Friday, September 30, 2011

The Weekly Post (September 25- October 1, 2011)

Best Book: Of the books I read this week, there's a two way tie for the most awesome. The first is Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, the last book in his steampunk Leviathan trilogy. AND IT WAS SO GOOD. And the other is The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, the first book in her new Shades of London series which is about boarding schools (!!!) and London and also GHOSTS. It was epic. I'd go into more eloquent detail... but it's Friday afternoon and I don't feel like it.

Anticipated Book:I feel almost silly writing this because, to me, saying "I am SO EXCITED for the next Cassie Clare book" is like saying "I'm so excited to continue breathing". Tis obvious and necessary. Anyway, her next book is Clockwork Prince, the second book in The Infernal Devices series. It comes out on December 6th and I'm, of course, counting the seconds until then!! :D

I made it giant because it DESERVES to be
On Writing: This week I've been working on short pieces and poems for my writing class, as well as brainstorming for the WIP(s). I'm also working to add some new pieces to my Figment account. You can read some of my stuff on Figment HERE :)

Favorite Blog Post: Is THIS one from Let The Words Flow about the importance/necessity of plot for different writers while drafting. Very interesting.

Song of the Week:

- Nicole 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Terra Nova: My New Obsession

Because everything is stressful and I have a backlog of homework a mile long and a pre-calc test I'm totally going to fail tomorrow, it's time to talk about something trivial. TV!  Yesterday I realized I had tons of homework to do, and obviously I wasn't going to DO it, so I thought "why don't I watch the pilot for that new show with the dinosaurs instead". And I did. And it was sooooo good.

At first it bothered me that the actor who plays the good commander in Terra Nova played the bad commander guy in Avatar (like, dude, get a new role) but I got over it :) It was definitely noticeable WHY it was the most expensive television pilot ever. The effects were cool and the storyline is good/interesting so far, and I like the characters. I can't wait for next week! I'm so excited to have a new sci-fi show to watch (unless it totally craps out in the next few episodes, but let's hope not).

Have you seen it yet? Thoughts? Are you going to watch?


- Nicole

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weird Internet Poetry

Yesterday in creative writing class we did this group poem-writing exercise. We agreed upon the topic (the internet) and then we each wrote a line. The type of poem is the Pantoum which is a Malaysian party poem (weird, right?) Ours came out okay/sorta funny so I thought I'd share it :) Since I'm writing a lot of poetry/short stuff in my creative writing class, I think I might make this a semi-regular thing.

(Just FYI, I didn't come up with the title... nor do I like it that much. The lines I came up with have an asterisk.)

Click, Click, Zoom!
 By: My Creative Writing Class

*Internet - trapped in a false world
Surf the web for hours on end
Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook
Google, Yahoo, Youtube and Bing

Surf the web for hours on end
When did Google become a verb?
Google, Yahoo, Youtube and Bing
Lolcats, trolls and My Little Bronies

When did Google become a verb?
A vast web of cables
Lolcats, trolls and My Little Bronies
*An encyclopedia that can lie

A vast web of cables
Charlie bit my finger
*An encyclopedia that can lie
Subterfuge and temptation

Charlie bit my finger
Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook too
Subterfuge and temptation
*Internet - trapped in a false world

- Nicole

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Photos (1)

I played with my new camera for the first time this weekend and it is so cool! It's a Panasonic Lumix, if you care :) I took some cool shots around my yard with the different settings, and today I went to the beach and took some more. Some came out alright. These are some of my favorites:

And a funny one of my cat Salem's excitement over the arrival of Goliath by Scott Westerfeld. Hehe.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Weekly Post (September 18-24, 2011)

Best Book: This week I was waiting for a bunch of books I pre-ordered from B&N to come in and then did today!! But I haven't read any of them yet. To keep myself occupied (and 'cause they're epic) I reread The Hunger Games trilogy this week. I'm in the middle of Mockingjay right now. This will be my third time reading the series, but it never gets old or less shocking than the first time. Anyone who's read it knows what I mean when I say MJ is one of those books that makes your whole soul ache for days afterwards. In a good way. And a bad way. In every way. JUST READ THEM IF YOU HAVEN'T.

