25.7.12

RTW: If I could be reincarnated as a fictional character...


Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival created by the lovely bloggers over at YA Highway. Every week (on Wednesday) they post a question for other bloggers to answer on their respective blogs.

This week's topic:

If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?

So I recently finished rereading Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It's one of my favorite books and it makes me swoon every time I read it. If you haven't read it and you're looking for a love story that will sweep you off of your feet, then you should give this book a try.

I know there are a million other heroines out there who kick-butt and take names but I doubt that if I were reincarnated, I'd be any braver than I am now. I'm no Katniss and I definitely wouldn't be able to handle living in Panem or survive the Hunger Games. So...because I am such a chicken, the character who is least likely to be put in a dangerous life or death situation that I really really wouldn't mind changing places with is, if you haven't guessed already, the main character from Anna & the French Kiss, Anna Oliphant.

I have always wanted to go Paris. Ever since I took French in middle school, I've been in love with the culture and the history of the city. I can't really speak French anymore. I can say the alphabet and tell you my name but...that's about it. Haha, my professeur would be so proud.

In the book, Anna wasn't too happy about leaving her home in Atlanta and spending her last year of high school in Paris and even though I get where she was coming from there were times where I just wanted to reach inside the book and shake her. I just don't get how anyone could be sad in one of the most beautiful places in the world. What I wouldn't give to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, tour the city in a boat along the Seine (okay, maybe not that...boats are scary) and share all of the beauty of this city with someone I love.

I wouldn't mind if that person was St. Clair, either. I have a major crush on him and yes, I know he's a fictional character, but I have so many fictional boy crushes it's insane. I kept wishing he were real when I was reading the book and since there isn't any way for me to bring him to life, it seems like the better choice would be for me to wait to be reincarnated as Anna (there is a chance that this can happen, right?).


So, how about you guys? What fictional character would you want to be reincarnated as?
24.7.12

Teaser Tuesday


Happy Tuesday everyone!

I found out who my roommate is yesterday and I have her number and though we're encouraged to call each other, I'm really nervous about calling her because I might just squee into the phone or do something really really weird. WhatshouldIdo?

Haha. In other news, my rewrites/revisions are under way! I am almost finished rewriting the first chapter and it is A MILLION TIMES better than the original one. Trust. Me.

I'm also working on writing a pitch for Things Left Unsaid to enter this contest for teen writers that I am super excited about entering, and let me tell you...pitches are so hard to write. It seems easy if you think about it. 35 words, 3 sentences. A piece of cake, right? NOT. I have a pitch written but as it is now it sucks and I only have five days to get it right. FIVE DAYS.

*takes a deep breath*

Okay.

Since it's Teaser Tuesday and I wrote 4K yesterday (squee!), I'm going to post an excerpt from Things Left Unsaid.

---


I fished my phone out of my pocket and answer the call. “Hello.”

“Claire where are you?”

“I’m with Danny. We just picked up Tucker, so I should be home in a few.”

I could picture a look of relief washing over her face. “Okay, that’s good. Your uncle wanted me to ask you if you liked Karen.”

Karen? Karen? Karen? The name didn’t ring a bell. “Oh, yeah, she was really nice.” My voice squeaked a little at the end. I hoped she didn’t notice, but knowing Virginia she probably did.

“Maybe you and her daughter, Sam, can hang out sometime.”

“Yeah, yeah.”  And Danny said I wasn’t good at lying.

“Claire,” Virginia breathed.

“Yes?”

“You didn’t go talk to Karen, did you?”

           There were two approaches I could take. The first would be to get on the offensive, pretend like I was hurt that she would call and check up on me, which is what she probably did. The second was to give in, add a few sniffles into the equation, and pray to whoever was listening that she wouldn’t come down on me too hard.

I chose the latter. “I just don’t think I’d like it there. I’m not good at painting.”

Virginia sighed. It was a tired sigh, one that was usually followed by a gaze so wary it made her look older than her thirty-nine years. When my sister died, she and Pierre dropped everything to come live with me and my mom. They only lived a few hours away, so it wasn’t hard for them, but it wasn’t easy either. I know me refusing to get help wasn’t a piece of cake for them, especially since my mother was a lost cause. She hardly ever came out of her room, and when she did decide to grace us with her presence she looked empty - like everything inside of her had been scooped out. I wasn’t breaking into a million pieces. I didn’t lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep. But that’s why they’re worried about me. My sister is gone and I don’t feel a thing.

