Thursday 27 September 2012

I'll be there for you...

I was watching Friends the other day and it suddenly occurred to me exactly how much I wanted to jump in a fountain and dance around with friends of my own. I knew who, I knew which fountain, and I knew the people I wanted to do it with me.

I could see it exactly.

I love Friends like nothing else. The characters are so relatable, the story lines are so intricate and plausible, and there are ongoing jokes woven throughout that give me stitches in my side. The episode I saw the other night was so incredible I just had to share it. The entire episode took place in Monica's apartment and each character had a conflict all their own.

Ross was counting the minutes they had until it was time to leave for his benefit dinner and was hopelessly trying to get everyone ready.

Rachel didn't know what to wear.

Chandler wanted Joey out of his chair, and Joey didn't want to 'lose'.

Phoebe WAS ready until Joey got hummus all over her dress.

Monica beeped into her ex boyfriends answering machine and heard a message from a mystery woman.

Each of these story lines, while simple, were woven so seamlessly together and each character was involved in either helping or hindering another.

This is the kind of thing I try to apply to my writing. The characters should all lend their support to each other, and each conflict should consume the characters in a real, non melodramatic way. And the most important thing, it should never get boring.

Is there a perfect example you can think of? Or has there been a time (either book or movie) that you've experienced and seen yourself doing that exact event? (Like the crazy fountain-rain-dance)

Second point of business is the GUTGAA small press contest opens tomorrow night. I'm super keen to enter but there's a high chance I'll miss out again. We'll see. In preparation though, anyone who could jump back to here and take a look at my pitch would be an absolute gem. If you have a pitch as well, I'd be only too happy to 'be there for you' too.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Blogspiration (16): The Cough-a-loff-a-gus

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.

You've probably already seen this picture but holy hell, every time I come across it I can't help the laughter. It's too good. I always correct spelling errors in work memos or emails from by boss. Luckily for me, they take it in good spirits. And more than one of them has sent me this picture. I don't claim to be perfect when it comes to language rules however I DO think people should exercise a basic understanding. In my mind, not knowing the difference between the 'there's', the 'to's' and 'bought/brought' just really isn't acceptable. 

So what about you? Is there anything you guys see that just hurts your brain? And do you ever have the compulsion to STOP THE GRAMMAR OFFENDER IN THEIR TRACKS? Or do you suffer your literary allergy silently and try not to gag on that lump of word vomit trying to explode out of you?

Saturday 22 September 2012

The Follow-Swap Blog HOP!

There once was a little blog.
That little blog had a heap of friends but no one wanted to talk to her.
She wasn't the type of blog to get food stuck in her teeth during dinner.
She wasn't the type of blog to make plans and cancel at the last minute.
She was just a nice, little, blog.
Who had no real friends.

Do you ever get that feeling? I know I do. I know that no matter how fun or entertaining or crazy I make my blog there's always someone out there doing better. Well. It's time for your little blog to step up from the sandbox and make some real friends. It's time to connect with the people you follow and get rid of the whole 'follow-back-for-the-sake-of-it' mentality. How often do you scroll through your reading list with frustration at the lack of anything interesting? If the answer is often, this blog hop is for you.

Launching Saturday (US time), the wonderful Katherine Amabel is starting her blog hop. This will be your chance to put your best blog forward in order to gain followers who actually have an interest in what you do. It will also be your chance to follow some people whose work you actually want to read.

We want the word to spread, and if you know there's someone out there that hasn't heard about it already, reblog and share the fun! She has a badge, she has a linky list, now all she needs is you, dear friends. The people are what make it worthwhile.

Read more about the awesomeness at Beyond The Hourglass Bridge.

And get amongst it!

Thursday 20 September 2012

GUTGAA: Revised Ptich

Thanks to the amazing advice you guys gave me I've revised. AND I'm hoping you'll be lovely enough to 'have at' the new version. 

Come to Florende, you’ll be safe there. That’s what they promised.
Jenna Rose was dumb enough to believe them. As a majesty, it's law for Jenna to defend the city against attack from the Cordels, and while Jenna is primed for high society and made to attend cut-throat combat events, her sister has to slum it with the norms.

