Passions

"Writing can be messy; full of pointless breakdowns, yelling at the computer, banging your forehead against the keyboard, and hiding under the table."
-Rachel Sammons

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Video, New Covers, New Ember

So, I really need to get better about updating this thing when I'm busy.  Really do.

Anyhow, Ember has gone through some major transformations as of late. I started to redraft it, with intentions of adding a MAJOR element to the story.  I started to redraft it; I got two chapters in.  Later, I came to the realization that I prefer first person novels.  I get into them easier, I tend to like them more (for the most part). Ember was third person.  I started redrafting AGAIN, and this time, WA-LA!  It's so much better in my opinion, and I cannot stop writing it.  It just works. 

Working on Chapter 4 as of late, and loving it.

In other book news, regular readers of this blog will know that I am in love with Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Series.  The series is getting a complete makeover will new covers.  They are SO beautiful.  Check them out.

One thing that was the main reason for my logging on and frantically updating: this new Hunger Games video.  I think this book series was one of the greatest things that ever happened to the world.  No joke.  This is being made into a movie, and a group of very talented actors made this video. I'm under the impression that its their audition for the movie, but don't quote me on that.

I was so obsessed with this I watched it several times before downloading it onto my iPod.

I cannot wait for the real movie. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Few Of The Same Famous People

So, I really need to get better about writing these things around the same week that they've happened in. But anyhow.

(PS: I will no longer be posting my book reviews on this blog. I have moved over to GOODREADS.COM. where you can read all my reviews at any time about any book I've reviewed, as well as see the books I plan to read, and what I am currently reading. Many authors -such as Jessica Day George- are on this, and I highly recommend you get one. Make sure you add me as a friend to follow my reviews! Thank you so much-you're support is fantastic. The web address is goodreads.com/amberpowers )

Last week, THE BAND PERRY'S CD came out! I was thrilled! (If you read my last blog post, I saw them in concert the week before, and I Heart Them.) Wait, wait, it gets better.

They were signing at a Best Buy near my house.

Yes, I went, are you crazy?! OF COURSE I WENT!

Okay, wow, crazy-obsessed-fangirl-moment. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

But anywho. It was totally cool and I so looked like a bum, which was a shame, but they were such cool people with such enviable southern accents!

Be jealous.
(For those of you who may have just joined us, I'm the bummy looking one in the gray sweater. My mom is in the red, my sister in the blue. The rest are the members of the most amazing country band you will ever encounter.)

But yes, it was so unbelievably cool, I just had to share. And you know what else, it made me really think about the concert all over again, and it really fueled that writing jet in me. I mean, I KNOW that is the whole purpose of this blog: my writing journey, my attempt for become a published author and perhaps a poet.

And the thing about poetry is it is SO alike song lyrics. And this band's CD is one of my inspirational ones that fuel the desire in me to write even more, to wrestle with that poem until it's just the way I like. I have a list of poems I'm working on at the moment, and I truly hope I can share them with you in all their glory one day. I was even thinking, is it too far-fetched for a poet to turn song-writer? I guess we'll see in the future.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Few Famous People

So guess who I met. Almost an entire week ago. (I know, I know.  I should have said something sooner about meeting this person, or at least having her stamp my book. It was technically "meeting." But anyhow.)

Suzanne.
Collins.

I am not joking you. The amazing, fantastical mind that wrote the phenomenon that is The Hunger Games Trilogy. The books that just about inspired me to do anything.

Yeah, I met the author.
No big deal.

It was amazing! She has a hand condition so she signs books rather than stamps them. We also got a free key chain that has the Mockinjay pin, Coal, and The Pearl. If you haven't read it yet, yes, that will sound like nothing. But it's actually pretty cool.  It also had something else on it, but I couldn't figure out what it was and neither could my sister.

I did some research and it seems no one else can figure out what that mystery spherical thing is.

Speaking of famous people, I was at Chicago's Country Music Festival yesterday. Yes, I love country music. (It's one of my biggest pet peeves that people instantly think you're peculiar because of a love for country music. I can just as easily think you're weird for wearing whatever shoes you happen to be wearing at the moment. Chew on that.)

And the reason we went to this festival is to see a brand-spanking-new country band that I happen to be in love with. The Band Perry. Their singles "Hip To My Heart" and "If I Die Young" are genius.


Very exciting. Equally exciting, they will be signing at a Best Buy near me Saturday. I fully intend to attend. Their CD drops Tuesday, check it out.

And just to leave you with a tune in your head...


video
Have a great extra day off!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Surfacing! For Who Knows How Long!

So, I'm truly sorry I haven't been here in...FOREVER! No exaggeration! It's been rough on this end. My last post was about my HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER READ so that just shows how long it's been. I've since started school and have become worn out by it completely, hence this past long silence.

