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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reflections on NaNo

As usual, it is November 30th and I'm finally glad I took part in NaNoWriMo. I was not glad on November 1st. Or on the fourth. Also, I think I was regretting it around the sixteenth. The entire last act of my book felt like a waste of time, but...I did it. I completed, and am glad that I did.

I've written a few notes about my progress, and written posts in past years about what NaNo meant to me, did for me, or so forth. This year I'd mostly like to just like to reflect on what was different about this year for me, what worked, what didn't, and especially what I'd like to keep in mind for next year.

1. Success - I wrote every day, even while out of town. This year I broke my writing time into two separate chunks during the day, though, rather than trying to fit it in all at once. Why did this work better for me? Because a thousand words at a shot is much more manageable. I only really need to have one scene in mind to get through a thousand words, and then I have a few hours to think about where the next scene might take me.

2. Success - I backed up my work every day. Although I've never had a catastrophic event involving my computer and loss of precious work (knock on an entire lumber yard), I think it goes without saying why I consider this a success. In past years, I've been so relieved to be done my 2k for the day that I've slapped my laptop shut without a second thought. Bad Denise.

3. Fail - I didn't have a clear ending for my book in mind. I should have worked harder on this before November the first, but I admit, I was lazy and busy and full of lame excuses. Because of this, the last section of my book does need A LOT of work. Heck, the whole thing probably does. But at least I won't be staring at a blank screen now. So I consider it at least a partial success.

4. Success - The Post-NaNo Outline. This is the first year I've attempted anything like this, but this year, as soon as I finished my 50k novel, I jumped right back in and condensed the whole thing to outline form. Now, while I wander over to my next writing project, I have something to send my critique partner. Because I am plot-challenged (and my CP is not) at this stage in the game I know I will need some major changes, most of which should be able to be picked out from an outline, rather than reading an entire messy draft of my poor early writing.

5. Fail - I've been more anti-social this November than ever before. My friends and family have been gracious, but I owe them big time. For a number of reasons, this has been my busiest NaNo season yet. But I did it. I completed. And I'm looking back with a smile on my face.

I'd love to hear your reflections on this years' NaNoWriMo. Did you do anything different? Any specifics you would consider successes or failures?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Five!

1. If you haven't yet seen the EPIC contest I'm having through the holidays, make sure to stop by here. Or if you don't have time for that, just tweet this line and you're golden:

"I want a copy of the YA novel, LOSING FAITH by @denisejaden for Christmas! RT to enter to win!"

2. And one more way to win! My critique partner, Shana Silver, has generously donated another signed copy Losing Faith to the prize haul. She'll give it away as soon as she has 25 new followers on Twitter! You can find her under @shanasilver .

3. My review squee moment of the week: Ashley at The Book Labyrinth included this beautiful line in her review: I can’t believe this is Denise Jaden’s first novel, because the writing flowed so beautifully and the main character, Brie, was so engaging.

Wow. Seriously. Wow. Thank you, Ashley! Read the full review here.

4. As I mentioned in earlier weeks, I've been studying up a little on writing screenplays. I'd like to take one of my older novels and convert it to screenplay form for practice. I'm having a heck of a time setting tab stops, which seem to be essential for this venture, in Word. Can somebody out there give me a tutorial? Very frustrated.

5. Oh, yes, and I finished NaNo!!! I'll be back with a reflective blog post about it...soon. I actually completed my word count on the 21st, but I'm not happy with the whole end section, so I've been working on condensing it into an outline so my plot guru (aka Shana Silver) can look it over for me. The one thing I've found interesting? Going back through this book, I already like it much better than I thought I would. While trying to come up with 2500 words per day, I was sure that most of them were complete crap and would have to go on the first revision, but it really is much better than expected - even after only a few days of finishing! The whole process makes me think I should go back and look at The Novel We Don't Speak Of from NaNoWriMo 2008. What do you think? Should I? LOL.

