jeudi, décembre 31

Take A Cup of Kindness Yet

"For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we'll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne."

-Auld Lang Syne

This is the last post of the year, bby. :) Then we go onto a new decade! 2010! We've really changed in these past 10 years, haven't we? iPods, cellphones, digital cameras, cellphones with digital cameras. Maybe next are robots and hover crafts? :) I probably wouldn't buy one after seeing the movie "I Am" with Will Smith. It was called I Am, wasn't it? Anyways, robots are scary.

But I digress...I'd like to recap my writing this past year, which I think has very much improved since 2008. 2008 was a dark year for my writing *shivers*.

What I Accomplished Writing-Wise on 2009

  • I wrote my second completed novel in January (approx. 76K)
  • I wrote my third completed novel in November (NaNoWriMo) at approx. 50K
  • I wrote approx. 50 poems
  • 1 Short Story :P
  • I joined a creative writing club
  • I won Nanowrimo
  • I kept two writing journals
  • I began reading books with "literary merit" (Hunchback of Notre Dame, To Kill A Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, O. Henry, Odysseus, Antigone)
  • I entered ABNA. I didn't win, but it was a heck of a leap.
  • I gained knowledge on queries, literary agents, publishing, etc.
  • My writing has gotten much, much better, if I do say so myself.
  • I was awarded "oustanding achievement in language arts"
  • I was recognized for outstanding achievement in the 2009 Writers Showcase

So, I believe I've covered everything. Isn't it good? Norweigan wood? Just kidding, but really, it's quite a list. I'm very proud of myself. But why do they always say "oustanding achievement"? The term is getting a bit cliched, don't you think? ;)The only thing I need to work on now is...*shudders* essays. That might be my New Year's might not. I don't know what my New Year's resolution is. I'll probably know in February. I know that reading books with "literary merit" isn't really writing, and I might have been forced to do it by my English teacher, but really I think it's good for me to read these kinds of books with writing so strong, they've lasted through the decades. What have you accomplished, writing-wise or really anything, this year? I'd like to hear it. :)

Well, I don't have much writing advice to give today. Except this one:

Aquatip: Don't query during the holidays. Holidays meaning from December 13 to January 18 approx.

Why? Well, it's not illegal, you certainly can if you'd like. But a lot of queries are sent in during that time, maybe it's because people have breaks and go on vacations, thus having a lot of time to write. A great flood of emails go into agent's mailboxes. When they come back from their vacation, you might catch them, oh, what's the term? I forgot, I think it's called Agent Crunchdown time or something. It's when they have all these queries and get very stressed. Would you like your query to be in that pile, or would you rather have your query with an agent when they're nice and calm with not a lot of other queries around, leaving more time for yours? (Sorry, that was a long sentence). For example, right now, Janet Reid is storing her queries away to look at later, though she is looking at some of them seriously. So, you see, agents aren't really doing much query scouting at this time. Even if my manuscript was finished (which it is not, only at 6K), I would choose not to send out queries till maybe February. But of course, this doesn't mean you -have- to. The best time for your query is when your query is ready, and whenever that is, you can send it then, regardless of the time. Though it's something for you to consider.

Well, my time is up. We have a great year ahead of us on this blog. I've kept a list of ideas about future topics I will be discussing here. They include: self-publishing, more cliches, Benefit of The Reader, show don't tell, info dumps, queries, fanfiction, and much more. :D (Don't I sound like an infomercial host?)

Speaking of informerical hosts, always-a-yelling Billy Mays died this year, as did other great people like Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze and others. We can't forget them, too. Maybe take a moment to remember these people as we ring in the New Year. Or, as my one short story's title says, "Sing in the New Year", whichever you prefer. :)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's a good one!


"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights." -Hamilton Wright Mabie

mardi, décembre 29

Will You Read My Book?

