Starting a Series

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I will not be posting very often for the next few days. I am going to start a series, but I have to do some work on it first. In the mean time, I will be re-blogging some post that I have liked.

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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Elissa W. Roberts

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I’m not talking about the early-morning view when the alarm clock buzzes and you roll over to see your spouse’s bedhead staring back at you. Although I’m willing to admit I look a little–okay, a lot–like my youngest in the picture, take away the spaghetti sauce.  (The expression is usually the same too.) No, I’m talking about marriage and husbands and wives and how the good, the bad and the ugly all go together. By that, I mean the qualities I love most in my husband are in tandem with the qualities that drive me crazy and vice versa. A laid-back, easy-going person usually isn’t great about remembering to take out the trash or throw dirty socks in the hamper. A type-A, highly motivated, get-it-done person tends to love checklists and high expectations. Someone who is hard-working and always goes the extra-mile might be a little late to come home most…

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I’m Back

So lately I have not been in much of a blogging mood lately. I have been pretty stressed with some personal stuff the past couple of weeks. Thankfully that is over now, so I can get back to life. Isn’t it amazing how much something can affect your life without you even realizing it? The human mind is capable of such amazing things. So much is going on right now, I have no clue where to start.

My parasols came in last week! Jacob donated money to the dance program so I could have them. I am so thankful that I got those, they look wonderful and the girls love to dance with them. (Pictures to come soon)

I finished the first draft of TLT, it didn’t get to 50K, and it needed a lot of work. I sent it to Rachel, and a few people from the Go Teen Writers page, and I got some really good feed back from them. One of them gave me some great tips, and did a really in-depth edit. She should be an editor, she pointed out the good and the bad, and not only did she tell me what needed to fix, she showed me how to fix it. I am not trashing it. I am going to keep working on it, but I need to do a lot more world building, and I need to develop some sub-plots and whatnot. More importantly…

I have two new project.

Project one. I woke up the other morning at four, and knew what I needed to write. I had a title and main idea. I thought I wrote it down, well I thought wrong. Thankfully, I was able to remember it. So I started writing it. I have no clue how to write it yet, it’s not a normal fiction book. It is actually a non-fiction, which is new to me. I won’t say any more than that. It is a book that I feel needs to be written, but no one is going to even know the name of until I am sure about it.

Project two. I started writing it a couple of weeks ago just to get it out of my head, but it is actually turning in to a book. It wasn’t supposed to be anything, just random paragraphs when I needed to get out of my head; but it is turning in to so much more than that. It is non-fiction, and it has a Faults in Our Stars vibe about it. (That was not intentional!) I am not sure where this book is going, but it has a title that I have fallen in love with, but will not release yet.

I feel like both of these books are more important than TLT. These stories need to be told, and I am the one to tell them. I will keep you posted.

I have been spending time on the schools cheer program, but that is another blog post. I shall write again soon, I promise.

 

What is your Dream Publisher?

As I start draft two of TLT, I start to feel a little more hopeful about the book. My first draft was done at the low word count of 27, 494.  Which is not where I wanted to end it, but I think it’s a good thing I stopped there. My story was done at that point, and all I wanted to do was edit it. I printed out all 96 (double spaced) pages, and bought a new red pen.

I edited it in three days. So the next day, I started retyping it.

My book lacks a lot, it needs a lot of work; but every time I re-write it, it gets better. So if that means I have to start over ten times to get a decent book, I will.

I want this book published. That is the goal. I will do what it takes to get it there, even if it takes me ten years. Maybe not ten years, but you get the point, right?

What is your dream publisher?

Mine would be Harper  Collins, (I said dream didn’t I?). I love their teen book program, and I love most of the YA books they published. They are however, incredibly hard to get in to. I love them, everything about them. They published Divergent, Delirium, Partials, Shatter Me, Pulse, etc. I love those books.

There are other publishers that are more realistic, that I would go for; but if I could have anyone they would be it.

What about you, who do you want?

What made the Hunger Games Trilogy so Popular?