Anticipated Book: Speaking of awesome dystopian books, the cover for Insurgent, the sequel to Veronica Roth's amazing book Divergent was recently released. It's so gorgeous! I can't wait to see how the series continues to unfold. The book comes out on May 28th, 2012!

On Writing: Did a lot of yearning and brainstorming about my WIP and the other 2 ideas in the works this week. No writing time, as usual. Probably won't have much time this weekend, either :(

Favorite Blog Post: I have two this week. THIS one from Victoria Schwab about "how writers are like onions", and one from Natalie Whipple HERE about writer/agent relationships that's very good.

Song of the Week

 - Nicole

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Post Of Random

I was planning on having a nice, well-thought-out post today, but frankly I'm too tired. So instead I bring you several RANDOM things:

1. YESTERDAY WAS MY 16TH BIRTHDAY!!! It was fun. I got lots of B&N gift cards and a camera and my AP history teacher got my donuts and I went out for sushi with my friends. And the fun continues tonight. Yay. It was a pretty good Monday.

2. The day before my birthday, Sept. 18th, marked the one year anniversary of my current writer friend/critique partner (CP) Heather first emailing me! *Waves to Heather*. We met through one of my favorite writing sites, Let The Words Flow and have been sending wacky emails back and forth since. Knowing Heather (you can follow her on Twitter HERE) has showed me how important good CPs and good writer friends in general can be to your sanity. If you don't have a CP(s), you should :)

3. Tonight is the season premiere of Glee. OMGOMGOMG I'M SO EXCITED!! But I'm going out to dinner with my dad's family and have to tape and watch it later... Oh well.. Not like I need sleep ever....

4. The teaser trailer for The Hunger Games movie is out!!! I'm not ashamed to say I started seriously tearing up watching it <3 I can't express how excited I am!

5. Just checked email and saw that my Barnes and Noble order shipped!! Ahhh!!! *Does the New Book dance*

6. I'm currently reading The Scarlet Letter in my English class and really liking it.This is a good thing, since, ya know, I have to write essays on it whether I like it or not.

7. I can't think of any other random things to say.

- Nicole

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Writing Superstitions

Since I've only finished one novel, I really don't have that much experience, however I have developed certain writing superstitions, some of which I don't mind, and some I'm trying to break.

I wrote my first novel during January through April of 2011, and I came to associate writing with winter, for some reason. There wasn't much to DO outside and such in the winter, and my classes weren't *that* hard last year, so I was writing at least 5-6k over the course of every weekend towards the end. I'd wake up and it would be cold outside and warm inside and it felt perfect to stay in and write. I had such a hard time getting even 20k out this summer. Definitely trying to break the only-writing-in-winter thing. But at least winter's coming, so maybe that'll help :D

And since it was winter I was drinking a ton of tea. Specifically, my drug of choice, Tazo brand chai. It's soooo good (I'm not trying to sell it, I promise lol). The very smell of it still makes me want to write. But in the summer it's too hot for anything but iced tea, and it's just not the same.

The last one I can think of is music. I'm obsessed with playlists for my novels and I can find hours searching for new songs that fit perfectly . . . when I should probably be writing :P I was thinking of sharing the playlist for my current WIP on the blog once I finish the first draft. Though it is still subject to change, so I'm not sure.

Do you have any writing superstitions/associations?

- Nicole

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Weekly Post (September 11-17, 2011)

Best Book: I read a few books this week and my favorite was definitely A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. I so need to read more historical fiction because whenever I do, I love it. This book, a murder mystery, finding-yourself story set in 1906 was amazing in so many ways. There's absolutely nothing about it I didn't like. I also love Jennifer Donnelly's novel Revolution. She better have a new book out soon :D

Anticipated Book: Is Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because I just saw the cover for the first time and it's SO COOL. The book sounds awesome and I am so in love with her Raised By Wolves series. If you haven't read it, you must! Every Other Day comes out on December 27th, 2011.

