Monday, July 21, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! (Week 7)

How I did on last week’s goals:

Write a little every day on my new YA Horror WIP...EPIC FAIL! I had the best of intentions,  but only managed to write 2 days last week. I guess it's better then nothing!

My goal(s) for this week:

Write a page a day for 3 days on my new YA Horror WIP, skip to the good stuff!

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:

Too much play-by-play of physical movement, not enough action! 

The biggest challenge I faced this week:

A serious lack of motivation/enthusiasm for my project. I swear, writing a first draft is such a roller coaster experience for me. One minute I love it, the next minute I hate it...Ugh, it's exhausting! I wish I wasn't always so wishy-washy about my WIPs! *sigh*

Something I love about my WIP:

Any scene where a cute guy/scary moment is involved! ;) (which is I think the reason why I didn't enjoy writing much this week, not enough "cute guy/scary scenes, must rectify that ASAP!)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! (Week 6)

As you probably noticed, it's been awhile since I've posted any updates on my progress with RSW.  I didn't want to not post, since I already have a horrible habit of not finishing the things I start, but I didn't want to take the time to post another update until I had something significant to report and today I think I finally do! :)

How I did on last week’s goals:

I haven't had any RSW-related goals for the last few weeks except trying to come up with a story idea that I liked enough to spend the rest of RSW and July Camp NaNoWriMo working on, which has proved to be much harder to achieve then I would have liked. 

My goal(s) for this week:

Write a little every day on my new YA Horror WIP, I'm affectionately referring to as Girl Eats Boy. (if your curious to know what it's about and since I suck at writing summaries, just think Supernatural-meets-Anna Dressed in Blood-meets the movie Jennifer's Body) Also, take a peek at GEB's Pinterest board if you want!

A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


The biggest challenge I faced this week:

I just started writing this story yesterday and already I know it's going to be a bit of a departure for me since my comfort zone has always been writing introverted, sweet, shy MC's in First Person, Past Tense. But with this MS, I'm trying something new by pushing myself to write an extroverted, risk-taking MC in First Person, Present Tense.  This experiment is definitely proving to be a challenge since I find myself slipping back into my old habits without realizing it, but I'm still having fun trying something new nonetheless!

Trying  to take the pressure off myself and practice making writing fun again.  This has been the hardest part for me for a while now.  I've been so consumed with finding "the one" (aka, that story that changes everything, lands me an agent/book deal/etc.) that I've lost sight of why I even started this writing thing in the first place.  Yes, I wanted to become a published author eventually, but I also never want to lose my joy and enthusiasm for writing itself because if that happens then what's the point anyway, right?

Something I love about my WIP:

The same thing I love about Supernatural: The idea that females can be just as scary/kick ass as males. Oh, and lets not forget the fact that it contains three of my favorite things: Ghost possession, a touch of cannibalism, and, of course, kissing! ;)


P.S. If you feel so inclined, come show some love to the author interview I did recently with the lovely Heather Marie and her debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME!

Friday, June 27, 2014

TBG Author Interview: Heather Marie!

Heather Marie lives in Northern California with her husband, and spends the majority of her time at home reading. Before she followed her dreams of becoming a writer, Heather worked as a hairstylist and makeup artist for several years. Although she enjoyed the artistic aspect of it all, nothing quite quenched her creative side like the telling of a good story. When the day had come for her to make a choice, she left behind her promising career to start another, and never looked back.

A note from Heather: Since my vlogging skills are lacking and the video cuts off at the last second, I just want to say thank you to The Blogger Girlz for having me! I can't wait for you all to read Gateway and so look forward to hearing what you think. Cheers for now! -HM

To find out more about Heather and her books, check out her website!

Thanks again Heather!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! (Week 2)

1.  How I did on last week’s goals:
Create a plot outline  for my new YA Horror WIP using tips from the article How To Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps. (Not as well as I hoped, since I'm still trying to figure out exactly what story I want to work on. Kinda hard to create a plot if I don't have a story to go with it, lol!)
2.  My goal(s) for this week:
  • Narrow my story ideas down to the top three-five
  • Write a rough plot outline for each
  • Test drive each idea by writing a few pages of each one 
  • Choose one idea to focus on for the rest of RSW

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:
4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write):
Finding "the one".  I have lots of different story ideas, but none that have really screamed, "Pick me, choose me, love me!" (did you catch the The Notebook humor there? :) yet, which is definitely frustrating.
5.  Something I love about my WiP:
Better luck this week, I hope! *fingers crossed*

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE! (Week 1)

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. Find the rest of the details HERE.

My goal for this week is simple yet challenging on so many different levels:

Plotting has never been my strong suit, so I really hope this helps me create at least a rough plot, since I have a bunch of characters, except I don't really know what to do with them! :P

Good luck with your goals!

Monday, May 12, 2014

TBG Author Interview: Claire Legrand!