“Your uncle and I just want the best for you, Claire. Karen is a wonderful person. She’s a retired therapist who doesn’t believe in the traditional methods of therapy. Plus she has a son who knows what you’re going through.”

“I’m not going through anything,” I tell her.

“Claire, you’re in denial. Karen said that it’s normal for…”

“I don’t care what Karen says.”

“We’ll talk about this when you get home.”

I hang up.

Lately, that's how all of our conversations end.

“Are you two…” When I turn around, Tucker and Danny are looking at me; both of them wearing the same pitiful look on their face that everyone who looks at me seems to wear. It’s like there’s a store somewhere around here that sells I'm sorry for your loss masks and people are snatching them off the shelves just so they can put them on whenever I'm around.
I want to find that store and burn it to the ground.



Thanks for reading! <3


22.7.12

Why YOU Shouldn't Write YA


I love YA.

Not because I'm a teen or because I write the genre but because there are some AMAZING Young Adult novels out there. Some are already published, some are soon-to-be published, and others are trying to find their way into the spotlight. It doesn't matter what the subgenre is, as long as the main character is smart and learns from their mistakes then chances are I'll like the book.

But there are some writers who only write YA because they feel that it's easy. I'm a teen, and just because I'm closer to the age of my characters, it doesn't make writing a book ANY easier. Just as I'm sure an adult writing adult fiction would say that their age doesn't make writing their book easier.

Writing a book is hard.

So if you're thinking that novel writing is going to be a piece of cake just because you're writing a book that features a teen protagonist, then please stop writing your book.

If you're not even going to do your research on how a REAL teen acts and behaves and you just base your story off of how YOU think a real teen acts and behaves, then please stop writing your book.

If you feel the need to dumb down your teen protagonists just because you believe their age makes them naive, then please stop writing your book.

YA means a lot to a lot of people. It has helped me get through the worst four years of my life (a.k.a high school) and I'm sure it helped many other teens, too.

And people (not all, but some) underestimate how amazing my generation is. Seriously, though.* I went to school with a girl who spent her entire senior year doing stem cell research at a local university. I also know a lot of teens who do community service and try to help out their environment (not because they were told to do it, either), which is more than you can say for other people. As someone who was a mentor for a human rights and racial justice group, I can honestly say that teens are awesome. We are more than our age, and people need to start seeing that.

So don't write YA if you can't see that.

Also, don't waste your time if you think writing YA is easy, because it's not, and if it is, then maybe you're not doing it right.

* Have you guys heard about the girls who called out both Teen Vogue and Seventeen on their usage of airbrushing on their cover models? I don't know about you guys, but I think that's pretty amazing.

20.7.12

Word Clouds!


I made one for Things Left Unsaid using Word It Out.

Word cloud made with WordItOut

17.7.12

The Lucky Seven Meme


So I was tagged in the Lucky Seven Meme by Morgan Hyde, whose entry you should seriously check out, especially if you like fantasy stories as much as I do. In case you missed it, I posted the first 250 of my current wip Dominion yesterday and since it's Teaser Tuesday and July 17th it only seems right that I do this meme. (Also, seven is my favorite number. I don't know about you guys, but I think it's the coolest number.)





Here are the rules:
  1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your current WIP
  2. Go down to the 7th line
  3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs and post them AS IS (no secret editing - the guilt monkeys will know).
  4. Tag 7 other authors and let them know

I'm going to post a snippet from the first draft of my finished manuscript Things Left Unsaid. And I didn't edit it, so sorry if it sucks at the moment!
---

His eyes landed back on earth. At first, I didn’t think he heard me, but the knowing look that washed across his face told me that he did, but instead of saying I’m sorry, he stuck out his hand and said: “I’m Sam.”
I could have just continued back on into Burger World.  He was a complete stranger. For all I know, he could be an ax murderer or something infinitely worse, but there was something about him that just made me feel…I don’t even know exactly what I felt…but it made me feel.
These past few months I’ve been walking around like a zombie, trying to figure out how to bring myself back to life, and for once I felt like I was finally living again.
I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, Sam. My name is Claire.”



