Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Critters Make me Happy

Today is the day I normally do my reviews. But, with the holidays and traveling with the fam, I wasn't able to finish a book. I wish I could do some reviews on unpublished books I've read. I've read a couple really good ones lately and have just started another really good one. But, as much as I want to rave about my awesomely talented friends, I fear it would only do two things. 1. It would be a big tease to you because it's not like you can go out and pick these books up. And 2. It would make me seem like a braggart (which I possibly am, but don't want to make it quite so obvious).

So, the thing I would like to discuss today is something we've discussed before and you probably already know, but I want to reiterate the necessity of having a critique group. Not just any critique group, but a great one.

A good beta reader does the following:

1. Makes you feel good about yourself and motivates you to be your best.

2. Gives you good suggestions that make sense with your story.

3. Doesn't try to change your story or writing to sound more like their writing/story.

4. Feels comfortable pointing out things that don't work in a way that makes you think about possible alternatives and not in a way that makes you want to hide your face in shame for having written such an obvious plot hole into your story.

5. Is also a writer. I'm not discounting non-writers as an important part of the reading process. I just think it's necessary to have writers in a critique group because let's face it, writers have lots of practice, not only in writing, but in reading.

I'm sure there are things I'm missing in the list. If you have a necessary characteristic that your critters must possess, leave it in the comments section.

I'm very lucky to have an awesome group of betas. A mistake I made when I first started writing was having too many betas. Too many people telling you the flaws in your story just leads to too many conflicting opinions. I now keep my first round of betas to a minimum and only let people outside that initial round read it when I feel all the wrinkles have been ironed out. After that, if in a second round, several people point out the same problem, I work on resolving it.

So how do you go about finding a critique group if you don't have one already? If you are one of those who already has one, leave a comment saying how you got together with your critique group. I feel very lucky that my best friend (Candi) and I discovered we were both secretly writing novels at the same time. We became each others instant critique group.

From this I learned not to keep my writing a secret. When I shared what I was doing with others, I learned I wasn't alone in my desire to be published. And as more and more people learned that I was writing, it became a good motivator for me to succeed.

After that, Candi and I joined a local face to face group that met every other week. From that group, which I no longer attend due to scheduling conflicts, I still keep in contact with 3 writers (Linda, Tricia, and Ed).

From this I learned to use the resources that were available around me. It helped me to be comfortable sharing my work with complete strangers and having my work discussed in a group format (which was very hard at first).

My other 2 betas I met online over a year ago (Natalie and Jenn).

From this I learned that the internet is an invaluable tool. It has brought me together with some awesome people that I love and it has also taught me more about writing and this publishing industry that I used to think was a big mystery.

Even though first drafting can be a lonely endeavor, the process to publication is something no writer can do alone. I'd like to thank all my betas for helping me polish my works. And I'd like to thank all my other readers (mostly family) that give me the confidence I need to keep pushing forward. You guys are the best.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-How to Cook Like a Kindergartner

Some of you may know (namely my children and husband) that I am not the best cook in the world.....or the nation.....or the state....okay, probably not even on my city block. When my 11 year old pulled out a cookbook her class had made in Kindergarten, I realized I had been going about this cooking thing all wrong. I thought I'd share a few recipes with you because my guess is that we've all been doing it wrong according to these five year olds.

Javan's Pumpkin Pie

First you get a pumpkin and mix it with 3 eggs. Then you cook it for 10 minutes at 10 degrees. Take it out of the oven.

(My oven doesn't have a setting for 10 degrees. Is this a problem?)


Wyatt's Big Noodles

Put the brown things in a pot with the noodles. You have to stir it around then you put the meat in it. Then you put vegetables and Ginja (the brown things) and hot pepper then stir it. Then there is one thing left then you put fish meat and noodles with Ginja. Cook it at 31 degrees for 49 hours. Then you get all the stuff out to eat with. Then you eat it with your mom and dad and grandpa and sister.

(I like how as part of this recipe we are told who it must be ate with. This is something lacking from all other recipes I have ever followed. I believe it could add a bit of interest to a recipe if we're told specifically who we can eat it with.)

Cody's Lucky Charms

First you grab out a bowl and then grab out a spoon and then grab out the cereal and then grab out the milk. Then pour 1 cup of cereal (Lucky Charms) in the bowl and then 1 cup milk in the bowl. Then you eat it.

