Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Dumb Bitch Problem

So. My little brother watches horror movies. Lots of them. 

I'd watch them, too. But... they sort of... you know... scare me. And unless you're a horror movie that's totally brilliant and fresh and original, I'm not going to watch you. Sorry.

Going back to my little brother, though. We were discussing the overall suckiness of horror movies lately (won't name names, but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!). For reasons I still can't figure out, I told him about The Mortal Instruments series by the ever-fabulous Cassandra Clare. I totally stood up for Clary, her protagonist, by saying she's an assertive young lady with a good head on her shoulders. 

Then I told him about another YA girl protagonist. Who is her total opposite. 

And no, it's not Bella Swan. Cut the girl some slack!

Anyway, this other YA girl does stupid things. Like walk into alleys. Alone. At night. My brother laughed, then said, "well, that's the same as with horror movies. Some people call that kind of girl the dumb bitch."

I stared at him. And stared. Then stared some more.

People referring to girls as dumb bitches? Doesn't shock me.

And that's the problem. 

Seriously, the words "dumb" and "bitch" aren't exactly flattering, right? They're what I hate most about this lil' old society we live in--labels. Labels suck. Hard. We all know this. 

So why do we keep using them?

That's only Problem #1. Problem #2 is why I wrote this post: there are authors who write about the Dumb Bitch. I don't have a problem with a character who is naive or sheltered or trusting. I DO have a problem when that naive/sheltered/trusting girl never learns a lesson. She stays her same naive/sheltered/trusting self all the way to the end. Say it with me, folks: "why???"

I, unfortunately, can't answer that. Every writer has his or her reasons for writing what they write. And they sometimes fall victim to the Dumb Bitch Problem. They keep putting girls in these little boxes where they fit nice and comfy, keeping them there until Hot Dude comes and saves the day. Or, in the case of horror movies, Creepy Psycho Killer finishes them off thirty minutes into it. Dumb Bitches must die first, after all. 

So please, folks, try to keep your girls out of this box. Or if you really want to put them there, make sure their journey isn't static and predictable. Let them take risks on a whim, but also informed and carefully thought-out decisions. Let them grow up, just like the Real Live Girls reading your books are. 

They deserve better than someone who sucks at life. 

They deserve someone who... oh, I don't know... hates labels. Preferably, ones like "dumb bitch."

Okay. Rant over. *sigh*

***Don't forget! Tomorrow is Operation Awesome's Mystery Agent Contest! Get those one-line pitches ready!! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post-NaNo Editing Checklist, Mystery Agent Contest And A Video!

Today I'm over @ Operation Awesome giving out revision tips for all you NaNoers out there. You can check it out here.

Be sure to stay tuned this Wednesday for another Mystery Agent Contest over @ OA!! So pretty please polish those one-line pitches, folks!! Mystery Agent is looking for YA and adult (all genres except for Christian fiction, erotica and picture books). Best of luck!

Also, I really really really wanted to share this. The fabulous Myra McEntire had this on her blog yesterday. It made me laugh. A lot.

I hope you do, too :D

Le video:

Hope ya'll had a great Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Am Thankful For...

1) Jensen Ackles

2) Cookies. Ice cream. Cake. Cheesecake. The works.

3) Shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Supernatural,  The Vampire Diaries, Smallville, and Veronica Mars. Oh, and Fringe and Bones and... Well, a lot of shows...

4) Books like Looking for Alaska by John Green, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

5) A brain that comes up with books that will n-e-v-e-r be as great as the aforementioned, but are fun to write nonetheless.

6) People like Katrina and Lindsay, who read said not-as-great books and somehow keep being nice to me.

7) People like you. For reading my randomness. Me hearts you.

Disclaimer: This list has not been compiled in order of importance. Just felt like talking about Jensen Ackles first. Because... you know... he's Jensen Ackles. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yep. Shiny New Idea = Latest WIP

It's official. Yesterday I sat down, put on the earphones, and did the unthinkable.

Well, it's not so much 'unthinkable' as it is 'unavoidable'.

You see, I am a wuss. Big time. I am afraid of blank Word documents. But I am only afraid of them when I'm expected to write something on them. Like, actual words. That make sense. 

So yesterday I sat down, put on the earphones...

and started a new manuscript.

*le sigh*

I have been outlining this latest baby for about two months (did I mention I'm afraid of blank Word documents??). The outline STILL isn't finished, but I don't care. It was just my excuse to not start writing this sucker. But I have to stop being scared. It's time to write. 

