Aug 30, 2011


This is really a random post, since it's been a while.

First off, I've started school once again. (Go class of 2014! ... not really.) And I've had homework from the first day. Add marching band to that (waking up before 6am and Monday night rehearsals from 6pm-9pm) and I'm a busy child with not much time to write.

But, on the second day of school, and I had a new idea for a dystopia. It came to me while studying the Roman and Greek politics in World History. So, I decided to start writing it once Chemistry came around (because my Chem teacher is boring). The next day, more ideas came from studying came when we studied the first monotheistic religions. Amazing how school can influence writing, huh?

As a result, I now have a story (titled Day One) that involves a girl living in America a few years from now. America's economy currently suffers from many things, resulting with everyone moving to "cheaper" places. The story starts with the main character finding a note that eventually leads to her being said to have started "the end of the world". (Yes, this story revolves around the events leading to a dystopia.) The more religious part comes in when a young man having deemed himself "God" forced the main character to lead the new world. And, that's all I've got/willing to share as of right now.

That's one new idea that I plan to finish before the end of the year. The other new idea I have is a paranormal story (might have some romance) that was inspired by a picture I found on deviantART. That has yet to be developed, but I know a bit of what will happen.

So ... who of my little followers has gone back to school? New idea maybe? Where do you get inspiration from?

Hope your writing days go well!

P.S. The new blog title was inspired partially by my current English assignment: write an essay about your literary history. Yay for me.

Aug 20, 2011

Do you have an Active or Passive Voice?

Do you know the difference between a passive or active voice in writing?
Well, you might know more than you think.
Why, you ask, is this important?
It’s rather important to writing style. Many writers write in the passive voice—at least, they do when they first start out. A better voice may be the active—it holds the reader’s attention better and, in a way, pulls the reader closer to the story. Like taking up the narrator’s shoes.
The voice of the story can remove excessive words and, like I said, hold the reader’s attention better. There is a lovely counterexample, of course: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. That story is filled with passive voice, yet it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Do I have a good example for active voice? No, because most stories are written in the active voice, so it’s a normal thing to read.
I will, rather, show to excerpts: one written in passive voice, the other active. You can be the judge and pick which one sounds better to you. (Another excerpt from Rush, but altered.)
The guard is picking me up, turning around, and releasing me. I am catching myself from falling to my knees, my legs shaking from the drop. Once I am able to stand, I am looking Dr. Reed in the eye, trying hard to keep glaring at him. His face is lacking emotions, his usual smile not there. I am staring up at him, then looking away, not liking how his smile isn’t there.
The guard picks me up, turns around, and releases me. I catch myself from falling to my knees, my legs shaky from the drop. Once I’m able to stand, I look Dr. Reed in the eye, trying hard to keep glaring at him. His face lacks emotions, his usual smile not there. I stare up at him, then look away, not liking how his smile isn’t there.
Of course, I always write in the active voice, and the whole passive voice doesn’t sound natural to me—nothing passive sounds good to me. It is a style preference, but it is generally frowned upon, unless the writing is fantastic. (In reality, I can probably write a more natural, past tense, passive voice rather than present—past tense is foreign to me.)
How do you change a sentence from passive to active voice? I’d show you, but my mind runs on active voice, so unless you give me an example, I’m not much help.
Now, if you’d like me to help with writing in the active voice, I’d be glad to help (just keep in mind that school starts on August 22nd, and I’ll be busy with homework and going to bed before 9:30pm. I absolutely love editing. Just ask me and I might help.

Aug 19, 2011

What makes a Hook?