Let's try something different. :D
Well, I was listening to Paperback Writer by who else but The Beatles, when I was thinking that the lyrics would make for a horrible query letter.
So, I read the lyrics and I could easily pick out errors if it were. Then I got to thinking...this would make a great example on how not to write a query letter! I mean, it was riddled all over with mistakes!
So what I'm going to do is post the lyrics as if it were a query letter. I will comment in this pretty color. Not to poke fun at The Beatles, I love them do. This is all just for fun. :) Let's pretend it's a snail-mail query and let's pretend I'm Literary Agent Vanille. ;)
Paperback writer, paperback writer What is this?
Dear Sir or Madam, Don't say Dear Sir or Madam. You put Dear (Name of Agent, and try to spell their name right). Sir or Madam makes it seem like you just printed out a bunch of the same copies and sent them off. At least make it a little bit personalized, make me feel like you care about me enough to know what my name is.
Will you read my book? Don't say this. If I'm interested, I will ask you. It took my years to write, would you take a look? You just repeated what you said. And you say it took you years to write? I'm glad you're so dedicated, but that is too long. If I represent you, there's going to be a deadline for your next book. We can't wait years for it. It's based on a novel by a man named Lear. So? And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer, paperback writer. Don't tell me you need a job. You're making me feel bad. But pity isn't going to make me read your book. It's a dirty story of a dirty man and his clinging wife doesn't understand. His son is working for the daily mail. It's a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer, paperback writer. Did we just shift POV? And this is not a plot. This is a premise, or not even. Tell me more about the story. This just a list of characters, how do they relate to each other and the story?
It's a thousand pages, give or take a few, First of all, you don't put how many pages it is. Different fonts in different sizes will vary in pages. You want to put how many words it is. And anyways, a thousand pages gives me the impression that this a lot of words, maybe more than 100K. That's too long. I'll be writing more in a week or two. I can make it longer if you like the style, I can change it 'round and I want to be a paperback writer, paperback writer. I know you want to be a paperback writer, already! No need for repitition. No, don't make it longer!!
If you really like it, you can have the rights. Duh. It could make a million for you overnight. Don't say anything along the lines of "it will be a bestseller!" or "this is the next big thing since twilight/The DaVinci Code." I will figure out if it has the potential, but you've got to show me it in the query. If you must return it you can send it here, Where is the SASE? (Self-addressed stamped envelope) At least say I have enclosed an SASE. but I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer, paperback writer, paperback writer.
You talk too much about yourself, and not the book.
Hah. I have to admit, that was a bit fun. Not the crushing dreams thing, I felt bad about that. But just pretending I'm reading a query letter and being an agent. Now, to take off my costume and store it safely in my closet for future query meetings. If your query letter has any of the things I commented on negatively, fix immediately.
Thank you, uh thank you very much,
Literary Agent Vanille ;)
"Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague."
-William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Try To See It My Way

"Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone"
-We Can Work It Out, The Beatles
Hey, all. Today, I plan on doing two posts. The one after this is the one I was originally planning on doing today, but this great opportunity to fill out a kind of survey on myself and my writing was too good to pass. And I always like filling out surveys. I go to this website quite regularly (My fashion city is Paris! Mais oui!). Anyways, the backstory on the survey was that I was strolling about the blogosphere, clicking on writing blogs that other writing blogs followed, leaving a trail of comments on the way. When I stumbled on to this blog: Still Writing blogged by Elaine "still writing" Smith. She had filled out a form about her writing, and invited anyone to do the same. As I mentioned, I took up this opportunity. And I will begin answering the questions right after this quick update:
What I Accomplishd Yesterday Night:
  • I mastered She's Loves You (The Beatles) on the piano! (the easy version...)
  • I cleaned my room! (stuffing junk into crevices and drawers where they cannot be seen)
  • I wrote 2,000 words! (C'est vrai!) :)

    I don't know how I did it, but I did. Now I'm at 4,300 words or so, which is slightly better than 2,000. Slightly.

Now on to the survey-thinga-ma-bobber!

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was, what I think, is a touching scene between my MC and his dying grandfather. The first thing I wrote I still have?! (*Thinks back to all the books I made when I was little about a worm and a butterfly going to school that came with illustrations drawn by moi*). Yikes! I think my mother threw them out. :( Otherwise, I have this diary from first grade that talks about me and Elmo's adventures. Does that count?

2. Write poetry?

When I feel poetic.

3. Angsty poetry?

If you can call a poem titled "Essays Will Be the Death of Me" angsty, then yes.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Young Adult, Fantasy, Literary, Mainstream, Historical. Oops, that's too many. Well, any young adult book unless it deals with crime/mystery, horror, or scifi.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

Hmm...well, the first novel I attempted to write (it never got finished, but is still pending at chapter 41) had a handful of annoying characters. Her name was Madeleine, no, Madeline, wait, Madeliene. Well, I forgot how to spell her name, but she was annoying. It was one of those FOTSODTP things. She was really stupid (sorry, Maddy) and really her actions were just to develop the plot. I find those kinds of characters annoying - like they don't have a sensible thought in their head. They're all just like robots, doing whatever the writer tells them to, for the sake of the plot.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

The plot I'm working on now. :)

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

(This was for my Nano) In the beginning, he was just using her to get to her father, but now he's fallen in love with her and he is very, very sorry for using her. Erm. Actually, that might not be the "coolest" plot twist, but more of a cliched one, I admit.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

*pushes buttons on calculator* Around every 2.4 days. :)

