Posts tagged writing
A Day in the Life (3)

a day in the life

Hey y'all!For those of you who haven't seen this feature before, I started A Day in the Life just to give y'all updates on what I'm reading, thinking, and what's going on in the bookish world! I hope y'all enjoy! A LOT has been going on with me recently and I'm reading three books at once so I have a lot to say! Here goes:The Books:

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan - I'm reading this one at the moment and my feelings are kind of mixed. On one hand, I love the idea of the story and I ADORE stories that take place in New York City. But it's taking forever to get really started with any kind of action and it's just gotten kind of boring. Honestly, I want to be HOOKED. Hopefully, this improved. Andrea Cremer tends to use a lot of world-building and while that's excellent in fast-paced books and extravagant books such as Nightshade, it doesn't really work that well when combined with a slower plot. I'll finish reading it this weekend and let y'all know what I thought!The Life:Chorus and friends are honestly taking over my life right now. My chorus teacher has this crazy idea that chorus should be the number one priority in our lives and I've had rehearsal so much. Last week, we had Madrigals, a Renaissance-style musical/concert that involved us dressing up as peasants. (See the Twitter picture if you don't believe me.) Friends are being confusing but there's not really that much I can do about that but try to be supportive while wishing that I could be curled up in the corner with a book. I also have a ton of writing things going on (see "The News" below). The problem is that I don't really want to get that involved with my school because there's a chance that I might leave it and at this point, I want to. I enjoy it enough but I really don't like certain parts of it and Interlochen sounds like a fantastic opportunity for me.The Posts:I recently wrote a post Silver Linings: Writing that basically covered all of the writing things that are going on right now for me. It explains what I think about my writing, Interlochen, NaNoWriMo, and more.Last Friday, I revealed the cover for Fanged Princess on the blog. Check out this gorgeous and gothic cover!The News:Today, I won my school's Poetry Jam with my poem "Wallflowers". It's not quite the version that I uploaded on my blog a few weeks ago, but it's close. This means that not only was I lugging around my 1st-place trophy all day, but I'm going to be my school's representative in the District competition. Like I said above, I'm a little hesitant about getting too involved in my school now, and also, I don't want to focus on poetry and whatnot. One of the strengths of Interlochen as opposed to just entering local writing contests is that I feel like that makes me more limited. I do want to focus on novel-writing but frankly, the arts programs down here aren't amazing. They're enough, but I feel like it's just a much better community for me if I attempt to go to Interlochen.The other news: I'm applying for an Interlochen scholarship. Interlochen is an incredible performing arts boarding school filled with passionate young artists. They're currently running a scholarship contest (The Virginia B. Ball Scholarship Contest) and it's one of the only chances that I have to actually get my parents to look at the school.I don't really know. Also, I want to also focus on editing and publishing instead of devoting ALL MY TIME to writing. While writing short stories and poetry is awesome, the publishing business for YA books and whatnot is what I want my life to be devoted to instead of that other writing scene. There's a difference. I'm entering the Interlochen competition and if I'm a finalist, I'm going to figure out what to do from there so that I can get the best of both words.I've also been editing a TON recently. There's an amazing editing opportunity for me coming up in January (that I'm unsure whether I can disclose or not) so I've been critiquing a lot more than I usually do for practice. I definitely want to keep immersed in editing as well as blogging and writing. I love writing, but I want publishing and that world to take precedence over that.I'm saving up to go to BookExpo America (because there may be an opportunity for me to take exams early and be able to go!), as well as normal camp and Interlochen camp. I want to go to all three, which is really expensive obviously. I think I'll be able to because I really only have to pay for BEA, but I'm still basically not going to be buying much in the spring (ahh! book budget!).Other:

Riffle is so unbelievably awesome. It's like Wanelo, but with books! You can create lists of books, recommend books, be "interested" in books, or "finish" books. It's like a mixture of Pinterest and Goodreads! Social media for book nerds - I think yes! I'm a beta user right now and I'm absolutely in love with it. You definitely know what I'll be doing this weekend!That's it for A Day in the Life this week! Thanks so much for reading! I hope y'all enjoyed!Grace

