Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm sorry I missed you. I'm on vacation but I'll be back in August. Feel free to skim through my post's. There are plenty of Aspiring Author's to learn about and some other writing rants from yours truly. Be sure to come back and join the fun when the blog resumes :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Fabulous Shannon Whitney Messenger

Yes, the queen of Middle Grade and one of the epic founders of WriteOnCon
 I met Shannon at the very first WriteOnCon in August 2010. If you weren't there, be sure to jump on board this year! It's worth every second of your time. There's a count down on my side bar but in case you don't want to do the numbers, it will be August 16-18. 

I also follow Shannon on her blog, which you should also do right after this interview. She has book giveaway's almost every week! And don't miss out on all the dancing, chocolate, twizzler's, and eye candy. Yes, I just said that. She's good at dishing. 

Here's the blurb about Shannon from her blog.

Yay--you found my blog! Now you get to read about all the shenanigans I stumble into. Oh and writing, books, and publishing. Yeah...that too. ;) I live in Southern California with my wonderful husband and more cats than I’d care to admit. (I can’t seem to turn away a stray.) I also write Kidlit Fantasy and my work is represented by Laura Rennert with Andrea Brown Literary. And--because I'm not busy enough--I'm one of the founders and organizers of WriteOnCon, a free online writer's conference for kidlit writers. Feel free to stop by any time—I love visitors!

Did you hear that? Free conference...and a really cool girl from South Cali. For a more in depth look into her life, check out her about me page. Two words: Rainbow Brite. 

So Shannon, how long have you been writing?

Books? About three years. Before that I studied screenwriting in college. 

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

Ooo, that's a hard one, and I have kind of an out-of-the-box answer. I would LOVE to talk to J.K. Rowling--but the pre-Harry Potter mega-phenomenon J.K. Rowling. When she was just Jo Rowling, average, aspiring writer. (Hey, I figure, if you can bring back the dead, I can certainly go back in time, right?) I know that's weird, but I just think it would be so interesting to talk to her as a struggling author who had no idea her book was going to become this HUGE EPIC THING and get to hear about her doubts and insecurities--knowing how they're completely unfounded. It would sort of be an exercise in hindsight. (Though I guess I'd settle for meeting the uber successful J.K. Rowling too. Yanno, if I HAD to. :P) 

(I love that answer! Can I come too? Besides, I get nervous around published author's...I can't tell you what might happen if I met the successful J.K.)

What made you want to write?

English was always one of my favorite classes, and I have always kept a journal and written short stories. I even started a novel (a REALLY bad one) back in high school. But I was too side tracked by art to really focus on writing. It wasn't until my second semester of college, when I took my first screenwriting class (on a total whim, btw) that I realized what I was missing out on. The professor for that class really believed in my writing, and convinced me that I should go for it. I took her advice, and ended up studying screenwriting and TV production at USC. It was a lot of fun, but Hollywood just wasn't for me (crazy, CRAZY work schedule). So about a year after graduation I left Hollywood, got married, and for a couple of years I just focused on the day job, being a newlywed, traveling, decorating the house, all that jazz. It was nice, but it was also kind of ... empty, somehow. I realized I missed writing. And after a few months of searching for an idea, I hit on a story I HAD to write. I've been writing ever since.

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?

Sometimes my cats decide that my keyboard is THE ONLY PLACE THEY WANT TO SLEEP. They also think attacking the cursor on the screen is insanely amusing. Or, they just stare at me and meow, ordering me to pay attention to them. All of which kind of makes me want to say, "Anyone want a cat? I have three up for grabs!"

(Not that I'd ever give up my kids, but they do the same things. Well, except for maybe the sitting on the keyboard. I kind of think meowing might be a little more tolerable than screaming, though. Gotta love the distractions.)

What's your favorite genre to write?

Definitely fantasy, though I have kind of my own spin on the genre. And I'm drawn to the upper middle grade/lower YA reading range, because that was the age when I remember REALLY loving books, more so than any other time in my life.

