July 2012 - further up and further in

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interrupted: Life Beyond Words

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Interrupted: Life Beyond Words
My thoughts on Interrupted, by Rachel Coker.

As an aspiring teen author, I was quite impressed to hear of Rachel Coker's accomplishments in the publishing world. At the age of 16, she's already a published author, and that itself is inspiring to me.

So it was that I picked up Interrupted. I'd heard about the book after hearing about the Go Teen Writers blog (which is a fantastic resource, by the way—go check it out ASAP). And I was really intrigued, especially by the cover. (Isn't it beautiful?) I wanted to know whether Interrupted was as good as it sounded.

It is. It's a fantastic book. And while it's not perfect, it is enjoyable. The story of Allie Everly kept me hooked, and I did relate to a lot of her adolescent struggles. (By the way, her full name is Alycone—how cool is that?) While I didn't connect with Allie in terms of having similar personalities or circumstances, I did love her, and that's what counts. I can usually overlook minor flaws if I love the characters. And that's how it was for Interrupted. (Sam Carroll was a complete sweetheart, too! I'm sure many of you can agree.)

As for what the flaws were, I don't even remember most of them now. The characters and plot could have been developed a bit more (but isn't it that way for all books)? The book does seem like a first novel and there are parts that could have been polished more... but that's okay. It was a good story. It was a story I enjoyed. The characters were ones I loved. And that's what counts.

The thing is, Interrupted inspires me because of the fact that it wasn't perfect. For once, I didn't feel inadequate while reading a published author—I felt uplifted. I felt like I wasn't alone in my journeys and struggles as a teenage writer. Reading Interrupted reminded me that my novels are good stories, too, even with their imperfections.

Rachel Coker inspires me because of the way she's managed to navigate the publishing industry with a professionalism and maturity far beyond her years. It is possible to write good & enjoyable fiction even at a young(er) age.

Thanks, Rachel Coker. And thanks, Interrupted. You both have shown me that writing & my dreams aren't impossible. Because of Interrupted, I feel like I can do this journey, too.

And that, my friends, is exciting beyond words.

You can read more about Rachel, her story, and Interrupted here: www.rachelcoker.wordpress.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ink rain

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ink rain

I've always thought that the world doesn't need more Christian books. What the world does need is writers who are Christians. And I've held this opinion for a long time, but admittedly have been a bit intimidated to post it. However, I would like to draw attention to my dear friend Mirriam's post here. Not only is she a lovely person, but she also managed to single-handedly sum up every problem I've found with Christian fiction. If you're confused as to what I mean, I would highly suggest reading Mirriam's post as a preface to mine, because it really helps define what I've always believed.

A while ago I wrote the post you are about to read. I was hesitant to post it, but I find that it fits in very well with what Mirriam had to say. This is a call to writers who want to write real, authentic stories that may not be "Christian", but are written deeply and from the heart. This post is also from my heart. It's very honest and open, which is why I was hesitant to post it—but if there's anything I want this blog to be, I want it to be real. So this is my soap box, if you will.

One night as I was laying in bed, I had a sudden burst of excitement as I thought about all the fellow young writers I know. Writers who love Jesus, who have a passion for the written word and want to change the world with it.

And then I realized, that is exactly what we're going to do. We're going to change how people think, but subtly. We will hand out sheafs of paper with a gentle disclaimer: "This is the world the way I see it."

And that's why I'm so excited. Every person I've connected with through the internet, every person who reads this blog... everyone has a story. They have a mind. They have a heart. And this, the pursuit of the written word, is part of their story. The words bottled up in your brain are nothing short of genius.

Words are important. Words have power. Words are beautiful. Words are dark. Words can be anything you want them to be and more. As soon as they are out of our hands they sprout wings and plunge into someone else's mind, exploding with colors and ideas and thoughts and curiosity. Plumes of red, green, yellow, light blue. Your words may mean something totally different to another person.

And that is both the joy and the curse of writing.

Words matter. You matter. You have a story inside of you and it needs to be told. I swear to you, someone in this world needs your words. They need the words trapped deep inside your soul.

The world needs you, my dear.
The world is calling.
Will you answer them?

So come on. Grab your sword (or your pen, whichever you prefer). I've just got this picture in my mind of all of us on a hill, geared up for battle, and then charging down while screaming at the top of our lungs. (Though our writing isn't so much aggressive as it is passionate. That is what I picture.)

