An Expression of Rejection

To express one’s self on a page is hard to do. It comes from the soul hidden deep behind the corners of your mind. All you want to focus on is what feels real, what feels right.

But then you get rejection after rejection and you can’t help to think that maybe your miracle will never happen.

Becoming published is a business you must have patience in, which I lack severally. I wish the day would come where I can float among the clouds of achievement, where I can see my work on a shelf and I can say “That’s my baby. That’s my treasured book.”

To imagine that moment brings tears of joy to my eyes. To actually think I could be chosen for such a high achievement. I just have to keep telling myself, be patient, work hard, and  soon you’ll get there.

If you are in the same position as I am, I just want you to know that a rejection isn’t the end of the world. You just have to believe that out of all the thousands of literary agents out there only ONE is perfect for you. We just haven’t found them yet.

Stay inspired to write, and you’ll get there when the time is right.

A. Willow

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A Scene’s Complexity

imageWhat makes your writing unique?

Is it the way you spill it onto a page or could it possibly be the types of things you focus on?

Everyone is unique in their own way, and when it comes to the image inside your head, nobody else is going to have the same thing.

The landscape falls with just enough sunlight to stretch across the grass. The flowers, blooming red, symbolize the new beginning to my life. Stress has overcome all the senses, but soon a tranquil breath will wash over and release me from this heavy burden. 

Seeing an image like this one in your head is all your own, and something you might want to share with the world. But how do we effectively put a strong image into words? No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t give every person the same exact picture that’s inside your own mind, but you can try to get close.

Here are the things you should be thinking about while writing a scene.

1. The mood-

You must insinuate the mood you are feeling while you see this image. Does it seem to lift your spirits when you do see that sunrise. Can you feel the taste of freedom in the soft flowing air?

OR- Is it a drastic change where darkness sets in and you feel lost. Its feels as though your trapped in a dark cave with no light around you. You can only feel the course dank walls of your tormented enclosure?

Try to make your audience feel the way you do. Once you’ve achieved that you are getting closer to showing your audience the essence of your scene.

2. Vivid Description-

Now the question is what do you want to focus on? Is the narrator focusing on one object?

The coffee cup was still dripping with condensation. Letting the water slide down the side, and drip off the edge of the table. It’s as if the cup knew he felt the stress of his job beginning already without even taking a sip of his black bitter coffee. The cup was white, like his pale face, and resembled the staleness of life he had possessed over his many years of greed. The cup was a symbol of his life, and he knew that eventually the cup would drain down his throat dry without any comfort from the outside world. 

Or

Is the narrator unable to focus strictly on one thing, where everything is in a blur?

I heard the phone ringing, but could only focus on the people around me. There was a girl talking so fast it was as though her red lips puffed out in a blur, the man next to her eyeing her goods on his way to his lower end table, the lady in purple drummed her fingernails against the counter impatiently, the man chomping on his gum so loudly it made my stomach twist in nausea …

“Excuse me, you gonna get that or what?” 

I heard the snarky comment from a flimsy girl, but my head grew fuzzy and everyone began turning into one big blur of solid movement. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of answering the bar’s phone like I was supposed to, I bolted out of the spinning room and coughed up my lunch from earlier. 

What was it with me and large impatient crowds?

By looking at these examples you can see a drastic difference when you focus on one main object or too many at one time.   Whether it be a really quick glance of a description, or a long enduring eye for everything in the room.

My last piece of advice on the matter is you should be able to feel the writing being soaked up by your story and not disturbing it. Even if the paragraph is phenomenally written, if it isn’t flowing with the story you might have to save it for a later date.

3. What Feels Right-

When writing out your scenes, don’t focus on anyone else’s opinion but your own. It’s hard enough to write everything by yourself, but when you have more than one voice in your head it can get stressful. All you need to do is close your eyes and visualize what you think you should focus on in your heart. If the writing is rough, and you don’t know how to fully describe whats in your head, just write down random words that make sense to you and the scene. Come back to it later, and fully edit in the sentences. Writing isn’t supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be an expression of thought.

If you want to share, I would love to see hear how it helped you and even share what you came up with.

Enjoy your scene writing,

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: The Elite

Happy Thirst-day….Again!

