Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Small Goals And Alexander Skarsgard Help Me Write

Confession: Sometimes I have trouble writing. 

I sit down and stare at the computer screen for an eternity, unable to come up with anything remotely good. Through time, I've discovered my biggest problem--I sit down with the wrong attitude.

Writer Me From The Past was all about cranking out a billion words a day. If I didn't, I sucked. A failure at life. Writer Me From Right Now is a bit more carefree, though. 

And it's all because of two things:

1) Small goals

I promise myself to write a paragraph. When I finish that paragraph, I go, "Hmm. I kinda want to do one more." Then I do one more. And I go, "Hmm. Maybe just one more." Then I do one more. 

Rinse. Repeat.

Why does this trick work for me? 

I get excited about the story. After a little taste of what I can do, I want to see if I can push myself a bit more. But I do the pushing in small bursts, not sprints. Sprints tire me out and make me give up. Most of the time, Writer Me From The Past wrote a lot of Bad Scenes while sprinting. I wrote for the sake of saying I'd reached X amount of words. 

Now? I go slow. Then I keep going till I stop and look back.

At a whole bunch of words.

Not So Bad ones.

2) Alexander Skarsgard (from TRUE BLOOD)

I convince myself that if I write that paragraph, or that scene, ASkars will knock on my door. He'll take me to dinner. To the beach. Or wherever else he sees fit. 

If that's not inspiration enough, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.

*clears throat*

So. There you have it, folks. Small goals and Alexander Skarsgard help me write. A lot.

I hope they can help you, too :)

Now tell me: any tips you've found useful for writing a lot of Not So Bad Words?

Reminder: Don't miss Operation Awesome's July Mystery Agent Contest!!! Hop on over to the blog tomorrow for your chance at a full request!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Movie Trailer Monday: Pixar's BRAVE (Girl Power Included)


Hi, there! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. 

I, for one, enjoyed myself. I finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, which I reviewed for Operation Awesome (spoiler: it was AMAZING). 

That book got me thinking about femininity and how girls are portrayed in literature/films/TV.

Then Pixar released a teaser trailer for their 2012 movie, BRAVE.

*fist pump*

Check out the teaser below:

Now tell me: what did you read/watch this weekend??? And what do you think of BRAVE? Are you looking forward to it?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Slutty Werewolves: An Interview With Jacob Black

After reading "Writing Young-Adult Fiction: Better Than Going To The Prom", an article in Slate Magazine, teen werewolf Jacob Black invited NO REST FOR THE LAZY correspondent Amparo Ortiz to his Forks residence for an exclusive interview. 

Amparo: "Thank you so much for having me, Jacob. How are you today?"

Jacob: "Pissed."

Amparo (sits back): "Why is that?"

Jacob: "Well, I just read the Slate article. That one about YA."

Amparo: "So you know what those two authors are saying about you."

Jacob (nods): "They called me a slutty werewolf." 

Amparo: "Correct. And what do you think about that label?"

Jacob: "It's stupid."

Amparo: "Why is that?"

Jacob: "Because I'm not a slutty werewolf. Sure, I've saved Bella a couple times, and I've tried to hit on her while she was all sad about the bloodsucker dumping her. Really dumb, I know. But I'm not hitting on anyone else. I'm not getting it on with everyone in Forks. In fact, I'm not getting it on with anyone. So yeah. I'm not a slutty werewolf."

Amparo: "Any thoughts on why they would call you that?"

Jacob: "Maybe because I'm always shirtless?"

Amparo (pulls out photographic evidence): "We can see here..."

"...that you tend to save people while half-naked."

Jacob: "Sure, sure."

Amparo: "And here..."

"...that you're best known for strolling around in the woods while half-naked."

Jacob (nods): "It's part of the package, you know. Being a werewolf means taking your clothes off. If people have a problem with that, then don't look at my half-naked body." 