      Claire is the author of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, out now from Simon & Schuster BFYR, and THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, due out August 27, 2013, also from S&S. Her third novel, WINTERSPELL, also from S&S, is a young adult retelling of The Nutcracker, and will release September 30, 2014. Its e-novella prequel,SUMMERFALL, releases exclusively in digital format August 26, 2014. Claire is also one of the four authors of THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES anthology, a collection of dark middle grade short stories coming from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins on May 27, 2014.

     1. How did you first come to the realization that you wanted to be a writer and then later when you decided to pursue publication?      

I wrote a lot when I was little, but for the most part stopped writing once I entered middle school. I just got too busy with school and band! I didn’t start writing again in earnest until my second year of college. A story idea had been percolating in my head since I graduated high school, and I couldn’t keep it in any longer! I had to write it, and I had to try getting it published. I didn’t know what I was doing at that point, but I knew I had to try! I loved the story that much.

2. You started out your career as an author writing MG; is there a story behind what made you decide to also start writing YA?

Not really—I simply have lots and LOTS of story ideas in my head! Some of them are MG; some are YA. Some are for adult books; some are for picture books. I write what I want to write, regardless of audience.

3. How did you come up with the idea for WINTERSPELL? Did it just come to you, or was it more of a gradual progression?

I’ve always been obsessed with the Nutcracker ballet. My family used to watch it on PBS every Christmas. For years, I had toyed with the idea of writing my own version of the   story, and when I mentioned the idea to my agent, she was incredibly enthusiastic. The rest is history!

4. What were the most difficult and best parts of writing WS?

Probably the most challenging thing about writing Winterspell was that I had to fit a lot of story in one book. I worked really hard to say everything I wanted to say, and yet still keep the pacing exciting and the length manageable. Thankfully, my editor is brilliant and helped me achieve this! But it was a lot of work. I learned so much while writing this book.

The best part of writing Winterspell was letting my imagination run wild. I’m a very visually-minded person. I spend a lot of time in the brainstorming stage of writing a book, curating images online, thumbing through fashion magazines, and watching movies for inspiration. Winterspell is probably my most visual book so far. I spent a lot of time designing the wardrobe, the architecture, the characters’ appearances, and the world itself—and it was great fun.

5. What did your friends and family think when you told them you were writing WS?

They were, as they always are, incredibly supportive and excited! My mom was especially so. She and I have watched the Nutcracker ballet many times over the years, and—here I must confess: We both kind of have a crush on the character of Godfather Drosselmeyer. I can’t wait until she sees what I’ve done with his character in this re-telling. ;)

6. What was your journey to publication for WS?

I spent several long, intensive months writing a detailed outline of the entire book, as well as eight sample chapters. That proposal took a lot of time to get just right, and my   agent worked closely with me to ensure it was as polished as it could be. After that, things happened quickly! We ultimately sold it, at auction, to my editor at Simon & Schuster—who was already working with me on my two middle grade books—in early 2012.

7. What was your reaction and what did you do to celebrate when your agent offered you representation and then later when you found out WS was going to be published?

You know, it’s funny. So many people have such great, vivid memories about what they did to celebrate when they signed with their agent or sold their book...but I don’t. I just remember feeling really numb and shocked and happy. I probably flailed with my mom and my friends, and maybe went out for a celebratory dinner or something, but I’m one of   those people who kind of withdraws into her quiet happy place when good things happen. :)   

8. Where do you draw your inspiration from while you are writing? For example, do you listen to music while you write or sit outside?

I listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of movies, and look at images/art online (yay Tumblr and Pinterest!) and in magazines. My favorite kind of music to listen to while   brainstorming is film scores, but I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to white noise instead, or not listening to anything at all, when doing the actual writing or when working on revisions. I’ve found that my brain works better in quiet.

9. How do you stay motivated to write? Even though you are now a published author, have you ever wanted to give up? And if so, how did you pull yourself back from the "edge"?

I think all writers, even published, incredibly successful ones, go through periods where they get discouraged or want to give up. I know I’ve experienced moments like that. To get over those feelings, I vent to friends, family, and writer friends I trust. I also force myself to get out of the house and do things other than write—exercise, see a movie, visit with friends, etc. Also, sometimes working on another project, that isn’t under deadline or contract and therefore is low-pressure, reminds me how much I love writing and why I’m doing this in the first place. Then I feel re-energized and ready to get back to work.

10. Tell us about your writing habits: where you write, when you write, how much you write, etc.

When you’re a published author, you have to do a lot of things as part of your job that aren’t writing—networking, marketing, promotional activities, social media, planning events, etc. So that sometimes takes up a good portion of my workday. I try to write   every day—whether that’s on a current project or a project in my “someday” file. When I’m drafting a project, I try to write at least 2-3000 words per day. When I’m revising a project, I usually give myself some kind of goal like, “I’m going to revise five chapters today.” My daily to-do lists and goals shift according to whatever project I’m currently working on. I try not to set rigid, absolute goals because I know that if I don’t meet that goal for whatever reason—maybe it’s a lot harder than I anticipated, or Real Life gets in          the way—I’ll feel guilty. If, at the end of the day, I’ve had a full, productive workday, I’m happy.

