Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Draft is Finished!!!!!

Wow. I can't believe it. I've just finished my first draft of my paranormal YA!!!!! I've been closeted up for the last two months working on it. Drinking too much coffee and eating too much chocolate. But it's good and it feels fabulous to have the draft there.

It came out as 68,000 words but there are parts that I’ll need to go back and add and some scenes I’d like to expand—like the final fight scene!

Sure, it's a bare skeleton but it's something to work from. So to celebrate, Luke and I made chocolate cake.
And we made enough for you too! It's yummy and very chocolaty. Have a piece!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mapping Out Your Mystery in a Big Way

Mysteries are so much fun, not only to read but to write. Yet to write a great mystery, you've got to plant your clues at the perfect time and the right place and this is trickier than it looks.
As I began writing my tween mystery set in a French castle, I realized that there was so much going on and all in within my main character's week vacation.
To keep track of the characters and their contribution to the mystery, as well as when I was setting my clues, I decided I needed to write it down in a chart. And not any chart, but a massive one.
The picture you see here is the chart I drew up for Princess and the Pen and it's a piece of butcher paper the size of my queen sized bed (actually a little bigger). I divided my story up by days. Then I color coordinated my characters so I could see at a brief glance who was doing what in my story.
Not only did this give me a clear picture of which days the clues were placed and discovered, but it also shows me who did the planting and digging!
After I was done, I taped it to my wall and was able to see a clear picture of what was happening and when in my novel.
Give it a try! Of course when guests come over, you might want to shove your new 'wallpaper' under the bed. They might not appreciate its beauty like you do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


SCBWI now has a chapter in Korea! SCBWI stands for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and it is an organization that supports writers and illustrators. I'm so excited about having a chance to meet up with other children writers here in Asia and make connections and have a support group.
We will be starting some with meeting in local coffee shops and touring Korean bookstores but it's our hope to have author presentations and agent interviews too.

Looking forward to what is in store for the Korea chapter!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Love Triangle

In honor of Valentine's Day coming soon, my topic is on love, specifically the love triangle in YA novels. Let it be known, I'm a sucker for a good romance, and even a bigger sucker when I can't figure out who will the main character will go with in the end.

My favorite love triangle is in Pride and Prejudice (love that book!) where Elizabeth first falls for Wickham, who turns out to be a scoundrel, but this in turns gets Mr. Darcy (swoon) to become jealous and so release the tension. But then, I always thought Elizabeth fell in love with Mr. Darcy on day one. Talk about denial!

Another great love triangle was in Tantalize where Quincie's love for Keiran is challenged when a new chef comes into town. The ending of this story really threw me for a loop because I wasn't expecting it. I like surprises.

And then of course there's the famous Twilight series. The love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob didn't really start until New Moon came out. Truth: I found this one annoying because I wasn't totally convinced Bella ever really loved Jacob as deeply as Edward.

So, I'm terribly curious!???? What makes a love triangle work for you? Or what really bugs you?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Picture Tagged

I was tagged by Kim to post my 4th picture from my 4th picture folder. I was like, "Eek! What picture am I going to find?"
Scary. I know.
Turns out Caleb, my five year old, popped up on the screen. Adorable isn't he? In this picture, Caleb's all dressed up for school on a rainy day, raincoat and boots (notice the fireman motif?).
Want to play too?
Here are the rules:
1. Go to the 4th picture folder on your computer.

2. Post the 4th picture in that folder

3. Explain the picture.

4. Tag 4 more bloggers.
Since this is such a dangerous game (smile), I'll leave it up to you to choose to play or not.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Analyze This

So on Typealyzer, you can type in your blog address and in seconds it analyzes your site and tells you what kind of blogger you are. Scary huh?
But I must say, there's got to be something to this. There's no doubt about me being a doer. So try it. It's fun!
Thanks to Kim and Rachelle Gardner for this fun pastime.

ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My YA Writing Class

I'm so excited to be taking a writing class this winter through Mediabistro. My instructor is Jill Santopolo, a Senior Editor at Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Jill started us out with writing an outline. This is to be our 'road map' for our novel. I've always drafted up a rough outline before I write and done character sketches, but she took us a step further. My outline ended up being 10 pages single spaced! She then went through it giving me detailed suggestions of what was working and what didn't.

This pushed me to think about my plot's flow as well as all of my characters' development. It was tough work, but I'll never go back. When I sit down to write my next scene or need to add foreshadowing, hello outline!

We are now into the 3rd week of the course and each week, minus the first for our outlines, we submit up to 15 pages of our novel. Jill's notes and thoughts have pushed me to look at the details of my writing.

The class is a heap of work though. Not only am I trying to write a full novel, make edits as Jill and my class members suggest, but I also have to keep up with 11 other people's stories in the class as well. It's daunting but I've found that I'm learning when I read other people's stories and Jill's critique's of their work as well.

I'm excited about my novel- of course!- but I'm also thrilled to see my growth as a writer. I'll keep you updated how the class is going throughout the semester.

Here's Jill's bio if you're interested:
Jill has worked on critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and New York Times best-selling titles. Jill holds a BA in English literature from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is also the author of Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure, published by Scholastic's Orchard Books imprint.