So far, I have 1k. Only 64k more to go :D

What about you? How far along are you with those NaNo WIPs? 

Oh, and quick reminder, today's my day over @ Operation Awesome! I'm talking about why you should keep going when the going sucks. Fun times.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why I Love Harry Potter: LOL Characters

At last, we come to my Reasons Why I Love Harry Potter conclusion *sobs* This last reason is one that really takes the cake for me. I mean, yeah, Rowling's series is packed with gloom and doom, right? Voldemort is a nasty piece of work, isn't he? The Death Eaters??? Professor Freakin' Umbridge?????

That's why I appreciate Rowling's balance--she gives us the darkest of the dark, and the brightest of the bright.

She makes us laugh moments before we're forced to cry.

These are some of the best examples (to me) of LOL characters in the series:

The Weasley Twins

Naughty + Sneaky + Sarcastic = Awesome

Luna "Loony" Lovegood

She says it like it is. Believes in things/creatures everyone else knows doesn't exist. Has a heart of gold. What's not to love?

Rubeus Hagrid

A kid in a grownup's suit. With a kickass bike. And a really bad hair day... every day. 

Dobby the house elf

Refers to himself in the third person tense. Is more afraid of dirty laundry than his Death Eater ex-master.  Gets seriously. Pissed. Off. When people talk trash about Harry. Can we clone him??

There they are, folks--LOL characters top off what makes the world of Harry Potter an epic win. 

Anybody else who makes you laugh out loud??

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why I Love Harry Potter: Romance Takes Time

Romance. Me hearts it.

BUT I like my romance slow. Complicated. Full of WTF moments.

I like my romance real.

That means no blink-of-an-eye, I-just-met-you-and-you're-the-one kind of thing. Sure, people have gut feelings when it comes to meeting a person for the first time, but books shouldn't all be in favor of the Insta-Love formula. True love builds, piles on the layers, and stays strong amid the nastiest of storms.

This is why J. K. Rowling nailed it for me, friends. Because she created two characters that took. Their. Time.

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger

As a reader, I was c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y waiting for these two to see the light. Tons of fans responded very well to the way Rowling handled the evolution of their relationship: BFFs first, then something more. Some harmless teasing here and there, frequent arguments regarding house elf rights, the occasional love triangle with Hot Foreign Quidditch Player and Incredibly Annoying Stalker Girl, and you've got yourself a romance that spans the seven seas.

And seven books *brain explodes*

Folks, romance takes time. In real and fake life. Nothing beats reading that fateful moment where two perfect-for-each-other characters finally take the plunge. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why I Love Harry Potter: Severus Freakin' Snape

I've already talked about world-building in Harry Potter and how it rocks. Today I'm going to talk about something else that rocks.

Severus. Freakin'. Snape.

 I'm too sexy for my robes... too sexy for my robes... 

Hero. Villain. Readers are always wondering which side he's truly fighting for. Aside from the ever-awesome Lord Voldemort, he's the richest and most complex character in Rowling's novels. *dodges bullets from Dumbledore fans* Yes, Dumbledore is rich and complex and uber-smart and incredible, but you know from the start the type of person he is--an honest and kind advocate for justice. 

Snape? Not so much.

It might be all that black wardrobe action. It might be the abrupt ways he cuts off his students (i.e., Hermione). I don't know 100% what it is about him that appeals to fans, but I do have a theory.

He's a badass with a heart.

Deep down, there's something beating in that body of his.

Very. Deep. Down.

And that's why he's so much fun to read about--you're always looking for that moment when he'll show his heart to the world. When it happens, it. Is. Epic. 

What about you? Got some love for Snape? Or do you wish someone would Avada Kedavra his boo-tay?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I Love Harry Potter: World-building

Reminder: Go check out Laura Diamond's awesome guest post over @ Operation Awesome today!!

The countdown begins, my friends. The Deathly Hallows Part I premieres this week. No, I am not teary-eyed yet *wipes eyes quickly*

So. Today we start with Reason #1 on the Why I Love Harry Potter list.

Which is...


 Come on, now: an orphan kid who discovers he's a freakin' wizard? And there's, like, a special school for his kind? With games that involve stealing dragon eggs? And flying on broomsticks????

I. Am. Sold. 

But I wasn't sold so easily *blushes with shame* The minute my middle school BFF told me about Harry Potter, I went all indifferent and "meh." Then I gave the book a chance and bought it. And read it. And wanted to be exactly where Harry was. His reality was my fantasy, one I never saw coming. Everything about Rowling's world is just plain beautiful, even the not-so-beautiful parts (i.e. all the Dark Lord stuff). Sometimes I feel like Hogwarts is just around the corner, Hogsmeade is a couple steps ahead, and Godric's Hollow is a one-hour bus ride away. 