11. What is your writing process like?

For any book, I spend a lot of time brainstorming. I listen to music, curate my Pinterest boards. I go on long drives, take a lot of long, hot showers, and let my mind wander.

Once the brainstorming process is over—that is, I have some characters in mind, along with a general plot, a voice, an audience—I outline. My outlines in the past have been   anywhere from two to twenty-five pages, but usually end up in the six- to ten-page range.

At this point in my career, I write a lot of proposals, which typically include an outline as well as a few sample chapters. Once the proposal is complete, it’s just a matter of pitching to an editor, getting the thumbs up, and starting to write the draft itself.

12. What kind of atmosphere do you prefer to write in, calm or chaos?

I prefer calm atmospheres, whether that’s me writing in my home office or at the local       library. I don’t like writing in noisy coffee shops or cafes—too many distractions. The quieter, the better—but every writer is different.

13. Do you have any odd and unusual habits which help you in regards to writing?

One of my favorite brainstorming activities is going on long drives—and talking to myself in the car. Sometimes I talk through a scene of dialogue between two characters to get a feel for how they would respond to something that’s happened. Sometimes—and this is embarrassing, but true—I’ll pretend I’m being interviewed. Answering tough questions from a fake interviewer is a surprisingly effective way to unravel troublesome plot knots!

14. Now that you're a published author and a more experienced writer, what advice would you give to your unpublished self?

I would go back five years ago and tell unpublished Claire to get her head out of her butt and read, read, READ. Read more, and read often. I used to be a huge reader when I was younger, and then Real Life got in the way and I didn’t make the time. But once I started    writing again and did make the time to read more, my writing improved exponentially.

15. Do you have any new writing projects (MG and/or YA) in the works? Can you tell us about them?

I just announced the sale of Summerfall, a prequel novella to Winterspell. This will release in e-book format only from Simon & Schuster on August 26, and I’m so excited about it! You can read a synopsis and add it to Goodreads here.
Other than that, I have lots of new projects in the works at the moment! I hope I can tell you about some of them soon. :)

To learn more about Claire and her books, visit her website,

Thanks again, Claire! :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour: Take 2

Well, I’ve been so out of the blogosphere I’d never even heard of this blog tour until Ella Facebooked me yesterday saying “tag, you’re it.” I’ve been taking an unintended break from… well everything that isn’t work. Kid’s are exhausting, especially the first year in a new school. New kids, new curriculum, new coworkers who want to see what I’ve got and be sure I don’t have too much of it.

It’s been so long since I’ve written I barely remember this “writing process” Ella is speaking of.

1. What am I working on?

Well, I’m working on the same story I was working on three years ago. It’s a tale of the survivors of a futuristic war. They were orphaned children repurposed as highly trained, genetically enhanced, technologically upgraded soldiers, but when the war ended they were a mess no one wanted to deal with. So they were sent off to die discretely off stage. But one of their “war heroes” didn’t appreciate the sentiment and decided to change the game.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not a happy endings person. The good guys aren’t that good. The girl never ends up with the nice guy. When I write SciFi or Fantasy the villain is usually human and the “hero” isn’t. I also like creating atypical environments. Warships that mimic gardens, entire planets engineered overnight to deceive, and cities built inside abandoned schools.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I find it interesting. It’s story that isn’t usually told. The story of the monster or the killer who doesn’t want to be saved. The story of the bad girl who likes it that way. The one who knows it’s what’s puts them in power and sets them apart from the victims and losers. It isn’t the pathetic formula of the characters who do what it takes to succeed, loose something they love because of it, and mend the error of their ways. It’s the character does what it takes to succeed, loses something they love, but keeps on fighting until they carve out the life they want even if it isn’t the life of a good person.

4. How does your writing process work?

Picture the exact opposite of Ella’s writing process and that’s mine in a nutshell.

The story line comes on its own, but since the worlds I write in are entirely fictional my writing process starts with building the background and then the characters. The story itself is always there, sitting in my head, and since I see the world of the story before I see the people I start by building the culture and the physical parameters of the people. I usually do a lot of sketching and computer generation at this point. By the time I’m done building the setting the story has evolved in my mind to a point where I can build the characters. It helps me to focus on their emotions and character traits when I’m building them as that helps me shape the story by telling me what needed to happen to make them that way, which helps me fill in their backstory and determine what needs to happen in the story to help them evolve. From there I take the story off the shelf and start adding in the character and world specific details.

So, that’s my brain, twisted confusing thing that it is.

- Aaron