Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Look here, followers! [New Posting Schedule]

To help me keep up with my updates and posting, I've decided I'm going to create a schedule for myself when it comes to blogging. This is what I've come up with so far, but if all of you-- my lovely followers-- have any other suggestions, please, post them in the comments!

Every other Monday - Book Reviews
Every other Wednesday - Writing Stuff [Tips, tricks, and all that fun stuff!]
Every Thursday - Media Thursdays [New music that I like, youtube videos, book covers I've made or friends have made, and websites I like, and cool stuff like that]
Every Friday - New Finds Friday [Other blogs from writers, work from Figment or Inkpop that I like]
Every Sunday - What's Going On In My Life [Brief Updates On My Life]

Of course, there will occasionally be the random post where there is something I just absolutely HAVE to share with you, so they won't follow my schedule.

Also, the "every other thing" will go something like this: On a week where there is a book review, there won't be a "Writing Stuff" post. The week after, there will be a "Writing Stuff" but no book review.

Let me know what you all think!

This will start next week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New friends, new memories, new writing bits, new video!

Hello all! I'm finally home from my magical adventure at Juniper Insitute for Young Writers! I must say, I had a spectacular time.

There were about sixty of us there-- most of us girls-- and everyone was just so amazingly friendly. What's funny is that we all had similar interests other than just writing (Every other person was a theater geek, like myself). It was so easy to get along with people and we were all like family within a matter of days. I'm so sad that it's over already, but at the same time, I found myself to be very homesick. So, now I'm back home in Billerica and ready to move on to the rest of the summer!

I'm going to be posting a more detailed video about Juniper on my youtube channel, but for now, you can enjoy this video of me reading an excerpt of Into the Woods at open mic night, which was Saturday night:

Keep checking back here, as it's almost time for another book review!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Thoughts On The New

I can't believe there's only one more day until I go away! You guys have no idea how excited I am. On that note though, don't expect any new blog posts until sometime around June 26-27th. Don't worry though, I'll make sure to post lots of pictures when I get back and tell you guys all about how much fun it was!

Okay, now onto the big topic for today... NEW INKPOP. (Dun dun dun...)
For those of you who are my followers from figment, you probably haven't seen the new inkpop yet, but you should anyways so you'll see exactly what I'm talking about here

So yesterday morning, I logged on, excited to see all the new changes. I was completely panic stricken when I got to my profile though: all of my projects were gone! Every single one of them! I went onto the forums to see if anyone had this same problem, and apparently, if you're logged onto facebook on the same email account, it'll automatically make a new account for you. Confused, I went and logged out of facebook and was able to get my IntoTheWoods account back to normal. By that time though, the new layout was starting to give me a headache due to the small text and neon-ish blue background. I went back to my projects only to see that my Harper Collins reviews on both Jaded and Into the Woods (Draft One) were GONE. This didn't just happen to me-- it happened to every top fiver in the history of the site. Good thing I had them saved to my computer, or else I would have been rather upset over that. To top it all off, I keep getting error messages from the site when I try to go into the forums.

For now, I think I'll take a little break from inkpop until they work the kinks out of the new site. Once that's taken care of, I'll figure out how to work the new stuff. Although, I still don't understand the point of badges-- it almost seems like they're trying to copy figment in some aspects, but I know that can't be it, as some of these ideas were introduced before figment even launched.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting Organized - Writing Binders!

As many of you already know, this Saturday I'll be going away to a writing program for teens for an entire week. This is something that I've been looking forward to since I was accepted into it in January (I literally ran into "Once On This Island" rehersal screaming, "I'M IN!"). While I was putting together my list of things that I need to bring, I realized: I don't have any of my writing organized in a portable fashion!

I've made various attempts at throwing chapters of Into the Woods into a folder and slapping my name on the cover, but all of them eventually fell apart and/or were lost in the abyss that is my bedroom. So, what's a girl to do but put together a binder full of everything I could possibly need to take to camp with me!

So, want to learn how to put together your own writing binder?
Well, here's how!

Step One - Find A Suitable Binder & Some Dividers
If you know you'll be putting a lot into it, buy one of the bigger ones. If you'll only be needing to organize a few things, a small or mid-sized one will do. If a binder isn't what you'd like to carry around with you, a folder or accordian folder works as well, but they aren't as durable and are harder to organize.You can use any sort of divider you'd like, but I've found that the transparancy-sheet type is easiest, as you can put sheets of paper in them.