As a writer it is my job to read books that are in my genre so I know what has been done, what is being over done, cliches, etc…

I hate to admit it, but I am one of the people that got on the Hunger Games train late.My friend Hanna told me about them, but why on earth would I want to read a book about that? I thought she was crazy, I assumed she found some random, ill-written book. A few months later Jacob told me that he wanted to read the same book and asked if I would read it to him. We went to Walmart picked up a copy and started reading. By three chapters I was hooked! After we finished reading it and saw the movie, I spent the next two weeks asking my self over and over again the same thing,  why? Why is this book such a big deal? Why is it so popular? What makes it so addicting? What makes it so good? No one knew. Google didn’t even have the answer. I let the question drop, and read the other two books in a week. Over a year later and I still don’t have the answer. I do have a few ideas though.

Yes that is an ARC of Catching Fire, and no you can not have it!

Yes that is an ARC of Catching Fire, and no you can not have it!

The Plot

A fair amount of people think it has to do with the plot. I don’t think so. After I read the first book, I had a pretty good idea where the rest of the books were going. Honestly the only thing that really surprised me about the plot were two unfortunate deaths in the last book, (for spoiler reasons I won’t say who).  I was addicted to it as everyone else, even though I had the plot  pretty well figured out. So I am going to say that it was not the plot that made it take off.

The Characters

I tend to agree with this one. The characters took the world by storm. Collins turned the world of books around with Katniss. For years books have been about female characters that don’t do anything to take control over their life, they are weak, etc. All the same, girly girls. Now days most girls aren’t like that, they don’t want boys saving them, and they certainly don’t want to let people control their lives. Katniss is a very relate-able character in general.

She isn’t even interested in boys till a good way through the second book, and when she does, she can’t explain her feelings. She doesn’t know how she feels about Gale or Peeta. She cares about her family, and she is responsible for them. She has a younger sibling that she is willing to die for, and that is something to a lot of young adults can relate to. She lost a parent and her mom hasn’t dealt with it,  so Katniss has to step up. Katniss is sarcastic, she’s funny, and we love her.  She is enough reason to read the book without Peeta and Gale even though they are pretty awesome, (I won’t go in to detail about them). Seriously, Peeta is willing to die for someone who doesn’t even love him back.

I do not own the rights to this picture. (Pinterest)

The Romance

It was good, clean, wonderful, self sacrificing, romance. Personally I could have done without the love triangle, but I think that Collins did a good job with it.

The Idea

As gruesome as it is, the idea of kids being forced to kill kids for entertainment is oddly appealing. Not in a “this is a great idea let’s do it” kind of way, but in a “what in the world?” kind of way. When you hear that a book involves kids being forced to kill other kids, you almost have to read it. Really there is so much more to the Hunger Games than just that.

I do not own the rights to this picture. (Pinterest)

The Writing

Suzanne Collins was able to write about something so horrible in a way that made you open your eyes to how bad everything was, without killing your heart. She was able to add humor to the story when it was needed, (i.e the elevator scene in Catching Fire). Not to mention that it is all clean. Suzanne Collins never uses a bad word, and the writing isn’t too gruesome.

The Movie

Even though there was a fanbase for the Hunger Games before the movie came out, and even though the first movie was not done as well as it should have been, it still helped the book. The fandom for the Hunger Games is still growing with every movie, and it will continue to grow.  If for no other reason Jennifer Lawrence will keep it going. That girl is Katniss. Everyone likes her.

I do not own the rights to this picture. (Myhungergames.com)

The Dystopia

While I will always think that 1984 was the book that pioneered dystopian literature. The Hunger Games brought it back. I think the reason that dystopian literature is so popular right now is because we all know that our world is not going to be a utopia in 100 years. With the way our world is going right now, we will be a living dystopian novel 100 years from now.

The Violence

Obviously there is going to be a fair amount of violence, which plays a big role in our society now days. It deals with a society that in a way mirrors our own. We may not being forcing kids to kill each other on TV, but are we any better than the Captiol?

Do we agree with murder? In some way yes, I think we do. In fact we spend hours agreeing with it every week, we kill virtual people. There is blood, there is death, there is even victory in that virtual death. We are turning in to a society that treats death as a game, literally. Now, I know that you are saying this is a bunch of lies, but it is not. There are actually a lot of studies proving that this is right. A study done in 2012 showed an increase of aggression after playing video games, and watching violence on TV frequently. A real Psychological study, I read about it in my text book, it was a real eye opening chapter. The question is, how soon will it be before something really drastic happens? Suzanne Collins has opened the box to something big, and I hope that everyone will get what she is trying to say about our society before it is too late.