Amparo (puts the photos away): "Going back to your comment on not having sex with anyone. Do you feel like being branded a slutty werewolf ruins your chances at a relationship?"

Jacob: "I can't control what people think. Some girls might take it to heart and stay away from me. Others might like it and see if it's true. I don't know what'll happen, but I do know that most of it will be out of my control."

Amparo: "How do you feel about the rest of the article, though? How the authors view YA as a whole?"

Jacob: "Same thing. YA authors can write the best stories they're capable of,  pour their hearts and souls into them, and there will still be people who won't respect them. Who call them lazy and immature for writing books for teens. They can't control what others think or say, only their stories. Which, if you ask me, are pretty awesome. So to them, I say fight back the right way: keep writing awesome stories.

Amparo: "Agreed. So after this debacle, what's next for Jacob Black?"

Jacob: "The usual. Running through the woods. Hanging out with my pack. Protecting Bella. Protecting Forks. And I'll do it all shirtless." 

*Ms. Ortiz would like to add that Jacob Black was shirtless during this interview, but he never tried to sleep with her. She is still recovering from the lack of flirting. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

That Dude: Why Jordan Catalano Should Be In A YA Book

So. Remember that time I was hooked on Veronica Mars and the rest of my life seemed irrelevant?

It happened again, folks.

With a show you may or may not know about.

Claire Danes was fantastic on this show. You can feel the angst dripping off your TV set (or, in my case, the laptop screen...). But she's not the only reason why the short-lived My So-Called Life conquered my soul. There are several, in fact, and I've chosen to highlight one of them today:

Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano

Jordan is one of those characters that stays with you. Yes, he's gorgeous, but this isn't why I couldn't get him out of my mind. (okay, okay, it's not the only reason why...). 

He's what I like to call That Dude.

I believe everyone knows That Dude back from high school.

The one who slept during class, then woke up looking like he was on an alien planet.

He might've been in a band.

He might talk to himself, then act all confused when you snap him out of it.

He might've stared at you like you meant something to him, but never really did anything about it...

until he did.

My point?

That Dude made high school a bit more interesting, and that's why you noticed him. Not because of who he was, but because you weren't really sure. He seemed like one thing, but what if he wasn't? 

Jordan Catalano is not just a pretty baby face. He has a secret he's ashamed of. He has insecurities. Doubts. Frustrations. Fears. And dreams, too.

He's a Real Dude.

And there should be more dudes like him in YA books.

If you haven't checked out the show yet, I urge you to watch the first and only season ASAP. Trust me, it's like one of my CP's said, "the show is like a contemporary YA novel." *nods*

Now tell me: what kind of YA dude are you most drawn to?? And if you're familiar with My So-Called Life, what do you think about Mr. Catalano??

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Book Madness: HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour

Folks, I have three words for you on this fine Monday morning:

Read. This. Book.

An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.

dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can’t.

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

I know this subject matter isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy gut-wrenching, honest, and hopeful storytelling, Hold Still is for you. 

And that's all I have to say about it. 

Because it is just plain awesome, and I am unworthy of describing its awesomeness.

Now tell me: any books you would recommend to me this week???

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fess Up Friday: The Big Bad Wolf

All right, folks. Since I gushed about NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer this past Monday, I figured I'd tackle something similar for this edition of Fess Up Friday.

This week's trend question: Are you sick of werewolves?

Confession: I've never really been into werewolves until I read... wait for it... Twilight.

Yes, I know. I suck at life.

Anyway, now I'm more open to read books that center aorund these particular creatures, especially since authors are changing the mythology in really impressive ways.

So how about you? Sick of werewolves yet?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Origin Stories: How Do You Do It?

So I saw this movie yesterday. It is called X-MEN First Class.

Maybe you've heard of it. Maybe.

Anyway, the cast was amazing. Particularly these two gentlemen:

James McAvoy (Professor X) and Michael Fassbender (Magneto)

What I really enjoyed about their performances was that, in the back of my mind, I kept remembering Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, the actors who play these characters "in the future". And all the while, I kept telling myself, "I can totally see these two growing up to become those other two." 