On Writing: I'm writing a lot of poems and working on a short story for creative writing class, I wrote my first paper for AP history this week *gulp*, my first paper for AP English is due next week *more gulping* and I'm going to try and work on the WIP a bit this weekend, and I have a new idea on the back burner that I LOVE, which I wrote a little bit about in my post yesterday.

Favorite Blog Post: I read this one by Tahereh Mafi (her debut novel, Shatter Me, comes out in November - I'm so excited) where she talks about people who want to publish books but don't do their homework, and how people in the online community are awesome, in general ;) It's a really good post, and it definitely made my day a little better. Read it HERE

Song of the Week:

- Nicole

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How a Book is Born

Today I want to blog about, get this, writing! Not school for once. Today my AP history class gave me a great concept for a book, and I'm so excited to see if it will go anywhere. That and the fact that I'm at an interesting place in my WIP has me thinking about the different mind-sets that go with each stage in a book's development. I image different writers have different steps and really different feelings about them.

For me, the first stage is when I get the "concept", which is even less than the idea. The concept usually just consists of a subject, for example with my current WIP the concept was "I should write a book that combines too things that fascinate me: reality TV shows (I hate watching them, I just find the idea of their existance interesting) and boarding schools (which I love).

Sometime pretty soon after I think of a concept I get the "idea" which usually tells me a little about the plot and a character or two. At this point I'll start making frantic notes about every tiny thing I might want to incorporate into the novel. From here I basically wait a few weeks or months or longer, compiling lists of scenes and character and setting descriptions and making note of songs that have the feeling I want to invoke. I don't really "outline" though. Throughout this process I am SO VERY HAPPY with this unborn idea that has so much potential, since I haven't had the change to actually write and screw it up yet :D Most writers probably feel that way at this stage.

Once I start writing, for me, the first chapter or two is fun. It's new and exciting and I think I'm a genius. Somewhere between 5-10k words I start hating every single thing about this idea and my writing. The beginning is the hardest part for me since I'm still not sure I can finish and I doubt myself a lot. The miserable mindset generally stays with me until I hit my magic number, 30,000 words. My current WIP is stalled at 20k, and I'm currently stuck between hating what the novel is and being madly in love with what I hope it will be. From 30k until the end I have sporadic moments of Complete Writer Devastation (CWD) but everyone has those. Leaving the project for a few days usually helps a lot.

Towards the end this weird phenomenon happens in my brain where even though I'm so excited to finish the book, I also get a little depressed because I know editing is way harder than writing and I know I'll miss the characters when I'm done drafting. But finishing is still the best feeling in the world.

Too bad none of my three in-progress ideas right now are anywhere near done O_O

Do you agree with my stages and mindsets? Do you feel totally different? Tell me things.

- Nicole

Monday, September 12, 2011

5 Good Things!

I'm definitely in need of some cheering up lately, and maybe you are too, so today I bring you a list of five things that are GOOD and EXCITING :)

1. Today marks one week till my 16th birthday!! This probably isn't particularly exciting for you.. but once I get a new camera for my b-day I definitely plan on getting into photography more and hopefully posting some pictures here eventually! (Ya know, another hobby for all my free time... *rolls eyes*)

2. Besides my birthday, next week is also the coming of two other amazing things!!! My two favorite shows both come back for a new season. Tues, Sept. 20th at 8 PM EST on Fox is the premiere of the third season of Glee! As a general rule, I try to watch as little TV as possible. The only TV I watch ever, really, is 10-15 min of CNN news in the morning and Glee, andddd my favorite show of all time, The Big Bang Theory, which returns to CBS at 8 PM EST next Thurs. for the fifth season! *Insert screaming and fan-girling here*.

3. The new Megan and Liz music video is out!! Love the song and the video is so cool. Must've been horrible to edit though.

