Thursday, February 17, 2011

Which Story?

Only about a month on this blog and I'm already having trouble finding time to post! There are many reasons for this. There is the fact that I decided to follow far too many other blogs and find that it takes me well over half an hour to read them, then I have a bunch of homework, and plus I'm also working on about... a million and two writing projects.

I've mentioned how I'm editing Keeping up the Sun. I really like editing, but I've gotten to this part where it feels like one of those Valentine's Day crossward puzzles that teachers give you because they just want to assign you something (Speaking of which, Happy Valentine's Day!). It feels like such busy work. Because now I'm smoothing out the transition into and out of the new part of the book that I just added and while some of the little scenes I'm adding now are cute, they don't have the same excitement as the other scenes I've written.

Another reason that editing isn't going very well is that I figured out how to make one of my novels that I'm about halfway done with work, so I've been trying to spend some time working on that which is going slowly, but steadily.

And then there's another reason. Do you even feel like, when you're overworked and you've been using all of your creativity on one manuscript or you're spending all of your time doing something such as studying, you get more ideas? I don't understand how this works, but it always happens. After cranking out about 50 pages in a week or two, I suddenly found all of these other ideas popping into my head. I got an idea for a new novel and I've gotten ideas for a couple of short stories which is scary because I don't write short stories. I'm horrible at them.

Anyway, it's been hard to decide what I should spend the most energy on - the novel that I'm editing, the novel that I'm working on, or the new ideas that I'm really excited about?

When it comes to these decisions, I tend not to go with the new ideas because whenever I start workng on a new idea and I stray from one novel, I end up forgetting about it and abandoning it. So, as for right now, I will not be starting a new novel. Working on a few short stories is okay, I've decided, but no new novels. And the rest of my energy? Well, I'm dividing it between editing and writing.

That, or I decide that I don't have energy at all and I go to sleep.

What do you guys do when you have multiple ideas/manuscripts/stories-that-suck-away-your-nonexistent-free-time? Have any advice?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

After getting Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall for Christmas, I began following her blog. Which led to learning about her new book Delirium.

So when I got the chance to get a free ARC of the book (for reasons that I won't mention) I wasn't going to say no, even if it was only a few days before the book actually came out.

I got Delirium on a few weeks ago Friday night and I was done with it by 1 o'clock on Saturday.  [PS - I did sleep for a few hours in the middle of reading but that was only because it got to the point where I had to reread sentences 3 times before they made sense.]

This book was AMAZING.

It takes place in future USA where things are... different. Love is no longer a happy ending to a fairytale. It wasn't something that people longed for and searched for their entire life.

Instead, love became something that people feared. Imagine a world where love is a disease, people who are in love are said to be "infected," and these people can be killed just for giving someone an innocent kiss. Romeo and Juliet is seen as a story that reinforces why love is so horrible rather than a brilliant love story.

Pretty scary. Which is why Lena Haloway can't wait until she turns 18 and she gets the operation that will cure her from love. After her operation, she will be matched with someone who the government thinks is equal to her in status. It's kind of like took over the world and has ordered that everybody be matched by them no matter what.

Of course, right when Lena is about to get her operation when, well, as quoted from the back cover of my ARC: "Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love."

As though that isn't complicated enough... well, I don't want to give away any more of the plot. But now I shall tell you how amazing this book was.

My favorite part was also probably the scariest part. There are arguements that Lena uses that almost made me believe that love is a disease. She talks about how in Romeo and Juliet they died because of love. She says that stress, heart attacks, and other diseases like that are all love's fault but we've given them other names. I am such a romantic, but there were certain lines that had me doubting true love.

But Lauren Oliver didn't let me doubt love for that long because she showed us Lena's blooming love with a certain boy that will go unnamed. They are so adorable and I love their relationship.

And the ending... oh, the ending. The ending was one of the most unexpected endings I've read in a while. It wasn't the classic ending, and while that can be a little unsettling, it was perfect for the novel. It worked perfectly.

Plus, the characters. Wow, the characters. Just read it.

I've heard some people complain that she didn't do a very good job with worldbuilding. I agree to an extent. Some of the aspects of this world were unclear and I feel like she needed to incorporate more of the history of this place into the novel so that we understood. But I was so involved in the characters and the plot for so much of it that I didn't even notice.

So do I recommend this book? Definitely. Get out there (don't care if you're snowed in) and buy it. And then come back and tell me what you think.

If you haven't read the book and don't plan on it, please tell me what your opinion on endings that don't follow the fairytale plotline.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


One of my favorite bloggers Jennifer Hubbard did a post today on character's dreams. I thought I would follow that up with a post on our dreams. The author's dreams.

I'm sure you've all heard the story about how Stephenie Meyer got the idea for Twilight from a dream. From what she's said, she dreamed one scene and that very same day began writing the book. I'm not saying that she's my favorite author, but I don't think anyone would disagree with me if I said that that approach was successful for her, right?

I find that if I'm going to use a dream as the basis for one of my ideas, it requires a little more work than just copying my dream down.

The first problem I have with this is that I usually only remember a scene or two from my dreams and the rest is a complete blur. Sometimes I'll have one crystal clear image but I'll have no idea what was going on in the rest of my dream. So my first step is always to figure out what exactly is going on in this dream and why this scene is so important.

Another thing is realizing that the scene might not fit with the storyline that I've set up exactly. Keeping up the Sun, my WIP, was based off of a dream. I remember two scenes from the dream. The first scene was when this girl was in a car and she didn't know how to drive and the guy in the seat next to her had to explain to her how to drive. That was fine and all, except that when I started writing the manuscript, I found out that the MC was only 14 and therefore couldn't drive. So that needed to be worked out for a while, but I found a way to make it work.

Finally, sometimes this scene turns out to be not so important after all. The scene mentioned above was actually one of the last scenes that I wrote in the first draft. I had actually forgotten about the scene that the whole novel had been based off of. If I went back now and took the scene out, it probably wouldn't affect the novel all that much. It certainly adds to the suspense, but it's not a necessary scene.

So my opinion on taking ideas from dreams? Do it. But when you do get an idea from a dream, don't immediately run to your notebook or your computer and start writing. Give the idea some time and figure out what's happening in the scene.

Now, you tell me... have you ever taken an idea from a dream? How did it work out?