Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 22

Days Worked On: I've . . . stopped keeping track of this.
Morale: *shrug* Decent?
Total Word Count: 99,058 (-409 from last week)

What I Worked On: Chapter 8. And everything else.

Thoughts: Well, last's week revelation was a false alarm. So I spent most of this week re-reading all the other parts of my book and figuring out ways to fix their problems.

It's actually kind of nice to still be working on my WIP without looking at all of the stuff that's been frustrating me. It was also pretty helpful to refresh on later stuff and see what I need to fix in this section to keep everything cohesive, since this is the part of my story where the characters starting jumping to bizarre conclusions.

It doesn't seem like I was very productive, but I think one of the hardest things to explains to non-writers is how much non-writing we actually do while writing. There's so much thinking and gathering of ideas, and even though we don't have any progress to show for it, things in our stories have been clarified and perfected. Without all of that non-writing, our writing would never get anywhere.

Writing Song of the Week: Still Breath of Life. What can I say, I'm boring. But to be less boring, let me tell you about my writing song from a couple weeks ago: "Apotheosis" from the Journey original soundtrack, which was composed by Austin Wintory. The entire Journey soundtrack is beautiful, but "Apotheosis" is not only seven minutes long, but it's dramatic and orchestral and gives me feeeeelings.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Should YA books have a ratings system?

ETA (05/22/12): If anyone's interested, both Gayle Forman and Kiersten White have written fantastic posts about this same GalleyCat article. I encourage you to check them out!

Earlier today I read an interesting article from GalleyCat about YA books and how BYU professor Sarah Coyne thinks ratings might help parents decide what's appropriate for their kids to read. The article is pretty vague on what kind of rating system would be appropriate, but it seems to imply something similar to the MPAA ratings.

Now, this rating system would be awesome for two reasons: 1) it would allow readers to easily avoid certain content, and 2) wary parents would be able to purchase new books for their kids on short notice. Unfortunately, this ease-of-access comes with a pretty large downside. 

A ratings system based directly on "inappropriate" content encourages censorship. Many YA authors want to tell stories about dark and gritty things, but writing books is also a business. If high ratings on dark books mean that they won't sell, then we will see self-imposed censorship. And if we know anything about teen books, we know that there needs to be variety. Some kids need the reassurance that the world is not all puppies and rainbows. 

And despite all this clamor, there are resources that concerned parents can access right now. That's what book blogs and teen lit librarians are for. People critique for content all the time, and with the advent of smart phones, it's not difficult to get this information on short notice.

Of course, almost all media operates under a rating system nowadays, so I don't find it too surprising that I keep hearing about this potential rating system for YA books and I can see the value in it. However, if YA books had to be rated, I would personally prefer something similar to the current rating system for manga. Unlike other rating systems, this one focuses on targeted age groups along with specific content. This would help parents keep their younger teens from reading material written for a slightly older audience, which I think is the biggest issue at hand.

The thing about YA books is that the audience is really broad. There's a huge difference in maturity level between 13-year-olds and 17-year-olds, and it's really easy for adults to forget that. Because of this maturity difference, younger teens and older teens inherently want to read about vastly different things. And because everything is shelved together, it's super easy for a younger teen to pick up something that would be more appropriate for an older teen to read.

So theoretically, an age-based rating system would help protect younger teens without imposing censorship in the same fashion as a content-based system. Happy medium? Maybe? What do you guys think? If it makes parents more comfortable, should YA books have a rating system? Do you think it makes a difference on what kind of rating system is used? Or have I missed something important and would every rating system would lead to censorship? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 21

Days Worked On: ALL THE DAYS.
Morale: Mostly irritated . . . which occasional bouts of optimism that were quickly crushed beneath the irritation again.
Total Word Count: 99,467 (+870 from last week)

What I Worked On: Chapter 8. I talked with CPs, I worked on the corkboard timeline thing, and I wrote about ten different openings for the chapter. The conclusion I've come to? It's time to re-work chapter 6-3 (which comes before 8 chronologically).

Thoughts: I have a public service announcement: when having problems with a certain section of your story, it may help to re-read the chapter that comes before the one you're working on. Seriously. Don't skim it. READ IT. Because then you might notice something that you'd forgotten about that may possibly fix all of the problems you've been agonizing over for the last two weeks. *head desk*

Writing Song of the Week: Because I talk about music enough that it deserves its own section. This week featuring Florence + the Machine's new single, "Breath of Life." It's the theme for Snow White and the Huntsman and not only is the song gorgeous, but it's gotten me super psyched for the movie. Just watch this music video:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 20?!