My recent reads consist of The Hunger Games Trilogy.  Did I love this book? Yes. Did I become overly obsessed with it, as did almost everyone else who's read it? Yes. It's just completely and utterly phenomenal. I know I've been doing reviews lately, but I'm just too tired. I can't. So, read it. If you like to read, you'll absolutely devour these three books. I highly recommend them and they are among my top favorites.

On a much less important note, high school is going OK. Better than freshman year. That's a plus. Though I am slightly worried about some classes... but I CAN do it! I will! I will conquer sophomore year! OK, that's enough.

Driving is going OK. My parents traded in our old car and got a stick-shift. I had to relearn how to drive. Demoted to parking lots. But I am back out on the street! Watch out! I'm pretty proud.

That's about all. I've just been trying to find time to do this and I haven't. I may not again for some months. It's a busy life. Plans and all, being a teenager.

**In reading over this blog, yes I realize how lame it is, and I apologize. Hopefully I'll be back soon to make a better one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"The Kind Of Book That Can Be LIFE CHANGING"

That quote is on the cover of the paperback version of The Book Thief.
And it's not an exaggeration.

The Book Thief is one of the most stunning, searing, painfully heartbreaking, and beautiful books of all time.

Initially, I had zero desire to read this book.  I wasn't really sure what it is about, and I'd never heard anything about it. Then, high school.  Despite my abhorrence of school, it certainly helps me wet my feet in the many different kinds of books I wouldn't otherwise reach out to. This was one of those books.

I vaguely remember being on vacation with my cousin and being at a Barnes and Noble and picking up this book, examined the covers.  The title intrigued me.  But I couldn't find enough to decide to read it.

My school has a Summer Reading program, where we have to read an assigned book over the summer and take a test on it within the first day or so of school.

This was my assigned book; the book for sophomores in honors English.

This was one of THE BEST books I have ever read.

Told from the viewpoint of Death, it gave a very interesting and enlightening perspective. The storyline takes place during the time of World War II. About a girl who steals her first book at her brothers graveside.

Read this.  You truly will not regret it.

This novel made me smile down at the pages, and it made me bawl. And I mean, BAWL. I knew, I KNEW!  World War II, people die, and I WILL cry.  But even with the warning, I got attached.  To each and every character in a way only a very, very polished writer can do.  Markus Zusak suspends chronological order very often, letting you know what will happen, but you still CANNOT STOP! You still hope!  You hope maybe some crazy, twisted things happen and everyone will live happily ever after!  But its historical fiction.  And in the real world, you can't live happily ever after.  It just doesn't happen.  At least not often.

Through absolutely beautiful wording (that is a high level read, by the way) you will fall in love.  And you will cry, if you have a heart. (Just kidding. But I would wonder if you didn't get teary AT ALL.)

It's truly a classic.  It reminds us of history, and the danger that one human could be.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Want Slippers Like That

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
My sister first discovered this book (when it was on the Rebbecca Caudill list, I believe?) and she fell in love with it. I never had a desire to read it.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps because she's younger than me and I wrongly presumed that it was child's book. Wrong. I chose over the summer to expand what I read, taste the waters, discover books I may have never usually picked up. So I was going through my sister's bookshelves and I came across this book, which I had bought for her as a present. I started to read. And read. And read. I FELL IN LOVE! This is by far one of THE best fantasy books I have read. I treasure this masterpiece. And Jessica Day George uses SUCH beautiful wording that definitely inspired me to use my language skills better.

Basically the plot of this story, is that Creel's aunt wants Creel to marry into a wealthy family and then the whole family will have an easy life. So she leaves her at the mouth of the cave of the town dragon, expecting Creel to be rescued by a handsome prince, and married, thus leaving the family in luxury. Instead, she makes a deal with the dragon to get her freedom. And this dragon (rather than collecting the usual dragon gold) has a hoard of shoes. Creel bargains for one, and picks out the most beautiful blue slippers. The dragon is very tentative about letting her take these; evidently these slippers mean much to him. But a deal is a deal, and Creel leaves with the slippers to go find work in another city, the King's Seat. She meets a charming prince, and gets a job as an apprentice dressmaker, and soon realizes that her slippers are much, much more than just slippers.

Dragon Flight
is the thrilling sequel. "Dragons are rarely quiet." -Front Cover. Read it. AFTER Slippers. You won't regret it. I really can't say much about the plot of this one, because I don't want to give anything from the first one away, but if you enjoy the first one, you'll be craving this one the second you finish Slippers.



Dragon Spear
the unbelievable ending to a beautiful trilogy. Again, I can't say much about this one without giving away the first two, but AGAIN, if you liked the first two..... You will have no choice but to read this one. It's fantastic. I can only WISH that my writing will one day be this good, as well as my stories this creative. I can truly say I am now in love with dragons. I have one in the novel I'm writing, but it was SO enlightening to read this book. I loved it.