There is my thoughts on the subject. It all boils down to what hits it and what doesn’t. What people want to read, and what they don’t, which changes every month.  As a writer you have to write what you would want to read, and read what you want to write.

You have to read good books, because you only write as good as the books you read.  Unfortunately, that means that sometimes you sit, pout, and wonder why that book is so good, why you didn’t write it first, and hate your self because you know your book will never be that good.

What do you think? What do you think makes the Hunger Games so good?

Why Getting Married Means Divorce

Getting married means that you have to get divorced. Not to your spouse, but to your stuff. No matter what life was like before you got married it is inevitable, you are going to have a lot of junk, and your partner will have their fair share as well. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that as soon as you move in together, there will be a lot of junk! Unless you have an unlimited amount of storage space, you are going to have to divorce some of it.

Three weeks after we got married I divorced half of my bathroom. I had kept everything I had ever used. It took two hours, but when I was done I had four trash bags of old shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair products, combs, make-up. You name it, there was some of it in my cabinets. I had not gone through those cabinets, since we had re-painted my bathroom six maybe seven years ago. It was truly insane; but it was worth it. Jacob had room for his stuff, I had more storage space, and ultimately we were both happier.

Same goes for your closet. Jacob and I went through our closet together. The plan is to get in our house ASAP, but until then, we had to have more room in our closet. So we got three tubs. One for keepsake items, (like vacation t-shirts, or things like cheer uniforms). Two for summer clothes, and one basket for things that needed to be given away. I just thought it took a long time to go through my bathroom. It took us hours to go through all of it.

However, it was seriously worth the time, and effort it took to get rid of all of it. We were both so much happier, because we finally had room to move around a little.

Life Changes

Life changes, it is a fact of life. People will say things like “Without change there wouldn’t be any butterflies.”  Life changes, and not all changes are good. I know God works all things out for the better of his people. But that doesn’t mean that it is all going to be good, and that life is always going to change the way you want it to, because the truth is; no one has complete control of their life. No. One. Does.

There is only one person who does, God. God has control, and you know what His plans are totally different than your plans. He has control to put people in your life, than yank them away. In the long run, that might be better; but in the mean time it stinks.

It hurts, when people don’t talk to you, or when they do everything they can to avoid you. When people walk out of your life, it hurts. Even if those people leave unintentionally. It hurts when people aren’t considerate of other people. It just does; but you want to know what I have learned from all of it? From all of the times that people have ignored my texts, got up and left from the lunch table, lied to me because they just didn’t want to talk at that moment, ignored me while I was talk to them.

I have learned that people are flawed, we all are. There is not a single human being that is perfect, we all make mistakes. I learned that you can not live your life for people. You have to live your life for God. You can’t change your entire life for some if they won’t do the same for you.

God is going to be there at the end of every day, and even if you feel like he has left you in the dark, when you feel like he has hung up on you. He hasn’t he is waiting on the other end of the line, waiting for you to come back. When you feel alone, and like no one wants to be your friend, when you feel like no one can understand what you are going through; God does, and he is always there, always listening. God doesn’t move, people do. God promises that he won’t leave us, he is constant. He always has, and he always will be there. Waiting.

I think that the best thing about God, is that he will always love you. No matter what you did, he is willing to forgive you, and let you back in to his arms. No matter how far you run, he will always be sitting there with open arms, waiting for you. It is one of the hardest things for us as people to believe, because as people we aren’t like that. But God is bigger than all of us, he is the most patient, understanding, loving, and accepting thing there is; and He will always love you. He will always be there.

Next time you feel alone, like the world has turned its’ back on you, remember

that God hasn’t and that he is always waiting for you to talk to him.

I do not own the rights to this picture. You can find it here.

Natalie+LT=$?$?$

Let us play pretend for bit.

I got the base idea for LT my senior year, but it wasn’t until two months ago that I started actually writing it. I tried and tried to write it before, but nothing worked. Nothing. One day after watching a interview with Veronica Roth about her most recent book, it clicked. I started writing, and I couldn’t stop.

