Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Looking for YA Critique Partner

I’m looking for someone to swap manuscripts with to provide feedback/critiques.
Specifically, someone who:
  • Is interested in reading contemporary realistic YA.
  • Has a finished or near-finished manuscript they want read (doesn’t have to be polished – for example, I have a complete story arc but parts are rough).
  • Is willing to swap one to two chapters every week or two with feedback.
  • Is a serious writer, writing for eventual publication.

I'm looking for someone to challenge me. And I hope to find a long-term relationship.
    I'm not looking for a cheerleader. What I mean is: I don't need someone who will tell me they like my writing without telling me what needs work. I want someone who will give useful, honest feedback and I promise to do the same.

    A little about me: I am a member of SCBWI and Verla Kay's Blueboard. I am a children's librarian, and an avid YA reader (contemporary and dystopian are my favorites).

    If you are interested, we could swap a chapter or two to see if the match will work. Email me at michellejulian.writer at yahoo dot com

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    The End is only the Beginning

    I finished! I'm done! Yay me!

    Except I changed directions and plots so many times that now I'm back to the beginning basically rewriting the story from page one. I've heard other writers do this - that their first draft (a 70,000 word manuscript in my case) is more like an elaborate outline.

    I feel good about this. The first line, paragraph, page, chapter is new and constructed post ending. In other words: I have a completed story arc. I know how the story ends, thus I'm able to write a stronger opening. I know my characters inside and out, their motivations, backstory, and goals.

    This method may seem backwards, but it's actually turning out to be productive. I've already rewrote 9,000 words and going strong. As I get deeper into the manuscript, I hope to use some of the original text, but for now I'm happy writing from scratch. The story is infinitely better now and for that I'd rewrite ten times.

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Writing High

    I think I'm dying.
    It's the only explanation.
    My symptoms: euphoria, delirium, child-like excitement.

    This is the state I find myself in.

    My characters are talking to me. Backstory is unfolding. Action is fully engaged. I am giddy like a crazy person.

    The end of the first draft is within sight. It's plotted and ready for fleshing out.

    Excuse me while I type away madly...

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    J is for Juggling

    I'm in the midst of a crazy week, which is why I've titled today's (rather yesterday's) post, Juggling. Though I keep my posts here short, writing one everyday is definetely a challenge. I also contribute to another blog, Paper Hangover, and today was my turn to post. I'm getting ready for a 7 hour road trip to Buffalo to visit family. I do like road trips, butI'm not really looking forward to this one since my three little ones will be accompanying me. The line "Are we there yet?" wasn't made up out of thin air, and I know my 7 hour drive will feel more like 17 hours by the time it's all done! I'm just hoping they take an hour or two nap.

    Between oil changes, new brakes, hair cuts, blog posts, and an SCBWI class in NYC, I haven't had much time to work on my manuscript. Not to mention that I have my son's Spring party at school (did I mention I'm the class parent) on Friday right before I get on the road.

    My middle son has a birthday party, for a school friend, tomorrow afternoon. I still haven't packed, and I have 6 loads of laundry to get to. But I'm not complaining - REALLY. I wouldn't trade my chaos for a dull life any day. I just wish I had more energy!

    Next week many schools are on vacation for Passover and Easter. Do you have any exciting vacation plans?

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    I is for Inciting Incident

    Since I began writing, I've started and stopped several manuscripts. One thing these manuscripts have in common (besides not being very good) is that none of them have an inciting event or catalyst. I didn't know such a thing existed or was necessary when in the early stages of my writing.

    I didn't notice this inciting event happening, when I read. Of course now I understand the significance of setting up the everyday world of my main character before changing everything. And when I read now, I am conscious of that exact moment when things change.

    Some people believe the inciting event shouldn't happen any later than the end of the first chapter. Others give until the end of the third chapter. When I'm reading I don't mind as long as the story is engaging and the prose moves quickly. When I'm writing, I struggle to find the right spot to cross from normal life to different.

    What is the furthest into a story you've ever written an inciting event?

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    H is for Home

    I'm a day late with "H" because I had the hardest time figuring out what to write about. Well here is my attempt at "H" and since I'm working at the library right now and I have reading and writing to get to, I'll make this short.

    Home is where the heart is, blah, blah, blah. Home is where the chaos is. Home is where I write, well of course it is. I don't have a writing office, after all, who does? My point is that I live in small quarters and I share the space with another adult and three little children, aka: my family. My writing space, you ask? My dining room table. The dining room chair is my seat and since this set-up is designed to eat, not write, my wrists often hurt. And even though there are five other chairs at the table my 3 year old insists on sitting on my lap while I'm at the table.

    Productivity? What's that? Add this to my normal internet distractions and I can easily make excuses for my slow word count.

    How about you? Where do you write? Do you think your writing space contributes to your productivity or hinders it?

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    G is for Genre

           I've been writing for most of my life, but only seriously for the past two years. Part of the reason it took so long to get serious was because I couldn't decide what to write or what genre to write in. My problem stemmed from the fact that I read across so many genres. I love historical, fantasy, dystopian, realistic, romance, light sci-fi, memoirs, biographies, and I'm sure I left some out, but you get the point.

          With so much to choose from, not to mention picture books, how was I supposed to know where to start? I dabbled in a few genres, but nothing felt right. Then one day I started a realistic contemporary YA manuscript (that I never finished) but it all suddenly made sense and I knew I had found my age group and my genre. Don't get me wrong, I believe that one day I may still write something outside my genre (I have so many ideas, one of these days, one of them is bound to permeate my imagination).

          For now this is it - me and young adult realism. For better or for worse. Hopefully for better.

          What about you? How did you decide your genre and age group?