NaNo Update #1

Writing Song of the Day: “Half Alive” by Secondhand Serenade

So, we stole this idea from the awesome Katy Upperman. We had planned to give you all weekly updates on our NaNo novels but…well, we were doing ALL THE THINGS in addition to writing our NaNo novels. Since we both have crossed over the halfway point (woo hoo!), we felt this was a good time to let you all know how we’re doing…

Pam’s Update:

Progress (word count or a general status update): 26,404

Current Mood: Hungry. A bit overwhelmed. But, surprisingly, I still like my story.

Inspiration: Not a quote from anyone–but this is the first time during NaNo that I’ve written a story that I ACTUALLY believe that I’ll return to and revise. In fact, I can’t wait to start revising it!

Goals as of Today: I usually try to reach at least 2000 words, but I’m a little stuck. So tonight, I plot a little more and make up the word count over the weekend.

Recent Favorite NaNo WIP Bit:

“I see you didn’t have to go far for your costume.” I tug at his basketball jersey. I actually tug it. I guess a beer and a half does wonders to my confidence.

Brandon shrugs. “Lots of kids want to be basketball players when they grow up.”

“Lots of kids want to be Brandon Lane when they grow up,” I correct.

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on): Well, Quita and I had the AWESOME opportunity of seeing one of our favorite actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in person (more on that next week)! In less exciting news, I injured my foot in an accident last month, and it’s still bugging me. Alas, I have to report to the doctor next week to see what’s going on. Boo.
  
In my downtime (ha!) I’m reading: I’ve been starting and abandoning lots of novels lately–with hopes that I can return to them once I get some extra time (because THAT will happen). I most recently cracked open Ellen Hopkins’ adult novel, Triangles. So good so far!!  

Quita’s Update:  

Progress (word count or a general status update): Over 26K

Current Mood: Agitated that I can’t just write and instead must be responsible. However, I am also getting excited about where my novel is going.

Inspiration: Two words: Five Guys.

Goals as of Today: I want to try and get at least 4k done by the end of this weekend.

Recent Favorite NaNo-WiP Bit:

“What do you know about voices?”

Walker tapped his chin. “Like cartoon voices? I’m pretty sure I know who talks Bart Simpson.”

Kenzie laughed. “No…like, voices, voices.”

Walker stopped walking and stared at Kenzie. “Like, voices in your head and sh*t? Like schizophrenia?”

Kenzie continued to walk, already regretting that she said anything to Walker.

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on): We just saw JGL LIVE last night. Also, I’m working on finding more internship opportunities in the publishing world.

In My Downtime (ha!) I’m Reading: Rage Within (Dark Inside # 2) by Jeyn Roberts. Proving to be just as good as the first book!

Both of Our Updates:

You should read this blog post: Shady Business by the uber smart literary agent, Sarah LaPolla. A very informative look at the legitimacy of newer agents and publishers.

Gratuitous Photograph (because we love ‘em!):

Joseph Gordon-Levitt at The National in Richmond, VA (11/15/12)
The moment where Quita lost it & cried…

For all of our fellow NaNo-ers out there, how are you doing? For the non NaNo-ers, what have you all been up to?

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End of Watch: The Buddy Story

Soundtrack Song of the Day: “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen

We love writing and reading YA more than most things in life, but one of the things that comes close to our love for all things YA is watching movies and TV. Sooo, we’ve decided to combine those loves on this blog. Every Monday we are going to share a recent movie that we’ve viewed and what we learned about writing from said film.** 


Picture Taken From IMDB


End of Watch


Logistics: Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, and America Ferrera

IMDB Says: Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

We Say: End of Watch is about two young officers and their friendship. The viewer gets to see their relationship play out as they deal with life, the trials of being a cop, and the joys of having someone you can rely on.



