Oct 31, 2011

Starting tomorrow!

The last few days have been busy. And the next month will be busier.
Last Friday was a football game. (My school won, by the way. Off to playoffs.) And then Saturday, my school hosted a marching competition. Where I was sunburned, marched twice in heat that I'm not used to (we usually march during the evenings) and had only 6 hours of sleep. Then I got 12 hours of sleep Saturday night. And now I have a whole bunch of history homework plus some reading to do.

Anyways, I plan to start posting excerpts from the novels I plan to work on throughout November for NaNoWriMo. I hope to get the 1.7k for my NaNo, Wanderlust, every day. Which might be achievable when I only have one more Monday night rehearsal for band. And early outs. And two three day weekends (even though Saturdays are for band.)

I might aim for a schedule. I've got four different projects I'm working on, all of different genres. (With the help of Write or Die, of course.) I'll try to think of a good schedule today.

And, as for my reading, I'm halfway through Carrier of the Mark. Still have a lot more to read, and I hope to get a lot of reading done this month. I'm getting myself busy, which isn't very smart of me.

So, what are you reading or writing this month?
Oh, and Happy Halloween for those of you on the Western side of the world.

Oct 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo, here we come!

Thus begins the last few days of the month. Which is really not good for me.

Why, you ask? Well, let's see...
My novel, Deception, is in inkpop's Top 5. Which means I need to make sure it is as close to how I want perfect as I can make it. And I'm only on chapter seven of twenty-five plus chapters. Not good, being that I'm adding scenes and rewriting things.

It doesn't help that I have to play at a football game this Friday, and then my school's hosting a marching competition Saturday. So I have the rest of tonight, Thursday, some of Friday and Saturday, hopefully all of Sunday, and then Monday night (yay for no rehearsal for marching band!). Not a whole lot of time. So, I'm partially freaking out.

And then NaNoWriMo begins a week from today. I've already planned the first three chapters for my steampunk, Wanderlust, which is good. I should be able to survive the first day or two. Then I have to plan. A lot. That's between marching band, football games, and competitions. Next month is going to be chaotic.

So, anything big coming up for you? Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo? If so, let me know a bit about your novel.

Have a good day/evening!

Oct 21, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin review

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
Pitch from here.

(I’m going to start working on my reviews’ structures next time around. Sorry if it’s too hard to follow.)

I loved the cover, and the promotional stuff I’d seen/read all really caught my attention. But, I was a little let down.

To break down what parts I liked and dislike:
First two chapters: liked
Next fifty chapters: blah
Last seven chapters: loved

So, out of fifty-nine chapters, I only liked nine of them. Doesn’t sound real good, does it? Well, let me explain.

The beginning, I really liked how present Mara’s voice is, and what happened in the first two chapters. Having ‘fun’ with friends, and then what happened months later. But Mara’s voice didn’t appeal to me after a while. Too much of ‘blah blah blah’ and not enough of what was going on.  It was at the end that I really started liking the writing, due to the fact that something actually happened.

And, being the Grammar Nazi/writer, my opinions on a few of the grammar bother me. Like all caps with someone’s yelling. This is a place that calls for italics. At least, that’s what I’ve been taught. This appears much more professional in my opinion. And then there were quite a few places where I found run-on sentences (which I tend to write myself) and lack of proper dialogue formatting. There were a few times where I felt like writing in my book, which I never have done nor what to ever do.

There were a lot of things that annoyed/confused me.  The first little annoyance was the love interest: Noah. He is a British boy who doesn’t really play by the rules. He is rich, and he can speak two other languages fluently. He carried around thousands of dollars at one point. And he’s beautiful.  Many times, the word beautiful was used to describe little aspects of Noah, which got real annoying. Then he acts like a real jerk at some points. Oh, and Mara has to hate him for some reason. AND she thinks she’s the slut when she starts dating him. That utterly confused me, being that sluts are thought to be girls who go out with multitudes of guys, instead of one. Unless I and hundreds of other teens at my school are wrong.