(Cody, thank you so much. I looked all over the Lucky Charms box on how to make their cereal and it didn't tell me anywhere. I'm so happy to finally have the recipe)

Louie's Cheese Pizza

Go to the store and get pizza then you cook it in the oven for 10 minutes.

(LOL Louie is my kind of kid.)


I know this post might have been entirely too helpful today. After all, I just gave you three ideas for dinner. I'll work harder next week.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to me

I've gotten a few blog awards over the last week or so and I thought it would be appropriate to post them today--Like gifts to myself. And since it's Christmas and we all know it's better to give than to receive I thought I would even spread the love and pass them on to others as well (which technically I would do even if it wasn't Christmas because those are kind of the rules of blog awards but we'll pretend that I'm making a special exception for today and that I'm giving and selfless and stuff).

The first award I received was from the awesome Tamara Heiner. We met in the comments section of another blog (isn't it fun how that works) and she's great. This is the Honest Scrap Award which I'm supposed to pass to 10 people who I feel have honest blogs. Then I have to list 10 facts about myself.



I know it says 10, but since I have 3 awards today, I think I'll stick with 5 for this one. I pass this award to:

1. Julie Nelson because she is always letting us delve into her daily life, and her writing life, with her in an honest, fun way that I love.

2. Renee Collins because she is fun and honest in her feelings and experiences. I enjoy her.

3. Corey Swartz makes me laugh and always shares her straightforward opinions.

4. Christine Bryant has let us experience her road to publication in an honest and helpful way. She's also very supportive of others.

5. Jenn Johansson is one of my most favorite people. Her blog is just as fun as she is.

And I know it says 10 facts, but that's a lot, more than you'd ever want to know about me, so I'll share 5.

1. I love earrings. Big dangly ones.

2. I secretly dream about trying out for American Idol, but there are two big problems. (Yes, just two) One, I'm too old. And, two, I would be one of those contestants that Simon would look at and say, "You do know you're horrible, right?" I'd tell him I sound awesome when I sing in the shower only to have him point to the door while Randy is busy hiding his laughter. I'd have to slink away in shame swearing to the camera that if I hadn't been so nervous I could've been the next Kelly Clarkson. (Can you tell I'm excited for American Idol to start?)

3. And, relating to the confession above, I have the American Idol voting number memorized because unlike many people who say, "I'm a huge fan, but never vote." I admit that I vote.....at least ten times per episode. I know, it's sad.

4. I don't shave my legs in the winter. (It normally isn't a big deal, I wear jeans everyday and then tall boots to church. But today I wanted to get a pedicure and I cursed myself for my laziness.)

5. When I was a kid I watched "The Sound of Music" everyday after school for a year. Every. Day. Yes, I still love it. And yes, I still know all the songs. I'm not quite so obsessed with it anymore, though.



The second award I got is from Shannon O'Donnell who is so sweet. I think this award might have been made just for her. But she decided to give it to me anyway. As part of this award I'm supposed to nominate 5 other blogs that find a silver lining even on those gray days.



Again, because I have so many awards today, I'll pick 2.

1. Tamika is constantly finding the positive in things and I often feel uplifted after reading her blog.

2. Elizabeth also has inspiring posts and makes me smile.


The third award I received is from Julie Nelson who makes me all kinds of happy. I know I mentioned her above, but I must say again, she's a fun read. If you haven't been to her blog yet, you should swing by.



The rules with this award are that I'm supposed to share a childhood reading memory and then pass it along to 5 other bloggers.

I feel very blessed because both my parents were avid readers. I would often go into their bedroom to find them both leaning against the headboard, side-by-side, reading lights on, quietly reading separate books. Most of my favorite reading memories from childhood include my father gathering all five of his children on his queen size bed while he read to us "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings". I'm not sure how he got us all to sit still and listen, but I love him for it because he instilled in me a love of books as did my mother whom I rarely found without one.

Again, I will point out the amount of awards and share this one with only 1 (maybe I'm not as selfless and giving as I pointed out at the beginning of my post. That may be the case, but I think it has more to do with my laziness):

1. Patti Nelson is one of my favs. She's lots of fun and always has insightful posts.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Reviews



First off, I want to say that I've become a fan of the shorter book. This book was just under 200 pages and it was the perfect length. Could Gayle Forman have made it longer? I'm sure she could've. Did she need to? Not at all.

