Thursday, October 24, 2013

You Know You're a Writer If...

We've all seen the lists before.  "You Know You're a Writer If..." and then a joke about caffeine addiction.  Below, you'll find my personal quirks and reasons that peg me into the writerly box.  (Caffeine addiction is not one of them.  Yes, I down as much as 4 or 5 cups of coffee in a day, but as far as I can tell, so do accountants.  And nurses.  And, well, adults.)


1) You see a person talking to themselves on the street, and your first thought is: "Perhaps they're speaking with an invisible spirit that's charging them with an impossible quest."

True story.  The other night I was driving home from work and saw a woman who kept turning to the person next to her and aruging with them.  Except, there was no one next to her.  I'm pretty sure she just had some issues going on, but was that my first thought?  Of course not!

2) The playlists on your iPod aren't titled things like "Summer 2011" or "Driving Mix", but "Battle Scene" and "Book 2" and "Character Theme Songs."

Even though I listen to white noise rather than music when I'm writing, I love making playlists to help keep the inspiration going at times when I can't write. Which is why, if you're driving next to me, you might see me slicing an invisible sword across my dashboard, or weeping into my steering wheel as I imagine the death of one of my favorite supporting characters.

3) Similar to your iPod, your computer desktop is cluttered with 100 different files, all of which
 are documents, all of which have names like "Book 2," "Book2 Take 2", "Book2 3," "Book2 IT WILL NEVER BE FINISHED," and on and on and on...

I am super paranoid about editing a single file over and over and over. I have a fear that I will either accidentally delete something, or purposely edit something out, only to realize 8 months later it was the perfect scene and can never be replicated. So anytime I have an idea that doesn't fit seamlessly into my current draft, I hit select all, copy, and paste that sucker into a new file. Rinse & repeat. Like eight thousand times. A sub-quirk to this quirk is I often get create with file names to help make them more distinguishable, which means I have drafts of my novel with proper file names like "Untitled Novel, Draft 2" and then other copies with names like "Pumpkin Puppy Face Also This is A Book."

4) You refuse to upgrade to anything past Word 97. You have ordered old copies of Word 97 off Ebay to achieve this. When Mac stopped recognizing PowerPC programs, you switched to OpenOffice because it's the closest thing you can get.

This is a true story. I've been writing in Word 97 for the past 16 years. Ain't nothing gonna break my stride. Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no. Especially not the disorienting look of a brand new program. When I close my eyes and imagine myself writing a book, the program on the screen is Word 97. And so you will have to pry Word 97 (or the OpenOffice equivalent) out of my cold, dead hands. We'll all have computers embedded in our eyeballs and I will still be writing on the same word processing program.

This girl isn't pissed off, she's
pondering a plot twist!
5) Let's not forget "Writer's Face." Often confused with Bitchy Resting Face, Writer's Face is the vacant, slightly peeved look one achieves when your body is sitting at Starbucks, but your mind is helping your MC pick the lock to the cellar they've been imprisoned in.

I am a proud sufferer of Writer's Face.

So, what are YOUR writing quirks? (Or reading quirks. They often go hand-in-hand!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Recommendation: Diana Peterfreund's ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA

Because Diana Peterfreund's FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS gave me all the feelings, I was ridiculously excited to delve into the companion novel, ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA.

Whereas FDSTS was a retelling of PERSUASION, STAR-SWEPT SEA is a retelling of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL set in the same world — and both are excellent.

I've never read either of the original novels, but from what I gathered from synopsis snooping, Peterfreund's reimaginings stay very true to the plot and tone of the originals, but in an entirely unique world.


Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by
The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

I highly recommend STAR-SWEPT SEA because, like FDSTS, it's a complex and well-written novel. The characters are flawed and realistic, with conflicting motives and standout personalities. I especially loved the push-pull between Persis and her best friend (and queen!), Isla, who knows the truth about Persis's alternate identity. Like any quality sci-fi, the book presents multi-faceted ideas on issues of science, politics, war, justice, morality, and equality — but it's never heavy-handed or boring.

And though the romance wasn't quite as bosom-clutchingly epic as that in FDSTS (to me, it had swoon but not the SWOON built by years of longing and separation), I loved the relationship between Persis and Justen, and how they had to overcome their prejudices against each other (and their enemy nations). They were a solid couple I really rooted for ... plus, I'm a sucker for secret identities!

For readers who are itching for just a glimpse of Elliot, Kai, and the rest of the FDSTS crew, you get that and more! The weaving together of the characters is pretty darn awesome. In particular, I loved the outsiders' view of the FDSTS characters we've grown to know and love.

Let me sum up: Adventure, romance, and spies, surrounded by rockstar world-building. Go read this book!

Cover talk: I would've liked the badass spy side of Persis to be represented somehow on the cover (since that's what makes her so awesome), but the gorgeous image of her in full socialite getup in a frothy-looking blue dress ACTUALLY EXISTS IN THE BOOK, plus it matches the romantic title. That's a win, to me!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...