The Cordels haven’t attacked in fifteen years, and the inequality in Florende has shortened the norms’ memories. With the bloodbath forgotten, the norms are over the oppression and the waste of time and money the majesty's training is costing them. But the Cordel’s have heard about Jenna, the majesty that can steal powers from another, and while the norms rebel inside Florende the Cordel’s are sending in their scouts. What no one seems to realise, is the problem with Jenna’s majesty. And the more she's made to use it, the further her sanity slips over the edge.

Florende is collapsing from the inside.
Jenna’s sister is helping make it happen.
The Cordel’s are getting ready on the outside.
And, piece-by-piece, Jenna feels like she’s losing control.
You’ll be safe there, they said. They were wrong.

If you're back to give me a hand with this - thank you so very much! I know how tiring it can be to go over and over someone's query with them but I also know how exciting it can be when they finally get there. 
I'm not saying this is there yet, but I have tried to cut it down, clear it out, and inject some voice. I got so much great advice the first time around and if you guys have the time, I'd love feedback on this one too. 

Is it better? Worse? Are there still some things I'm missing or adding that I shouldn't? Or has this query completely gone stale?

I don't know. Which is why I need you.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Gutgaan's passing on the love!

Despite my horribly busy week, I've made myself find time to post this. The lovely Rhiann awarded me with a blogger appreciation award (isn't she tops?) last week and I'm only just finding time to thank her very muchly.

Here are the Rules of the Game (for those I'm about to nominate):

1. Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you.
2. You must add the reward logo to your blog.
3. Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
4. You must nominate 5-10 of your favourite bloggers for this award.
5. Inform you nominees that you nominated them.
Easy peasy, right?

The seven random dwarves:

1. The first thing to know about me is I'm terrifyingly fascinated with the world. I mean, if we can go a whole night dreaming, and believe what we see is real, how the hell do we trust our waking hours?

2. I was once in love with Tuxedo Mask. Yes, I realise he's a cartoon character but I think he was my first fictional love. That stupid meatball-head frustrated the heck out of me with her cluelessness.

3. I'm petrified by the idea of having kids. Considering I'm getting married in less than 10 weeks, and The Boy wants a whole litter, I'm thinking I'll be confronted with this fear incredibly soon.

4. The Simpsons doesn't interest me. I know. Shocking. But Family Guy totally rocks The Simpsons' arse.

5. I have multiple personalities depending on where I am and who I'm with. At work, I'm a bit of a bitch and strict as all hell. At uni, and with my friends, I'm pretty easy going and laid back. When writing, I'm a great big ball of sarcasm, and when I'm around The Boy's friends I'm pretty timid and polite (I really don't know where this comes from but my sarcasm just doesn't go down well with them).

6. Since before I could remember, I swore I'd die young. And by young, I mean forties. I guess we'll see.

7. I'm seriously not afraid of death. Okay, I know this is easy to say when you're nice and safe at home but I mean it. I believe in God and I think it's that which gets me past the whole 'wah -, I'm going to die' hang up. I'm told that will change when I have kids. And I refer those people to #3.

So that's some stuff off the top of my head. Judge me by it or not, but I still love you guys. Because even more than any of those things, I love people and the things people do completely blow my mind.

Now to pass on the love.

Ink in the Book - because she has just an optimistic view on life - what's not to love?
Ru - because she gives some awesome advice on her blog and seems to have all the time in the world for her followers.
Unavoidable Awkwardness - I first fell in love with her blog title. And then I fell in love with her blog. Plus she loves the White Strips. Laurie equals awesome.
Entertaining Interests - because nine times out of ten her blog scares the shit out of me. And I love her for it anyway.

I know I'm supposed to do five but these four are so full of awesome they make up for it. Have fun!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Blogspiration (15): We're all in this together

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.

Check out these gal's awesomeness:

Okay you guys, I've been a little slack at the blogspirations this month, which is crazy because I've been super motivated with my writing. I don't know if this motivation is because I'm procrastinating the million other things on my to-do list, but I DO know it has to do with a certain someone's blog hop. 