I enjoyed this book. I would rate it PG 13 due to language and some sexual content. Lately I've been reading books without reading their "blurbs" on the back cover, so I had no idea what this book was about. But I'd heard good things about it. So I was completely surprised when I realized what the premise of the book was. And now, lest I spoil it for you, I don't want to give a summary. But I will say, the plot kept me hooked, kept me guessing what was going to happen until the very last page. And (always the sign that I know I'm reading a good book) kept me up until 2am saying, "Just one more page."

I wish everyone Happy Holidays. I probably won't post again until next week, but who knows, sometimes I get a blogging bug. Especially, it seems, when I say I'm not going to post. Those are the times I always feel compelled to post. It's like me rebelling against my own statement. But now that I'm calling myself out on it, I probably won't. (Yes, I have these weird internal struggles with myself all the time. It's already been established that I'm a dork.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-Death to Elbows

Perhaps I shouldn't write a post after whacking my elbow not once, but twice in the same weekend. Perhaps I should let the memory of the horrible pain suffered die down a little before making emotionally charged statements like: Death to elbows everywhere. But who needs elbows, anyway? Sure they help us do small things like bend our arms so we can eat, drive, clean....function normally. But we can adapt. We can learn to work without them.

I submit that if we stop using our elbows, if we keep our arms perfectly straight at all times, we will never have to suffer whacking them at full speed into hard objects. And why, I ask, does whacking elbows (and toes) hurt more than hitting any other body part? Maybe instead of writing off my elbows altogether I can just have a layer of fat added to them. The same fat that seems to protect the rest of my body from similar pain. In fact, I have a few areas that have collected more than their fair share that could contribute to the cause.

I thought about taking a picture of my bruised elbow. Okay, I did take a picture of my elbow. But the lighting must've been a bit off because the image seemed to downplay the trauma of the actual event. The bruise appeared small and insignificant and wouldn't have backed up my argument to end elbow use. So just imagine, the largest bruise you've ever had and then double it. There, doesn't that support my advice to stop using your elbows and save yourself some future pain?

Speaking of the largest bruise you've ever had, I want to hear about it. How did it happen? This will be my entertainment for the week. (Plus it might make me feel less clumsy)

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Temperamental Blog

I started this blog about 15 months ago (You hear that, Blog, I made you and I can unmake you, never forget that). During those months I've been what I would call an obsessive comment checker. Yes, I love comments. They make me happy. Plus they give me something to do when taking a break from writing (or when taking a break from taking a break). So, I would guesstimate that out of the 16,000 or so hits shown on my counter thingy (to use the formal term) that 15,500 are me visiting myself.

Well, as of late, I've been thinking to myself: Really, Kasie, must you be so obsessive? My answer was: Most of the time yes, but perhaps not in this instance. So I decided to activate the device on my blog that sends me an email whenever I get a new comment. (Because we all know I obsessively check my email.)

At first the email notification worked perfectly. It told me whenever any of you left me a comment. It was brilliant. I began to wonder why I hadn't activated it months ago. The trips I made to my blog became much less frequent. I loved it. But then something strange started to happen. I would go to my blog and even though my email claimed I had no comments (this might prompt the question: If you had no comments then why were you visiting your blog? To that I answer: Leave me alone, okay? I can visit my blog whenever I want to. Maybe I was having trust issues with my blog. Maybe I suspected it was lying to me [and it was]) low and behold there would be one or two comments waiting to be read despite the claim otherwise. This went on for days (and is still going on). Sometimes my blog emailed me when I had a new comment. Sometimes it didn't. And then I found them. The missing emails. They were in my Spam folder. Spam?? They weren't all of your comments. Just a select few. And guess who was in that list? Me. Yes. When I would respond to your comments in my comments section, they ended up in my spam folder.

The only thing I can guess is that my blog is angry with me for my infrequent visits. I went from checking my blog every time I was online, to only checking on it a couple times a day. It's mad. But this still doesn't explain why it's putting some of your comments in the trash. Maybe it sorts them by which ones it likes the best. If you lack the right amount of flattery in your comment, you end up in the trash. I'm not sure. I'm analyzing this. But quite obviously, some of you are favored by my blog and others aren't (including me).

I just had a thought. Maybe it's my email that hates me for adding to its workload..........hmmmm. That reminds me of the time my email started sending blank messages. It's like it would erase them or something. I would craft beautiful messages and my email would send nothing. One of these blank emails ended up going to my agent to which she responded: ?