You know that feeling after you finish a series?
That "Oh my goodness, that was amazing but... but now the series is OVER?! FOR GOOD?!"
Yeah, I hate that feeling.
I loved this books so much I can't express it, but now I have that nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like I lost family, or something. Sure, I can reread them, but it's never the same! You KNOW what's going to happen, you KNOW where all the cute, unexpected lines are. And you never get to know what happens past the last book! You can imagine something, but it's never quite as creative as the books! It's that "I've read their story, and their story is never going to change. And I'm never going to know what they're up to now."

Sigh.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Need Of Advil and Water. And Rest, etc, etc...

So I am sitting at the library, typing furiously away on a laptop.  Furiously.  Not like 'mad scientist, finally have a breakthrough' furiously, more like, 'I am so mad at my story' furious.  Yeah, you know the kind.

First of all, I had to wait to get a laptop. No biggie. Then there was this little girl running around who was quite irritating to me.  I love kids, don't get me wrong.  But she rolled her eyes at me like she was so much better.  The kid can't be older than nine.  Anyway, I suppose I do look quite silly sitting on a stepping stool in the middle of a vacant children's book aisle, but that is because ALL the seats were taken here. Psh.  And then later she was just staring at my computer screen...which was quite disconcerting. :\ Anywhoo.

Second, some guy came in asking a librarian (who was on break!) about something, and he was being very cruel and giving her attitude and saying that if they didn't have it, 'the library sucked.' Like, seriously? Who does that? I'm sorry, if that were me in her shoes, I would have given all the attitude in the world right back to him.  Just because she's an employee, doesn't mean you can treat her like dirt.

Then, amidst all this, I was attempting to rewrite my chapter 3.  Make it much, much better. But no. It just HAS to be one of 'THOSE' writing days.  Where everything I write, I secretly hate. Where with every word I get more depressed because the wording is not as fancy as I wanted.  Where I question whether or not I am chasing the wind at being a writer. OH! How I abhor these days!  I swear, one of 'these' days will be the death of me. Sigh.

I plan to ride my bike home, take an Advil, have a big glass of ice cold water, and go to sleep.  This just isn't
working here.  And tomorrow I have to start yet ANOTHER rewrite of chapter 3, and I will have a hefty thesaurus by my side to use the fanciest words that no one ever taught me!  I will fight back!

Scary.

*Reads back over post*

Okay, sorry about that big complaining long rant.

Have a better day than I am!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friendly Librarians On A Rainy Day

Hello Readers!

Currently, I am sitting at my local library typing madly away.  I have been doing this for several hours the past three days.  I know, I'm a dork.  But anyway, I have OFFICIALLY finished the new first chapter of Ember Sparks!  It is now much, much longer, which was rather unexpected.  It just sort of happened.  Monday when I was here, I was working on typing out all the ideas I had to add to it and such, and then Tuesday I was working on rewriting the first part of the first chapter which took two hours.  Then today I was back at it again to finish rewriting chapter one, and I have successfully completed it! 

But to be honest, this whole draft this is REALLY hard, because its like I've thought it all out already, written it down already, and now I want to change everything about it to make it more beautiful.  But it will all be well worth it in the end!

Honestly, I don't know for certain if I will keep this chapter the same until it's published, because you just never know with writing, but I am BEYOND happy with it!  It is truly some of the best writing I have done in this book so far, and I'd be happy showing off this pretty little chapter to anyone.  Not to toot my own horn, or anything of the like, but just because I am SO pleased with it! 

I also am TOTALLY trying to increase my use of fancy words in it.  Because I was reading Dragon Slippers, and now I am reading the sequel (expect reviews of the books once I'm done with the series!) and there is such beautiful language in it that I found it truly inspiring!

So, all in all, I feel as though I am growing and developing as an author, and hopefully I am.  I hope to one day see Ember all decked out in a shiny dust jacket.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Extra Warning


Wow. Extras. A heart-stopping, fist-pumping, life-changing kind of book.

This book, like the ones in the series that came before it, is truly amazing and very, very inspirational to me. This book deals with a different set of characters set in the same futuristic world as Uglies, only three years later. This book was so creative, so completely a work of art. And I seriously can only DREAM of ever writing something as perfect as this.

Warning: This book is not only highly addictive, but for those with an overactive imagination, can be much, much more. I LOVE being freaked out. So I read a big chunk of this book at night.
Yeah, perfect thing to do to freak you out.
That night when I was lying in bed, my dog was right next to me, and I SWEAR that he was shooting something at me through his whiskers. I became thoroughly convinced that my dog is an undercover spy trying to kill me. Perhaps he is controlled the way they controlled the avatars in Avatar. And then, the insects outside sounded like robots. Yes, read this book at night and your imagination will run wild afterward.

And then I had one of THOSE days. You know the days I mean. Where you don't want to do ANYTHING other than sit in your pjs all day, on your bed, reading.
Oh my.
So my sister was on the phone with my mom, and I don't even remember WHAT my sister said, but it made me laugh insanely. I mean, deep, DEEP laughing. And then my sister said "That sounds inhuman!" Now, understand, there ARE 'inhumans' in this book. So what was my response? "NO DON'T SAY THAT! THE BOOK WILL HEAR YOU! THEY'LL HEAR YOU! THEY'LL COME GET ME! I'M GOING TO DIE!"