Silver Linings: Writing

Silver Linings

With the beginning of December comes the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of deadlines. Last month and this month have been HUGE writing months for me. I love reading more than life, but my true calling is writing. I love untangling words and letting them pour out of the deepest parts of my soul. I love imbuing descriptions and ideas with my emotions. I just love love love writing.NaNoWriMo was kind of a flop for me. I won, but just barely. I did plot a lot of my WIP though and I'm really excited about it. I've started two other WIPs in the past and both only got to about 30k before I got bored. They were sprawlingly drafted and I just got so frustrated with them being awful during first drafts. In my current WIP, Madly, I'm still inspired. I've been sitting on the idea since (March?) and new inspiration keeps flowing. I'm starting to get the hang of understanding how to connect all the elements together and just getting it out of my head. Even if I don't finish Madly, it's taught me a ton about how to draft and I just want to share the story. I did get to 50k with NaNo and my goal is to finish it by January 10th so I can say that I've written a book before I turned fifteen.I don't really like disclosing to people in Tampa that I'm working on a manuscript because nobody really would take it seriously. The other day at a chorus performance, a girl heard that I was involved in the publishing and writing community. She tried to pitch me her book and people were just giving her crazy looks. People usually react like that when you tell them. It's like, unless you've finished one or published one, it doesn't matter. Especially if you're my age and have a passion for it. People tell you that it's great that you're doing it, but they don't wholeheartedly believe in it.Anyways, the reason I'm writing this post isn't because of Madly or NaNoWriMo. It's about short stories and poetry and other shorter works. There are so many writing competitions coming up for me and one major one that I'm really interested in entering. I've entered writing contests before and I've won a ton of them (I don't mean to sound full of myself in saying this, but I've won or been a finalist in every contest I've entered in the past two years, which has been quite a lot) and I'm ridiculously nervous.I've been getting into poetry recently, mostly due to Amy McNamara and her excellent book Lovely, Dark, and DeepI read that she was a poet and you could definitely tell that it influenced the novel. I absolutely fell in love with her writing and her wording and was interested in getting into poetry. Another reason is because of Interlochen. The first exposure that I really had to poetry was Shel Silverstein when I was younger and the excerpt from one of Rilke's poems in Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Many of my favorite authors are poets but I wasn't really interested.After reading Lovely, Dark, and Deep, I asked Amy for poetry recommendations and she gave me an amazing list. I stalked Goodreads and the Book Depository for hours, unsure which books to start with. One of the things that I noticed about my personal style was that I really enjoyed synesthesia in poetry and interesting phrasing. I love verbs paired with ideas that they aren't really supposed to go with, and personification. I love the type of writing that you find on blogs like this one and adore lots of description.The first poetry book I actually read was The Poetry of Rilke translated by Edward Snow and it is excellent. I mostly read it in one go, but if I didn't have much time, I'd read a poem at a time. I really enjoy his description and he has a very calming voice to me. When reading poetry, I've also been getting into writing poetry.Two of the contests that I'm entering involve poetry and poetry suits my writing. I'm a very lyrical writer (at least, I'm pretty sure, judging by my personal appraisal of my voice and what others have said) and enjoy using lavish description. I struggle a bit with being concise because I tend to write very long, flowery works. That's something that I really need to work on, but my description and emotion is one of  my strengths.One of the contests is my school's Poetry Jam. It's this Thursday and I'm attending. A poet will be there. We're going to workshop, polish our poems, and then perform them. The poems will be judged by guest judges and the student with the highest score will represent my school in the District Poetry Jam. I really want to be the representative, even though I'm a freshman. Also, Starbucks is providing coffee for us - score! I'm really nervous because I can't decide which poem to perform and I really want it.I'm using Poetry Jam as an opportunity to polish one of my poems for Interlochen.Interlochen. The real reason I'm terrified this month, and writing so much.For those of you who have no idea what Interlochen is, it's a prestigious boarding school for the performing arts in Interlochen, Michigan. Their creative writing department is supposed to be amazing. Also, it's a community of teenage artists who are just as passionate about their art as I am.I got the packet for Interlochen in the mail a few weeks ago. I was aware of the school, but I heard of the scholarship and was thinking about applying. It took some convincing for my parents to even let me go for the scholarship, but I'd beat myself up if I didn't even try. I like my school now, but nobody else is as passionate about anything as I am. I just want to have the option to look at it as a serious possibility. Since it's really expensive and my parents are already wary about looking at boarding schools, it would be the only way that I could seriously look at the school. I told my parents that I was going to enter, and if I was announced as a finalist in January, I'd talk with them about the school. I have a friend whose older brother attends and he is in love with the school. It just sounds incredible.I'd really like to improve my writing. I have a few questions about the school and how much of my writing would change, but first I have to enter. The portfolio requires 3-4 poems (I'm writing four) and prose adding up to less than 5,000 words. I'm pretty sure I know which pieces that I'm entering, but some of them are just ideas that I actually have to write. The rest, I have to revise. The Poetry Jam will be a great opportunity for me to polish my poems and see what I need to work on before giving my portfolio to critique partners to look over and give feedback on. I just really want to at least be a finalist. The school is still just a vague possibility, but I'd like for it to be more concrete and that's the way for it to happen. It's ridiculously competitive and I want this so badly.I really love writing and words take up my life. I don't just love words. I need them.Wish me luck! I've been really absent on the blog recently and I feel SO guilty about that. I've been writing and stressing and working on other things but I'm trying to be more on about that. I'm going to work on Interlochen and poetry jam and several other contests that I'm entering. Excuse me while I go panic. Let me know if y'all want to see any of my work and I'll post it on the blog when I'm done polishing it! Interlochen portfolios are due on December 15th and I'm absolutely terrified. Love y'all!Grace

