Friday, February 25, 2011

The end of publishing?

When I tell people I want to go into publishing, I get a variety of reactions. Most commonly though, people tell me it's a dying industry. Then again, my other industry (journalism) is in more trouble than book publishing, I think. I mean, way more people in my generation read books than read newspapers. On some level, I understand this, like understanding of the internet and breaking news. But, this post isn't about that.

I love the publishing world, because I like books. Makes sense right? But I have people continually telling me, "Books are going out of style. No one's going to be reading books in the future." That's a scary thought for me. How can I be going from one dying industry to another?!

They may be right. Maybe like the internet was for newspapers, things like e-readers will change the world of publishing. Have you noticed how so many publishers are moving toward Galleys than actual paper ARCs? (I'm not saying paper ARCs have completely disappeared or anything, but you can see how it's easier and cheaper to distribute to people in electronic form, right?) Maybe E-readers are the new thing. 

But, I don't think the E-reader is going to kill publishing. The internet didn't kill news, it just changed how it was distributed. Maybe that's what will happen? I don't know. This post isn't really about E-readers either.

It's about people. There will always be people who are going to read. I don't think it's going to go out of style. Sure, we'll still care about our fave shows and what this hot celebrity is doing and all that arguably vapid info. However, we're still going to care about reading. I think that's one of the main reasons I want to go into young adult, because teens read more than adults, even if they pay more attention to pop culture too. Their minds can hold it all. And they're going to care. Reading won't die. I'm going to do everything I can to keep it from happening. 

It's all about perspective. Don't know what I mean? Watch this video put together by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films. Make sure to watch the whole thing. And remember, perspective.

What do you guys think? In 20, 50, 70 years are your kids and grandkids going to be reading? Or will the publishing industry collapse? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The writing community

There are several huge reasons why I want to go into publishing and writing. And this post should explain those reasons.

One of the reasons is that while it's fairly difficult to get into, the people that are in it are welcoming and fantastic people that are usually genuinely amazing to be around. The writers, editors, agents and others that are involved while being semi-celebrities (at least in my mind) are still actually approachable. Authors take the time to reply to comments on Facebook, Twitter or what have you. They get excited about new things and each other like us fans, and they actually enjoy getting to chat with us and meet us personally at places like signings.

While I think everyone will always be enthralled with actor superstars (yes, I drool over my fair share) they aren't real in my mind. I know that I will never EVER meet an actor I admire in real life. I know that's not realistic for me to hope for. But I know that there are so many chances for me to meet the writers I admire, as long as I pay attention to their tour schedules (and stalk their blogs - but I admit nothing!). This is a possibility, and that's something that I completely love about this industry.

For instance, Kody Keplinger just today commented on my IMM vlog. Needless to say I was elated, and I wasn't expecting it. But that's the kind of thing that CAN ACTUALLY HAPPEN! And how great is that? Because I love the fact that my role models and heros are actually approachable and they're willing to listen and give advice and cheer for others.

When you think about it, isn't this industry great? What are your favorite parts? Do you have a favorite moment? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Right Ingredients

I am an okay cook. I'm not extremely creative, and almost all of the time I have to use a recipe, but I know well that I can cook and make something come out well.

Cooking reminds me a lot like writing in some ways. You have to have all of the ingredients there to make it right. Sure, salt and sugar are very similar when you look at them. Similar shape, size, color. But if you screw up and put salt instead of sugar in your cookies I promise you it's going to turn out a disaster.

I think words are just the same. Two words may be similar. But they can change the meaning of your sentence. It's important that you have the exact right words when you're writing. Don't settle for the ones that are almost as good. There is one word that you need that will make your writing shine.

Word choice for a journalist (I'm a reporter) is extremely important. I was just in a debate yesterday with my editor over which word was correct: many or several. It's an issue. It's a thing. It makes a difference.

It makes just as much difference in your writing. So, choose the right word. Work on it. Consider each carefully. Keep your cookies awesome.

I'm sure I'll preach more on this later. What do you guys think? I get so excited when I get just the perfect word. Does anyone else share my elation?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Follower Love Blog Hop Winner!

Hello everyone! First off, happy Valentine's Day to everyone! I hope you have someone special to share it with (or a lot of chocolate to make up for it). I hope your days are fantastic.

Second, I can't believe how much interest there was in the hop! I knew there were a ton more people signed up for it than the last hop, but I wasn't expected almost 100 more people entering. Wow. I'm so glad I did a form, because if not this would have taken a really long time to tally. I mean, there were nearly 600 entries! But you probably want the good news now, yes?

A huge congrats is in order to Michelle (geekdgirl)!! She was chosen by as entry number 348 to be the winner. She's getting a $15 book from the Book Depository! Hurray! She has 48 hours to respond to my email and get back to me. Otherwise, I'll be choosing another winner!

As for the rest of you, I would love it if some of you stick around the blog and find something that interests you. Know that I love you all and I'm excited for you to be here!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crazy, isn't it?

(Scroll down for the Follower Love Giveaway)

Contrary to belief, not everything has to be explainable in fiction. I know, shocking right?

Real life: I live in Wyoming. Let me break down the weather for you in the past week.
  • Four days ago: It snowed about five inches. It was cold and miserable and windy.
  • Three days ago: It was slightly warmer. That kind of warm where your car is pretty toasty when you get in it so you don't feel like you're going to die of the cold. It was a decent day.
  • Two days ago: It was a mediocre day in between the two before. Not too cold, not that warm. That is until I got out of a movie at about 6 p.m. and it was so freaking cold I spent about 10 seconds outside before I was dying of cold. Like I was shivering and my nose was instantly frozen and I had to stand outside to get gas and it sucked so bad all I wanted to do was climb under 50 blankets and sleep.
  • Yesterday: It was warm. Not like, 60 degrees warm, but warm enough that I had to strip off my coat and go with a sweatshirt because I was too hot.
Weather is a fickle thing. And this doesn't happen just in Wyoming, because I grew up in Montana and my best friend lives in Idaho. We all have this saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." It's true. It has happened. And it happens IN REAL LIFE!

No it doesn't make any sense really (at least to most people who are not meteorologists, like me). But weird and crazy things happen IN REAL LIFE all the time! People do things they wouldn't ever do in riots because they get swept up in what other people are doing and it seems like the thing to do in the moment. People make stupid mistakes all the time that they know they shouldn't, they give people second chances they know don't deserve it, and the fall in love with people that are terrible for them. But also, weather is crazy, sometimes even when things are planned the best that they can be, things go wrong for no real reason, and YES! the equipment will fail when it never has before and never should. That's REAL LIFE!

I'm sorry for all the yelling, but it's something that I'm not only trying to convince you about, but myself. I'm one of the people that think there needs to be reasons for everything in fiction. Why did that happen? It's one of those questions that I am driven to find out. And while yes, fiction isn't exactly like real life because if it were it would either be so depressing or boring that no one would read it, fiction can emulate real life in this way. Not everything has to be explained to the littlest detail. Because most of it, people will go along with it anyway. (Most people. I'm not talking about all those nit-picky people, because no matter how hard you try, you're not going to please them fully anyway so stop trying.)

And there's even a term for it! It's called "willing suspension of disbelief" where people ignore logic and accept that the fiction you bring to them is real and magic and vampires exist or that it's really 2099 and we've destroyed the moon. We go with it, because you, the writer, tell us to. And while there are some rules I say that you can not let yourself break (like no matter how hard you try, there will always be gravity on Earth because of its mass) there are little things that you don't need to spend so much time on. Because people might not care that you spent three days writing this long expansive explanation about why that would happen. It doesn't matter.

Crazy things happen in real life without any explanation at all. Why should fiction be different in this way?

What do you guys think about crazy real life stuff? What's the craziest thing you've ever seen?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a fantastic February. Is your year moving as fast as mine is? I almost hope not. Haha. Anyway - it's time for another giveaway hop!

Okay, this is the Follower LOVE Giveaway Hop that is being hosted by the lovely Inspired Kathy over at I am a reader not a writer so you can thank her for all these blogs getting together. But onto the GIVEAWAY portion yeah?