Congratulations to all my friends who are also completing NaNo this week! There's plenty of wine andd chocolate for everybody!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Exttra Thankful Thursday: Acknowledgments Exposed!

I'm Canadian, so we celebrated Thanksgiving just over a month ago. But I'm of the opinion that you can never be too thankful, and extra days throughout the year to highlight that are always welcome! Happiest of Thanksgivings to all of my American friends, and really, to all of my friends!

The great and awesome Hannah Moskowitz did a cool thing on her blog a while ago, where she took her acknowledgments from one of her books and expanded on them for her readers. I thought that would be terribly fun--it's like expanding on the thankfulness! So here are my acknowledgments for LOSING FAITH, with expansion/explanation in red.


To Shana,
My ever-present sounding board and friend.
In case no one has told you this yet today, Shana, you are brilliant.
 If you've been around for ANY amount of time, you know that my main critique partner, the girl I always go to first with ideas and questions, or when I'm second-guessing myself, is Shana Silver. And she really is brilliant. And no, you can't have her.


Many writers say they couldn’t do it alone, but WOW, I really could not. There are so many people who have helped me, mentored me, encouraged me, even kicked me in the butt, and this book wouldn’t have been possible without them. Completely true. Maybe some writers are one-man/woman shows, but I am not.

First, thank you to my best friend, Shelly Shelly's been one of my closest friends for many, MANY years. Twenty? She has been nothing but supportive, from reading really lousy writing to helping me plan every aspect of my launch party. I hang out with Shelly and her husband Harry every Saturday night, and they are the funnest people in the whole world! I’ll always remember that you read the first (ie. really bad) stuff, and kept loving me anyway. (How many times did you read Trev again?) Without your support, I would never have found the confidence to get here. And to go along with that, thank you to my awesome home group Our home group is really just Harry, Shelly, Duane, Ginny, and absentee Kim (living in Alberta). And we really are nothing like Reena's group. In fact, mostly we just play a lot of cards. (nothing like Reena’s home group, I swear!) for giving up so many nights to talk about my writing struggles.

Thank you to my wonderful agent, Michelle Humphrey. Agent awesome has been so supportive and knowledgeable every step of the way. Plus, she loves to talk about yummy food. She's working at ICM Talent and IS open to queries (look back through my blog for details). I couldn’t ask for a better advocate, advisor, cheerleader, and friend. I hope whatever’s on the lunch menu today is extra special!

Thank you to Anica Rissi I'm seriously in awe of this woman's editing skills. I never once wondered why she said something or what she meant or how to make suggested changes. A true Rock Star of her profession. and the team at Simon Pulse I met a few of these ultra-cool people while in New York last year, including Annette Pollert, Venessa Williams, and fab-publicist Bernadette Cruz. for putting so much thought and care into my book, and offering stellar suggestions to make it shine. Many thanks to Cara Petrus for creating the beautiful cover for this book. I can't even count the amount of people who agree with me here. Cara Petrus is amazingly talented, and I hope, hope, hope that she will work on my next book's cover!

To my incomparable critique partners and friends: Extra special thanks to Sharon Knauer, who gave me the perfect mix of encouragement and brilliant suggestions in my early writing days. Enormous thanks to Shana Silver I already told you about her - we first met on Critique Circle, Elle Strauss Long time friend from long before either of us were writers, Craig Pirrall Another ongoing critque friend from Critique Circle, Jennifer Hoffine-Hoffman And yet another ongoing critique-friend from Critique Circle, Amy Brecount White Fellow Tenner and all-around awesome lady, Tara Kelly Another Tenner friend, so incredibly insightful!, Caroline Starr Rose Caroline and I share the same agent and have become great friends through swapping work, and Pendred Noyce Another Critique Circle writer-friend for your boatloads of help with multiple manuscripts. Thanks to Maria, Rick, Lorrie, Pam, Liz & Brandy These are all friends I've met and mostly kept in touch with from Critique Circle, and the rest of the cool people at Critique Circle whose advice can be seen in the pages of this book.