9. Write fan fiction?

No, actually. I don't approve of fanfics much. I think it's much better to write something original, than something already written. I have my other reasons, too, and I'll be talking about it later.
10. Do you type or write by hand?
I prefer to type, since I type faster than I write. But when my mother is hogging the computer, I have to resort to writing in my red notebook.
11. Do you save everything you write?
I try, but anything handwritten (like the stories I made when I was in kindergarten) are usually thrown out. Everything I write on the computer, though, even just a paragraph that will probably evolve to nothing, I save. Because once in a while, I like to look back on my writing and see where I've improved and what's stayed the same.
12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it? The reason for that is because I abandoned it most likely because I was bored with it. I don't want to write anything boring. So if I thought it was boring then, I'm still probably going to feel that way now. Though, I was thinking about going back to a story I began to write this summer, but abandoned it (again) when I thought of a brand, new, shiny one. And you know how much I like shiny things.
13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
That changes from time to time, but so far I really like this poem I wrote that is in relation to my story.
14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?
I don't know. You see, I abandon so many ideas that I am wary of sharing my current WIP. Because I may very well abandon that, too, without warning (though I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't happen). So...I don't really don't know. Not till I finish something I truly like will I share it with people.
15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Yep, yep. Though, I don't try to make it angsty. I already have enough of that in my real life.
17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Well, see, I have like four plot bunnies hopping around in my head. Though one of them I'm serious about (the one with 4K) and the others I'm just letting float till I get to them. But see, I'm supposed to be writing something for my creative writing club, and I haven't gotten to that yet because my plot bunnies cannot be made into short stories. So, I guess you could say I have writer's block on that one.
19. What are your five favorite words?
I don't know! I love all my words. How about that? There's five words for ya. And another. ;)
20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?
Probably Sandrine from my Nano. We're alike 'cause we're very wary of strangers, espcially strange ones, and we're hesistant to do things. Like bungee jumping.
21. Where do you get ideas for your characters from?
First, I think, what is the personality of this character? Whatever the personality, the look usually corresponds. For example, my current MC is quite average. He has brown hair, not purple, but brown. And I make it a statement to say he has brown hair, not mahogany or milk chocolate. Just plain brown.
22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?
No. You don't want to know what goes on in my dreams. If you ever read a book based on my dreams, you would have a headache and get very stressed. Those are usually how my dreams are. And they don't make much sense either. I'm not like Stephenie Meyer, who dreamt about these two people in a forest and one was a vampire. My mind doesn't give me hints like that, I have to find it out for myself.
23. Do you favor happy endings?
Yes and no. I prefer bitter-sweet endings, as they're more realistic. But there's nothing wrong with a happy ending unless it's executed in a cliche way. You know what I mean. And they lived happily ever after.
24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes. Everything has to be satisfactory before I can go on, otherwise they always pester my brain, saying "fix me! fix me!". For example, it took my five minutes to start this post because I was wondering what song to put down. I could not start without having it above me. I'm weird like that.
25. Does music help you write?
Aha! Like Elaine said, "Is there a God in heaven?"
Of course! If I'm writing a particularly sad scene, I'll have slow, wallowing music in the background to help me set the mood. Though if I were writing, say, an action scene, then something that sounded close to the Mission Impossible theme song would be playing.
26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
I'll give you the beginning paragraph in my WIP

"Birds don't sing like that. Not high-pitched like those bouncy pop singers on TV nowadays nor low, like a whale's. But it was a language similar to that of whales - secret and enchanting. Only a voice that could be achieved by angels on high clouds, lamenting with sweet voice droning and clear notes wavering. The music of waves. The song of seashells when put to the ear, wondering how the ocean got there."
Of course, it needs some tuning up. Like, I see some passive voice somewhere in the middle, so I'll have to edit that later. Otherwise, I really like it. I wrote it in geography class, not bad, eh? ;)
Hope you learned a bit about my writing and a bit about me. And if there's anyone out there, you can do this little survey too.
After the break,
"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." -James Michener
P.S. Sorry the formatting went beserk.

lundi, décembre 28

Help Me If You Can

"Help me if you can I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please please help me?"
-Help!, The Beatles

Help indeed. Le photo du jour couldn't be more correct.
What I have accomplished these past few days:
  • eating myself silly
  • singing myself silly on the karaoke (Scored 99/100 singing The Beatles)
  • playing solitaire
  • updating this blog

What I haven't accomplished:

  • Writing. Anything.

When I last left you a few posts ago, I told you I had around 2,000 words finished.

I still do.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down. Okay. You know what? Right after I post this, I'm going to write. No getting distractions and chatting on the Young Writer's Society chat rooms. No more internet, period. It's not that I have writer's block or I don't know what to write. It's because I'm lazy, that's it. I know exactly what to write. I am capable of writing, see me write now? I just...I don't know what's gotten into me. What's gotten into you Vanille?! (This is bad, I'm talking to myself).You know, I'm on my three-week winter break right now. One week has already passed, this is the start of my second. When I have to go back...*shudders*...I will be very busy. No time to write, maybe no time to update this blog. Not even on weekends. *sigh*

Also, I have to write a 2K short story for my creative writing club. I haven't done so yet, because I don't know what to write. Every plot I think of cannot fit into a mere 2K, though that's only as far as I've gotten to on my novel! *cries*

Well. I suppose I've already ranted enough on my writing woes. One thing that surprised me today: When I reached my hand inside my bag of hot cheetos, there were practically none left. O_o

Yikes. Anyways today I'm going to be talking about literary lingo. For those of you newbie writers out there who are completely ignorant when you go to these critique groups or writing forums. You find yourself asking stupidly, "What is ___?" Well, I'm about to tell you now.