CHAPTER FIVE



“You shouldn’t talk to him.” I turned around to find Marianne close behind me.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, taking in the tired look in her eyes. The uninterested tone was absent from her voice. It was now replaced with a more serious one.
“Sam,” she replied. “He has a whole lot of issues.”
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t we all.”
I was getting ready to head back to my table when she grabbed a hold of my arm, her freshly manicured fingernails delving into my skin.
“Look, I don’t know you but I know him. He’s got some things he needs to work out and I should know. I used to…” She turned away for a moment before she met my eyes again. “I used to date him.”
I snatched my arm away not really in the mood for jealous ex-girlfriends. She frowned at me. “You’re young. There’s plenty of…”



Thanks for reading and if you want to do this meme please do and make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments. <3
16.7.12

WIP Monday


My new project is tricky. It's unlike anything I've written before but it's a story that I really want to tell. Aside from plotting (something I never ever do) I'm also doing A LOT of world-building. I don't want to do too much though because eventually I'll have more research notes than I have wordage and that's not good.

When I'm not writing and trying to figure out who my characters are, I'm working on Dominion's Pinterest board. Every time I find a picture that reminds me of my wip, I get excited because I'm not only blending genres, but I'm also blending two worlds. Dominion takes place in the future, but a lot of the culture and the way people dress is inspired by Ancient Greece. So it really helps to have a place that I can put all the visuals for the story.

I talked about Dominion a little bit a few post ago. Basically it's about a girl who wants to avenge the death of her father, an underground organization who claims that they can help her, and a weapon named, Theo, who specializes in killing Greek gods. I'm really excited for this project even though it's making me want to pull my hair out at the moment. I hope to have at least 20,000 words written for it before I go off to college. *crosses fingers*


Here's the first 250 words:

Someone was hovering over me. It was dark but my cyber-eyes could make out the outline of the person standing by my cot. When a hand fell on my shoulder, I wasted no time in reacting. Body going into overdrive, the intruder didn’t make a sound when I jumped up and threw them across the room with so much force they went through the wall. Pieces of wood and centuries old dust rained down around me, but I didn’t let any of it stop me from finishing what I started. Grabbing the blade I kept underneath my pillow, I moved over to where the intruder should’ve landed, only to find that no one was there.
The floor creaked behind me.
“You picked the wrong girl to mess with,” I hissed, spinning around. I didn’t have time to think about what I was going to do. If this person was fast and could survive getting thrown through a wall, they were either a machine or a dem. Though I would rather fight another Borg, the odds of it being a demigod were a lot higher. And that could mean only one thing.
The Legion was here.
Warner said we would be safe in Erimos; that they wouldn’t find us, but as I charged towards the dark figure standing in the doorway, I knew that the legionaries somehow managed to track us down.
“Shit, Leila!” My database matched the voice with a face at the same time I barreled into my brother.


So what you guys working on?
15.7.12

In which I talk about sex and violence


I just really wanted to blog about something, because I can't sleep, I can't seem to get any words out, and...did I mention that I couldn't sleep? I'm also thinking a lot about sex and violence in YA. There was a very interesting YALitchat on Twitter the other day that I meant to blog about but didn't.

Most of the people who particapated in the chat (I believe) were adults. Technically...as my mom pointed out to me yesterday, I'm an 'adult' too but since I still have 'teen' tacked on to the end of my age, I consider myself a teenager. Just, you know, a very old one.

But getting to the point...a lot of people said things that I totally agreed with. Like this:

One thing I hate about (and I don't usually use this word) media (movies, tv shows etc.) is that people my age are portrayed (not all the time) as naive, mindless drones, who make decisions based on what other people are doing, and don't really know anything because they are young. Sometimes the way teens are viewed in media makes me sick because not all of it is realistic and I don't really care how old you are, you can be fifty years old and still be naive. You can be thirty and not have a bit of sense. Trust me, I know this for a fact.  So...what exactly is it that I'm trying to say here? Well, for starters, when you're writing books for teens my age or younger don't write for us like we're children. I understand that depending on who your audience is, you have to set boundaries, but to quote Jay Kristoff yet again:

Yes, Mr. Kristoff, that is EXACTLY what parents are for. To teach their children what's "right" and "wrong". Hey, I'm not going to pretend like I know anything about parenting nor do I want to know at this age, but we live in a crazy world. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as STDs, kids get gunned down for being 'in the wrong neighborhood', teens get pregnant, wars break out, and society is just...excuse zee French...completely fucked up. So, do parents need to protect their kids? In a way, they do, but sheltering them from all the 'bad stuff' isn't any way to protect them. I mean, it's certainly not going to make all of the bad stuff go away. We live in a really messed up world, but in addition to teaching their kids right from wrong, parents need to give them the freedom to decide for themselves what they can and can not handle.

