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Dec. 9th, 2010

Contests! Not here :(


Guys, I don't think you can understand how huge of a contest this is: http://bethrevis.blogspot.com/

This book is amazing, and this contest?  Amazing. I'm so excited. 

Random :)


Dec. 7th, 2010

Books

Um, I'm almost embarrassed at the amount of books I've read since November twenty-ninth. 
Here they are, in order (ish)

Beautiful Creatures (Garcia + Stohl)
Stealing Heaven (Elizabeth Scott)
City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)
Just Listen (Sarah Dessen)
City of Ashes (Cassandra Clare)
Matched (Ally Condie)
This Lullaby (Sarah Dessen)
Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
Jane (April Lindner)
The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen)
Something, Maybe (Elizabeth Scott)
Rosebush (Michele Jaffe)
City of Glass (Cassandra Clare)

(Oh, and Screwtape Letters and The Cheese and the Worms and a bunch of short stories by Hemingway, but those were for school, so they don't count.)

That's sixteen books, guys.  Thirteen that matter.   In, like, ten days.  No, nine days.  NINE DAYS.  Guys, this is not okay.  That's five fluffy rom-coms, one dystopian, one mystery, three urban fantasy, one paranormal, one literary, and one indescribable (Anna and the French Kiss, btw). 

With this much awesome floating in my brain, I'm feeling like my essay on Screwtape Letters + Mere Christianity will never get written.  Can't I write about Matched and Anna and the French Kiss?  Seriously.  Tahereh wasn't kidding here: http://stiryourtea.blogspot.com/2010/12/you-want-this.html.  Best books ever.  And I'm not just saying that because I've been blogstalking both authors for months. 

I read at a rate of 3-4 pages per minute, so most of these books take maybe an hour and a half to finish, which is nice.  But still!  I've felt like a loser for the past few months bc I hadn't read any Sarah Dessen or the Mortal Instruments series, and now I have that all caught up.  To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of April Lindner's Jane, which surprised me a little.  I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed Anna (seriously, I won't shut up about it.)

But I hate recommending it because it's SO MUCH MORE than it sounds.  It sounds like a fluffy rom-com, but it's not.  It was so real.  I wanted to be bff with Anna, and I gotta say that the love interest in that book was quite possibly the best love interest I have ever read.  I mean, he was short.  Point right there. 

Okay, really gotta work on that essay.  But afterward, I'm going to dive into the Sabriel series, which is another one of those series that, as a YA author, I'm kinda obligated to read.
 


Tags:

Nov. 30th, 2010

It's almost done! Teaser Tuesday


“Daddy,” I murmured, forgetting all about Heidi cowering in the corner. I shoved past the man in the doorway, probably harder than I should have, and ran down the hallway. Dizziness from malnourishment over the past few days tried to overtake me, but I brushed it away impatiently. “Daddy, we’re here!” A shout this time, and then he held me.

He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t have to. Fear corked his mouth closed—fear that I was a ghost, that this wasn’t real, and fear because he had chosen to take a chance on love again and it had been ripped away. Scary, I knew, because I had been there with Heidi months earlier. This made me smile for the first time since I’d awoken to Kiernan’s absence and the ajar door. “There’s someone I need you to meet.”

I dragged him by the hand down the hall, heart beating faster than my sprint tempo. The man in black still stood awkwardly in the doorway, too scared to approach the girl crying in the corner, and after I pulled Dad into the room, I slammed the door in his face. 

This is private. This is family.

“Heidi,” I murmured in her ear. “Look.”

When she raised her head, Dad dropped his beat up cell phone. It skittered across the floor to my feet, the date and time blazing: 12:11 PM. 8/14/12. Exactly two years and eleven months to the day Heidi disappeared, I realized. Dad stayed broken for the past almost three years, time I spent wishing Heidi would come back—not for her good or Dad’s good, but for my own good. I wanted the man who made me love water so, so long ago to come back. So selfish. But this time, as I dragged Dad down the hallway and as I whispered in Heidi’s ear, I could only see this moment in my mind.

It didn’t disappoint.

After a moment of initial shock, I saw his first smile in three years. Heidi actually stood, mesmerized by a man she could not fear. Stepping back against the door, I felt myself begin to cry, tears that came not from sadness or joy or any sort of emotion, really. Instead, my body tried to expel the stress of swimming from the last couple years, each tear a tiny drop of water I’d never have to swim through again. 