Writing Connection

The Buddy Story = Giving your novel heart. This is especially true for middle grade novels (which we are getting more and more into lately). In MG novels, the buddy connection is like the romance/love connection in a YA novel. Think back to when you were in 6th grade. Friends were EVERYTHING! And as much as we like to think we grow up and stop caring about what others think about us, we all still want to feel that buddy/friendship connection with someone. That’s the heart of End of Watch. Yes, there’s action, romance, a kickass plot–but underneath it all, it’s about the friendship between two guys. Adding this connection in your novel will kick up the emotional factor that much more and keep your readers hooked.
Links:

End of Watch- Official Site
End of Watch-IMDB
End of Watch- Facebook

Now Watch This:

Have you seen End of Watch? How often do you place close attention to the friendships and how they grow/falter in your MG or YA novels?

**This blog is not limited to ONLY discussing the relationships of movies and writing, however this will be the weekly feature that you can ALWAYS expect.

Looper and Layering Plots

Soundtrack Song of the Day: “Have Love Will Travel” by the Black Keys

Taken From: Screenrant

We won’t pretend that we were not on a looooong hiatus, but we also don’t want to bore you with the details of WHY we’ve been away. We’d much rather discuss the future of this blog–which we hope will interest you much more!

We love writing and reading YA more than most things in life, but one of the things that comes close to our love for all things YA is watching movies and TV. Sooo, we’ve decided to combine those loves on this blog. Every Monday we are going to share a recent movie that we’ve viewed and what we learned about writing from said film.**

This week we begin with:

LOOPER

Logistics:

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels

IMDB Says: In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.

We Say: The movie is full of bad-assery. From JGL, to Bruce Willis, even to Emily Blunt. The trailers and the interviews will make you think that you’ll get bogged down in the sci-fi-ness of it all, but no–the heart of the story is what gets you in the end.

Writing Connection: 

Layering Plots- A novel will not survive on one plot alone. If that’s all you got, you may be better off penning a short story or a novella. More importantly, a YA novel will not survive with one plot. Teens are complicated, puzzling, and always changing–a YA novel should follow suit. Without giving away too many details, the various plot twists and turns that occur in Looper will keep you intrigued, engaged, and in tune with the characters. The movie begins with a possibly unlikable character who has one goal and then progresses to include more characters with even more goals that cause complications and forces the character to change. This  = layering plots!

Okay we don’t want to spoil it for everyone, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch Looper and see how it’s done!

Links:

Looper- Official Movie Site
Looper- Tumblr
Looper-IMDB
JGL Twitter
Looper Movie Twitter

Now Watch This:



If you have seen Looper did you make any connections with the film and writing? Do your novels usually have several plots?

**This blog is not limited to ONLY discussing the relationships of movies and writing, however this will be the weekly feature that you can ALWAYS expect.

MAY I Tell You Something About…Um, US?

Revealing Song of the Day: “Swagger Like Us” by M.I.A ft. Jay-z, Kanye West, and T.I.

Throughout May, we will be participating in the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest, which you can learn more about here

It’s Tuesday. And according to this blogfest that means today is all about us. Meaning, we have to talk about ourselves. If you know anything about us, we kinda don’t enjoy doing this. I don’t think most writers do. That’s why we create characters and new worlds, to escape from who we are. But, alas, we’ve joined the blogfest and we vow to follow the rules. Lucky for us, a new bloggy pal of ours tagged us awhile back. Rachel tagged us in a game of 11 questions. This is a good way to tell you something about us!




1. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?


2. Who is your top book boyfriend, dare I say husband?

Pam:  Hmm, tough one. I get book crushes like ALL the time. Right now, I’m leaning toward Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. He’s so adorkable (wait…do people still say that?)!

Quita: Hands down Cole from Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger and Forever. Hmm, maybe not hands down b/c I loves me some Four from Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Can I have a tie?
3. If you could have written any YA book in history, which book would you choose and why?
Pam:  Goodness, another toughie. Right now, I’m leaning toward anything written by Courtney Summers, Steve Brezenoff, or Ellen Hopkins. They’re geniuses!

Quita: Omigod. So. Many. Of. Them! I can’t choose just one. There are FIVE that really stand out. I really wish I wrote Divergent, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, Recovery Road by Blake Nelson, and What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (sorry if I cheated).

