Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dead Horses Aren't Fun

Stop beating that dead horse.

That's right, I'm looking at you. Don't ignore me. I'm that little voice inside your head nagging you about something not be quite there. And you're ignoring me. Or trying to. Well, I'm tell you to cut it out. Stop it, right now.

As writers, I think we all do this, whether it's in drafting or in editing. We may not always love what we've written. A lot of times we're our own worst critics. No, love is not our downfall. Attachment is. We get too close to what we're doing and we say, but it has to be this way. You got that idea in your head and your going to stick with it. You're attached. And that's not a good thing.

It's okay to let things go. You don't need to continually beat your head against something if it's not working just as you need to remember to let something go. Just because you want something to work, doesn't mean it's going to. In fact, it will only waste your precious time and hurt more in the end.

I was writing yesterday (shocking, I know) and I started a scene that I loved. It had a fantastic first sentence and a great moment of understanding with the character and I was so excited about writing it. But, about 500 words in, I realized that this scene had no overall point, it only had small points that I can add later. It wasn't moving the story in actuality, so I had to let it go. And I did. With a small pout (because I can't just let things go just like that) I stopped working on that scene and went to the next, realizing that it was the next logical step in the story arch.

That doesn't mean we can't go back later and add it if we need to. That doesn't mean it's a great moment that belongs in another book. But you have to learn to know when you should stop. It's hard, but it must be done. So go. Do it. And give yourself a cookie to make up for the pain.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

That Other Climax

Oh, you all have such dirty minds. Really.

Today we're going to discuss literary climaxes. But not the one everyone focuses on. Yes, we all know there is a giant climax at the end of the story, the thing that everyone is waiting for since page one, but there is another climax that I think is just as important.

I'm talking about the mid-story climax. Because, you see, unlike most of their ending counterparts, things have to fail in the mid-story climax, and that's so much more interesting to write. And to read, for that matter.

When characters are going through things, yes we want them to win. We want the good guys to prevail and the bad guys to suffer. Well, usually. But that can't happen at a mid-story climax, or else the story would be boring. It would be too easy. A writer needs to be tough on their characters. (Is there any parent in history that isn't tougher on their children than writers? Let me know if you can think of anyone.) Being tough creates conflict, which in turn keeps readers interested.

See, this particular part has to fail. When the protagonists fail, they have to start building up again, which means they have even farther to go before they can reach their goal. And as they say, it's darkest before the dawn. Take The Fellowship of the Ring here (movie version, because it's most recent in my brain - and yes, I'm a geek). The mid-story climax comes while the group is in the mines and ends with the fall of Gandolf. The fellowship has only scraped by, and for them, it feels almost hopeless to continue. Can you tell me you weren't holding your breath to find out what happens next? I was.

I'm focusing on this because I am, right at this moment, writing my mid-story climax. It's exciting to write and is something that I haven't really focused on in other manuscripts. But not only is it keeping me focused, it's creating all sorts of conflict and spurring a romantic attraction. How can that not be a good thing?

Do you writers think about a mid-story climax when you're writing? Do you think it's a good idea? Do you think it's a waste of time? I'd love to know.

Also, I'm thinking of changing my blog address. Tell me, if I were to do something like that, would you be affected? Would you care? Would you update links (if you had any, but doubtful) if I did? Please let me know.

Have a nice day, and keep reading. Always.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

INVINCIBLE SUMMER Birthday Giveaway winners

Wow. INVINCIBLE SUMMER comes out today. Such an awesome thing, yeah?

I want to first thank every single person who entered my giveaway. I appreciate you all, and I hope you're willing to get the book another way if you didn't win. You want to know who won though, right? Well, here you go.

Winners of the signed bookmarks were Tiffany Drew, Heather/nfmgirl at Cerebral Girl, Tawni at The Bookworms, Jacki at Teen Book Guide, and lastly, Vidisha!

The winner of my bookmark/magnet pack was my good friend Sarah over at Squidink Sarah!

The Grand Prize winner of the book and a signed bookmark was (dun dun da dun!) Tearyeyedstars over at Teary Eyed Stars! This was kind of extra special, being that yesterday was her birthday too! So, I'm pretty excited about that.