I fought for this reunion.

I fought for Dad and Heidi to come back to life—to be the people they were. And everyone knew they fulfilled themselves in one another, so my hard work felt justified. The love exchanged in their stare right now made me forget my hatred of the pool. Every hug, they would share over the next few years could erase the torture of the practices. Tears exchanged for smiles. Hopelessness transformed into a future. A free Heidi meant a joyful Dad, and just out of the frame of the picture of my sister I’d used to push myself to the Olympics was the ghost of my missing father, even if I hadn’t realized it. 

Behind me, someone tried to open the door, and I slipped out to stop them from entering. Nothing would ruin Dad and Heidi’s perfect reunion.


13 days. Bad Taryn.

In my defense, I stopped writing my NaNo on the 11th, and ever since, I've been detoxing from 50K in ten days by reading a ton.  But now I'm finishing the last 3 chapters before I want to take another look at Sins of our Fathers. 

Yeah, I'm going from YA issue contemporary fiction to YA epic fantasy.  Should be an interesting switch.

What novels teach:

First novel teaches enjoyment of writing.

Second novel teaches how to finish a novel.

Third novel teaches how to write a plot with a climax and dimensional characters.

Fourth novel teaches how to write commercially.

Fifth novel teaches how to write well.

Sixth novel combines all.

+

Over the course of my publishing journey, I've learned many things which have hugely affected my writing.

-Don't start with a character waking up (novel 1)
-Don't info-dump (novels 1, 2, and 3.  Three was notorious for this, mostly because the world was so intricate, as was the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist.)
-Don't start with a prologue unless it works (3+4)
-Make sure characters have unique voices (1, 2, 4.  In book 1 I picked dialogue tags based on which character hadn't spoken recently.  Dumb Taryn.)
-Use non-said dialogue tags sparingly.
-Avoid adverbs.

Basically, I've made every mistake possible, but I've learned.  Now I see these things.  I avoid them.  I change them.  I understand how to make a full character, how to intertwine subplots, and how to effectively insert backstory.  Of course I need practice, but I'm seventeen.  Here I go.

Nov. 7th, 2010

Wow

Scenes can really stress me out.

Two days ago, I wrote a poignant reunion with Lottie and Heidi which literally had me crying.  Today I'm in the middle of a scene in which Lottie discovers something that makes her really really angry.  Right now, I want to beat anyone or anything up because of that something.  I'm so angry that words can't do it justice.  Here's the scene:

+

Everything clicked into place sometime around three AM. After five hours spent tossing and turning, I woke up with a picture of little Sarah Jones blinking in my head like the old sign outside the dollar theatre. 

I cycled through memories just to make sure:

Kiernan and Sarah at the airport in Paris, Sarah wearing a t-shirt with Ariel on the back.

Sarah in the pool, wearing her favorite Ariel swimsuit.

The little girl with her back to me at the brothel, Ariel prominently displayed on her t-shirt.

A nightmare to be sure. How could Sarah possibly be involved in the sex trafficking ring? But things kept clicking together, faster than I could place them. It was like watching a computer Freecell game when it completed the moves for you.

“She’s in . . . um, retail . . . clothes don’t really play a part in it.”

No results found.

“And I’ll be out of the country for the next five days dealing with some business for the company.”

“No woman has ever come to my home.”

“Women don’t do much to avoid that label a lot of the time.”

Kiernan trafficked women. Kiernan worked in a brothel. Kiernan was involved with prostitution. Kiernan knew my sister, and he didn’t care. He didn’t try to save those girls.

Every day I cried for Heidi, and every day Kiernan worked to keep her hidden in that house.

I’d never been so angry in my life. Clothed in nothing but underwear and an oversized t-shirt I threw off the covers and ran to the living room, uncertain if I wanted to throw things or cry. Had it not been three AM, I would have screamed out my frustration, long and loud, proclaiming my hatred of a world where people got ahead by stepping on others.

I felt disgusting, violated. A man like that loved me!

How dare he!

I buried my face in the nearest pillow, and let it soak in my tears and my screams. My knees were weak, and my head shrieked protestations of a migraine. Blindly, my hands searched for my phone, and when I found it, they shook so much that it took six tries to dial Kiernan’s number.