Step Two- Gather the Important Things
Anything that you know you'll absolutely want/need in your binder/folder are the first things you should put together. You can organize them in order of importance or however you like, but they're best at the front of your binder/folder so that you can access them easier. You can either keep them seperate from everything else with a divider, or even a folder (If you have a larger binder, that is).

Step Three- Get YOUR Writing Together
If you write in a notebook, you can simply stick your notebook right into the binder and you're all set. If not, slide one of your dividers right in there and add your own work. You can organize it however you like; with mine, I chose to keep poetry in one section, with my fiction in another.

Step Four- Print Out Any Other Writings
Of course, this part is optional, but I've found that reading some of my favorite writings can be rather inspiring. Make sure whatever you decide to print out is legal though!

Step Five - Make It Your Own
You can design it however you like: print out some pictures of your friends, family, pets, or whatever else you'd like.

Then, ta-da, you have your own writing binder!

Some Suggestions For Other Things You Can Add:
-Pages from webpages on writing you've found helpful.
-Summaries of your favorite books for inspiration
-Scrap Paper (For writing down any sudden ideas you may have)
-Any book covers you've made for your work

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fourteen more days!

...Until I leave for writing camp! I'm so excited it's not even funny. I've been putting together a whole binder full of cool stuff to take with me: I'll be sure to post tips for making your own personalized writing binder once it's complete.

Sadly though, before I can escape to a place with people like myself, I have to deal with finals. Chemistry is going to suck, considering we've gone through three teachers this year, each with a different method of teaching. The entire sophomore class is going crazy trying to teach themselves a semester's worth of chem this weekend, as am I. So, I'm sorry if I haven't posted anything lately, but I promise once this week is over, there will be plenty more updates.

Sit tight!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Writing Stuff ~ A New Series In Blog Posts By Yours Truly!

When I hit twenty-four followers (I don't know why I picked that number, I just felt like it would be a good one) I'm going to start a new series in posting. It will be appropriately named "Writing Stuff". In those posts, I'm going to be discussing a lot of different elements in writing. I don't have my list set yet about what I want to do topics on, but here are the ideas I have so far:

1. The Golden Rules - How to show instead of tell
2. How To Create Well Developed Characters Through Outlining
3. Naming Your Characters
4. Outlining Your Plot (Including my favorite outline that I use in almost every book I write)
5. Which Person? Which Tense?

This is what I have so far.

What would you guys like me to add to this list?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Book Review: The Siren by Tricia Rayburn (Siren Trilogy, #1)

Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.

But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it?

Title: Unless you have no idea what a siren is, then it's a pretty interesting title. For the rest of us fantasy and mythology lovers though, it gives away a lot about the mystery in the book. The majority of people though, I'm guessing, don't know what sirens are, so the title is just okay, in my opinion.

Cover: Gives the reader the feeling that something eerie is going to happen in this book. Lovely color scheme, and when you have the actual copy of the book, the girl's eyes and the title shimmer when you turn it into the light. 

Plot: If you're looking for something suspenseful, this is absolutely the book for you. Unlike a lot of YA books like this, the whole mystery of how Justine was killed isn't just suddenly revealed all at once. The author leaves us little clues to figure out what really happened all throughout the book, making it a really fascinating discover. This is the first time I've also even seen sirens used in a YA book, which really makes this stand out from other novels. Rayburn also puts her own unique twist on these creatures, but nothing so huge that it makes them into something completely different. The book is also not entirely romance, which made me happy, as I'm getting tired of seeing so many cliche romances in YA.

Characters: Nicely developed, although I feel like the author could have gone a little bit more in depth on Vanessa herself, rather than Vanessa with other characters. The relationship described between Justine & Vanessa is unique for teenage sisters and the author does a lovely job of getting that across to the reader loud and clear.

Setting: Being from New England (Massachusetts, but I have been to Maine several times), I'm happy to say Rayburn did a fantastic job of describing one of Maine's many beach towns.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
I would recommend this to anybody who is a fan of mermaids, sirens, or anything to do with the ocean. It's a great read and I would absolutely invest my money into the sequel when it is released.