Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox - July 2011

IMM is a weekly (though I do it monthly) meme hosted by The Story Siren where bloggers share which books they've received. Since I'm not a book blogger/reviewer I don't get ARCs or anything, but I still like to document which books I've bought (which is usually quite a lot) :)

This month I got:

John Adams by

Sorry the quality of the picture's so crappy :( I lost my camera and won't be getting a new one till my b-day in Sept. This was taken with my icky phone one.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Weekly Post (July 24-30, 2011)

Best Book: I read a bunch of books this week and my favorite is The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney. I found the idea of a prestigious school where the students governed themselves such an original idea, and the book was really good! 

Anticipated Book: I have SO many books on my wishlist for 2012 already! Including Elizabeth Eulberg's next novel Take a Bow. I really loved her debut, The Lonely Hearts Club, and her second novel Prom and Prejudice was really cute too.

On Writing: This week I was busy writing my new contemp WIP that I love so very much :) It's at 11k words right now and my goal is to get to 30,000 words by the end of summer.

Favorite Blog Post: Was THIS one from one of my favorite writing blogs Let The Words Flow (I also found my CP through this site). YA author and agent Mandy Hubbard explains why agents don't give feedback on queries and offers insight into what it's like on the other side of the desk.

Song of the Week: This is the most important song on my WIP playlist right now!

- Nicole

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Busy Summer is Busy

Today is one of those days where I have SO MANY THINGS I want to get accomplished and all I want to do is sit in front of a fan ('cause as you probably know it is really, really hot out) and read a good book (like Wither by Lauren DeStefano which I reread this morning!) and not focus too hard on anything. But that would be too good to be true . . .

My goal was to finish a novel this summer, however since I'm taking a break from the old project to work on something I just started, that won't happen. Nevertheless, I know school is going to be insane for me this year and I really need and want to be far into this new project by the time the first day rolls around. And yeah, that first day of school? August 31st. WTF people?

Also, my grandma is coming to visit tomorrow! She lives in Australia and I haven't seen her in three years, so I'm so excited!! But it also means I've been cleaning and organizing and other unpleasant things for the last week :( And it means I'll have less writing and reading and blogging time . . . and less homework time.

"What?" You say - homework?? Yup. Not only do I have the normal "read a book and write a short paper" thing for English (which won't be too bad) I have to read a 600 page biography of John Adams and take notes for a test on the first day of school for AP American History. Can you see me banging my head slowly against this desk? AND I have math and lot's more English work online that takes hours and hours of staring at a screen. It's like they want us to spend our summer inside on the computer. Hypocrites ;) So yeah. That's my life in a nutshell right now. How's yours? :)

- Nicole


Monday, July 25, 2011

10,000 At a Time . . .

I'm taking a quick break before beginning the next chapter of my WIP, so I thought I'd blog really quickly about my process. For me, the beginning is the hardest part of drafting because there are so many questions still unanswered and so many blank pages still in front of me, and I know a lot of writers struggle with this. I don't have strict outlines, just lots of notes on scraps of paper and in notebooks (Oh, how I wish I could outline!) Basically what I figured out works for me is planning (usually in bullet points) just the next 3-4 chapters ahead of where I am. Then I write those chapters, plan the next several, and keep going like that.

And since I never have ANY idea how long a novel is going to end up being I can't just say "it's going to be around 60,000 words so at 30 I'll be halfway! So instead I try to only focus on 10,000 words at a time. For example, right now, about to start chapter 5 (!!!) I'm 700 words from reaching 10k words. Up to this point all I've been thinking is "in the plotlines and in the character's relationships, where do I want to be at 10k?" Now I'm going to sit back and think "where do I want to be at 20k?" And then plan out the chapters that will get me there. This way I never get overwhelmed with how far I still have to go, but still have a path to guide me.

If you're a struggling writer, I hope this helps! :)

- Nicole

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sarah Dessen Signing!

On Friday my mom and I headed to Cape Cod, which is a little over and hour away from where I live, for a Sarah Dessen signing at a cute indie bookstore there! It was a beautiful, quaint area and the people at the store were so friendly and helpful. My mom and I got there so early that we had time to explore the area and do a bit of shopping, which was fun!

Sarah reading from the first chapter of What Happened to Goodbye
I bought two of Sarah's books (the only two I didn't already have) That Summer and Keeping the Moon and waited in line with a lot of very nice readers. We talked about our favorite books and characters. Then she came out and did a quick reading from her newest book What Happened to Goodbye, and answered a few questions. She was so nice and down-to-earth, sharing anecdotes about her family and such. Then she asked us some trivia questions. I answered the very last one and won a Sarah Dessen water bottle! I have all of her books but because the line was a bit long I only had her sign two of mine; the two hardcovers.

It was REALLY hot that day, if you couldn't tell from my flushed face haha, but it was so worth it! (And the store had A/C, though it was packed so it wasn't that effective. . .) Anyway, it was tons of fun and it was so nice to meet her and get a few books signed. And I got ice cream after, which is always a plus :)

My signed books and the water bottle I won!

- Nicole

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Weekly Post (July 17-23, 2011)

Best Book: Confession, I didn't actually read any new books this week. I know, horrible, and very unlike me . . . but I did reread several books for inspiration for my new WIP and the book I love the most that I reread was Where She Went by Gayle Forman (the sequel to If I Stay).

