Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Thankful Edition

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading:
I finished my reread of CATCHING FIRE and am currently rereading THE LIST. I don't know what it is about November, guys, but every year my reading slows and practically stalls. I do write and revise a lot in November. Maybe that's it. ANYHOO—MUST get my read on for the Superlative Blog Fest! More on that in a bit. J
What I'm Writing:
I'm past my midpoint. However, there are two scenes I must write and two that need serious addressing in the front half of my script so, I'm trying not to get too excited about getting into the second half. But I'm further along than I was last week at this time, so . . . progress.  

As I revise, I encounter all kinds of notes I left myself on first draft. Here's one of them.

 
Does anyone else leave themselves crazy comments?

Also, does anyone else keep a journal or notebook with all kinds of crazy unorganized scrawl about their stories? The other day, I discussed my neurotic journal with a writer friend. I've always had a journal for bits of dialogue and outlines and various scribbles. The current one comes incomplete with cast lists, baseball rosters, who's who for most of the cast, and a whole lot more. It's a WiP too, but, swear, by the time I finish, my journal might rival Gansey's.

 

I'm neurotic to a fault. J

How about you? What are you writing this week?!

What Else I've Been Up To:

1) We were in Atlanta this weekend for a soccer tournament (my husband's the coach, my daughter plays). Had a wonderful time with a great group of girls and an awesomely cool group of parents. Oh, and the girls took second place. Pretty good weekend.

2) CATCHING FIRE anyone?
 

Saw it Thursday at 8 with my son and my daughter and about a hundred of her friends. I am not a BTMA girl, but I was very okay with THE HUNGER GAMES. This one? AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3) My story CHICK MAGNET was selected as an entry in Authoress's 2013 Baker's Dozen. (insert BIG smile) The entries go up on her blog Friday. Agents bid on them Tuesday. *bites nails* Feel free to break from your Black Friday shopping to send some love my way. Or a constructive critique. Or a glass of wine (I may need several). You can monitor all the exciting action here.
4) Just feeling thankful. I can complain about a lot of things, but I really do have so much to be thankful for. My family, my writing, my friends. YOU.  I could go on, but I already rambled about what I'm thankful for at YA CONFIDENTIAL . You can check it out here. 
What Inspires Me Right Now
The 2013 Superlative Blog Fest! Jessica, Tracey, Katy and I posted about it yesterday (click here!) and I am super excited about sharing my favorite reads of 2013. Which is all of twelve books *headdesk* But I am INSPIRED to kick this reading slump  and get my read on before December 16!
The Superlative Blog Fest is so much fun and I hope you'll join us!

Happy Thanksgiving! What's up on YOUR Wednesday?!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Almost Time for the 2013 Superlative Blog Fest!

Last year, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, and I hosted The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest—a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. It was amazing fun and we are gearing up to host it AGAIN!  


Tracey designed our button and banner, guys. One word: GORGEOUS!!!

Today I’d like to share with you some specifics about the blogfest—dates, categories—so you can prepare to join in the fun!
The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 16th – Thursday, December 19th and will highlight favorite books of 2013.  There'll be a giveaway (YAY!), and here are this year’s categories:

Head of the Class 

Favorite Dystopian

Favorite Science Fiction

Favorite Fantasy

Favorite Contemporary

Favorite Action/Adventure

Favorite Historical Fiction

Favorite Comedy

Favorite Mystery

Favorite Romance

Favorite Paranormal

Favorite Family Drama

Favorite Genre Bender

 
Popularity Contest
Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Mostly Likely to Start a Riot

Biggest Flirt

Fashion King and/or Queen

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Most Likely to Become President

Quirkiest Character

Villain You Love to Hate

Favorite Parental Figure

Coolest Nerd


Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)

Loveliest Prose

Best First Line

Most Dynamic Main Character

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Best Use of Theme

Best in Show

Favorite Cover

Cutest Couple

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath 

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2013.)

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book) 

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

 
Get your 2013 read on and get ready to join us for some incredible fun! I can't wait to see everyone's superlative choices!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading:
I finished LORD OF THE FLIES and am currently rereading CATCHING FIRE in anticipation for the premiere (OMG) tomorrow night.
What I'm Writing:
I did achieve my goals last week, revising through page 140 (now page 132!), and I feel like those pages are almost polished enough where I could send them out to readers. (Yay!) Currently I'm working on the scenes leading up to the midpoint and have a few holes to fill. I hope to stream edit through to the midpoint by Friday, then fill in the gaps this weekend. *fingers crossed*

How about you? What are you writing this week?! 

What Else I've Been Up To: So, last week I went exclamation point happy over some soccer. My husband's boys team played in the State Championship game Saturday. They were down 4-1 at half, came back to tie it up twice (4-4, then 5-5), and then lost in the final minutes when the other team scored to make things 6-5.
I will say only a few (haha) things about this.
1) The game was seriously heart-fought on both ends. Every single player left it on the field. It was some incredible soccer to watch.
2) While I know this is going to sound like poor loser Coach's wife of me, the officiating was beyond questionable (and why our boys were down 4-1 at half). A sketchy handball at the top of the box led to score number one. Another questionable call  led to the opponent's third score. A few goal kicks (that were clearly goal kicks) were deemed corner kicks for the other team. The boys were justifiably rattled.
It's a shame that in a game this big that the officials had a hand in the score.

I'm sure I sound like the sorest loser ever, and I wouldn't have ranted about it, except this back story is key to What Inspires Me Right Now, so…
3) I HATE watching teenage boys cry. Thirty minutes after the game, they walked past me and they were still sobbing. This was my heart.

 
It's still in recovery.
4) Our fans, the Cardinal Crazies, filled the stands. They're adorably obnoxious, and they have a pretty wicked chant that gets everyone hyped during games:

I believe
(I believe)
I believe that
(I believe that)
I believe that we will win
(I believe that we will win)
When the other team received their championship trophy, they huddled in front of their fans and did the Cardinal Crazy BELIEVE chant. Except they rudely inserted
I believe that we have won
I can handle sore losers. I cannot tolerate poor winners. And I have one thing to say to that
KARMA

Okay, I'm off my rant horse now. Thank you for allowing me to vent. J
What Inspires Me Right Now

1) My husband's boys. Rattled by the (questionable) officiating, down 4-1 at half, they could have easily packed up their tent. A lot of teams might have. But my husband said one thing to them: Win the second half. And hoo boy did they.
They didn't win, but they put up the most incredible fight ever. To overcome adversity and give it EVERYTHING you got? Freaking INSPIRING.
2) My writer friends Katy and Elodie. We send each other progress reports and excerpts just about every day. Katy blogged about it last week (so sweet). Their feedback and encouragement is beyond inspiring. Thank you, ladies!!!
3) Last week as I was drooling over my writer friend SaraBiren's chicken schwarma lunch outing, I casually commented that I was ditching my revisions for the afternoon and watching THE AVENGERS instead. She immediately replied with

 
How can I NOT be inspired by that? (Of course, if Mark Ruffalo said jump…)

What's up on YOUR Wednesday?! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (24): BELIEVE edition

Guys, my husband's soccer team just won the Eastern Regional Championship and are officially State Championship bound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, if my post is peppered with a few (haha) exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) please forgive me. I'm still on a massive high from that win. J


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading:
Um…let's not go there.

What I'm Writing:

In my first week of NaNoReviseMo, I edited 45 pages—which is almost as many as I did in the previous month! I'm currently up to page 110 and am looking to edit up to 140 by the end of the week. *fingers crossed*

How about you? What are you writing this week?! 

What Inspires Me Right Now:
My husband's boys. They've had a few really tough games in their march to the State final. Their tenacity is beyond inspiring.
Also, their team motto: Believe: Believe in yourself, believe in each other, believe in your dreams.
Kind of sums things up on my incredible writing community (aka YOU GUYS) too. J
 
What Else I've Been Up To:
Soccer. Obvs. J (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
The nine-year-old received his first report card and he had all As. The fourteen-year-old's lowest grade on her last progress report was a 95. SO PROUD.
My mom's in Honduras on a dental mission trip. She does this just about every year, but I still worry about her. But very proud of her and the work she does too. J
Also, it snowed here last night. Yet this weekend, the temperature's supposed to be in the seventies. CRAZY November weather!

Finally, I'm super excited about this Saturday's STATE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!! but I'm also excited about seeing CATCHING FIRE next Thursday night. Anyone else seeing the premiere?! What are your plans? And what's up on YOUR Wednesday?!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (23): The Revising Over Reading Edition


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J

What I'm Reading:
Um . . . my story?

Since last week, I've read two chapters of LORD OF THE FLIES and two pages of THE LIST.  Clearly I suck. Clearly, I've not been reading a lot. Clearly I need to fix this.
In my defense, I've been revising. And this month, if I have to choose between  revising and reading, I'm choosing the former.

How about YOU? What are you reading this week?
What I'm Writing:

I FINALLY finished revising a very challenging chapter last week. Actually I wrote two versions of it. And then I fixed another  chapter that finished off the catalyst scenes, and this had me at a great place to start my NaNoRevMo. Don't know what that is? I blogged about my personal RevMo for November (since I'm not doing NaNoWriMo) here. If you're revising this month, check it out!

As for RevMo progress, I'm trying to do 8 pages a day. Monday I edited (like, I might be happy with these pages edited) 13 pages. Yesterday I got through 13 pages, but I still have a scene to add in and some definite tightening to do. BUT, I'm thinking if I can get through 10 pages a day versus 8, I can use Friday for clean-up and polish. We'll see if I can keep up the pace.  

Anyhoo, here's a not-so-smallish excerpt of what I worked on this past week It's a scene between my girl Alexandra and her crush of the century. Enjoy! 

