Saturday, December 31, 2011

Word of the Year

Happy New Year guys! I can't believe it is already another year. I don't know about you, but I'm so excited about 2012.

Most of you know me pretty well and that I'm very goal driven. It's a great thing if I want to get a job done, but it can borderline on being a bit obsessive. Like writing a particular number of words a day or reading a book a day or jogging so many miles.

In the past I've made up my goals and they have helped me keep focused on what I want for myself and my career. For instance, if you check out this post, it had my goals for last year.

I am happy to report I accomplished everything on my list! I even snagged an amazing agent too! Actually, he's beyond amazing and I'm so lucky to have him representing me.

Thinking about this upcoming year, I'm going to go a different route. I'm focusing my goals on a specific word and then revolve all my goals around that word.

So my word for this year is STRENGTHEN. How will I strengthen myself as a writer?

1. Read- focusing on diversifying my reading choices and going beyond my standby favorites
2. Attend conferences- building my craft and networking
3. Finish revising my current WIP and transforming it into a book that's even better than anything I've ever written yet.
4. Write another book (grin)- but for this one I'd like to try a genre that I haven't written in yet. I'm excited about this one too!

I want to challenge you to make up your goals as well. But as you make the list, remember to make sure that these goals are within YOUR control. I have my secret wish list too (sorry, not sharing that one!), but those are wishes that I have no control over and for goals, I believe that they need to be attainable by you.

So, if you were to choose a word for your year, what would it be?

Pictures from Skinny Bodybuilding.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Floridian Christmas

Merry Christmas from sunny Florida! We've been spending the last week swimming, playing in the sand, orange picking, riding bikes and playing soccer in the yard. And of course, we went to Disney World! It's the perfect weather to be outside having fun. Snow is nice, but there's nothing quite like a Floridian Christmas.

This holiday will be the first in over 10 years that we won't be traveling. I have to admit that I'm kind of excited to be hanging out with family, reading my stacks of books (yes, STACKS!) and getting lots of good writing in too.

How about you? What are your holiday plans?

Don't forget to enter my 9 Book Giveaway! My gift to you all. There's still time until the New Year.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday filled with fun, rest and peace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Congratulations to Carmella Van Vleet!

Carmella Van Vleet, one of my writing partners over at The MiGs, just signed with Marie Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency! Check out her post on The MiGs where she talks about THE CALL and wish her a congratulations!


Monday, December 12, 2011

9 Book Giveaway!

This contest is for all of my followers as a thank you for being so supportive and just plain awesome this year.

Here's what I'm giving away:



Young Adult books (each for individual winners):

I AM NUMBER FOUR by Picctus Lore

MATCHED by Ally Condie

UNTRACEABLE by Shelli Johannas

Yes, that's 9 books in total! Remember that this contest is open to followers only. Fill in the form below with your name and the book or book pack you want to win. One extra point will be given if you tweet or blog about the contest!

Deadline: Dec 31st

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winners of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Contest Announced

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the contest for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE! What fun.

And now for the winners. I used to choose the three lucky winners.

They are.....

The 2 paperbacks of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE go to:
Tricia-wa and Chrystal

The preorder of  A MILLION SUNS goes to:
EM Alexander

Congratulations guys!

Email me your address at farley dot christinal at gmail dot com

And for all of you who didn't win, don't worry. Because tomorrow I'm announcing another big giveaway with lots and lots of books to celebrate finishing my first draft of my current project. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Four Stages of Revision

The other day someone asked me how many times I revise my novels. I had to laugh because I tend to lose track around draft 8.

Then she went on to ask me what my revision process involved. Now for that, I have four distinct stages I take my novels through. Each of those stages takes time and I might have to repeat all 4 stages after my critique partners review the project.

Basically, the four stages are:

1. First draft (where I just write the story down)- This is the stage I just finished. And believe me, the novel is a complete disaster. I liken it to a tsunami. I suppose it's because I'm the kind of writer who needs to lay it all down and then sift through the rubble. And I like to write this draft as fast as possible while I'm in my character's head.

2. Plot development draft- This is where I work the kinks out of the plot and weave the disjointed events so my readers get their "ah ha" moments. I think of this stage as a giant puzzle.

3. Character development draft- In this draft I focus on fine tuning my characters. This is where I bring them to life and hone out their internal and external conflicts.

4. World building and making all those words look pretty draft- I'm a sucker for pretty language. Not too much that it distracts from the story, but enough that it captures the mood and atmosphere of the world I'm building. This is the draft where I have to focus on details.

5. Grammar and spelling (groan)- yep, I hate spelling. I know I'm a teacher and I've got spell check but I still hate it.
But the most important part of all is... the chocolate. That's the key to everything. *smile*
How about you? What part of the revision process do you really focus on?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Draft is FINISHED!!!!!

I did it! I finished the first draft of my current project. Thank you very much NaNo!

I'm so so so relieved. If you were to ask me last July if I would even have written this book, I would have told you NO WAY. It's beyond me. Too hard to write. Too different than what I've written before.

But then one of my crit partners said a very interesting thing after I told her my reasons. She said, "Then you need to write it."

So I did.

Wow. Now, I don't know if it will sell. I don't even know if my agent is going to like it! But that doesn't matter right now. Because I wrote a book that I needed to write and I was able to grow as a writer.

As a teacher, I'm continually pushing my students to step out of their comfort zones saying things like, "You can write five sentences, okay, let's make it 8." Or I might say, "You can write 8 sentences, let's spice it up with adjectives."

I pushed hard this past month using NaNo as my excuse. I wrote 35,000 words in November which was probably one of my busiest months ever (like as in my-entire-life ever). It made me realize how important time management was and how critical goal setting can be.

But it doesn't stop there. I still have a long ways to go before I'm ready to send it off.

I opened the document today after giving myself a couple of days 'off' and groaned. The first chapter sucks. The last chapter is horrendous. My only consolation is the middle is pretty intense and at least I'm feeling good about that.

I've made a plan of action (yes, I'm a sucker for deadlines- I know, I'm weird) and I feel empowered now. I'll blog more on that later this week.

And YES! As promised, I'll be giving away BOOKS to celebrate. More on those details later in the week too.

So for those of you who did NaNo, how did your progress go? And if you didn't, what do you do to motivate yourself?