  • WIP=Work In Progress not to be confused with RIP
  • MC = Main Character
  • MMC = Male Main Character
  • FMC = Female Main Character
  • SC = Secondary Character not used that often
  • IMO = In My Opinion this can go for anything really, but writers tend to politely debate, and so we use this acrony a fair lot
  • POV = Point of View like 1st person POV
  • YA = Young Adult
  • MG = Middle Grade
  • SF = Science Fiction
  • Fanfiction = A story based on books, TV shows, movies, etc. Harry Potter and mangas are used quite a lot in fanfiction.
  • RPG = Role Playing Games, You basically fill out a form for an imaginary character you are going to play, then you and other rpgers will create a story by talking to each other as your imaginary characters.
  • Plot Bunny = A plot that has been hopping around your head all day. Usually pops up during a story you are writing. Very bothersome, pestering you with writing them. Often writers send these plot bunnies to Plot Bunny Day Cares, to be picked up once they have finished doing whatever they're doing.
  • Mary Sue = A character that is too perfect (nothing can go wrong with them, the odds seem to be always on their side, flawless). Mary Sues are considered to be very cliched, and there can be many variants of them (like writers trying so hard not to make their character into a Mary Sue, they end up making one anyways - this is called an Anti-Sue). They also appear in fanfiction and rpgs. For more information on Mary Sues go here. To see if your character may be a Mary Sue, go here.
  • Gary Stu = The male version of a Mary Sue

Well, that's all I can think of right now, if I remember, I'll add more later. My MMC (don't you feel smart now that you know what I'm talking bout?) scored a 26 on the Mary Sue test, which is pretty good, I just need to polish him up a bit. :) But so far, I haven't really gotten to know his personality (because if you've forgotten, I'm only 2K in!). Hope you've gotten a better understanding of literary lingo now.

Also, on that website, they had some pretty funny syndromes which I see often. These are what I'd called another FTSODTP (For The Sake of Developing the Plot). Let me explain: You give your character a syndrome such as antisocial personality disorder so they won't talk to people. It's an easy way to do it, isn't it? Kind of like an excuse. And a lot of these are also bcoming overused.

Anyways, let me include some of them here.

  • Changing the spelling of an ordinary name - EG, Alysin, Makynzie, Jayk, Dayve
  • Does your character pick up new skills insanely fast? - "It usually takes years to learn this super advanced sword technique, but Mary Sue did it in days! *CoughKurosakiIchigoCough*
  • Barbie Doll syndrome - Giving the character the main title for every plot that comes their way, no matter how irrelevant the titles are to each other; Giving them multiple professions/titles that have nothing to do with each other. "Princess Barbie has a medical degree. When she isn't saving the lives of humans, she's cooking top-class dinners at her favorite restaurant and saving the lives of pets everywhere!
  • "Rebellious princess syndrome" - Symptoms include complaining about or refusing to wear "ladylike" clothing, refusing aristocratic suitors, generally hating her social position, and possibly even running away to escape marriage."
  • Personal fixation/obsession - For example, Darth Vader's obsession with finding Luke Skywalker, Harry Osbourne's fixation with killing Spider-Man in the movies, and Wile E. Coyote's obsession with catching the Roadrunner.

From This Website

These are the ones I found interesting, these are the kinds of things Mary Sue's often have. I'd like to comment on the first and last one. For the first one: Are you noticing that vampires are now being called vampyres, fairies have turned into faeries, and magic is either magyk or magik? Kind of being overused now isn't it... And as for the last post, this is only very Mary Sue if the person has a personal fixation/obsession with someone for no apparant reason. That is horrible! It is one of those FTSODTP things. Eeksa!

That's all for now, folks. My back hurts and when I stretch, it cracks. That is not good. Imma off to write! *arm shoots out to the sky like Superman*

Au revoir, after the break,


"If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams." - Danzae Pace

P.S. Just keep on ignoring the Read More! things. I'm trying to get it fixed.

dimanche, décembre 27

Taking The Easy Way Out

"Got a good reason for taking the easy way out,
Got a good reason for taking the easy way out - now."
-Day Tripper, The Beatles

Well, I feel postiviely blown up. I've been eating too many hot cheetos, See's candies, and donuts. *sigh*. It can't be helped. If I had the power, I'd buy a treadmill. I know what you're thinking - "Why can't you just jog around your neighborhood?"



So you see my situation. And don't even mention pull ups. *curls lips in utter disgust*

Anyways, other than the fact I am completely irked because I still want to finish up that bag of hot cheetos...let's see what I'll be ranting -er, ahem - discussing today:

More Cliches! And what I call "For The Sake of Developing the Plot"

Well, I was strolling around Critique Circle today and actually critiqued two YA chapters (surprising since I haven't done that since probably September or earlier) and I was also watching TV. While eating hot cheetos. Don't say it. During all of this, I discovered two new cliches I've seen popping up. They are:

  • People getting in plane/boat crashes and ending up on a deserted island where they have to struggle for survival while also questioning the other survivors who are making rather odd remarks on how good his flesh would taste after roasting on a fire.
  • The MC's parents die in a car accident. MC must learn to cope with this. We follow MC's journey as MC gains a new perspective on the world and starts a new organization PCSA (Preventing Sudden Car Accidents) and becomes actively involved in toy drives.