And that, my friends, is excellent world-building :D

What about you? Any books who have such excellent world-building that you feel like they're real?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fess Up Friday: Saying Goodbye To Harry

So. Harry Potter. I love him.

Not just the character, though. His friends. His enemies. His world.

In honor of the Deathly Hallows, I'm taking next week to weep my eyes out. That's right--a full week of Harry related posts. Even though I am SO not ready to say goodbye. I felt super sad when the last book came out, but I knew there were still three movies left, so I didn't feel like I was saying goodbye back then.

But now there's no escaping it. It's time...


This week's question: are you sad that there'll be no more Harry after July? 

*bawls again*

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3 Reasons Why Your Internal Editor Rocks

Yes, NaNo is still happening, folks. No, I'm still not participating. *hangs head in shame*

BUT I figured I'd take more precious blog space to talk about something people usually freak out over. 

The Internal Editor.

*cue girl shrieks from scary movies*

What is the Internal Editor? Well, it's just like regular people--it can either be your friend or your enemy. The reason? It tells you what to do. While you're working on Draft #1. Which is supposed to suck.

Internal Editor will stop you every once in a while, maybe every two pages or so, and go, "Yo! This scene blows big time, G!" Yes, Internal Editors can be from the ghetto :D 

Anyway, while some people shut their Editors off during the first draft, I'm here today to defend the opposite. 

Here's why:

1) Your word count... well... counts.

You have a goal to reach 2k in an hour (I hate you...). But during first drafts, you simply type whatever comes to mind without caring about the coherence/structure/awesomeness of what you're typing. You just want to meet that freakin' goal. But if Internal Editor steps in, you get the best of both worlds. You get to 2k, and every word counts. It's not fluff or boring or stupid. It makes sense for your story, and you'll be able to push forward with a better outlook on what's to come. 

2)  Your writing/story improves along the way.

The more you read your own work and spot weak writing, the sharper your skills get. Typos, info dumps, inconsistent characterization--you can catch it all while it's still hot, and take it out immediately. Also, your story's thread is kept intact. You don't go off course by simply writing for the sake of writing something. You keep track of what you want to convey, and force yourself to stay faithful to it. By doing so, you get a clearer view on what your acts should consist of, what the chapter/scene goals are, and how everything will lead up to that ever-important climax. Sounds like hard work, but it's not--you go little by little until there's a whole bunch of awesome at the end.

3) Less hair pulling after you type THE END.

Every draft needs to be edited after it's done. I don't care what anybody says. There's no such thing as a perfect first draft. *rolls eyes* Even if your Internal Editor works along the way, you still need to have other people read and critique your baby, as well as a pair of your own eyes in the freshest state possible. BUT if the Internal Editor has been pulling its weight along the ride, those revisions you're dreading will be less than the amount you would've endured without it. And what could be better than less work??

So. There you have it. Internal Editors rock.

What say you, blogging buddies? Do you let your I. E. out while you're drafting, or do you shut the door in its face?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Book Madness: FOREVER by Judy Blume

It's been a while since I've talked about books. The people who write them seem to get all the attention (and with good freakin' reason). But I'm changing that today. 


Because Monday Book Madness is back!

And the featured book is:

Le blurb:

Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year's Eve party. They're attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they've decided their love is forever, they make love. It's the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine's parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart...

I am so glad I read this book. Definitely one that needed to be read while I was still in high school. *face palm*

That blurb doesn't do this book justice, though. Yes, those things happen, but seriously? It's a story about The Difference.

What's The Difference, you ask?

Well, The Difference between thinking about what you want your life to be, and living it. Sometimes those two things gel well together. Sometimes, that's not the case. 

But it all happens for a reason.

And that's why I loved this book. Doesn't matter if you're a teen or not, life surprises you. And there's nothing wrong with that as long as you learn.

Even if you can't stomach explicit sex scenes or touchy subjects (like depression), you should give this one a try. Plus, it's freakin' Judy Blume. If anyone deserves a chance, it's her. 

Now tell me: what did you read this weekend??

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fess Up Friday: Tweet To My 16-Year-Old Self

Yesterday I discovered a rather awesome hashtag going around on Twitter. It goes a little something like this: #tweettoyour16yearoldself

Mouth. Ful.

