Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The "OMG, I Have Author Photos" Post

Apparently, when you get a book deal, people start asking for your picture, which is something I probably should have realized, but didn't, along with a bio (Oh, that's fun and easy. Hahahahahaha, Eep.) While I have no shame sharing with you my ridiculous "I'm trying on new makeup, look ma, eyeliner" selfies:

or my "It's CAMP NaNoWriMo TIME! Look at my writer battle-paint" selfies:

I thought it would probably be a good idea to get real photos taken by someone who knows what they're doing. I could have turned to family, but, while I absolutely love them, they're not photographers. In fact, most of the photos end up looking something like this:

Oh, look, BOOKS. What the heck is going on with my face?
I think I saw something like this in a horror film...
 To be fair, dad has managed a few pretty awesome pics like this:

This pic and the one above were taken in Sintra, Portugal at the Quinta da Regaleira 
 But while I'm brave, I'm also a Ravenclaw and Erudite (translation: I'm not that brave, but boy, can I think through things) so I contacted Rachel McCalley, a local photographer whose portfolio blew me away. I wanted to take my pictures here in South Jersey, where my heart is and where BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is set, and Rachel looked like she'd be the perfect photographer.

And she was!

She calmed my nerves and made me laugh (especially when a random fisherman would wander into the background or when I almost fell in the lake. Twice,) and I had so much fun. And the pictures-- it was so hard to choose! (there's one I absolutely loved because it was SO fairy tale, but I chose others that were more versatile, instead *pout.*)

But enough of my chatter! See for yourself:

Outfit change! Rachel said my coat and dress had a "Little Red Riding Hood" look, and we had some fun taking pictures in the woods!

 What do you think? Any favorites? And can you spot the fisherman in one of the photos?

Location: my hometown in South Jersey.
Photocredit: Rachel McCalley,

Fun fact: While telling Rachel about Bookishly, I mentioned that a location in the book was inspired by a camp I attended in 6th grade-- and apparently, so did she! In fact, there's a scene in the book inspired by something both of us lived through at that camp (us, my sister, and apparently every girl our age in the county.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Earlier this week I was tagged in the Writing Process Blog Hop by the awesome Fifi the Ninja! Hi, everyone joining me from her blog--I hope I don't disappoint!

Soooo... here we go!

1. What are you working on?

While I'm waiting (nervously!) on edits on Bookishly Ever After, I've been pouring my time into other writing projects. Lately, I've been torturing myself with Summer Story, a WIP my regular blog followers might notice I've been whining about since last August. It's hard and beautiful and scary. Like I always say, it's probably not very marketable, so I'm really writing this for me, to get it out of my system, even though it's hard.

Plan: I'm bringing the first 10 pages and synopsis with me to the Poconos retreat peer critique session in May, so I need to, well... write the synopsis.

Confession: I actually like writing synopses *ducks*

Problem:  I don't think the main character's stakes I'd originally planned are high enough. The internal conflict is on track, but the external conflict is... meh. I'm back to throwing around plots and diving into character motivations. It's good for me. It also gives me heartburn.

I know Summer Story will be lovely. It already makes me smile and gives me chills when I read what I'd written to this point. I just need to get past this latest round of "this WIP is going to age me a gajillion years."

I will, until the next round of "this WIP is giving me heartburn" hits.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

I wrote it.

Here's the thing--unless you're a mind reader, we never know what and how others see the world, except through their books. No matter how different my characters can be from me, my writing will always be colored by my experiences, how I see the world, how my eyes interpret colors and nature and buildings around me. You get a peek at the world I see and hear and feel.

It's the same with every writer, and that's why reading is so magical. For a little while, we get out of our heads and get to jump into someone else's world, even become someone else. (That's why studies show reading increases empathy!)

3. Why do you write what you write?

Because the voices in my head tell me to?

I write for and about teenagers because they're amazing and interesting people. I write what I like to read and what YA me would have wanted to read. And I'm so lucky that's the voice I write best.

4. How does your writing process work?
  • First comes the idea, jotted on whatever flat, portable surface I have on hand or recorded into my phone or voicemail if I'm driving. Sometimes, it starts with dialogue or a scene. Then, I put the idea aside.
  • Into the moleskine: Every idea that survives sitting for a few days gets a mini moleskine. I jot down characters, locations, bits of dialogue, and plot concepts, enough to get it out of my system and save it until I have time to work on it.
    • That keeps me from chasing a million plot-bunnies and having multiple WIPs
  • From moleskine to planning: I try to get a good idea of where I want to go, key scenes, etc. Those get jotted onto post-its.
    • Usually at this point, I start writing out a scene or two to understand my characters, especially if that scene is screaming to be written. This might change the plot as I get to know my characters.
    • I'm a plantser. I can't write without a map telling me where I need to go, but I do change my plot sometimes. Usually when I'm stuck, it's because I don't know where to go.
  • I write clean-ish first drafts. I know a lot of people want to get all the words down fast, but I don't work that way. It's not perfect and sometimes the plot is wonky, but I like fixing glaring errors and typos as I work. Then, I go back and re-read, looking for places where the plot isn't working or fixing the plot.
    • Cleanish draft or no, there's still a TON of revision. My first draft never goes out to anyone--usually, I only start thinking about sending it out to my critique partners around the third draft, and even then I know it might have a long way to go.
Aaaand, that's my process! Now, I get to tag three other people to share their processes!

First, Veronica Bartles, whose debut novel, Twelve Steps, just released not too long ago and is sitting in my Nook, begging to be read (I need to clone myself, seriously.) While you're visiting her blog, check out her books and her crock-pot recipes. Plus, she's a fantastic critique partner who I met through cpseek.

Next, Deena Graves. I've been lucky enough to read some of her MSS, and woah, I can't wait to see these on shelves! Seriously. She's also invaluable both as a CP and as a friend, especially lately when I frantically text her for fashion advice or during nail-bitingly massive nervous moments.

And last, but not least, Diana Sousa. We met during (I think) the Writer's Voice about a year and a half ago, and I was fascinated by her pitch, and we became twitter friends. Plus, she's a bilingual writer whose primary language is Portuguese but who writes in English and is all-around super talented. You have to get to know her!

She also is nice enough not to make fun of my laughable Portuguese tweets :)

Now that you know my process, any thoughts? Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser? How do you write?