Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Revision Diaries (4)

Dear manuscript,

I hate you.

I loathe you.

You are the bane of my existence, that which tortures me through every breath.

You fill me with despair, with anger, with frustration.


The line dividing love and hatred blurs. They are woven together with a common thread.


It is for you that I wake an hour early, drag myself to the computer and stare at the screen through sleepy eyes.

It is for you that I stay up an hour late, lying in bed, staring at the shadowed ceiling, my mind consumed with thoughts of you.

Repairing you.

Polishing you.

Making you great.

And I will. Make you great, that is. I will not rest until you shine.

I will mold you into something wonderful, and I will love you.

All I need is time.

* * * * * * * * * *

Memory is a funny thing. When I was drafting Temper I was desperate to be done. I couldn't wait to get into revisions. Polishing the words already on the page. It all seemed so easy.

Now I'm in the thick of it and wondering what possessed me to feel that way before.

I think back to the time I spent writing the first draft and my memories are fond. Now I'm itching to be there again. In the creating stage. I have pages upon pages of ideas, all of them begging to be written, yet here I am, slogging through this mess of words.

My fingers long for the freedom of drafting. They are restless. They do not like moving slowly through each paragraph, debating commas and contemplating the difference between scamper and scurry.

So which do you like better?
Writing that first draft or revising?
And does it change, depending on your progress or you mood?

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Revision Diaries (3)

I've finished writing the new chapter two, but I've also decided to take two other chapters and expand them into three. This puts Temper at 18 chapters, three more than the first draft ended with.

Revising is going to take more time than I thought. But that's totally okay. I want to do this right. I plan to revise and polish my manuscript until I think it's ready to send to agents-- and then I'll send it to the betas instead.

I think most writers go through phases of loving their ms, then hating it. The only problem is I'm flipping sides every couple minutes. Earlier tonight I wanted to set my computer on fire because I was fighting with chapter two. Now I want to dance through a field of daisies with it. Maybe tomorrow I'll want to delete it again, but for now I am satisfied.

I've also found myself reading through these first five chapters over and over again, because they're shiny and I love them so. Chapter six is a mess. Chapters seven and eight are the ones I'm combining then splitting into three to improve pacing, so there's a ton of work to be done there. It's all very intimidating. So I just keep reading the ones that are done, because they make me happy, and the other ones scare me.

I also have a new idea. Well, not new new. It's one that I've already thought a lot about and wrote up a rough outline for. But I'm pretty sure I'm set on making this my next project. (It helped when I told my crit partner Ina my idea and her response was, "whoa, your brain is awesome.") Anyway, I'm itching to write it. First lines, and character traits, and intense moments are flooding my brain, but The Temper is demanding my editing attention. What a pain.

Well, five chapters down, thirteen to go.


Better get cracking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Revision Diaries (2)

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
--Oscar Wilde

I'm revising two chapters a day, which I think works out just right. Each chapter is around 3K words, about 9-12 pages. I read through one chapter, making changes as I go along, then I read through the next chapter, making more changes. Then I go back to the first one, and go through it again. Then the second again.

At this rate I'll finish with this first pass of revisions by the end of March, which is just awesome. It helps that I'm so obsessively organized, and I have detailed notes written up for each chapter's revisions. It also helps immensely that I've divided up the chapters into individual files. I can't believe I never tried this before. It is so, so, so easy to navigate and revise 10 pages at a time. Way less intimidating, too.

This is what my desktop looks like right now. I usually keep everything to the side, nice and orderly, but I'm a very visual person, and this layout helps me stay organized.

First, we have my awesome background, which reminds me what I should be doing if I forget and spend too much time on twitter. Above the WRITE are the chapters not yet revised and the one chapter not yet written-- but outlined, so I'm getting there! Below WRITE are the chapters that have been revised. I read through these again today, and any changes were very minor (like Wilde's commas) so I'm pretty pleased with them.

I still have a lot of work to do, but I am very excited about getting my work out to betas. I love feedback-- good or bad, as long as it's not mean :)

But for now, I must get back to my revisions. I'll leave you with more of my favorite revising quotes.

