Tag Archives: Awards

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…

Now that I’ve gotten that song stuck in all your heads…

Creative A, a blogging pal from *Headdesk*, gave this blog the Sunshine Award!

Doesn’t that picture just make you smile? Check out Creative A’s blog — she reviews books, interviews writers (I’m looking forward to hearing Alexandra Bracken, who’s going to talk about her debut Brightly Woven on March 23rd) – and also writes her own YA fiction.

Here are the award rules:

  1. Put the logo on your blog or within the post.
  2. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
  3. Link the nominees within your post.
  4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by posting on their blogs.
  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Now… I know the rules say 12. But I’m going to change the rules because a) I’m not even sure I consistently read 12 blogs (don’t hate, I am a college student) and b) I would like to award the Sunshine Award to three blogs instead.


Kristin Briana Otts, a fellow college student, brings lots of sunshine to the blogosphere with her hilarious Twilight action-figure photos… and exciting excerpts from her work-in-progress that I REALLY want to read someday, SEVEN.

Kirsten Hubbard, my name-sister, shares adorable baby animal pictures, travel stories, and wise words that always make me smile.

And Amna, because she wrote the funniest remix of Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me that every aspiring author should read. It’s brilliant.

Thank you for bringing sunshine, you three!


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Thinking BIG in 2010

All sorts of exciting things are going to happen in 2010 on this blog! I’m excited to announce Absolute Write: Exposed, an all-new interview series hosted by me. It’s going to be an expose of sorts on a random selection of AW members — revealing who they are in the real world and what they have to say about writing.

  • Stop by this Thursday, January 7th, for Expose #1: revealing a new and talented YA writer whose book is already making waves in the publishing world.

AW: Exposed will appear every Thursday in January, February, and maybe March. Lots of new faces; lots of old faces! Maybe your face, too!

The next exciting thing, still in the works and as yet unplanned, is a guest-blogger series tentatively titled Writer’s Journey or something like that. That doesn’t look as good on the page as it did in my head, but the list of bloggers and YA authors that I’ve made up will blow your mind (if everyone agrees to participate. Some writers/bloggers are definitely shots in the dark for me, but maybe just maybe these amazing people will say yes. Start hoping.)

More ordinary (but still exciting), are posts like the Prose Test Kitchen, which you might remember from a couple months ago. It’s coming back. Also coming back (whenever I have time to read) are book reviews. Teaser Tuesdays. Analogy Machine. Maybe a few contests or blog challenges.

Oh, and this news just in: a romantic enters the world just got a cute award from my pal Kristin Otts! She admits that she has no idea what it means, but hey, I’m happy to be humane and awarded anytime. Thanks, Kristin! Jump over to her blog to get books and prizes from her cool New Years giveaway…

All in all, it’s going to be an exciting year … starting with this pep talk from Daniel Burnham, who lived around the turn of the 19th century.

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. […] Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”


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The Analogy Machine: Jigsaw Puzzles

First up: Got this email from Mary Kole over at Kidlit in my inbox this weekend:

Congratulations! I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ve picked you as my first place winner for the query contest.

Hurray! The post isn’t up yet over there, but it should appear sometime today. I won a critique of the first 20 pages of my manuscript by Mary Kole herself, who’s an agent with Andrea Brown. It’ll be interesting to hear what she says especially since I’m heading into revision-land right now.

Speaking of revisions, I love doing jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes my family would go skiing in Canada over winter vacations and we’d spend all our non-skiing time playing games. Or doing jigsaw puzzles. Let me tell you: jigsaw puzzles are highly addicting. Not sure why; they’re kind of annoying, too. But there’s something magical about them. The picture only works one way — one single way — and once you graduate to 5000 piece puzzles it literally takes magic to fit everything together.

Revisions are like jigsaw puzzles. Writing in general is like a jigsaw puzzle. Example: I wrote three major drafts of THE INBETWEEN. I mean, major drafts. Each one (althought they kept the same major characters and basic premise) had a vastly (HUGELY CRAZILY) different plot line. And with each one, I’d get to the end (or almost the end or pretty close to the end) and realize that nothing was right. Nothing. The picture wasn’t clear, wasn’t coherent, wasn’t perfect.

So I’d scrap. Think. Begin again.

Problem is, works-in-progress don’t have box-pictures to show the way. You gotta make up the picture as you go and hope it all fits together in the end.