Yea, that was me.

My mom could hear me on the other end and she told my sister this, which my sister then relayed to me: "You need to get out of the house more."
But it was just one of those days!
It was great.




Bright Young Things
by Anna Godbersen
Author of The Luxe Series

This cover and information about the book was just released on Anna Godbersen's blog on July 26 and you can read the Prologue on her blog. It's set in the Roaring Twenties. Amazing.
I first fell in love with Anna's writing during the first book of The Luxe series. Actually, more like the first few pages. If you haven't read them, stop reading this blog right now and go read them. Go. You will fall in love. So, you can see how much I love her other series, so when I found out about this book the other day, I was BEYOND THRILLED. It made my entire day, and that is not an exaggeration. Reading the prologue was so great. It intertwines the history flawlessly. I specifically remember learning all about the Roaring Twenties because I found it so fascinating. So all the history references made me smile with pride. And I am SO THRILLED to read this!


One other note...
My book.
I did major brainstorming.
After reading Uglies, mine just was a whole other world. That world was 'Stupid, Cheesy Romance.'
So I decided to change that.
Of course, there will still be romance! Goodness gracious I am not THAT crazy!
But there are many, many things added to the outline that I will be working in probably for a long time. But it SHOULD add 200+ pages to the book! Yay! I am very thrilled. It will be a kind of whole new look for Ember. Hopefully a better look. Those few that were privileged enough to read the first draft will see how dramatically the book changes. I will reveal more later! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Pretty Special Series

 Uglies. Scott Westerfeld.

This series blew me away.

It is a trilogy-plus-one, meaning that the first three books all involve the same characters that are continuous, but there is another book afterward in the same world and the same characters are probably mentioned (I have not read the fourth one yet) but it deals with different things or perhaps characters.

The first book, Uglies, was recommended to me by two different people. At first, I was kind of wary. I had no idea what to expect, and it took me a while to understand the gist of the story, and how it is futuristic and they have many, many cool things that we do not have. All very future-like things, obviously, since it takes place hundreds of years from now. Now, I have never read a formal futuristic book. But I LOVED this! I was warned that it may take a while to get into, but that did not happen whatsoever. After I basically understood it, it was breathtaking. And the chapter cliffhangers were always very good, but it wasn't until near the end that a HUGE cliffhanger that made me gasp came. I won't spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read these yet, but I HIGHLY recommend them.

Basically, there are different stages of life. Littlie, Ugly, Pretty, so on. Once the people of the city turn sixteen, they get an operation that turns them pretty. Tally, the main character, wants nothing more than to be pretty. She spends all her ugly time dreaming of being pretty. She meets Shay, the crazy best friend. Shay shies away from the idea of being pretty. Then, just before their shared sixteenth birthday, Shay tells Tally about running away and where she can run to so they won't get the operation. After a turn of events, Tally has two options: She can turn in Shay to the authorities and turn pretty, or she can stay ugly forever.

(OK, so the format from here on out may be a little weird because working with these pictures is very, very confusing. But anyhow.)

Pretties is the amazing sequel. I found this one even better than uglies which is relatively unusual for sequels. I thought the last one was good and I thought I was enraptured with the characters, but I could not have been more wrong. This was-surprisingly-even more engrossing with the characters. I got so attached to every character in this book, and many choices the characters made either made me smile with pride, want to hurt them, or really confuse me. Either or. This book was also higher on the action level and deviousness. And talk about cliffhangers.This one had much more intense cliffhangers, many of which made me gasp and spasm out inside. That's what I call a good cliffhanger. This book had many, and many surprises as well. Like Uglies, the cliffhanger it ended with was AMAZING, making you crave the next book and keeping it in the front of your mind until you have started the next book, which starts the cycle over again.

Specials is the thrilling third book in the trilogy. Not only was this my favorite, it was the most unpredictable. Just when you think you have it figured out, you don't. I will not say in any detail what this book is about because it will give away the first two. But this was definitely my favorite out of the series. It made me laugh out loud, cry, and want to never leave this amazing futuristic world. Just, wow. If I could write something half as magnificent as these, I would be more than ecstatic. (I would like to add that this one definitely has the coolest cover art.) Keeping me on my toes, throwing surprises, and such, this book kept me on my toes straight up until the end. The end made for what I consider a truly amazing book. It was one of those books you don't really know HOW you feel about the way it all played out. I had no idea what to think, honestly. At first, it was I LOVE THIS SERIES. But then, it became 'I may have just wasted a three book period of my life on these.' After seriously thinking it through and trying to figure out what I thought, I came to the conclusion that I loved these books. Despite some of the feelings I had, I realized not every story can end the way you want. Not every story will. And its the truly magnificent books that you still love and would recommend to anyone even if they didn't end the way you would have chosen. And Scott Westerfeld is an amazing author for that.