Yep that’s right, this is my second book this Thursday.  Lets just say I’ve been busy catching up on my reading this past week. I’ll also admit that I was way too excited to wait until next week to post this book. It’s a good one!

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Name: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

YA Genre: Dystopian Romance

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 323

Reading Time: 2 days

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

Back of Book:

The Selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she’s swept up in longing for the life they’d planned to share. 

America is desperate for more time. But while she’s  torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want- and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Book Review:

There is nothing greater to me than a book that plays with my heart. A book that gets me so emotionally attuned to the character that I can’t even tell us apart. This is what Kierra Cass does to me in this series.

Being the second book of a trilogy, I thought it was going to be horrible. Usually, these middle books are used to fill in blanks, and get you to the third one. I did get a slight sense that she was filling, but her character and her story overpowered any thing more than a seconds thought on the matter.

This book, along with the first, is exactly what teen girls are looking for. They want the romance, but the hesitant step to dive forward. There is doubt in America’s mind, like most U.S. girls, but there is also an erupting courage. America’s struggle with the two men in her life is a problem a lot of teen girls are dealing with. Should we pick the man we had originally planned a life with, or should we take the person who seems to care for ME.

To be honest, America made me angry in the first one, but I realized it’s only because she hasn’t truly found herself until the very end of this book. I admire her new found strength and her courage to take large steps, and it made me fall in love with this book even more. The last part I will mention is my favorite scene towards the end, when the truth is finally discovered within America, and she decides to take the bold step and speak out.

This book is for all of us hopeless romantics out there, but I will ask you to please read the The Selection first so you aren’t lost along the way. I also didn’t give this a full five because there where still minor things I might not have loved, but overall this book blew me away.

I can’t wait for the third one The One coming out next spring. When I first found out I had to wait that long I grew very angry. I wanted to dive right in to the next book, and here I have to wait another year. Oh well, I should probably work on my patience  anyways.

Feel free to let me know if you like the book too, or if it wasn’t for you. We can’t all be in love with Maxon!

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: Being Henry David

Happy Thirst-day!

Before we get started for the review I just want to say I NEVER would have picked up this book on my own, but for you guys, I broadened my horizons.

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Name: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

YA Genre: Contemporary

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 304

Reading Time: 2 weeks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Quote: “When you’ve lost your past you have to live in the present.

Back of the book:

“How can you move on with your life when you can’t even remember it?

He wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. All he has in his possession is a  worn out paperback of  Walden by Henry David Thoreau. All he knows is that he’s on the run.

And so he becomes Henry David, “Hank” for short. With the book as his guide, he sets out for the only destination he can think of: Walden Pond. There, while sleeping in the woods and hiding around town, it seems like he can begin again, with new friends and a girl he can’t stop thinking about. 

But when pieces of memories start coming back, Hank realizes the stranger  he fears the most is himself. What’s in his past that his mind won’t let him face?

Review:

As you have seen by my grading (2.5) I was not impressed, but before I begin to criticize the book I would first like to point out its strengths. The book was interesting, I’ll give it that. The fact that a boy can’t remember who he is, not even his name is intriguing, and the beginning description literally feels like a strike to the face.

What made the story good,  was how the beginning and the end weaved together a beautiful metaphor on how to treat life. I found the meaning behind the book the best part about it, but the actual story lacked depth.

The story, at first, was so intriguing I couldn’t put the book down. It was after the first few chapters that it winded down, but nothing seemed to be happening. From chapter 6 to about 15 or so I call those the Dead Pages. There were sparks here and there of interest, something that would bring the book back to life, but they were quickly extinguished.

It was as though Cal was trying to keep the book going, and drag it out to become a novel. I believe that if the book lost 100 pages, it would make more entertaining. It would keep you on the edge of your seat and not dread so long on things teens don’t want to read.

I believe this book is for those who are heading down the literature path. This long, drawn out book is exactly what most literature is all about. It had some intense parts, but overall it was very boring and took me forever to read. If your the type of person who can take on a slow book that has great meaning behind it then I say go for it, but if your like me and want something you want to fall in love with you should pass.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this book. Every one of us has different styles and maybe this is yours.

As always your thoughts are welcome.