Now, it's not the blog hop per say that's sent me into this typing machine, I think it has to do with the people I'm meeting. Some of them are at the stage I'm at in their writing journeys, some a little behind, some are a little ahead. We're all at different levels, have different styles, but each and every one of them is MEGA AWESOME!

The fact that these guys take time out from their busy writing (and life) schedule to help each other out is what's inspiring. They're all so patient, and so knowledgable, and so willing to help out. It gives me faith that the business I so badly want in on is worth it. And the fact that they're all trying SO DAMN HARD, makes me want to try hard too. 

We're not competitors, we're a support system. And with each new person who blogs about scoring their dream agent, makes me believe that will be me one day. 

So yes, my blog title this week is taken from a super-corny, 'new Disney' movie. But I truly believe it, and because of that, I'm more motivated than ever.

And Sarah and Kristin, thanks for bringing us all together here too.

Friday 14 September 2012

No, I mean impassible. Nothing's impossible.

It's now less than 6 hours until I can enter my pitch for Deana's GUTGAA pitch contest. It is this contest that could get my work in front of an agent if I'm lucky enough. I have tough competition though, from hundreds of other hopefuls. And they're good - I've seen the pitches I'm up against.

So I want - no NEED - your help! I've had my pitch critiqued and revised based on some of the comments I've had. 

I'm still having my doubts about whether it's ready though, which is where you dear people come in. 

First, does my pitch get your attention? Second, are there any big issues you can spot? And third, does it completely suck?

PLEASE be honest. I don't want to hear how great it is unless you legitimately think that. Otherwise, it doesn't help at all. So here goes. 

My Pitch.

Come to Florende, they said. You’ll be safe there, they said.

Jenna Rose has found out she’s a majesty with the power to copy another’s gift. For safety, her whole family is relocated to Florende, a military capitol and safe haven from the Cordels, where Jenna attends a school that teaches her control and defence. When she graduates, she too can protect the city.

It’s been fifteen years since the Cordel’s last attacked so no one really knows what the majesties are still protecting them from. The norms are sick of the oppression. They’re over doing the dirty jobs while the majesties host parties and fancy combat events. Jenna’s sister is one of those norms. And she’s not used to being overlooked.

While the norms are causing trouble inside Florende, the Cordel’s are sending in their scouts. They’ve heard all about Jenna, and they plan to use her to their advantage. What they haven’t heard is that every time Jenna uses her power, her sanity slips that little bit over the edge. She’s sure something big is coming. She’s seen the signs, witnessed the unexplainable; the only thing lacking is evidence. The problem is, Jenna can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s in her head.

Florende is collapsing from the inside.
Jenna’s sister is helping to bring it down.
The Cordel’s are getting ready on the outside.
And, little-by-little, Jenna feels like she’s losing control.

You’ll be safe there, they said. They were wrong.

I was contemplating changing 'they' in the first and last sentences to 'he' as it doesn't make a massive difference. And I'm super worried that all the editing has torn my 'voice' from the page. 

I don't know. That's why I need help.

What did you think?

Thursday 13 September 2012

GUTGAA: No party's complete without it - TAG!

Man this game takes me back. Back to the days that still had vivid colour, where my mum was infallible, and Disney was the only imagination I knew. 
That stage passed and was gone until high school. The heightened hormones, the excitement when a bunch of friends showed up for the night and (gulp!) your crush was one of them. Then of COURSE, you decide to play murder in the dark and run around a pitch black house shrieking each time you're tagged. And since he's there you're all brave and cool but secretly, you're running around holding your best friend's hand. 

First up, I want to thank the always awesome Diana for tagging me in this game. If you haven't swung by and met her yet, I suggest you do so here

And since I'm tagged, I get to answer a couple of questions about my WIP.

What is the working title of your book?

