Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheating = Good?

Okay, it's not what you think so put away the crosses and red A's and stop smiting me. I mean cheating in my I don't mean that either! :)

So I've been dating my bf for over seven years and I love him and he's the best guy ever despite the fact that he doesn't care for Harry Potter *coughs*, but every once in a while I find myself crushing on a celebrity. Like hard googling, youtube clip searching, checking to see if he's dating anyone crush. And don't pretend you've never done this!

And I actually like it when this happens cause then I get inspired. I mean, I love my bf and plan to spend the rest of my life with him but let's face the facts, he doesn't give me the new ohmygosh butterflies feeling anymore. We're so comfortable with each other, we're "stale". Although in a good way, like stale bread for bread pudding! Yum...bread pudding...

But the crush *sighs*. The crush makes me squeal inside and stare at youtube with a goofy grin on my face. He cheers me up and makes me giddy. And I'll admit, there are times when I daydream about meeting him and charming him with my wit lol. Which of course leads to him proclaiming his love and admiration for me and I in turn have to turn him down because I'm already in a relationship. (See? Even in my daydreams I'm faithful)

But how does this inspire me? Because I take those fluttery feelings and write. So even though I spent three hours cyperstalk-I mean researching my new crush, I was able to write over 3k last night. Something I haven't done in a while. And those three hours were justified in helping me reach my goal.  xD

Don't you love being a writer?

Btw, the celebrity crush LOVES Harry Potter. *swoons ever harder*

Monday, November 22, 2010

I would like to thank...

     Like many writers out there, I've dreamed about what I would write on my dedication page. Why? Because this is when not only has your novel been accepted by an agent or publisher or even both :), but it's gone through multiple revisions and is about to be published!

     So of course I would like to thank my family, my publisher, and agent (I may not know who you are yet, but I know you're out there!) and of course my betas Shayda, Meadow, and Elana. Don't know what I would do without you guys to rein in my crazy and to flatly point out "Jenn, this doesn't make any sense" or "stop using 'quickly' and ellipses!"
    And then I thought of other people who helped me become a writer. My sisters first of all. Not for the usual reasons though, but because they didn't play with me growing up. It's not as sad as it sounds lol I'm the youngest of four girls and unfortunately was always too young to play with them. And when I was finally old enough to play with them, they were too old to WANT to play WITH me. The irony. So how did I spend my childhood? Watching tv like a regular kid.

     But I didn't watch normal stuff like cartoons. My sisters had control of the remote so I grew up watching Saved by the Bell, California Dreams, Family Matters, and USA High. Ahh, Zack Morris, Jake Summers, and Jackson Green, how you used to brighten up my day...I also read all the time too since my dad used to enforce a 2 hour television rule on weekdays. By the time I reached middle school, I was already starting to read romances. That probably explains why I'm drawn to writing YA romances.

     Second person/people to make me love reading was the Louisiana Standardize Testing people. I remember happily watching the 1996 Olympics at home with my family in the summer when my parents got a phone call and told me I had to go to summer school for English. They didn't tell me why, but I suspect now that I failed the English portion of the LEAP or CAT test or whatever I took that year. Turned out it was the BEST THING EVER. I had a blast at summer school and fell in love with reading even more.

    And the last person to help me was my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Tiller. Not only did he introduce me to Harry Potter (THANK YOU!!!), but he also gave us a writing assignment to write a short story about one of the characters in HP. While everyone else wrote about Harry, Hermione, Ron, or Dumbledore, I chose to write about Dudley and a typical day through his eyes. :) That may have been my very first actual writing piece I've ever done and I loved it. Can't remember exactly what I wrote now, but I remember Mr. Tiller was very impressed. lol Ah, my first shining moment as a writer.

    Although I didn't actual try to start writing seriously til a few years ago, I still wouldn't have if these people didn't influence me to. And the rest, I guess you could say, is history. Sorry I made you guys go through my life story with me. :) So what about you guys? Who influenced you to write?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music to my ears

There always the debate on whether music helps or distracts a writer. I always needed music when I write. It helps me set the mood for whatever scene I'm writing at the moment. However, I will admit, it does distract you. Especially when you know the words and sing along. Darn catchy Glee songs.

But I always get into a scene more when I have music. Especially the sad ones. It brings out emotions in me with a few notes. My stomach clenches, goosebumps pop out. It just makes me feel like I'm actually there. But certain songs brings out certain emotions. That's why I have different playlists for each type of scene.

And when I was looking over my "sad" playlist the other day, I realized a pattern. All of my sad songs were either piano/classical music or asian music. But it has to be in a language I didn't understand. Since I'm vietnamese, anything in chinese, taiwanese, korean, or japanese was fine. And even when I started to memorize the songs and sing along, it was ok because I was really just singing noises. (It's not as weird as it sounds lol) I had no idea what it meant so I didn't get distracted.

