Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gift Ideas for Writers

Don't know what to get for the writer in your life? Check out these ideas:

15 Gifts for Writers and Readers- For the Holidays or Any Day! (Ideas for Your Writer-Reader

By Allena Tapia, About.com Guide)

The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your Brain
Writing Gifts at Shakespeare's Den  Find the perfect writing gift. Keep the fine art of writing alive by inspiring someone you know to keep on writing. From glass pens to journals, from elegant to humorous, you're sure to find perfect gifts for the writers on your list.

18 Gifts for Writers (By Jen Leo at Written Road)
Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York's Acclaimed Writing SchoolTop 11 Gifts for Writers (Holiday Gifts for Writers, By Ginny Wiehardt, About.com Guide)
Gotham Writers Workshop: Gotham Writers' Workshop - online classes and on site in NYC and Gotham Shops Gifts for Writers

Writing Magazine subscriptions: Poets & Writers, The Writer Magazine, Writers Digest

Christmas Gifts for Writers - Creative and Unique Present Ideas for Aspiring Authors, by Rebekah Richards

Amazon - Books & Tools for writers
Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4036 LED TruBrite 14-Inch Laptop (Black)Zazzle - Gifts for writers

And finally, just remember that the best way to support a writer is to buy their book!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I was lucky to spend time with family, enjoy some great food, and share some special traveling time with my husband and son.

And once I got home, I was also able to put in the final words I needed to complete NaNoWriMo for this year.


My goal in doing NaNoWriMo this year was to create a rough draft of my next novel so that once revisions were completed on the current manuscript, I'd have a next novel to start right away. And now that NaNoWriMo is done, I feel confident that I have the foundations for a great second novel.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25 Blogs Every Aspiring Novelist Should Read

Just a quick post today to pass on a link. This was brought to my attention  and I wanted to pass it on.

25 Blogs Every Aspiring Novelist Should Read is a strong compilation of blogs that are focused on writing and the publishing industry.

I hope you find this as helpful as I did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My NaNoWriMo update

36,749 words for NaNoWriMo so far and I'm still on track to complete by November 30th. How is everyone else faring?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review - Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book Review - Fallen by Lauren Kate

FallenThis book took its time building the characters and creating a normal teenage existence within the story before it revealed much about the celestial elements. Readers learn the details only when Luce, the main character, learns about them, and this follows all the way to the end of the book when it appears there is much more to learn. 

The character development of Luce, in particular, is well done, and it was interesting that the second main character, Daniel, doesn't come into play as much until the end. The story is essentially about fallen angels and the battle that is being waged outside of heaven, but this book felt more like a foundation for the furtherance of that story in book two.

There is a sense that a lot is left unresolved in the story, but my hope is that those things will be addressed in book two.

I enjoyed Fallen immensely and liked the character development most of all. Before I had even finished this first book, I bought book two, Torment, as I knew I'd want to continue the story right away to see how it plays out.

Great read, but one that definetly needs to be continued to book two (which is a great thing for those of us that love engrossing stories that continue on!).

Recommended read for anyone who enjoys young adult supernatural love stories.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kirkus Reviews 2010 Best Books for Teens & Children

Kirkus Reviews launched it's annual list of Best Books for Teens & Children yesterday. I've included the links below. The first thing I did for myself was mark off the ones I've read and the ones I need to add to my "to read" list.

2010 Best Books for Children

2010 Best Books for Teens

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing Tool - wallwisher

I stumbled on this and wanted to share. It's called wallwisher and essentially it allows you to create a wall of post-its on your computer. The post-its can even include pictures and headings. This could be useful for brainstorming, character development, chapter overview, etc.

Here's the link, check it out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Writing Spaces

There are a myriad of places I go when it's time to write, some more common than others.  Here are some pictures of my most common and favorite writing spots. 

This is my writing area at home...

...and my writing board with notes on the current
manuscript as well as ideas for future stories.

This is Felix, a common contributor to my work . He's
been known to add his own lines by walking over the keyboard.

Yes, that's me sitting with my laptop during a lunch
break cranking out as many words as I can in an hour.
Luckily this spot gives me a great view of the park and
lot's of inspiration.

Camping and writing - a great combination!
Every year I go on a family camping trip and one of my
favorite places to write is by the crackling fire.

Starbucks is another one of my favorite spots.
This is me working on revisions, and a Chai Tea Latte.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Book - Night Star - Available November 16th

Night Star (The Immortals) Available November 16th from St. Martin's Press is Alyson Noël's latest release in her widely loved 'Immortals' series, 'Night Star'.

"Night Star continues the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. In this installment, Ever and Damen face down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Night Star is guaranteed to mesmerize fans and leave them breathlessly awaiting the sixth and final book!"

Immortals Series Website
Immortals Series Facebook Fan Page

And I am lucky to have access to the book trailer and share it with you. Here it is:

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Are You Reading?

With such a varied group of people following this blog, I'm curious to see what everyone is reading right now. I usually fly through books, but I have to admit that my reading has slowed since NaNoWriMo started.