I'm going to give away one lucky reader any book they want from the Book Depository. That means it's open to wherever the site will send to. There is a catch - it has to have something to do with love. (Well, this is the follower love giveaway!) That doesn't mean it has to be a love story at all, just that there needs to be some sort of love or romance in the story somewhere. That's all! There is a $15 limit, however, so keep it under that if you would. I'm not made of money people! :D

Okay, so here's what you have to do:

  1. Be a follower of the blog, old or new
  2. Extra entries for:
    1. Being an old follower
    2. Following on twitter: brennabraaten
    3. Comment on a different post (make it thoughtful so I know you actually read the post)
    4. Adding up your entries
Okay everyone! I wish you the best of luck! :D This is open until Feb. 13 at midnight, so I will contact and post the winners on Valentines Day! Hope you have someone to squeeze. Fill out the form below, then head on to the next blog on the hop!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Write what you know is BS

Sorry to say it, but it is. I know you don't want to hear this. You think, "But that's what everyone tells me I should do." Most often, what they're telling you is wrong. That's right, I said it.

People say "Write what you know" a lot. Either they are telling you to do what it says and write on the topics that you know, because you know them. Or they're telling you to ignore the stupid saying and write what you want. But the saying shouldn't be taken so damn literally.

I'm totally stealing this from my screen writing teacher, by the way. In class one day, he brought up the saying and then said, "'Write what you know' doesn't mean write about a college student who works at Best Buy. 'Write what you know' means write those emotions you know."

That bears repeating: Write what you know means write the emotions you know.

That's it guys! The true meaning of how to write what you know! Everyone has felt jealous, angry, happy, elated, nervous whatever. What my teacher told us was to take those emotions as fuel for our scripts. He wasn't telling everyone to write about the experiences we'd had, but of course you can. Just that your writing can extend beyond ourselves and into the lives of others. So what if you're not a 72-year-old woman with a cute dog? That doesn't mean you can't write that convincingly. If you are true to the feelings you know, whatever you're writing isn't going to come off as fake or forced.

I'm not saying this is easy by any stretch of the imagination. It may take some work for you to really dig in and grasp this and implement it well. But if you practice and really work at trying to write true emotions that you know, your writing will soar. People will relate. And that is the best feeling in the world.

Then go and use that feeling to write something else.

What do you guys think? Does this make sense to you? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I'm doing these reviews together, because I think it's kind of a waste of your time to do two separate posts.

There are no spoilers for Linger if you haven't read it yet, 

Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads (for Shiver): the cold. 
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Cover: I didn't really like these covers at first, to tell the truth. I first saw SHIVER's and I thought the monotone of the blue wasn't really that appealing. After reading, however, the covers have grown on me. I understand how they fit now into the bigger picture of the novels themselves. Now I wonder how FOREVER is going to fit it's cover?

Plot: I love the plot of these books. Stiefvater has created a world of werewolves that is absolutely unique, but still recognizable for us to understand. She has mastered the idea of a "ticking clock" in her fiction, and knows that there needs to be something at stake. There is a lot at stake in these two novels, which follow the lives of Sam and Grace, who are in love. But, because of the wolves, they can't really be together. The second book is even more complex than the first. At first I questioned what was happening, and then I began to understand. All I could think was, "Very sneaky, Stiefvater; very sneaky." They are fun to read. And technically they both end on cliffhangers, but I personally think the first one was worse than the second.

Characters: Stiefvater has created 100 percent believable characters. They have issues and thoughts and quarks and hopes and fears and they are hands down fantastic. We get additional points of view in the second book that we don't in the first, and I absolutely fell in love. They are all different, with such distinct voices. I would love to be able to explain exactly, but I have no words for Stiefvater's amazingness. And I know that's not a word - but that's all I'm left with. 

Writing: Stiefvater has a very simple writing style that I like. That's not to say that it isn't beautiful. She does a fantastic job of making the voices believable, which I think takes some time and effort and talent. Her descriptions aren't over used, but are gorgeous. I would list specifics here, but I lent SHIVER to a friend. 

Overall: These are great books. I give SHIVER four stars and LINGER five stars. I would have given Shiver five stars if I hadn't already read Linger. Linger was on a totally different level when it comes to characters and writing that makes me can't wait for the next one!