Or something along those lines.

The main ideas are stranded on a deserted island and parents (and/or other family members) dying in a car accident.

I think you already understand the deserted island thing. Let me just say this - I know you really, really like the shows Lost and Survivor, but if your story is eerily familiar to these shows, then I'm probably going to skip your book. Oh, and did I mention that movie Tom Hanks starred in? The one with the soccer ball as his only companion? Oh, did I cry when it fell overboard. That doesn't mean write a story similar to it. It won't make me cry, it will make me think you are a very bad copycat.

As for the car accident, I am not trying to make fun of this or anything. Car accidents are serious and one of the main causes of death in America. It's probably why they're used so much in novels, along with cancer. There are other ways to kill of characters, you know. But this is beginning to seem like an easy way to do it. Really, if the car accident isn't connected to someway in the novel (like if the person who crashed into the car was the antagonist or one of his/her minions) then it's acceptable. But just to kill off the parents because your MC needs to have a magical quest and doesn't need to worry about the bother of her parents wondering why she is wandering out of the house with a stick claiming it's her wand...well...Do you see the cheapness? At least make it unique. There was this one book, I think it's called Ghost Girl. The girl died because she choked on a gummy bear. Isn't that interesting?

But of course, I can't tell you what to or what not to write. I can only hope you write it well.

Another thing: For The Sake of Developing the Plot

For example:


"I wandered into a house I knew a rapist lived in just because."

"Lila trusted Tommy, even when he said the parachutes had a tendency to not open."

"Tommy robbed a bank because he thought it would be fun and he wasn't thinking of the consequences (10 years in prison, and penniless at that)."

"I jogged around my neighborhood, even though I know my neighbors are prone to kidnap innocent children like me just because."

For the Sake of Developing the Plot means that your characters do stupid actions no sane person would do just because they are needed to propell the story into action. I wandered into a house I knew a rapist lived in because the story is about a girl who gets raped. Lila trusted Tommy because the story requires both of them to die, so they can go up to heaven and meet pretty angels. Tommy robbed the bank because the author had to find a way to put the protagonist in jail - where he deeply pondered the meaning of life and befriended a murderer. I went jogging around my neighborhood because I had to be kidnapped, even though I knew better than to.


Your characters don't have REASONS for their actions. Look here, I didn't just randomly choose to become a pharmacist - my parents did. There's my reason I am most likely going to study pharmaceutics in college even though I don't know what that means in the first place!

Let's revise these horrendous FTSOTP...

"I went into a house I knew a rapist lived in because I needed to find a way to raise money and I was going to babysit his, well, baby."

"Lila trusted Tommy, even when he said the parachutes had a tendency to not open because they had already paid for everything - jet, jumping suits, and cursed parachutes - and if they backed down now, the Sky Diving store would sue them, and they didn't have the money to get sued again.

"Tommy robbed a bank because the other gang members would make fun of him and possibly injure him very badly, if he didn't. And they promised he wouldn't get caught."

"I jogged around my neighborhood, even though I know my neighbors are prone to kidnap innocent children like me because I felt like I was eating too much and wasn't capable of buying a treadmill."

(Quinn on the tv show Glee had sex with Puck because she felt fat that day. And considering she was a cheerleader, it made sense. See how this is unique? She didn't have sex with him because she just found his mohawk so freaking irresistable for some reason (another FTSOTP reason, like in a certain book when a girl almost got killed because she was so attracted to this boy).

But you can't just say outright Tommy robbed a bank because the other gang members would make fun of him etc. That falls into the category of telling, and you know one of the golden rules of writing: show don't tell.

That's it for now. I hope you understand where I'm going with this For the Sake of The Plot business. As The Beatles say, "Try and see it my way." And always try and make your writing different and unique.

After the break,


"A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

samedi, décembre 26

I Want To Be A Paperback Writer

"It's a thousand pages, give or take a few
I'll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it 'round and I want to be a paperback writer"
-Paperback Writer, the Beatles
Happy Black Friday! I don't know, is it Black Friday? Or is Black Friday the day after the Thanksgiving? Oh, what am I saying? Today is Saturday! (over here at least). Okay. Well. Er. Happy Day After Christmas! What do you mean it's already the 27th in my part of the world? *sigh*. Just have a happy day, alright?
I open this blog with a song from the Beatles cd I got for Christmas - Paperback Writer. I was so astonished to see it there. It was a sign from God, really. Or something of the sorts. Of course, I can't possibly write a book that's a thousand pages long. Why, I need to get writing, I really do. I'm only at 2K words. And I also have to write another 2K for a completely different story for my creative writing club.
*smacks forehead*
Confound it!
(AquaTip: Agents are wary of novels over 100,000 words long)
Today, I will rambling on about cliches. I'll make it into a list, then discuss each one. Hmm...these cliches will be trends I've been seeing and things I think will become popular. At the end, I'll explain my reasons for choosing these as cliches. Of course, I might be adding more in later posts when I get to thinking of it, but till then. Now in no particular order...

