Monday, June 27, 2011

Vacation Notice

You may have noticed that I have occasionally mentioned going on vacation for a while this summer. Like, five weeks. I'm taking the kids to visit my family while my wonderful hubby holds down the fort.

As a result of being on vacation I will not be posting for Writer Website Wednesday or In My Mailbox until August. And, probably the second week of August at that.

You will see my regular posts for Monday and Friday every week. I actually did have enough time to write and schedule those over the past week or so. They will continue through the month of July unaffected.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and take a trip somewhere.

- Heather

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In My Mailbox #9

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way to showcase books you have received in the mail, from the library, or by any other method during the week. 


Received from NetGalley!
 

Flyaway by Helen Landalf 
Expected Publication Date: December 19, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcort


Fifteen-year-old Stevie Calhoun is used to taking care of herself. But one night, her mom, who works as an exotic dancer in a downtown Seattle nightclub, never comes home.

That’s the night Stevie’s life turns upside down.

It’s the night that kicks off an extraordinary summer: the summer Stevie has to stay with her annoyingly perfect Aunt Mindy; the summer she learns to care for injured and abandoned birds; the summer she gets to know Alan, the meanest guy in high school.

But most of all, it’s the summer she finds out the truth about Mom.

FLYAWAY is the story of a teen girl’s struggle to hold on to what she’s always believed, even as her world spins out of control.



Deviant by Adrian McKinty 
Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2011

Publisher: Amulet Books

Danny Lopez is new in town. He made a mistake back home in Las Vegas, and now he has landed at an experimental school in Colorado for “tough cases.” At the Cobalt Charter School, everything is scripted—what the teachers say, what the students reply—and no other speaking is allowed. This supercontrolled environment gives kids a second chance to make something of themselves. But with few freedoms, the students become sitting ducks for a killer determined to “clean up” Colorado Springs.


Misfit by Jon Skovron
Expected Publication Date: August 1, 2011

Publisher: Amulet Books

Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn’t exactly help.

But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.

Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school.



Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Expected Publication Date: September 12, 2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 



Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.
 
Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.
 
Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
 
These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction – if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can’t even be in the same room together.
 
Magic, cunning and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author ofDairy QueenandPrincess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.

Friday, June 24, 2011

After the Critique

So, Monday I discussed what it was like meeting with my new critique group and Wednesday I discussed the SCBWI, where I found my crit group. So, I thought I would take a look at my manuscript and what the critiques have taught me.

I'd like to say that they all loved everything about my work, but that's not realistic. I graduated with a degree in history and education and I learned a valuable lesson -> There is no perfect review. As part of my student teaching I had to be evaluated teaching several lesson. My supervisor always found something that I needed to improve upon. She said there is something wrong with the evaluation, if there isn't something that needs improvement. She wasn't the only one who said that, the principal at the school told me the same thing. She stated that no matter how well the lesson is taught or how long a teacher has been teaching, there is always something that needs improvement upon. So, I went into my critique group with this in mind.

I'm new, I'm learning, and there is plenty I need to sharpen. If there's any place to learn more, it was at a critique.

What I heard that I already knew:
Repetition - Uh, yeah, I'm a wordy person and tend to repeat things often. And, yes I mean often. My hubby and daughter are always saying, "You already told us this story." That's me!
Tightening up - I definitely knew that I needed to tighten it up a good amount. When I first started Midnight Raynne I had absolutely no idea where the thing was going. Now I do, but I still need to tighten the story line up. This is also a product of my wordy behavior.
Contradictions - Okay, so I wrote the rough draft, added some clarity in, but forgot to take out information, thus I made huge contradictions.

What I heard that I hadn't thought about: 
Hook - One member of the group said she had a hard time finding exactly what the hook was. I have to admit, I never really thought about the hook when I originally sat down and started typing like a fool. I also didn't really think about it when I did my first round edits. I mean HELLO what was I thinking? Okay, back to the drawing board there. This one was a big one for me. I really need to fix it, and fast.
Predictible - There was one member who said the ending to the first chapter was too predictable. Okay, back to the drawing board. I don't want predictable, but that's a tough one. Hmmmm????? I don't want to be predictable.
Narrator's age - I should have brought up her age a little sooner in the story, but didn't. I could be wrong, but I don't think that will be too terribly difficult to slide it in.
Narrator's name - So, I wrote the story from first person narration. I didn't add in anyone saying her name until several pages into the story. And I mean several. So, that said, I definitely need to fix that issue. I don't want my readers asking themselves, "Who is this girl?" Uh, yeah, not a good idea.
Accident - I mention an accident and that my MC was injured, but I don't make it clear how badly or what the accident was. I'm not sure how I want to handle this one yet, but I'm actively trying to hash scenarios for bringing it up sooner in the story.

