May 24, 2012

In which I vlog for the first time....

In case you missed it on Twitter today....I vlogged. I explain why within the vlog, so I'll just go ahead and let you watch it....



I really really LOVE the place where YouTube chose to freeze my face. I mean, I love it. Of all the faces I make in the vlog, THIS ONE is so my favorite.

AND I'd love to hear your random facts about yourself- tweet them to me, and use the hashtag- #randomyoufacts. Take some time to read through the ones people have already left, because holy crap they're fun.

NOW- to clarify-

At the end, when I start rambling (um, even more than I was rambling to begin with...) I say something really stupid about how I would make celebratory vlogs for my critique partners when they get agented EXCEPT FOR THE ONES WHO ARE OR PRACTICALLY ARE.

That was lame, guys. Leigh Ann even said so.

I did not mean it. Even thought that's what I said. I lied.

The thing, is I have a few critique partners who are like RIGHT THERE about to have an agent. Plus my girl Gina who is TOTALLY AGENTED. And basically, I was trying to avoid having to vlog again very soon because I found the whole process kinda stressful.

Basically, I was being so ridiculously selfish.

So I take it back!! I'll do celebratory vlogs for every one of my CPs! I'm even gonna go back in time and do one for Gina, in which I will re-enact my reaction to her "I got an agent!" email. (Minus the crying, because I can't cry on command, plus it's unattractive.)

And also, I said something about how I would be vlogging super rarely. Turns out, that's a lie. More info on that to come!

May 11, 2012

Things Megan Loves Today

It's been a while since I've done one of these, right? And I know you're dying to know what's making me happy lately.

FIRST OFF!

My lovely friend and CP Gina FINALLY announced that she's agented. (I mean, this only just happened, but I've been dying to be all YAAAAAAY on Twitter about it.) I guess I've been all YAAAAAAY anyway, but now I can be specific. Sort of. I can't tell you WHO, but I can tell you that her YA romance is effing amazing. It has such a perfectly flawwed and real MC, Kelsey, who is in love with the perfectly perfect David. And it takes so many beautiful twists and turns to explain why she is the way she is, and there were several times reading it that I was like, "WHY KELSEY? WHY? KISS THAT BOY!!"

And, there's this one scene in the rain......oh my geeeeeeez it's good.

Ok. I'm calming down now to tell you to go to Gina's blog and congratulate her. (And also, writers, just last week Gina posted something about how querying is hell and she would never be agented. So...there's a lesson in hope in there somewhere.)


Kristen Bell Sloth Video
I feel like everybody's probably seen this video, but you should still watch it again. Kristen Bell has an obsession with sloths, and she talked about it on Ellen, and....holy crap it makes me laugh so hard I can't breath EVERY TIME.


Jamie Cullum's All At Sea
This is one of my top two favorite songs of all time (the other is an Amos Lee song that I'm sure I'll post later). I love everything about it, from the cute British singer, to the piano music, to the LYRICS. It speaks to me, people. I love this song soooo much. And so should you.


My Current WIP
I got all wrapped up in revising Between there for awhile, and had to set aside my Cooper story. (Not the actual title. I swear I can do better than that.) I finally needed a break from all the Between-ness, so I whipped out Cooper and ....ahhh.... I love re-reading something I've written and remembering all over again what I love about it and its characters.  That's a fun feeling. Will he choose Laurel or Meredith? I haven't even decided yet.

So what's been making you guys happy lately? I'm always up for suggestions!

May 8, 2012

Plotting vs. Pantsing

About 100 years ago I promised I'd do a post on plotting. I'm slow, but I eventually follow through, people.

For Between, I mainly pantsed my way through the whole thing. There are things that happened when I was writing that even I didn't see coming. I'd type it out and be like, "Whoa!!" That's hard to explain to anyone who isn't into writing- that your characters can take on a mind of their own and surprise you- but I've heard several writers talk about it so I'm NOT CRAZY.

I love that feeling- the not knowing exactly where it's headed, and being delightfully surprised by whatever comes up. It's part of what makes writing SO FUN.

Unfortunately, when you don't know where you're heading....you DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE HEADING. This means lots of extra time writing, thinking, and editing (because your realize later that a whole lot of that stuff you wrote while you were just figuring stuff out has to go. Completely pointless.)

So. When I started work on the next book, I started looking into different methods of plotting. Some people come up with EXTREMELY detailed outlines. Others come up with spreadsheets to plan out all the major plot points.

This is JK Rowling's spreadsheet for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Amazing.