1. Vampires (or, as some people like to be unique: vampyres)
2. (Fallen) Angels
3. Greek Gods & Goddesses
4. Romances set in Ireland and Scotland
5. Theme: Comingof age
6. Fairies (or, as some people like to be unique: faeries)
7. Pirates
8. Werewolves
9. Haunted Houses
10. Child Abuse

1. Do I really have to explain vampires (vampyres)? The only vampire books I will accept and not judge are Dracula, Anne Rice's books, and Twilight. You might be surprised at the latter. So why do I save it from critique? Because Twilight, though not the greatest book around, was the one who started this whole vampire mania, and therefore is not a copycatter. No doubt the craze (or should I say craving for blood?), has always been there, but now it's bigger than ever. The new books section at my local library is filled with vampire books. I don't know if it's because people have really become attached to these vampires or if they just want a share of the vampire glory. If you're going to write a vampire story, please, please make it somewhat different from Twilight! I swear I am NOT going to read another book about a goth girl with no intelligent thought whatsoever fall head over heels into an extremely-goth-but-handsome-looking vampire's arms because they're the only ones who understand each other in this lonely, lonely world. I will NOT tolerate anymore stories about a girl finding out she's a vampire (le gasp!) and having to go to an academy of vampires, whilst she gets entrapped in a confusing vampire-human-love-triangle . And I will NOT pick up another book at the library with a storyline eerily similar to twilight, involving werewolves (Oh, you know the ones).

You might have heard of the TV shoe, I mean show, Vampire Diaries. Now, the pros about this series is that it is unique in its own because it has a witch (& not those broom-riding kinds, Dead is the New Black) and some background history in their town - mystic falls. Stephen likes Elena because she looks like his old, OLD girlfriend, Katherine. And Stephen doesn't turn sparkly in the sunlight, and their eyes do these really cool bloody effects. Oh, and they aren't afraid to kill people. (Though I am quite displeased that the writers of the show had to put in that oh, "twilight has this vampire thing all wrong" scene. COME ON. It's Meyer's book, her world. She's not wrong, 'cause it's fiction. And she never meant it to be true either. So live with that, screenwriters. That is a sad way to try and be realistic.) But if you really think about it, isn't the plot line a lot like twilight: The girl falls in love with the vampire, the vampire is trying not to suck her blood. Isn't it?

Lastly, if you're going to put a twist to a vampire story, please don't have ghoul community full of witches and skeletons in it. It completely threw me off track and I had to repress a laugh at the incredulousness of it all.
Though not to name names here...
This is IMO. I'm sure other people may differ in opinion. But you have come here to me, and my views you shall read.
2. At Nanowrimo I've been seeing a lot of stories about angels. Also, when I read queries at agent's blogs, I see a lot of them on angels. I can't say I've seen them at the bookstore or library much, but be ready for them. They're coming!! Falling from the sky and bumping your head, all in a flurry of heavenly feathers.
3. I can't say I've seen these much either. But yesterday, I watched Avatar and there were two sneak previews of movies relating to this stuff - and obviously geared towards the YAs. (Oh, and also one on fallen angels). I read maybe two queries about Gods, also. So watch out, they're coming down with a lightning bolt!
4. Really? I mean, really. There are other places in the world, you romance writers know. Other places than poor Scotland and Ireland, so worn down by all your character's love. How 'bout Egypt? I'd love to read that one.
5. Coming of age. It's something we read in English class. (House on Mango Street). But I'm getting tired of this also. We all come of age, some later than others. Though I'm tired of reading it. Teenagers finding themselves is actually kind of boring on its own. First of all, teenagers do not want to read about someone else coming of age. Teenagers are to busy coming of age themselves. Secondly, if there is no romance or supernatural events or puppies, then it will just be a girl or boy walking around, thinking-much-too-deeply about the world. And we, well, I don't want to read that.
6. Ah, fairies. Has Tinkerbell inspired us now? I'm not against fairy stories, nor have I read any. But I'm seeing a steady growth....
7. I never get tired of pirates. In fact, pirates will make a special guest appearance in my own novel. Though, there's been quite a lot of 'em lately...ARGH YE MATEY...
I do horrible impressions.
(Did you know that real pirates never had any talking parrots, nor did they make their forlorn captives walk the plank? It's all Hollywood, people. Think about that while your writing.)
8. Werewolves pretty much are forever entwined with vampires. I've been seeing some unique twists on the concept of werewolves. Such as, werewolves coming of age in a city where they have to learn to deal with their horrendous shape shifting and find love in the meanwhile. I mean really, why can't they shape shift into a cat or a horse? Why is all this wolf stuff special anyways, oh, yes. Twilight. DO YOU SEE THEIR ENTWINEOSITY....(and I know that's not a word...)
Anyways, I'm tired of werewolves. Give me something else, and I just might read the book. Anyways, I was always on Team Edward. ;)
9. This is how the story goes: A girl has to stay in a haunted house JUST CAUSE SHE HAS TO. Maybe it's because if she does, then she can own the place (who would want to do that?) or maybe because she doesn't have a home to go to (I'd rather sleep on the street in a cardboard box to be truthful). But it's always the same: JUST CAUSE SHE HAS TO BECAUSE THAT WILL DEVELOP THE PLOT. (Aquatip: Never put something in your writing just because it will "develop the plot" so to speak. Your characters do things for a reason, not just because you're God in their world and you want them to. Learn from my mistakes.) Then the story goes that she meets some cats or an old witch lady in the basement and finds love along the way, possibly the current landlord.
If your characters don't have a solid motive, your book will become more 2D. I do not want to read a book about a girl wandering around in a haunted house, muttering, "Oh my, look at that rather unusually large kitty!"
10. I know happy endings are also becoming somewhat overused, but we still need them. Once in a while we do want to read a story with a happy ending, just so there's an iota of hope that happiness really can come true. Child abuse only rarely has happy endings, because in a lot of cases the child turns into the abuser when he/she grows up. But anyways, there is a lot of child abuse going on in books. I know you want your YA book to be angsty, but you have to know I don't want to read a book about drugs-alcohol-sex-child abuse-bullying-gangs-depression-suicide all in one freaking story! It will make me depressed. It also makes the agents tug at their collars, because child abuse doesn't sell that good. Why? I just told you from the perspective of a young adult, a prospective buyer.
That's all for now folks. I'm tired and I have images of vampires in Scotland chasing around rather unusually large kitties in my head. This blog session has officially tired me.
After the break,
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison
(This is what S.E. Hinton of The Outsiders did)
P.S. I'm having trouble with my blog layout, just ignore the READ MORE links. I might get it fixed. Maybe not.