I am THRILLED to get the next one, Extras, which is the extra trilogy book. (Get it? Speaking of jokes, Pretties and Specials books are discussed here, and look at the title of this blog entry. Yeah, that's clever.) I don't think it's even possible that I will be disappointed by Extras. I will be a happy person once I get my hands on that one! Until then, have a great weekend! And read!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Writer's Life = Total Insanity

WHOA!

I just watched Nim's Island for the first time.

I really didn't want to see it, was not very keen on the idea. But that is one of the CUTEST movies I have seen in a LONG time! Definitely went high on the list of favorites.

But one of the parts I loved most about the movie? That crazy, insane writer. If you have not seen this movie yet, I suggest you do. This writer lives alone in her house and has a phobia of, I guess, many, many things. Germs, and leaving her house.

She is hysterical! I love laughing, and try to do it whenever I can and she definitely had me laughing throughout the movie! Oh, my!

One of the things that struck me, her character of her novels was so, so, SO real to her! He would show up, looking exactly like any real person in a movie, and she'd have full conversations with him, standing right there in character garb. Of course, everyone around her thought she was crazy, which added another element of my own hysterics. It was just SO wonderful! I hope my characters will start to be like that with me after spending many, many more hours with them, which I plan to do.

Well it is late and storming here like crazy (I am rather frightened!), so I will be going! Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Journey

FINALLY I have started looking at Ember again. And I honestly didn't realize how much I missed the characters until I started editing the first draft. And I have big plans for it! Several chapters will be added. Essentially, a whole new branch of the plot needs to be written in. Hopefully, this will make it more than the average love story novel. I sure hope so.

I have also cut dialogue, added dialogue, and  changed some full paragraphs. I get the feeling that when I'm all done with it and its in a shiny dust jacket, that it will be much, much different than the first draft is right now. But that's okay, because I am making it even better!

I also have been writing poetry pretty aggressively, but now I will be focusing on my book. I will TRY to send them into Poetry Magazine sooner rather than later, but they will be sent in with no expectations other than them being rejected.

So. Back to my little fantasy world!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rejection Number #25453

Well, not really.

Only number 2.

But still.

Another four poems of mine Poetry Magazine will not be publishing.

Well I'll send four more and see what happens....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Music-Filled Endeavor To Write and Purchase

Oh, my. This heat is killer! I have mini desk fan pointed at me right now AND a ceiling fan going full speed an it is still uncomfortably hot in this house.

Well, it is the beauty of summer!

Speaking of summer, mine was supposed to be filled with rewrites and edits of my book! Has that happened. No. But it will! Oh, yes it will! I am grasping with the tips of my nails at the hope that I WILL have time! I have to!

Drivers Ed ends Friday so I will be getting a lot of time back with that. You know even though it IS only an hour and a half in the morning, there is a LOT of studying outside of class. Yesterday, I LITERALLY did not do anything but study all day. Today was my last test and so I finally feel like I have my life back. July is a busy month, but with school out of the way maybe it will start to feel even more like summer finally.

I will throw myself into Full Crazy Writer Mode the second I get the chance to devote myself to it.

I will be writing a lot of poems, first off! DEFINITELY will be doing a lot of rewrites and editing for Ember. And, I've decided I may just start doing book reviews on this blog. The next book I plan to start reading today or tomorrow is Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. It's the second in the Uglies series, so I'm very excited. I'm considering having that one be my first book review on here. We'll see.

Also, I have been searching high and low for songs that fit in with the story of Ember. Stephenie Meyer has a playlist for each of her books, and they all have AMAZING songs on it, so I've been looking for some for Ember. If you have any ideas or songs you think might work based off what you know, let me know.

On a musical note (pun intended), music is the one thing that has gotten me through all this studying and going to school and not being able to write. I have fallen in love with many more bands and songs. As of this second I am listening to "Just Breathe" by Pearl Jam. And since I want to keep typing, I will allow myself to go off on another rambling.

Some of my favorite bands that I have fallen for are Mayday Parade, We The Kings, Boys Like Girls, Kill Hannah, and Breaking Benjamin. And I feel that I will be broke because of this music affair. Not only do I want to go to a concert of all these bands, but I have been looking on their sites and they have some very cool t-shirts and hoodies and I have more than a few I want to buy.

And I don't believe I've mentioned this before on this blog, but I am a big Chicago Blackhawks fan (and yes, I am from Chicago) so when they won the Stanley Cup I was PSYCHED! I was so proud and Chicago was in an absolute uproar. So, not only will I be broke because of my bands, but also because there is a lot of Hawks stuff I am planning to buy.

Psh.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Drama, Storms, Driving...and the Desire to Write! EXCLUSIVE: Letters to Stories

Whew!

