Friday, September 26, 2014

Solve this puzzle for me!

Ok, I'm super struggling with plot for my story and need some fresh eyes/ideas. No storytelling/writing skills needed. You've read books. You've seen movies. You can totally help.

This is what my story looks like. Oy vey.

Here's the premise (it's a Young Adult Fantasy story):

Ilan is a land with no future. The Relater, the only person who can write storylines to keep the world from crumbling, has been lost. Ilan depends on the dedication of Seekers, who steal pieces of others' futures, and heralds who open portals to the other worlds who have storylines to spare. But it's only a matter of time until the Seekers cannot supply enough futures and thousands will perish. 

The Relater must be found. Elsi, Ilan's best herald, must aid two Seekers in their mission: find the Relator, and don't come back without him.

Make sense? The Relater is a god-figure basically. He creates life by writing your story (imagine your story is a book and so is mine, all kept in a library. No Relater = no stories = no life = bad)

So far so good?

Ok, my character arcs (what happens to them and how they change) are fine but my plot is falling apart. The main goal in the book is to find the Relater. At some point the group discovers that he didn't get taken as they had believed, and as their government kinda told them, but that he left on purpose. They end up finding him in the end, but my quandary is this: why did he leave? I need there to be a reason, and a good one (since him going missing is the whole premise this book is based on).

Right now, I have it that he left because people (mostly in the government) sought the Relater to abuse his power so he (and his siblings-that's another surprise) have been hidden away in other worlds until their world could be purged of corruption.

Dear stars, that's so cliche. And seems, meh. This is the backbone of the story and while again, my character arcs are good (hopefully) I don't want people to get to the end, see this, and think "what the heck?"

I feel the reason why he/they left needs to be better (and there can be just one Relater-I'm fine with that). He is the creator of life in their world, and their world will cease to exist without him. He left voluntarily. Why??

This I do not know. Sigh....any ideas??

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I've Been Reading

How is it almost October?!

September just flew by. I think it went by so quickly because I did an intensive rewrite of Book One (in ten days), finished an (oh so very crappy) draft one of my fantasy piece, and you know, had life thrown in there. Not much time for reading. And I had books from the library I had to finish because they were on hold with someone else, which means I couldn't renew them, so I was plowing my way through things. Mostly because I want to get to this little gem that was delivered to my doorstep last week that I have not opened yet. 

Sarah Maas is a goddess of storytelling. This is epic, but so close and personal. LOVE this series!

All because when I do, I will not emerge to eat/sleep/work/etc until the thing is done. Dying to get into this. Ah, but had to get through a few others first.

So, here's what I've been reading.

Let's Get Lost, by Adi Alsaid

Love that cover
This was good. Nothing awe inspiring or make you want to laugh/dance/cry. Just solidly good. It tells the story of 17 year old Leila and her cross country trip on her way from Louisiana to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. The story is broken into 5 sections. The first four are from the point of view of different people Leila meets on her journey and how she impacts them/their day. Why Leila is on the trip remains a mystery throughout the stories. You start to speculate, but the reason stays hidden, which is fine, because you're so wrapped up in the other stories. The last section is from Leila's point of view, where the mystery of her road trip comes to light. I wasn't expecting the reason (I was thinking she was dying **spoiler!** she's not!).

I really loved this. I loved that it was about loss and healing but not in an overt way. That it focused on how Leila's healing affected others more than her. 

Say What You Will, by Cammie McGovern 

Don't you just love the name Cammie? So pretty.

Ok. Time for truth. The publishing industry can make you want to scream. There is a big call right now in YA for books on diversity. Which is fantastic. What I hate is when there's a call/demand for something and people write it just to write it, and there's no heart behind it (These things sell, too, which is frustrating for writers like myself who can't get their stories published but stories that are less than stellar are published simply because of demands and trends).

Anywho...this book deals with a girl with a disability. And it is so, so, well done.

Amy has cerebral palsy. She's trying to make the best of her last year in high school. She uses a walker and a device that speaks for her when she types into it. Her mom hires peer helpers in attempts to help Amy make more friends. One of her peer helpers is Matthew, a boy who suffers from severe OCD. Amy and Matthew begin a friendship that blossoms into more (of course) but things don't go well, because they tell each other everything, except what's most important.

What I really love about this is that it focused on a girl with a disability, but not the disability itself. It focused on Amy as a person and not 'a girl with CP'. I loved the matchup between she and Matthew (because he has his own issues to hash out and work through). Great story.