How embarrassing, huh?

I'm sorry, Blog, it's possible you have been wrongly accused. I'll let you and email fight it out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Reviews

Before I start my review, I just wanted to inform you that my blog is angry with me. I'm not alone, it is angry with some of you as well so at least I don't feel picked on. I will tell you how I know of its feelings on Friday. Yes, Friday. Today is review day, as spelled out by the schedule. We cannot upset the system or my blog might take out more of its anger on me.

So on to the review:



When I'm in the theatre and I see a preview for a movie I'd like to see that is based on a book, I will generally try to read the book before I see the movie. So when I saw the preview for The Lovely Bones a couple months ago and it sent shivers down my spine, I knew I had to read the book. And now, having read the book, I'm excited to see how it's been adapted for the big screen.

Even though the book is told through the eyes of a 14 year old girl, I would classify this as an adult book. Due to content and because she spends a lot of time observing her parents and their lives. Although, maybe I'm wrong. Is this considered YA? Does anybody know?

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was an interesting way to read about a murder. The end surprised me a bit because I felt like the climax we had built to through the whole book focused on an event I hadn't thought about once. And also when a super natural experience happens towards the end, it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief as I read it because up until that point the book seemed so realistic (as realistic as a story being told by a ghost can be). That said, I can see why it is a National bestseller: it was a compelling, creative story, that was well-crafted and strung together with excellent writing. We'll see if the movie lives up to the book.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-How to avoid overreacting

I share this experience to show you the way to deal with bad news in a mature manner. The main character in this story may or may not be me depending on how crazy she comes off.

I love the book store, I thought, trailing my finger over the spines of books as I walked toward the Middle Grade section at the back. My goal was to get a few Christmas gifts and avoid buying anything for myself. I slowed as I came to the Young Adult section. Beautiful Creatures (the book) stared at me from it's perch on the top shelf with the other featured titles. I picked it up, felt the weight of it in my hands. The blurb on the back promised an amazing story. No. I was not buying a book for me. Especially not one that was so thick and would make me useless for days when I had so much to do. I put it away and found the books that I had gone there for.

At the register, books in hand, I noticed signs with large-printed warnings: ALL SALES FINAL I furrowed my brow. "Has your return policy changed?" I asked the guy (I'll pretend like I don't know his name) behind the counter.

"No, we're closing."

I gasped. Really loud. I hadn't been informed of this decision. "W-What?"

He got an apologetic look on his face. "Sorry."

(Now is the time where if you want to avoid overreacting, and appear mature and in control, you would just pay for your books, say, "that's too bad" and back away from the counter. But I didn't do that, instead I said....)

"No. You can't close." I handed him my credit card.

"Well, they're keeping the big one at Riverpark open."

(Now, is really the time where if you want to avoid looking slightly crazy, you take the pen he is holding, sign the sales slip, and walk away with your purchase. It would definitely not be the time to....)

I stared at the pen blankly, my eyes starting to sting from not blinking. "But that's all the way across town."

"I know, I'm sorry."

(Just sign the slip.)

"But I come here like once a week. Really? You're closing?" I took the pen and as I signed I started to think: How can I keep this bookstore open? What would I have to do? My neighbor is a reporter for the news. Could he do a story on it?

"Yes, we're really closing." He set the bag down in front of me.

"But what if you do really well during Christmas. Then maybe you'll stay open....right?"

"Um...............no."

"Oh."

He looked past me to the customer who had walked up behind me. "Have a good day," he said, obviously trying to tell me to walk away.

(Don't say anything at this point. Just walk away.)

"Well, it won't be a good day now that I know my bookstore is closing," I mumbled.

On the drive home I thought about how I could open up my own bookstore. Really. I thought seriously about this. Then (and when I say "then" I mean about two days later) I realized that the only reason I would be opening said bookstore was so I could shop in it. I didn't think this was a good enough reason (not to mention these things cost money).

So, if you are ever faced with a similar situation. Try not to let your denial play out in front of the poor helpless worker who has no control over the situation. Wait until you're in the car, turn on a sad song about loss, and sing really loud (not that I did this).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Appreciation Day

Kody Keplinger (author of The Duff, coming out next year) has decided to make today agent appreciation day. And since I have an agent--Kirsten Manges--and since I appreciate her, I thought I would be ungrateful not to jump on the appreciation bandwagon.

