May 24, 2011

Tip Tuesdays

These are 5 random tips I often point out when giving critiques. Feel free to add a tip that’s not already on here.

• Be careful of how many times you use the forms of to be (for ex. am, is, are, was, were, being, been) in your writing.

• Read over sentences and see if you can change it to make it sound more active. Active sentences add more life to your writing. To learn the difference between active and passive verb tenses go here.

• Often times the place where you start your novel (i.e the first chapter) might not be the best way to start it off. Look for a place in the beginning of your WIP that you think would be the perfect starting place for your novel, then go back to your old one and compare.

Which opening is more un-put-down-able?

• Do you know what side of the bed your characters wake up on? Their next door neighbor? Their favorite things to eat? If not, you might want to take some time to get to know your characters a little better. Put them in odd scenarios and see how they react to them. Their reactions to said scenario should be unique to their character.

• The dog was brown. The dog was brown and furry. The golden retriever was a light shade of brown, his coat as furry as my winter coat.

Be descriptive. Add some visual to your words.



May 22, 2011

The BEA Conference

My ramble about how awesome it is and how upset I am that I won’t be able to attend...

On Monday May 23—Thursday May 26 there will be editors, agents, bloggers, and (of course) authors from all over the country coming to attend the annual BookExpo America Conference in New York. BookExpo America (commonly referred to within the book publishing industry as BEA) is the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. BEA is almost always held in a major city over four days in late May and/or early June.

At the BEA there will news on the publishing industry, book signings, and I heard some authors (for example Leigh Fallon) are giving out ARC copies of their books.

Although I live in Boston (a mere 5 hours away from NY) I won’t be able to attend even if I wanted to. *Stares broodingly out the window* So to those of you who are lucky enough to able to attend—I’m super jealous of you & I want to read a blog post about how it all went as soon as you come back. :)

The BEA Website


May 21, 2011

Do not be alarmed…

In honor of my Blogaversary I have changed the site around a bit. I hope that you like the new template. I miss the old one a whole bunch, but I’m one of the people who love changes. I can’t stick with one thing forever. I’ve changed around a lot the links on this site, so if you catch something that doesn’t work please let me know.

On another note I’m collecting links of helpful articles for my monthly: Sites For Writers post. If you’ve written an article on writing for your blog or read a good article recently please link to it below and I will link to it in the post.
I’m currently writing an article on something that a lot of writers (even some published authors) seem to mess up quite a lot: How to Write a Fight Scene. It is really easy to write a bad fight scene so it's important that if you’re writing a book that involves fights/battle scenes you do it correctly.

Also, if you have a personal request for writing advice, please leave it below in the comments and I will write an article answering your question as best as I can. :)


May 19, 2011


One year of pure awesomeness...

Today is a very special day for two reasons. Exactly one year ago I started Dreamz of a YA Writer on the day of my birthday. At the time I wasn’t expecting to get any followers at all. I just wanted to post my thoughts on books, and write articles on novel writing as a reference for myself. Kind of like an online journal of my thoughts on the craft. But I have to say, blogging has been a far better experience than I ever thought it would be because of YOU—my awesome followers.
I just wanted to say thank you for joining me on my quest of becoming a better writer. I love both learning, and sharing what I have learned with you. I can’t really blog as much nowadays because high school has gotten pretty demanding, and I need to put more focus into it now. But rest assured, I’ll be a lot more active over the summer and on the weekends.

Again, thank you for being AWESOME! Really, I love you guys.

May 13, 2011

What are YOU reading?

I just got my copy of Divergent yesterday. After reading the awesome reviews of it on goodreads I was very excited about starting it. I made a promise to myself not to read it until I was done with all my homework. I was very tempted, but somehow managed to control my urge to grab the book and devour it in one night. Now that it's Friday I'm going to read to my content. :3

So what are you reading this weekend? If you're not reading anything how's your WIP coming along?

May 9, 2011

The Advice We Get From Authors

What I’ve noticed in the past was that authors typically gave similar answers when asked:

What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?

So I decided to make a list of advice from different authors. Some of them come directly from my author interviews, and others may come from their websites. Although the advice is along the same lines I feel as though they each helped me in a different way. They reminded me that even though these are accomplished published writers that they had to take the same vigorous steps we’re taking in order to get where they are. And who better to get advice from than the people who made it to publication themselves?

1. Read everyday and read widely. 2. Write some fiction everyday, even if all you can do is a paragraph 3. Understand that not all criticism is valid or even well-intentioned, but the good stuff is gold for you.
—Daniel Waters, Author of Generation Dead

Finish that book, of course. And just keep writing.
—Julie Kagawa, Author of the Iron Fey series

Write every day, even if it’s only for half an hour. Don’t outline too much, don’t think too much. Just start writing and keep writing. Eventually, if you have talent, your own voice will emerge.