In the end, THE INBETWEEN fit together. I found the right picture and finally dropped the last piece into place. (Some pieces are still kind of loose and sketchy so the puzzle isn’t quite complete. But it’s close.) Still, I’d rather avoid the whole scrap-begin-again process next time. How?

  • Make your own box-picture. (I don’t know what else to call the box-picture. The picture on the box? The jigsaw map? Anyway, you know what I mean). Look big-picture. Try an outline. Or (if you’re anti-outline), at least make some character maps. Sketch out some scenes. Know where you’re going so you don’t end up throwing your jigsaw puzzle out the window into the snow. This is also called —
  • Start with the framework. Remember how you always start jigsaw puzzles with the edges? They’re easy to find. Begin with the pieces that are easy to find: your premise, your main character and his/her motivation. Then see where those take you — hopefully they’ll lead to the center of the puzzle.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment — or backtrack if pieces don’t fit. Really, you are working with jigsaw-like plot pieces when you write. Sometimes you have to fool around. Test things out. Try to link up pieces that may or may not fit together. If nothing seems to be going right, if the picture isn’t shaping up, take things apart again. You can always put them back together.
  • Watch out for missing pieces, a.k.a. plot holes. Get someone else to look over your work — or talk out your ideas with them as you go along. New eyes will spot things your mind automatically skips over. And the worst thing ever is almost finishing only to realize that the final few pieces have disappeared into the couch.

Try this! Show off your jigsaw skill on this super-cool virtual puzzle (impossible to lose the pieces!). My time was 7:03 (because I got distracted half way through) — can you beat me? It’s really satisfying to hear the puzzle pieces click together just like they’ll click together in your book.


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Carnival Day

Yesterday I mentioned that this blog (henceforth referred to as ARETW) won an award — the Helpful Blog Award — and as part of winning, I’m going to nominate a couple other blogs for the award, too.

The Helpful Blogger Award Rules

  • Include the award logo in your blog or post.
  • Link to post where you received the award.
  • Nominate seven blogs that you feel are helpful to others.
  • Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  • Let them know they’ve received the award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share one thing that no one knows about you & quote a sentence from your favorite book.


As I was thinking about nominees, I realized that I don’t follow too many blogs. I’ve followed NB for a pretty long time because he is necessary for writers and I sometimes drop by TWFT or YA Highway to check in… and of course I read other great blogs that some of ARETW’s faithful and wonderful readers write. Such as: Emilia Joyce Plater, who sadly took this week off to (not so sadly) revise her novel. Or Ash, who (as I just found out today) watches Veronica Mars just like me. No one else in the world, I think, knows what that is except us. But I have to say, I love VMARS. It is my favorite TV show (and the only one I watch). And also I have to mention Julie (just checked out her blog the other day), who had The Call a couple days ago, too.

Okay. That’s a lot of blogs. Apparently I do follow a lot of blogs because this is only touching on my list. I like reading about other writers — everyone brings fresh and exciting perspectives on both the craft and the industry. And I used to get kind of happy-sad reading posts about recently-agented writers because I wanted to be agented so bad, but now they just make me happy 🙂

(One day you will be actually ExCiTeD to get rejection letters from queries you sent pre-offer(s) because you already have an offer (or two) and any more requests would send you to the hospital in a coma.)

That was a tangent. Anyway. I am nominating:

Nathan Bransford: Mr. Bransford, your blog has taught me millions and millions of things about the industry. Helpful doesn’t even begin to describe what you do, and I know I’m speaking for probably thousands of other writers when I say that You Rock.

Adrienne Kress: The Temp, The Actress, and The Writer is one of my favorite spots in the blogosphere. Helpful? Yes. She’s signed copies of her book at BEA (Book Expo of America). Did I pretend I was her when I read that post? Yes.

Pimp my Novel: Written by someone who works inside the industry, this blog answers every question you’ve ever wanted to know about how publishing ticks.

Emilia Joyce Plater: This girl has talent. She’s written a super-cool book and her blog just makes me smile. I am excited for her to come back from her mini-blog-vacation next week … because I like reading her blog.

That’s all for now, folks. More nominees later.

But to finish up — one thing that none of you know about me is that I just lost all the money on my laundry card in a game of pool. Fact: I am bad at pool. But I am going to get better because I need to win that money back.

Sentence from my favorite book: I don’t have a favorite book. I like a lot of books. Maybe I’ll get back to you once I figure out the best one — which might be never.

Happy weekend!


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