A big thank you to The Tenners - over 90 awesome authors and Class of 2k10 an awesome group of 23 authors whom I would not have wanted to do this journey without! , not only for their co-promotion efforts and support, but also for being just plain fun to be around. A great big shout out to all my Blueboarder, LiveJournal, Twitter, and Blogger friends. And YA Book Bloggers WAY too many awesome people to name! – you ROCK!

Thanks to a few of my early readers for great advice and confidence-building: Mom, Dad self-explanatory, I think?, Jody sister-in-law, Kathryn friend and client of my husband's, Kim home group member (the one from Alberta above), Harry Saturday night bartender, Norm Elle Strauss's rockin' husband, Duane Saturday night cohort, Natasha, Mandy, Michelle all three of these are my good friends from Polynesian dancing, and all others I’m probably forgetting (feel free to make me feel guilty – I deserve it!) Also thanks to Jason Goertzen Haven't talked to this friend in several years, so I doubt he even knows he's in here.  who gave me the book Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer that sparked my love for reading, and to Paul Latta Polynesian dance guru and friend of over thirty years who continues to inspire me creatively.

A few great websites I need to mention and thank the proprietors of: I think you can tell why from above!– this is where I met most of my amazing critique partners; Just finished my fourth year of NaNo - Wahoo! – Losing Faith was a “Nano” novel, and I completed the first draft in 21 days during Nanowrimo 2007; With a different novel, I actually won the first Secret Agent contest. I still have no idea who anonymous Authoress who runs the website is... – wonderful educational contests where I learned about the art of hooking a reader.

This book would not have been possible without the amazing support of my friends and family. Thank you all, especially Ted hunky husband and Teddy the cutest 7 year old in the world, for giving me the time and space to find my stories.

And most of all, thank you to The Great Author and Perfecter of faith These are not just words. I know at the Academy Awards, your supposed to thank God, it's kind of expected, but I truly am thankful to Him every single day., for making me who I am, surrounding me with such awesome people, and quickening my mind to so many stories to tell. I can’t wait to find out what the next one will be about!

That's it! I hope you enjoyed that little inner-look. I fear the acknowledgments in my next book may be even longer... But I am truly blessed to have so many people to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#CONTEST! This Holiday Season...Have a Little FAITH!

Just to clarify - if you use @denisejaden in your tweet, it will be counted! You don't HAVE to come back here and comment (though I'm always happy to have visitors drop by :-)

I don't love the cold, but I admit, I'm a real sucker for the holidays. In fact, I have been known to leave my Christmas tree up for well over two years and listen to Jingle Bell Rock in July.

This time of year makes me feel not only a little giddy, but also kinda generous. I'm looking around my house for some things to give away, and I think I've found a few. More than a few, actually.

First of all, if one or more of these describes you, read on to find out about THE LOOT.

1. Are you an avid reader who has been wanting to read LOSING FAITH, but for one reason or another you have not been able to pick up a copy yet?

2. Did you read and love LOSING FAITH, and now you can think of someone you'd REALLY like to give a copy to for Christmas?

3. Do you love special and rare memorabilia that NOBODY else can get their hands on?

4. Is having a variety of bookmarks and other book swag on hand a staple in your household?

5. Are you interested in knowing little secrets about LOSING FAITH that you can't find anywhere else on the Internet?

If one or more of these statements describes you, I have a fun (and easy!) contest for you. These are a few of the things I'll be giving away:

- Bundles of bookmarks by various author friends!

- A rare advance reader copy of LOSING FAITH (including a signed bookmark!

- A LOSING FAITH T-shirt! (I'll even autograph it if you like!)

- Finished autographed copies of LOSING FAITH (the more entries, the more copies I will give away!)
- One annotated finished copy of LOSING FAITH, including butterflies marking some of my favorite scenes, notes about which excerpts I use for public readings, notes of scenes that have not changed from draft one, and some that were only added in the last draft! All very PRIVATE information, only for one very special winner!