It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.
--C. J. Cherryh

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
--Justice Brandeis

I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I'm one of the world's great rewriters.
--James A. Michener

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
--Blaise Pascal

You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing.
--Gene Wolfe

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Revision Diaries (1)

I've decided to jump right into revisions. I know, I know. You're supposed to give it a rest. But for me, that part comes later. Since I outline so very much, my revisions aren't super crazy. At least not until I get some outsider feedback and they point out things I would never see. Then my brain explodes.

So far I've mapped out two new chapters: one is brand new, and one is the result of splitting a chapter. Right now my main concern is this brand new chapter. Because I have to write the thing. From scratch. And it totally wasn't part of my original outline. But I changed the end of chapter one (based on some awesome feedback from my crit partner) so I needed a new chapter two. The good news is that the old chapter two is being renamed Chapter Three, and not much else is changing there.

As of now, The Temper has grown from 15 chapters to 17. I've created 17 new word docs and copy/pasted each chapter into it's own separate file. This makes it waaaay easy to focus on one chapter at a time, and once I have them all smoothed out individually, I'll put 'em back together and make sure it works as a whole.

On my revision list I have:

-One chapter that needs to be drafted (the biggest priority right now).
-One chapter that I don't really like, so I need to fix that.
-Two chapters that are messy and full of telling vs. showing.
-Two chapters with messy beginnings, but the rest is okay.
-Three chapters that need more description/world building.
-Three chapters that are supposed to be heavy/emotional, so I need to make sure that is accomplished.
-Three chapters that need general smoothing out-- adverbs, dialogue tags, little bits of telling vs. showing, that sort of thing.
-Two chapters that are pretty much polished/done (for now).

Today I'll be working on the chapter that needs to be drafted, and adding about 3K words in the process. Which is fantastic, as I want to beef up the story. It's looking a little anemic at 46K.

Okay, this is the part where you guys tell me your revisions are just as obsessive compulsive as this and I am not a crazy person, and this is completely normal (normal for writers, not normal for regular, sane human beings).


Saturday, March 20, 2010


It's 5:30 a.m.

I work in six hours.

I wrote about 5K words today.

And I'm very happy to announce:


Complete at 46,021 words, quite short of my projected word count of 60K.

It will beef up a bit in edits. I already know of a couple scenes I need to add or flesh out. It'll probably end up around 55K.


I'm so happy to be done with this stage!

Let the revising begin!

(But first I think I'll sleep for a while.)



Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

I've seen quite a few reviews of this book, and people are raving about it. I mean, one blogger loved it so much she decided to have a Body Finder themed birthday party, complete with an awesome cake.

The Body Finder was intense and gripping, with a hefty side of romance. I've read a lot of love triangles lately, so it was nice to see a different kind of relationship-- a girl pining after a boy who's been her best friend since they were kids. Violet is really likable, and right away I was on her side and wanting her to end up with Jay. I loved how Derting developed the relationship, it was very well written. I could feel Violet's pain from being close to Jay all the time while never being close enough, and I was really rooting for them to get together. I thought it was so accurate of many high school crushes.

The paranormal aspects of the story hooked me from the prologue. (Side note: TBF is a great example of a prologue that works. It was short, relevant and grabbed my attention immediately.) I also loved that there were a few chapters scattered throughout from the killer's point of view. It kept the tension high while also giving a look inside his very warped mind.

I did see the twist coming early on, but the paranormal and romantic elements keep this serial killer story fresh and unique. My only complaint was that the last chapter ended immediately after the climax, and the epilogue picked up a two months later and was just a few pages long. I know this is common for suspense stories, but I would have liked a bit more. While a little on the abrupt side, it was still totally satisfying and didn't feel rushed or unfinished. It's the kind of ending that leaves you breathless.

Overall, The Body Finder was another amazing debut (2010 is proving to be a great year for books!) and I can't wait for Kimberly's next novel, Desires of the Dead, which is a sequel to TBF and due out in 2011!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Three Words

Imagine your novel just debuted, and it's making the rounds on the blogosphere book review circuit. And people are loving it! You're getting rave reviews! (Stop drooling.)

Can you picture it?

Good. What are people saying?

I can't recall the specific site (it's probably several) but I remember reading a book review in which the reviewer chose three words to describe the book overall. My reaction: That's a great thing for writers to figure out to better understand their ms!