When Myspace first came out, all of my friends had an account and I didn't. While my cousins were watching scary movies and checking out the latest music videos...I was watching the Disney Channel. My mom didn't let me listen to certain music, which I ended up listening to anyways because HELLO once you go to middle school you're kids are not safe from bad language, violence, or anything, really. Not all parents are the same. Not all parents put their foot down when their kids watch Rated R movies. Not all parents control what their kids listen to or what they read.

My mom did for a while and because I was (and still am) your typical teenager, I did the complete opposite of what my mother wanted me to do.  I watched my first Rated R movie when I was fourteen. (I hope my mom doesn't read this) It didn't make me want to go out and kill somebody because of all the violence it. It didn't make me want to curse like a sailor and let's just say...watching that movie was like watching anything else, except it was different from what I was used to.

Some people have this preconceived notion that kids imitate what they see/read/listen to. Well, let me tell you something, that is a lot of bull. Kids don't turn to violence because someone in a song sings about it or because they see it in a game/movie/tv show. If that were the case, high schools would turn into the freaking Hunger Games at lunch. Though people still think teens are naive and don't really know any better...we have BRAINS and can THINK for ourselves. So, writers, don't censor yourselves when you're writing, don't worry about getting complaints from parents or librarians or whoever. Just write the story the way you see fit because at the end of the day, when someone tells a teen not to read, listen, or watch this, they're going to do it anyways.

Also, as someone who has recently graduated from high school, I can tell you that high schools in YA books are nothing NOTHING like high school in real life. I mean, HS in books make it seem so simple and wonderful and like new kids automatically get friends, like kids don't shout curse words in the hallways and that fights don't break out ALL THE TIME when they do especially if it's a city school with a bunch of kids. I don't know what school was like in the 60s/70s/80s but...um high school today is like Hell, only without the fire and brimstone. And do you know how many kids, even the sweet freshmen, talk about sex during the course of the day? Do you? I understand the concept of hormones but the things I've heard at school...made the sexytimes (or lackthereof) in YA seem like a walk in the park.

So, I dare you to say that teens are naive. That they don't know anything about ANYTHING because they do.

I am in no way saying that all teens are responsible creatures or that all teens think before they act because there is a class of teenagers who do stupid things that make the rest of us look bad, but I am saying that it's time to stop treating teens like children because...teens today are not like teens from the 70s/80s. Teens today are aware of things now that people then weren't and we have technology to thank for that.

Going back to the not worrying about censoring yourself when it comes to sex and violence thing...um have you ever watched a Disney movie? I'm pretty sure 85% of my generation grew up watching them and just because they are cartoons, just because they were made for little kids, it doesn't mean that there weren't subliminal messages or that they didn't have violence. Maybe someone who is seven wouldn't pick up on those things because they are too busy focusing on all of the pretty shapes and colors but it doesn't change the fact that it's there, and yet parents let their kids watch Disney movies. Why? Because cartoons are 'harmless'. Well, if cartoons are harmless, then so are books.

I have a hard time getting all of my thoughts together, but really all I'm trying to say is violence and sex is apart of my generation's reality. I don't really condone the former, but I can't really argue with the latter either, because, well, it's how we all got here*. Just do yourselves a favor writers: put sex and violence in your novels if it fits the book and not just for shock value. Parents: talk to your teens, get invested in what they are reading/watching but don't get on the offensive when whatever they're watching/reading goes against YOUR beliefs/comfort zone. From experience with my mom, trust me when I say, that your kids are completely different from you and no matter how much you try to shield them it's not going to help anything. Once your kids walk out that door, they're going to experience things that you will not have control over. The only thing you do have control over is how they find out...so level with them. Don't preach, and make sure you're honest. Again, I don't know anything about parenting, so take what I'm saying with  a grain of salt.

