Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birthday Blog's my birthday. Not one of those milestone type birthdays, but close. Anyhow, the big question I always get asked every year is...

"What do you want for your birthday?"

As a kid, that was always easy to answer. Kids make lists for these kinds of things, so parents can pick a gift they actually want. Action figures, dolls, games. As they get older, the lists change along with them. Then parents choose from things like video games, iPods, and other techy stuff. Things get more expensive as kids get older, so then we come to the whole gift card thing. "Just buy me a gift card and I'll put it toward that new laptop I want."

For me, it's always been about books. I asked for books as a kid, a teenager, and an adult. Even now, I read several books at once, always ready to read a few pages whenever I have a few minutes to spare. I read everything, from biographies, to romance, young adult (obviously). The written word is precious to me, and I can think of no greater gift that someone can give me.

Luckily, I have a husband who likes to read as much as I do. I'd rather have books than flowers for any occasion, and he totally gets that. Even now, we're reading the Hunger Games Trilogy together. Gives us stuff to talk about. And after fifteen years together, that is a valuable thing.

I'm sure I'll have lots to say about the books after I read them all, so be prepared!

Because it's my birthday, and I'll read, 'cause I want to!


Monday, May 14, 2012


How does a writer get the plot bunnies to come out and play? Tickle the muse into whispering ideas? Of find the well of ideas?
I'm done with the final book in The Night of the Gryphon series, Prince of Light. So it's time to start something new but where does ideas come from? A common comment people say when they find out I’m a writer is 'I've tried but I just stare at a blank page and wonder what to write.' Idea come of anywhere, part of it is what you're thinking and looking for. Some things just seem scream 'write about me.'

How can you not write a story about these? The building is where I work. I knew I wanted to write either a steampunk or horror set here. I've decided to do both.

Sometimes it's an item that will tickle the plot bunnies into action…

I saw the picture of all the doors and one plot bunny crept out. What if on your eighteenth birthday, you woke to find yourself in a room of doors? From a note you learned that you must choice the course of all things. You get five tries. The journal is what I used to write plot notes…

Journals themselves can inspire the plot bunnies to come out and play…While usually the plot bunnies are already forming a game plan when I start shopping for a 'journal' or a notebook to write the story details in. The furry guy with all his eyes and teeth definitely threw out some nibbles for the plot bunnies.
Open me and read about how I haunt...

Open me and read about a place far far away

Open me and read about
the gate I guard

Ideas come in any form, from any place, and at any time. The source is as different as the writer. Some great writers could look at the pictures I posted and see nothing. Others could look at them and different plot bunnies begin to play.

As a writer or someone who wants to write, you have to find your personal 'well of ideas.' Are you inspired by pictures of people? Pictures of places? Or does reading an article in the newspaper set your mind to whirling with ideas?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing in Reverse: The Backward Way to Finishing Your WIP

So, I just finished my latest WIP and I did something new this time: I wrote it backward. Or, I should say, I rewrote it backward.

Generally my rough drafts for a YA novel will wrap up at around 40,000-words. Since I strive to get at least 60,000-words by the finish line of a “completed” draft (are they ever really “final”?), that leaves me about 20,000-words of layering, threading, adding, detailing, fleshing out at the like.

Generally I’ll wrap up a rough draft, let it sit for a week and then dig back into the book again starting from page one. But I find that when I do that, I generally hit my word count by about three-fourths of the way through and, mentally, I just run out of stream toward/before the end. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s human nature and I do.

That always leaves me with endings that feel a little rushed, or maybe incomplete or unresolved, and that bugs me. Not that I’m not happy with my endings, but to me I know why they wind up that way and I’m hypersensitive to doing that again.

So, this time I started backward. After I hit my 40,000-words I did the usual: I let it sit for a week or two so I could come back to it fresh. But, when I did, I started from the Epilogue and wrote backward.

I don’t meant that I read/rewrote from the bottom of the page up, but that I would start with the Epilogue and rework that chapter. Then go back to Chapter 25 and rework that, then Chapter 24 and so on.

It felt… weird. At least, at first. It had naturally taken me a few months to write the book so I forgot a few details from the very beginning. Like, I thought the soldiers were wearing camouflage but really they were supposed to be in beige, so I had to clean that up. I thought the main character didn’t know about the security cameras all over town, but it turns out she did.

So, yeah, I had to go back and scrub those but overall I feel like the novel is much better paced this time. The end didn’t feel so rushed. I could treat each chapter like its own little “scene,” write it in a kind of mini-vacuum while already knowing the beginning AND the end and, frankly, I think that helped improve each one.

I dunno, I kind of dug it and think I’ll do it that way from now on. What about you? Do you have a certain “system” for revising, refining and polishing off your rough draft? As always, the comment boxes are open and I’m sure we’d all love to hear about it…

Yours in YA,


Monday, May 7, 2012

Remember to thank your editor

Hello everyone,
I've recently heard that Subversive will be releasing in July. When I have more specific information, I'll let you know!!

But today's post is about the importance of a really good editor.  I had a hard time writing Subversive. If you read Driven, you know that Rachel went through some pretty heavy duty emotional upheaval in that book and she's not feeling too fabulous at the beginning of Subversive.

I wrote the book, submitted it, and it was accepted for publication. But, even I knew something was missing. The good news? My editor picked up on what it was and helped me to bring it to the book it needed to be, which I think, now, is the strongest in the series.

So, for me, I'd like to thanks Terry for her endless help on this book and as writers we need to remember to thank our editors often.  Thy make our books shiny.