Now that I am armed with a list of many issues to correct I think I am ready to work on a new round of edits on my first chapter. Since I won't be able to make the next meeting I will have a little extra time. I'm going to take that time to rework it until it's perfect. I hope.

Your Turn -> What have you learned from critiques?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SCBWI




Writer Website Wednesday #10


What I like:

They offer a wide variety of services to their members: Networking, Information and support, Discounts and Services, Publications, Awards, Grants, and Conferences. So, I joined. When I joined I received the SCBWI Publication Guide that is filled with information on writing and the legal aspects. If there was ever a question I had, it's in that book. Let me tell you, the information contained in the pages of this publication guide alone are well worth the $85 first year member fees.

As with most networking sites you can create your own profile and add friends. I still have yet to do this, and figure out exactly how. That part is a little confusing to me.

Not to mention the fact that by joining you receive the networking of a local chapter. It was through this chapter that I located a critique group in my area that was accepting new members. I sent them an email asking for the details. They requested a sample of my writing; I sent it. And now I have met with them. That was Monday's blog entry.

So far I am loving the networking of SCBWI alone. I still have yet to go to a conference. When I joined the SCBWI the local state conference was already passed the booking dates. I would have had to pay more and less time to save. Maybe next year. Maybe that will be another blog post as well.


What I don't like: 

I really don't think I've been in the organization long enough to really find anything I don't like about the system yet. The only thing I am having issues with is finding friends on the online site, but hey I just joined. I need to give it time. :-)

Your Turn -> What do you like about SCBWI?

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Critique Group

So, I joined the SCBWI and decided that it was also time to join a critique group. I feel that I absolutely need that extra jolt of honesty and extra keen writing eyes.

On the 12th I met with four very lovely writers at a local Barnes and Nobles coffee shop. I made sure I was there early and had a latte in hand. I mean you just can't go to a critique at a coffee shop and not have a latte. Armed with a notepad and the only other critique that was being done, other than mine, I was ready. Well, mostly. My tummy was in knots and I'm sure my hands were shaking a bit as well.

It's not an easy thing to hand over your work to people you don't know and have them tear it apart. They made me feel at ease and welcomed me with open arms. That alone stopped the shaking and soon after that the nerves in my tummy died down as well. We discussed the new release of one of the members, Carol H. Behrman. Yes, I have a published author in my critique group. Bonus points to the group. Then we talked about China as one of the critters had just arrived home late the night before from a trip to China. Eventually we moved on to the critiques.

First, Carol went. She had a story that she wrote about 20 years earlier and had an extremely difficult time getting off her computer. I had no idea it was that old when I critiqued it, but wow was it good. It was a common sentiment around the group that we would like to have read the entire thing. I know I could have read straight through without putting it down. I can't wait to see her next portion of it for review. During the critiques the person whose work is being "torn apart" is not allowed to say a word. We sit there and take in all the advice given. After everyone has "torn it apart" we are then able to defend anything we want.

I was nervous, yet at the same time I agreed with everything they said I needed to work on. I'm so glad I had this opportunity and can't believe I had thought that I could go without a crit group for so long. What on Earth was I thinking?

Your Turn -> If you have a critique group what was it like your first time meeting them?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way to showcase books you have received in the mail, from the library, or by any other method during the week. 


Bought from Amazon for my Kindle! :-)





Bridger by Megan Curd 

Ashlyn McVean doesn't believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn't enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what's most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.



Friday, June 17, 2011

Adult Characters in YA Novels

Okay, so you're writing a young adult novel and you can't have your under-eighteen characters running wild without adult guidance. At the same time you don't want to parent your characters or hold their hands while they do everything. Let's face it, teens make mistakes and don't think like adults. It's why adults know so much, they've already been there and done that. So what are you to do?

Insert adults as roadblocks! That's right, I said it, make the adults in the story nothing more than a hurdle the teen protagonist and company must jump over to get to their desired destination. Think about it. How often do your own children, teens, get irritated that YOU are in THEIR way? For me I think it is daily. The fact that I ask my daughter to get up and go to school or do her homework is a tragedy in and of itself each day. I'm sure she could think of several things to do instead of what I tell her to. She makes plans only to have me spoil them with my own ideas.

Honestly, I can't think of many young adult novels I've read recently that have adult figures helping the teen figures out. And if they are present they still tend to cause more issues. Of course the character can "lose" the adult, ditch them in a sneak out of sorts.

Do this to your young adult characters. They'll thank you in the end, and it will seem more realistic, too.

Your Turn -> What is you view on adult characters in young adult novels?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Writer's Cafe



Writer Website Wednesday #5


What I like: 

Okay, so I had heard that I really needed to check out this site from several writer sources. So, of course, I did. I like the idea of building your own profile and being able to share your work with others. You can add your writing, manage it, and then share it with friends. There are contests you can enter that have prizes from monetary to bragging rights. And there are courses you can take. You can find me and a couple of my short stories there if you'd like to venture that way. That said, see below. 


What I don't like: 

I had little success with sharing my work, everyone is more interested in getting feedback on theirs to give me feedback. Such is the game of critiquing. The more I started poking around at the members the more I realized it has become a mostly poetry inclined community. Don't get me wrong, I found plenty of short stories, novels, etc. But, the majority of writers post poetry. Likewise, I started noticing a trend in age - teenagers. It seems teenagers are very interested in this site. That's fine, that's my target reading area. But, they don't seem to see me or my stories. Fine.

Let's tackle the courses area. I like learning more about writing, especially if it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. But, truth be told I want to take a course where the person teaching it is well versed in writing. The site would allow me to create my own course and teach people. Anyone could teach a course. I don't consider myself unable to teach a course, but still I don't think that I am qualified to teach one. I mean, I'm still an unpublished aspiring writer. There is still a ton for me to learn about. I'll be honest I haven't tried to take any of the courses. If you have please let me know how it went. I'm curious.

Your Turn -> What do you like about Writerscafe.org?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is YA Too Dark For Our Teens?

The Article and My Thoughts

Okay, so I'm a little slow at posting this. I originally had another post scheduled for today, but after reading the Wall Street Journal article by Megan Cox Gurdon that seems to have taken Twitter by storm I decided to throw my two cents in. I find it really sad that one mom's prejudice towards an entire genre of books has managed to influence others. My big question is for Amy Freeman - Have you read any of the books that you judged as being too "dark" for your 13 year old daughter?

Originally this post was a long rant, but then I added a few books at the end that aren't "dark." Then I thought more about it and decided that I didn't want to have a post full of my ranting. Instead I decided a post with examples of how YA isn't dark would be better.

So then, I guess a better question for Amy Freeman would be -> You didn't see any of these books on the shelf?

The Books: 



Radiance by Alyson Noel is more than appropriate. It's like the replacement for the books I read as a teenager. Mystery and ghost stories all rolled up into one. Yes, I have read this book. Yes, my 12 year old has also read it. She loved it and is currently reading the sequel, Shimmer.


It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder is another cute and fun book for the middle grade girls. Again, I have read it and recommended it to my daughter. It is on her to-read list. The follow up Sprinkles and Secrets will be released this September.



I have never read a Sarah Dessen novel, but I will. She deals with things that "normal" teenagers deal with everyday. There is no "dark," "lurid," or inappropriate material in her novels, from what I have researched. She is widely popular and her latest book, What Happened To Goodbye, was just released last month. I haven't been able to walk into a bookstore and NOT see at least one of her books on display.

Matched by Ally Condie is another great book. It's set in a dystopian society. I enjoyed this book very much and have seen it displayed everywhere. There is not violence, sex, foul language or anything that could possibly make this book "dark."The sequel Crossed will be released this coming November.

The Dark Devine by Bree Despain is not dark either. It's about friendship, family, and loyalty. Yes, it has werewolves and could be considered a bit dark, but there is nothing I wouldn't let my own daughter read in this novel or it's sequel, The Lost Saint.  Despain is currently working on the third installment in this series.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder. Contrary to the title it isn't dark at all. It is a verse novel about a girl dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of her boyfriend. It's companion verse novel, Chasing Brooklyn, is also a great read.


The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is another great verse novel. It will be released on June 28, 2011 and is a really good read. This quickly became one of my favorite verse novels ever. Again, not "dark."


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I do not find this one dark. It's about decision making for teens. Choices and their consequences.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern. This is a great read that teaches teens to not take what they have for granted. I loved this book. 



I can come up with many more examples, but in the light of making this rant not go on forever I'll give in. This should be a start for Amy Freeman and Megan Cox Gurdon to take a look at. You can find other books on my "young adult" shelf on Goodreads.

Your Turn -> Do you think the WSJ's article was a fair and just article or not?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way to showcase books you have received in the mail, from the library, or by any other method during the week. 

Die For Me by Amy Plum 



My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?  


The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter 


It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Irresistibly Sweet! Or is it Versatile?



I woke up this morning to find that the wonderfully talented Linda Cassidy Lewis had chosen me as one of the recipients of the Versatile Blogger and The Irrisitably Sweet Blog Awards. You see she received both from different bloggers, but combined them and sent them out to fellow bloggers. So, I'm combining them as well.

The rules are simple list seven (7) facts about yourself and chose fifteen (15) other bloggers to award these awards to. So, read my facts and then visit the blogs listed below. If you are one of the fifteen I've chosen pick either one or both and their yours.

My 7 facts:

1 - My daughter is 11 years older than my son (quite a difference).
2 - I speak a little German (it used to be a lot more). I still think it sometimes in my head, alone. lol
3 - I'm a certified K-6 teacher and social studies 5-8 teacher.
4 - I have no sports skills whatsoever. I stink horribly at ALL sports.
5 - I am a genealogy enthusiast. It's addicting.
6 - I've never been skiing. Ever.
7 - I've been to Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Jamaica.

The 15 blogs I've chosen in no particular order: Stop by their blogs and check them out. :-)

Tag! Your it!

1 - Julie Anne Lindsey
2 - Kayla Olson
3 - Melissa Veres
4 - Liza Kane
5 - Gale Martin
6 - April Aragam
7 -Cynthia Watson
8 - Hope Collier
9 - J.E. Fritz
10 - Jen A. from Musings From the Peanut Gallery
11 - Stacy Green
12 - Niki Brandyberry
13 - Cassie Hart
14 - Michelle Davidson Argyle
15 - Meredith Jaeger

If you are on the list but do not participate or are too busy to do this accept it as a shout out to your blog. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adding Backstory

One way to add to the depth of a character is to add back story. But, when and how you do this is a tricky business. You don't want to overload your readers with a sense of too much-information-at-once. You want to add it when it is right and only then. Sprinkle a little throughout the story.

That being said while reviewing my manuscript I've realized that I really don't have that much back story included. I really need to add more, in a sense adding more depth to my main character. So, as I've been going through reading my manuscript I ask myself - Is this the right place to have a memory float in? If so, I think about what feels right at that moment and write in that memory. Since my manuscript is in the first person it is best to have my main character remember past events. Hopefully, this will add more depth to her and add a sense of understanding for my readers.


Back story doesn't have to be a huge memory several paragraphs long. It can be short and sweet, a sentence or two. Anything that adds to the characters past and helps the reader build both a relationship with the character and an understanding of why your character acts the way he/she does. And, that's what I'm going with. Short and sweet. This is especially good since I'm already over the 80,000 word mark on my manuscript and I'm also working on adding more depth to other characters at the moment as well. I don't want to end up with a 150,000 word young adult novel. The chances of selling that to an agent are slim.

Your Turn -> How do you handle back story?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BookEnds, LLC



Writer Website Wednesday #8


What I like: 

Okay, I know I'm veering away from the YA genre here, again. But, it's necessary today. You see I found BookEnds through Writer's Digest Magazine and instantly had to sign up to receive their posts directly in my inbox. BookEnds is a literary agency with an amazing blog. They are interested in fiction and nonfiction in the adult area, not my area. That said they have excellent advice that any writer needs.

One thing they have that I wish all literary agencies would do is "Agent Speed Date" on Friday's. They have one of their agents answer questions with the speed dating idea in place. It's actually quite fun to learn more about the agents like they do.
They have started doing a "Workshop Wednesday" series that I think I may even send in a query for, just for the sheer interest of seeing what they have to say. So far they have received 200+ query letters specifically for this series. They look at a query, post it, and add their own comments to what they think about the query letter. And we can even join in on the conversation. Of course we are expected to be nice, which shouldn't be hard. Right people?
Another yummy in in their sidebar section. They have links to their clients blog sites. I love to poke around there and see what is going on in other blog areas, as well. Plus it gives you an idea of who they represent - always good when looking for an agent.


What I don't like:

I wish they represented YA, but hey you can't have everything you want. :-)

Your Turn -> What do you like about BookEnds?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Character Emotions

I thought I'd do today's blog on character emotions. It seems that everyone is affected by emotions from time to time, so I don't want my characters to be so flat that they don't have emotions and always seem to act rationally. For one thing, teens don't act rationally at all. Let's be honest - irrationality sells.

So, what do my characters need to be emotional characters?

Secrets - Well, doesn't everyone have secrets? Even small secrets are good, but secrets nonetheless are great at propelling a plot as well as a character. They may decide to make certain decisions or take risky actions as a means to keep that secret hidden.