First, a song: She works hard for no money. So hard for it honey. She works hard for no money so you better treat her right.

Second, a statement: Yes, she knows I'm a dork and she still likes me. She even knows about the time I went to New York and stood in front of her office door like a crazy fangirl and took pictures. She said, and I quote: "Kasie, you're so funny." Wasn't that nice of her not to tell me what I really was?--A little bit weird and kind of nerdy. :) (For those of you who don't know, she was on maternity leave or I would've actually met her)

And finally, a tribute: My agent is the greatest. She loves my book and tells me. She is super smart and caught things in my story that no one else had. She's really good about keeping me updated and letting me know what's going on. I love that when there is a problem with my story, she gives me the overall problem, and leaves it up to me to figure out how to solve it. It shows me that she trusts me and my writing and helps me have that feeling of accomplishment when I do find the solution. It also makes me know that she's not trying to take over my story, but help make it the best it can be. She also encourages me and helps keep me motivated to write. I think I found the right agent for me and feel lucky to have her.

Thanks, Kirsten, you're the best!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Challenges and Awards




I've decided to do the 2010 Debut Author Challenge (because we all know how well I do at challenges). But, this one seems pretty easy. After all, I love to read (and I love any excuse to buy books) The rules are simple: Read at least 12 books by debut authors in 2010.

So here's my list (in order of when they debut [I think]):

*A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
*Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
*The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
*Under my Skin by Judith Graves
*Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
*Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
*Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
*Northanger Alibi by Jenni James
*Other by Karen Kincy
*What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
*Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
*Anna and the Boy Masterpiece by Stephanie Perkins

I'm also looking forward to reading a lot of the sequels to series I started this year. But those don't count on this list because they aren't "debut".


And in other news. I won an award. :)



Or maybe I just received virtual flowers. Either way, someone likes me and her name is Julie Nelson. And I like her too. If you haven't been to her site, she's quite witty and always charming. So the rules are I have to write down seven things you don't know about me and then pass it on to seven bloggers.

Here goes:

1. The later it gets the more uninhibited I become. I generally get the most writing done at night. And I often write my blog posts late at night and set them to publish in the morning. For example, it is 11:30 pm right now. I'm feeling fairly silly. But I'm sure if you read back on some of my other posts you would be able to tell which ones I wrote past midnight and which ones I wrote when I woke up in the morning. I always thought it would be a fun experiment to write a book only utilizing the hours from when I wake to 10 am. But then I came to the conclusion that not only would it never get finished but it would probably be full of rude and/or boring characters (or they'd always be talking about sleeping). :)

2. I laugh really loud. Often times I've had people come up to me and say something to the effect of: "I knew you were here because I heard you laughing." It's kind of embarrassing and I've made several conscious efforts to be a quieter laugher, but it never works so I have given up.

3. I'm told that I snore when I sleep on my back, but I've never heard it so I doubt it's true.

4. When my husband and I got married we were gifted two desert tortoises (I made that sound as though it was part of the ceremony. It wasn't. They were just a unique wedding gift from a friend). We've had them for twelve years now and they are the best pets ever. They eat a head of lettuce three times a week, they hibernate all winter, and they don't shed or jump on me. (Don't kill me dog/cat lovers. I like to look at furry creatures. They're pretty. Occasionally I even like to pet them. But I don't make a good dog/cat owner. I'm low maintenance and I like my pets to be as well.)

5. This is probably something you already know about me, but: I'm fond of chocolate. Okay, it's more of an obsession. If I could live on only chocolate and still be healthy, I would.

6. I'm kind of a food wimp. If a food is spicy enough to make me cry or make my nose run, I steer clear of it. In fact, I don't understand the appeal of a food that gives you watery eyes and a runny nose. (I have a feeling I'm about to get a lot of comments defending spicy food)

7. I think Weird Al is funny. (Yes, he's still around) I watched his video "White and Nerdy" and laughed (loudly, of course) for days.

8. I like to break rules. That's why I have 8 facts and will only give this award to 3 people. It's a small act of rebellion that will keep me from a life of higher crimes like running yellow lights or writing graffiti on the back of bathroom stalls.

I bestow these lovely flowers upon.