You don't want generic words like "entertaining" or "well-written" because obviously your book should be those things anyway. Be as specific as you can. Try to capture the essence of the book. Try to capture what mood you want to leave your readers in.

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with this:

The Temper - cool, comical, and quirky

Okay, okay, cool isn't super specific, but it's just the best word for some of the things that go down in this book. I mean, using a block of ice to surf on a gigantic wave in an exploding lake? That's just cool. I want The Temper to come off as funny, but comical is a better word choice because I want it to feel sort of comic book-y and humorous. Then I chose quirky because the characters are on the strange side, and a lot of the superpowers are absurd.

After I finish The Temper (Soooooon, I hope!) and jump into revising, I'm going to keep these three words in mind. It will help me cut, create or tweak sentences and paragraphs to better convey what I want my story to be.

You guys know the drill...

What three words would YOU choose to describe your current wip?


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Okay! So I went ahead and registered katokeeffe.com

All my comments disappeared :(

But now it's done! Things will be a little sketch here over the next couple of days, so if any links are acting crazy, let me know and I'll try to fix it!

And now I can rest easy knowing that another Kat O'Keeffe isn't going to sneak up and steal my domain name! Whew!


UPDATE 5:15 PM: Holy guacamole, my comments are back! I'm not sure if this is temporary, as they're still a little wonky, but they're back!

By Any Other Name

I redid my blog layout! If you're reading in Google Reader you might need to click through to see. The pretty layout of black with green, blue and pink swirls disappeared (I think the site hosting the background picture died). It made me sad, but I've also been meaning to change my layout for a while, so maybe it was just the push I needed. Plus, I spent a couple hours in photoshop creating a cool little header. Pretty.

I was also considering registering my domain name so instead of www.kat-tastic.blogspot.com it'd be something like katokeeffe.com, which is much more professional.

HOWEVER, there are two things holding me up.

First, I would lose all my comments. Every comment on every post is saved to the site kat-tastic.blogspot.com, so if I change it, all my wonderful comments from all my wonderful blogging friends (you guys!) would be lost FOREVER.

Second, I'm not sure which domain name I would want.
A totally different pseudonym?

I'm not sure if I should register, say, katokeeffe.com because what if an agent or publisher thinks I should write under a gender neutral name, a la J.K. Rowling? Or a different name altogether?

On the flip side, now that blogger has this new page feature so your blog can look more like a real website, wouldn't I want it to be as professional as possible? And plus, if I'm going to register a name and lose all the comments eventually, wouldn't sooner be better? When I query The Temper (soon I hope!) I'd like to include my blog address so agents can check it out if they like. But is kat-tastic.blogspot.com too unprofessional sounding?

It's all very confusing. Maybe I should just query Kathleen Ortiz, a jr agent and foreign rights manager. She runs a publishing blog at kortizzle.blogspot.com. Not only do we share the same first name (and the same initials, ha!) but it seems like she'd get me.

What do you guys think?
Have you registered a domain name yet?
Are you planning to write under your own name, or a pseudonym?

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Book Signings

I live in the middle of nowhere.

Okay, that's not true. I live in the middle of northern California. But close enough.

The coast is an hour and a half away. San Francisco is about 2 1/2 hours away. And my town only has two Starbucks. Scary, eh? We have one main local bookstore (no Borders or BN here!) and they never have author signings.

However, last week there was a book signing in Petaluma, which is only about an hour away. The author was Lauren Oliver, the book was Before I Fall. And I missed it because I didn't even know about it! Very sad-making. I've heard Lauren is awesome.

Lucky for me, Daisy Whitney (who is also awesome and whose novel The Mockingbirds debuts this fall) did go to the signing and she was nice enough to get me a personalized copy!


I'm still a little bummed I couldn't go myself, but now I'm keeping an eye out for signings I might want to attend. And guess what I found?

John Green and David Levithan for Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Monday April 26, 7PM / Books Inc/Not Your Mothers Book Club / 601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco CA

So, yes. I'm going to that. San Fran is a couple hours away but it'll be worth it. I love John Green's books, and everyone says David Levithan is great, so I can't wait to meet them both!

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to book signing?
Which author would you love to meet?