There is just so much going on! I didn't know how long it would take me to get back to a blog! That, and I haven't known what to blog about but it just feels so good to be back!

So on the topic of not knowing when I was going to back, life has been busy. Busier than I ever remember it being and I'm not even in school anymore. Okay, fine maybe not busier than I ever remember, but you get the emphasis.

Drama? Check.
Storms? Check.
Reading? Check. (A movie for a book is coming out soon, so naturally, I had to reread it.)
Driver's Ed? Check.
Writing? Sadly, not yet. How depressing! I have not had any time to work on my book at all. This summer was supposed to be all about writing! What happened? Life. It got in the way. I don't imagine that I will be able to do rewrites and more drafts until perhaps mid-July at best. If not, probably the start of August.
But I WILL be working on it, hopefully sooner rather than later!

On a completely unrelated, moot, I-just-want-to-blab note, I finally saw Letters to Juliet! I know, I know. It has been out for over a month. But I just saw it Sunday. So shush. It was SO good! I have truly been missing movies that amazing for some time. Sure, I'll admit it was a predictable, chick-flick type deal, but I've always been a sucker for that kind of stuff. And any girl looking for a fairytale ending with her handsome prince (like Ember!) would love the movie, no matter the cliches it fits into. That doesn't make it any less amazing. Stories (movies and books alike) are never entirely different from any other thing made. Sure, things can be predictable! There is no question about that! My English teacher helped my classmates and I to appreciate this: Every story has been told a thousand times before. That's why you don't read or watch movies just to see the ending. The part you have to enjoy is the execution, the way it's done. That's why people tolerate the same things over and over. Sure, there are exceptions, but essentially, every story has been told before. You just have to appreciated the differences in the way it's told.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Hard Being A Writer

So, I just wanted to give one little quick update.

I have talked on this blog before about Poetry Magazine and how I submitted my work to it. Well, I got a notification today that they didn't want to publish any of my poems that I had sent. Inevitably, I am kind of sad now, but I won't give up. I've already submitted three more, but I don't know how much hope these three have.

Guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Writers Don't Control The Story and Other Things To Learn

Prepare for a long, somewhat random rambling.

So, while I was in school the other day, (yes, I am still in school, unfortunately) we were having a discussion about a book we had read. The book: Oedipus The King. The Author: Sophocles. As we were discussing this amazingly twisted play, we had to discuss the question of Oedipus having any "freewill" in the story. Well, someone pointed out that Oedipus "doesn't have any freewill because Sophocles is controlling the story and could do whatever he wants with him." Wrong! I cringed when I heard this! It actually made me angry, and this person has obviously never tried writing.

Almost any author will agree with me here. Yes, the author does have some control over the story. I'll give you that much. However, almost any author will agree that the characters take on a whole persona, a whole person and sometimes they take this on without the author intending for it! To the author and hopefully to the readers, they're real! You can't force a real person to do and say whatever you want, can you? Yeah, I didn't think so.  Same with characters.  If they become real, you can't force them to do something.

Stephanie Meyer (whose new book came out today, and yes, of course I already have my copy, why'd you have to ask?) once said in an interview how a character had suddenly unveiled a side of their personality to her. She hadn't known that this character wouldn't like Bella, but all of a sudden she hated her. Stephanie didn't just make that happen. It was in the characters makeup, something slightly beyond all author control. Out of nowhere, it just happened. Once she knew that this character didn't like Bella, she couldn't just leave it out of the story because she would be betraying that characters true nature.

Shannon Hale has had many encounters of this sort with her characters. She writes them so realistically that they are real, they have to be real.  I don't like to think that there is a possibility that they're just a figment of imagination.  Because they're not, to me, at least. One of her most notable and most amazing characters wasn't even in first drafts. He just popped up. All of a sudden, there was this character that she had to write in. After being a side character in two books, he demanded his own! This is how she will explain it when you hear her speak or read her blog. She said she was done with that set of characters and story ideas, but he weaseled his way into her mind, planted his story right in front of her and forced her to give him his own book!

Honestly, how can you say that the author always controls the characters? People!

Okay. Rambling done. For now.

Also, I was at Borders yesterday and today. Yes, I realize that might sound quite nerdy. Whatever. Anyhow, I was looking at the new issue of Poetry Magazine, which I bought, and I was thinking of how little poetry I have read and how I don't understand a lot of poems most of the time. So, I've decided to expand my horizons! This summer I will also add to my list a lot of poetry books. I plan to explore different poets work and expand my knowledge in this area. I am rather excited about reading poems and getting to know different poets and their style of writing. Perhaps this can help me to become a better poet. Speaking of which, my English teacher liked the poem I had published in Facets! I was very happy about that. I also really hope at least one of my poems will make it into Poetry Magazine. That would be so thrilling! I should know if the ones I submitted will make it in by July.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Pursuit of Time. Oh, yeah, and Happiness too.

