Monthly Archives: July 2014

So I have 27 days to move to another state…

This has been the most stressful week of my life so far, and it’s about to get much worse. Better, sure. But worse first.

I guess I should start with some background information. My boyfriend and I are both teachers, or at least have certifications. He finished up his first year in May, and I just graduated with my Masters in Teaching in May. We were both looking for jobs and having trouble finding them. His problem stems from the fact that he’s a Latin teacher, and Georgia doesn’t really need a lot of those. My problems stem from the fact that I have no experience and am horrible at interviews. School starts August 4-11 in Georgia (depending on the county), and teachers start going back around July 28. Clearly, we were running out of time.

And then everything changed.

My boyfriend suddenly got three job interviews, one in Georgia and two in Virginia. He ended up being offered the one in Georgia and one of the ones in Virginia. As if two job offers in the span of 36 hours wasn’t odd enough, he also started talking to the VA principal about how I also needed a teaching job, and the principal informed him that an English job had just opened up, and he asked if I wanted to come in an interview. Obviously, I did, and as you can probably tell by the blog post title (or Twitter, if you follow me there), I got the job. So now my boyfriend and I will both be teaching at the same school.

Oh, and the principal and one of the assistant principals have both attempted NaNoWriMo and think it’s cool that I’ve done it for so many years. I mean, how awesome is that?

We’re both really excited to get these jobs. Virginia has a nicer climate than Georgia (or at least we’re hoping it does), and we love the area. The only thing we don’t love is that we now have 27 days to find an apartment 9 hours away from where we currently live, apply, get approved, find furniture, pack, move, and deal with all the normal first days of school drama. It’s exciting, but it’s already super stressful. Plus I feel horrible because my little sister is getting married and is in the process of buying a house, so my parents already feel abandoned by her, and now I’m moving out of state. Leaving them is going to be really hard. It’ll also be really hard to leave behind our friends here. We’ll obviously stay friends since most of our interaction takes place online anyway, but it still sucks. Of course, my boyfriend has already started researching ways that we can have our biweekly D&D nights online, so it might not be that bad.

But yeah, that’s what I’m dealing with now. I probably won’t be blogging that much in the next month, though I’ll try.

Anyone have any advice for someone leaving home for the first time? Or for someone moving far away for the first time?

Favorite Books of the Summer

So you remember two months ago when I did a post about all the books I had read but hadn’t yet reviewed and promised I would never let myself get that far behind again?

Yeah, well, that was a lie. So sorry. I really meant to be better at this! I’ve read 12 books since then, and I’ve reviewed half of them on Goodreads. I’m still (mostly) planning to review the other half, but for now I’m going to focus on sharing the ones I’ve already done. Below are my three favorite novels that I’ve read so far this summer. For a longer review of each, click on the picture, and it will take you to my Goodreads review.

I’ve also included links below to the reviews of books I didn’t enjoy that much.

 

  I’ve always known that you shouldn’t throw around words like OCD if you don’t actually have OCD, but I didn’t really get why it was such a big deal until I read this book. It’s a hard story to read at times, as Bea does so many things that don’t make sense to me, but that’s the point. The characters in here were so realistically flawed that I had to keep reading, even when it was hard. If you’re looking for a light, quirky romance, this isn’t for you.

 

I don’t generally like football or stories that involve football players, but Cora Carmack changes that here. For those who still don’t know if New Adult is for them, I recommend this book. There’s romance without it being overpowering, and the characters are great.


This is a great fast-paced read with adorable yet flawed characters. I only meant to read the first page, but it was so hard to put down. The ending was a bit silly, but everything else was so entertaining that I didn’t really care. Great cast of characters!

 

Other Books I’ve Read and Reviewed:

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn – 2/5

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – 3/5

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott – 4/5

Camp NaNo Update: Novel Complete!

My main goal for Camp NaNo was to write the third draft of my YA novel DEGENERATION by July 15. As anyone who was on Twitter around 3 am EST may have noticed, I accomplished my goal.

DEGENERATION is complete at 62,752 words. It’s not the 70k-75k I originally thought it would be, but it’s over 50k, and that’s really all I care about. Besides, 63k is a good length for a young adult novel.

I can now say that my phase outline experiment was a success. I loved having everything already planned out when I went to write. I still ended up making changes – adding conversations I hadn’t thought of originally or skipping parts that no longer seemed like a good idea – but for the most part I stuck with my outline. I’m not sure if this would be my best option for a brand new novel, but it’s definitely how I’m going to do my rewrites from now on.