Interested? All you have to do to enter to win is Tweet something similar to this:

"I want a copy of the YA novel, LOSING FAITH by @denisejaden for Christmas! 
RT to enter to win!"

If you don't celebrate Christmas, feel free to substitute with "the holidays" or some such. If you're not on Twitter, feel free to Facebook, Blog, or otherwise share this with your friends - just make sure to mention it in the comments so I can count your entry. You can enter up to once per day between now and December 23rd, and I'll be drawing names and contacting winners throughout the month. Remember, the more entries, the more prizes!

Some of these prizes I will offer up for international entries (I may have to cut that off if I get TOO many international winners), so enter away starting right now, and...

HAVE FAITH that you'll be one of the winners!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GCC Presents Caridad Ferrar!

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.   
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

About the Author:
Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, AdiĆ³s to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other QuinceaƱera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”

And a quick interview with Caridad:

Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less?
Dance, music, intensity, passion, and betrayal.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
Oh boy, it's kind of a toss-up between Mamacita, Soledad's Tarot card-reading grandmother and Raj, who becomes Soledad's best friend over the course of the story. In their own way, they're both perceptive, outrageous, and tell it like it is.

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Don't believe that selling "fixes" everything. New challenges present themselves along the route and there's always something new to learn.

What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I wrote stories in my journal and also told myself stories in my head during long bus rides or car rides. I always had a very romantic streak, so there was always some deep vein of emotion/romantic entanglement, usually involving the girl who never gets noticed finally getting the guy of her dreams. Not that this was based in any sort of personal day dreaming on MY part, no... not at all. *g*

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I'm almost done with Armistead Maupin's latest, MARYANN IN AUTUMN, which is a lovely coda to his original Tale of the City series. I absolutely LOVE that series, especially the first three books, and he really seems to have returned to form-- it's so lovely to pick back up with these characters, some thirty years after they were first introduced (although I didn't read TALES until about fifteen years ago). What's great and so unique about it, is that the characters have aged in "real time" as it were, so they still feel very fresh and contemporary. They're just old friends with whom you're catching up.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Debut Author on Tour

I've just completed a whole string of book signings. This past Saturday was the last of about seven or eight, and it was an interesting experience that I thought I'd share a little about.

To be quite honest, I went into this "tour" not expecting much, and in fact I didn't refer to it as a tour, even in my own head, for that reason. I'm a debut author, which means if you haven't heard about me online through blog reviews or interviews, you probably haven't heard of me. That, coupled with the many stories I've heard of even well-established authors, who have had very poor showings at book signings, helped to keep my expectations low.

My first experience with signing was at my launch party on September 19th. Prior to that, I'd just done a few drive-by signings at bookstores. I've done about a million of those now, and gotten quite comfortable with it. My launch party was filled with friends and family, which is a great way to break yourself into things. It was hard to think of individual things to sign in everyone's books, and I admit, I didn't do very well in that department. I had a long line up of people waiting to get books signed and I was just too nervous to be creative.

My next signing was in Oklahoma, part of the Encyclo-Media conference, and there I had an opportunity to sign (and speak) with four of my Class of 2k9/2k10 classmates. It's always fun to sign books with other people--you don't notice any lulls because you spend that time chatting. So even if you're not constantly busy signing, the time doesn't drag at all.

I also had one other group signing--a group of five Tenners in Snohomish, Washington. Again, it was so much fun to hang with my author-friends, and this was another speaking event with questions from the audience, and doing it as a group really took the pressure off.

Aside from that, I've done a string of solo signings in different cities within B.C. The bookstore in my hometown reviewed my book for the local paper prior to my signing, which helped get the word out. Also, my made-of-awesome publicist has been sending bag stuffers and posters about my visit in advance to each of the bookstores.

Still, even with great advertising, at one of my signings I didn't sell or sign a single book. It happens. And to be honest, it didn't feel nearly as bad as I thought it would. Thankfully I had a great conversation with the store owner and I'd also brought a friend along with me (this particular signing was quite a drive for me) so the time passed fairly quickly.

This past weekend was a great way to end this little string of signings though. I wasn't expecting much from the tiny town of Mission, B.C., but honestly, it was awesome! First, the manager offered (pretty much insisted) to bring me a gingerbread latte from Starbucks. Yum! I met all the staff, who were super-friendly, and some had already read my book and loved it. My first "customers" at my signing table were some good friends from Romania--yes, I said Romania--and I had no idea they were in town. They heard about my signing through a mutual friend and showed up to surprise me!

After that, there was a steady stream of customers, some who had heard about the signing and came specifically to see me, and some who noticed the sign that said "local author" and decided to give my book a try for that reason.

And if that all wasn't enough? The store manager brought out a stack of advance reader copies of books she had in the back so I had something to thumb through during the dead times--and she even let me snag one at the end!

So all in all it was a great time! To be honest, before Saturday's signing I was feeling a little tired. But the day really rejuvenated me. I really feel fortunate to have experienced such a variety of events early on. I'm sure every event will be different, even from here on in, but I really didn't have much idea of what to expect, so I thought this post might be interesting or useful for others.

I'd love to hear from other authors about their experiences with signings too. Good? Bad? Ugly?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Much New Here...

I haven't had the brainpower to blog much this week, but also, there hasn't been a heck of a lot to say. Here are the few things that have been rattling around in my brain:

1. I had a great time getting away and visiting friends this past weekend. I was terribly proud of myself for writing every day, even while I was away from home.

2. I just passed the 43k mark on my NaNo novel. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hope to finish up by the end of the weekend.

3. Losing Faith has been named a Best Book of 2010 and be will featured on a number of blogs through December! I'll have more details on this soon, but let me just say I'm flabbergasted and honored I feel to be among many of the other picks.

4. I'm a total fangirl of Elizabeth Scott, so just imagine how thrilled I am to be featured on her blog this week! And there's also a copy of Losing Faith up for grabs there.

5. And I haven't mentioned reviews lately, but Losing Faith has been getting a ton of great reviews (I'm still pinching myself!) Here's one of the latest at Book Labyrinth.

Happy weekend, everybody!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Backstory is The Bomb

You hear it from agents, you hear it from editors: Cut the backstory. Cut, cut, cut! And okay, that might be true for the first fifty pages of your manuscript, or most certainly for the first twenty-five, and here’s why: We want to bring the readers into the midst of our stories and get them immediately involved. We don’t want them watching from the sidelines as we meander around looking for what our stories actually are.

But here’s the thing. Just because we don’t want that backstory up front, doesn’t mean we don’t need it at all. It doesn’t mean that we can vaguely imagine a few scenarios of what could have been the history of our characters. We have to know. And for that, in most cases, we have to write it. We really have to nail it down, and for each character, not just our main ones.

I’m finding more and more when I read a great book, this is what I love about it. I can feel each character’s history, even if it isn’t spelled out before me. I’m still learning on how to make this happen, but now I think that the less screen time you want a character to have, the more you need to know their backstory. Why? Because they have very few words and scenes to convey their worldview. And it’s not that we need to know their entire worldview, but we at least have to sense what kind of person they are. We need to *get* every single character, otherwise, why have them in the book at all?

There’s an ongoing discussion about parents in YA. Many editors don’t want a lot of scene time with the parents because teens may not be as drawn to reading about them. Some people suggest that killing the parents off, or removing them completely from the picture somehow can be lazy writing. I don’t have a fixed opinion on those things either way, but I will say this: if you have a good handle on the parents’ backstory—if you know exactly how they’ve spent their lives, what their high school existence was like, why they have the ticks they do—that can come across and be meaningful to your plot without actually seeing these things play out in scenes.