Also, if you live in the SF bay area, are you planning to go to this event? If so, let me know! Maybe we can get lunch and gush about books! :)

Another also, I love HarperCollins so very much. They've sent me more books, but instead of ARCs they gave me finished copies! Of books that don't come out until tomorrow! I love them (the books, and the wonderful people at HarperCollins). Can't wait to read!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Debut Ponderings

Most aspiring authors spend a lot of time dreaming about the one. Their debut novel. Their first adventure into the world of publishing.

One problem: Which one is the one?

I have a lot of ideas. And I mean A LOT. Last count I had... (skims through notebook quickly) (Gulps) (Skims through again, double checking obscene number) (Oh, wow, it's accurate) SEVENTY-FOUR IDEAS. Whoa.

Okay, so some of these seventy-four ideas are just barely ideas. One sentence describing a very very brief story. Some I've actually thought a lot about. Some have character names.

Some are just things I wrote down on a whim, like when Colleen Lindsay said she wanted a YA steampunk novel about girl gangsters in the 19th century, or when all the hoopla was going on about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I decided I was going to jump on the bandwagon and write a zombie Hamlet story called Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Undead. (I *still* think that's a good idea.) But I have to face reality: there is a very, super slim chance I will ever outline one of these two novel ideas let alone write it. There's potential sure, each of those could totally be flushed out into a whole story, but will I ever do it? Meh. Probably not.

Of the seventy-four ideas, let me count how many I actually have outlined and plan to write... Okay, thirty-six. That's, uh, a little better.

Now let's narrow it down even more, of those thirty-six, which ones do I really want to see published. Which ones am I willing to put all the hard work into to bring them to life.... twenty-one.

Now of those twenty-one, which ones would I want to be my debut... I can narrow it down to ten. Ten fully formed ideas, all of which have at least a basic outline. All of them have character names. All of them have different plots.

But the main thing is, as a debut, each would take my career in a different direction. It's all about author branding. If your debut is about a teen boy who saves the city from a supervillain, then your sophomore novel probably won't be a sweeping historical romance. (Actually, no, I don't have any ideas for a sweeping historical romance. Which is weird, because you'd think out of 74 at least one might be... but no.)

I have a little chart in one of my notebooks, showing the possible course of projects if a certain project is my debut. For example, The Temper -> Temper Sequel -> Wanted (bounty hunters) -> The Cure (zombies) -> Blood Ties. The first four books feature a boy MC, though The Cure has a strong romance plot. I think of it this way: fans of Temper would like Wanted, fans of Wanted would like The Cure, fans of The Cure would like Blood Ties. But not all fans of Temper would like Blood Ties, and probably wouldn't like that jump. It's all about building your audience/fan base while still appealing to the original fans.

But lets say Temper isn't my debut. Lets say Blood Ties is. The following novels would be totally different. Blood Ties -> Blood Bonds (sequel) -> The Cure -> Wanted -> Temper. Of course, this is just one progression, purposely made to include Temper at some point. I could stretch it out a lot longer, filling in more girly type novels before The Cure, like Plural of Love, or Confessions of the Dead, or The Fallen (like I said, I have too many ideas.) It all depends on which direction I want to take it.

Hm. Well, those are my thoughts for the day. Keep in mind, nothing I ever say is a hard and fast rule. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm talking about :)

What's your opinion on the debut-sophomore relationship?
What novel would you like to be your debut?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Already Deja'd This Vu

When I was writing the full scene from the other day, there was a word I used quite a bit. Fireball. Now, one of the characters has the ability to create fireballs, so it's not that strange. But not too long ago, I wrote a different scene, in a different novel, also involving lots of fireballs.

It was funny to see how I used this same element (fireballs) in two completely different ways-- a romantic scene in which a magic spell goes awry, and a battle scene in which the fireballs are a weapon.

It got me thinking.

I wonder what other similarities I can find in my novels...

The element: A restaurant scene, usually accompanied with a nosy waitress
The WiPs: Untouched, Blood Ties, Temper, Plural

Hey, characters gotta eat too! For some reason I like the restaurant setting as a backdrop. You can also learn a lot about someone by what they eat and how they act in a restaurant. But mostly, it's probably because I've worked in a restaurant for three years. Write what you know, eh? In BT and Temper the restaurant scenes are really important. In Plural, Claire works as a hostess at a restaurant. In Untouched there are THREE restaurant scenes, two are important, one needs to be nixed.