I tried to plot. I couldn't do it. As soon as I started planning stuff out, I got bored. It was like I'd already written the story--all the fun was sucked right out of it. There was no "wonder what will happen?" feeling when I wrote. I wrote the scenes, but it was just....dull.

And THEN- a lovely friend on Twitter introduced me to Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It's a screenwriting method, but it works well for novels also. Basically, the book explains that every single story in the world can be broken into fifteen beats, and it helps you plan your own story in fifteen plot points. It has you plan JUST ENOUGH to know where you're going, without planning so much that there's absolutely no wiggle room. Elizabeth from Liz Writes Books is even lovely enough to have posted her own Save The Cat Beat Sheet for Novels on her blog! (***EDITED TO ADD- Liz commented on this post (YAY!) and posted a few more really great links for pantsers who need help with plotting. Be sure to check out the links in her post in the comments!)

I've been trying this out with my WIP, and it's really made a difference. Now when I'm stuck, I just look to one of the scenes that I know will happen at some point, and write it. Working through the beats I've planned helps me to connect the dots later on. (I'm not the only one who writes out of order, right? I wouldn't have any idea of how to sit down and write a story from beginning to end.)

What about you guys? Are you a pantser? Do you plot? If so, what method works for you?

May 3, 2012

The Writers Voice #114



Hello lovelies!

I'm sure by now most of you have heard of The Writers Voice, the amazing multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid, Brenda Drake, Monica B.W., and Krista Van Dolzer. It's basically The Voice for writers (and minus super cute Blake Shelton, but...oh well...). I've been looking forward to this since Cupid first mentioned it several weeks ago, but hadn't really planned on entering.

BUT THEN- this morning, oh...the awesomeness that was happening on Twitter.....seriously- its contests like this that remind me what's so great about the writing community. First off, there are so many talented writers out there, and we get to see so many of them at once. Secondly, cheerleading is totally allowed. Now, I know that annoys some of you, but I am ALL OVER THAT. And lastly, it's one more shot for this book that I love so much, BETWEEN. So I changed my mind, sat at my computer hitting F5 like a crazy person, and entered as soon as that second entry window opened.

Without further ado, here's the query and first 250 for BETWEEN. Enjoy!


Query


When Harper comes home to find her house cleaned out and her bags packed, she knows her life is about to change. She’s whisked off to enchanted Ellauria, where she’s thrown into the middle of her own bad-assed fairytale—complete with deranged fairies, beautiful boys, and creatures far more dangerous than any she's heard of before.

In Ellauria, Harper learns that her entire life has been a lie. Her parents are not her parents; her brother is not her brother. She is a muralet—a direct descendant of Mother Nature. Hunted to the brink of extinction for their magical blood, Harper is the last survivor of the muralet race, and kept under close guard by the Fellowship, the group that protects the world’s “mythical” creatures from human discovery.

Ellauria should be the safest place for her, but after a few attacks by supposedly banished creatures, it becomes clear that even the Fellowship can’t protect her anymore. When her best friend is taken, Harper knows his kidnappers won’t settle for anything less than blood – her blood. With a shaky grasp on the rules of her new world and an even shakier handle on her new powers, Harper will have to find a way to save her friend without ending up dead like every muralet before her.

BETWEEN, a YA fantasy, is complete at 63,000 words.

First 250 Words
 
 
I could always tell what kind of mood Momma was in by the type of cleaning she was doing. Cleaning out closets and drawers? Sad. Reorganizing every shelf in the house? Frustrated. Wiping down the walls and baseboards? Angry. Polishing the silver? Stressed. So the day I opened the front door to find a pile of clothes lying in front of the coat closet, a bucket filled with vinegar solution standing next to the wall, and the smell of ammonia hanging in the air, I pulled my phone from my purse and texted my brother immediately. “Get home quick. She’s Granny-cleaning.”

I was still standing in the doorway when Sam got there. I’d heard the loud thumping of the car stereo long before I heard the crunch of gravel beneath the jeep’s tires.

He stood behind me and peeked over my head. That’s another annoying thing about Sam- for a twin brother, he’s entirely too tall. “She ironed the sheets,” he said, nodding toward the ironing board in the hallway. We could just barely see the front end of it, draped with the fitted corner of the pale yellow queen-sized sheets from the guest bed.

“I know,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ears with both hands. “This is bad.”

“You seen her yet?”

I shook my head. “Nope. She must be upstairs.”

"Alright Red," he said. "Let's think." He put his hands on my shoulders and pulled me backward, spinning me around to the front steps.