Friday, January 28, 2011

The Write Song

Haha, do you get it? It's the right song, but it's also the write song!
Okay, maybe that's not that funny.
But, for me at least, listening to music that is connected to whatever I'm writing really helps me figure out how the characters are feeling.
For example, I'm pretty sure Taylor Swift has read the book I'm writing my first draft of. Every single one of the songs on Speak Now can relate to my book (or its unwritten) sequel in some way. Seriously.
(PS, I'm so glad I didn't post this earlier because I found something out tonight! Everybody probably knows this already, but I've always wondered why in her lyric books, there are random capitalized letters. It turns out, it's not so random! The capitalized letters spell out a secret message. So cool!)
Sometimes, a song that is totally unrelated to what I'm writing can help too. I got the free song of the week from iTunes the other night. It's called 1,000 Faces and it's by Randy Montana. I really like it which is weird because usually the free songs on iTunes aren't really my kind of songs. Anyway, it inspired a totally unrelated chapter! Weird, but it was a chapter at least.
I usually make a playlist for every book when I get halfway through and I realize that I have at least 3 songs that relate to it. Which means that I have a lot of playlists. And they usually don't even get listened to. But making the playlists is fun!
You know what else helps me write? Staring at snow. And that's pretty easy to do because this year my town is becoming land-of-endless-snow. I love snow, but I'm kind of jealous of the people who live in LA and have temperatures above 50.
Do you have songs that you like to write to? Tell me! Please!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ooh, editing! How's that going?

Did you see how slyly I avoided that editing question yesterday? That’s because I decided that, rather than try and sum up how editing was going in one small paragraph, I will devote a whole post to editing today.
So… here goes.
I started writing Keeping Up the Sun two years ago and I finished the first draft August 13th, 2009. Then I took a break. A really long break. Like a 6 month long break. I’d heard authors recommend it before, and they were totally right.
During my break, I not only got to work on new things, including doing NaNoWriMo for the first time and starting a couple other books, but I allowed myself to forget about it. And it really helped. By the time I returned to the book sometime in the middle of last year, I had almost completely forgotten what happened and I got to look at it with a fresh eye. And I read through it. And I did a little bit of editing, mostly grammar wise. I also figured out what needed to be changed.
And then I took another break.
I really, really like breaks.
I finished the second draft in December of 2010. The second draft honestly wasn’t that much different than the first draft, except that I had cut about 50 pages and I had completely rearranged the plot. Yeah, not different at all.
I was kind of hoping that the second draft would be the end of the plot issues and that I could move on to more specific problems, such as my overuse of the word “really.”
After taking a break for about 3 weeks, I returned to Keeping up the Sun and started reading through more carefully, looking for grammar issues as well as “big” issues, thus beginning the third draft. Unfortunately, I found a lot more “big” issues than I would have liked to and again proceeded to tear the book apart.
So that’s where I am now. I finished my first read-through the other day and there are major, major plot holes. I mention things that I haven’t actually written yet. I still have so much more work to do, but I’ve done a lot and I’m just going to be happy with that for now.
And now, time for some fun facts!
1.       Number of pages cut since 1st draft: 44
2.       Number of characters added: 8
3.       Number of word documents in my Keeping up the Sun folder: 10
4.       Number of “really big issue” post-it’s in my notebook: 3
5.       Number of “really big issue” post-it’s that have to do with setting: 2
6.       Number of times I’ve rewritten the first scene: countless
Wow, 44 pages cut. And I actually cut more than that because I’ve added plenty of new scenes.
Have any of you guys done edits recently? Do you have any tips? And how many pages do you end up cutting?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hello Blogging World!

Nice to meet you. How do you do?
Shhh, the truth is I've been secretly stalking you for the past, oh, couple months, but now I'm actually making my own blog. Isn't that exciting?
So who am I and why should you read this blog?
I'm a teenager who, in the midst of struggling through high school, is also a novelist. Not published yet, but a novelist who has finished four books and countless others WIP.

Now for an interview that I made up myself.

Q: Why did you decide to start writing?

A: I decided to start writing because I had stories to tell and I had to get them down. My first novel was written on scraps of paper during 6th grade. (I finished that novel, but I tend not to count it because it wasn't very good.) With the help of encouraging comments from my friends and teachers, I went on to finish my next novel two summers after. This one I count and I'm in the process of editing it.

Q: Ooh, editing! How's that going?

A: Next question.

Q: What are some of your favorite books? Are there any authors that have inspired you to write?

A: I've always loved reading. Always. But my passion for reading probably started when I read the Harry Potter Series. The Twilight series inspired me at a time, but I've gotten over that. And now my main inspiration is Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games. I just love what she did with the series. I love how she balanced the romance and the action. I just love it.

Q: What genre are your novels?

A: That's a complicated question. They are all YA, but they range from Realistic Fiction to SciFi to Fantasy to Romance. It depends on the book.

Q: What blogs do you follow?

A: I think a better question would be what blogs don't I follow.

That's all for now, I guess! If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section. Thanks!