4. If you could live the life of any book heroine, who would you choose and why?

Pam:  I have a feeling that Quita’s going to agree with me, but any book written by Stephanie Perkins. She has a way of making her girls so relatable–and she brings setting to LIFE! I want to live in Paris for the first half of the year, and San Francisco for the second. 🙂

Quita: I don’t envy the lives of most of the heroines from the books that I read, and since I’m one of the last people on the planet to have read Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door, I’d have to say Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Paris for school and fall in love with a sexy, smart English boy?

5. Choose one: your book is a literary masterpiece with tons of critical acclaim but very, very lacklustre sales, or your book is a blockbuster of a novel with millions upon millions of copies sold but others question its quality and it is nearly universally bashed in the writing community, a la Twilight. There’s no in between choice (Nice try!)

Pam:  Yikes! No clue. On the one hand, I wouldn’t mind the money that books like Twilight would bring (being able to actually make a living from writing? Yes please!). But also, I would love for my colleagues to actually, you know, respect me. I choose John Green! His books are successful AND well loved by critics. Wait, is that cheating?

Quita: That’s just not fair! I don’t know, sometimes me and Pam both get a little over the bashing of novels like Twilight. Just because it’s not a literary masterpiece doesn’t mean it’s not a good book and that it didn’t do wonders for the YA community. So, yeah, I’d go for a book like Twilight because it changed so many people’s lives and it had a huge impact on our community.

6. If you could have a super power of any literary hero/heroine, which would you choose and why?

Pam:  Umm, next question please. (*is clueless*)

Quita: This is a hard one. I don’t really want super powers at all, but if I had to choose (from a book that I’ve read) I’d choose Briony’s power from Franny Billingsley’s Chime. Not sure why–could be because it was such an awesome book. I don’t want to explain too much, cause then I’d give away the book for those who haven’t read it.

 7. You’re stranded on a desert island with just one other person. For life. It’s a fellow author. Who is the author and why?

Pam:  I’d go with my cuz, Quita. She’s already familiar with my weird habits, and I hers. But hopefully we’d get rescued soon because we’d like…attack each other after the third or fourth day.

Quita: It would obviously be Pam. Not like I wouldn’t want to be with any of my other fellow writers, but of course I’d bring my cuz and other half b/c she might keep me sane for a day or two on the desert island. Then we’d probably kill each other…
8. You’re forced to re-live one day of your life over and over again for eternity. Which day would you choose and why?

Pam:  This is strange that this is one of the toughest questions. I’ve yet to experience the really “happy” moments–such as getting married or having a baby. It would probably be some moment with my family–or maybe when I found out that Sarah wanted to represent me. 🙂

Quita: Wow…this is a great question. I find it kind of sad to admit that I haven’t had many days that I’d like to re-live. If I had to choose one it would be the last time I was out with my dad (and the rest of the fam), having a good time dancing. 

9. If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do with your time?

Pam:  READ!! And WRITE!! Due to the day job, I have so little time for doing two of the things I love the most. And maybe peek in on some hunky celebs. Wait, is that weird…?

Quita: I would read and write all day with no interruptions. I’d also stalk the BLEEP out of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alex Pettyfer, Channing Tatum, and all the rest 😀

10. If you had to be reincarnated into an animal, which would you choose and why?

Pam:  Um, eww. Next question please…

Quita: Ugh. I hate animals–well except my dog, of course 🙂 I guess I would choose an ape or a monkey because at least they have opposable thumbs.

11. If you had to rename yourself, which name would you choose? And if you have a pen name, it doesn’t count! Pick again.

Pam:  It feels like I’ve answered this before…I think I said Nadine Hunt or Nadine Shelton. Nadine’s my middle name (which I despise, so I’m not sure why I’d use it), Hunt’s my mother’s maiden name, and Shelton’s my dad’s first name. Or maybe I’d just call myself John Green. 🙂

Quita: I would name myself Sherie (my middle name Sha-ree) Hunt. It’s a little easier than my “government” name and it will fit better on a book spine!

