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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Flippant Girl’s Guide to Revising with Dignity

Fact: revision is part of the writer life. Further fact: Revision is fuck all hard. You can see where this is going. The point of revision is to take that amazing previous draft and make it that much more awesome. If you Google “how to revise a novel,” you’ll get over 12,000 search results. You can even learn some revision tips here by reading Susan Dennard’s guest post . While all of these posts give you incredible information to make your revision process smoother, faster, more productive, none of them share tricks to maintain your composure under the red pen. Scenes and characters you have lovingly slaved over are about to be sliced and reformed. How the hell can you go through this without crying? 1. Curse and yell. A lot.   The angrier you get at your WIP, the less painful your revisions will be. Make sure you practice saying, “WHY!?” and “You fucking asshole” to the point where a diagnosis of Tourette’s might be in order. It doesn’t matter, because swearing like a trucker is

The Question of Knowing Our Future and The Future of Us

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It’s pretty safe to say that at some point in our life, we would give our baby toes to glimpse into our future or hop into the DeLorean to change some instance in our past. Hell, Bestie Danielle and I usually play the “I should’ve” game once a season. So when I read the premise of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, it definitely made me go “hm.” Blurb from Goodreads : “It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. By refreshing their pages, the

A Walk on the Contemp Side

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Funny thing about me and books: though I write YA contemporary*, I don’t find a lot that jazzes me in that category. In fact, I spent many years actively not reading contemporaries. Oftentimes reading is a means of escape, so why the hell do I want to read something that is based in reality? But, Alicia, you write contemporary fiction. Yeah, I know. This might be why I’m so picky about my contemporary. Fortunately, I’ve read some terrific books in the genre over the last year. A few of them DESTROYED ME, but that’s a testament to how powerful the writing and subject matter was. Out of my top five, 13 REASONS WHY is my favorite. It’s not a light-hearted book and the story seriously left me a sobbing wreck, but it was so well written. I absolutely loved this book. Do you read contemporary fiction? What’s your favorite?   * The other genre is urban fantasy.

Face Off-- Part Two

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Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Hello, Lurkdom! Sorry for missing last Thursday. Like most people who work "retail" jobs, I have found that my hours have been cut as we enter the post "black" sales season. January and February are very slow and retailers don't need as many people working as many hours. To compensate, I have been working and taking any shift I can get, including giving up my days off. So, last Thursday I picked up a last minute, nine hour shift. Oy! Today's post isn't particularly about zombies, but it is somewhat zombie related and something I've talked about in the past. The television show Face Off is back on the air for season two! While I was pretty disappointed with season one's finale and the winner the judges chose, I decided to give the second season a shot. Last night was the third episode of the second season, and I highly encourage you to tune i

What One Life to Live Taught Me About Endings

Back in November (when I confessed how I loved the reality show Dirty Soap ), I shared with you all my love of the daytime soap, One Life to Live. OLTL has been off air for over a week, but I finally brought myself to watch the finale on Sunday night. I watched it with mixed feelings: anticipation over how they were going to tie up a show with a 43 year legacy, sadness over the loss of one of my favorite shows, and annoyance that I’ll have to now watch General Hospital*. One thing I thought I could learn from watching the OLTL finale was how to effectively create an ending. Maybe the writers would show me a few tricks to know where my final scene is. What I didn’t anticipate in the final minutes was to see someone who we all believed to be dead. And by all, I even mean the supposed killer thought the victim was dead. My shriek of “WHAT!?” may or may not have startled The Stripey One awake** While a cliffhanger is a possible way to end a story, I consider it sort of cheating. The re

Susan Dennard and the Revision Process

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Today The Pie welcomes Susan Dennard, author of the 2012 debut Something Strange and Deadly. This week, the WOA girls have promoted this fantastic debut and giving you a chance to read it before you can buy it. Read on to learn more about Susan’s revision process.   My revising process is...well, the word "intense" comes to mind. As I've talked about before, I'm not a particularly good writer. I ramble, backtrack, infodump, and pretty much do everything one shouldn't do to tell a good story. But you know what? I'm a darn good re -writer and an even better reviser . The key to my process is having a plan and staying organized. I never dive into revisions without a clear idea of what I need to do next--of what my story needs next in order to reach that goal of book-awesomeness. ;) You'll notice as I go through the steps of my revising process that I link to various pages. These are the lessons from my " Sooz's Guide to Revisions &quo

Tuesday Haiku

After a harrowing week of revisions, my brain is ultimate mush. Thank goodness for weeks where the blog writes itself. Like today with yet another bad haiku*. #8 Water tortures me Threatening to cleanse my soul Alack! Bare me not * I need to start a new library of these, by the way. I have only two left. It's tragic, really.