My biggest problem lately in my NaNoWriMo manuscript has been with the parents. I kept feeling the need to bring them into the story more and more, because their story really does affect the plot. But what I’m beginning to see is that I’m really just bumbling around with them and still trying to find out their story for myself. The more background I can find out about them, the less I actually have to show in the foreground. But it has to be done really well and exactly to keep them concise. And at this stage it can take a lot of bumbling to get to the stuff I need!

So this is the lesson I’ve been learning this last week: don’t hate the backstory. Enjoy exploring it. Write plenty of it down, and then convey weeks or months or years of a character’s experience in one simple sentence of dialogue. It really is an art, but an art that I’m excited to keep learning!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Stuff

You know I'm getting burnt out when I can't come up with a better blog title than that!

1. Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. Veteran's Day in the U.S., I believe. This is also the day after my son's birthday, which usually means Party Day at our house, while kids are out of school. It's easy to forget the significance of the day with everything going on, but I'm taking a few minutes right now (or right after I finish this blog post) to be thankful for the freedom I enjoy in Canada.

2. I'm off to Penticton and Kelowna this weekend. I'll be signing books at Hooked on Books in Penticton this Saturday from 1-3, and then I'll be driving an hour or so to hang out with some good friends I don't get a chance to see very often, including my critique partner and long time friend, Elle Strauss. I'm very excited!

3. I have been making steady progress with my NaNoWriMo novel and hit the halfway mark of 25,000 words yesterday. Then I had lots of chocolate birthday cake to celebrate. I know this novel will need a lot of work, but I'm really excited about a scene I just wrote the other day. One of my favorite scenes ever. And it involves kissing. That's all I can tell you ;)

4. Oh, and if I haven't been doing enough this month, between NaNo and birthday parties, and homeschool end of term reports...I decided to learn how to write a screenplay this month too. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and one evening when I had a sudden unexpected block of free time, I just started reading up on it and attempting to convert one of my novels to screenplay. I'm having a lot of fun with this, but who knows when my next block of free time will be.

That's about it for me for this week. I'm off to stuff goody-bags for a party full of seven-year-olds and pack for Penticton! Happy weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

In Vancouver? A Celebration of New Works!

It seems I never remember to mention things until they're right upon me. Tomorrow I will be at this:

I'm really looking forward to it! KidsBooks will have copies of Losing Faith for sale and I'll be there happily signing copies for whoever wishes. I'll also have bookmarks, discussion guides, and other goodies. Plus Sarah Ellis will be speaking! And...I didn't miss the word delectables in there, did you? 

Hope to see you there!

#Nanowrimo Update: Beginnings, Middles, and Endings

One thing I'm finding while writing through Nanowrimo is that all the major structural flaws are suddenly very obvious.

Beginnings: I know through my first six chapters that I have not nailed the beginning. I've heard one suggestion before: to flip the first and second chapter, or at least to put the second chapter first and build chapter one in as backstory later. And this would probably help. But that will be a problem to solve during revisions. I think my "right" beginning is in those first six chapters somewhere, so that is good news. But I'm amazed at how obvious it is when you write quickly that what you have probably is not quite "right". But you do it anyway.

Middles: Have you ever heard the term "The Sagging Middle"? I'd like to find one Nanowrimo writer who does not know what I'm talking about. Just one. But writing through that sagging middle, pushing ourselves to keep going even when it feels like it's one monotonous, never-ending death sentence for our books...and eventually finding the excitement again: that's what makes us real champions.

Endings: Do you ever feel like ALL you can think about is the damn ending? When will I get there? It's going to be great, right? It HAS to be great after all this.

Yes, I'm not even 20k into my story and all I can think about is the ending. Pretty sad, isn't it? But that's just today. Tomorrow will be better. How's Nano going for everyone else?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

#NaNoWriMo Update: Expletives Galore!

