Posted in Uncategorized

YA Fiction, Elitism and the Culture of “Should”

Love.

Count My Stars

By now I’m sure nearly everyone in the writing world has read or heard about the Slate piece on how adults should be embarrassed/ashamed to read Young Adult literature. (I’m not going to link to it, because I refuse to give them the clicks.)  I couldn’t possibly have missed it – when I checked Twitter on Thursday morning, my timeline was a seething mass of fury. And I… well, went off implies a brief explosion. This took place over the course of nearly three hours, prompting what I consider one of my top five greatest honors of my entire internet history:

Image

And, you know what? It was. When I get up a good head of steam on some righteous anger, it looks a little like this:

ImageMore often than not, I’m reduced to outraged sputtering, but every now and then I am able to find and use my words, and…

View original post 1,272 more words

Posted in Reading, Uncategorized

Liebster Award

Thank you Janna Kaixer for the Liebster Award nomination! I love Janna’s blog—which you should all go check out when you have the chance. She has some great posts on writing that are really worth your time.

 

So, without further ado, the rules:

 

  1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

 

 

My answers:

 

1. Why do you write?

To me this question is like “why do you breathe?” I just can’t help it. I’ve been writing for fun for over twelve years, so I guess when you do something regularly for so long, it just becomes second nature. I write because it makes me happy, because it keeps me (somewhat) sane. Because I can’t not.

 

2. What do you hope to achieve with your writing? (E.g. raise awareness of something, tell a story, teach a lesson…)

I’ve read some pretty amazing books throughout my life, ones that have kept me thinking about them long after I turn the last page, sometimes even years later. I think books have a real opportunity to make an impact on the lives of those who read them, especially when you’re writing for younger audiences (like YA and Middle Grade). Besides just continuing to enjoy what I do, I hope to write a story that means something to someone and impacts them the way my favorite books have impacted me.

 

3. If you could go back in time and give yourself some writing advice what would it be?

Oh my gosh, I would tell myself so many things. I think I’d tell myself to be brave. I have an extremely overactive imagination, so some of the ideas I come up with are just so bizarre, even I don’t know what to think. When I was younger, I thought I needed to write like my favorite authors in order to be a good writer, so I think I limited myself and didn’t write what I really wanted to write about. I’d tell myself it’s okay to be different—it’s actually awesome to be different, and to embrace it. Take chances with your writing, and don’t doubt yourself.

 

4. Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what sort of music?

Yes, I love music and it plays a huge role in my writing process. Sometimes I make specific playlists that really correlate to the mood of the story I’m writing, and sometimes I just listen to the songs that I enjoy at that moment. I’m currently obsessed with The 1975’s self-titled album and have it on constant repeat 😉 I lean more toward alternative/rock-ish type music, but sometimes I’ll listen to instrumental stuff. Really it’s just anything that makes me happy and excited to write.

 

5. Where do you get your ideas from?

I really wish I could tell you, but I honestly have no idea. I’m not the type of person who gets her ideas from dreams—I wish. There were a few times when I saw something that sparked a question that eventually developed into a story, but most of the time a random scene or idea pops into my head that demands to be written down that second and it eventually turns into something bigger. 9 times out of 10, I have no idea where the idea came from. I can only think of two stories that ever had a concrete root—one from reading an argument between two people I didn’t know via Goodreads comments ;), and one from the ecology unit in my high school honors biology class.

 

6. What is your writing process? Are you a pantser, a plotter or a mixture?

I’m definitely a mixture. I can’t write unless I have at least a vague idea of the story—the main plot, where it’s going, the main characters, the ending—but I also have never outlined a story. I jot down a bunch of notes beforehand which are usually a mess of hastily scribbled thoughts to myself followed by question marks and arrows pointing to other bullet points. I basically just do a huge braindump/brainstorm and write down all of the possibilities and directions the story could take, figure out where I want to the story to start, and then I start writing and see where it takes me.

This is a difficult question to answer, because my process changes every single time I write. Every story demands its own process for me. My method pretty much consists of just going with it 😉

 

7. Where do you write best? (E.g. at your desk, in bed, in a cafe…)

I can write anywhere, and I do, but I prefer to write in my bedroom, door closed, my back up against a wall. I used to write at school on my off periods, but I always felt awkward writing with other people around. I like to be alone. As for the actual location I write, it really doesn’t matter. Sometimes I write at my treadmill desk, sometimes in my bed, or the couch, or just sitting cross legged on the floor. The actual place doesn’t matter so much as my state of mind.

 

8. Is there anyone that keeps you writing despite struggles? If so, who?

Hmm. I usually don’t tell people about what I’m writing until I have at least a rough draft completed. My family has always been super supportive of my writing, so if anyone, them I suppose. But I don’t think I’ve ever had someone encourage me to continue writing besides myself. I’m an extremely self-motivated person, and I have to finish what I start, so I guess that voice inside my head keeps me writing 😉

 

9. If you could meet any Author who would it be?

This is a tough one; there are so many! Probably Charles Dickens (assuming time travel is allowed). If I could sit down and pick his brain about A Tale of Two Cities, we’d probably be there all week. I am obsessed with that book.