* * * * *

The element: A roof scene
The WiPs: Temper, Plural of Love

When I was younger I always liked to climb on the roof. At one of my old houses the roof was really flat and in the summer my friends and I would lay on it to tan. My mom hated it. In Plural, Claire sneaks out of her house via the roof, and there's also a scene on the roof of a very tall business building. In Temper, there's a fight scene on the roof of the mall.

* * * * *

The element: A scene in a park
The WiPs: Plural, Untouched

Guess I'm still a little kid at heart. In Untouched the characters go to the park and play on the slides and swings. In Plural, the reason Claire sneaks out of her room is because she's meeting up with The Boy at a park.

* * * * *

The element: Books
The WiPs: Plural, Untouched, Blood Ties

My characters like to read. In Plural, Claire blows half her paycheck on books every week, even though she already has a huge pile waiting to be read. Familiar, eh? In Untouched, Gwen studies the rules of being a grim reaper in giant, giant book. In BT, Elle steals a ton of books from the city to teach the younger kids about magic.

* * * * *

The element: Pretending to be someone you're not
The WiPs: Blood Ties, Temper

In Temper, Connor reluctantly assumes Captain Power's identity. In BT, Elle pretends to be a pure-blood princess, when really she is a half-blood rebel. This is short to keep my secrets a secret.

* * * * *

The element: Gloves to prevent skin contact
The WiPs: Untouched, Temper

In Untouched, Gwen can't touch James or she'll kill him, so she has to wear gloves around him. In Temper, Freezepop can't touch anyone or they'll freeze. The gloves are always part of her uniform, and she only takes them off if she's serious about freezing someone.

* * * * *

The element: Montgomery
The WiPs: Plural, Temper, Untouched

I guess I'm not terribly creative when it comes to naming streets and whatnot. In Plural, Claire lives on Montgomery Street. In Temper, there's Montgomery Bridge. In Untouched, it's Montgomery Street... again. I've never lived or seen a real life Montgomery anything. I have no idea where this one came from.

* * * * *

The element: Siblings (MCs have 'em, their love interests do not)
The WiPs: Plural, Temper, Untouched, BT

Probably because I'm the oldest of three, but I've not yet written an only child. But the strange part is, all of the love interests are only children. Don't know why! I like the many different dynamics of sibling relationships. In Plural and Untouched, the MCs have younger sisters. In BT, Elle has a younger brother. In Temper, Connor has an older brother. Even in my first attempt at writing a novel, an epic fantasy which had both elves and a prologue (and elves IN the prologue) the MC had a younger sister.

There are a couple more I can think of, but this could get really spoiler-y, and I like to keep my secrets.

What elements have you used in different stories?

Saturday, March 6, 2010


"Outlines make writing boring."

I hear things like this all the time. But I disagree.

As most of you know, I'm an obsessive outliner. Before I started the actual writing part of The Temper, I wrote up a 12,000 word outline. (Yes, almost 1/4 of the projected word count for the finished story.)

Those who jump right in often believe a too-detailed outline sucks all the fun out of the first draft. There's nothing new left to discover. Nothing to hold interest. The magic is gone.

But I still have magic.

Here's an example from what I wrote today. I'll start with my rough outline notes.

(Set up: Connor is facing villain Blaze Blitz for the first time. They are on the roof of the mall, and Blaze is shooting fireballs everywhere. Connor is formulating a plan to get close enough to Blaze to be able to use his power on him.)

* * * * * * * * * *

Connor thinks: maybe my ability will work against him, if I can just get close enough...

Hiding behind roof vent, Blaze throwing fireballs, Connor jumps out to face him. Sees Freezepop creeping up behind Blaze...

Blaze turns around too late. “You little brat!” Tries to clap hands to create fireball but Freezepop touches him and he freezes.

* * * * * * * * * *

So that seems like a pretty straightforward scene. Easy to write. Each sentence gets expanded a little, details get filled in. So... where's the magic?

The magic comes as I fill in the details. As I create the dialogue off the top of my head. As the brilliant way to make this scene flow hits me.

After writing it all out, this is what I ended up with.