In case anyone’s curious, I made a chart so I could see just how many actual words each outline word gave me. The short answer is that I got 5 words per 1 word of my outline, which isn’t bad. I was hoping for more like 7, but like I said, I’m happy with the overall length of my novel, so it doesn’t really matter. Here’s the chart, if anyone wants to see it:

Chapter

Outline Words

Novel Words

Novel Words: Outline Words

1

458

2859

6.2

2

380

3753

9.9

3

209

2509

12.0

4

330

3389

10.3

5

426

3535

8.3

6

289

2443

8.5

7

451

3540

7.8

8

882

3618

4.1

9

556

3206

5.8

10

1153

3989

3.5

11

944

4128

4.4

12

628

3194

5.1

13

593

2504

4.2

14

946

3213

3.4

15

584

2623

4.5

16

769

3700

4.8

17

569

2477

4.4

18

1036

3505

3.4

19

879

3273

3.7

20

325

1174

3.6

Total

12494

62752

5.0

So now what am I going to do with the rest of the month, you ask? (Oh, you didn’t ask? That’s okay. I’ll just pretend.) I haven’t quite decided yet. I originally thought I might continue the editing I was doing before on TILT YOUR HEAD AND SMILE. I’m halfway through the most recent draft, and I’m starting to think I might need to redo the entire novel. I’m not sure yet. I have an idea for how to make the novel more interesting, but I’m not sure if that idea is really a good fix for this one or if I should just write it as a separate novel.

My other idea is a new adult romance – but without all the gratuitous sex scenes. I can picture three of the main characters, but there are two more (two different love interests) that I still need to work on. I’ve been saying I’m going to plot this one for the last two weeks, but that never really happens. I have a few scenes in mind, but I still need to understand the characters before I can even attempt to pants a novel. Although I did write a thousand words in this story already. It was just the opening scene, but I actually kind of like it so far.

I’m probably going to spend the rest of the day trying to get to know the characters for that novel better. I haven’t had a 0 words day yet this month, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Cover Reveal: ALL BROKE DOWN by Cora Carmack

I am so excited to get to share this cover with everyone! If you read my book reviews, you know how much I absolutely loved Cora Carmack’s first NA series, Losing It. (Seriously, if you still think you hate New Adult, go give her books a shot. They’re amazing!) I was even more excited when I learned that she had another series coming out. The first book’s already out, and the second one is coming out later this year! THE EXCITEMENT! You seriously have no idea.

But enough about me. You’re here to learn more about the book:

 

We are so excited to get to share the cover for Cora Carmack’s ALL BROKE DOWN today! A New Adult Contemporary Romance, and published by William Morrow-an imprint of HarperCollins, this is the second book in her Rusk University Series, and it is set to be released on October 28, 2014! But you can pre-order it NOW! Check out what it’s about and then fall in love with this gorgeous cover!

ABOUT ALL BROKE DOWN:

In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

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Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

cora-carmacks-all-lined-up

And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

HeadshotAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook

Author Goodreads ** ALL BROKE DOWN Goodreads

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Testing New Outlining Techniques

As I’ve already mentioned (and as most of you probably already know), this month I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. My official goal is 75k, though my real goal was however many words it takes for me to finish my novel. If that’s more, I’ll write more. If it’s less, I’ll write less. I just want to finish this draft.

It’s now 8:30 pm, which means I still have plenty of writing time left before the day is over. I’ve written 36,994 words so far, and I’ve just finished chapter 11 out of 20. I had set another goal to have this novel finished by July 15, and it looks like I’m going to manage that just fine. I haven’t read back over anything that I’ve written yet, but I already know that this is my best draft so far. I’m taking more time with this draft than I have with others, and I’ve planned it a lot more than I had before.

Which brings me to the main thing I wanted to talk about today: my new way of outlining.

I mentioned already in my last post, my outline for this novel was really long – 12,494 words to be precise. My outlines are usually shorter than that, but I was attempting to write a phase outline for the first time. For those of you who don’t know what that is (and are too lazy/don’t want to click the link), that’s basically where you outline everything that happens in your novel, including bits of dialogue. So far, I’ve been averaging 6.1 words for every 1 word in the original outline, with chapters ranging from 3.5 to 12.0 novel-words per outline-word. If it keeps going at this rate, I’m looking at 75k for this novel, which is the number I was aiming for. So that works out nicely.

So far, I’m really liking this way of outline. I’ve actually sort of combined the phase outline method with the snowflake method. I start with a random list of scenes, which I then try to get in order (see my post on outlining with note cards for more details). After I’ve split them into scenes, I group them by chapter and then write a summary for each chapter, going into more detail. Then I take that outline and turn it into a phase outline.

Like I said, I’m enjoying this method. Most of the time I love planning novels but have a harder time writing the novel because it never turns out like the novel I pictured in my head. This way lets me plan the whole thing, which I find so much easier than actually writing it, so that when I go to write the actual novel, it’s just a matter of fleshing out the phases. I can still change things as I write – in fact, I’ve added lots of conversations and descriptions and mini-scenes that I never thought of while outlining – but I still have that outline that keeps me from getting stuck.

Obviously this way of writing and outlining isn’t for everyone. A lot of people find that outlining sucks the joy out of writing for them, so those types of people would probably find the method described here as crazy. Obviously, such people should not attempt it. 🙂 But if you’re like me, and you like planning things, you might want to consider giving this a shot if you don’t already have a method that works for you.

Like always, I’d love to hear more about your writing/outlining process (if you have one)! Are you participating in Camp? If so, how are you doing?