*In no way am I saying that there should be more sex in YA because even though teens have sex and it's something that does happen, it's not good to put sex in a novel just because 'it happens'. I don't need to tell you guys that when it just 'happens' things like 'teen pregnancy' also happen. I've witnessed a lot of my peers get pregnant and no it wasn't because they read Breaking Dawn or any other young adult novel with sex in it. Honestly, I don't even know if it's a matter of 'why it happened' but a matter of 'it happened' and 'it happens'. So write about sex, if you want to, but if you're going to write about it...write about it in a way that is realistic. As for violence, I don't condone it in real life, but in books/movies/tv shows I don't really mind it because, again, it happens. Not putting violence in books and movies isn't going to stop people from shooting each other, it's not going to put an end to war or domestic violence either. We don't necassarily need violence in our media but we can't ignore that it's apart of our realities.

Okay, it is now after six o'clock which means I've spent a little under three hours trying to write this post and I can hear the birds chirping outside my window which means I should probably go to bed.

Thanks for reading! <3
12.7.12

Thursday Obsessions: Tom Hiddleston, Greek Mythology, and...Tom Hiddleston!

I totes stole this from Rachel who stole it from Leigh Ann Kopans and...so if you want to steal this go right ahead. If you do decide to continue this cycle of thievery, please post a link to your Thursday Obsessions post in the comments because I really want to know what you guys have been obsessing over this week. :)



Tom Hiddleston




*swoons*

If you don't know who this guy is, he plays Loki in both Thor and The Avengers. He is in a lot of other movies that I still need to watch but besides being a fantastic actor from what I've seen, Tom Hiddleston is articulate, intelligent, and he just seems so charming. I've watched a lot of interviews with him in it and there's just something about him...well you have to see for yourself....



Okay, maybe this doesn't show how articulate he is, but you can't deny that him eating chocolate is seriously like the BEST THING EVER.



And finally...





I also just found out that he played F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris which I still need to see. If you follow me on twitter or know me personally, then you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors and to know that Tom Hiddleston portrayed him in a movie blows my mind.




Greek Mythology



I have been living and breathing Greek Mythology for the past week and a half now. My latest project Dominion doesn't center around a particular myth but it has to do with Greek Gods and one particular person from Greek Mythology whose story I thought would be cool if told in a Sci-Fi setting. I don't want to give away too much about the story but it's about....



a girl named Leila who wants revenge

(they're not called the Men In Black but they do all wear black for some strange reason)
a secret organization who says they can help her get revenge if she helps them find a weapon and


the boy who is the weapon, Theo.


There will be some kissing and A LOT of explosions and action and science fiction-y stuff. I'm super excited about this project because it's something that I would LOVE to read and plus who doesn't like explosions?


So...what are you guys obsessing over this week?
3.7.12

I FINISHED MY NOVEL


I'm literally on cloud nine right now.

I typed the last sentence of Things Left Unsaid a few moments ago and then when I realized that I was done...I kinda had a moment where I cried a really ugly cry which, if you watch Grey's Anatomy, was identical to Meredith's crying in the season finale. Well, we were crying for different reasons, but...now I can't stop dancing and grinning and acting like a crazy person. My mom asked me what was going on, and when I told her she was all like FINALLY.

She also asked me what I planned on doing next, and I honestly don't know. I want to start working on a new project, but I also know I need to revise, and maybe even rewrite half of TLU. I'm not going to worry about that now though. Because...it's time to PARTY.

Since it is Tuesday, I'll leave you guys with a snippet from TLU:


“You wouldn’t understand,” I said, because she wouldn’t. Danny doesn’t understand anything that doesn’t have anything to do with her. She’s so self-absorbed that it hurts, but she’s my best friend. The only friend I have.

“Like hell I wouldn’t.” She gets up from my bed and starts pacing around the room, the way she does when I know she’s getting ready to explode, and believe  me when I say that any minute now she’s going to go off.
I grab my pillow and hold it to my chest, like it will be enough to shield me from her ticking-time-bomb anger. She stops in the center of my room, turns to face me, hair so fiery that it could burn down a whole village. Her words fall from her lips like missiles. "Your sister is dead, Claire. She's not coming back. No matter how many times you throw on her clothes or spend time with her friends, she's never coming back."