* * * * * * * * * *

Connor kept his back pressed against the metal of the vent. Then he heard footsteps crunching toward him, and Blaze calling in a sing-song voice. “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

When the footsteps were close enough, Connor took a breath and jumped out. “Surprise.”

Blaze startled a little, but his feet stayed firmly on the ground. He giggled and shook a finger at Connor as though he were chastising a young child. “You are a tricky little thing.”

“I thought you liked to play games.” Connor boldly held the villain's gaze. But when he saw the streak of Freezepop's blue hair creeping up behind Blaze, it took everything not to call out.

“I do like to play!” Blaze grinned again. “How about a round of my favorite game. It's called Setting People on Fire.”

“That sounds boring.” Connor shrugged, purposely keeping his eyes away from Freezepop as she approached. When she was right behind Blaze, she peeled off one of her gloves and shot Connor a pointed look.

Connor smiled. “How about Tag?”

“I love Tag!” Blaze squealed. “People running and screaming and fleeing! Such fun.”

“Great.” Freezepop stepped out from behind Blaze and smiled sweetly at him. “You're it.”

“What the--” Blaze started to clap his hands together, but he was too slow. Freezepop grabbed his arm and his whole body went rigid, his face frozen in a comically shocked expression.

* * * * * * * * * *

The little riff about playing games came to me totally on the fly. It's things like this that make the first draft fun and exciting, even with a detailed outline.

It's my own kind of magic. And it's never boring.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Encouragement Project

I have a problem. I procrastinate. A lot. I know it's bad, I know I should sit down and just start writing. But sometimes it's hard.

So I'm going to try something new. I'm calling it The Encouragement Project.

Sometimes I feel disheartened when I read other people's success stories. I mean, of course I'm happy for them, especially if they are blogger friends. But, yeah, I'm also jealous. I want that success for myself. And when I hear about their fantastic news then compare it to the mountain of work I still need to do on my own projects, the road just seems so long.

Just as some things can leave me feeling hopeless, there are plenty of things that encourage me. Motivate me. Things that make me want to open up my WiP and get right to work. Especially comments people have left me, like all the various ones saying that they love my log line, or that my idea sounds fun and awesome, or that my title is fantastic. All of this sticks with me, and really brightens my outlook.

And every now and then I get amazing comments like this one (on my Books, Books, Books post in Jan):

Dani. said...

Also, this is really random, but I so hope your books get published-- you're hilarious and your WIPs sound awesome! They would totally make my "(whatever year it happens to be) anticipated books"!!!! :]

Totally made my day :)

Then there are the comments on my actual writings. Sometimes critiques can be a little discouraging because it shows me how much work I *still* need to do, but for the most part, it's helpful and motivating. Especially when they say they can't wait to read more and truly mean it.

When I posted my 1000 words of Temper over on the Teen Fire site, I got some great encouraging comments from other authors-- and a couple from members of the Sourcebooks editorial staff:

Reply from Aubrey P.:
(Sourcebooks Editorial Staff) Wow! Great start. You have an incredibly solid beginning here. You know how to reveal character by showing and not just telling the audience. I'm very intrigued and want to know more, which, as someone who reads a lot of manuscript submissions, I can tell you is a very good sign. The style and tone sort of remind me of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog http://www.drhorrible.com/ (which is incredibly funny for all you Fire addicts who haven't seen it). Keep up the good work.

Reply from Denise M.:
(Sourcebooks Editorial Staff). This is great fun to read. It's really original. You truly masterfully cross the superhero world with the real world and come up with a story that is both touching and funny at the same time. Excellent writing, great story. You've got something really special here.

Um, compliments from people who search slush for publishable works? Hi, encouragement!

So this is what I'm going to do: I'm going to collect all these comments and notes and keep them in a file. Then whenever I'm feeling down or suffering from a nasty bout of Isuckititis and want to delete everything I've ever written and choose a nice, safe career like the person who fills up gumball machines when they get low, I'll just open the file, read a little bit, and feel better.

If anything, it will be nice to keep all these encouraging words in one place.

How do you stay motivated when you're feeling down about your writing?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Goalsies

Hey, uh, what happened to February?

This month my goals are straight to the point.