Silver Linings: Mood and Setting

Overall, mood is probably my favorite thing in a book. Beautiful writing doesn't do as much for me unless I'm transported back someplace. I can feel the wind or sensations that I associate with better times and different parts of myself. I love finding a book that just gives me certain feelings that I can't even begin to put into words. Mood for me means making me feel vivid sensations and not reading a book, but experiencing it.Think back to when you've felt most alive. Think back to those rare feelings that you have, the sensations that you only get to experience once a year. That dark little thrill around Halloween, settling in with candy and watching Halloweentown as it slowly gets colder outside. There's this FEELING that comes with Halloween that never happens every time of the year and I love books that capture that feeling. Around this time of year, I start hunting for those books that capture that mood. It's the same for me with winter and the beach - there are some books that I just NEED to read around that time of year to get that feeling again.This post is spurred by Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Amy McNamara, my current read. It's filled with so much mood and sensation. It's quiet, calm, and sad. The mood perfectly matches the setting; all of it is just so perfect. It's such a mood-and-setting book and it's exactly what I've been wanting in a book.Recently, I've been aching for a fall book. I want a book that just screams classic fall: vivid leaves, fall festivals, hay rides and the smell of apples and cinnamon. I've been annoyed with Florida weather because up north, people actually get seasons. I want a book that contains the season of fall. Every year around Christmas and Halloween, I do a major rereading session of all the books that remind me of those seasons. For example, I read Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins because they remind me of the feeling that I get around Halloween.There are some phrases and some writers who just manage to capture those moods perfectly. Sometimes I just want to be transported again to the first time when I read that book, when I was caught up in the story and completely forgot about my own world. I love reading those books where I'm just experiencing the same things that the characters are.There are even a few books where it's just a particular scene that I'm in love with. In I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, when Number Four and Sarah are at the carnival or festival and they go on the haunted hayride? For some reason, that scene just reminds me so much of fall. I want Halloween books around Halloween, fall books in fall, winter books in winter, and mermaid books at the beach. There are some books that are just so purely that mood that I can't help but reread them whenever I yearn to experience that sensation again. I just crave books like that.Give me mood and I'm hooked. And setting? If you've got a good setting, I'm pretty much guaranteed to love the book.For example, boarding school. Set a book at a boarding school and I'm pretty much in love. Granted, there are exceptions to this rule (Private by Kate Brian, for one, but that's mostly just because I'm not usually a fan of drama books) but I'm constantly on the search for new boarding school books. I read a lot of paranormal boarding school books as well (Hex HallFallen) because I love the setting and the genre.I'm also a sucker for the small towns. I want to live in New York, but I wish that I grew up in a small town. While reading Burn for Burn by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han, I would kill to live on that tiny island. I feel like I would get so annoyed if I grew up in a small town but I would love to live in one now. I love the idea of it. Festivals and events and community and all that. I would love to live in a picturesque small town, the one that you read about in books or you see in movies.When I was younger, I wanted to live in a small town by the ocean. My point is that I love reading small town books now just because I love the classic feel of them. Lovely, Dark, and Deep is set in a small, wintery town by the ocean. The mixture of snow and ocean as a setting just kills me. I'm in love with it! The setting perfectly matches Wren's emotions and it just makes for an incredible experience.Setting and mood are the number one most important traits in a book for me. I appreciate beautiful writing but it has to weave in the mood and setting. I'm a sucker for imagery, even purple prose. As long as it paints a picture in my head, I'm good. The most beautiful writing for me is the writing that can transport me back with only a few words.The point of this blog post is just to talk about those books that remind you of certain feelings and settings. What are your Halloween books? Are they different from your fall books? What books do you read that just serve as a tugging reminder to a certain memory? Which books do you read when you want to experience something again? Which books just paint such a vivid picture in your head of a particular time that you just have to reread them again? Are setting and mood the most important traits for you?