Contradictions - People do this all the time, they say they want one thing and do something different entirely. I know I have done this in the past. When I catch myself I try to figure out why I did what I did. Yet, as a teenager I don't think I ever really thought about it at all. I mean I might have thought someone was stupid for doing something and then turned around and did something just as stupid. I have one character that I'm working on writing the rough draft on her story and she's perfect for the walking-talking contradiction. I even can't wait to focus on all of her contradictions.

Desires, Needs, Ambition, Goal - These propel anyone down a path. We'll try to get to where we want by the means of the quickest and least difficult path we can. Yet, somehow it's not always as straight forward as we see it. Maybe someone else has contradicting goals and they intersect somehow with another characters. In fact, in my current manuscript I'm editing I have this happen. One character's goals infringe on another characters goals and desires, causing a spiraling out of control effect for my main character. It also creates a great obstacle for her to overcome.      

Vulnerability - Everyone is vulnerable at some point in their life to someone or something. As a writer I need to know exactly what those vulnerabilities are for each and every character I create. Some will be blindsided by an intrusion of sorts and others will see that vulnerability and use it to their advantage. It's human nature. I see it happen around me all of the time, especially in teenagers. They have a tendency to take advantage of each other as a means to get what they want.

Fears - Everyone has a fear, some small and some big. One thing I found when I was working on my character interrogation sheets was that I had to figure out what would turn each character's life upside down, what they feared. This, of course, helped me to create a new depth to each of the characters that even I had previously not seen. Some characters blindsided me with their depth. It definitetly helps to look at the fears of characters.

Emotional Triggers - Well, something has to trigger characters to do things. I mean think about it, how many of you have seen something on the news or seen something happen in front of you that triggered an emotion inside of you? Well, my characters are supposed to be real to the readers and myself. Therefore, they need to be triggered by the same things. I found one of my characters to be particularly flat. She just followed another character around and mimicked her. I put a huge end to this when I worked on her character interrogation. As I filled in her sheet I realized that she has her own differing thoughts than her friend. She has very different emotions and in the end she will be pivotal to the second and third installments of my series. These triggers have created a more rounded and real character of her.

Your Turn -> How do you handle your characters emotions?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way to showcase books you have received in the mail, from the library, or by any other method during the week. 

Okay, so last week in my IMM I posted that I had received The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder from S&S Galley Grab. Well, I loved it sooooooo much that I had to request the following two titles by Lisa Schroeder from the library. But, my hubby surprised me and got them for me on my Kindle, for his birthday. He's so sweet! If you haven't yet read any free verse novels, she's an excellent author to start reading. 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder 

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.


Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.


Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder 



Restless souls and empty hearts
Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.
Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.
As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.   

Friday, June 3, 2011

Effective Character Arc

Okay, so I talked Monday about effective story arc's. Going with that theme I decided to discuss character arcs today.

No, I don't have an article to reference for this post, but I'm going to go along with what I seem to see a bunch in agents posts about what they are looking for in a good story and what I've seen in other good stories.

Simply put -> Characters need to change. If they don't change, learn something, then they fall short of expectations and tend to be flat. I love it when I read a good book and find that the characters are constantly changing, learning, molding to the environment they are in. Believe me, I've read plenty of books where the main character doesn't learn a thing through their journey.

So, as I go through and create my story arc I've decided to go along and write how my main character feels about this new change of events. And, I'm not only looking at my main character. I also want to look at my side characters, they are all important. Everyone that my main character interacts with is a living breathing person in my head. Therefore, they all have reasons for the actions they make as well as their own reactions to the actions my main character makes.

As a result I've realized that they all need to have character arcs.

They all need to learn from their actions and the actions from those around them.

In the end I hope to be able to show that all of the characters are changing, learning to adapt, getting a better idea of what they are or are not capable of.

Your Turn -> Do you notice character arcs when reading? How much emphasis do you put on character arcs in your work?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writer Unboxed



Writer Website Wednesday #7


What I like:

Oh, I love the fact that this site was started by unpublished aspiring writers, Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton. Now it has become a must follow for unpublished aspiring writers, like myself. Therese and Kathleen are not the only ones who contribute either, they have a whole sidebar list of contributors. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that they have been on the Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers list for the past 5 years straight! And then this year they were named one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers.


In sidebars you can find a list of author interviews, industry interviews, box cutters (useful writer websites), and craft corner (books on writing). It's worth stopping over to the site and poking around to see what they have to offer. I'm sure there's something there for everyone.


And if you like it, like I do, sign up for their email. You'll get their posts sent straight to your inbox.


What I don't like: 

Honestly I don't think there's anything on this site that I don't like. It's a treasure box of fun for writers. 

Your Turn -> What do you like about Writer Unboxed?