vendredi, décembre 25

I'll Give It To Someone Special

"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
The very next day, you gave it away,
This year, to save me from tears,
I'll give it to someone special."
'Cause I'm just that freaking colorful.
Anyways. Merry Christmas invisible people. I had an okay Christmas. I'm growing older (we'll talk about that later) and have lost the Christmas spirit. Christmas songs just don't entice me anymore. My lazy family was too lazy to put up the Christmas tree. Christmas commercials are cute, but they don't conjure that warm-hearth-chestnuts-creepy santa-snowman image anymore.
I'm getting old.
What happened? Well, as for my Christmas gifts, I got two CDs of the Beatles ( <3)
Now that I'm finished talking about my life, I have to confess a couple of things.
First off, I still sleep with a teddy bear. His name is Beethoven the Bear (see previous blog He has white, cheap, fur, red soles, an unraveling polyester red bow, and a deformed face that lops to one side, I believe the left. If you hadn't figured out yet, he's from the Dollar Tree. But I still love him anyways. Before I fall asleep I rub his hand for good luck. It works...most of the time.
Next, I've been really interested in the publishing world lately. I've been reading agent's blogs...specifically Nathan Bransford and Janet Reid. Two both very talented literary agents. And I have to make a confession (the whole point of this whole thing). When I grow up...I want to be... a literary agent! Now don't scream, you'll make me more deaf than I already am. Though you are probably thinking, wait? When I grow up?This leads to my next confession.
I'm 14. Yes. That means freshman in high school. Now, why am I confessing this? Because this whole blog is going through a makeover. That's right. It's going to be more like a What I learned blog, rather than a useless rant of what's going on in my life. That's why I was so quick to go over my Christmas. I could rave on about the magical deliciousness of See's candy. Or I could talk about the movie Avatar, which lived up to my expectations, though did not exceed them. No, I will be talking about what I learned about the literary world. Query letters, synopsis, agents, publishing, good websites. I'll cover it all. Later though.
You'll get to go through the process of learning avec moi (for those who are french ignorant: with me!) Why? Well, it may very well be that I may have another two month absense, but I just really want to talk about the world of writing. NOW NOW NOW. Just like I don't like to write essays, (which we'll go over later on *jots down on post-it*) I don't want to write about the thoughts that bumble about in my head (like, why are there people working on Christmas!? Firemen and policemen I understand, but at least give the fast food workers a day off. Even the lonely ones.)
I just want to learn more about this new, shiny world on how books are made. It's probably what lead to my desire to become a literary agent, something I'd enjoy doing rather than.... being a pharmacist. *face turns green*. That doesn't mean that I just want to be a literary agent to crush people's dreams or show the agents nowadays who's the boss, I just have developed this deep fondness of everything literary. Except literary essays. Essays are my bane. They will be the death of me.
I hope you understand. I'll be living my literary life here. You'll get to hear my excited news when I send off my very first query letter (exciting!) to when I get my very first rejection letter ( live you learn!...). Maybe by posting what I've learned here will help me better understand this brand-new-book smelling world (if you don't know, it smells a lot like toothpics and the back of small bookshops). Through the eyes of a 14 year old, of course. We have to be new and fresh! That doesn't mean I'm changing the blog name. Or my pseudonym. I like both. And besides, What I Learned isn't as exciting as The Last Laugh en francais, now is it? (And I know I'm supposed to put a squiggly accent there, but I don't know how on this old keyboard so just imagine it!)
As for moi...
Nanowrimo. I left you with my last post that I will be treading through the Nanowrimo mountain for the very first time! And I reached the summit with...50,601 words was it? Yes. As for my nano book, which will remain by it's initials here - TROAP. I aimed to edit it, make a query letter for it, wish it well and send it off like a proud parent sending their stupidest, er, not the most intelligent child to college in the best wishes they won't be trampled by elephants. Er, yes. But after I tried to edit it, I...and here's the climax, got BORED WITH IT. Yes, bored with it. Absolutely the worst thing I could say, now could it? Oh, well. Not as worse as being thoroughly disgusted with it, I lit it on fire. Which is quite impossible since, in order to do that, I would have to burn my whole laptop (lovingly named Toshishi, don't ask.). *Sigh*. The writing was too hurried. I'm afraid the Create Space Free Proof Copy will have to be for another, book, for I can't stand reading TROAP right now. Maybe next time when I have fresh eyes. So do I plan to let it sit there? Idly standing by as I write my next novel, which I will NOT LIGHT ON FIRE because it's going to be written with time and care. That is not called procrasination, though I haven't written a darn thing since two days ago. Anyways, I like this new one much better. I think there are more stakes involved and some actual, solid reasons for my character's actions. It's eerily a lot like The Little Mermaid, Anastasia, and Avatar put together. But back to the question...