Something I've learned: You cannot do everything you want.  Well, not all simultaneously, I mean.  I feel like all my free time is being zapped away.  Finals are coming up in school (I don't get out until the 11, can you believe it?) and there are some that I really, emphasis on really, need to study for.

In addition to that, summer is coming up.  No, it's here!  So, inevitably there are all those parties and BBQs coming up that I wouldn't trade for the world.  And I have a million hobbies I want to start this summer, too.  I had decided, while looking at my interests, that I was really pretty boring.  So now I have a ton I want to take up.  They are: Origami, String Art (also known as Curve Stitching/Line Design), Cross-Stitch, Crocheting, and Knitting.  I'll be working on those this summer.  And I'm taking Drivers Ed this summer. Boy, oh boy.  The things I'm willing to throw myself into . . . oh my.

On a writing note, three new ideas for three new poems came to me today.  I'm really excited about them.  Usually, an idea for a poem comes when something is on my mind or I hear something that triggers something else.  Then I play around with the idea until I have a creative title.  Seriously, I usually have the title in my head before I write a single word of the poem.  Once I have the title in my brain, I think of how I could word it, if it would rhyme, etc.  Unfortunately, with this time-jam I have been experiencing as of late, I have no idea when I will get to writing these poems.  Or any of my other poem ideas I have written on a piece of loose-leaf paper for that matter.  But I will get to them this summer.  That much I'm sure of.  I hope.  Plus, I want to write more of my book until I have a final draft.  I have some new ideas for that book, too.

Though this is, in fact, a writing blog, (mostly) I am also very interested in photography.  I haven't talked about that too much yet, but now I will.  My first semester of high school, I took Photography 1 class.  I fell in love.  My father is a photographer, and I enjoyed it so much.  On a side-note, my photo even won first place in the Novice Photography category in the school art show.  I do plan to continue on with photography, all through high school, all up to AP Photo.  But I digress.  So, the school had another art show just this past Tuesday, though I wasn't in it because I'm not in an art class this semester.  But I still went, and it was so beautiful!  So inspiring and making me itch to take Photo 2 next year.  I will also be taking Digital Imaging next year, too, which is photography but with digital.  I am very excited for this opportunity to make myself a better artist.  And it's nice having a way to vent through art--including writing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Facet Of Being Published

So, I have been published, with my name on it and everything!  I have a published poem and photograph in my school creative arts magazine, Facets.  This is such a great accomplishment and I am so thrilled that I got to do this!

I am actually on the Facets staff at my high school so it was very rewarding to get two of my pieces into an annual magazine.

In other publishing news, I submitted some poems to Poetry Magazine. ( http://www.poetryfoundation.org/ ) The current response time is eight weeks so I won't know for some time if I got in, but we'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Squeeter And I

No, no, this was not my own signing. I had you thinking it was, didn't I?

I went to see Shannon Hale at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL!  This was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Honestly. I would recommend her books to anyone so if you haven't read them, go do that now.

My sister, Morgan, is a fellow Shannon-fan:



Aw. This was before Shannon came out to talk.

So it started off with questions.  Shannon is such a cool, sweet person and I am so glad I got to meet her. She talked about her books, writing in general, and the process involved with Graphic Novels, of which she has two. I have read everything by Shannon Hale and own almost every book of hers except for two. She signed the four that I brought, Book Of A Thousand Days, River Secrets, Forest Born, and The Actor and the Housewife. I could never pick a favorite book of hers, but these were the ones she signed.

Honestly, when it was my turn to have my books signed, I was freaked. She is such a cool person, and she has been a great inspiration to me, as well as to my writing. So I really didn't want to make a fool of myself, which I know I should probably be used to. But I managed to tell her that I wanted to be a writer. I seriously cannot get over just how cool she is.



That is me with Shannon and my sister.

Now, she didn't put a limit on how many books she would sign, which is what I would do when I may ever have a book signing. And, yet another very-cool-person thing she did (that I hope to be able to do when I'm an author!) is when she signed the book, she didn't just say For So-and-So From Shannon Hale. She wrote messages in with it! That was just so cool to me. They either related back to the book, or something you had talked to her about. Very amazing.

I just can't get over this. This woman was just so mind-blowing. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, honestly.

She is just so pretty.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Slam Of Great Words, Cool People, and A Whole Lot Of Fun

So, today was the Poetry Slam! It was SO fun. I just had to come here and talk about it!

It started off with three poets, (Yes! Actual Poets!) and the first lady told us a little bit about herself. Her name was Mary Fons, and she was so cool! My friend was sitting with me, and after Mary recited her poem (which was AWESOME) my friend turned to me and said "She is my new role model!"

Then there were two other poets Marc Smith and Dan Sullivan. I think that's their names, but I'd have to double check to be positive. So it started off with the three poets telling us about themselves, how they got started in writing, and they performed a poem. They're what are called Performance Poets and they memorize their pieces and use the body and gestures to go along with what they're saying, which was UNBELIEVABLE!