I hum "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" on my way to study hall, take out my notebooks as I whistle "Beauty School Dropout," and even though it’s not a song in the original stage version (the one we'll be performing), I quietly sing "You’re the One That I Want" while waiting for Michael Titan to do geometry problems.
            “You’ve got a really pretty voice." Michael's propped on an elbow, staring at me.
 My face heats up and I redirect to his homework. “Thank you.”
            “The cast list goes up today, right?” he asks. I nod. “Cassidy said you guys are up for the same part.”
              My smile deflates. Any mention of Cassidy is heart-breaking. And while I don’t enjoy thinking about them kissing and, well, other things, the fact that they actually talk to each other? That’s more disappointing than the thought of them hooking up in in-school suspension.
            “We are.” I want to say more—that his girlfriend’s rendition of "It’s Raining on Prom Night" was pitchy, that she had too much shake in her "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." That she tripped me during our dance tryout (true story—Darla's video confirmed it). But I don’t. That’s his girlfriend. He’ll just defend her.
“Cool.” He bites into the cap of his pencil—so adorable. “Cassidy’s pretty sure you got the part. She was so pissed after, what're they called, call-ups? Call—”
“Callbacks.” My heart sings an anthem. Even Cassidy thinks I got the lead! “Cassidy did really well,” I lie. Now's the time to play the humble part, make her sound good (when she is clearly evil—sore ankle as evidence, thank you very much), and let Michael see all of my wonderful qualities. “She sings beautifully." Sometimes. "And she nailed the dance audition." Of course she did. She tripped me.
            Michael’s blue eyes sparkle. The specks of gold in them shimmer. He’s still propped up on that elbow, staring at me, waiting for me to finish looking over the few problems of his Geometry homework. “Well, just between you and me, I hope you get the big part.” 

Are you revising this month? Drafting? Let me know in the comments. I want to cheer you on!  

What Inspires Me Right Now:
1) My daughter and my husband. I think I may have mentioned this, but my daughter is not really crazy about my story's characters. When I brainstormed with her a bit on my troubling chapter six, I also told her she didn't have to read any more of my story. She was a little hurt and replied, "Well, of course I want to read your story. You're my mom."
Cue heart melting.
And then I shared same brainstorming issues with the husband. He was patient (I take FOREVER to tell a story—ahem, HUGE word counts) and supportive and full of awesome advice and good ideas. And made me feel like this crazy idea I was pursuing was well, worth pursuing.
2) The creativity and imagination of my nine-year-old. There is NO END to what this child comes up with. LOVE HIM.
3) The spirit of NaNoWriMo and NaNoRevMo and everyone making word counts and all the encouragement. The Twitter writing/revising parties (one day I will join one at night!). There are a lot of days I'm not so sure I'm cut out for this writing thing. It's encouraging and inspiring when others think the opposite.
What Else I've Been Up To:
Soccer. The husband's team just advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs (SO PROUD!). I've been tutoring a lot. Oh, and ya know—Halloween.


The nine year old can't just be Darth Vader. Or a werewolf. No, he has to be Wolf Vader.
His creativity is beyond inspiring.

How was your Halloween?! And what's up on YOUR Wednesday?!

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNoReviseMo

NaNo is well under way and, once again, I'm not participating. And while I'm a teensy bit sad/jealous/blah about that, it's okay. I am currently in the throes of revising a story that I'm desperately in love with and want to focus on. So, I have my own NaNo going on. One I'm calling NaNoReviseMo. 

Nothing too stressful. Nothing too crazy. Just a way to hold myself accountable and get you to help me to do that. I plan to revise eight pages a day, five days a week. Doable, right? I have an overall goal of getting past my midpoint (and really, hopefully to my Black Moment) by the end of November.

Here's what I'll be starting with today—pages 55-62. I CAN DO IT! (at least I hope so J)
 

 
I'll post my daily goals on Twitter and Instagram (hashtag NaNoRevMo) and detail what are hopefully successes each Wednesday with WUW. My awesome friend Katy Upperman's joining me on this revising endeavor, and if you're not doing NaNo because you're crazy revising, I invite you to join us! You can set your own daily goals (1000 words, a chapter, eight pages like me…whatever!). It will be awesome fun and hopefully we'll all get oodles accomplished! 

Let us know if you wish to participate in the comments. And then hit us up on Twitter at

@alisonmiller20

 and/or

@katyupperman

I usually revise between the hours of 8-10 AM EST and then again from 12-2 PM EST. Katy and I (and the fabulous @rffaubion) usually have revising/writing parties on Twitter in the EST afternoon time and our friends @T_Neithercott, @LizParkerWrites, @sbiren, @rachelwrites007, @jenpickrell, and @stephandrea_ usually are on in the evening. Hit us up! Most of us our RevMo-ing it this November! We hope you'll join us for all kinds of productive fun!