'Illusion of a majesty'. One of my crit/writerly friends came up with it. She's great at that kind of thing, and although it may not seem like much at first, there's meaning behind it. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well... I'm sure I mentioned something about a certain schmexy European (who, I should probably let you all know, is actually The Boy) but I'm going to strain to remember the 'real' story. Basically, I ALWAYS used to read, even when The Boy and I first met. And, after throwing a tantrum when yet another of my beloved books ended badly, he innocently asked 'why don't you just write your own?' Let me tell you, he regrets that suggestion every day since. 
Jenna kind of jumped into my head (as have a number of my other MCs). My first glimpse of her was in a foreign house, tears sliding down her face, listening as her younger sister banged around in the next room. So I guess, the idea didn't really come from anywhere or anything in particular. The Boy reminded me of something I loved, and Jenna and I moulded it from there.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult fantasy. I've been categorising it as Urban Fantasy though, and the people I've spoken to about this are kind of torn between which I should go with.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Geez. Let's start with the agent and go from there. I really wish I could answer this with a detailed list but there's only ever been one person that has stunned me with their similarity to my character. 
So (drum roll please), Christian Emmers, teen heart-throb and majesty-extrodinaire, would be played by Rob Mayers if I got my wish. Don't know who he is? I didn't either until they did a remake of Ice Castles (an old favourite). I highly recommend checking him out.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

O_o <--- This is how I feel when this question comes up. So, keeping that in mind...

Jenna Rose must master her power to save the city, but when her power is sends her nuts she has to chose: be imprisoned by the enemy, or imprisoned by her mind.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

An agent. Please and thank you. The end.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A few months. Then I edited. Then I left for a few months, got excited, and shopped WAY too early. I sent out one query, was rejected on my 21st birthday, and hid in my room for a month. I had this one shelved for years but I finally pulled it out again a year ago and did a complete overhaul.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The page-scortchingly sexy Christian actually has his own life AWAY from Jenna. Crazy right? And there is none of that insta-love here. (Not that I don't enjoy a good romance). Jenna's loopy and dangerous father is hunting them down, her out-spoken sister is joining the rebels, and Jenna is quite literally scaring herself to death.
There's sword fights, drunken parties, and (I should hope) characters and relationships you can relate to.

My turn to pass it on!

TAG! You're it!

Wednesday 12 September 2012

GUTGAA: My Pitch is Up!

Hey all you lovelies!

Well my pitch is up thanks to the marvellous Deana Barnhart so I'd really appreciate some help with it. I'm super keen to enter this agent pitch later this week so I need all the shredding I can get.

If you guys have a free moment to help out, I'm buried way, way down at #60.

I wasn't going to blog which number I was (you know, because of the amenity of it all) BUT I'm in need of some massive help that only you fabulous followers can give me.

If you guys made it in, or you have a pitch on your blog I haven't helped out with yet - let me know in the comments. I'd be only too happy to help!

Saturday 8 September 2012

GUTGAA: Pitch Polish FTW

If you haven't already heard about Gearing up to get an Agent you've missed a whole week of a seriously amazing blog hop! 

First, was the meet and greet where I got to catch up with a bunch of new bloggers who are all typing their butts off with the hope to get something on a shelf one day.

Then there was the critique and BETA sign up where I may have a lovely critique partner should we like each other's work. Her fantastic blog can be found here.

Next week is the official pitch contest and to get us ready, today was the submissions for the Great Pitch Polish.

If you haven't joined this hop yet - it's not too late. Check it out here.

Deana opened her email to 100 hopefuls that offered their queries up for slaughter. Despite the opening time being 1am here, I was one of the lucky people that, come Monday, will hopefully get some of you awesome people to help out with my query.

First, my query is far from perfect. In fact, I've only been over it a couple of times, and second, it doesn't follow the traditional format for a query.

I've been writing with the intent to publish for five years now and while I realise that it's not that long really, I feel like I've been through this query thing a thousand times over. It's exhausting. I'm not going to lie when I say I can't wait for some other people to have a go at giving my query direction.

In the meantime, if any of you guys have your queries up early, post a link in my comments below. I've gotten around to a few already, but I'd really like to help out my followers first, and then the other cool GUTGAA members after that. Plus I have the aim to try and get through all of the other 99 entries.

It's going to be a busy week, but thank you in advance to anyone who helps out with my query (not that you'll know which one it is unless you do some digging :P).

I'm also thinking about making a 'cheerleader' section on my sidebar. For all those queries that really suck me in, the ones I really want published. I'm all about supporting writers so I thought that might be a nice way to give a little praise BUT I just don't know. Anyone else tried something like that?