10. What is your favorite book of all time?

I am horrible with favorite questions because I am so indecisive. The only one I can ever answer without hesitation is my favorite color (which is blue, by the way). I’m going to cheat and give you three. Like I said in the previous question, I absolutely love A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I think the entire novel is beautifully done and it has probably the best ending of anything I’ve ever read. In terms of more recent books, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater really stands out. The character development is amazing, and the story is so unique that it absolutely blew me away. I’ve never read anything like it. Also, it introduced me to Welsh mythology—something I’d known absolutely nothing about before, but it made me want to go research and learn as much as I could. Plus, Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is beautiful and makes me incredibly envious. Lastly, I love Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and over a year after I finished it, just looking at it on my shelf brings back all of those same emotions. I think the purpose of books is to make you feel something, and that book made me feel everything. It had some of the best characters I had ever read, and I was really impressed with how well Clare managed to end the series in such a satisfying way.

 

 

I nominate:

 

Paige Reiring – her blog is one of the first I ever followed when I started blogging. Her posts on writing—especially her Monday Tropes—are well thought out and extremely helpful. You can really tell that she puts a lot of effort into her blog.

 

Heidi Street – I love Geeky Scribbles! HJ writes about writing as well as random life related things in an entertaining and fun way. She blogs in such a way that you really feel you know her as a person. Her blog is definitely something worth reading.

 

Nadia – Nadia reviews books and also makes videos, and her blog is so cute. Her enthusiasm for reading is contagious!

 

Jen – Jen’s Pen Den talks about reading, writing, books, everything! It’s fun and engaging and full of funny pictures and gifs 😉

 

Claire Marie Davidson –  Great blog with writing advice and book reviews. She keeps it simple and sweet with lots of great content.

 

Stephanie Dockery – I love her blog, The Night Owl’s Guide to Reading. As a night owl myself, it’s great fun and completely relatable. She has all kinds of posts so there’s something for everyone, from helpful advice to entertaining rambles.

 

Lou Roth – Her blog, Aislingrain is funny and covers a wide range of topics. She has posts on reading, on writing, on authors, and random tidbits that make it all the more fun.

 

Livvy – The Bookcomet is such a fun blog. She reviews YA books and her love for reading is practically bursting out of the computer.

 

Rachmi Febrianty – Notalostwanderer is another great blog. (These are obviously all great blogs.) She reviews books – mostly YA/NA, and her interests in books are almost exactly the same as my own. She has lots of posts, so if you have some free time, sifting through her archives would be a great way to pass the time 😉

 

My – I actually just stumbled across her blog, No Rules, Just Words, very recently, but I’m loving it so far. She has a great blogging schedule and posts super frequently so you can count on her for posts. Her blogging schedule looks like this: Spiritual Sunday | Motivational Monday | “You’re Beautiful” Tuesday | “Call me My” Wednesday | “I’m a Writer” Thursday | MyCam Friday | Spotlight Saturday.

 

And Finally, the 10 questions:

 

  1. When and why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. Are you a structured writer (or reader) (do you set deadlines or goals for yourself, or do you just go with the flow)?
  3. What’s the number one book you’ve read that you wish you wrote and why?
  4. Is there a certain time of day you find writing (or reading) easier, or can you write (or read) day or night with pretty much the same ease (or difficulty 😉 )?
  5. When and why did you start writing and/or reading?
  6. Have you ever written (or read) a character whose personality (or had a personality trait that) was similar to your own? If not, have you ever written (or read) one completely different and can you describe him or her?
  7. What is your favorite genre to write (or read) and why?
  8. What’s your least favorite book of all time and why?
  9. Where do you see yourself ten years from now reading or writing wise?
  10. Would you rather never be able to read or never be able to write again? [This one’s mean, I know, sorry ;)]

 

 

Thanks again Janna! And thank you to everyone else for reading, and feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments. I’d love to see your answers!

 

– K

Posted in Writing Tips

Critique Partners

When many writers talk about their revision process, they usually mention the importance of critique partners or writing groups. I, like many others, attest that this step in the revision process is so extremely helpful and not to be overlooked.

I’m personally knee deep in another set of revisions on my current WIP, and am lucky enough to have fabulous critique partners who have helped me pull this manuscript out of the gutters.

Critique partners are so important, and for so many reasons. No matter how much time and distance you put between you and your manuscript, you still wrote it. You created those characters, breathed life into their story, loved them and tortured them until you typed the end at three in the morning before collapsing into a pile of utter exhaustion. And no amount of time or distance is going to change that. This isn’t to say you can’t revise and edit your own manuscript, because you should, but you should also get a fresh pair of eyes—or two, or three—to look it over. Because these people who didn’t write your WIP can give you something that no matter how hard you try, you can’t give yourself.

They can tell you what they see from a reader’s point of view.

Especially on their first read-through, they don’t know your story. They don’t know how your world works or the backstories for all of your characters. Vague lines don’t automatically make sense to them as they would to you because you understand what it’s referring to that happens 200 pages later. Critique partners see what you can’t—or what you don’t want to—and have the ability to make your manuscript infinitely better, in my humble opinion.

Finding the perfect critique partner, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is like finding your soul mate. It isn’t easy, and sometimes you have to go through a couple of no-good fits before you find your perfect match. And that’s okay as long as you keep looking.

Because, trust me, it’s worth it once you find one that believes in your manuscript just as much as you do.

Do you use critique partners? Share your thoughts; I’d love to hear what you think!