1. Candice Kennington because she's my best friend and I noticed she had no awards on her blog. Plus I'd like to see if she can come up with something I don't know about her. :)

2. Mary because she is not only inspiring but she makes me laugh.

3. Shannon (whose blog I recently discovered) because she is super positive and I always smile when reading her posts.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maddeningly Unhelpful Advice-How to induce rage

I'm generally a pretty laid back person. Some might even go as far as to characterize me as "happy". There isn't much that angers or offends me. But there is one thing, that I discovered Saturday that really gets me upset. Let me set up the scene.

My husband and I have a pleasant afternoon Christmas shopping and end by stopping at the store to grab some chocolate (my house has been at dangerously low levels as of late). Of course, I buy a few boxes of Junior Mints. We come home and I stash them away for a movie we'll be watching later and take my two older girls to a Christmas concert they are performing in. After we get home and I settle onto the couch to watch a rare gem* of a movie, my husband brings me one of the boxes of Junior Mints. It is open and half gone. That act in and of itself is close to a crime in my house.

"They're open," I say. My voice sounds a little tight so I clear my throat.

"Oh, yeah," my husband says, shrugging his shoulders, "the boy* opened them."

"Really." I take a deep breath and tell myself it's okay to share. There are three boxes, after all.

"Yeah, I guess he was pretending they were bullets and throwing them at the girls."


So, if you want to make someone really angry (and why wouldn't you? especially this time of year) find something they love above all else and rip it from their hands, not to use it, but to smash it into pieces under your booted feet. That's all.

*rare gem=a movie nobody else has heard of and has probably gone straight to video but my husband thinks is going to be the best undiscovered movie in the universe. He usually presents these movies by saying: "Kasie, I have found a "rare gem" at the movie store. Will you give it at least 30 minutes?" This is how I know it is going to be REALLY bad. In our 12 years of marriage he has only found two movies that actually ended up being "rare gems".

*the boy=our only son. We really do call him "the boy". After three daughters we often say, "Come on girls" whenever we are leaving. We quickly have to add, "and the boy". So now we refer to him as "the boy" often. As in, "Have you seen the boy?" Or "What is the boy up to?"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Patience

If there is one thing I have learned in this industry it is that patience is a major part of it. For a while I was always in this big hurry. I had these ridiculous thoughts: If I don't finish this now and get it published the world of books along with the entire industry is going to crumble and my book won't have seen the light of day. If I don't hurry and find an agent someone else is going to think of my idea and it will be old and used. If my agent doesn't read this soon all the teenagers in the universe are going to stop reading and no publishers will want YA anymore.

Yeah, very productive thoughts. The thoughts and attitude actually led to a very unhealthy, obsessive writing schedule. I remember times when I'd stay up way past midnight only to wake up at first light. If I didn't get my book out of my head I'd forget it, I would reason.

It didn't help that once other people learned I was a writer their first question was: Really? What do you have published? OR Cool. When is your book getting published?

I've come a long way since those early days. Most of it was forced by circumstances out of my control. Once I was waiting on someone else's action, I no longer had the control that was keeping me obsessed. I could stress and check my email and worry, but ultimately I could do nothing but wait. And in waiting I have learned peace. I have learned that it's okay to step away from everything, to slow down. It's okay to take my time writing. I don't forget my story. And sometimes letting it simmer for a while presents new plot points and solutions.

I've learned that writing is not a race but an event. It is something, like eating, that must be done and when I take the time to savor it, I enjoy it. When I enjoy the act, I don't think about the outcome as much. I really do love to write and I'm glad that I have learned that as in many aspects of life, patience is definitely a virtue needed in this industry.

If you're new to the writing world, know that there is no such thing as overnight success in this industry. And if you aren't new, I'm sure you've learned, like I have, that waiting is just part of the process.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Reviews




Since I liked Sarah Dessen's book I read back in October, I thought I'd give another one a shot. Although Sarah can be a bit wordy sometimes and does this odd backstory thing that I thought was just a one book thing but is apparently her style, I really do enjoy her stories. She has a way with emotions that I envy. She always has me feeling strongly whatever emotion her character is feeling. There was a part in this book that I had a lump in my throat for three or four chapters. There were other parts where I felt indignant in the character's behalf. It just drives home the point that you don't have to tell your reader how to feel by having your character describe each and every one of their emotions. You just have to let the story play out. The emotions will naturally come.

This story, like the one I read before, is about relationships. Not just the girl meets boy relationship, but mother/daughter, father/daughter, sisters, friends. They're all there and they're all developed beautifully. If you want lesson on how to develop a relationship so that it seems natural and real, Sarah Dessen is a great teacher.