For example, I always go to this song when I'm writing a very emotional scene.
Shivia Lee - My Memory
I can sing this entire song yet have no idea what it's about. For all I know, she could be singing about the memory of her lost shoe. xD Which is fine with me because it gets the job done. Listening to this a few times always gives me goosebumps and depresses me.

And what do I listen to to get into a happy scene? Well...
"Back to witches and wizards
and magical beasts
to goblins and ghosts
and to magical feasts.
It's all that I love
and it's all that I need at
Hogwarts...Hogwarts I think I'm going back."

If you don't know what I'm talking don't know what you're missing!
A Very Potter Musical

What about you? What helps you get into the mood?

*Image came from deviantart

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Preparing for the "First Date"

 There are some great blog posts out there that compare writing a book to dating. But what about before the dating? The getting to know someone before you go on an actual date? In other words, the preparations you do before you even write a single word down.

I've got some great betas who do certain things before (and during) their writing to keep them on track. Strangely enough, one tackles the plot and the other tackles the character. :) Guess they covered everything so I don't even need to continue, but I will anyway. lol

Meadow's Storyboarding
Shayda's Character Questions

I generally do the same whenever I start a new story. But this time I decided to try something a bit different. To start off, I have a confession to make. I love anime :) But I especially love the process of how it gets dubbed and the voice actors' auditions. One thing they do for their audition is leaf through a binder full of sheets of paper called character sides (correct me if I'm wrong) to decide who they want to audition for. And each sheet had the character's picture and a brief description of them as well as some lines from the anime.

So I thought "Hmm, that's interesting." And since I'm a very visual person, it'll probably work very well for me. For my new project, that will be dubbed ADMITTANCE, I made a kind of character sheet for each of my characters so far with basic information, history, and personality traits. I haven't started writing yet so I don't know if it works but it sure is fun to do! I'll keep you posted on whether it made a difference!

(10 points to the first person who can name all the actors xD I'll give you a head start, the gorgeous creature on the bottom left is Ed Westwick who will be protraying Adrian Blaine)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What comes first? The Characters or the Plot?

The age old question. Or at least the writer's version of it. What comes first? The characters or the plot?

I used to think either. After all, I've had several stories that either came to me first as a plot or as a character. Then I started to see a pattern. All my finished stories came from the plot ideas while the character ideas sorta float around after a few chapters before getting thrown on the shelf. Not to say that ALL of my plot ideas were carried out. Oh heck no, not even close. But so fair it's plot: 3 characters: 0. The numbers don't lie. (Despite what I say about my credit card bill)

Even my oh so wonderful myth idea I wrote about in just the last post is a prime example. These are the characters that hounded my dreams. (And since one of the MC's looks like Kevin Zegers, I didn't quite mind THAT so much) But when I actually sat down to write the beginning or even write the outline, I realized my mind was blank. I mean, I knew everything about my characters. How they looked, acted, their secrets, how they met each other, their history, etc. But I didn't know anything else. I didn't have a major plot for them. And it refused to come to me. Just the other night I was sitting there staring at graphics of the characters and yelling "What happens to you?!?"

They didn't actually answer or not I'd be pulled away in a strait jacket right now and having to learn to type with my toes.

Of course, I know that every story needs both great memorable characters and an exciting plot. But I'm talking about the very first thought you had about your story. Is it the character or the plot that came up first?

My answer would have to be the plot comes first. What about you guys? What comes first for you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trends & Temptation

I never wanted to start a blog. I never thought I'd have much to say to people. But for some reason I had an urge to this morning. So I had to: "Give Into Temptation". (hence the blog title) Haha. Not funny? Yeah, you're in for a treat then :)

So what was this oh so important thing on my mind that wouldn't go away? TRENDS. Yeah, I said it. The dreaded six letter word. *ominous music* We all heard the advice before. Never write to trends. You won't be able to put your all into it if you're just following the trend and even if you do finish a novel, it may be over by then.

But what happens if what you WANT to write happens to follow the trend? Then you have to think long and hard before to Give Into the Temptation and write it anyway. Yeah, I did it again lol. But seriously, everyone says to just write what you want no matter what and great writing will show. However, it will definitely be a lot harder. If there's more stories like yours, then some elements will be the same. And some agents just see the word vampire and groan.

For instance, I have a couple of ideas in my head at the moment. But the one that's aching to come out is a mythology one. At the time, I didn't think it was such a bad idea until I saw a tweet by an awesome agent whose name rhymes with Candy Bubbard. :) I know that's not very subtle but subtlety's overrated lol. She tweeted that she's getting swamped with mythology queries. Even more than vampires. Which basically made me go...