To new blog, or not?

Hi readers dear,

I am thinking about changing over to blogspot so I can have nifty fonts and such. Please see it here:

Alpina’s Quill Pen Blogspot Edition

….And give me you honest opinion!

This writer’s reading year.

Since everyone else is doing an end-of-year post on their blog, I’m going to do one. Haha. It seems I’m using cliches a lot lately, and it’s kind of fun.

I’ve read a lot of badly written books, and learned a TON about writing, to say the least. I’ve had friend troubles [boy troubles too, if you can call it that], I’ve made great new friends. I finally have a Bookshelf Big Enough to Hold Everything. And without further ado, I have read the following amazing works:

  • Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements – Whoa. Amazing amazing amazing. As I’ve said in an earlier post, this book has such a simplistic and realistic POV that it’ll blow you away. Not for younger readers, but y’know, not everything is. I’ve never really liked science fiction until I read this book.
  • RUTH in the Holy Bible – I kept reading the line ‘Intreat me not to leave thee…’ in My Friend Flicka, and I finally found it in the Bible: Ruth. A beautiful book. Very short and sweet.
  • ESTHER in the Holy Bible – I watched a movie called ‘One Night With The King’ which was VERY loosely based on Esther, and immediately went and read it. LOVE THE BOOK OF ESTHER.
  • The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff – though I’m not really into her other works, this happens to be the best music themed book I’ve ever read. I can also really relate to the narrative and the way the book flows… the main character in this book is very realistic. This makes my Top Ten.
  • Marika by Andrea Cheng – Though this writer has a very structured writing style, I still enjoyed this dramatic story about a Jewish girl in Hungary in WWII. The Lace Dowery is also a good book. I found both at the library.
  • Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls – This book was written for adults, but my dad bought it for me anyway. xD Though some of it is kind of depressing, I LOVED the narrative. [ROFL what’s new?] This book made me think a little deeper about my own characters and how they think. Pretty deep, even though it’s secular in a way.
  • Benjamin Pratt & The Keepers of the School Series by Andrew Clements – Nautical, school story, hidden panels, ocean… what more could you want? Written very well.
  • The Red Blazer Girls (series) The Vanishing Violin by Micheal D. Beil – BRILLIANTLY HILARIOUS. There was almost too many characters in this book, but they were unique enough so the large enumeration was not a huge deal. I liked the Vanishing Violin a lot more than the first book, but that’s because it’s about music. xD And mystery!

There are many, many more books out there that rock, and I cannot wait to read them in the coming year.

Literary Awards Season

Yep, it’s that time of year, when everyone flips out over who wrote in a ‘poignant’ or ‘fantastic’ fashion in YA fiction. I’ve just recently started following the SLJ’s Newbery discussions and Horn Book Awards (though I trust Horn Books more) and I cannot believe the small range of books they consider. Yeah, go ahead and yell at me. I do tend to read Newbery Honors over Newly Published. I’m just utterly frustrated with their shortlists this year, because I’m a Penderwicks fan but #3 wasn’t as good as 1 & 2 (#1 should have won a Newbery three times over, personal opinion). Though many times very well picked, these awards annoy the heck out of me!

 

So alas, I think it is time to fully reveal what I have been hinting at for a month:

In 2012, I am starting an internet-based [Christian] Book Award blog. Anything YA/Teen will be considered, excluding Magic/Fantasy, because all of the other book awards are covering those genres, and other books need a little lime light. This isn’t going to be some highfalutin drivel about ONLY THE BEST!, I truelly want to make a list of great new books that READERS love. In a few days I will post a link to the blog which will outline the process, but here is an idea of how it will work:

  1. Readers everywhere will discuss recently published YA/Teen Fic [And maybe favorite books in history… who knows]. Jessica will make long rants about how fantastic The Red Blazer Girls are.
  2. Jessica will begin to compile the top contenders into categories…
  3. Readers will submit short essays on why a certain book rocks
  4. Jess will again compile the list with her crazy awesome Judges (already have 3 people interested)
  5. Repeat 1-4 until December 2012, when the nominations will wrap up. Snazzy award images will be made. Authors will be begged for an interview. It will rocketh.

Also, I must warn you that some of the categories will be judged based on Philipians 4:8 and I Timothy 4:12. Thus, why it makes it hard to put a Twi-blight section in. Sorry. This doesn’t mean that dark fiction is not allowed, it just means that books will have to mean something beyond ‘OMG, my boyfriend just killed my other boyfriend’ Et al.