If you remember my last, died-too-young blog, V Blase, I was about to enter in the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I never made it past the pitch stage. Confound that confounded pitch! I still don't know what it is or what's supposed to be in it. *Is throroughly confuzzled*. Maybe I'll learn. *raises a knowing eyebrow*. I hope that eyebrow thing didn't scare you off. You know what's scary? Santa Claus. He breaks into people's houses, if not by chimney then through your back door. He invites children to sit on his lap. He says, "Ho, ho, ho!" way too much. And he knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sakes! But I digress...
TROAP will have the honor of going through ABNA. I will quick edit it, write a crude caricature of what's supposed to be a pitch. I know what you're thinking - what's the point? What's the point?! The point is that nothing's at stake. What if I make it through the pitch stage (whoa, how did I do that?) but don't make it past the excerpt. That will make me feel good. And why the heck not? Janet Reid said make mistakes, make many mistakes. So, this may be a mistake. But what the heck do I have to lose?
(If this is in the color aquamarine you know it's got to be important: QUERY TIP: QUERY WIDELY! Don't limit yourself to a select group of agents. Nobody's going to arrest you, most agents go by email, so everything's basically free. That's what I'm going to do - query widely. Though, I'll try to keep the agents I query somewhere around my genre.)
Well, about my age.
I know agents are wary of young people. Nathan Bransford talked about young writers below the age of 18 on his blog. But he never said if he represented them or not. I'm not sure if I should include this in my queries or not. I'll learn once I get my novel finished! (Currently, it's around 2,000 words... -_- And I haven't even introduced the antagonist yet. GAH I'M BEHIND). Though, he also talked about those diamonds in the rough. (insert that one scene from Aladdin here). I hope I'm a diamond in the rough. I know they don't like young people because most show immaturity. Some don't know how to write. Some don't know how to spell. For example:
Like, omg! I'm fourteen and I luv writing! Mabey ill get published! My novels freaking awesome of corse it will. I won the spelling bee in second grade. I'm already a freaking star, bby! Purple is my favorite color!
Or something along those lines.
Once I find the exact post somewhere in cyberworld, specifically I'll post it.
As for now...
Not all of us are like that. We are not all like, OMG, I'M PAINTING MY NAILS PURPLE. Some of us are actually very talented, like Australian Steph Bowe whose book will be coming out in 2010. (CONGRATS! You represent the young writers who can actually write! *proud*). She's that success story I hope I will get to become. *sigh*. Daydreamer here...
Anyways, if agents won't even look at our work just because we're under the age of 18, I think that's pretty messed up. Now, I'm not naming names. In fact, I don't know any agents who do that, though I'm getting this weird you're-too-young-grow-up-and-become-experienced-then-contact-us-then vibe that I don't really like. If I am to gain experience, shouldn't I gain it now whilst I'm young and vibrant? (er...scratch the vibrant part). This is something I will be debating: whether I should or shouldn't put in my age. When I query Nathan Bransford, I definitely am because he says specifically to do so if we're under 18. As for the others (remember, I'm querying widely!) I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards yes though, because I shouldn't be ashamed of my age, right? I just don't want them to judge me early on. I want to be compared with the adults, I want the agents to be truthful when they send me those rejection letters. I don't want them all soft, all you're too young sweetie, get a bit more experienced and try again. I already know that. My competition are the adults, not the other kids in the spelling bee.
I've rambled too much. Join me later on for cliches I'm noticing, and my views on self-publishing. They're from a fourteen year old and from me, so you know it's got to be interesting. :P. I'll be putting up a sidebar link to all the websites I've really found useful so far and other things writing related.
Happy Writings!
After the break,
just in case commercialism has made us forget...