Until now.

I am at 23K, twenty three thousand words. All of them useless, because I am stuck. There is nowhere left for the book to go. I have the ending written, I have the beginning written. It is the getting from point A to point B that is the problem. I have never gotten this far before.

So until I can move past this writers block, I will pretend like it is going to be a best seller. I will pretend that it is already published, and in the hands of readers everywhere. I will pretend like I have fan pages for my book, and that everyone is awaiting the next installment in the series.  I will pretend, that I am going to one day be signing books at Barnes and Noble; because lets face it, you have not really made it until you have a book signing at Barnes and Nobel.

Well I guess that is more of a half way point. When the book is a movie, that is when you have made it!

LT will never be there, I know that. Very few books actually get there, but while it is still my personal project. While I am the only one that has seen it, I can pretend that it is everything, and more!

When I have finished writing LT, I will edit it, then I might let someone read it. Then I will edit again, and again, and again. Honestly, I am looking forward to the editing stage. Once it is reader worthy, or part way there. I will look for an agent. I will be turned down a couple of hundred times, then finally I will find someone that thinks my book is worth something. I would love to be published with Harper Collins, but that won’t happen. I will probably end up with a very tiny company, that has very little to offer; but I will be happy, because I will be published.

Once I am published, I will do a happy dance, then I will go back to banging my head on the key board; because I have more than one book I want to write.

If I ever finish LT, I will treat myself to as much Cheesecake Factory 30th Anniversary Cheesecake I can eat.

That is if I get past twenty-three thousand words.

I do not own the rights to this picture.

Where do you want to be in five years?

This was one question that I got asked all of the time my senior year, that and where are you going to college? I came up with some answer, it usually changed depending on how in-depth I wanted to get, that and who was asking.

I have always had big goals in life, (I will admit that they were sometimes a little unrealistic, but what is the point in dreaming if you don’t go all out?)

In five years, I want have my book done, and my masters in Psychology. That is realistic right? Five years is a long time to write a book and get a degree. Not that those are the only things I want to have accomplished. I want to have much, much more done than that.

Has anyone ever realized how long five years is? Five years is a long time. Not in the scheme of things, but still. That is 1,825 days.

That no one is promised.  Maybe that’s the scariest part.

The fact that none of us really know how long we have. Why do we waste so much time? When we take in to consideration that we might not have the next 1,825 days to get things done, would the things that we care about now really mater? If you had five years to live, would you change how you are living today?

I know I would.

I would let go of things that weren’t in my control, I would try to worry less over all. I would spend more time doing things that make me happy, and that I care about. I would spend more time studying God’s word, and talking to him. I would talk to everyone I met, I would try to change as many lives as I could. Not to quote John Green, but the marks humans leave are too often scars, and I would want to make sure that any scars I made were replaced with love.

The good thing, is that most of us have longer than five years to live, and we need to start living like that today. Because the truth is, that no one knows when their last day will be.

 

This post took an unexpected turn, so maybe tomorrow night I will blog about the topic I actually wanted to blog about.

 

The Treadmill Desk

I do not own the rights to this picture.

Since November, I have wanted a treadmill desk. I started looking for them, when I found out that they can increase productivity up to fifty percent, I was sold. It doesn’t hurt that Veroinca Roth used one when she wrote Allegiant, if she can do it I can do right?

Wrong.

We got a treadmill from my sister, in exchange for an elliptical. I have not even put the desk on it, and I have already changed my mind. I found a really neat DIY way to make a treadmill desk, that didn’t ruin the treadmill.

We got the treadmill on Sunday morning, by Sunday night I learned three things:

1. I am way more out of shape than I thought. (I could hardly do the slowest “slow”).

2. I can’t walk on it long enough to get anything done anyway. Seriously, the longest I could stay on was twelve minutes, and I was worn out.  Who can get anything done in Twelve minutes?

3. You never know how out of shape you are, until you step foot on a treadmill.

Even with all of these things, I am still going to make my Treadmill desk, and try using it. It might be hard at first, but maybe by the time I actually finish writing LT, I will be able to walk on it for five hours. I can hope right?