 

Until then…. BREAK DANCE.

Revision Crazy

So I haven’t necessarily finished Deceptive. In fact, I got about half-way through and started chucking characters in the trash bin. I think at one point, I had 19 characters all together. The books with the most characters are usually the most frustrating to read. Oh, you’ve never slogged through Anne of Ingleside, or Anne of the Isle by LM Montgomery? TREACHEROUS.

It is also treacherous to write, when suddenly everyone is fighting to come back into the story, and your plot is on vacation. Thus, when NaNo ended, I stopped writing. A few days ago I couldn’t take it anymore, and slashed out 8 main characters… putting some into the sub plot, and others were re-arranged or deleted entirely. Deceptive feels different, and I can’t say I’ve gotten back into the swing of writing it yet. My FMC Jane now starts out as a moody introverted cynic [but not], moping as she looks around at all of the stupid cliques. If there is one character I hate to write, it’s a moody one. Jane must be on strike, I’m telling you.

Another thing is, my genre changed. What started out as boarder line Lit-Fic is now just a plain ol YA Mystery/Drama.

 

I MISS MY FIRST DRAFT!

I MISS MY MAIN CHARACTER’S BROTHER!

 

YOU ARE COMING BACKKKKK. To heck with the secondthirdfourthfifth draft.

WOOT

First off, this blog is a bit dry. Like a gourmet cracker. Though I hope I’m not as highfalutin as that. I think it needs some spice, and a little bit extra. So you’ll see that… very soon. LITERARY HILARITY!

© Jessica Verve

xD

Secondly, I love Sky Sailing.

Please Remind Me

Please remind me firmly that I am not on the Newberry Committee. You have to be a librarian to be there, not a writer.

Please remind me that even though I find it humorous that people suggest books by saying “Because who needs Edward OR Jacob”, that doesn’t mean it’s any good when you read about the actual plot.

Please remind me that I’m the only person who thinks that My Friend Flicka is the best YA book ever written, because some peeple are into Chick Lit and Dystopian.

Please recall to my ears the sound of a story read well, and tell me when there is an actually GOOD audio book.

(A switch to 2nd Person) You aren’t a genius, so stop writing about them. (End 2nd Person Narrative)

Don’t forget to nag me about finding another writing contest–one that actually accepts YA writers.

(Switching back to 2nd Person) You silly goof, what are you doing with that character, sending it to college? No, no, that is not how highschool works. Just WRITE it, don’t analyze it. Analyzing is for boring people.

Can’t you make one stinking boyfriend character with a level head? You’re insulting. (End narrative again)

Please remind me that I am the only one annoyed with all theses books and poems about adult… stuff.

 

Thank you. *answering machine beeps*

*grins* I lost my first writing contest!

So here I was, writing a short story furiously to enter in the Writer’s Digest Your Story #38… and then I realized that the particular rules for #38 were for ‘The opening of a story, 25 words or fewer.’ Well, snap. A little fudging, and about ten tries later, and I had made an intriguing opener for a story based off of this photo prompt:

My entry had nothing to do with murder or prostitution, though, so unfortunately I didn’t make the Top Ten cut. It might have had to do with my writing and the fact that I fudged the rules, though. I prefer the first explanation.

Here I was, scouting the next sleazy paranormal movie with a crazy photographer and a blue-green tinted lens. ‘Stop the car!’

Not. This. Motel.

Copyright Jessica Verve, 2011

I’m laughing hysterically even though I should be sad… y’know, it isn’t that bad losing a writing contest… not as bad as I thought. No hard feelings to the winners. You get to be in Writer’s Digest!

Just a quiet evening.

I clean my room every Saturday night. I open my bedroom door to air out the dog aroma that permeates my life inside it’s walls. I work on my novel slowly but surely, then getting up to shove more stuff in my closet. Whomever designed big closets is a genius. I’ve started three blog posts today and didn’t post them.