All the winners have been notified and have responded. (Mainly since I said they'd be announced yesterday. Whoops!) But congratulations to all my winners, and please please please consider reading INVINCIBLE SUMMER anyway if you didn't win, because it is fantastic. I'm running up to the book store this weekend (yes, the nearest bookstore is 1.5 hours away from me) to get it.

Have you seen the absolutely wonderful trailer yet? If you haven't, check it out below. I'm also working on a set of interview questions for Miss Hannah herself, so look forward to that in the future! And I'll be giving away more things on the blog as I can, so please keep in touch.

I hope you all are having a great day, and keep reading. Always.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

INVINCIBLE SUMMER Birthday Giveaway!

Can you believe that today is Hannah Moskowitz' birthday? And what better way to celebrate her birthday than to give away a pre-order of her next book, INVINCIBLE SUMMER!! Oh and did I mention it comes out next week?

I know, I'm excited too. Hannah is a fantastically nice person, and I couldn't think of another way to celebrate her birthday than buy purchasing a pre-order of her book as well as some awesome signed swag to share the goodness that is INVINCIBLE SUMMER. And let me tell you, this is a book you want. Raw and gritty, it's not the light summer reading you think it's going to be. It's so much better.

If you hadn't heard of it, here are some great ways to find out more about it:

 So what can you win? There will be a total of seven winners!
  • One lucky winner will win a pre-order of the book, to be sent out by the bookseller of my choosing. They will also receive a signed bookmark that will be sent immediately.
  • One runner-up winner will receive a signed magnet and a signed bookmark.
  • Five other winners will receive a signed bookmark each. 
How is that? Are you excited now? 'Cause I am!

So what do you have to do? First, be a resident of US or Canada. Sorry guys, I'm a bit poor and I don't really want to send out these things to several different countries. (I mainly do international contests in blog hops, however.) Second, be a follower of the blog. Last, fill out the nice form below.

You can earn extra entries by sharing this contest either by tweet (#Win a pre-order of INVINCIBLE SUMMER & signed swag in @hannahmosk's Birthday #Giveaway with @brennabraaten! or share by any other medium like your blog or facebook (+1 for each).

This contest will be closed at 11:59 EST on Sunday April 17. Winners will be announced Monday and will have 48 hours to contact me.

Pretty simple, yes? Get to it, and don't forget to wish Hannah a happy birthday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who is Saint Giovanni?

(First off, I'm sorry I was completely absent last week. I had a really rough week and was super busy with work, so didn't have time for the blog. I'm still new to the whole blogesphere, so you'll have to pardon my shortcomings. I'm still learning.)

I know. You're wondering about the title of this journal. I am too. And I'm excited to tell you I have no idea who Saint Giovanni is!

Okay, some explanation. There is this exciting project going on over at The Lit Express where an entire novel will be posted in installments. Being written by Rane Anderson (coincidentally, a former giveaway winner here on the blog), it's an interesting experiment in interactive reading in the era of social media. And let me tell you, so far I'm hooked. The preface alone made me freak out with excitement. The hardest thing for me will be waiting between installments!

So, today is the first day of the whole project. So head over there and get started.

Need some more information first? Well of course I can help you out with that.

The morning after a near-death experience, seventeen-year-old Emily Edwards discovers an X carved between her eyes. It’s painless, bloodless, and she has no clue how it got there. No one else seems to see it. As if that’s not bad enough, Emily’s senses are freakishly sharper, like she has been living, until then, a little deaf, a little blind, and without taste buds.

Desperate for answers, Emily turns to Giovanni, the only person in Italy she promised herself she would avoid. He’s everything she hates in guys. Impulsive, secretive, and reckless, just like her father. What kind of guy grabs a girl he doesn’t know and kisses her? But Giovanni may be the only one who can see the mark. Though he denies it, Emily swears she’s caught him staring at it. 

Before long, Emily learns she’s a pawn in a deadly game that has existed for centuries. The only one she trusts has stolen her soul, and she doesn’t even know it. Although some call Giovanni a saint, others call him a devil. Emily must determine whose side he’s on by finding the answer to a single question. Who is Saint Giovanni?
I know, right? Sounds amazing. I'm itching to find out the truth behind Saint Giovanni. I hope you are too.