The phone rang and rang and rang some more, and finally the answering machine caught. “Hello, this is Kiernan. I’ll be out of the country until the nineteenth, but if you really need to reach me, you know how.”

Snapping my phone shut, another wave of anger rushed over me. He left the country to avoid my anger, I thought. But that was ridiculous—of course he didn’t plan on me finding out.

When did he expect me to find out, I wondered, glaring out the window.

Was he going to propose to me, and then tell me his job wasn’t exactly legal?

Would he wait until we were married and I couldn’t back out?

Did he plan to never tell unless I stumbled across some sort of evidence?

He couldn’t love me if he planned to treat me like that. 

Bile rose in my throat violently, and I rushed to the bathroom to empty my stomach of, ironically, our Valentine’s Day dinner. Remembering the night before made me retch again and again, gagging on delirious promises of love. 

And I wondered! I growled. I wondered if I loved him—I told him I did! Idiot!

“Idiot!” I yelled at myself aloud in the night. 

I couldn’t deal with this—I needed to swim, to bike, to run, to work out. If I couldn’t take my anger out on the person who deserved it the most, I needed to get it out somehow. I threw on yoga pants and a sports bra, grabbed my swimsuit, cap and goggles, and ran out the door. 

With each step on the cold pavement, I felt better. My head still pounded, and my stomach still hurt, but the hot anger at Kiernan faded as my muscles cried in agony. He deserved nothing, least of all me. 

How dare he; how dare he; how dare he!

Skirting a couple empty office complexes, I took advantage of the silent night to scream. My anguish filled the quiet, startling a bird into flight, and still I ran, tears mingling with sweat and dripping onto the pavement.

I’d trusted him.

I’d told him about Heidi, and about my hopes, and things that no one but Lee and Maureen knew. He knew how strongly I felt about sex trafficking, but he never thought it may be pertinent to reconsider his job for me.

So much for love. 

By the time I collapsed outside of the Nat, it was 4:45, and in fifteen minutes, I would swim. Somehow, I didn’t think finding the necessary energy with which to swim would be difficult—a vat of hot anger would simmer inside me for a very long time.

 


Nov. 6th, 2010

New blog!

Perhaps you all will remember this entry: tabright.livejournal.com/10179.html, in which I talk about the importance of interacting with the publishing world via social media.  Despite my resolve in that entry, I didn't do very much about it at the time.  But now I'm buckling down for sure.

When I started this blog, I intended for it to be writing-centric.  Unfortunately, it turned personal, mostly because of this: tabright.livejournal.com/13904.html, also known as college. 

So I'm starting another blog where I will be anonymous, just another wanna-be writer chasing publication.  That's my professional, author blog.  This is my personal, people-still-care-about-me-even-though-I'm-thousands-of-miles-away blog. 

Just to let you know!


25K on the 5th?

YES I THINK SO.

Oh hey world.

Was I worried about college and NaNoing and swimming?

Wait, you mean I was?

Psh, Taryn was so silly back then in her naivete.

I mean, I'm at 25K right now.  Yes, as in I'm writing 5K a day comfortably.  It's quite lovely, actually.

NaNo 2007 taught me I could write a full novel in 30 days.
NaNo 2008 taught me a full novel in 30 days didn't have to be all crap.
NaNo 2008 taught me 50K in 30 days is actually not that much and I should aim higher.
NaNo 2009 taught me that a decent 85K in 24 days was possible.
NaNo 2010 is teaching me that NaNo shows me a deadline and a community and makes me love writing.
NaNo 2010 is teaching me that I am publishable.

Excerpt time!

+

“Why does it matter so much? The Olympics, I mean.”

I wanted to give him more than my standard it’s the Olympics spiel—he deserved that. “Do you have any siblings?” I asked.

“No.”

“Sarah, then. You would do anything for Sarah. I have a sister who—well, we had her funeral a year and a half ago. May 2010.” A small smile crossed Kiernan’s face right then, but I didn’t bother to ask why.

“I’m sorry,” he said despite the grin.

“It’s . . . it’s okay.” It wasn’t okay. It wouldn’t be okay until I looked up at the scoreboard and saw a number one or a number two by my name at the Olympic Trials. Only then could I say anything was okay. “Anyway, she . . . the only thing she ever wanted for me was for me to make the Olympic team. She thought it would make me happy, and she thought it would make her popular.” I smiled a little. “We were similar in that.”