Head’s Up: Susan Dennard Blog Tour Week

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One great thing about the YA community is that everyone is super supportive. We cheer each other on through Twitter and our blogs. We share our successes and disappointments over email and IM. When we finally get published, we like to spread the word. That’s what’s happening this week. Debut YA author Susan Dennard is travelling the blogosphere this week to support her novel Something Strange and Deadly, which will be published in July. But it’s January. Isn’t this a little early? Not if we have an ARC to give away! All this week, you can enter for a chance to be part of an ARC tour. For more information, check out Holly Dodson’s blog as she is the hostess extraordinaire. To learn more about Susan and her debut, be sure to check out the blog tour this week. You can find the schedule below. Monday: CONTEST on Holly Dodson’s blog Super Mom Writes Tuesday: a book review with Erinn on Something Else to Distract Me Wednesday: an interview with ME about what happens after you’ve sol

Nomad in the Apartment

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On a previous Friday Fives, I shared my favorite writing locations . These still hold true, but sometimes I need a change of scenery within a location, especially when I’m at the apartment. I have different places to work when I’m working on different things. 1. My desk has been a good place as of late. I work here when my focus is really awesome and I’m not under some self-imposed time crunch. Since the desk is right next to the living room, this means Hubby is usually nearby. So if I need his input this is awesome. 2. The kitchen table works out well when I’m revising and creating charts of large sheets of paper. Or working with shrunken manuscripts. Or spreading out a lot. Basically I use this area when I need a large workspace. 3. The couch is generally reserved for emails, blogging, and readthrus; that don’t require a whole lot of attention. If I’m here, it means I’m also watching TV. If I’m doing this, it’s okay to interrupt my process (most of the time). 4. My bed . The

Let It Snow! Undead Style

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Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . It's Thursday again, so that means it is time for zombies! I've been checking out the responses to the Pie survey, and it seems as if people want to hear about some zombie science, but also just some zombie musings in general. So today, I will briefly chat about something that came to mind for me, and please feel free to chime in on the comments section. I live in Chicago and usually by this time of the year we've gotten a bunch of snow already. Today is January 12th and Chicago is getting its first real snow of the year. January 12th. That's insane! To make matters more depressing, yesterday the temperature topped off near 50 degrees. Oh, Mother Nature. I guess I really can't complain too much because we've gotten a free pass so far. It's really only snowed once this season, and nothing actually stuck to the ground. Cars buried on Lakeshore Drive durin

The Name Game

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday. Today's topic : If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be? Well. I've been with my name for several undisclosed years. I've finally accepted that I don't have a glamorous first name and that I do have a last name that trips up telemarketers*. Not to mention my middle name of Marie must be the most common middle name in my graduating class**. There has to be a good reason why I'm going to write under an assumed name. I can only think of two that would be acceptable: I undertake erotica writing or I'm under the witness protection plan. In the bizarre case of either of these things happening, I guess I should be prepared... ...By using formulas found on the internet ! Soap Opera Name: Marie Waverley Porn Name:

Something to Resolve

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If you’ve lurked here long enough, you would know that I’m not big on the resolution thing. You’d also know that I kinda sorta suck at the goal thing. This happens because I usually aim too high* and then get discouraged and kick the whole process out the door. (There’s a reason why the New Year’s resolution to stop resolving is so popular.) There is something to be said about setting goals and stuff at the start of the new year. It is a fresh start of sorts. And after The Year of Epic Suck, yours truly has decided to give resolutions one more try. My resolution for 2012** is broad and simple, yet complex. I resolve to stay on top of things . Without the routine of a 9 to 5 gig right now, this is crucial. It is so easy to fall into the trap of sleeping until four and do nothing but watch reality TV. Not that I’m really doing that, but it is easy to forgo certain things that should happen like finalizing my summary statement on my resume or actually clean out the basement. So like T

Log Lines & First 250 Word Critiques

This week I'm hosting critiques for nonwinning adult entrants from Miss Snark's First Victim's Baker's Dozen contest. We have two entries for this. If your post is one of the two, please comment on the other. If you're a regular Lurker of The Pie, please delurk and share constructive feedback. Thank you to our two volunteers.