Days Left to Deadline: -64

Days Worked On: Two-ish. Though there's been a lot of angst spread out over other days.
Morale: Miserable . . . then I realized it was week 20 . . . and it got worse. >_> Maybe I should stop numbering these things.
Total Word Count: 98,597 (+222 from last week)

What I Worked On: So . . . ugh, here's the deal: I deleted a scene from the original draft because it made for a better chapter break, but in doing so, I lost some important information (ie: setting and character introductions). So I've been struggling to get all of those vital bits back into place without info-dumping. This was what last week's cork board timeline was all about.

Thoughts: I've written this post three different times about three different things . . . and most of them were whiny. So this is me not whining. This week sucked writing-wise, but I've finally turned to my wonderful CP for some help, and I'm sure she'll be able to lend an unbiased eye.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Good to be a geek

Well, I went to see The Avengers this past weekend. It was wonderful beyond words . . . but instead of boring you guys with endless rambling about how marvelous it was (the pretty people and the explosions and the one-liners and the helicarrier and all the things), I'm just gonna tell you to go see it.


Also, a geek-tastic music video. Because this is the start of a promising summer for superheroes. *thumbs up*


So have any of you seen The Avengers yet? If not, do you have plans to? It is, after all, a great combination of action and drama and humor and badassery . . . and yes. Go see it. Ahem. If not The Avengers, what's your geeky movie/hobby/whatever of choice? Tell me in the comments!

*Oh, and the Hank Green cover, for all of you Nerdfighters. :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

WIP "Wednesday": Week 19

Days Left to Deadline: -59

Days Worked On: Good question. Three or four? Or two? Or something?
Morale: A little frustrated, but not horrible.
Total Word Count: 98,375 (+191 from last week)

What I Worked On: Research. All I did this week was research. FOREVER.

I also made a shiny cork board timeline thing:
I know. It's sexy.
Don't mind the blank notecards. Stuff does happen on those days. Really.

Thoughts: So I've been researching a bunch of random crap that may or may not even appear in this book. It's important--don't get me wrong--but it's a hidden kind of importance. Which is frustrating.

Anyway, I've been trying to figure out how long certain events should take, which equals lots of research about airships, freighter ships, and tanks . . . specifically their speeds. Yes, I now know the fastest tank in WWII (the M3 Stuart at 36mph, since technically the M18 Hellcat isn't a tank), have discovered that tanks and freighter ships move about about the same mileage, and can tell you how air currents effect airships. Thrilling, I know.

Oh, and if you know anything about driving tanks off-road (specifically in sand and how that effects speed), I'd love if you gave me a heads up. Because that information is scarce.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 April Book Roundup

*dun dun dun dun* It's time for April's Book Roundup! *cheers* A quick primer: At the beginning of each month I do a quick review the books I read the month prior. But instead of letting myself get too wordy, each book gets a Twitter-length summary and a Twitter-length review. Genres are listed at the beginning of the reviews and my absolute favorites of the month are marked with a star ().

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
YA Sci-fi--Chaos Walking #3. Now that humanity is at war with the Spackle again, Todd and Viola must make the right decisions in they ever want peace again. § THESE BOOKS. I've never read something so frustrating and so wonderful at the same time. However, best fictional horses EVER and yay 1017 POV! 

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
YA Paranormal Romance--Emerson is plagued by phantoms of the past, which isn't all that great until her brother calls in the Hourglass organization. Enter le hot boy. § Emerson's voice is a fabulous combination of snark and charm. Loved it. However, the soap opera romance kinda overwhelmed the actual plot.

Wither by Lauren DeStephano
YA Post Apocalyptic--Chemical Garden #1. After genetic experiments ruined the future of humanity, Rhine is kidnapped and wed off to repopulate the world. She is displeased. § Such a pleasant surprise! ALL of the characters are well-developed, if not likable, and the atmosphere was hauntingly beautiful and creepy. 

Fever by Lauren DeStephano
YA Post Apocalyptic--Chemical Garden #2. Rhine and Gabriel have finally gotten away from the mansion, but freedom might not be worth it in this a world like this. § Haha, the physical world here makes no sense at all, but the prose and narration are so delightfully luscious/feverish that I don't care.

Corsets & Clockwork: 14 Steampunk Romances edited by Trisha Telep
YA Steampunk Anthology--The title says it all: a short story anthology that brings together the quirkiness of steampunk and the delight of young romance. *thumbs up* § I'm not so sure that most of the stories in this anthology count as steampunk, but they all have romance. All my kudos to "Tick, Tick, Boom."

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
YA Fiction--Cullen thinks he's got life figured out, but when an extinct woodpecker is rediscovered and his brother goes missing, everything falls apart. § Everything in this book starts off mellow, but ends up somewhere meaningful. Loved how all of the characters felt real and a little disastrous.