Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October Check In 2015

Hello, hello!

I waited to write up my October check in post this month because things were so busy. I've been writing (of course), but trying to figure out the best way to make this "full-time writing thing" work best for me.

It's helped a lot to listen to Sarah Enni's First Drafts podcast and get a feel for what other writers do to make the daily demands of creativity work for them. For me, I'm finding, it's different almost every day. When I have a deadline (either self-imposed or agent-assigned), I can buckle down and work, but those other days when I'm free to just create? It's hard.

Over the summer, I wrote a 22-page outline for my next book. It covers everything plot-related, and some character arcs, which is great. But, I've been struggling with these two main characters of mine and trying to figure out who they really are--especially this one named Miles. Sure, you can give a character a name and a sassy attitude and just go with it, but underneath it all you need to know who they really are. Miles wasn't talking to me. I tried to give him a backstory, but it felt so generic. After all, how many I've-known-him-since-kindergarden stories are already out there? I wanted more from this character, and he refused to tell me.

Sometimes when I get stuck like this, when the character won't come to me, I go out into the world and find them. Yesterday, I was at the gym and Miles walked right by and jumped on the treadmill in front of me. In fifteen minutes I had him all figured out, and realized how much I love this exercise in character development. Because when you can see the person right in front of you, and can observe how they carry themselves, how they look around at the world, it's easier to figure out what their hang ups are and their place in the story. So, if you try this method, let me know how it works for you!

In things I've been reading, check out Aaron Hartzler's What We Saw! I was so impressed by his writing and the strong message this one carries about rape culture, especially in small town, high schools where everyone wants to look away.

Wolf by Wolf is also very exciting and so different--especially if you're into reimagined WWII stories (with motorcycles and wolves!). Fans of The Scorpio Races would like this one.

Faking Normal was my favorite contemporary this month. I have a huge writer crush on Courtney Stevens.

That's it for me this month. It's time to get back to writing. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In Search Of YA Books for Women's Shelter

This morning, I donated a ton of books to my local women's shelter. I gave a lot of romance, historical romance, young adult and commercial fiction, and the residents and staff were so excited to get it! Before, they only had text books to read.

While I was there, I was so touched by the friendly staff and how eager they were to fill their empty shelf with books. One of the residents had a special request--she wants to read Twilight.

When I checked in with the director, she said her residents have been asking for the Twilight and Harry Potter series.

Blog readers, can I ask for your help? I'd really love to collect and donate the following books for this women's shelter. They are a non-profit shelter for homeless, pregnant women and their newborn. I was told the residents love to read, especially while they are nursing.

Here's what I need (number of copies is indicated in parenthesis)*:

From the Twilight Series
Twilight (1)
New Moon (0)
Eclipse (1)
Breaking Dawn (1)

From the Harry Potter Series 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (0)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (0)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (1)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (1)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (1)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (1)

From the Divergent Series
Divergent (1)
Insurgent (1)
Allegiant (1)

From the Hunger Games Series
The Hunger Games (0)
Catching Fire (0)
Mockingjay (0)

Please help me spread the word and if anyone has a book or two to donate, please contact me via Twitter (@ValerieColeYA) or email (ValerieFM at gmail dot com).

*As donations come in, I will update the numbers above. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Celebrating 10 Years of Twilight -- With Gifs

The news of a new Twilight novel exploded on Twitter this morning and there were so many discussions of what it meant for Stephenie Myer, the fandom, and of course YA writers.

And, of course, the first thing I remembered was the rise of Twihards, the excitement around each new book release and the movies--AND THE GIFS AND MEMES, you guys. THE GIFS AND MEMES WERE EVERYTHING.

In fact, deep in my Dropbox I have a little folder of them from 2006-2009 that I saved because they were so funny. I sorted through them this morning (I had a lot of Britney pre-meltdown and Rock of Love gifs too so don't judge me) reliving all my memories of the Twilight fandom. And now I'd like to share them with you.*

Here we go...

Okay, let's get it out of the way: Edward sparkled. We all know. And the memes and gifs were fantastic.

And no one really understood our fandom...

But we all knew...

And protected it like it was the special sparkly flower it was...

Because HOW adorable was RPatz? He was our heartthrob who could look like this on screen...

But in real life he was like this...

Move aside, Jennifer Lawrence. Robert and Kristen were the real media fail darlings (I used to have a gif of Kristen dropping her MTV Movie Award but lost it).

And his hair! Remember RPatz hair?? We were so obsessed with it!

RPatz rolled with his crew of vampires and we were onboard for the ride.

Pop quiz! What was the true answer to this question??

Here's a hint. And, congrats if you got his fandom joke!

And when the movie news started to slowly leak, we were so insanely excited. I remember gasping and flailing at this tease from ET.

And screamed when I saw this clip "HE ALMOST TOUCHED HER!!! HE'S COLD!!!"

So cold. 

And if anyone ever gave me crap for loving Twilight, I pulled out this gif.

And I went to Burger King for the first time since I was ten just for this beauty.

Let's not forget the special flower that was Jacob, who tried so hard to win our affections. Really, all he had to do was cut that damn hair and take his shirt off.

 But we all knew the real love was between Edward and Bella.

Speaking of Bella, she was extremely mature in her romantic pursuits.

 Even if she did fall for this guy.

But he was protective.

And sensitive.

And damn cool.

And could save you from a flying van and leap over a truck with a single bound.

So, YAY for Twilight! YAY for Stephenie Myer! YAY for the fans. If you'll excuse me, I need to run to the bookstore to buy my copy of Life and Death now.

*Guys, gifs and memes are not my own. Thank you to whomever created them. You are the true blessings of the Internet.
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