1. Finish Temper
It needs about 25K to complete the draft. I also want to take care of the edits/rewrites I know I'll have to do. I want to get it out to first round betas next month.

2. Blog
Regular blog posts!

3. Comment
Reply to those who take the time to comment on my blog.

4. Read
I'm not setting a number of books this month, because I want to focus on writing. Besides, I know I'll make up for it when I'm querying and revising.

Ta da! Nice and easy.

Time to get started!

<3 Kat

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Recap

So. My Feb goals were as follows:

1. Write 30K on any projects

What Happened: Fail
I wrote about 20K, which is good, but totally slacker-y. February was like The Month of Slacking. Which is strange, because last year it was super productive. Hopefully I'll get more done in March! I wrote about 15K on Temper, and the other 5K was on misc. other projects.

2. Fix Blood Ties

What Happened: Win
I deleted what needed to be deleted and figured out what to do.

3. Write 10 blog posts this month

What Happened: Win!
I wrote 12! Yay for semi-steady blogging!

4. Comment on friends' blogs more

What Happened: Win! (I think!)
I tried to make sure I commented back on everyone who left me a comment! If I missed you, I'm sorry, it wasn't on purpose!

I really liked doing this, though. I think I'll keep it up. It was a lot of fun, and it made me feel more connected to our awesome little blogging community :)

5. Read 8 books

What Happened: Win!
I read 9 books! Mini-reviews on each are below the goal recap.

6. Turn twenty-two!

What Happened: Win(?)
What the heck? Why was this a goal again? I must have been chugging Red Bull when I wrote up last months' goal post.

7. There is no seventh goal, but I have a strange affinity for prime numbers

What Happened: Yeah... clearly I'm insane...

Moving on...

* * * * * * * * * *

Books I read in February

1. Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
Barking spiders, this book was good! My first Westerfeld book, and I couldn't put it down! I learned a lot about pacing and tension from this book, and the world building was top notch. The characters were fun, and the alternating POVs totally worked. I know some other reviewers didn't like how late in the book the two MCs met, but I thought it was perfect. We need to see exactly how the characters came to be where they were when they met. Plus, when they do meet, it's superfast paced from that point til the end. Can't wait for the sequel in Oct.

2. Cracked Up To Be - Courtney Summers
This was just as good as everyone made it out to be. The main character, Parker, was hilarious and it was interesting being in her head. This is a great realistic and gritty YA novel. Some Girls Are is at the top of my TBR pile.

3. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
An amazing debut. You can read my full review here.

4. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
I enjoyed this book, but I like Green's first person novels better. 3rd person was kind of hard to get into, and I felt really disconnected in the beginning. About halfway through I started to get into it, and by the end I really liked it. My favorites were the parts where it was only dialogue. John Green is great with dialogue.

5. The Naughty List - Suzanne Young
This book so surprised me! I was expecting a cute, fun read (which it totally was!) but the ending almost had me in tears! Serioulsy. Aside from the craziness of the cheerleaders-as-spies thing, the characters deal with very real things, and, though sad and a bit shocking, I loved the climax. The resolution was sweet, and I can't wait for the sequel. I bet it'll be totally strawberry smoothie.

6. A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker
The first chapter was hard for me to get into, but after that it all fell into place. This novel was hilarious, and I had to put it down at times because I was laughing so hard. My only beef is that I don't understand why they hated the marriage ed thing so much. I get that it was kinda crappy to make it required to graduate, but to stage protests and stand up to it like that? Come on, it wasn't that bad. Gym is worse. Protest that.

7. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Yes, yes, yes. Fantastic sci fi/dystopia book. I loved the worldbuilding. Westerfeld is amazing at worldbuilding.

8. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
My favorite of the series. Great use 3rd person, but the dialogue really stood out for me. Tally was hilarious in this book. I loved the romance, and the ending was surprising and sad at the same time.

9. Specials - Scott Westerfeld
This whole book was just sad for me, from beginning to end. I hated seeing what Tally had been turned into, and how it changed who she was. The ending was sad, but after reading this series and Before I Fall, I don't think I like the everything-is-wrapped-up-with-a-shiny-bow/bubbly happy ending as much as I like the bittersweet ending. The bittersweet ending just gives the book a certain something that makes it better.