Then, all the students were broken into three groups and went with a poet for their workshop. In my first workshop, with Marc Smith, we worked on projecting our voices and showing the differences and how it affects a poem. Then we had a break where we got to eat Chex Mix (!)

After that, we had another workshop, with Mary Fons who gave us a list of things to do and not do during a Poetry Slam and Open Mic. (Side-Note: Marc Smith, was actually the person who invented Poetry Slams. I did not even know that a "Slam" meant competing with poetry until today!) But it was SO cool. She is such a cool person in general.

Then (surprise!) another break! Then our last workshop with Dan Sullivan, where we had to write a poem about our name and I used ideas of the Amber gemstone in mine.

Lunch. Then we had the Slam Overview, where we had to go to our "Home Poet" (our first poet in the first workshop) and discuss how our team would compete in the Slam. Then we had the slam, which was so much fun! Our teams finale piece was about a break up, and we had couples arguing in the audience. Then, when she got to the powerful last line, they all stopped. She went to read the poem again, and this time everyone in our group was supposed to argue with another person in our group. This was insanely fun to do! The two poets that had not been coaching our group even joined in arguing together! Once again, on the last line, we were all silent.

After that, the poets did two more poems and we had Open Mic. Honestly, I couldn't and I didn't do it. I was too scared. I really need to get over this if I want to do something like writing, where every once in a while you have to talk to someone! Whoa!

There were a lot of funny poems, sad poems, poems about love, but I was moved by every single one of them.

All in all, it was a VERY good and enjoyable experience and I am SO happy I went! I had a lot of laughs, and I got teary at many poems, and I LOVED it! This definitely gave me some much-needed exposure and I am much more confidant in going forth with my writing.

P.S. In looking over this blog, I realize I have a lot parenthesis. Sorry about that. I just had so much I wanted to say!

P.P.S. This is also National Library Week! So yay libraries!

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Dates That Come With Being A Writer

So, April is turning out to be a very busy month for me and my writing! First off, it is National Poetry Month and my library is having a young adult poetry contest! Last year, I was one of the winners in this contest and I got it published and a prize and all that jazz. I can't wait to turn in my poem for this one and see where that goes!

Also, my school is having a Poetry Slam/Writing Workshop next week. You had to fill out a whole application form to get into it and everything. Basically, we just go to our first period and then spend the rest of the day in the library. I've never been to one, but it seems like it's reading other's writing as well as letting others read your own so you can get feedback. And, I'm guessing from the Slash-Writing-Workshop part that we can do some writing as well. Two poets are also going to be there, so I'm all excited.

Going back to my library, they are also having a presentation this month called 10 Steps to Getting Your Book Published. I've already registered to go to this event and I'm eagerly anticipating! There is also going to be yet another author and his agent at this event! I feel like I'm finally starting to really pursue writing on a whole other level.

Now this isn't a writing event for just the month of April, like the past couple have been. This is more of a story that ends with an epiphany. Not really, but go with it. So I was in the car with my aunt from Georgia (which is a beautiful state, by the way and I really recommend you visit) and we were talking about books. She took a book out of her bag to show me what she had just bought at Borders and I recognized the authors name because her picture is all over my local Borders advertising her signing there soon.

This made me start to think... I'm going to be an author, right? Well, I have never really been to an author signing. As in, I have no idea how those things work. And that irked me. If I'm going to be a writer, I should know all about those, right? So. I decided (and my mom thinks this is a wonderful idea) that when I see a local book store starting to advertise an author for a signing, I will buy one of their books and read it. Then, I'll go to their signing! This way, if I do this with enough authors, I will know how this works! Genius, I know. But I am rather excited.

Have a good day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Faithful Fan Before A Finished Book

So, I haven't updated this in forever. Honestly, I really didn't think anyone read my blog. But I found out my sister faithfully goes here all the time looking to see if I've updated. So I'll continue with this silly blog even with just one faithful reader that I know of. Plus, it is a very nice place for me to vent about my writing.

In other news, I finished the first draft of my first book. Ever. This is a big thing for me! I know I was pursuing being a writer as if I was one, but I have never finished an entire draft of something nearly as lengthy as a book. And I am ridiculously pleased with myself.

Of course, there are a ton of rewrites of certain chapters and parts that I want to do. And loads of editing not only the story, but grammar and spelling and such. Before I do that, however, I really need to do some reading. I have a list of books to read. Being in school, it's hard enough to read but then writing a book on top of that is quite a lot. But I'm going to read some books that look really good and have been waiting for my attention. Also, I think I should read some classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights before I continue with my book. Oh! And along with things to read, Stephenie Meyer has a new book coming out! That is definitely on my list. I think I may even pre-order it.

Speaking of things I need to read before continuing in the writing process, I was looking in Borders the other day at books about writing and writing well. Perhaps I should have looked into those earlier, but to be completely honest, it would have caused me to be overwhelmed and freaked out and never pursue writing. So, it's better this way.