Anyway, I'll start...I just picked up Fallen by Lauren Kate, and can't wait to devour it. Your turn, what are you reading?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

All This Talk About NaNoWriMo

There's a lot of talk on the web about National Novel Writing Month(NaNoWriMo), the month long event where the goal is to write a novel that is 50,000 words or more. Some folks are for it and praise the event as a great way to crank out a novel in 30 days, while others say it ecourages writing that is unstructured and just plain trash.

Here's a piece from the Los Angeles Times written by Carolyn Kellogg titled, "12 Reasons to Ignore the Naysayers: Do NaNoWriMo" . In Ms. Kellogg's article she counters one naysayer in particular, Salon writer Laura Miller in her rant titled, "Better Yet, DON'T Write That Novel."

And here's another advocate for the event, Marjorie Kehe from The Christian Science Monitor: "NaNoWriMo: Five Reasons Why You Should Participate".  And then another opinion on the down sides by bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, "My NaNoWriMo Anti-pep-talk".

Lot's of opinions on the subject; the above are just a sampling. For me, I think the event has a lot of great qualities & potential drawbacks, the best I've listed below:
  • -Benefit: For writers trying to break the "edit as you go" habit, NaNo is the perfect framework to do it. It forces you to simply draft a story with little care for anything but story development. This could include character develpment, scenes, world building, dialogue, etc
  • -Drawback: Words on a paper do not a story make. In other words, if you think that you'll have a completed novel on December 1st then you've missed the whole point. NaNoWriMo creates a draft, a very rough first draft. Alot of work lies ahead in order to shape up that draft into a cohesive, well-written novel.
  • -Drawback: If you don't write smart, most of your novel will end up in the recycle bin, which could get frustrating and make you question the validity of doing such an event. What do I mean? Just because you put all these words on paper, are you still thinking about what makes a good story? You need to make sure you're working on the elements of a novel. The title of the event is National NOVEL Writing Month. Not National Dribble Writing Month. Don't write words for the sake of writing words just to get your word counts up and reach 50,000 words. Winning NaNoWriMo by doing that doesn't benefit anyone, least of all you. Your goal should be to have a drafted novel, something that can be revised into a book that could be published. So remember what makes a good story, and don't get so trapped into word counts that the novel doesn't get written.
  • -Benefit: NaNo forces you to set daily writing goals. This is important for anyone serious about making writing into a career. You must have goals and force yourself to write even if you're not in the mood to do it, even if you feel uninspired. Those are the times you need to write the most. You wouldn't go two weeks without going to your job would you? No, because you wouldn't get paid. Same for writing, except here all the work is frontloaded, and if done right, the pay-off comes at the end.
  • -Drawback: It's easy to get discouraged when some participants crank through their novels and you're still moving along at a slow pace. If you're not careful you can sabatoge not only your motivation in this competition but also in your other writing as well. Compare yourself only if it helps you get where you need to be. Understand your writing capacity and set writing goals to match it. Perhaps you can crank out more words on the weekend than you can during the week - set your goals accordingly. No two writers think alike, write alike, or approach a novel the same way.
  • -Benefit: There's a great community of writers drawn to NaNoWriMo. Writing is a lonely endeavor, so to be able to connect with others who share your interest is a rewarding feeling. Befriending NaNo writing buddies could help you forge relationships with writings that could become critique partners for the rest of the year. Also, the community offers encouragement on days when the doubts creep in or your word counts are low. Many of the regional/local NaNo groups offer links to tools like Name Generators and schedule local write-ins.
  • -Drawback: The community can easily become distracting, and this can take you away from the actual point of the event which is writing. So be careful not to devote excessive time to your buddy list or local NaNo Facebook page, find the balance that works for you.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Writing Practice = Adapting & Changing

Usually I'm terrible at writing anywhere other than in an absolutely quiet room. But lately I've been overcoming that handicap and now I'm finding my brain a bit more flexible when it comes to cranking out the words.

On Saturday I had a writing session with a friend in Starbucks and I was able to write for 3 solid hours without getting hung up on the surrounding noise. Now it could be because I'm drafting a new story as opposed to revising - that might be the difference. But, I just found it interesting that the more I write, my writing styles adapt and change along the way. Just wanted to share!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Contest Alert - WD Short Short Story Competition

11th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition

$3,000 Grand Prize

Deadline: December 1, 2010
For guidelines, prizes and to enter online, click here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NaNoWriMo is Underway!

NaNoWriMo is fully underway! After the first day I'm right on target. I logged in 1697 words on the new story and I was able to squeeze in about an hour of revisions on my current manuscript too.

Who else is on this crazy roller coaster ride for November?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Signed R.L. Stine Book Contest - Winner Announced

Let's start with the title of the book that everyone was trying to guess in the "Win A Signed R.L. Stine Book Contest" from last week, and that title is, "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight". It seemed appropriate for Halloween with the pumpkin head picture on the front cover.

The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight (Classic Goosebumps)And now for the winner. Since the title was not guessed correctly, the winner's name was drawn at random from the participants that commented with a guess. Drum roll please...and the winner is...Terin Tashi Miller!

Congratulatios Terin! A signed copy of "The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight" is on it's way to you.

Thanks to everyone who participated. And watch the blog for more contests in the future.