4. YA Author of Awesome, Kiersten White (her blog is awesome, btw!) Announced that she sold FOUR MORE BOOKS. Whoa. I hope to be half that lucky one day O_0 You can read her announcement about that HERE and her post that goes into more detail on the new books HERE.

5. I'm insanely excited for Maureen Johnson's new book The Name of the Star which comes out on the 29th, and you can read a large sample of the novel HERE. I read and loved it. Can't wait for the actual book!

Are you excited about any of this stuff? Do you have OTHER things you're excited about? I want to know!

- Nicole

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Weekly Post (September 5-10, 2011)

Best Book: I'm ashamed I haven't read any books (for fun) yet this week. I'm probably going to B&N tomorrow, though. I've been reading textbooks and The Scarlet Letter, and boyy do I miss reading for fun . . .

Anticipated Book: Sarah Ockler's new book was just unveiled (I believe today) and I know I'm going to love it because I adore everything she writes. One of my favorite contemp authors! (She wrote Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah). Her third book is called The Language of Impossible Dreams and it's coming out August 7th, 2012. Yay!

On Writing: WIP still isn't getting much attention. I've been working on pieces for my creative writing class, my journal for creative writing class, and of course, the homework situation is atrocious. *Sob* One day I will get back to my beloved novel. Let's hope absence really does make the heart grow fonder . . .

Favorite Blog Post: Didn't do much blog reading this week, sorry! This is a fail weekly post :)

Song of the Week:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Which My School Complaints Continue

Have you ever - for reasons outside your control - had to go way too long without writing? Does it drive you kind of insane? If I don't write for a certain amount of time (about a week, I suppose) I literally start to go nuts. Can't focus on anything else. Depressed. Muttering to myself (more than usual). That's me right now. But I have to finish my AP history notes and reading first . . . . .

- Nicole

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eat the Metaphorical Vegetables

I really do want to blog today. Honestly. Something good and thought-out and meaningful. But I can't. See, I have to finish my biology homework and hopefully even my pre-calc homework before I eat dinner before I go to babysit at 6 PM . . . etc, etc. I want to blog. And I want to read. And more than almost anything right now, I want to write. Whether a poem or a song or my WIP (yeah, right) or the short story I'm working on and love . . . I don't care. Today was not good. Today was bad. When the day is bad I write. But I also owe my very patient friend an email, but I haven't even read the story she emailed me to critque daysss ago. Deep breaths... deep breaths... So basically this is me blogging anyways, in miniature, to offer you lame excuses you don't care about explaining why there is not proper blog. It's cause I'm doing what's GOOD for me (frakkin bio homework) instead of what I want (which, face it, is probably not blogging or writing, but napping.) Whatever. I'm eating the metaphorical good-for-me vegetables (though in actuality I love vegetables). The bio homework veggies taste pretty bitter though.

- Nicole

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 5 Boarding School Books

Do you have a sub-genre/category of book that you really love? Like love triangles or faeries or books about summer? I love boarding school books. LOVE. I used to believe I hated fantasy ('cause I was dumb) and the only reason I finally picked up Harry Potter was because I wanted to know more about this thing called Hogwarts... The HP books became one of my favorite series' ever. I'm writing a YA contemp set at a boarding school right now and I loveee it. So I think I'll do a post listing my top favorite boarding school books that I've read (so far!)

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green - You might already know of my obsessive love for all things John Green. In my opinion, LFA is the greatest boarding school book. It is so funny and deep and amazing. The characters and setting and absolutely everything. Wow. Just read it if you haven't - though it does have some mature content.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This is one of the most perfect books I've ever read, and a really close second favorite boarding school book of mine. Heart warming, romantic, swoon-worthy, atmospheric, and beautiful. I mean, seriously, a boarding school book in PARIS with a hot nerdy guy and a great MC. YES.

