Monday, October 29, 2012


Due to the Frankenstorm (Sandy), I am off from school today and tomorrow.

The plan: today, finish all my school work. Tomorrow, finish plotting Princess in advance of NaNo.

I currently have lots of fun conflict for the first quarter of the book and the last quarter of the book. Maybe also the third quarter. The second quarter is looking a little empty right now...

Further updates forthcoming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I hate Organic Chemistry

So I'm sorry that it's been almost a week since my last post. I've got one last push to make it over the insane work hurdle - by tomorrow it will be over! And I will return to blogging.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Midterms OF DEATH

Princess is kind of on hiatus until I get through my midterms of death. But I think I'm pretty much ready to jump into plotting when I return!* So that's exciting.

Tami's latest post on the pacing of the first 1/4 of a book came at a particularly good time. Now I can ruminate on that and on the world and character building I've done for a few days, and when I finish writing about Aristotle and Augustine I'll be so ready to write about Kel.

*[This sentence previously said something that made no sense at all. I can attribute this only to midterm-related exhaustion]

Friday, October 12, 2012

In Which I Feel Freaking Amazing

I am totally, completely and utterly IN LOVE with Princess.

I was planning on working through the NaNo prep posts in order, and I still am, but yesterday I was looking ahead to see what was coming up, and I saw a post about antagonists. And sudennly I was off and running, the ideas coming thick and fast and I almost couldn't keep up!

My evil king is now something other than the placeholder "evil". He has reasons for being the way he is. Those reasons make sense in the context of the world I've invented. They make him infinitely more interesting, cause now he's not just depraved, but insane, too. And as a bonus I get to hint at the ultimate antagonist of the series and based on an earlier event it MAKES SENSE THAT KEL WOULD SEE IT!

It all fits perfectly, like it is an actual, real, world and story and not something I'm making up in my head.

There will probably come a time when I'm stuck writing a hard scene and I will say to myself, "Why am I doing this?" And hopefully I can recapture the moment when it all came together and I ran around my dorm room (as much as it is possible to run around in a 200 sq ft room filled with dorm furniture) squealing and screaming "yes!" and generally making a fool of myself. I can only wonder at what the other people on my floor thought was happening.

In other news, I finally have a new pair of boots. I've been wanting a specific style of boots for a while now, and I finally found them! So that's good.

Also, my beautiful little doggy is sleeping next to me. Let's just say I'm in a good mood.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Plan of Action

Behold the side bar! It is no longer at 5%.

I decided to work through my Princess planning using more or less the strategy outlined in Tami Moore's NaNo prep posts. I'm currently on number 7, about to start number 8, so 7/31 = 23%. Yay math!

I've got a pretty good grip on Kel, and what kind of person she is, and how she's different from her little sister Bria. (By the way, Bria was not supposed to be a big character at all, but being a bright, outgoing and adventurous child, she had other ideas.)

I'm also discovering how Princess will probably have 2 sequels and end up a trilogy and is a lot more epic in scale than I originally thought. Bria gets her day to shine in Book 2. There are dragons involved.

In terms of worldbuilding, I've got a bunch of political entities, be they individuals (Kel, the evil king) or groups (the prosthelytizing democratic army - long story) with complicated motives which interact in interesting ways. Still to be fleshed out: the religions of the world (which will have a lot to do with magic), the ultimate big baddie, and the general trajectory of the trilogy as a whole which will have a HUGE impact on the plot of the first book.

Oh yeah, the plot. That too. We're getting there.

That's okay, this is totally normal for the stage of preparation I'm in. I'm also going to consciously try not to think about books 2 and 3 right now - if I'm struck with a brilliant idea I'll write it down, but I am going to shut down any actual development on them until I am done writing Princess. Aside from, of course, the most general, high-level story arc which I need to know in order to set it up properly in Princess. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Living in a Petri Dish

Living in a dorm is like living in a petri dish. Once one person in a dorm gets sick, they gradually infect everyone around them until the number of infected reaches critical mass and the campus descends into chaos as literally no one goes to class.

It's like the movie Contagion, every day from about October to January.

Over the weekend I was sick. Not with any kind of doomsday virus, just a bad cold (although apparently there is an outbreak of whooping cough...). I did not do any work. I did not do any writing. I had to make a determined effort to drag myself out of bed long enough to shower. I watched a lot of TV and movies instead. All day.

Now I'm playing a bit of catchup. I have been working a bit on Princess and there are updates coming as soon as possible. But first, Organic Chemistry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


^ Clickety click

I have complained before about the lack of variety in new books I've encountered lately (Everything is distopian/vampires/werewolves). I actually haven't read this book so I can't say anything about the quality of the writing, but the idea is fantastic.


I never would have thought of it, but its a fresh, intriguing idea! Click on the cover photo for a giveaway.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books

 Books should never be banned. Will I read all the books on this list? No, of course not. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other people who would enjoy them, or whose lives would change because of them. We should all be free to choose. Just for fun, I've bolded the books below that I've read. What about you all?