Writing involves hard work more than genius. Writing is rewriting. Of course, it’s true: we all read these articles about a person who sits and writes their first book and it sells ten million copies. But in the real world that doesn’t happen too often. And usually those authors who succeed too soon never learn to write. My books were rejected for seven years before I got published, and I consider myself lucky.
—Christopher Pike, Author of Thirst

I’ve found that writing is a two-part process: learning the craft, and finding the story you are meant to write. You can learn the craft by reading and writing, taking classes, going to conferences, meeting writer friends. You can find the story by living. And don’t waste time beating yourself up for bad writing! It’s all a part of the process.
—Holly Cupala, Author of Tell Me A Secret

The best advice I can offer is to read, as much and as widely as possible. The more you read, the stronger your writing will be. And also try to carve out time every day, or as close to it as possible, for writing. Sitting down and staring at the blank page or empty screen takes discipline.
—Lisa Ann Sandell, Author of Song of the Sparrow

 I’ve been asked that question a lot. I’ve always found it very difficult to answer. I feel there’s an expectation that I should know what the magical formula was, but in truth I wrote what I liked reading.
 I wrote about characters I was deeply interested in.
—J. K Rowling, Author of Harry Potter

 If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware off, no shortcut.
— Stephen King, Author of On Writing

I say, Write what makes you happy. Write what makes you want to write more. Write to please yourself first, because you may be the only audience you have for years and years. Listen to what other people tell you, because there may be something in what they say that's useful, but learn also to trust in your own instincts about your writing.

Write the kind of thing you like to read. Try different kinds of writing, because each new form helps you to see your writing--and what you want to do with it--differently. So far I've written: stage plays, radio plays, screenplays (none that were made into movies, though), poetry (bad poetry!), articles, movie reviews, stories for women's magazines, all kinds of other short stories, articles about computer games. I've also worked as an editor, copyeditor and proofreader, which has been very useful. Helping other people sort out their mistakes teaches you how to avoid some of them yourself.
—Tamora Pierce, Author of Bloodhound

Be disciplined. Write every day, at the same time. Train your brain that you need to work then, and you'll always be aware when you're not writing and should be. Read as much as you can, because that's really the only way to learn besides just writing itself.
—Sarah Dessen, Author of The Truth About Forever

I think there are two things I would advise for someone who wants to be a writer. The first is to keep reading—not just vampire books, but any and all books that even slightly catch their interest. Reading will open the world to you.

And, second, write a little something every day. It can be as simple as a long text con-versation (but remember that when you’re sending in your first book, grammar counts!) or writing in a diary, or blog, or scribbling down an idea for a story. But the absolute best training is to try to write stories in a normal conversational style, to keep a blog that you update frequently, to write fanfic, or to write poetry (if you want to be a poet—or even if you don’t.)
—L. J. Smith, Author of the Vampire Diaries Series


May YA Releases

May 3rd
Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fasci-nating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she dis-covers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah’s long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?

As in her popular adult novels, Crouch’s poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.

May 10th

Die For Me by Amy Plum

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family’s—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Another town. Another school. Another Mclean.

Ever since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean’s become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean’s ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?
May 24th
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin.

Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.

This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charis-matic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he’s been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting some-one you love.

Jen Violi’s heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation—how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional…at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part ro-bot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on—even if it seems no one believes her.


May 3, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Spellbound

Title: Spellbound

Author: Cara Lynn Shultz

I wrote a review last week about how much I loved Spellbound and thought I’d share some non-spoiler teasers with you. To those of you who want to read it the book comes out this July. I’m planning on getting a paperback copy myself because I’d read the ARC as an eBook-file. Although I love reading eBooks there’s something different about the reader experience when you actually have the book in front of you. Plus it’s perfect for me to take out during free time at school.

So without further ado here are your two teasers. Enjoy!

Teaser # 1

I eyed the emergency exit and considered making a break for it.

“Don’t be stupid Emma,” I whispered to myself. “Just two more years of high school. It can’t be worse than living with Henry.”

Teaser # 2

And then he turned those striking green eyes on me.

Ashley was the first to notice. For all her exuberance, she kept her cool pretty impressively. For a minute.

“Oh.My.God.Brendan.Is.Staring.At.You.” She tried her hardest not to move her lips, but failed miserably.

Wow, this girl has absolutely no future as a ventriloquist.

*You can go visit Cara's Website here.
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