Then, there was this:
The Ring and the Crown, by Melissa De La Cruz

Ring and the Crown
Ah, so remember by bit above about how books that aren't very good sell because of trends? Case in point. This book is historical fantasy (I swear, you throw magic and a ballgown together in YA and you can about get published) This I did not enjoy. Way too many characters that did not connect,not a big enough plot arc. Lots of girls 16 and younger having lots of sex, in ways that did not add to the story. Nothing happened in this book, really. And man, it could have (I mean, did you hear the part where I mentioned it is fantasy? Hello, magic and spells, you were in here but didn't do anything). Hate to bash books online (and almost didn't write this). But, well, it wasn't good. And sadly, other really great writers with really, really good stories, aren't getting published. But this is. That makes me sad. 

One more book to read from the library and then Heir of Fire is mine to devour (hey, that rhymes). Meanwhile, my "To Read" shelf on Goodreads just keeps growing, and growing, and growing...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A rather mature 5 word Wednesday

Five Word Wednesday

So today's story is New Adult (definitely a PG genre). Words courtesy of my lovely coworker who has abandoned me this week and gone on vacation (loser).

Here are her words, and my story:


Millie stretched her long legs as best she could in the cramped seat. Gosh, she hated planes. Her 5’10” frame didn’t have much room to expand in the tiny space Delta had given her. She flipped through her copy of Cosmo for the millionth time. It was the only thing she had in her purse, and the rest of her luggage had been checked.
Sighing, she leaned her head on Mark’s shoulder. He immediately shrugged her off. She looked at him, a scowl marring his handsome face.
“I’ve got work to do, Millie.”
Of course he did. He’d been on his laptop the entire flight so far. Well, what did she expect from a guy who traded stocks for a living? He was up for a big promotion, and time was money, he always said. Strange that he had plenty of one, and none of the other.
Millie flopped back in her seat. Dating Mark was supposed to be her grand adventure. She’d graduated from college with a degree in accounting, turned down a great job, and told her parents she was moving to New York to live with Mark.
They hadn’t talked to her since then.
She hadn’t minded at first. Mark was her world. He had plenty of money and kept her in the best clothes and got her into party after party. She had a personal trainer, and they had maids and a cook. Mark insisted she not work. He wanted her close.
Millie scoffed. What he wanted was to keep her available.
She had thought it sweet at first. He loved her, and wanted her. Then she found the receipt in his pocket. Which led to checking his phone when he was in the shower. And oh my, that had been as revealing as the lingerie he liked to pick out for her. She had turned down her dream for a man whore. He denied it all of course. Called her crazy. Said she was making things up. Being paranoid.
How was he going to react when he found out about her secrets? Millie looked up from Cosmo and studied his face. He didn’t even look at her. Stupid boy. While he was out hooking up with every big breasted slut this side of the Mississippi, she had been playing a little game of her own. With his boss.
Millie smiled. Two can play at Mark’s game. And she was winning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Word Wednesday....zoo style!

Today my mood was the rhyming kind
Couldn't get a rhythm out of my mind!
So here's my words, and here's my story
Don't worry though -nothing too gory!


One morning at seven Jack Farmer woke with a start.
Sweat slicked his brow and a fast beat hammered in his heart.
Something was the matter, but what? He just didn't know,
But a funny feeling was starting to grow.

He studied his toes and his fingers and belly.
What was wrong? Was something weirdly smelly?
No, not a smell, but a tingle, a twitch,
because all over his body Jack started to ITCH!

Little red dots lined his skin - was he still dreaming?
But no, they were real, and Jack felt like screaming!
Were they bugs? Jack wondered and he gave one a squish,
But they weren't disappearing like Jack had wished!

He tumbled out of bed and ran from the room,
Was he dying? At age six? Oh that seemed all too soon!
He raced to his mom’s room, barreling through the door like an ox.
"Uh oh,"said mom, "You’ve got chicken pox!"

"But wait," Jack said, "I’m not a bird!
Pox from a chicken? Now that’s just absurd."
"Anyone can get it," mom said, and Jack squirmed in his socks.
Could anyone or anything really get chicken pox?

What about a tiger, with sleek stripes of black?
How'd a chicken get so close to a tiger without becoming a snack?
And tiger’s had stripes, not red itchy dots
(But maybe leopards could get it, cause leopard’s had spots).

What about a porcupine with it’s sharp pointy quills?
If a porcupine had a fever, I wonder how it feels?
Jack scrunched up his nose and stared at the ground
How would the chicken get past the prickles to spread the pox around?

A monkey would be easy (they didn't have stingers, Jack had looked)
And chickens could fly (except the fried ones mom cooked).
But a monkey with chicken pox? What are the chances?
How’d a chicken catch a monkey as it swung through the branches?

