Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Big Question 2

Okay everyone! Here is your chance to win a great YA book! All you have to do is answer the big question of the weekend. Please post your answers in the comments section of this blog entry by tomorrow, 6pm PDT. We will be picking our favorite answer! Good luck!

How was your room as a teen (or if you're a teen now) decorated? What was on your walls?

Basically we're looking for some awesome stuff. Be specific!

Just to get your mind flowing, here's a list of available books the winner can choose from!

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Valiant by Holly Black
Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

1k-a-day Day 22

Well I had a most interesting night trying to get into see Twilight in Edmonton last night. We drove around for a few hours trying different box movie houses - all shows we sold out (except for the 10pm showings and that's a bit late for me...morning person, remember?). So alas and alack, (those are words, yes?) we decided to go to an afternoon show today instead. However, we did buy some great toys for the dogs at Petsmart.

I did zippo writing and am not sure how much I'll get done today.

Tracy's Day 21 WC: 0
Mindset: Twilight cometh!
Tracy's Day 22 WC: will update

How'd you do Tami? Have you seen the film yet?

Yep, all sold out here (though I didn't try and see it). I'm still going to have to convince my husband to go with me. I think I'm going to have to wait until most of the screaming fans have seen it, unfortunately.

I didn't get to write either. Way too busy at work and then just forgot last night. Can you believe it? Thanks for kicking off this post this morning Trace...again...forgot. Am I getting old?

Today we will have a big question! Stay tuned. Also, I'll be announcing the winner from week 3. WOOHOO!

Tami's Day 21 WC: 0
Mindset: Still coughing at night...such a bummer. I would pay to get a good night's sleep at this point. Will be writing this afternoon...hope my brain will work.
Tami's Day 22 WC: will update

Friday, November 21, 2008

Critique Partners and What They Mean to Me

Warning: This post might be a little sappy, but hopefully informative. :)

I don’t know how many people who read YAedge belong to a critique website or group. I wanted to blog about the few sites I’ve used and how I ended up with such a great group in the end.

When I realized that I was serious about writing, I looked into sites that promised my work would be critiqued by all sorts of people.

There are quite a few out there: Critique Circle, Critique Groups, Urbis. And those are just the few that I've tried in the past.

Most of these sites, you earn credits by the number of crits that you give. With those credits, you can open up the critiques that you get from others. At first, these sites worked great for me. I would post a few short shorts, a first chapter at the most. The critiques I got in the end weren’t too helpful for me. It wasn’t a line by line critique, something I realized I was looking for when going through the process. The feedback seemed to be based more on the overall impression that the reader got. Some would post questions, but there wasn’t a way to start a dialogue with them. I was frustrated and lost.

I turned to books.
I scoured writing books, read blogs and plain ol’ read anything I could get my hands on. I was reading 2-3 books a week (which I still do) in the genre I was writing to get a feel for the point of views, settings, etc. of the books that were already out there.

When the critique sites didn't wet my whistle, I wrote in my little bubble. A friend would help me, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted a commitment that wasn’t one sided. That’s when it all changed for me. Tracy (who I didn’t know at the time) posted to TeenLit group on Yahoo (a great group if you write young adult fiction), asking for critique partners who wrote or didn't mind critiquing edgy young adult fiction. I emailed right away.

To be honest, I was nervous at first. Would I be able to keep up? Was my writing good enough for someone to spend the time reading it, going line by line telling me what was right/wrong? Could I make such a big commitment to someone I didn’t know? Would our personalities mesh? These were all questions that flew through my mind

Let me tell you, answering Tracy’s email was the best thing I could have ever done.When she contacted me based on my email, we swapped the first couple of chapters from our current WIP. Reading the first chapter of her book was awesome. I loved it instantly and knew that I could give a critique that would help her. We agreed the partnership was good to go and we would start criting right away. Tess came into the picture at this point and we decided that three could work. That gave us each two different points of view. Every person notices different things when critting. We agreed to critique a chapter a week from each member.

We’ve been a group for eight months now. In that time, I’ve had a full book critiqued by both of them, as well as eight chapters of my WIP. Not only have I become a better writer from their critiques, I’ve learned just as much by going through their work with a fine tooth comb. I look forward to reading their work and when I don’t have a new chapter from them, I find that I miss it.

I would have never guessed my writing would improve as much as it has. Not only have I gained people that I trust with my writing (which I think is one of the most important parts of the process), but I’ve added two great friends. Like I said, I can’t imagine where I would be without them.

Thanks girls for everything you've done for me in the past 8 months!

1k-a-day Day 21

9 more days...time flies when you're having fun. Don't forget, today is Friday so post those week end word counts to win this week's book. I'll post the books still available later today!

Also, look for a new big question this weekend!

Tami's Day 20 WC:
Tami's overall WC: 35,845
Music: Josh Rouse again
Mindset: If only I could count the word count I put toward a new idea I was working on today, as well as the blog post on critiques. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
Tami's Day 21 WC: will update later!

Were you able to write yesterday, Tracy? I know you mentioned you'll be on your way to Edmonton soon! Have a fun and safe trip!


Wow - I worked on a booktrailer project all morning and just now came up for air. Whew! Fun, but OMG the hours fly by when you're in the computer zone.

I didn't write a thing yesterday because of the book fair. But we're leaving for Eddy in a few hours, so I've got some time to write before the road trip. Let's hope it don't snow no more!

Tracy's Day 20 WC: 0
Tracy's overall WC: 18, 078

Mindset: Distracted, but hopeful.

Tracy's Day 21 WC: will update later

Gotta keep focused, people! We're in the home stretch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

1k-a-day Day 20

10 more days...can you believe it? The time has flown WAY too fast. I've had way too many days where I haven't written anything. I've also had the days where I hit the goal, but wrote mostly crap.

But, on the other hand, I also had great days. Days I felt confident with my word count. I hope to continue on this side of things for the next 10 days! I hope you can, too!

Tami's Day 19 WC: 1,0499,966
Tami's overall WC: 35,84534,658
Music: Josh Rouse
Mindset: Did okay. Don't love the new chapter, but don't hate it. I definitely have something to work with.
Tami's Day 20 WC: will update later!

Trace, how did the book fair go? Can you believe we only have 10 days left of November!?


Yeah, where did the month go? I'm going to be struggling to write over the next few days with us going in to Edmonton, but the goal is to push through these last few days with everything I can muster. We so have to do this more than once a year.

Tracy's Day 19 WC:1119

Tracy's overall WC: 18, 078

Mindset: I'll be skim reading a ton of books again today at the bookfair. Hopefully they will inspire me to get home and write all through the night. Or at least until 10pm. (I really do go to bed at 9:07 - sad, eh?)

Tracy's Day 20 WC: 0 - too busy living (or is that surviving) to write! ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1k-a-day Day 19

Wow, are we already to Wednesday? Is this seriously day 19? Where is my life going? Are you asking yourself the same questions? Don't're not alone!

Look for a new big question coming soon!

Tami's Day 18 WC
: Somewhere my word count got screwy. I think I only managed around 200 today. I'm hanging my head in shame.9,966
Tami's overall WC: 34,79634,658
Music: no music :(
Mindset: So, i'm very disappointed in myself. I think the only thing that's going to keep my head above water in my goal to hit 30k is the hope of this coming weekend and Thanksgiving. Thank god for that. ;)
Tami's Day 19 WC: 1,049

Didn't make it to the exercise class, eh Tracy? Don't blame ya on that one!


I too am hanging my head - cause I bailed on that class...but I'm going next week. Sure I am. ;)

Tracy's Day 17 WC: 587

Tracy's overall WC: 18 078

Mindset: Hopeful. I have to run a book fair for the next few nights until 6:30pm. I'll be bringing my laptop to try and write in the lulls. Also, our movie theatre is having a pre-showing of Twilight at 10pm tonight. I'm thinking I just might go - to be in the audience on opening night would be a blast. However, I usually go to bed at 9:07pm (I'm a hard core morning person - I get up between 4:30 and 5am - always have - always will). So...I might bail on that idea too. :)

Tracy's Day 18 WC: 1119 (Whohoo! And on a bookfair night, too.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1k-a-day Day 18

Hope you all have a good writing Monday. Here comes Tuesday! The weeks are flying by!

Tami's Day 17 WC
: 0
Tami's November WC: 8,9339,966
Tami's overall WC: 33,62534,658
Music: Listened to Firewater today, but unfortunately got no writing done.
Mindset: Okay, so here's the deal. The writing gods must hate me. I was busy at work today, and didn't get a chance to even put in my thumb drive and open my book. No problem, right? There's always after work!
Then my friend who is helping me with critting the book signed on and we were talking about chapter 11. Stupidly, with 10 minutes left of work, I put in the thumb drive. What happens next you ask? Well, we came up with some great ideas on how to expand the relationship between my two MCs. Of course, I would need a copy of the book to do this.
When I signed off at work, I wasn't feeling great and just wanted to get the hell out of there. I'm sure you see where this is going. I get all the way home (about 15-20 min from work) and realize my thumb drive is still hanging out in my work computer. Lovely...I didn't back it up on my computer this weekend. MUST WRITE DOUBLE TIME TOMORROW! Sadly, I was actually looking forward to coming home, laying in bed and writing, now I've lost all desire unless it's to work on THAT scene.
Tami's Day 17 WC: Will update ASAP!

How did you manage your Monday, Tracy?


Wow - Tami - I feel your writing angst. I know that today we'll both crank out the words and they will be divine. :) I attended a graphic novel/Manga workshop offered by my local public library last night. While most of the detaily stuff was over my head, I enjoyed learning just how punny certain Manga character names are if you understand Japanese.

Tracy's Day 17 WC: 723
Tracy's overall WC: 17, 491

Mindset: Bring on the exercise class today after school! I'm predicting lots of pain, but I need my body recharged so I can sit at my laptop all night.

Tracy's Day 18 WC: 587 Sigh. And I don't have the exercise class to blame because I didn't go!

Big Question Winner!!

Thanks to all who participated in our first ever Big Question contest. I'm sure we'll be doing this again on our blog.

We were impressed with the diverse answers. We had cramp inducing reasons for flagging word counts (I feel a Viagra joke here, but I'm not letting it spring out of me...oops), real life family dramas, and even the o-some force that is Mother Nature.

But Tami said I get to pick the winner and so I've gone with a last minute entry that made me laugh.

Our first ever Big Question winner is Briaspage!

Congrats - please email us with your book choice and where ya want us to ship your brand new, gently used title.

Monday, November 17, 2008

1k-a-day Day 17

We are now officially into the hard part of Week 3...the actual week. This week should be easier, because by now you know what it feels like to work through the week...pick your battles. That's my advice. The battles with co-workers, family, friends and even your characters. If your MC decides to battle aliens, even though you're writing a YA love story, let them. You never know what may come from such an adventure!

Don't forget to answer the big question before today at 6pm PST to win a free book!

Tami's Day 16 WC: 1,033
Tami's November WC: 9,966
Tami's overall WC: 34,658
Music: Again, nothing. Just silence and the whirl of my old laptop.
Mindset: I'm feeling better. Not great, but more like a human being. I actually sat down and wrote today and it went quite well. I didn't get a ton of words, but I went back and edited and added in parts I wrote previous, as well as adding new stuff to the end. I started on a new chapter which was nice. I love starting new chapters. It's always refreshing, especially in the he said/she said format (which my book is in).
Tami's Day 17 WC: Will update ASAP! (I keep forgetting to update this..hopefully I'll remember this time!)

How did you manage in your blustery weather, Tracy?


Yesterday was a great writing day - cold and icky outside - toasty and writerly inside. I'm close to finishing my edit for UMS which is exciting - other WIPs are calling from the wings.

Tracy's Day 16 WC: 1776
Tracy's overall WC: 16, 768

Mindset: I loved reading everyone's procrastination stories (great question, Tami). Reading how everyone struggles with life and health issues, and online promotion, and distractions - well, it helps, ya know? I have to organize a bookfair at school this week and we're going to visit family in Edmonton on the weekend - so my major challenge will be writing in the down times. If there are any.

Tracy's Day 17 WC: 723 words - rats.

My Editor, Unleashed

I posted this editor interview on my pen name’s blog, WolfyChicks, here's the original: but I thought my friends here at YA Edge might be interested as well. I’ve asked my fabulous editor, Susan Yates, a few questions in hopes that we can all be enlightened as to the different interests of editors within the same publishing line.

So, Susan, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Susan Yates and I’m an editor for The Wild Rose Press, which is pretty much my dream job. I get to read great stories every day, I work with talented, motivated authors, and I get to be a part of publishing wonderful books.

You’re an editor for The Wild Rose Press. Which lines?

Climbing Rose, of course, which is our Young Adult line; Vintage Rose, which publishes stories set in the twentieth century; Yellow Rose, which publishes contemporary cowboy stories; and I’m the Rose Petal coordinator. Rose Petals are the fun free reads available at The Wild Rose Press. (Two great Rose Petals to be on the watch for: Old Flames Die Hard by Judith Graves and My Prom Date’s a Vampire by Kitty Keswick)

What’s your typical day like in editor land? (And do you wear glasses? For some reason I always picture an editor sporting a fine pair of spectacles.)

Spectacles, huh? You don’t picture me wearing them on a chain around my neck, do you? :-) My typical day is pretty typical, I suppose: sorting through e-mail, reading and evaluating manuscripts, working on edits, etc. And reports--I seem to spend a lot of time putting together reports. But that may just be my perception.

Why YA?

The obvious answer is because I never grew up (which also happens to be true!) but mostly because I remember falling in love with reading at a young age and devouring books like I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith or Fifteen by Beverly Cleary. I’d like to be involved in publishing great stories that mean as much to some young reader as those books did to me.

What calls to you about a certain piece of fiction? How do you know this is the one worth working on?

Well, since I only deal with electronic manuscripts, I guess I can’t say--any story that keeps me turning pages--but that’s the idea. If I recognize the characters as real people, if I care about what happens to them, if I’m dying to turn the page (scroll to the next screen?), then that’s a story I want to work on.

YA is really hot seller right now. Where do you see the Climbing Rose line going? What stories are you working on?

I’d like to see Climbing Rose become huge, of course. Sky-high sales, mega royalties for the authors, company cars for the editors…OK, maybe that’s a little unrealistic. But I do think there’s a great e-publishing market for YA because teens are much more adaptable to the concept of e-books than adults are. Teens have never known a world without computers, they don’t even remember life before the Internet--but then, who does--and they’re used to downloading their entertainment. I’m not expecting Climbing Rose to become the next iTunes, but I do think electronic publishing is only going to get bigger.

And as far as what I’m working on right now, I’m editing a great paranormal story called Under My Skin about a girl named Eryn who thinks she’s turning into a werewolf…oh, wait, you said ‘other’ stories, didn’t you? (Now, that’s a truly shameless plug!)

What do you look for in stories you buy?

Strong writing, of course, but also depth of characterization, emotion, authentic conflict, and characters who change and grow throughout the manuscript. I want a story to give me a vivid picture of its people and setting, so that I feel like I’m living and breathing along with the characters. It’s really all in the details--if a manuscript has so little description that the characters seem like talking heads in a white room, it doesn’t matter how good the story concept might be, it won’t hold my interest.

The perfect YA story would be????

A perfect YA story is fresh and filled with emotion, it tells an old story in a new way, it’s genuine, it’s compelling, and it shows real characters struggling with real problems and learning about themselves as they solve those problems.

Are you currently accepting submissions?

Absolutely! If you’ve got a great story that you think fits our Climbing Rose guidelines, please query us. We’d love to read it.

Any other words of wisdom you care to impart on the readers?

Keep writing, keep reading and come visit The Wild Rose Press Climbing Roses store. And be on the lookout for our new YA author blog! (Here's a sneak peak at the blog. It's a WIP, but coming along smashingly:

Thanks for taking time out your day to give our blog some editorial love! You ROCK!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The big question...

Here it goes. All you have to do is answer the question below in the comments section of this post to win a free book. We'll be picking our favorite answer, so make them clever. Be as funny, serious or down right silly as you want!

What is keeping you from writing/making your word count, better known as PROCRASTINATION?

Now, there are no rules as far as your answer goes. I will say one thing, my dog ate my computer won't win. ;)

Good luck folks! You have until Monday night at 6pm PST to post your answers to the question!

Just to get you a little more excited, here's the list of books to win!

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Valiant by Holly Black
Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Platinum by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

1k-a-day Day 16

Are we really half through? Hard to believe, isn't it? I hope you are all still enjoying the ride as much as I am. For those of you feeling a little less inspired lately, we've decided to give a book away today just for the hell of it. SO, check the blog later today for your chance to win!

Tami's Day 15 WC: 553
Tami's November WC: 8,933
Tami's overall WC: 33,625
Music: Nothing because I can't listen to music when sick for some reason.
Mindset: So I didn't get the huge word count like I wanted but there is always tomorrow. I'm feeling a little better, now manageable. I did finish two pretty good books in the last day! Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak (not his best but still good) and Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass (loved it!).
Tami's Day 16 WC: 1,033

How's it hanging in Alberta, Tracy?


Ah, so lovely to have my blog cohort, hortting away with me again. :)

Things are a bit messy around here - our first major snowfall has started the fun melt-and-freeze process, so my dogs are either tracking in mud or sliding into the house at full speed. One good thing about winter yard duties though - frozen doggie poop is easy to bag. (Now ain't that just what you wanted to hear this morning?)

Tracy's Day 15 WC: 706

Tracy's overall WC: 16, 768

Mindset: Where has November gone? We're half way through our challenge already. I have to start producing more words...time to light the fire under my butt with the BBQ lighter.....whooooohoooooo....

Tracy's Day 16 WC: 1776! :) A good day.