First of all, I have to apologize to friends and family. One thing I did not get around to before midnight on October 31st was emailing all of you and warning you that I would be pretty much falling off the face of the earth for a month. Again. But I'm hoping most of you know me well enough to expect this yearly snub and forgive me for it. I hope. Pretty please.

As for NaNo, things are going swimmingly. They didn't start out that way however. On the 31st, just before bed I went online to quickly check my email, and what did I find? My email program wasn't working! Not only that, but apparently ALL of my office programs were due to expire at midnight.


So I spent a few hours into the night trying to figure things out, to no avail. In the morning, I woke up early, pretty much sleepless, and very, very frustrated. I started to work on my brand new novel Notepad. Ugh. Have you ever tried to use Notepad for more than a paragraph? I say it again. Ugh.

So you won't blame me, I'm sure, for starting my manuscript with a word starting with "F". (I'm serious). But the funny thing is, aside from my anger, frustration, and generally just plain pissy attitude, soon I was sailing into my new manuscript and actually having fun with it. Because the character whose point of view I'm writing in this time is very different from all the others I've written (Tessa from Losing Faith, in case you're interested) I've found that using an expletive or two (or eight or nine) helps break my pattern and get me into the voice of Tessa right away. I don't talk like this in real life. I mean, I"m not Hannah Moskowitz (LOL, kidding, Hannah!), so it breaks me away from what feels like my default writing voice.  I think (or hope) many of these will be removed in later drafts. But who knows!

For now, I'm starting each day's writing with a &%$#* or a #&@*! and it seems to be working well! But Tessa is more that just a head full of swear words and I'm slowly finding more and more about her.

Any interesting tricks you've learned to get your head into your character?

FYI - I did get my Office programs up and running again (Thanks, Duane) and I'm feeling much less like I need to use that vocabulary - now it's purely Tessa! Oh, and check out my fancy new NaNoWriMo widget on the right sidebar of my Blogger blog! I'm very excited to pass the 10k mark, hopefully today!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

GCC Presents Daisy Whitney and The Mockingbirds!

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

Author Daisy Whitney is touring the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit this week, and I'm thrilled to have her here to answer a few questions. The Mockingbirds comes out in stores this month!

Welcome, Daisy! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less.
THE MOCKINGBIRDS — underground, student-run justice system.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
I love Martin! He’s one of the Mockingbirds and a love interest in the story. I love him because I think he is everything a guy could be - funny, honest, brave, strong.

What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Write every day and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it because with hard work and talent dreams have a funny way of coming true.

What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I wrote very bad journals all of which I have destroyed!

What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I just read WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman (April 2011) and it’s amazing. I am also crazy about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Steph Perkins (December 2).

Great! Thanks for stopping by, Daisy!

If you'd like to find out more about The Mockingbirds, coming from Little Brown in November, 2010, check out these links:

Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

THE MOCKINGBIRDS | A young adult novel by Daisy Whitney | November 2010 | Little, Brown

Monday, November 1, 2010


I got my sorry butt out of bed early today to start on NaNo. One day down, twenty-nine to go!

I don't want to forget to mention that my book is touring again. I didn't mean to have the GCC tours so close together, but that's just the way it worked out. So I really hope you're not getting sick of me! Here's some more tour stops where you can find out more about me and Losing Faith:

Monday, November 1: Angela at Reading Angel (Review)
Tuesday, November 2: Angela at Reading Angel (Playlist)

Wednesday, November 3: Corrine at Lost for Words (Review)
Thursday, November 4: Corrine at Lost for Words (Interview)

Friday, November 5: Sam at Read Sam Read (Review)
Saturday, November 6: Sam at Read Sam Read
(Guest Post)

Sunday, November 7: Anne at Potter, Percy and I (Review)
Monday, November 8: Anne at Potter, Percy and I (Guest Post)

Tuesday, November 9: Kelsey at The Book Scout (Review)
Wednesday, November 10: Kelsey at The Book Scout (Interview & Giveaway)

Thanks so much for the Teen Book Scene for hosting me!