Jack fought not to itch but had a hard time
As the idea of anyone getting chicken pox swirled through his mind.
Mom said it was true but Jack just couldn't imagine
He had, after all, never seen chicken pox on a dragon!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

National Read a Book Day

So evidently Saturday was National Read a Book Day. (Isn't every day supposed to be that? Why yes, I agree.)

In honor, I thought I'd make a list of my top 10 favorite books. In all fairness, I am probably missing a good number that I love. But, nevertheless, here are 10 ones that I reread over and over and over and over and over and...

1. Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Buy it!
I almost feel guilty and shallow mentioning this one, since it's become such a franchise. (The movie was meh. Didn't love it. They changed the story way too much)

I read this book cover to cover half a dozen times when I first got it from the library. I love this series. Veronica Roth is a skillful storyteller, because she nailed not only a first rate, high stakes story (subsequently making all other dystopian stories fall flat on their face), but the inner workings of a main character that all the reader's loved so much it resulted in people sending the woman death threats after the third book came out. I love Tris. I identify with her wanting to be brave.

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)

Isn't this cover gorgeous?
This book is breathtaking. No one can write like Laini Taylor can. Artist student with a secret life ends up in a save-her-world, battle of good versus evil that, as all battles tend to be, is not what it seems. I reread sentences in this book because they were just so beautiful and right. The characters are perfection, the premise out of this world (literally). This book is fantasy, but not fantasy...the plot was so beautifully orchestrated and done in a way that makes you care. I almost wanted Brimstone to be real. Read this. Thank me later.

3. Throne of Glass (Sarah Maas)

This is the new cover, which is so much better than the first
My stars, I love this series. Celeana is an assassin (I know, those are so overdone right now in YA). But oh, you will love her. She is wounded, and I love how Sarah Maas unfolds Celeana's brokenness over the course of not only the first book but the ones that follow. You will root for her more than you will root for any other heroine. Love, love, love these books.

4. Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)

Love this cover-the book has Russian influences and you can tell by this!

Another great series. I heard rumor that someone bought the movie rights to this which I HATE. Why must everything be turned into a movie? As a general rule, I hate it. The beauty of books is that they are personal. You, the reader, get to imagine the story your own way. And this is fantasy. How would they bring this world to life in a way that brings the story justice? Anywho, if you love romances that stem from friendship (and then go horribly, horribly wrong because of well, those reasons) read this!

5. Defiance (CJ Redwine)

Just bought this one!

A post-apocalypse series that you wouldn't know when you first read it (cause it's  not the usual type, which is awesome). Rachel is such a great heroine. Feisty yet with a vulnerable heart and oh my stars, I love love love her. Logan is tender hearted and fights for her, as of course, they try to do good and battle evil and love each other through exposed secrets and horrible, horrible things. I love stories that show love being built on ruins and thriving.

6. Counting by 7's (Holly Goldberg Sloan)

Such a quiet cover for such a powerful book

One of the best Middle Grade books I will ever read. If you have ever wanted family, or family different from what you had, or worried that you don't have family, you need to read this. It's about loss of family and the beauty of finding it again, in unexpected places.

7. Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell)

Oh, this book....such a beautiful love story (set in the 80's!  Hello!) but woven in it is a girl held captive by fear, and longing for freedom. Definitely an R rated book (to me at least) because of language and some heavy subjects, but man, I loved this. Who can't get behind a love story that starts on a school bus?  Sigh...I want me boy babies to be like Park. And heavens, finally a female protagonist who isn't rail thin and short. Geez, all I want is a normal sized woman!

8. Snicker of Magic  (Natalie Lloyd)

A book about magic, mountains, and ice cream? Yes, please!
If you live in East TN, read this. You will fall in love with Felicity as she finds home in our beloved mountains. I love this story. Natalie Lloyd spins words like cotton candy, fluffy and sweet and full of magic. Love this story about waiting, and wanting to find home, and the words that define us. And hope. Gosh, hope! I want to get a tattoo of a bird on my wrist because of this book.

9. My Life in France (Julia Child)

I heart Julia!

Threw you for a loop didn't I? My only non-YA/MG book. I love Julia Child. I love that she found her passion so late in life. I love that she devoted herself to practicing her craft. I loved that she had fun while doing it. She lost herself in cooking, without losing who she was. This book portrays how all of that came to be. Dave bought it for me for Christmas a few years ago and I've probably read it 6 or 7 times through.

10.Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Love this cover too-it matches the story. A lot of covers don't actually do that.

Another franchise, but man, so good. (I actually liked these movies). The premise is chilling and so captivating (mad props to Suzanne Collins for that). I love the we break with Katniss over her decisions, and love her with Peeta and want her to love us with Gale. Such a great series, and worth rereading.