So, the way this is supposed to work is that we tag more of you to play along. However, we thought we’d cheat a lil’ bit (why stop now?) and open this up to ALL of you! Go ahead and play…if you dare. *insert maniacal laughter here*

We’re Back…and in FULL EFFECT!

Social Networking Song of the Day: “LOL :)” by Trey Songz

You read that title right. We’re here and ready to stomp all over social media.  Not only are we back and ready to take the interwebz by storm, but we also are ready to hold another contest! I mean, we did cross 300 followers a while back.

We’re no contest virgins, but this time we wanted to offer a prize that’s a little different–we are going to give out, TWO, count them, TWO query critiques! Wanna know more??? Watch the following video:

Yep, you heard us right (that is if you could understand my words through all of my mumbling). My agent, Jennie Goloboy, and the owner of Red Sofa Literary Agency, Dawn Frederick, are BOTH willing to critique two query letters. Pretty awesome, right?

And if that’s not enough, we are going to throw one more prize in there–just for kicks. This isn’t mentioned in the video, but for those of you who are already agented, how would you like a TEN DOLLAR gift card to Barnes & Noble. We just keep making your life better, huh? All you have to do is fill out the form below and show us a lil’ love on our social media takeover scheme. Not hard. At all. Oh, and make sure you enter before Sunday March 18th, 8 PM EST!

‘Kay? Thanks, bye!

Like Barack Obama Said…It’s Time for Change

Blogging Song of the Day: “Change (In the House of Flies)” by Deftones

Yes, we realize we’ve been MIA lately–Pam’s been a little under the weather (by under the weather, I mean her face has been literally GREEN) and I have been playing nurse and trying to keep up with the thousands of other things to do.

With that being said, we realized some things. While cutting out TV, and trying to set aside at least an hour a day to revise, we noticed that we had to squeeze in time to blog, too. And, well, revising and writing are just a smidgen more important than blogging at the moment. SO, we’ve come to the conclusion that we are going to blog only when we have something to say. No more schedule for us. And when we come back, we’re gonna freshen things up a bit with some vlogs every now and then. We know, you can’t wait to see our lovely mugs!

Alright then, friends. We’ll be around when we want you to know what is on our mind..and of course you can still find us on Twitter and YOUR blogs.

Love your bloggy cousins,

Pam and Quita

** This blog post in no shape or form condones POTUS Barack Obama…we just thought that was a pretty snazzy title :D**

Free Friday: Shall I Compare Thee…

Reading Song of the Day: “Nothing Compares To You” by Sinead O’Conner

It’s hard out there for a writer. No, I’m not just channeling the infamous rap lyrics from Terrence Howard’s critically acclaimed movie, Hustle and Flow. I’m talking about competitive book titles. Like Pam discussed last Wednesday, there are always books out there that seem similar to your idea…and when you’re trying to sell your book you need to know what your competition is.

And that’s where I’m at with my book, In Limbo, right now. My awesome agent, Jennie Goloboy, and I are trying to come up with books to compare to my 1918 interracial love story/adventure novel. Who knew that the search would be so hard? So far, I’ve come up with the following books as comparable titles:

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever, 1793 (for the epidemic element)

Karen Hesse’s A Time of Angels (it’s also about the Spanish Influenza in 1918)

Anna Godberson’s Bright Young Things (because it’s about two teenagers who leave home in search of something more)

But the major thing that these books are missing is a black female protagonist. Hmmm, isn’t this a problem that we’ve been hearing/talking about for a while now in the YA field? I have Pam to thank (my Alpha reader) for giving me this unique edge to my novel b/c, as I’ve said before, SJ was once white. Since I made that change, it has made it very hard to find a comparable book that is very close to the premise of In Limbo–which is a good thing, but when you’re trying to fill in the competition section of your Book Proposal, it’s a little frustrating.

With that being said, do you guys think you can help me out? Know of any YA historicals that have a black female protag who falls for a white boy??