Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Season's Readings Giveaway

Today is a good day.

Today is a day I get to announce a giveaway I'm participating in with some other amazing YA authors that features eight Advanced Review Copies of some of the most highly anticipated YA novels of 2015 PLUS a special holiday bonus, a darling UK edition of MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME.

Check it out!!

From upper left to lower right, here's what one VERY lucky person will get:

Book 1 - MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME edited by Stephanie Perkins (Macmillan, UK, 10/14)
Book 2 - ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven (Knopf, 1/15)
Book 3 - ALL FALL DOWN by Ally Carter (Scholastic Press, 1/15)
Book 4 - THE REMEDY by Suzanne Young (Simon Pulse, 4/15)
Book 5 - THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Trish Doller (Bloomsbury, 6/15)
Book 6 - THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby (HarperTeen, 4/15)
Book 7 - THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin, 3/15)
Book 8 - ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder (Scholastic Point, 7/15)
Book 9 - THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH (Arthur Levine Books, 4/15)

Some of the books will even be *signed* by the authors!

Are you excited?
I hope so!

To enter, see the rafflecopter below (sorry, to keep costs down, it's limited to US only).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 10, 2014

Magical Moments

I'm pretty sure I've talked about magical moments here before. This is what I call those moments when I'm writing and out of the blue, the perfect thing comes to me -- something I didn't see coming. As writers, we live for these moments, let me tell you!

Last week I did a bunch of Skype visits and one of the classes asked about a favorite spot in I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME. (It's actually one of the most tweeted, tumbled things from my books, too).

Ava, the main character, who is being haunted by her boyfriend, Jackson and was happy about it at first, has this conversation later on, with an ex-boyfriend, Nick.

"Was it hard," I ask. "Letting go?"

"Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn't real."

When Nick first showed up in the manuscript I wasn't sure why. Like I told the students, when someone or something shows up and I kind of scratch my head over it, I let the story unfold to see what happens and to see if maybe that person or thing holds a purpose I don't know about yet. Nick proved his purpose to me right here. He gives Ava the answer she needs at this moment in time, without knowing that's exactly what she needs.

This little snippet of conversation was very much a magical moment and gave me goosebumps as I wrote it. It was just what the story needed, and I didn't plan it. It just...magically appeared.

There is no way to make magical moments happen other than to show up, day after day, and write. They come without warning, and often when you least expect them.

So now, I'm off to write, hoping, as always for one or two of those magical moments to make their way on to the page.

Have a good week!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The writing process is not a one-size-fits-all

As I mentioned last week, November is National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who have never heard about it, and are curious, here's the web site where people sign up, and during the month of November, they keep track of the words the write every day, with a goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

50,000 words equates to about 1,667 words a day.

I've written most of my books with the goal of 1,000 words per day (or 4-5 pages per day if the whole thing is in verse, b/c my verse novels aren't very long). I find I can *usually* do that writing in the span of 2-3 hours, and still have time to walk the dog, check in on social media sites, run errands, make dinner for my family, watch TV or read in the evening, etc.

That 667 extra words every day may not seem like a lot, but to me, it is a LOT. I'm so used to my 1,000 words a day, I find I'm having to really push myself, which I guess is the point. I think what is going to work for me is to do one round of writing in the morning, and then take a long break in the afternoon, and come back and write more from like 3:00 to 5:00. Breaking it up gives my brain a much needed rest or something. Unless I really get going in a scene during the first writing session and don't want to stop, in which case, of course, I'll keep going. (I love when I get in the "zone" or whatever and get fully immersed in the story, but unfortunately, it doesn't happen as much as I'd like).

It's always interesting at book festivals and conferences to hear authors talk about their writing processes. Newer writers always seem to be curious about this. And I get it, you want to hear from successful people and see if you can learn something. But I kind of believe everyone has to find their own way in that regard, by simply trying different things. What works for me might not work for someone else. Some people can't write until everyone in their house goes to bed. That is DEFINITELY not me, since often times, in my house, I am the first person in bed, snuggling up with a book! I am a morning person all the way, and the more I can get done in the morning, the better. Some people like writing by hand first and then typing it into the computer. (To that I say, what? No way!!!) I often hear authors say they can't start writing until they know how the book ends. That isn't me either. In fact, with my most recent YA, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW, I didn't have any idea how the book would end until about 3/4th of the way. I guess I like to be surprised?

Kids I visit with during school and Skype visits often ask about process, and I try to make sure they know that everyone is different. The way I do it isn't the right way, it's just the right way FOR ME, and over time, they'll figure out the right way for them as well.

And now... I'm off to write!

Have a good week!