Monday, September 26, 2011

Why I don't tell people I'm a writer

Inspired by Taryn's post a few days ago, here are some reasons I don't tell people I'm a writer:

"Oh, you wrote a book? Is it published?"
"What's your book about?"
"Do you make billions of dollars like JK Rowling?"
"Are you going to be rich?"
"What's your book about?"
"You sold your book! Congrats! Will it be out next month?"
"How did you come up with the money to hire your agent?"
"What's your book about?"
"Is it like Twilight?"
"Is it like Harry Potter?"
"What's your book about?"
"Will you give me a free copy when it's released?"
"Is your publisher going to send you on a country-wide tour?"
"How do you find time to write?" (I MAKE time b&%$^#!)
"What's your book about?"

Me: DX *&*&#(()^%$$^%!@#&^*%*&)#$*()@#*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review of Teen Eyes!

Check out this awesome review of Teen Eyes by Ian Hiatt:


Thanks so much, Ian! And thanks to all you people who've supported us in starting this business. Taryn and I <3 you all.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Middles - via Noveltee(n)

So we often hear writers talk about beginnings and ends. Your beginning is of the utmost importance - it's what originally hooks an agent, editor, and eventually reader. It serves as the foundation of your novel. The end, on the other hand, is what a reader takes away from your story. Without a good climactic scene, the ending of your book may feel like a let down.

But what about the middle? Personally, I've always felt that I'm all right at writing beginnings and ends. What I really struggle with are middles. How do you keep up the tension in a story while continuing to develop character relationships? How do you introduce plot twists without it seeming forced?

Take a book like Lord of the Rings. As epic fantasy, it follows a plot line that consists of multiple small incidents leading up to a bigger one. In the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Sam must escape the black riders, make it through the old barrows, survive a trek through the wild with Strider, traverse the dwarven mines, and thwart the Uruk Hai sent by Saruman. Each of these incidents function separately from the others, like a series of trials. This goes back to the work of Campbell and the idea of a hero. Frodo's journey follows a "quest" structure typical of Tolkien's genre.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, employs different tactics to make the middle of the books interesting. Instead of smaller, separate trials, the Harry Potter books generally focus on a single overall mystery, and the characters uncover pieces and clues as the books go along. The books also employ subplots surrounding the characters' romantic lives and struggles in school. It is more character-driven than Lord of the Rings; although the fantasy aspect draws readers in, so too do the typical teenage problems of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It is, in a way, a more complex method of increasing tension than the methods employed in Lord of the Rings. Of all the Harry Potter books, Goblet of Fire follows a structure most similar to that of epic fantasy.

I think the key to making the middle of your book interesting is to never let the tension dissolve. No matter what's going on, you need to have some kind of suspense, be it romantic, physical danger, school-related, or a mystery. There are large sections of Harry Potter in which nothing Voldemort-related happens. Voldemort is an obvious source of tension, so JK Rowling compromises with different problems. Tension doesn't have to be all dragons and wars; there are more subtle forms that will still hold your readers' attention. Epic fight scenes and immediate danger are easy ways to build suspense, but generally speaking, too much danger in a book will feel forced and fake. In writing a good middle, the key is discovering how to build up subtle tension whenever there's a lull in the action. Identify your characters' inner struggles. Use their emotions to drive suspense in the story, and you shouldn't have any problem hooking your readers from start to finish.

What about you guys? Do you struggle with beginnings, middles, or ends? How do you deal with these issues?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Awards

The other day, Randy Lindsay gave me the Liebster Award on his blog. Thanks so much, Randy! This award has made the rounds and I'm pretty sure many of you have received it, so hopefully I'm not re-gifting it to anyone.



Here are my five Liebster choices - blogs with under 200 followers:

1. Abby over at Something to Write About, whose blog is just absolutely fantastic.
2. Tina over at Tina Moss's Blog.
3. Mary over at Waibel's World.
4. Jenny over at Jenny's Imaginary World.
5. Linda over at Wistfully Linda.

You guys are all awesome! When you get a chance, go check out their blogs.


Next, Abby presented me with the Versatile Blogger award. Thanks so much, Abby! The award stipulates I must share seven things about myself with all y'all, so here it goes (I don't think my answers are nearly as good as Abby's):


1. When I was little, people used to mistake me for a boy.
2. I obsessively fold triangles out of tape. Last year I TA-ed for one of my English teachers, Ms. Thompson. She had to keep her tape away from me because I would fold triangles without even thinking about it.
3. I wish I could still do competitive gymnastics. 
4. In 9th grade, my soccer team was staying in a hotel for an out-of-state tournament. We snuck into the outdoor pool at one in the morning for a late-night swim. I hoisted myself out of the water, and my too-big swim shorts came off (and yes, I was wearing a bathing suit underneath). Because it was dark we couldn't find my shorts, and in the morning they were gone. We never found them.
5. I want to go back to Africa more than anything.
6. I don't like people knowing about my writing, and I hate talking about writing with people who aren't writers themselves. There are so many stereotypes surrounding writers and I hate how people assume things about me simply because I like to make up stories.
7. I have a fear of smelling bad.


So there you have it! I'd like to pass this award along to Gaylene Wilson over at {Unwritten}. She's a great blogger and you should definitely go stalk her!

That's all for today!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New website - plus a 10th grade haiku

Teen Eyes has a new website! You can check it out here: http://teeneyeseditorial.blogspot.com.

So back when I was in 10th grade AP American History, my best friend and I would sit together and giggle and pass notes throughout the class. By March our teacher was sick of us. She decided to make up a seating chart, effectively separating my friend and I, so in protest we decided to write a haiku. The haiku remained on her whiteboard for several weeks. It's pretty brilliant, if I do say so myself:

I like where I sit.
I do not want to move now.
Please don't make me move.

And to make it more legit, behold:


I'm getting back to regular, writing-related posts tomorrow. Can't wait to catch up on all you guys' blogs!