Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First Drafts

I always find it really interesting to hear how long it takes various writers to pen their first draft. I've heard many writers have written their first draft in only a month, or six weeks. Then again I've heard others who have taken one year, or even ten! As much as I'd love to write my first draft in a month, that just wouldn't happen! On average I usually only get an hour or two each day to write, if that and I just don't have the ability to power through and pump out three chapters in that time frame!

So I'm wondering, how long does it take you, on average, to write your first draft? Which way to you write? Do you just let all your words flow out and fix it later or do you continue refining and really think about the content that's going into each chapter.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The new look

If you've been a visitor to my blog in the past you'll know it used to look very different. It looked somewhat .. sad and cheap!

Well I logged into my blog the other day and found it looking completely different. A butterfly background, this awesome vintage looking book header... it looked SO much better.

I didn't do this. But I soon found out who did.

My amazing man has been living in a different city from me for two months now. We're finding the long distance thing pretty hard. He'd been talking for months about making my blog look more visually appealing (that was the designer in him talking), but I didn't know what I wanted done with it so I just left it.

He had a few days off work a few weeks ago and decided to revamp my blog to surprise me. He made the whole thing from scratch (the designer noob in me is so super impressed). I love it, I think it represents me much better, it looks more sophisticated and classy.

So I just want to write this quick post to thank him for doing this for me. I love it and my blog is DEFINITELY more visually appealing now!

What do you all think? :) 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Withdrawal Pains

I have 'em. Withdrawal pains. From America. Sad, isn't it?

For those who don't know, I recently returned to New Zealand from a mind blowingly amazing 12 months living in New York and over 2 months travelling the USA.  I had what is quite possibly the most incredible experience of my life. I learnt so much about the country, the culture and of course myself. I have a lot to thank America for, and there is so much I miss about it.

I thought I was ready to leave New York. I thought it was time to move on and see what was around the next corner. While I was right to an extent, I was also so so wrong.

I've spent the last two months having serious withdrawal symptoms. Primarily for New York, but also for America in general. I miss it. I want to take off to Chicago this weekend, or spend a few days down in Florida...but I can't. It's too far and too expensive.

I miss the friends I made in America, and I miss my amazing roommate, and gluten free cinnamon chex! I miss the architecture, the history and the vibrancy.... I miss it all so much. I'm longing to go back, and my FH is the same.

America is such an incredible place, with so much diversity and intrigue. There's so much left for me to explore and I'm really not ready to move on from my love of New York and America.

If you have anything to say to take away the pain of these withdrawal symptoms, please, be my guest! Obviously this has nothing to do with writing, or reading. But I know so many of you live in America, and I'd love it if you could make me jealous but telling me about your town :D

I would love to hear any stories any of you Americans have of your incredible country, or any stories you non-Americans have of your travels through America. Please help my withdrawal pains!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let's HOP! The Next Big Thing :)

So today I woke up to a lovely surprise. Colin Smith tagged me in a bloghop called "The Next Big Thing". I'm super honoured to have been tagged! This bloghop is about one's current WIP. Now mine, while it's been forming in my brain for almost a year, the writing is still very much in the early stages, so we'll see how much I can answer without giving too much away!

What is the working title of your book?
I actually don't have one at the moment. I'm going off various things like A New World and silly ones like that because the right name hasn't come to me yet...

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea actually came out of an idea I had for a different story. I'd set this other story in dystopian earth inside a dome. However I found there were quite a number of books like this including one that was released around the time I was in the brainstorm phase. So I reworked it a little, changed the location, the premise and a number of aspects about the story and it evolved from there. My idea for this book is much better than my original idea now I think about it.

Aside from that the idea from this book came from the question - what would we be like if we as humans had gone in a different direction. If we hadn't evolved into this world of technology, materialism, and money hungry people. How different would we be if we had gone down a different path. What would our world be like? So the basis of my idea came from that.

What genre does your book fall under?
I would say it's a YA Sci-Fi meets Romance meets Drama ... It's a bit of a mash up really. My sci-fi mad brother in law insists that it's entirely sci-fi. I wouldn't go that far....

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This wasn't something I'd even thought about, and I haven't had a lot of time to think about this question but I have to say Clare Bowen, who is an Australian actress and currently stars in Nashville, would be the perfect Verra (the girl the story centres around). I can clearly see my main male character, Archie, being played by Asher Book. Other guys in Verra's life I'd love to be seen to be played by Matt Prokop, Austin Butler, Cody Linley, Alex Pettyfer and Jeremy Sumpter.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Verra's community is left in a state of grief after the humans from behind the wall begin stealing the community's children.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm hoping it'll be represented! I'm hoping there's an agent somewhere who would love to represent me and help get the story out to the masses!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I still haven't finished! It's a long term work in process. I started writing in February and I'm only up to chapter four...!

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Hmm that's a hard one. It has elements of I am Number Four I guess, maybe elements of The Host....Also Rabbit Proof Fence. It's hard to really compare it to others at this stage when I've got a very much incomplete WIP!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My Mum, my man and my kindle! I got really into reading on my kindle which meant I was suddenly reading a lot more books than I was before. My mum then told me she believed I would write my own book one day and my man encouraged me to go with it. It snowballed from there!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has elements of real life. It looks at a young girl who is taken from her community and all she knows and placed in an environment which is so completely different from her own. (That is based on the stolen generations of Australia.) Verra and her community have very strong Maori elements to it, and it really looks at a different way of life.

