Monday, February 27, 2012

My Soapbox Post

Three things have been bugging me of late, and even though I don't like reading negative blog posts from other bloggers either, I've gotta get it off my chest and really want to know what you all feel about it. I apologize in advance for my mini-rant.

1) There is an uber famous and successful author whose fictional novels [ok, i just really wanted to say fictional novels once in my life and giggle about it :)] I CANNOT stand because the first two or three chapters usually go like this: This story I'm about to tell you is awesome. You're not even going to believe that this happened to me. Seriously, when I tell you this, you will be shaking your head in mega-unbelieving-ness.

And then I found out this uber famous author wrote his first YA book, and I heard great things about it. So I pull it off the shelf at B&N, flip to chapter one and find: This story I'm about to tell you is awesome. You're not even going to believe that this happened to me. REALLY? Just because any book you write will sell cause it has your name on it, please avoid infiltrating your fiction with your own sense of arrogance and get on with the story already.

2) What is up with the Twilight bashing? It comes in the form of attacks on Stephenie Meyer and her writing ability, to the story itself being overanalyzed and ridiculed. Even friends of mine roll their eyes about it (even though I remember back in the day when they devoured the books as fast as I did).

I think it's just a case of bashing the one on top of the pile. Am I wrong? Seriously people, live and let live.

*Note: I realize that by calling out those who criticize 'the success', I am, as a result, calling out myself based on things that bug me #1. I said this was a rant, not a logical succession of intelligent thought. :)

3) This one I am open to explanation or criticism, because I hear it from many esteemed in the writing world and maybe I just don't get it. Why do some have a problem with items in a story not being realistic? Or: that doesn't happen in real life, it shouldn't be in the book.

I'm not talking about speculative fiction that of course, contain things not of this world. Nor do I mean things that don't flow with the nature of your character as you've written him.

I'm talking about: Why can't the girl have two boys pining after her? Why can't a character maintain an edgy persona without swearing every other word? Why can't the boy say he wants to wait until after marriage to have sex...and actually mean it? :)

Why, if it's not a common occurrence in the real world, must it be kept out of fiction? Isn't that why we read fiction, to get lost in a world that isn't real but often wish it was? I don't get it.

What do you all think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Inspiration Found

So I'm humming along, writing chapter two of what is sure to be my best-seller novel (as all my books are, naturally :) and I think: this is awesomeness. Hey, I know, I'll let the husband read it. He LOVED my first chapter and has been begging for more. Then he can tell me how amazing I am and I'll have a nice warm fuzzy to get me through chapter three, and so on...

And, yeah. Well. He was bored. Why don't you add this, he suggests. Or make her do that, then yada will happen, and that will be exciting, no? Um, honey, this isn't one of your action spy novels, its a YA geared for girls with actual feelings and stuff. He says: You're right, I'm not a writer. You know better than I do. You rock my world, woman. Love and stuff.

Then, after a couple minutes of eating my humble pie, I realize he's right. Not about changing my story into a MacGyver/spy-gear/alien showdown, but that something needs to be changed. And after a long talk together, I think I've figured it out.

*will stew over it another day before (sigh) scrapping chapter two and trying again*

So when someone gives you criticism that's hard to swallow and you've built a wall in defense in front of you, see if you can take it down, brick by brick. Maybe that harsh stuff wasn't really so harsh at all, and if you look closer, you might see what it really means. And what it really means is inspiration from the unlikeliest of places that will make your story shinier than it could have been otherwise.

Want to find another source of inspiration? James A. Owen, author of Here, There Be Dragons (movie underway, btw) was the keynote speaker at LTUE this year and literally left me in tears and joining the hundreds in the crowd for a two-minute standing ovation. And here is where I can pass my inspiration found to you. He is giving away an e-version of his non-fiction book, Drawing out the Dragons, absolutely free until February 22nd. Just go here, fill in your name and email and they'll send you the link to download. This book is what his entire speech was based on. So go and get it now, seriously, you will thank me.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you let your spouse critique your stuff? Have you ever drawn a dragon?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Triangles

LTUE was...interesting. I definitely learned a lot, and the keynote speaker was amazing and worth all the money and attending all three days to listen to. Truly inspirational. The conference was, dare I say, a bit of a nerd-fest that I wasn't quite prepared for. Seeing as how it was for fantasy and science fiction writers, I shouldn't have been surprised. :) Still, I'm glad I went. Share with you some of my newfound wisdom, I will.

