans:

1) Sheepherding in New Zealand. No, seriously. It's a legit thing. You live in someone's house and herd sheep as a part time job, and in exchange, you get free room and board.

2) Sailing. There's a training program in the last two weeks of July, and after that, you're pretty much certified to work in most tall-sail ships. It's a lot of hard labor, but an alumnus from NU does it, and she loves it. Traveling, drinking, sailing on the high seas? Count me in.

3) Farming. Similar to sheepherding, except on a farm.

4) California. Ok, that's not a job title, but similarly to one of my possible summer plans, you can work at a national park doing maid service or working at a shop, and you get to live in a cabin smack in the middle of the red wood forests. Except for the bears, spiders, and tics, this sounds golden to me.

5) I guess Grad school should be on this list, shouldn't it? Sigh. I'm not sure if grad school is right for me, but I am sure of one thing: I'm not going STRAIGHT out of college. It's just not happening. I need a breather, time to live my life before spending it studying somebody else's.

6) Writing. I'll do this no matter what, but if I could be a full time writer from the get-go, my life would be made. I'm up for it. 8 hours of writing a day? Yes please. Getting mad money for it? Even better. Now, I'm not foolish, and I don't expect this to happen exactly like I've dreamed. But it's just as foolish to rule a future like this out as it is to expect it with open arms. (Note, this is my eventual goal in life...)

7) Literary Agent. I'll soon be applying to be an intern, and I'd sift through the slush pile. I just think it'd be cool to help some good writers get a foot in the door of the publishing world.

8) Hunter. Not the redneck kind. More like Sam and Dean Winchester, minus the apocalypse. But that's probably because I've been watching Supernatural like it ain't no thang. My bad.

That's all I've got right now, though the list keeps growing as I meet more people.

Off to bed, as I have a 6am shift at work tomorrow. Kill me please (but not really cause I'm in the middle of a book).