Okay, now it's time to hear about other people's WIPs! I hope you guys haven't been tagged already..!

Jaime Morrow
Jess Khoury
Daisy Carter

Monday, April 8, 2013

Full Time Work

As many of you know, in January I moved back to New Zealand after living in New York for a year. I soon landed my dream job. The type of job that I've been working towards so far in my short career. Naturally I was supremely happy. The job is full time. Beyond full time in fact. I'm working on a festival circuit so as anyone who has worked for festivals or events knows, the job can be crazy demanding. Full time plus overtime means you have very little free time.

When I get home after work and my gym session, all I want to do is crash in front of my laptop and watch one of my favourite TV shows and just zone out. I'm exhausted. Of course many of my favourite shows are now on their "in between season" breaks since it's coming into summer in America (jealousy), and so I have a little more free time in the evenings, so I just have to see if I can muster enough brainpower to get back behind the laptop and drum out some more words for my story.

I know there are quite a few of you who have been juggling full time work with writing for a long time, and I would love to know .... how on earth do you do it? How do you have the energy to start writing after a full on, demanding day at work? Do you write for long? Do you get much done? Or do you save your writing until the weekends?

Whatever it is you do, you guys must be super heros!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

RTW: A character as my guide

Road Trip Wednesday is a Blog Carnival where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing-or-reading related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic

This weeks question -  If you could visit any country with a fictional character as your guide, who would you pick and where would you go?

I'm actually finding this quite a difficult question to answer. Not because I don't know which character or which country, but because there are so many possible places and characters I could choose!

The first one I would choose would be going to the countryside of the UK with Draco Malfoy as my guide. I think deep down he's got a bit of a soft spot and as we found at the end of the series, he's not as evil as he once thought he was. He could show me around the world behind the world. He could show me the magical world! I think that'd be pretty awesome!

Secondly I'd like to go to Chicago, USA and have Four (from Divergent) show me around the factioned society of the futuristic society. Although a guy who throws knives at the girl he likes doesn't do much for me, I think he'd be a pretty interesting guy to get to know and have as a guide around this treacherous place.

Lastly I'd like Jace from Mortal Instruments to take me to The City of Glass and show me around, then him and I could travel Europe together and I think that'd be pretty awesome!

There is one other... there's a character in the book I'm writing at the moment.. his name is Archie and he lives in a place like no other. I'd love to meet Archie and be taken around the place he lives, to learn more about it and to really get inside his head. I think that'd be pretty cool. 

What about you? Who would you choose and where would you go?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
Written By: Jay Asher
Published By: Razorbill
Published On: 2007
Pages: 289

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic.

This book had been top of my list for a while now. I'm not quite sure why, it just seemed like suddenly I was hearing about it everywhere I went.
I was lucky enough to have a friend lend it to me on my return to New Zealand and I finally got a chance to read it. In the limited reading time I have, I managed to get through the book pretty quickly.

It's kind of morbid but this kind of subject in a book really captivates me - that is, the subject of suicide.

Clay Jenson is the "nice guy" of his school, who had a long time crush on Hannah Baker, the girl with the reputation. He always assumed he was out of her league, but he didn't realise how much he didn't know about her until her suicide tapes arrive on his doorstep one afternoon after school. The tapes blame thirteen people for her suicide - and each person she blames will at some point be recieving the tapes.

Clay can't figure out what he did to Hannah to make him be on these tapes. Especially since all he wanted was to be with this girl. So the book is set over one night as he wanders his neighbourhood, going to places of importance to Hannah and listening to her story.

The book has a split narration style, but it's actually done in such a way that you barely notice it's a split narrative. Interspersed with Hannah's words, and her story are Clay's thoughts about Hannah's narration and interactions with others around his neighbourhood.

I found the book very easy to read, it captured me immediately and I wanted to keep reading until I found out what Clay had done to earn a place on those tapes. After I found out, I still didn't want to put the book down as I wanted to know how the tapes had affected everyone else who's names were on Hannah's list. Hannah's "Baker's dozen".

I did, sometimes, find Clay's reaction a little hard to believe, and a little unrealisitic. I get that finding and listening to those tapes would have been really difficult and heartbreaking, but I also think at times Clay's reaction was a little over the top and his comments in reaction to things Hannah was saying often became a little repetitive.

When the book ended, I wasn't ready. I wanted to keep reading, and find out what happened to other characters on Hannah's list after they heard the tapes. I, honestly, could have stayed in Clay's world for longer and I didn't want the book to be over!

While at times the writing of the book left a bit to be desired, I really loved this book. It was captivating, heartbreaking and interesting. I found it hard to put the book down, and it would be easy to read this book in a single day.

I would definitely recommend this book to others althoguh despite the difficult subject matter I would say it's possibly for the younger end of the Young Adult genre (although I wouldn't go younger than 15....)

I would give Thirteen Reasons Why 4 stars.