3. The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart - Aside from the fact that the title is annoying to type, I love this book. Frankie is a funny, smart, brave heroine and the whole books shines with girl power and intrigue and hilarity. I read this book and thought, "Okay, I totally need to write a boarding school novel now."

4. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard - I read this book a few days ago and it inspired this post. This novel is set at a boarding school in the 1980s, about a boy whose roommate died under suspicious circumstances, who's in love with his English teacher. It's told in journal form (sort of) which I loved, and is in general totally awesome.

5. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney - This one if about a boarding school where students are governed by a secret committee of fellow students called the Mockingbirds. The MC seeks help from this group after she is date-raped. Such a good book, and set really close to where I live, which is cool.

Do you like boarding school books? Have any recommendations? Do you have a favorite category of book?

- Nicole

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Something High School Taught Me

Thursday and Friday were my first two days of 11th grade. It's going to be my hardest year, I can tell. I have AP classes and a full course-load and a lot of obligations. And that's okay. If there's one thing everyone who's ever been to high school can agree on, it's probably this: High school is a really hard place to be yourself, and high school is a really hard place to be happy. With the people (friends, acquaintances, etc.) I'm around a lot there's a kind of shared mentality that basically goes "Holy crap we're pretty smart but this is so hard we're gonna fail this sucks so much we can't do this OMG OMG I can't believe we have this much homework . . ." going on a loop through our heads. Or hell, maybe just my head. But probably everyone's.

Friday was my first day of creative writing class, my elective this semester. I knew no one else in the class, but I wasn't that intimidated 'cause at least I'm a junior. And the class is taught by one of my favorite teachers EVER, my sophomore English teacher. (I've been really lucky with English teachers in high school :D). So the environment was comfortable even if my fellow students weren't. I knew two things going into the class: A) it was really, really work-intensive, B) it was a workshop class and required students to share a lot of their writing with the class. As a high schooler who has a hard time being herself, I almost didn't take the class just because of that.

We had to write a short piece and share it during the first class. Four people opted out of sharing. The vast majority did though, and I'm proud to say I did too. It was kind of a cool moment. Nobody shouted "that was awful!" When I was done. It wasn't the end of the world. I didn't pass out. I guess in that class for once we all had a different attitude towards ourselves and each other. I wish it could be like that all the time. But it made me hopeful for the rest of the year. Sure, it's going to be hard and stressful at times. I can do it. I can be brave . . . sometimes. That's good enough for now.

There's your dose of random musings and ramblings for the day ;)

- Nicole

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Weekly Post (August 28-September 3, 2011)

Best Book: I read this week was The Day Before by Lisa Shroeder. It's a book written in verse and it's AWESOME! It's sweet and sad and happy and hopeful and romantic and everyone should read it.

Anticipated Book: Is The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell, the companion to her awesome fantasy historical YA novel The Vespertine. The cover was just revealed and it's beautiful! The book comes out April 17th, 2012.

On Writing: Don't ask. Seriously. Between not having power or internet for days and starting school I've literally written nothing. I promise to fix that soon. Most likely . . .

Favorite Blog Post: This week is one by one of my favorite bloggers Natalie Whipple about writer confidence. Check it out HERE.

Song of the Week:

- Nicole

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 2011

Today I FINALLY GOT INTERNET BACK! After the power came back on (after Hurricane Irene) the internet still wasn't working 'cause something was wrong with the router and I haven't had it since FRIDAY blah blah blah.... I also got a lot of books this month that I'll talk about now.

In my mailbox is a weekly meme (I do it monthly) hosted by The Story Siren where bloggers share which books they've gotten. (For time's sake I'm just going to list them this month, not do mini-reviews like I normally do - sorry!) This month I bought:

Delirium (Delirium #1) Special Edition by Lauren Oliver

Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer
Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
 Friend is Not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Jane by April Linder
Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3) by Simone Elkeles
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (#1) by Ransom Riggs
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti

Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers
The Day Before by Lisa Shroeder
Sweetly (Sisters Red #2) by Jackson Pearce

Happy reading!

- Nicole