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Showing posts from 2011

Farewelling 2011's Finest and Foreshadowing 2012's (Or, The Week Between Christmas And NYE Is So Incredibly Awkward For Me)

I don't know whether it's recuperating after the mass amounts of shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking and eating associated with Christmas, or it's the contagious apathy associated with one year coming to a close and the inability to do anything substantial before the new one begins. Oh, and everyone's busy or on holidays. So what have I been doing?

Well, nothing. But, I have been vaguely considering the self-publishing route out of partial boredom and partial curiosity and partially because of the recent D Publishing opening (which I personally find too suspect to take seriously).

Anyway, I have two things to do tonight: summarise 2011 and look forward to 2012. And, if we have time, maybe considering the futile art of goal-making. (I'm terrible, trust me)

So, the best of twenty-eleven.


I only finished Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE the other day, and let me just say band-meet-wagon. It has been so long since I was just completely enthralled by a b…

And the Winner Is...

Congrats to Connie McAdams, who has chosen a copy of INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows for her Christmas present prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and I'm sorry that a glitch of some sort deleted some of the comments on the post. Don't worry, I still received all the entries despite the comment mix up.

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!

What's In a Name? (Or, The Masterful Art of Naming Characters)

A friend recently recommended the BLUE BLOODS series (not some sort of novelisation of the cop show with Sergeant Lipton, unfortunately) to me. I scanned the blurb and found my processor not passing beyond two words. Schuyler Van Alen. Schuyler Van Alen. It took me a while to figure out how you're meant to pronounce that. Skew-ler van Halen. Yes, my mind read that as Van Halen. That, dear readers, is a teacher's worst nightmare in four syllables, or what I presume is four syllables. Who knows? I still haven't figured out how to say it. Is it Skyler? If so, why isn't it spelt Skyler?

Basically, if I can't figure out how to say a character's name within a fraction of a second of reading it, I am going to put the book onto the Gifts pile. (Yes, I actually have a pile of books which I give to people for their birthdays which have only been used to the fifth page.)

It isn't so bad for character names which I abhor. Usually, I'll suffer through a book if it&…

Don't I Look Darling In Red? (Or, HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY)

This Christmas, I'm celebrating YA in a big way. Despite our differences, YA has brought me some great characters, some great plots, and writing and all-round inspiration. I definitely have some favourites or books I'm dying to read and for the season of giving, I want to share with you. I'll be giving away a book, some are pre-orders, current releases, sequels, from the list below. 
Go on, pick one. Any one.








Truthfully, that list is more like a recommendations list. Really, any book that you want, be it a pre-order, current release, sequel or whatever, I'm willing to hear whatever it is that you're dying to read this holidays.

Now, just some details.
This giveaway is open internationally, as long as Book Depository delivers to you.You must be a follower of this blog.You must comment below with a book you'd like to receive or give away this Christmas.You must be at least 13+ to enter or have your parent email me with permission.One entry per person.Open until m…

All You Need Is Love (Or, Are Love Interests Mandatory?)

Okay, story time.

In July, I attended the Harry Potter midnight session for Deathly Hallows Part 2 with a crowd who were dressed for the occasion, had brought chants, cutouts and books with them. Who, for the hour beforehand were prepping themselves for tears, laughter and the overwhelming reaction to the very end of these annual outings. We laughed through Hermione as Bellatrix, bawled through Fred's deathbed, sniffled through the Resurrection Stone scene, and rolled around in our seats laughing when Voldemort hugged Draco. But do you know what had half of the audience on their feet, the audience shrieking with cheers and laughter and drowned-out jokes? The kiss. Ron and Hermione's kiss.

I am not exaggerating.

It was, debatably, the most anticipated event of the entire film series.

When it comes to YA, love interests and the baiting of a potential couple to the readers is basically what drives our trends and our most popular books. And you can argue the opposite as much as y…

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round (Or, Old Idea, New Twist)

This is going to be me semi-ranting and mostly advising. Which is nothing new on this blog, as you all know.

