Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Official Story

First of all, we wish to thank you. All of you have been very supportive and we hope you enjoyed this blog just as much as we did.

As you may have noticed (or maybe not, we won't judge) it has been a while since we had our last post. Many of us are off on adventures in our latest novels and stories, some are battling their way through school, some are crusading through social issues and fighting norms and demanding justice. These adventures have driven us away from this blog and onto to other things.

This blog has changed us in many ways, and we appreciate everything that it has done for us. But for now, this is our official goodbye.

This is the last post.

Thank you for sticking with us and we hope you go out and find adventure of your own.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

#4: New Chapter (In Life, Not a Book)

Hello, all! We meet again. I’m so sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my weekly posting schedule. The last few weeks of my life have been a big transitional period, plus I had to get my wisdom teeth out…etc. Ah, you don’t want to hear about everything I did. So I’ll stop there! 
Anyway, I just wanted to come by the blog and let you all know that I’m moving this weekend (to my new university). This means a few things:
A) I’m taking 2 English classes and 1 language course (that require approximately 17 books total). Ergo, I will have very little time or energy to read YA books. However, there are some titles coming out in the next few months that sound great. I may post reviews from time to time, especially if I get a chance to sift through the rest of my ARCs. 
B) I hope you all keep writing. And I hope I start. (You’ll hear about it, if I do. Promise!) It’s going to be hard, but the change in environment, with tons of new people around, should be quite inspiring. 
C) Summer is gone. Is anyone else as sad as I am? Though I was alone for much of it, I had a lot of fun reading, collecting autographs, etc. 
What are some of YOUR favorite memories from this summer? And where do you see yourself going next in your life (school, work, etc.)? 
Good luck and best wishes to you all.  <3
Until next time,
(See archive for posts #1-3)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Believe in You

I originally posted this on my other blog, Zero at Heart, but I thought I might want to follow my own advice and pass on the word. :] I think you guys could benefit from it as well.

When was the last time you told yourself that you can do something? Or anyone that you believed in them for that matter? Was it a long time ago? Or just yesterday? Did you mean what you said?

I don't really care for writing blog posts, I figured that out today. It scares me. But you know what I do like? I like helping people. I like playing the hero and some people don't like that about me.

I get scared, I mess up a lot, I break promises, I get hurt, and I hurt others. That's me. That's you. That's all of us. We all try to do things, sometimes a lot of things at once, and you know what? Sometimes we fail.

I realize my writing is choppy and sometimes grammatically incorrect, and every once and a while I'll have a spelling error, but I hope you can tell that I actually care through these words. Because I believe in every single one of you. I believe in you in everything you do. I believe that even if I can only tell you three words today, I believe they can change you. I believe that they won't just change you, but they'll change others too.

Why? Because can you think of a time that you needed support? Or that anyone you know needed support for that matter? Was it a long time ago? Or just yesterday? Did it hurt?

Imagine if someone had simply stopped you as you passed by and told you they believe in you. 100% completely, honestly, truly believed in you. Would that change you? Would that affect how hard you fought? I honestly believe it would.

So pass it on I guess is my point. If you believe in someone, tell them, you never know how much they need it. Some days I feel so alone it physically hurts me. That isn't to make you pity me because pity is the last thing I need from you.

Even if that person who needs you is you, because believe it or not but you need someone too. Write it in a letter, text it, say it in person, think it to yourself, it doesn't matter. Someone out there needs you to believe in them, and guess what? Only you will do.

When was the last time you told someone you supported them? I hope you can soon say today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On History and Research

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, I know. School starts up for me on September 4th, and I've 3 summer assignments I've only just started.

Inspired by the American History summer assignment I've begun working on (inspiration in the unlikeliest of places, you know?) I decided to post about history.

I don't mean the history of your epic fantasy novel, or the history of our future in your sci-fi book. I mean real world history, chock-full of war, disease, innovation, great and terrible moments. After all, our history is the greatest of all stories -- it's the basis of all literature. A violent peasant revolt in your novel? The French Revolution. A genius innovation that changes the world? Gunpowder, the wheel, paper, the atomic bomb, etc.

 Photo in the Public Domain, found via Creative Commons
History can be turn a boring novel into a rich world. It can be the metaphorical light in the darkness, a spark of inspiration in a dark, meaningless story. Your writing can benefit from the vast resevoir of memory and intelligence afforded by the world around you.
A lot of people hate history -- why, I don't know -- but it can change your life. This isn't some weird event that happened to a bunch of dead people. Perhaps you're related to some of them. Perhaps those people were scared of the future, of death, of the unkknown, just like we are. When you think of history as full of people you can connect to, it's exactly like a book. Maybe you're destined to have others connect to these people too.

Now, I've always loved history, almost as much as I love reading. I most especially love ancient, ancient history in far-off places like Egypt or Rome. But I can appreciate American History a little more knowing I'm a descendent of Robert E. Lee, the general who surrendered to the North and ended the Civil War. I'm also related to Patrick Henry, that famous speaker from the Revolutionary War with his "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech. This makes AP American History next year seem not so boring.

Historical Fiction isn't my style, you say. I'm a fantasy person, a modern romance kind of person, a supernatural fiction fan. What can I learn from the past?

I'm not saying you need to write historical fiction. I'm not saying to limit yourself to this genre, just because I am a history geek. But you can model any character after an ancient, real-life person.

I remember a story about an Egyptian pharaoh who built his capital city out in the desert and tried to do away with all of the old gods and goddesses, instead choosing to force his people to worship just the sun disk, Aten. This caused all sorts of tension with the priests of the old gods and goddesses, who had been at the top of the social pyramid and were now unemployed. This sort of unpopular absolute rule sounds familiar... like perhaps that cliched king in all those fantasy novels?

Think of the creation of the atomic bomb. Such a destructive weapon. We Americans unleashed it on Japan anyways, to end a war. And it caused a whole bunch of other, ethical/medical dilemmas. Was it right? Maybe your novel can benefit from a controversial weapon. Maybe your world can benefit from unlooked for problems due to a political decision.

My point, in this rambling rant about reality, is that researching the past can help any novel. It's not strictly limited to historical fiction. Even modern day romances can include a little old-school history. After all, history is full of relatable characters, interesting settings, and tension/conflict.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: Nevermore by James Patterson

Nevermore by James Patterson

One last chance...
for Max, Fang, and Dylan...
before it all ends.

Are you ready for the final chapter? Are you ready for the ultimate flight? Because THIS IS IT. One last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming. 

(Taken from Amazon.com)

I'm writing this part at 11 o'clock at night because I can't get it out of my head.

First off, let me say that this had potential. Great characters, great motives, great setting, great ideas. But  it needed something more.

For starters, by goodness, LET THEM DIE. It got to a point where I didn't take you seriously because EVERY STINKING CHARACTER CAME BACK TO LIFE EVERY STINKING TIME. So much for suspense because I knew NO ONE EVER DIED. Oh yes, you say that he died? Oh wait, never mind because YOU BROUGHT HIM BACK TO LIFE.

I love that James Patterson tried to teach us something. I love love love one of the last chapters and I was just like yes! That was amazing! I love your morals! I love you! I love your family! I love everyone you have ever passed by on the street!

Then I saw your writing. And "yes, yes, yes" quickly turned to "no, no, NO".

It's not some much the actual writing, Patterson has some skill there, it was more the plot. It needed a lot more build-up and more suspense, which could've been fixed by LETTING SOMEONE DIE.


Anyways, I'm off my ranting soapbox. A lot of things in the series seemed just too convenient for my tastes. Like in one of the first books where they all just suddenly developed these random powers such as breathing underwater and power over technology. You're flipping bird-kids! All this power is too much for you!

Let's talk about something good for a moment, because, despite my long-winded rants, I actually liked this series, dare I say it, at some times I loved it. Characters, Mr. James, you choose wonderful characters. I loved them. I loved Max's stubbornness and Angel's maturity. Fang was lovely. Dylan was charming. I loved Nudge's wish to be normal, against all odds, and I love her statement towards the end of Nevermore about the wings. Because even if it wasn't something necessarily good or even happy, it gave her character. And that's why I love them, their character and their flaws and their human-ness.