“In what?” he asked. “Being popular?”

The lights of the Mexican restaurant came into view. “Being popular, yeah, I guess. More than that, though, wanting to be popular—caring about appearances. Caring about how people saw us, and what people thought of us, and whether we were liked.”

“That’s not a bad thing, though,” he said.

“Maureen thinks it is,” I said. “For Heidi—my sister—it became a bad thing. She always had to be doing something with people, proving she wasn’t a friendless loser. She had to go to every party—and she was thirteen! The people she needed to impress kept getting older and older, and then one day . . .”

I’d gotten to this point of the story before, and everyone always filled in the thought, asking, “she died?”

And I usually nodded.

But Kiernan said, “And then one day she was gone?”

One word different, really, but it made all the difference. Gone had no connotation of finality or conclusion or fulfillment. Gone asked questions of the future and circumstances. Gone was a nice word for dead, yes, but it also described what actually happened.

Kiernan, somehow—subconsciously, even—understood.

“Taken prematurely from us,” I agreed evasively.

He understood.

Nov. 4th, 2010

Lazy days

I literally only had 2.5 hours of my day booked today.  Guess how much I wrote before 10 PM? 

500 words.

Monday, I had 11 hours booked, and I wrote 6000 words. 

Weird how that works.

Anyway, I've gotten in 1200 in the past half hour, so things are working again.  My goal is 21.6K by sleep, but I don't know if that will happen since I'm only at 19.1. 

Nov. 3rd, 2010

Live Manuscript Comments, courtesy of Fluffykins*

*Fluffykins is my little sister

9:51: I have heard the phrase impossible things before breakfast a lot! Lately!
10:02: This is depressing!
10:04: I love the name Lottie! Reminds me of princess and the frog!
10:06: Why does a British guy have all american good looks?
(they aren't mutually exclusive, silly face)
10:08: I am at the part where she just left the cell?
10:10: Creepy and a bit too coincidental!
10:12: This is so freakin awful! In a good way.
10:12: What happened to the British guy?
(he got on his flight, flew home, and went about his business)
10:14: Why are you using bad language??!!!?
(because the characters said so.)
10:21: If she doesnt get free in the end, I will stop reading now!
[Dinner break]
10:47: You shouldn't say God
(I don't.  Maureen does!)
10:50: Her parents are evil!
10:50: She should have a nice friend
10:50: British guy is back!
10:52: Why don't you talk about her ride with British guy? I want chemistry!
(hahahahahaha oh fluffykins.)
10:56: The censoring letter is oddly censored and gives away more than the average convict would want.
(OH MY.  this one made me crack up.  HOW ON EARTH DOES MY BABY SISTER KNOW THIS??)

Goodness.  All right, 17.5K and good night :)


The Curse of an Athlete

Competitiveness.

Honestly, I wasn't planning to pound out 16K (and counting) in the first three days of NaNo.  Right now I'm on pace for, um, a 160K book.  Well, Splashback definitely won't be that long, but I am honestly thinking about finishing Splashback in the first ten days of the month, using 5-10 days to plan and outline another novel, and then writing that one as well. 

Um, my overachiever-ness is not the point of this post.

The point is this beautiful little chart: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/search/authors?sort=desc&order=Wordcount&name=&info=&wordcount=1&location=&genre=&narrative_type=&og_my_home_nid=287&op=Search&form_token=1133acfcd9252f585136baf40f269e8b&form_id=oll_author_search_form

It says "Hi, Taryn!  These are all the people in the Lexington area doing NaNo!  Guess what!  You're not first!"

So of course I growl back, pound out a few thousand, and post my new word count atop the leader board.  After that, I wallow for awhile until I notice someone has surpassed me.  Suddenly, inspiration returns and another few thousand appear.

The most annoying part is how early I go to sleep.  I'll be like "All right, 11,011!  Time for bed!" at 9:30, and everyone else will write for two more hours.  I woke up this morning to find myself 4th!  Grr. 

Funny: Today I hit 15,765, went to check my standings, and saw someone had literally just posted 15,721.  It made me happy to barely out-write her.  Wow, I am way too competitive.

Then I was first for a few measly hours tonight, posted 16,013, refreshed the page . . . and saw the same someone had climbed to 16,421.

But I will win, darn it! 


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