Sorry it’s been a while since I last blogged. I’m pretty bad at it.
Anyways, one thing making writers have problems with is that first sentence at the beginning of the story. I’ve been told a few times that my hooks are really good—including Rush’s first sentence.
The first thing to know when writing a hook is what turns off readers at the start of a story—some things seen quite a few times.
The story’s first scene…
Wake up
Going to/at school
Middle of action
Those are the first four things I think of that tend to start a story—most of the time, they don’t hook the reader, because they tend to be too overused. I, personally, start my very first novel waking up, the second being going to school. These things tend to turn the reader, which means it’d be best to start elsewhere.
Then, the first line is…
“My name is Mary Su, and this is my story.”
Descriptions upon descriptions
Those are the three things that come to mind. They, too, can be very annoying—the middle one the worst—and hard to get right.
So, what makes a good hook?
The first would be to avoid waking up. This tends to lead to a “Mary-Su, wake up!” thing from the mother, or a smashing of an alarm clock and groan. Both are seen quite often, and will put me off. (Course, I’m very picky when it comes to picking up a book and reading the first line.)
The second would be on the way to school. This could be paired up with descriptions, or a “My name is Mary-Su, and my story starts with my on the way to school.” (Hey, that rhymed!) But, either way, if it starts at school, especially the beginning of the school day, it may be best to stay away. Anything that has to do with school, really, because school is a popular topic in YA fiction. (Hint: if you want the story to be real unique (for YA), avoid school entirely, but make sure there’s some sort of reason, and have things that the reader can relate to.)
The third is a whole page on background information. This is where the reader learns everything about the main character’s past, like when (s)he fell, when his/her father died, etc. Personally, I don’t want to read about the character’s past. I want to dive into the story and read something entertaining, not learn that the character’s dad passed away in a car accident when she was a baby.
Which, in a way, leads me to the middle-of-action type of start. Most of the time, the reader is left completely confused on what’s happening, but if done right, this could be an amazing start. And when I stay starting in the middle of action, I also mean starting with some sort of action. Starting with action in general (for the first chapter) isn’t the greatest way to hook the reader, because they don’t know who the main character is, and then this crazed event happens, which makes the character change drastically.
But what about the very first sentence—the real hook? You ask.
Let me give an example of four different starts:
  • “Tally, get up!” my mom calls from the door. I groan, rolling over, and throw a pillow at her, which she avoids.
  • My name is Tally. The following events may be scary, and the faint of heart should put this book down and walk away.
  • The sun rises, a bright orange ball hidden by green trees. Violet lights surround the glowing ball as it rises, the trees creating a strange sort of line in front of it. It inches higher in the sky with every second, growing closer and closer to sitting high in the sky, ready to provide warmth for everything.
  • In my mind, two worlds have begun to blend together: the real and my dreams.
See the different between those? The very last one takes thought—the one can stand out among the rest. A good first line make take a lot of thought.
What I do with my first lines is think about the story. What’s a major element to the story? I.e. death, life, pastimes, etc. These things can stand out, and once done, write a few lines afterwards, and the story can get going.
Here’s an example from Rush:
Life lost all meaning the moment I killed another living being. Now I live in this gray, stony cell with no one else, my only contact with any person is when they need me—but not because I killed someone.
I shudder at the thought. Those very people will come for me any minute. Twenty-four hours has passed since the blond scientist in a lab coat pulled me out of this cell, his guard following just a bit behind.
Not the greatest example of a good start, but it’s a start that I’m proud of. Now, these are my opinions of a good hook. Many readers may agree, while some might not.
I hope this answer some people’s questions on what can make a good start!

Aug 11, 2011

Now NWO?

No, that is not a typo. While playing with the covers I make for inkpop (for my own projects, of course) I had an idea: a Novel Write Off! You may have noticed the badge (which I learned to make through Evie's blog post) at the bottom, on the side. Well, here's my idea for Novel Write Off!

-Pick three novels that you want to write/love the idea of.

-Once you know what novels you want to write, blog about it, along with what NWO is. (Or just leave a comment, telling me which three novels you want to write, and what they're about.) (And maybe add the badge to your blog. ;D)

-You will then wait for me to decide on word counts and dates. I'll make sure to keep them simple, especially since some are going back to school (including myself) and may be busy (like me).

-What we will do during these is simple: blog about your writing goals for the day, like what project you'll work on, how much you plan to write, etc.

And onto the point:
The point for this would be, if you are working on three novels (you could just work on one or two), is to write a certain amount of words for each novel. For example: from August 1st to 2nd, we'll write 2000 words per project. If you're working on two novels, 3000 words for each project. If you're working on one novel, 4000 words for it.

Right now, I don't know when exactly I want to start this, but I will definitely blog about it as soon as I have some suggestions/opinions. If you could answer some questions, I may be able to figure out just how much should be written during the first week.

1.What is the most you've written in one day?
2.What is the least, besides nothing, that you're written in

one day?

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'll update my post and explain every question.
I hope to have a starting and ending date sometime this weekend.

Aug 8, 2011

In the act of defiance...

Lately, I've been thinking about NaNoWriMo. If you don't know what it is, let me explain.

For National November Writing Month, you write 50000 words throughout November, starting the minute your clock strikes 12:01 on November 1st, ending at 11:59 on November 30th.

Now, why am I thinking about NaNo so early? Because I now what I plan to write for that month, and have started planning. Yes, you're allowed to plan ahead of time, you just aren't supposed to start writing until November starts.

So, are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in a comment!

For NaNo, I plan to write Defiance: a utopia about a boy who joins a group of rebellions trying to make this Utopian world what it should be.