Anyway, I thought I'd join in on the action for Fess Up Friday. The perfect tweet for my 16-year-old self (who had major issues, mainly because of my undying love for NSync...) (whom I no longer love...) (seriously...) (why are you staring at me like that??) would be this:

shut the f**k up and keep writing

The 'keep writing' part is obvious, right? Right.

First half... not so much. Was I a talker? Nope. I was more of a listener. Still am, I suppose. But I did talk to the mirror a lot. And to pictures of myself. 

What did I say?

Things were never going to get better. Suck would follow me for as long as I lived. Life was just an oversized version of high school, where people look at you weird if you scribble on a notebook outside of class. If you quote your favorite authors. If you write (rather sucky) poems for your friends on Valentine's Day. 

My 23-year-old self has every urge to go back in time, punch my wimpy boo-tay into shape, and tell it to keep writing. Even if it goes nowhere, at least I'm happy. 

Now it's your turn: what would you tweet to your 16-year-old self?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Attention All Writers: Own It

A lot has happened this week. In my life. Around the blogosphere. Everywhere.

I'm not here to talk specifics, but I will mention one thing that's been bothering me lately. In fact, it's always bothered me. 

What bothers me, you ask?

Not owning it.

Voicing opinions is one of the most freeing things a person can do. It can also hurt feelings, or just plain piss off others. Even so, if you don't say what you mean, the only person who suffers for it is you. That's why we should own up to what we say and think. Never backpedal and go, "Oops! That's not what I meant! I've been misunderstood!" 


It's a totally different thing to hurt feelings and apologize for it. That is acceptable in my eyes. For example, if you say you hate Neil Gaiman's books (what is WRONG with you???), that's okay. But if you say, "everybody who loves Neil Gaiman's books should shoot themselves in the face," that's not okay. Opinions are meant to pave the way for constructive dialogue between two opposing viewpoints. Not to spew hateful and incredibly judgmental garbage. 

Then there's my pet peeve: backpedaling after you get serious scorn action for saying exactly what you meant

You hate Neil Gaiman's books and think he's no horror expert (again, you have issues). You recommend another writer who rocks way more than peanut butter sandwiches. Neil Gaiman's fans go on a rampage defending his awesomeness. You realize you've gained several enemies that will most likely send you viruses through emails. Then you change your tune and say you're sorry. 


Writers, own it. Whatever it is, just own it.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 Reasons Why I'd Kill To Do NaNo

So. NaNoWriMo has arrived.

And I won't be a part of it.


Trust me when I say I have very boring reasons for skipping out. They make me want to punch them square in the face and laugh when they smack their boo-tays on the floor. 

Anyway, I'm skipping out. Against my will. That's why I figured I'd tell you why I think NaNo would be awesome for me. I've narrowed it down to 5 non-boring reasons:

#1 It forces me to write. Every. Day.

I know, I know--you can't force the creative juices. You'll end up with a steaming pile of guano. BUT I'm an exception, my friends. No, I don't end up with roses and pearls for a manuscript, but I do end up working very well under pressure. It's my favorite way to do anything. Bottom line: Whatever I produce is better than not producing at all. 

#2 It's my chance to forget about The Rules (for just 30 days...)

The point of NaNo is to come up with 50k words. That's it. They may suck harder than Rob Zombie's movies, but at least it's a book. Or half of it. 

#3 Everybody cheers you on.

That sense of  sitting at the cool kids' table I've gotten from blogging and critiquing is multiplied a bazillion times through NaNo. No, I've never actually been a part of NaNo, but I've read many testimonials around the blogosphere. I'm always in awe of people who take time to help, and/or root for, strangers. 

#4 It takes my mind off very boring things I shall not waste my time discussing.

I think that one explains itself.

#5 Whether or not you "win" by reaching 50k, you started a book.

Writing a book isn't a piece of cake, right? Then you shouldn't downplay your success by going all self-deprecating and shouting, "I didn't make iiiiiit!!!!" 

Guess what? The only person who cares if you made it or not is you. 

And my advice would be to not care. This isn't a contest, my friend. It's the cool kids' table :D

Tell me: are you doing NaNo this year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mystery Agent Pitch Contest Starts NOW!!

You know what time it is, folks. Operation Awesome is throwing another one-line pitch contest!!! With a mystery agent!!! Who reps YA and ADULT FICTION, too!!! And the winner gets to submit their FULL MANUSCRIPT!!!

*brain explodes*

What the heck are you still doing here? Head over to the OA blog and share your one-line pitch with us! The contest closes after we receive 50 pitches, so make sure you don't get left out!

Best of luck to all who enter!!