Ugh. The love triangle. It had me in the previous book, Angel, but in this one it was just ugh. Random changing of views, random interactions, and random kissing had my mind whirling. With all of the other things I was trying to figure out, it just seemed a little too much. I admit, this could've been used in favor of the book but it didn't happen, at least not for me.

Another thing that was good was the dystopian-aspect. No, it was not a true dystopian, but it achieved the purpose that a dystopian novel does. It gives you a scenario that is all too possible to happen to us and that is what scares you and me. Back to the chapter I loved. That is the kind of thing I want to see more of, because what it tells you is very, very true. If you've read this book, take a guess at which chapter it is that I love so much. :]

Probably at three stars for me, because I love the characters too much to give it a two. Please, a lovely cover, so points from me. Overall, I would've liked to see a little more tension, a little more bang from the tension not gradually diffusing as the book goes on. I was waiting for the big ending but I was a little let down. Still, a great book and may I say it one more time? Lovely characters. I would recommend it to others, but not as heavily as some of my other favorite books.

Anyways, any thoughts on this book I haven't shared? What do you rate this book? Wrote a review on it you want to share? (Send me a link, I'd love to see what you have to think. :]) Any books you've read recently and think I should check out? (I'm in need of a few recommendations.)

Good luck and keep writing everyone!

(Originally posted on Zero at Heart)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just wondering....

How many of you out there are on their first draft? How is that coming along?

I don't care if you're reading this post today or tomorrow or a year from now, go ahead and comment how your writing is coming. I'd love to hear form you!

To all of you out there, good luck and keep writing!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Wow, I haven't written one of these in forever! 
(See post #1 here and post #2 here)  

Continuing my personal series, I'll be talking about starting over today. Or going back to square one. Whatever you'd like to call it. 

How do you know if you're ready to give up what you've been working on and begin again, with nothing? I can't answer that of course, as it varies from person to person. But...I've decided to do it and I want to share with you all how I came to that decisions.

For months and months, I wrote in short spurts: different characters, different settings, action scenes, crowd scenes, quiet conversations. But it wasn't one big storyline I was working on it. Heck, I'm not even sure what to call it. Going in circles since 2009 is pretty much the only way to describe my writing life since 2009. There's also the discouragement I felt when I picked up a published book and thought, "Hey this sounds close to something I scribbled about." 

I think if you find yourself stuck like I did, let it all go. I'll be keeping my papers and notebooks but I don't plan on playing around with those words anymore. I've grown so much since I branched away from fan fiction years ago and tried just...fiction. It wouldn't be fair, I believe, to keep chipping at what my awkward block of ideas.

So as of today, August 2nd 2012, I call myself neither a writer nor a scribbler...because I have nothing. But that's not to say I will never have anything written down. I'm going back to the basics: seeking inspiration in music, art, nature, etc. and considering "what if" questions, about things that really matter to me. That's what I'll be focusing on in the near future. 

And hopefully, something good and fiction-y will come from it all. It's August already, more than halfway through the year, and there's just no more time to look back. 

Hope you have an inspired week, no matter where you are in the writing process. <3


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Beginnings

So, lately I've been reading LoTR, and I came across an inspiring quote (I know, Tolkien is full of them.)

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish."
-The Fellowship of the Ring

So, I'm not going to ramble on just about how to begin your story. I'm going to ramble on about gathering the guts to start writing.

You know that hesitancy you get when you've been writing and rewriting a story forever, and now you think that it would be better to just start a new story altogether? Chances are, if you can't get this story right, it's a good idea to set it on the back burner awhile. This is not just following the Shiny New Idea: this is moving on to new things when the old isn't improving.

I came to this problem in my own writing. I've been working on the first draft - the first few chapters of the first draft - since middle school. That's about 5 years. Now, I think pure stubborn imagination is what keeps me at the keyboard, and that I really should try and see if I can write a full story out of a different idea. But there's this fear that it'll go nowhere, just like the first idea did.