Blog Tour and Guest Post: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Hey y'all! It's Grace. Today, I'm hosting Kat Rosenfield for a blog tour hosted by Gabrielle from The Mod Podge Bookshelf!

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone was published July 5 by Dutton Juvenile.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.

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Today, Kat Rosenfield is going to be talking about first drafts. I'm currently working on the first draft of something, and I can definitely emphasize with this! I hope y'all enjoy!

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FIRST DRAFTS by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne Richardson died for the first time six years ago, behind the closed door of my bedroom in Brooklyn, to the sound of the clicking keys of a laptop that's now long-dead. At the time, I didn't know why or how she'd died, or even who'd killed her; I only knew that her story began at the end, with a broken body on a scorched asphalt road, with the rising sun glaring in two lifeless eyes.

Some people say that first drafts are throwaways, a warm-up, the layer you have to peel off of your brain before you can really write your story. And since my book was published, people love to ask me about mine — how much the story has changed since the first time I told it, between rewrites and revisions and edits line-by-line.

In some ways, the answer is, "Completely." The very first draft of my book was a mess, a mangled, multiple-personality-disordered chimera that wasn't how it wanted to unfold, or if it even could. And over the years it took to tell and re-tell the story, it took shape in unanticipated and wild ways. Scenes evolved, settings shifted, characters changed or merged or disappeared entirely. By the time AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE found its way onto shelves this month, Amelia Anne Richardson had died a half-dozen times — in different ways, at different hands, in moments that ranged from tragic to terrible. And yes, it was a completely different story from the one I first told all those years ago.

Except that it isn't.

Because a first draft is the story. It's everything you think it could be, and everything you don't yet know it will be, dragged out in the open and placed out in front of you, where you can see it from every side. And though the raw material of a first draft may be ugly, and shapeless, and hiding deep, dark flaws beneath its misshapen, mottled skin, it's anything but a throaway. Even if you slice it into pieces; even if you cut it off at the knees; even if you whittle away at its middle until it collapses under its own ungainly weight. And however slick and streamlined your story becomes when it shows up at your door, printed and bound and wrapped up in pretty paper, you'll see the first draft in it — in its bones, in its mood, in a single sentence that made it all the way through without changing even once.

Of course, I'll still continue to talk about hard work and long hours when people ask me how my story has changed since that first draft. I'll tell them about revisions. I'll tell them about character development. I'll tell them about the thousands of words that appeared, and disappeared, in the time it took to make the story take shape. And it'll all be true.

But so will this: Amelia Anne has been dead and gone since the very first word hit the page.

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Kat Rosenfield is a freelance writer and YA author. She lives in New England, but that might change.

Thank you so much Kat! I'm so glad that I got to read this. If y'all are interested in reading more of Kat's beautiful guest posts, entering giveaways for copies of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, interviews, or reviews, check out the rest of the schedule that Gabrielle has put together!

Please find the schedule below, filled with poignant guest blogs, intriguing interviews and generous giveaways!
7/9- Kick-off & Giveaway at The Mod Podge Bookshelf7/10- Interview at Rescue Reads7/12- Review at The Story Siren7/13- Guest Blog at author Kelsey Sutton’s Blog7/15- Debut Author Spotlight Interview & Giveaway at Page Turners Blog7/16- Guest Blog at 365 Days of Reading7/17- Guest Blog at Magnet For Books7/18- Interview at Steph Su Reads7/19- Giveaway at YA Bliss7/20- Interview & Giveaway at Reading or Breathing7/21- Review at The Mod Podge Bookshelf7/22- Giveaway at Midnight Garden7/23- Guest Blog and Giveaway at Reading Away the Days7/24- Giveaway at Books to Consider7/25- Guest Blog at Words Like Silver7/26- Review at Making the Grade7/27- Interview at Book Chic7/28- Guest Blog at The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Thank you to all my bookish pals for helping kick off Mod Podge Blog Tours!
For more info on future tours, as well as author info for being hosted on MPB, please check out the new Mod Podge Blog Tour Page on The Mod Podge Bookshelf.