Particularly with YA, we are a little obsessive with our trends. We latch on to them and then people get tired and then quality downgrades with mass production within those trends and then we find something else and it all starts all over again. That, or we have tropes so deeply ingrained in us that they just crop up and we can do nothing else but throw up our hands and hopelessly theorise about what we could have done to avoid this.

Everyone tries to put something fresh on old plots, or common plots, and make them work and brilliant by their own standards. But, especially with these YA trends, sometimes it's the core idea which traps us writers and inhibits our ability to see beyond the seeming conventionalities of said trend.

Here's one. Let's see if you can name it.

A seemingly normal girl encounters a mysterious, gorgeous boy who sucks her into a supernatural p…

Love At First Chapter (Or, The Different Ways Different Books Have Kept Me Reading)

Recently, I've been addressing the beginning of my novel, finding that it's almost like dragging two semi-trailers through the snow with one of those elastic leashes that parents use for their children. So, I did what I always do whenever I find myself disenchanted by my capacity to form words, or incapacity therein - I turned to my bookshelf.

And what did I find there? I realised there are a few that snatched my interest basically from the get-go.

You may not have heard of JASPER JONES by Craig Silvey, but it's a cosy Australian mystery set in the 1960s, not technically YA, but starring a teenager. It's rather humble and deeply character-driven, with a sense of precociousness, but a desperate, childish ignorance and desire for understanding.

The novel opens with Charlie, our protagonist, who is visited in the middle of the night by the mixed-race Jasper Jones at his window. Jasper takes him out into the bushland surrounding their town, to his "spot", but als…

Find Your Characters' Shadows (Or, How Heroes Fall When Villains Push Them Over)

Psychologist Carl Jung named the face which we present publicly, which we use to hide things we don't like about ourselves, the persona. He also coined the flip-side, the shadow, which is something similar to the three-dimensional version of our physical shadows. This is teeming with everything that we try to hide, sometimes even from ourselves.

In order to create a three-dimensional character, we need to individuate, or integrate, their archetypal parts into a cohesive sort of unit-y whole. This, of course, includes both their persona and their shadow.

Now, the mark of a good villain in any story falls under his ability to force his opposition, the hero, into the spotlight where he'll find ways to highlight and criticise the things your hero would like to hide.

Now, Shadow: Recognising It

The shadow is upsetting the acknowledge, so we shove our awareness of it down to an unconscious level, thereby making the only way to truly know the contents of your shadow to consider every…

You Don't Really Know What Writing What You Know Means (Or, We All Know One of Those People)

You know the saying. Write what you know. People do it. People don't do it. People advise it and against it. People debate about it. Well, I'm here to slide my two cents across the table to you, and tell you that what you might perceive as writing what you know isn't necessarily writing what you know.

Oh, and the caption on the poster to the left? It says Anyone is a weapon if you twist them. 

So, today I sat down in my Extension English I lesson to a discussion with director Adam Blaiklock, whose first feature film Caught Inside (It's actually phenomenal. Support him and Australian film and try and catch it wherever you are if it's nearby) I saw a couple weeks ago. Its theme surrounds the concept that we don't want to take responsibility for the monsters we create.

Essentially, this film is about a surfing trip off the coast of Indonesia, where the only law is set by one's skipper, and a group of Australian tourists find themselves faced with a monster th…

THE NAME OF THE STAR Winner

Congrats to KAYLYN WATERS, winner of THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson!
In other news,
I'm really going to try and not disappear on you guys now that I've started Year 12. Silly me went and took on three major works. You can probably expect some posts on short stories and beginnings and plotting and such, and some stuff on alluding to previous works or times or writers.
Hope everything is well in your worlds. 

The Fitzgeraldist: Win THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson

Many thanks to Lara over at HarperCollins for providing this review copy.

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilit…