Monthly Archives: June 2011

Reading: June

 

Like I said on a previous post, June was more of a reading month to me. Yes, most of the reads were short (novellas or such), but, anyway, I read more than I normally do.

NOTE: this is not a review. I don’t review books that I read. Not here at least. On my Goodreads page you’ll find the rating I gave each of them, but not a detailed review.

 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I picked this one because I saw it on agent Mandy Hubbard’s post that most publisher’s would like to have a book like that on their list. And because it was high fantasy–I love high/epic fantasy.

It was a very, very good read, but I guess that, because many publishers wanted it, it was going to be even better. I guess I was too expectant for this one. But I highly recommend it!

Now, I need to read the second one: Fire.

Kristin Cashore

 

Eternity Embraced by Larissa Ione

I picked this one from Amazon’s short stories list. I was thinking about writing more short stories and went looking for some.

Very nice. It made me want to read the rest of the series. (Technically this one is book 3.5, but you don’t need to read the first 3 before reading this one.)

Hot short read =)

Larissa Ione

 

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

As I’m still trying to squeeze “writing” books in between my reads, I chose this one, especially since I think my editing skills are terrible.

Good book. Good points. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a decent editing and revising after having reading it =)

Dave King

Renni Browne

 

 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

After almost 17 years, I reread The Princess Bride. This time in English (the first one was in Portuguese).

I remember how I found out about the book: I saw the movie on a cheap TV programming and my mother told me she had the book. I froze. Really? Was there a book about the movie? Wow! (I was ten years old, give me a break!). Of course, I read it.

And, a few days ago, I was perusing my TBR list and bumped into it. Ah, I missed it and decided it was time to reread it.

William Goldman

 

The Alchemist (O Alquimista) by Paulo Coelho

Well, now it’s going to be an embarrassing moment. I’ll confess something: I was never a fan of Paulo Coelho. In fact, I never even tried to read one of his work.

I remember being a kid and simply disliking him. Seriously. Just don’t ask me why I didn’t like him. I don’t know. And I grew up with that. Not liking him.

Then, now that I’m trailing the arduous path of an aspiring author, I thought “Well, it’s time to read Paulo Coelho.” Can you imagine if someday I’m slightly known and people ask me about the famous Brazilian writer, if I like him, which one of his masterpieces did I read … and I’ll say “none.” People will ask “But you’re Brazilian like him, how come YOU NEVER read anything written by him?”

So, I bought a Portuguese copy of The Alchemist.  Yes, in Portuguese. I confess I prefer English to Portuguese, but, since the piece was originally written in Portuguese and it’s my first language, I gave it a try.

And the result was completely the opposite of Graceling.

I was expecting to push me through the read, cause it would be boring and philosophical and massive and I wasn’t up for this kind of reads. I didn’t need any psychology or self-help book in my hands at the moment.

Boy, was I wrong!

I read it in less than two hours. Yes, it’s a short book, but even so! I even cried at the end!

I LOVED IT! God,  how it is wonderful to be wrong! Totally unexpected and heartwarming!

Paulo Coelho

 

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

I also picked this one  for being shorter (novella length) …

It was a very good, steamy, quick read. I already put Kaye’s other book, Forever Freed, on my TBR list. Yum!

Laura Kaye

 

Be A Sex-Writing Strumpet by Stacia Kane

Self-explanatory.

I’ve been reading (not on purpose) lots of novels/novellas in which sex scenes are more detailed. And I’ve been thinking: it must not be that easy to write about it like that. Perhaps I should try and include scenes like that, instead of just letting the “camera” drift away during those very important parts.

If I succeed, I’m sure this book is one of the reasons. Very good.

Stacia Kane

 

For Love of an Angel by Rosalie Lario

The idea of this novella was/is unique. At least I thought it was. And I loved Michael and his kind. I wanted to be one of them. Seriously.

I’ll certainly read the rest of the series =)

Rosalie Lario

 

Hum, eager to see what next month will bring to my reading table!

Good readings!

Cheers,

 

Writing time vs. Reading time

 

 

I came across Nathan Bransford’s post about Writing Time vs. Reading Time … and that got me thinking …

May was a writing month to me … while June was a reading one.

Well, June is not over yet, but I barely wrote–anything new at least. I did work on my book (a lot), with edits and revision and I’ve been working with an editor, and, while she revises my manuscript, I decided I should catch up with my reading. My to-read list is enormous and it gets bigger and bigger by the minute …

Though, what got me thinking was the reading time … I’ve been following some very interesting and informative people and organizations in Twitter and they post links to articles they wrote or read. And, if it sounds interesting, I open it up and read it.

I also follow many blogs and most of them post new articles daily.

Then we have emails, news (which I read online), and other social media (facebook, goodreads, orkut, etc).

And books. We all read books, don’t we?

So, with so much reading to do, is there time to write? Ah, yeah, that’s a good question.

Internet and social media made our lives easier … I shop mostly online, I do all kinds of research, search maps and places, watch new music videos by my fave bands and singers … I got to reconnect with friends I had not seen for many, many years! And I also follow my favorite writers and talk to readers and fellow aspiring authors and much more. It’s fast, easy and fun!

But it’s also easy to get carried away and forget about time when surfing the net …

As a writer, it’s necessary to turn off the internet for a few hours each day, literally, otherwise I won’t get any writing done. And that’s good because, when I get engaged in my story, I write really fast (in a good day, I can get about 8k words … but that’s for another post).

Also, I need time to read the books in my long to-read list, after all, a good writer is also a good reader.

 

And you? How do you balance your “reading” time and your writing (or your job, if you’re not a writer)?

 

Cheers,

New Adult Fiction

 

That’s what I write!

Well, till a few days ago, I wasn’t sure where my manuscripts fit in this wide publishing world … now I know.

Apparently, in 2009, St. Martins “created” the New Adult category because many adults were reading Young Adults books and they felt like those adults would like a more mature protagonist, but not as mature as the protagonists of the adult session (that’s what I read on the web, at least).

And that’s exactly my case.

My first serious manuscript featured a 20 yo protagonist. Where would I place her? She is not in the teens anymore, but she isn’t quite a fulfilled adult, with job, successful career, hubby and such.

So I tried writing my girls with 17 to 18 … it didn’t work. You know why? Because I just can’t sound like a teenager anymore. I just don’t know how. My writing and dialogue sound too mature for YA and I just couldn’t have my heroines stand there while popular, shallow bitches humiliated them in the school gym. Normally, my temper would rise with the scene and, as consequence, my heroine would end up punching the bitch in the face and step over her (which I did when I was 15 btw, but that’s another story). Besides, HS is too much drama over too little … I didn’t want to relive those days. My protagonists were way too mature for HS. And I like my heroes, the male side of my story, a little older than my heroines … so, even with a 17 yo heroine, my hero was about 23-26. Still out of the YA range, right? Yeah, I know.

I went back to the 20s.

Actually, my fourth manuscript features a 19 yo heroine. She will be 20 in the sequel.

My protagonist are all around 19-25–which is the range of the New Adult category.

MG is 9-12, YA is 12-18, sometimes 14-19, and adult is over that. Of course, this is not set in stone and readers’ age vary a lot. I, for example, graduated from HS almost 12 years ago and read a lot of YA and some MG. This numbers and categories names are just references for the readers, to make it easy to find a book that may interest them.

But isn’t 19-25 yo an adult?, you may ask, and I’ll answer: yes, in some sense. I think that the main difference, in a novel, is where the protagonist is in her life, the writing tone, the word choice, and the heat level. Normally, adult books have an almost formal writing (more than YA, at least), a high usage of the F-word, and pretty detailed sex scenes. I also don’t write like that. My protagonists don’t sound so formal, I don’t write too many dirty curses (you’ll find a lot of “damn” though) and my sex scenes are more sensual than detailed.

And, like I mentioned before, many adults were seeking YA books to read (one of the reasons why the YA market is so popular these days), so now these readers can find books where the main characters are in college instead of high school, who are more mature and away from home and don’t need to follow their parents rules.

I’m sure these category didn’t just popped out of nowhere and I’m sure authors have been writing about 19-25 heroines and heroes for a long time, but now these books can be categorized and separated from the YA shelves–at least on our minds, since bookstores don’t seem to carry a New Adult shelf … yet.

I know, many authors won’t like that distinction. Many want to be in the YA shelves since those shelves are getting a lot of attention lately, but I am pretty happy about it. I don’t want readers to tag my books as purely YA, because they are not. I don’t want to write YA. Not because I don’t like it. I do like it. I read YA a lot! But I can’t write YA. It’s not for the writer in me.

Now the writer here will go back to writing =)
Cheers,

 

Plotter or pantser?

 

Since I saw many posts about it this past week, I decided to write my own.

First, for my friends who are not in the writing world, the definition of each:

Plotter–a writer who plots, meaning that, before writing the novel, the writer comes up with an outline of the novel.

Pantser–a writer who wings it! A writer who just sits at his chair and let his mind run free while jotting down everything.

Second, I think that there are more categories in between a heavy-plotter and a free-pantser. Many more.

I’m in the middle, for example. More to the plotter side, I confess. Well, truth be told, if you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m a plotter.

This is how I normally do it: I create an outline … sometimes it’s detailed (but not more than 4 or 5 typed pages) with some dialogue sentences that already popped into my mind or an specific setting, sometimes my outline is per chapter or scene, and sometimes it’s just a direction from where it begins and where it has to end, with a few bridges along the way.

Then I begin writing.

And I let my writing to take me where it wants to go. If a scene takes off and escapes me all of a sudden but it has a good promise and I like it, I follow it–though I keep in my mind where, in the end, I want to get with it, or where it has to lead me.

Ninety-five percent of the time I know the ending of my novel. The other five showed up when I let the scenes reign over, and I didn’t regret it.

Yes, if I have a sequel planned and change the end of the previous volume, I’ll have to rework the sequel’s plot outline, but that is always fun.