Anticipated Book: A book I can't wait to be released is Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard, which looks like a really cool travel/adventure/romance-y book. It comes out March 13th, 2012. And the author announced on her blog that the book will feature drawings and sketches too, which look really awesome! Check out that post HERE.

On Writing: Last week in on writing I talked about the rewrite of the beginning of my dystopian WIP . . . but I'm actually not working on that anymore. Last Saturday night I had a sudden stroke of inspiration for a contemp idea I've been harboring for months and I started writing that. I'm 6,500 words into that project right now and REALLY HOPING I'll stick with this one :D Though I definitely plan on going back to the dystopian later.

Favorite Blog Post: Was THIS one about Harry Potter and the different types of love from Beth Revis. I still love Snape, but it was a true and very thought-provoking post.

Song of the Week

- Nicole

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Road Less Travelled By . . .

It's 9:30 at night which is past the point when my brain is usually working and I have two options in front of me. My goal today was to get the WIP to 7,000 words so that way I have a hope of reaching 10k tomorrow... but earlier when I had TIME to write in the afternoon (which is when I prefer to do it) I got sidetracked by awesome Harry Potter parodies on Youtube (like THIS one and THIS one and THIS one THIS one - note the third video contains some language, etc.) So now it's late and I'm 1900 words behind where I wanted to be . . .

And it would be really easy to say I'll just try again tomorrow and mess around on Twitter for a bit longer and maybe continue reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landua-Banks by E. Lockhart, which is one of the amazing books I'm rereading for inspiration for the new WIP. That would be fun . . . 

Or I could take the more difficult road, the road less travelled by *insert literary reference here* and write the dang words so that I can sleep tonight. I think I'll do that. Even though I don't want to. Because that's how the frickin books get frickin written. Also: "frickin written" may be my new favorite phrase.

- Nicole

Monday, July 18, 2011

Writing Indecision

I've heard published writers and writers who've written multiple books say before that starting every new book is like learning how to do it all over again and that the process is never exactly the same . . .but while I was writing my first book I always thought "oh, please! Once I finished this I'll have done it once and then I can do it again and again no problem!" Hahahahahahahaha. I'm crying as I laugh when I think about me thinking that *semi confusing sentence*. 

Since I finished my first WIP in mid-April I've had four false-starts on other books... two of those on the same project. I actually wrote over 80 pages on a book I was SURE would be my second finished WIP . . .then I stopped writing it for a few weeks because of final exams and other things like that and then I just didn't feel like writing it for some reason . . . and then I realized what the "some reason" was. Basically, I had to rewrite everything I had because the new reincarnation of the idea was so different. And I still love the story, but I just can't seem to DO it. Have you ever had a time in your writing life where it seems impossible, and for no reason you can really put your finger on? 
Anyway, I had an idea for another book that I LOVE LOVE LOVE a few months ago when I was writing that 80 pages of WIP #2 and I set it aside then and haven't done much besides taking notes on it since . . . I started writing the first draft of that two days ago. What is wrong with me? I hate the feeling that I might never finish anything again, but just keep starting books and never getting anywhere. I have writing bi-polar and the scary thing is that the only cure is for me to just suck up my own doubts and write a freakin book. Isn't that always the way? 

Alright, that's enough of my rambling. I should probably go attempt to write something now . . . :D
- Nicole

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Weekly Post (July 10-16, 2011)

Best Book: The best book I read this week was definitely Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, the last book in the fabulous Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

Anticipated Book: So it seems fitting that the book to showcase as a future release I can't wait for this week would be The Scorpio Races, Maggie's next novel which comes out on October 18th, 2011, and is already getting rave reviews. 

On Writing: Right now I'm working on my second novel. It's a dystopian YA and I love it :) I had 23,000 words written, but didn't write for a few weeks (which, for me, always means something's wrong with the story) and last week I realized the problem. Long story short, I'm currently rewriting it from scratch with the new plot that I adore so much more than the other one! It's at 4,500 words right now. . . 

Favorite Blog Post: My favorite post from this week was THIS one from the wonderful Victoria Schwab about the struggles of writing and wanting it badly enough. 

Song of the Week: I think this says it all:

- Nicole

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The First Post!

I made a new blog! If you didn't know, I used to have a Lifejournal, which I linked to over on the left, but I rarely used it, so in order to (hopefully) make me take up blogging more seriously, I gave it an overhaul :D 

Take a look around (I'm sure I'll be tinkering and adding more stuff over the next few days and beyond), if you have any comments or suggestions please leave them as a comment on this post! I totally wasn't planning on doing this today, I promise . . . I should be working on my WIP right now, but such is life. 

As well as 'normal' posts, I've decided to do a weekly post in which I talk about what I've been reading, writing, thinking, etc. that week as a way to discuss books and what's happening around the interwebs. I think I'll try to do one of those every Friday (so it will be up tomorrow) as well as post one or two other days a week as well, and then my monthly In My Mailbox post that I try to do on the last day of the month and list all the books I bought that month and talk about them.  So, I think that's it.

Let me know what you think! 

- Nicole