This is our battle cry. This is our calling, my friends. To write of love and peace and justice. To write of hurt and bitterness and pain. To write that there is always hope, even when it is darkest.

This is our legacy.

Are you with me?

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
 Steve Jobs

“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
— Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Because I’m Irish: An Unexpected Novel

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Because I’m Irish: An Unexpected Novel
Back in December of 2011, I told my friend Georgie (fondly known as Pippin) that I was going to write a short story, and I promptly proceeded to do so.

And then I just didn't stop typing.

Little did I know that meager short story would turn into something so much more.

What started as an inside joke between her and I soon grew wings. And soon I had characters, living and breathing. With their own personalities. And their own minds.

Soon, a plot took shape. The title? Because I'm Irish. At first, it was just a story to have fun with, and it still is. But soon I realized that I could have fun and possibly make a decent plot. Before I knew it, I had hit 50K, plummeting Because I'm Irish into the official realm of novel.

After that, though, I started to burn out. Back went Because I'm Irish, onto my unfinished projects shelf. It was a nice diversion to work on for a little while, but I never expected to finish it.

Until yesterday, when I started getting inspired for this story out of nowhere. Over the course of the day, I read my entire first draft. I was enthralled with my own story, which almost never happens. With new fervor and passion for this idea, I decided that I'd finish this book if at all possible. Because it deserved to be finished, I thought. It was a good story, and it needed to be told.

I started working on it again this morning. As I said on Facebook,

The bare-bones first draft of Because I'm Irish is done! Today I started out with 54k and managed to beef it up to 59k by adding a couple scenes. It doesn't *feel* done because I'm still missing a few scenes (including an "official" ending... hehe, that'll be interesting), but I plan to add them during my round of editing. Up next is probably a polish of the formatting so that it looks nice, because right now the document is a total mess. After that, who knows? That's the adventure of writing, methinks.

And so it was that I finished the first draft and officially crossed into the editing stage. I spent some time formatting this evening, and my document looks great now. Soon I'll start working on the plot. I'm both excited and a little nervous to dig into revisions, but who knows? Hopefully, and probably, my plot will be the better for it. And since Because I'm Irish has already sprouted wings, who knows how far this novel may fly? I'm excited to see what God has in store for both Because I'm Irish and myself.

For those who may be wondering, here is a brief synopsis: Fiona Bartulli never expected that a routine trip to Wal-Mart would end in disaster. But then she's kidnapped and forced to spend a day with an Irish boyband, and everything changes. Soon she finds out that, behind all the fame and glory and Crest-white smiles, the band isn't all that they seem. She's drafted in as their new violinist against her wishes. And she's forced to keep a secret bigger than she's ever had to before -- because it may just save her life.


started: december 20, 2011
finished: july 7, 2012
finished wordcount: 59,442
page count: 238, double-spaced

And now! On to editing. Ehehehe. Ehe. Ehe.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Beautiful People - June Edition

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Beautiful People - June Edition
Beautiful People is a monthly blog event designed to help you get to know your characters, hosted by Georgie Penn and myself. Each month we post 10 questions for you to ask about your very own beautiful people. For more info, check out the first post and the FAQ.

 What's up with Beautiful People?

My apologies. With the dawning of early summer, both my life and Georgie's turned upside down. It's been a hectic ride lately, and as it often happens, BP got pushed to the back burner.

Because of this, Georgie and I would like to announce a break. We're not sure how long it will last, but we just need some time to relax, breathe some air, smell the flowers. Never fear, though! BP is here for this month, with some minor tweaks.

Instead of having us come up with the questions, we are leaving that privilege up to you. This month is a freewrite version, if you will. Come up with ten questions of your choosing, whichever ones you feel will help you characterize your beautiful person of choice. They can come from the recesses of your mind, or you can even pick and choose from the official BP archive. The point is to have fun with it and do whatever helps you, your characters, and your fabulous novel.

Here are this month's questions:


I couldn't resist. XD

And, don't forget to sign the linky. Even in the absence of formal questions, the linky is an ever-constant. Though the linky is usually left open for a month, I've left it open for two months due to the impending break.

Beautiful People will be back. Until then, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Love and hugs to you all! Remember: you are awesome.