I like creating plots. It’s nice to see where your story goes and add twists and surprises along the road.

On an article on the web about this same topic, I read that plotters may lose their interest in the story because it’s not fresh anymore. Since they already know where they are going and what their character will come up with, it’s not fun to write about it anymore and the writing becomes dull, with boring scenes.

Perhaps that’s why I let the excitement take me over when a dialogue I did not foresee suddenly leads to a heated argument? If it is, it’s not a conscious choice.

I think plotting is like life. You prepare for it, you organize everything and everyone around you for it, you plan for it (sometimes many years ahead), but you’re never really ready for it. Life comes with many surprises we do not and cannot predict and we just wing it! We wing it, adapting the new curves and twists to our previous plans.

And that’s exactly how I write.
Cheers,

Watching TV

 

I don’t normally watch TV. I just don’t. I don’t like it.

News, I can find them on the internet …

Movies, I can rent or download or buy …

Same goes for TV Series … I can rent or download or buy them … and I do that when I like a series …

 

Now here are some series I’m watching weekly (or watched–since now most series are on vacations):

ALERT: may contain SPOILERS!

 

Vampire Diaries

So much better than the books … I can’t believe I just said (wrote) that …

But it’s true! And I think that’s because the writers are only using elements of the original story and creating a whole new one–much more complicated … i.e. the subplot of Caroline and Matt and Tyler love triangle, Elijah and Klaus and their brothers, Jeremy (who is not a character in the books) and Bonnie, etc …

Besides, is there an ugly or not super cute actor/actress in this series? Come on, love the hot guys!

 

Nikita

Who doesn’t love a confident and beautiful chick that can kick-ass of some powerful and armed bad guys?

And the complication with Alex? And the untouched super serious Michael portrayed by super handsome Shane West?

I used to watch La Femme Nikita, and Alias, and Dark Angel … love the dangerous and armed theme!

 

Spartacus: Blood and Sand

I confess that the intensity of the sex scenes startled me at the beginning … and the fight scenes were equally strong. But I loved the series!

The plot and it’s complications were intriguing and I just wanted to know what would happen–of course, if you know a little of history, you know what will happen at the end, but I wanted to know how that would happen …

Super well planned! It’s a pity the actor portraying Spartacus, Andy Whitfield, won’t be able to come back to the next season due to his cancer. I hope that, even without him, the series keeps up the good work!

 

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

This series was quick and very good. It was a prequel to the Blood and Sand one, with the same strong scenes and details. And again, I knew how it would end, but I so wanted to know how it would get to that end.

 

No Ordinary Family

Oh, this one was fun to watch. Light, funny, with bits of family issues, romance and action. Now, it was canceled and I’ll miss it.

Who would want to find out they have super powers? So cool!

 

Game of Thrones

I’ve been watching it, but I still not sure I love it. I like it, otherwise I wouldn’t be watching it. But, to me, it’s just so slow … and I think that’s is due to the many POV and subplots involved in this story.

I didn’t read the whole book yet, but, so far (as most books made into series or films), the books are better!

 

Camelot

I’ve started watching this one because I loved Spartacus (which is also from Starz) and read somewhere they intended to make a super production out of this one as they did for Spartacus.

Though Camelot is another one I like, I’m not sure I love. Great cast, nice story, good promises … for now, I’ll keep watching.

 

Other series I used to watch: Smallville, Gilmore Girls, ER, Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Greek, and the ones I mentioned above: La Femme Niita, Alias, Dark Angel.

I’ve tried watching but gave up: Legend of the Seeker, Heroes, Roswell, True Blood, Wildfire.

And for cartoons: Ben 10 (yeah, is there a problem?), W.I.T.C.H and Avatar: The Last Airbender (and I’m anxiously waiting for the sequel Avatar: Legend of Korra).

Oh, and I respect people that like reality shows, but, beside MythBusters, I like none of them.

 

And you? What are/were your favorite TV Series?

Cheers,

Reading: May

 

I promised to post about the books I’ve read in May and I was already slacking, right? Bad, bad girl!

So, what did I read in May?

 

To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory

I was anxious to read this one because it’s from an indie author that is doing quite well. I confess I didn’t like it as much as I wish I did. Still, it was a nice read and an interesting story.

 

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

I’ve read this one because of the class I took (it was a requirement), but it was pretty nice. A lot of info and cool stuff to know about character building and about choosing the right POV …

 

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

I’ve read this one because people talked well about it and because I read a blog written by James Scott Bell that sparkled my interest. Very good read. It’ll certainly be helpful for future manuscripts.

 

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas

I saw this book in many recommendation lists and the critic of my last manuscript also told me I SHOULD read it. And I did. And I agree with the many recommendation lists I browsed through. If I ever make a lists of sorts, this one will be on the top.

 

And right now, I’m reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore (in paperback!). It’s taking longer than usual because I’ve been editing and revising my manuscript and because of the many holidays May holds (only in the city I live, btw). One thing I can say: I’m liking it very much!

 

Good readings …

 

Cheers,

Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

Author of New Adult fiction.

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