If you could pick the setting of one book to live in, which would it be?

Eek--another hard one. My first instinct was to say something like Pride and Prejudice, because the whole wearing-pretty-dresses-whilst-drawing-and-writing-all-day thing sounds pretty darn appealing. BUT...then I remembered they didn't have indoor plumbing. And uh...chamber pots? No thank you. Fantasy books are cool because they have all kinds of cool magical things. But they also have like, dragons and ogres trying to eat you or evil wizards trying to destroy you. I'm not sure I could handle the stress. So I'm going to go with the setting of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Parisian boarding school with a hot guy? Yes please!

(Great answer. The setting of that book was like a character itself. Your other choices would be nice, though. If only we could pick and, maybe a Pride and Prejudice relaxation with the nicer fantasy magicness? We could even make it all happen in Paris. I'm totally there.)

Do you prefer...

Vampires or Werewolves? 
Honestly...neither. *ducks* I'm more of a fairy/elf/unicorn kind of girl (yanno, the magical creatures who are SUPPOSED to sparkle). I also really like books about obscure creatures, so I don't get confused by the mythos I already know.

Mountains or Beaches?
Beaches--despite the havoc they wreak on my hair (totally frizz-tastic)

Writing during the morning or at night?
Both, but I do my best work at night.

Mac or PC?
(and yes, it needs that many exclamation marks)

Parenthesis or dashes?
Both, though parenthesis probably have the slight edge (if you can't tell by my prolific use of them in this interview)

Edward, Jacob, Peeta, or Harry Potter?
Team Peeta all the way. 

Chocolate or Fruity Candy? 
I love both, but I HAVE to pick chocolate. I couldn't live without it.

(I'm slightly shocked you didn't go with Twizzlers. But you do talk about chocolate a lot too. Yummy!)

Thanks so much Shannon! It was a blast having you on my blog today. Remember to visit Shannon at her blog, Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.

Have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Retiring Pantser least for the most part. I never EVER thought I'd say that but there it is. And it's all due to one book.

Story Engineering

I am now adding this to my 'must read' books for writing. I'll post the rest of them below for a refresher. 

It all started when my friend Shallee shared her notes with me from LDStorymakers. I loved the notes from Larry Brooks. They changed the way I wrote my book. So she told me I had to read this book. And, of course, I resisted. But I'm glad I got over that.

The book will tell you the way to write a story. How to create compelling character's. Where to put your story twists so that it works. The four different parts of a story. Everything.

Yes, it was overwhelming and my brain is fried. The thing that stuck out to me most is that there are many ways to write a book, but one way will get you to the end result faster. He emphasized the fact that pantsers often don't discover the heart of their story until they've revised it several times. 

And that is what I'm going through right now. And it's miserable. It would definitely be easier to revise a plan or outline than it is to rewrite all 300 pages of my novel over and over and over again. 

So, my next novel will be outlined. At least to some degree. I won't write one word until I've figured out the major plot points, pinch points, midpoint, character's, and setting. It just won't do. 

My favorite analogy that Larry uses to compare plotter's to pantser's is getting from point A to point B. When plotter's start their story at point A, their trip is like an airplane ride. Smooth and short. Whereas a pantser would take a train. Slow and bumpy. I've ridden that train and I'm ready for the plane.

Are you?

Here are my other suggested reads for writer's. And I'm sure the list will grow with time.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need Writing the Breakout Novel Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Pictures

I've had two friends try this and I love it. Here are some pictures that go along with my current WIP. Right now I'm going through another round of revisions and hope to have it ready to query by fall! 


What do you think? Look interesting? This was so much fun! You'll definitely be seeing this for each novel. Give it a try :)

UPDATE: For those who wanted the picture of my MC (I can't believe I forgot hers), here it is! Of course, she's not quite as fabulous, but that's because she's not into the whole make up and trendy clothes thing. But she's almost as just comes with being what she is :)