In other words, their backstories were great, but the way they interpreted how those backstories make them the men they will become was flawless.

So I got to thinking: how do you do it? Does a character's backstory come first, or is the character's future much clearer to you during the brainstorming process? 

Also, go see X-MEN First Class. Even if you hate superhero movies. It's just that good. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Book Birthday, Elana!!

I had the pleasure of reading Elana Johnson's YA debut, POSSESSION, a few months back. 

And folks, you need to buy this book. N-o-w.

Here's the blurb:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. 

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Trust me. This is a wild and thought-provoking ride. And the ENDING. 

The. Ending.

*brain explodes*

In sum, I just wanted to congratulate the uber-fabulous Elana Johnson on her book release day! *fist pump* 

Now tell me: have you heard about/read POSSESSION?? Do you have any other dystopian recommendations for me??

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why Rewriting Is Like A Cover Song

So. Rewriting. My current task. 

Confession: I LOVE rewriting. Like, LOVE. 

Drafting... not so much. But rewriting gives me this unspeakable sense of purpose. I know where I'm going. I know what I have to do. I know Draft #1 is stoopid, and I have new ways of making it better. 

A couple weeks back, while I was still on hiatus, I braced myself for the Epic Rewrites of Epic Proportions I had to face soon. I was happy, but scared. 

Then I thought about cover songs.

You know, the new versions of older songs that are sort of different, but not at all? Some people hate them, but I tend to like them. To me, a cover song is kind of like an homage to that original version. It's saying, "You're so awesome and I want to be just like you."

But it's also saying, "I found another way to make you sound awesome."

Some artists record covers using the same instruments/vocal range as the original. Others do a 180 on the original and keep only the lyrics intact. Either way, they're slaving over the new version, trying to do the original justice. In their hearts, I'm sure artists doing covers know the original is much better than their versions, but that doesn't stop them from trying. 

With rewrites, you're doing Draft #1 justice, but you're making it awesome in a different way. A clearer, more streamlined way

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, folks. Do it till there's nowhere left to push you. 

To wrap this post up, I'd like to share the original and cover song versions that inspired it:

Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"


30 Seconds To Mars's "Bad Romance" cover.

Now tell me: what do you think of cover songs? Any cover songs you love better than the original? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blog Hiatus Is Officially OVER... And I Brought Gifts


Hello, blogging buddies!!!!! I missed you!!!!!

Did you miss ME???


Oh, wait... don't answer that...

So. Blog Hiatus is kaput. I have returned.

AND I brought two lovely gifts for all of you!!!

Gift #1: Best Writing Advice EVER

So. During my blog hiatus, I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2. It was too much awesome for words. BUT I can speak about something that's very important for Po, the movie's main character. Before he can defeat his antagonist (a very fluffy and evil and annoying peacock), he must achieve one teeny weeny thing--inner peace

Why am I implying Po's inner peace is related in any way, shape or form to writing? Well, imagine you're Po. Now imagine your WIP is that fluffy and evil and annoying peacock. You can't tackle the WIP when you're frustrated, or when you don't value yourself as a writer, right? How about when you think this whole writing thing is a waste of your time? Or when life gets in the way so often, you can't get yourself to stop and organize the chaos around you? 

Being happy with yourself as both a person and writer is what will motivate you to go further. And sometimes, that happiness will be the result of taking a step back and just reevaluating things. It's okay to stand aside and not push through the blues, or pretend they're not happening. Accept your truth, and inner peace will just come running after you. 

Gift #2: Pics of Fake Boyfriends (SUPERNATURAL Edition)

You knew this was coming, didn't you??? DIDN'T YOU???

Well, here they are:

And my personal favorite...

You're welcome.

Now tell me: WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME??? Any books or movies I should check out???