Another thing was plot holes. Or what appeared to be plot holes. There were many times where I had no clue how much time had passed, and then points where I was pretty sure that it was one time, only to find out it was another time.  That irked me a lot. Time consistency was not real present.

There were quite a few predictable places. Like when Mara envisions a person’s death. After the first one, I could predict that the next death would happen. The only thing that took me by surprise was one little fact toward the end of the story. Not the huge one at the very end of the story, but a chapter or two before that. I was rarely surprised by anything which bothered me. I want to be taken by surprise, rather than know what happens next. (I guess I could come up with an excuse for this, but I’m not too sure it’d be reasonable.)

At the beginning of the story, I liked a lot of characters. By the end, I only liked two: Jamie and Joseph. Mara’s brother got annoying halfway through the story with the rude things he said to Mara. Mara was annoying for being so idiotic when it came to so many things. Noah got real rude too, but I started to warm up to his sweetness toward the end. Mara, though, still annoyed me. I might check out the next book just because of Noah.

Then there’s the mean girl that comes with every private school. I have friends in private schools, and I’m pretty sure they don’t have the classic high school movie’s mean girl clique. But that’s what Anna is.  I hate this stereotype, especially since I’ve grown up in one of those places where one would think that this stereotype would be present, and it isn’t.

Now, the beginning of the story was all info. No plot—at least, not really. Not until the last few chapters where things picked up. I guess it was good to actually ‘build’ Noah and Mara’s relationship (which still wasn’t too good at the beginning), but it was otherwise blah. The most character changes were in the last chapters, which were the few good ones.

What I’d tell me to do is read the first two chapters, maybe ask me about the middle part about how Noah and Mara get closer, Mara thinks she’s insane, and … that’s really it. Well, after that, then read chapter 52 on, because that’s how much of the story seemed really necessary. If this were to be just a contemporary mystery/romance, I’d say the story was good. But because this has a paranormal aspect, it goes down in my opinion.

To tell you the truth, something compelled me to keep reading after the first 100 pages, and I’m kind of glad. The good part of the story was at the end, and I really enjoyed it.

Overall, I’d recommend this, but warn readers (depending on what genre they like) about the middle section. It bothered me, and I’m pretty sure you could skip that section after receiving a brief summary (if that’s even necessary) and still understand the last bit of the story.

The fact that this somehow kept me reading probably makes me want to give it 3 out of 5. Some characters were good/okay, the good ideas were hidden between the bad, and the end of the story really hooked me. 

Oct 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme run by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My pick would be ...

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Pitch from Goodreads.

In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom….

Do you see that awesome cover? It's supposed to come out on November 15. I can't wait, even though I'll have no money when it comes out. And I already have enough books to read.

I know what's on my Christmas list!

What can't you wait to see published?

Oct 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Today, I went to a real bookstore (Barnes and Noble, being that Borders is gone and we only have one family-owned bookstore across town (all of the bookstores here are across town)) and bought four books.
The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
(recently released)
I Am Number Four
new cover, paperback edition
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Carrier of the Mark
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
(recently released)
new cover, hardback edition of
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I'm already on page 20 of Carrier of the Mark. It feels perfect for the season, because I picture Ireland as a rainy sort of place. Can't wait to read the rest of these, along with my gazillion other books.

What books have you gotten recently? Any opinions on these books?

Oct 12, 2011

I have an idea.

No, not a new story idea. An idea that involves reviewing published books. Because I'm not too good at it. I think I'll just write a post about the one book I like from the month. Might let you peoples know about the book I read and whether or not I'd recommend it, but that might be it.

Of course, these thoughts may change it a little while. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do about this whole blogging thing. I might just start more random posts, even though I'd really like to write more tips. There's only so much that a writer can think of to write tips about....

Oh, I started reading Wither by Lauren DeStefano, and I really like it so far. The writing's good and the plot's interesting so far. I hope this is a good read.

Well, that's all I've got today. I hope you all have a nice day/evening. Get reading/writing done for me! (I'm a bad procrastinator.)


Oct 11, 2011

To plan, or not to plan?

In writing, there comes a time where planning can be good or bad. It depends on the person. Some people can freely write, while others need to write down everything for the story. I tend to do both.

Most of my projects are planned out, just because most of them end up in the "To work on" file on my laptop. There's only one project I'm writing that isn't planned out, but that's because it seems to work the best for the story.

Otherwise, I plan out the character, plot, and chapter events.

What do I do for characters? I write down their full name. Then the age. Then appearance. And finally a summary of their life. The latter generally helps plan out the story, which is why I plan out the characters first.

Here's an example:

  • Everette 'Ever'
    • Age
      • 16
    • Appearance
      • Light brunette, pale green eyes due to experiments, pale skin, 5'2", 
    • Summary of life
      • Ever lived with her parents until she was 10, which was when Mr. Richards came to her family, offering her a better education. Her family thought this would be a good idea, even though Ever didn't like it, and she went to the lab. After two weeks, Mr. Richards lied to her parents and ...
That's just an brief example. Just getting the first two things also help so you know the general age and what they look like so Suzy don't have brown hair in the first paragraph and blond hair in the third paragraph in the next chapter.

This one is basically: write a paragraph for the plot, or do a detailed gazillion pages that describe every major event along with back story and other things. I do both. The first is what I do (with pitches instead of a paragraph), while the other ends up being over a thousand pages due to the back story and major events detailed, and a little summary of the beginning of the story.

There are also ways that include a very detailed paragraph-by-paragraph thing. I have never attempted this one, due to the fact that it takes a long time and can get really boring.

Chapter Events
Instead of a plot paragraph-type thing, this can be used to replace it. It's just brief notes on every chapter, from 4 (for me) to 8 lines. Real easy.

An example:

  • Ch1
    • wakes up to music
    • gets ready for school
      • brief chat with mom
    • almost late to school
    • takes test in English
    • ditches after class and hangs out with friends a beach
Pretty silly example (in my opinion), but it gives you the gist of what to do. 

I hope this helps those of you who don't really know what to do when it comes to planning!

Oct 9, 2011

What's next?

Many things are coming up for me. Today I plan to buy Carrier of the Mark at Wal-mart. Tomorrow I have a usually Monday night rehearsal for band (we're learning the rest of our third song). Then I have to study for the PSAT on Wednesday. It's the end of the quarter this Friday, I've got a weird presentation for English, a test in Chemistry, and this year's first marching competition on Saturday. I get to spend more of my Saturday at school, on a bus, at another school, and on the bus again. Oh, and I get to listen to my lovely iPod while trying to ignore people and get some sleep. And might read on the trip to the other school. And wear my super awesome, super warm jacket.

Writing and reading wise, I plan to have all rewrites for Deception done by next Sunday. And I plan to get Shiver done sometime this week, too. That, or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Depends on what I decide to pick up tomorrow morning.

Yes, short little post on a Sunday. Not very important, since I still need to figure out some writing tips. I might explain my ways of planning and how I motivate myself to get a whole bunch of writing done in a little bit of time.

So, until then, go listen to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It is my favorite Queen song.

And that is all.

Oct 8, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young review

Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. 

Let me start off with the writing. It took me about twenty pages to get into the Western-type style. Then, there were some areas where the “Carin fer somebody that much means you cain’t think straight”-type writing dropped. Everything’s written in this way—or at least should be—but there were a few long-ish sentences that were written “properly.” But, everything was really easy to follow. There’s a lack of dialogue quotations, but, again, real easy to follow. I applaud Young for that.

Otherwise, the story sucked me in. Everything’s short—the sentences and sentences—which definitely kept my pushing through the story. I enjoyed it quite a lot.

The beginning of the story was amazing. Saba and her family live in the middle of nowhere, a storm comes, and Lugh is kidnapped. Took a few pages to get that bit rolling, but it helped show the characters’ relationships. Saba and her brother? Closer than anything. Saba and her little sister? Not so much. What I liked was that, after their brother was kidnapped and Emmi (Saba’s sister) disobeyed Saba and decided to tag along, the relationship between Emmi and Saba grew. Saba wasn’t so mean, and they became more like sisters.

But their relationship seemed to change a lot. At least, that’s what happened when Jack came in. He caused a lot of problems with Saba and Emmi’s relationship, along with his own relationship with Saba. I won’t go into my Jack ordeal just yet.

One of my favorite places was when Saba was change fighting. Best part of the book. Saba’s the best of the change fighters and needs to find a way out so she can continue on her journey to find Lugh. Then Jack comes along, which I believe is where the story starts to fall.

There’s something about Jack that draws Saba. She obviously is in love with him just after a few sentences. A lot of the scenes with Jack and Saba reminded me of a lot of paranormal romances. The main character is in love with the hot guy, yet she doesn’t want to admit it. Then there’s the dialogue between the characters. Again, reminded me a lot of paranormal romances. This killed my joy of reading the book.

Then there’s the whole Lugh-prophecy type thing. Yeah, he’s part of a prophecy—that was before my Jack problem, which probably started my not-so-happy-with-this-book thing. But, the prophecy thing was real small. The start of the quest cage fighting took up a good majority of the beginning, then Saba and the other fighters’ freedom took up another chunk, and the last chunk was some development of Saba and Jack’s relationship while off to go save Lugh.

The ending, though, is redeeming. Characters' relationships get a lot better, and except for the large amounts of predictable dialogue and events, closes the story rather well.

Overall, I enjoyed the beginning, which is really saving the book for me. I’ll probably look into the next book, but otherwise, I’m disappointed. I thought it’d be a lot better. Loved the beginning. The ending went downhill, a bit. One thing I would have liked to see, though, was the background history of this dystopia and where exactly this takes place. As an American, I’m guessing some form of the US in the mid-west.

After some contemplation, I’d say this is 4.0 in rating. I'd still recommend this, but warn people of the not-so-good character relationship.

All right, guys! I have a plan.

At least, I have a plan today.

Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)Today, I will finish reading Blood Red Road (I've got about 150 pages left), write that review, and then work on rewrites for Deception. Simple plan really, but I have a feeling it won't go as well as I'd like.

And tomorrow has some plans (I believe). Tomorrow, I'm going to Wal-Mart and will hopefully buy Carrier of the Mark. Unless they don't have it, because I'll be rather sad then. But it'd be for the best when I keep reading the books I plan to buy, while roaming the story. That's something I look forward to, especially when I have no homework.

I have a question for you guys. What writing aspects would you like me to blog about? Like how to do *insertthinghere*. I'm at a loss, because I haven't written any helpful blog posts (writing-wise) in a while. Would you guys mind helping me?


Oct 2, 2011

Reviews to come in October.

That's right, I'm going to start reviewing novels this month. I will hopefully have a review up once a week.

These include...

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Most likely in that order, too. I believe I've posted my opinions before, but I have to say that so far, I don't have any complaints for Blood Red Road. Divergent is okay, but I don't find it the greatest of writing. Glow is blagh (it is my least favorite), and Shiver is pretty good, though the start kind of confused me.

They're all so different, that's for sure.


Oct 1, 2011


Some people find it hard to come up with a new plot for a new book. Others are super creative who can pop out a new idea in seconds and start writing.

I, however, am in the middle. Some days, I just can't think of a good plot. Other days, I find an idea I really like and manage to write 2000 words in an hour.

For those of you who can never find inspiration, might I give a list? Over the past few years (okay, that's a lie. For the past year) I've found quite a few things that inspire me to write. They include:

  • Music
  • Reading
  • TV shows
  • Anime
  • Movies
  • Pictures
  • History
I have had at least one idea sprout from one of those things. Anime inspired Deception and X-Men: First Class helped me get ideas for the story; World History inspired Day One; a picture inspired Transparency and Burns; music inspired an older work, Dusty Skies. Find your favorite song and really listen to it. You just might come up with an idea. Heck, even countries have inspired me.

What inspires you? I really believe I can be inspired by anything: I came up with an idea because of roadkill on the side of the road, in front of a field. How sad it that?