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey [Thanks to my younger brother]
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey [Again, younger brother]
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged, and by the wonderful Tami Moore. Quick disclaimer: considering the fact that Princess is still very much in worldbuilding/plotting mode, my answers to some of these questions will be a bit sketchy :)

What is the working title of your book?

Princess, or Princess Story, or Princess Book. Obviously that will not be the final title.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I came across a writing prompt - if you can even call it that - to write "anything about a prince or princess". Almost as soon as I finished reading the sentence an image came to me of a princess being hunted through the woods. I started thinking about why she would be there, and the Princess story was born.

What genre does your book fall under? 

YA Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Kelisin.....Emilia Clarke
Bria .....Morgana Davies
The Prince (He doesn't have a name yet)... Josh Hutcherson
The Hound (But this is his actual title).....Mark Strong
Evil King (Not his actual name).....Ralph Fiennes
Marcos ...Henry Cavill

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

A princess attempts to recover her birthright after a bloody coup forces her to abandon her country and her sister.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

We are SO not there yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro? 

It's still in the planning stage. However, there are a few snippets in existence which I wrote before I realized this was a project I wanted to pursue seriously and stopped to plot and worldbuild. So:

"Kelisin!" The shout echoed through the drafty stable. Kel looked up from her horse's flank and leaned her head out of the stall, but no one was in the stable's hall. Not yet, at least.

"Good," Kel murmured. "They don't know I'm here yet." The horse whinnied softly and tossed his head, so Kel resumed brushing. She often came out here when she wanted to be alone. None of the ladies in waiting would ever consider going near the horses, and the grooms, who had grown to be her friends, were good at stalling. Kel had evaded many an embroidery session hiding in the stables.
The horse turned his head back and tried to nip at her pockets. Kel laughed and pushed his head away. "Stop it, Roque, I gave you an apple already." The horse snorted. "Greedy brute."
The bell rang the hour, and Kel reluctantly put away the curry comb. It was time to head back through the kitchens and into the palace proper, before anyone became too worried about her.
As Kel approached the stable's side door, she could hear voices. She wasn't surprised. The door was rather old and warped, and didn't close very well.
"She's not here." Kel recognized the voice. It belonged to a groom - Ostwald, his name was. Kel smiled. He was probably covering for her, throwing off the army of maids, ladies in waiting, pageboys, and the occasional guardsman mobilized to find her and capture her for her lesson. Kel wasn't a fool - she understood that history, military tactics, and mathematics were important subjects for a monarch to know. She didn't object to reading literature to open her mind, or even to etiquette and deportment, so vital to a royal life. But Lady Ainsley was always after her, nagging about embroidery and other useless pursuits. She was forever saying that it was a useful skill and that it never hurt to be underestimated by opponents, and Kel might have acquiesced if the Lady had not been such hideously dull company. So while Kel reluctantly sat through hours in the solarium with Lady Ainsley and her equally tedious cousins, every so often she just couldn't bear it. Hence her escapes.
Kel was distracted from her thoughts by something that sounded like a fist striking flesh, followed by a dull thud and a whimper. Eyes wide, Kel approached the door, trying to be absolutely silent. She peered through the crack.
Ostwald was down on the floor, huddled against the wall. Above him stood a soldier, the royal guard's crest conspicuously absent from his uniform. He looked down at the groom with an expression of disgust. "Where is she?"
"I haven't seen her, I swear!" cried Ostwald.
The soldier kicked him, and Ostwald let out a whimper.
"Try again," he said calmly.
"She's not here." The soldier drew his sword. "Wait! Wait, she might have gone down to the orchard. She likes to go there." The orchard was on the other side of the palace from the stables and the mews.
"Thank you," said the soldier, grinning. He reached a hand down to the groom and helped him up. As soon as Ostwald was on his feet the man rammed his sword through his belly.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

This is a hard one, because honestly I haven't encountered any YA fantasy like this recently. Most of what I've seen lately has been paranormal, or modern-day with magical/supernatural/mythical elements. That's not to say that these books don't exist - I'm sure they do and I should go hunt them down.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

 Hmm. I don't know that there was a particular inspiration for this book. I'm always inspired by the authors whose books I read, and the work they do to create beautiful things for their readers. I'm inspired by fellow would-be authors and the effort they take to perfect their craft. And, of course, there are many amazing women I know - my mother first and foremost - who are an incredible inspiration to write about women and girls with that same strength of character.

Could I be any vaguer or more sappy? :)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are princesses in it. Doesn't everybody love princesses? Oh, and magic. But not too much romance - maybe later in the series. This book is about adventure and growth and love between sisters.

So now I tag...

Welp, this is awkward. I don't have anyone to tag... . So, anyone reading who would like to participate, have at it! I offer up my tags to you all.

Rules of The Next Big Thing:
*Use this format for your post *Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress) *Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
  • What is your working title of your book?
  • Where did the idea come from for the book?
  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged. Be sure to line up your five people in advance.