Friday, April 29, 2011

Opportunities Everywhere!

It seems that everywhere I look these days, there's opportunities for all sorts of writing contests. has them monthly. Some of the groups I'm part of on goodreads has them. I find contest info on YA Highway and AgentQuery Connect.

It's great, because it's all exciting and new to me at this stage. It doesn't matter whether I even win. I just love the idea of coming up with a short story. If nothing else, I'll have new work, and maybe gain more readership by taking advantage of all these awesome opportunities.

Here's one I just came across: an online publication of a YA paranormal story of 1, 000 words or less. Submissions info here at flash paranormal fiction.

So, I have a writing to-do list. I want to enter at least one short story contest. I want to submit a query critique and/or page critique to an agent in one of those contests that come along every now and then. I want to get together a group to establish a group blog. I'm definitely going to get everything that needs submitting (query, synopsis, manuscript) critiqued and polished to perfection before sending anything out for The MirrorMasters.  Those are the highlights of my to-do list.  What's on your to-do list?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Defying the Darkness - A Short Story

Their sun is going nova. To keep the peace, the law decreed long ago that human interaction is forbidden. Now, a group of teens forge a connection to bring down the system that keeps them from each other. In the process, they'll discover what it truly means to live in the time they have left.

This is a short story originally meant to be an entry for the dystopian contest judged by Lauren Oliver on, but it ended up being way over the 750 word limit. So, I didn't end up with a contest entry but learned a lot in the process of writing this story. You can check it out here on my goodreads page.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Soundtrack of Our Stories...

If your WIP or favorite book were music, what song(s) would it be?

That's the prompt for this week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday. Immediately Avril Lavigne's "Keep Holding On" came to mind. The song strongly reminds me of my WIP's characters, their relationships, and what they have to go through.  Of how they stand strong and fight for, and protect, each other to the end.  They keep holding on through everything their journey throws at them.

I may have blogged about that already elsewhere on here or on my website, but the last time I heard the song on the radio awhile back, it all really hit me just how much it seemed to be a song for the soundtrack of The MirrorMasters.

So, what's the soundtrack of your story? Whether that's a favorite book or a work in progress of your own, share your thoughts and leave a link here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kiss and tell?

How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said. ~Victor Hugo

Ok, so this week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday prompt is to compare your first kiss to the first kiss of your favorite characters. Getting personal, aren't we? Seriously, now! Anyway, weirdly enough, I so don't remember too many of those moments from the books I read as a teen. At least, not specifically. Though there was this one book where the main character's best friend advised pillow practice to prepare for that much-hyped first kiss. Would that really even help calm the nerves when the real moment arrives, or really help prepare you to know what to do?

I do remember that some books capture very well the insecurities about not being any good at it, or about being really awkward and completely embarrassing yourself. I also remember the books that describe that first kiss as the most magical, the most perfect, the most intense kiss imaginable. The sensations of butterflies in your stomach and tingling that sweeps through you all the way down to your toes. The dreamy feeling of floating. We grow up dreaming about that romantic first kiss.

The kisses I thought of were with Harry and Ginny, and later Ron and Hermione. Yes, I know, such a surprise that I'd think of the Harry Potter characters, right? The one with Harry and Ginny was a spontaneous, fierce passionate one, with blazing looks and rushing to each other and a crowd of Gryffindors cheering them on in the common room. A very cool first kiss--not that I'm much of a Harry-Ginny shipper. Then there's the one the following year with Ron and Hermione. That was sheer passion and intensity borne of waiting so long for that first kiss (it was about freaking time when it did happen)!

Was my first kiss all of that, and more? I don't kiss and tell.... ;) But I will say this. It's ok if the first kiss is less than magical. The magic, the love, the passion, the intensity and all of that comes when love and chemistry combine.

For those who do kiss and tell, feel free to leave the link to your post about it here for us to read and enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Exhilaration of Creation

Creating a complete story out of nothing but sheer limitless imagination, pen(s) and vast quantities of paper, and words you've typed into the computer is utterly exhilarating. You create characters you love, amazing worlds, fun plots, and inventive--often complex--relationships. Basically, you breathe life into a whole new universe! One that you get to live in and eventually, if all goes well, get to share with others. That, I think, is my favorite part of writing.

To finally, one day soon (hopefully), see the finished product will make the whole process with all its ups and downs worthwhile no matter what form that finished product turns out to be. Now that I'm getting close to finishing the first draft, even though there's still tons of work to be done, I'm anticipating just how exhilarating it's going to feel to know I've reached the first step of my goal by actually completing draft one of this mammoth task.

What's exhilarating also is how much you learn just in the process of writing that first book. Looking back at earlier chapters, I know I have far too many dialogue tags, an infodump start and other common novice mistakes, and lots of prose to polish and perfect. I also have ideas about what works in a scene and what doesn't, what each scene is trying to accomplish, and how to strengthen the prose to achieve that aim. By the time I'm finished draft one, I'll be equipped to go back and edit to make The MirrorMasters the best it can be. Maybe that leap of faith, and the belief that all the hard work will pay off in the form of a wonderful creation, is exhilarating, too.

So, what are your reflections on the process of writing and learning the craft? I'd love to hear from you!