This isn't one of those fears that go away. Don't we all fear that our ideas will fail, and our story become a useless, unfinished mushpile taking up space on our computer, never to see the proverbial light of day? I think the key to starting something special is to both use this fear and prepare yourself against it.

What I mean is, prepare to fortify yourself. When the voice whispers, "you don't even know how to start," then look at the first sentence/chapter of every book within reach, and figure out for yourself how to puzzle the first few sentences together. When it begins to whisper, "this is beyond salvageable, you'd be better off starting anew," remember that nothing is perfect. There is plenty of time to do major revamping when you're done. If the idea truly isn't going anywhere, after months (or years) of trying, then move on and don't forget.

When I say to use this fear, I mean think of your characters. Perhaps you don't benefit from the little nagging voice in your head, but will your characters? Incorporate your fear of starting or failing into your character. What character wants to immediately walk to their death? Hesitation is a normal part of life, and when you draw on your own fear, your characters are more believable.   

My mind works better with lists, so let me summarize:

1. Read the beginnings of other books. Don't copy them, but puzzle together the first few sentences and scenes of your own novel based on what you think works. Want your character to be established before your action? Want the action and the character-building to be intertwined in those first few pages? See how your favorite novels do it. How much is too much, how much is too little?

2. Actually sitting down to write is a major point. Take the gut-wrenching plunge and open a new document. Schedule a little time to get the beginning down. DON'T PROCRASTINATE.

3. Incorporate your fear into the characters. Perhaps your character is on the brink of a decision in the first scene - make sure the fear of starting, failing, or of the consequences is made known. You know how this feels! Your character feels real when their fear is based directly off real fear.

That summarizes my point pretty well. I was going to put a fourth bullet point down, but I don't have one. This post from QueryTracker sums up adversity, and goes along pretty well with this here post on getting over fear.

Have a blessed day and keep writing!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plot Pieces

So welcome back readers. Here summer is drawing to a close, the temperatures are still very high, I'm falling behind on the stuff I have to do, and most likely, there's a few of you out there who are working on their plot like me.

I was searching the internet a while ago for a list of plot pieces for the writer not the reader when I came across this: http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html It's a plot exercise with all the good stuff you need.

It has eight steps: story goal, consequences, requirements, forewarnings, costs, dividends, prerequisites, and preconditions. All are very important parts of a plot that don't get very much attention.

Just go click the link above and give it a try, it will give you a new perspective on your plot and maybe, if you're like me, help you get over a rough spot in your plot. I would love to hear what you've done with it, so comment away! Good luck and keep writing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Motivation and the Inner Editor

Because I know we all need a little motivation and again. I understand, I need it, you need it, J.K. Rowling needed it, and probably still does. It's natural to feel little down about your story.

We've all reached that point in our stories where you feel like quitting. You're inner editor is screaming bad things about your plot, that you'll never published, and all the other things your inner editor likes to go about. Give up. Quit. Walk away now. You're not cut out for this kind of work.

My inner editor particularly likes to rant about the plot, or rather the lack of one. Sometimes I listen, tie up a few loose ends, do a little house-keeping, but the thing is it just keeps talking. And if I keep listening, it will eventually drown out my character's voices and then comes a whole new wave of horrible.

You are the writer, the goddess/high spirit/dictator of your story and you make the decisions. Don't ever forget that. Yes, sometimes the inner editor is helpful, sometimes that little bit of niggling doubt in the back of your mind is helpful, but (and it's a big shocker here) sometimes it's not. You have to know when to stop listening and you know what? Go ahead and say it. Shut up, inner editor.

You'd be surprised how well that can work. Some people imagine it being locked away or vacationing to Canada, whatever works, but you have to realize that you are the boss, it's you who decides what happens in the end. Do not quit just because someone tells you to, in your head or in real life, but it doesn't matter what they think. The only opinion that counts is yours.

If it means anything to you, I think you can do it. Actually, I know you can do it. You are a writer, you can do anything.

So the point is, yes, you are going to feel doubtful. Yes, you are going to feel down. Yes, your inner editor is going to rant and rave, but no matter what, never, ever give up.

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