Since this is the week of loooove, I want to focus on one class I attended about Romance. The first two books I've written have a clear cut love interest and focused on whether or not those MC's should be together or not. Alas, I am a happy ending kind of girl, so you can guess what happened in the end. The third book I wrote was a middle grade adventure that has no romance, and served as a learning experience for me...I really missed that romance. So this go-round I'm back to Young Adult--and a love triangle.

I am madly in love with BOTH of my boy characters and I know my main girl is going to have just as hard a time choosing between the two as I would. Of course, I know who she will choose and why, and I'm already aching for that other guy. I have been afraid to make that other guy too desirable so my readers won't hate me forever when she chooses the one she does. A writer friend also told me that readers tend to attach to the first boy introduced in a story, so you need to be careful if the other guy is in the story first. Uh-oh.

Someone asked the panel at the conference about this, and here is what every single author there said: Do whatever you can to make your readers hate you for who the MC ends up with. What??? Yes. They said to make the choice between the two boys so difficult, both perfect options, and divide your readership across the board between Team One Boy and Team The Other Guy. Don't make one boy worse, make them both awesome.

Cue my maniacal laughter. My WIP just got THAT much funner to write. It makes so much sense to make both of these boys amazing, I'm not holding back. And I'm not worrying about readers hating me anymore. Because if I can get them to care that much about my characters and story, I've done my job.

So how do you all incorporate romance into your stories?

And oh yeah, my critique partner TARYN JUST SIGNED WITH AN AGENT! Aaaaaah! Head on over to her blog and give her some love. She deserves it! ***so excited for her***

Monday, February 6, 2012

oh happy day

I've got SIX great things to share today from the Ka'ao blogfront.

1) I reward myself with a book cover design (which may or may not involve begging the husband into designing it for me) when I finish the first draft of a's amazing how motivational this can be. Now that I'm querying my first novel, I decided as a reward for whipping it into query-shape I'd order myself a tangible copy of the book with said cool cover. And look what I got in the mail last week:
Talk about satisfying. I think I spent five minutes just smelling it and running my fingers across each page. Isn't it beautiful?

2) I hit 50 followers last week, and still growing. Who-hoo. I love the blogging community and the many friends I've made. You guys rock! Stay tuned for a fun giveaway when I hit the elusive 100 followers!

3) I finally got past the planning stages of my new WIP, the YA sci-fi, and started writing the dang thing. My notes are only about 22 single-spaced pages...I told ya...*anal writer here*. But I am so excited about this first chapter. I am revising it heavily, and it usually takes me a while to get that start right, but wow, I can't sleep at night because I'm so pumped. Also, my first chapter alone includes the following words: breasts, sex (twice), naked, damn, hell (twice), and genitalia. Not a big deal for the YA market, I know. But when the worst thing in my first book was the word damn three times (and one of those is in a different language, so doesn't really count), this kinda makes me laugh...and nervous for what else I'm gonna have to write in this one. *still excited though*

4) I am going to the LTUE conference at UVU this weekend. It's my first time and I'm so excited! Anyone else going? I hope to share some helpful notes I learn there on the blog so stay tuned.

5) I've been awarded some fun blog awards from Kelley at Between the Bookends and Victoria at Confessions of a Twenty Something Fiction Writer. Thanks ladies! Go check out their blogs right now--they are fantastic.

Each blog award comes with a slightly different set of rules, but for the sake of simplicity, I will just share 5 random facts about moi:

a. My favorite food is avocado, and if I could eat an avocado-tomato-cucumber sandwich every day for the rest of my life, I would.

b. I have a degree in Physics with a minor in both Math and Dance. Naturally, I became a writer. But, you never know when my mad tap-dancing and astronomy skills may come in handy.

c. I am part-Hawaiian and grew up on the north shore of Oahu. Of course, it took moving to the 'mainland' as an adult to realize how cool that really was. Now I get to write about all that coolness whenever I feel like it (and take frequent trips home to see my parents...for research purposes only, of course).

d. I have four amazing kids...and we homeschool. Do not ask me how I find time to write, because I honestly don't know. It involves a lot of late nights.

I want to pass these awards onto four of my favoritest peeps in the world, my critique partners Emily, Katherine, Taryn, and Robin. We all met in a class taught by the wonderful author Louise Plummer at a writer's conference, and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me and my writing. I LOVE these girls, so go and check them out right now.

6) And my final bit of great news: One of those lovely CP's of mine has some BIG NEWS to share very VERY soon. I can barely keep it in. I will let you know who and what as soon as I am allowed. Ooooh it's so hard for me to contain.:)

Have a happy day, all!