A. Willow

Move On To Write Long

We writers have all been there before, the horrifying truth that you are, in fact stuck. You are unable to keep your words flowing, and you can’t seem to think of the next step. Some of us may call this writers block, and most of the time it is. There are other times though, when you just feel dry, like you’re sick of writing the same story over and over again.

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What I’m here to tell you is to MOVE on.

It does us no good to just stare at our computers for hours trying to think of the next big step you or your character must take. What’s important is that you keep writing.

Getting stuck on a certain piece of your writing may make you angry, and impatient to finish, but what I have learned is that when you push yourself to finish a project even though you aren’t feeling it, the story is going to turn out horrible!

Trust me I have done it many times. Staring at the page without a thought in my mind is torture, but what is even more treacherous is reading the end result after bulldozing through. To help you through this, I have something I would like to share.

There’s a secret I’m going to tell you about myself that might frighten you, but could eventually help you along your writing careers.

I am one of those people who have a million thoughts zooming through my head. I have so many ideas for books that I begin to start a few chapters into a new book, but then stop after the first day. At first I thought this was my downfall, because I’m also the type of person who likes to finish what I have started in a timely matter. (In other words I’m impatient and I don’t like a jumbled mess of projects- it distracts me too much). I have realized  over the past few years of my writing that this also helps me.

Let me explain.

To have more than one project to work on isn’t a bad thing. It helps you move along fluidly in your writing life. Yes, it might be a bit of a mess, but it sure helps you write longer.

If you are stuck on a story and it’s the only thing you are writing on, then you can’t do much practice now can you? With more projects its easier to move on from where you’re stuck and continue to write what you love. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there are certain ways to help you with writers block, or ways to help your creative juices flowing, but this is probably the most important to a writer.

As we all know,

The more you write, the better writer you become.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to become the best writer we can be?

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If you need more help on writing, look around at my different posts. If you can’t find what your looking for feel free to ask me a question in the Thoughts box below.

As always, I love listening to everyone, so don’t be shy.

A. Willow

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!

The Confessions of a Book-aholic

I have always wondered why I have such an odd obsession with YA books. Over the many years of the yearning to read that newest story that will drive me towards excitement, adventure and thrill; I have discovered that, unfortunately, I am a bookaholic. I am, point-blank, ADDICTED! My condition torments me on a day-to-day basis, but my biggest concern is knowing if this is a common problem or if I am completely abnormal. Let me explain my symptoms and allow you to decide for yourself if you have caught this strange fixation.wpid-1367434834953.jpg

When driving by the mall, as if by an incomprehensible instinct, I always park by the big and bold Barnes and Noble.  I honestly don’t see why, considering there is never any parking when I go by, but somehow I can never resist. Once I have fought for a parking spot I immediately dash inside, the doors swing wide open, and I breath in the scent of pages filled with vibrant anticipation.

I wish I could tell you it ended there, but embarrassingly enough the story continues.

As I walk past the stands, moving towards my usual section, my eyes catch the books on display. Everything looks so interesting, and there is always something new and fresh. I wish I had enough time in my life to stop and pick up a few of them just out of curiosity, but I know it is a rarity if I ever find that time in my day. I ignore my adventurous taste as I head towards the section that never slips past my notice.

“Young adult” are the words I hardly glance at anymore as I routinely skim the covers of its shelves.

After skimming through the different covers that scream out at me, I feel the semi heavy weight of the book in my hands. The book is smooth with a hidden electricity that tingles up my palms urging me to decipher this newfound energy into words. As the energy seems to linger at the back of my mind I already know I’m hooked.

This is the part that will be eerily weird to those of you who have never been a book lover before. I open the pages, lift the book to my face, and smell the sweet perfume of freshly pressed paper. It’s strange to think that paper could smell so good, I know, but it leaves the feeling that my next journey is about to begin.

I phase out here. My mind blurs like it has been intoxicated after only reading the first word. I am detached from my body becoming one separate being with my book. Emotions begin blending, my eyes can only visualize this new world of adventure, and my new life has just begun.

This is my obsession. I am addicted to reading, because it feels as though I am living a separate life, experiencing things I never thought imaginable.

This is my curse, my disease,…and my home.

If you can relate to a bookaholic like me write your thoughts down below. I would love to hear your story.

A. Willow