Earlier, going through the forms of National Novel Writing Insanity, it is clear that everyone is in a pre-postpartum angst. By reading the forums, It wielded a stick at my creativity and said “GO thouest away.” So what did I do? I went to the library. For about a month and a half now, I had not asked to go there. Now, I have 11 books piled like leaves on the other side of my bed from where I sit now. Two nice old Intermediate Algebra/PreCalc volumes. All three ‘Things Not Seen’ books from Andrew Clements, which I was weird enough to get. I hate science fiction, usually. But I remembered Things Hoped For. I bought it a few years back and returned it because I thought it was too morbid. Clements is a genius though, just like the big closet person, and he seems to stop before the line of Too Far. In a weird way. But I’ve always liked his books, [School Story; Last Holiday Concert; Landry News] so maybe I’m making excuses. Either way, I like something about this series. There is a realism that you don’t even notice until you get up and as you’re walking down a flight of stairs, you literally look at your hands to make sure your not invisible like Bobby. Light particles still reflect off your skin. Realism is the best way to suspend disbelief. The narrative in the first book is so human, and it’s just a bunch of words in 11-Point font on a page. It’s got such natural inner dialogue, it actually doesn’t feel offensive to me. And the weird part?

No magic spells. No witches. Not even a werewolf.

Though, one of the characters did flip past a movie with teen vampires eating. He turned off the TV. I did a double-take when I read that, too, and I laughed for irony’s sake.

It is fun to read, and different, and exciting and everything. And even the invisibility thing isn’t put in some creep-o way. It’s compelling. It probably couldn’t even be tagged as fantasy. Ironic, don’tcha think?

So now I have had a break from writing my own dialogue for a bunch of thin brats waltzing around. I did something productive. I’ve closed down the NNWI tabs to banish away all of the bratty complaints and angst. And there are the words. My novel in the other window is there again, and I feel like I’ve taken a nice big sigh.

[From the unpublished archives of last Saturday, a Writer’s Block Day]

Nouvelle

Here is a fun idea for the wordily challenged: stop doing all of these silly novels, and do Novellas? Fun fun. I like this.

Sooo….. where do we start?

Structure

A novella has generally fewer conflicts than a novel, yet more complicated ones than a short story. The conflicts also have more time to develop than in short stories. They have endings that are located at the brink of change. Unlike novels, they are not divided into chapters, and are often intended to be read at a single sitting, as the short story, although white space is often used to divide the sections.

-Wikipedia, Novella

Ah, even better. The stress and lengthy plot holes are no longer the enemy. I tend to think my stories are more suited for a short form, because I like to just write what I need. Okay, so where did Jessica get the idea for this new tangent?

http://nanowrimo.org/en/forums/the-year-of-doing-big-fun-scary-things-together/threads/46715

An innocent little thread suggesting a much more tame literary goal and more art. I think this may be just the vacation and kick in the shins we’ve been looking for! *clasps hands*

The length of a Novella [you just want to capitalize that word every time you type it, don’tcha?] varies depending on what Literary Snot you reference. Short stories are typically 2,000 to 8,000 words; whereas a Novella is considered anywhere up to 40,000. Pretty much frees up a lot of rules, doesn’t it? Though getting too short–flash fiction, that is–might take away the whole point. Anyone can write a 700 word scene. Anyone can write 12 of them in a year, unless they are REALLY creatively challenged.

So think on this, and who knows? Maybe we can make our own little unofficial club, putting together nice little vignettes of excellence, looking maybe-not-as-snottily over the manor common at the Wordsmiths that type Epics at the snap of a greenbean.

On a side note, there may be a Reader’s Book Awards 2012 and Post-NaNo Teen Blog coming soon… keep a orb out for that!

….Don’t ask me where a Novelette fits into this, okay?

 Peppermint Hugs, -Jessie

Blog, wha that?

Is it just me, or are plots frustrating? I must have stopped editing my novel fifty times because of one stinking character that I love. He won’t be shoved back into the sub plot, he needs to be in the lime light the whole dang time!

JESSICA: Just because you look like Adam Young doesn’t mean you can be all up in my face, talking the whole scene, you know.
JOHN: But…but I’m so funny! Look, I can balance a skate board on my nose.
JESSICA: Now listen. I’m not writing a book about relationships anymore. Jane doesn’t like you one bit. You need to go sit down and… do your math homework.
JOHN: I don’t like you. Why can’t you let Jane like me, and just leave us alone?
JESSICA: Don’t tempt me. I’m this close to taking you both out of the picture, and just have Mel hog the whole dang thing with her dang ugly dyed white hair.

NOTE TO SELF: When in doubt, just type the whole thing out. Get your frustration off your chest and think about how you can edit the John out of your novel.

JOHN: I RESENT THAT!
JESSICA: You’re the one who lazes around being cute, not doing anything for my plot. *picks up eraser*