Entry #97

Genre: Fantasy Log Line: Half-human Tel has one chance to outwit her world’s brutal colonists, if she can overcome her dishonorable past, the deadly secret sleeping in her blood, and a handsome star-elemental weaving his own mysterious plots. First 250 Words: I was ten years old before I learned my absent, nameless father had given me anything more than dark red eyes and fur. Marikha’s insufferable twins dared me up the most dangerous trail we knew. After convincing them to join me, or be shamed, I realized my mistake. With the twins behind me, I couldn’t turn back. On a ledge fifty feet below, teal trees caught the sunlight. The rest of the canyon sank into afternoon shadows. But the wind was cool and clean up here, not the stuffy air in our safe den. If we followed the forbidden trail to a ridgeline only a few dozen feet higher, we might glimpse the blue-green grasslands to the south. Northward, the cliffs rose to the uplifted plateau of the Red Hills, wrapped in autumn st

Entry #92

Title: DISAPPEARED Genre: Unspecified Log Line: Julie’s best friend Fay disappears soon after their arrival on vacation in Morocco. While awaiting – impatiently – action from the authorities, a bewildered Julie snoops enough to guess Fay’s destination and impetuously rushes after her. Julie’s channeling of her inner Kinsey Millhone deserts her, however, after she gets lost and has to ditch their disabled rental car on a remote desert track. But it’s not until Julie locates Fay – in prison on the Algerian border – that her problems really snowball: Fay’s meddling into Moroccan political secrets means that, unless she can arrange Fay’s escape, both women are about to disappear permanently. First 250 Words: A whirlwind with frizzy braids broadsided me. Her momentum carried her past me, sliding along on the slippery tile floor. She landed with an arm tangled in my suitcase strap, purple jumper askew, plump legs in striped tights waving. I toppled next to her. My palm slapped onto

Cuteness in Zombies

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Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Happy New Year, Lurkdom! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a fun and safe New Year. I know I did! It was really nice to rest and recharge and try to think of ways I can improve my life in 2012. 2011 was not a great year for me either. And while I never have "Resolutions" for the new year, this year I have come up with a few things that I think I can try to follow to make my life mentally and physically better. One improvement is to be better at blogging each Thursday! If you haven't already filled out our survey, please take a moment to go to the previous entry and answer a few questions about what you would like to see and read about here on The Pie. All comments and suggestions are welcome! One thing my boyfriend likes to make fun of me for is my definition of the word 'cute.' I use cute in a lot of ways, but in particular, we'll watch

Retreat, Retreat!

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Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday. Today's topic: Describe your dream writing retreat. Where would you go? Who and what would you bring? Ah, writer's retreat. The ability to spend every waking moment on your craft without feeling like an utter asshole.The thrill of talking books and nuance and subplots without people's eyes glazing over or waiting for the opportune moment to switch topics to the Red Sox. To get trashed watching THE ROOM with your friends. I had such a blast at the last writing retreat, I'm definitely down with another one. As to who I'd retreat with, that's a no brainer: the WOA ladies. We all bonded and it was fuzzy and great. That's why we're talking about this year's retreat. So if time, money, and location weren't an issue, I'd love to have

New Year's Kick Off

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We're a few days into the new year and, so far, it's looking slightly nicer than 2011. I'm still working out my goals for the new year, so that post will come later. Today is all about the blog's outlook for 2012. We'd love to hear your feedback on what we should do here. Please fill out the survey below and tell us what to can, what to continue, what to develop. A blog is only as strong as it's lurkers (and maybe it's bloggers). <p> </p>