Tag Archives: random

A survey!

It’s lovely and sunny outside, and I have about five million things to do since I didn’t touch a single stack of homework over the holiday weekend. Sounds like a perfect time to ramble through this survey, which the lovely Kristin Otts tagged me to complete. If I don’t get anything done, I blame her 🙂 although I do love surveys so much more than homework. Thanks, Kristin!

1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

THE INBETWEEN was the last thing I completed, but if you want a more technical answer, the last thing I wrote was  about 2,000 words of FELL last night.

The first things I wrote were stories from first and second grade. Those two years, I had two lovely teachers, Ms. Mathis and Ms. Shields, who loved to write and loved to encourage their students to write. I wrote all sorts of stories about my cat Whimsey, and my family’s vacations, and horses (I was obsessed with horses). They’re all laminated and bound and certified by the words “Room 5/6 Publishing”… and in bookcases back home.

2) Write poetry?

Once upon a time, when I was an angsty high school student…

3) Angsty poetry?

Oh yes. Who hasn’t written angsty poetry? (If only for the sole purpose of later laughter…)

4) Favorite genre of writing?

I love mysteries. Love, love, love.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Possibly this guy named Tad, who appeared in THE THRILL SEEKERS as a nerdy, annoying (ANNOYING!) and unwanted sidekick for the main characters.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

I suppose TIB…

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

If I told you, it would no longer be a twist.

8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?

I don’t think I believe in writer’s block — yes, I am one of those people. I don’t know what I believe, because sometimes my stories stop short, but I think that’s because of the internet and/or my own distracting life…

9) Write fan fiction?


10) Do you type or write by hand?


I can’t write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts; plus I’m one of those neat-freak people who has to make everything they hand-write, including lecture notes, look PERFECT. Too much pressure… so I revert to the computer, where all typed letters look perfect without effort.

11) Do you save everything you write?

Yes, even scribbled things on sticky notes. Check out my closet back home — it houses a *neat* stack of papers from as far back as the first novel I wrote.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

I incorporate abandoned ideas into new ideas, but no, I’ve never completely gone back to an abandoned idea.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?


14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?


15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

TIB could classify as both…

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

Morrow, the setting of TIB, is misty and woodsy and beachy — and (I think) quite creepy. It used to be my favorite until FELL came along. Now I love the Seattle of that world … full of traffic, sirens, and rainy nights and streetlights.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Only one — FELL.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Well… no.

OH just kidding, I totally did. I won the Creative Writing award my senior year of high school, and I will always remember what my teacher said as she presented the award: that I had “delicate genius”. I’ve never been quite sure what that meant, but I think it sounds cool.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Rain, tumble, green, squish, love.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

I think Chloe, Sophie’s sidekick and sometimes-best-friend from TIB, sounds the most like me, although we don’t share too many personal similarities. I guess I’d have to say Birch from FELL if only because she and I share the whole fire-nightmare connection.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

People around me.

(Yes, people around me, be afraid — but not too afraid, because you’ll only end up as a minor character with a changed name and changed hair color. Major characters just ARE the way they are.)

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Not usually. Most of the time I write based on reality — TIB has a few little conversations/interactions that my friends see and go, “hey, didn’t that happen to us?”

But FELL will have several of my fire nightmares.

23) Do you favor happy endings?

I’m not sure how to answer this question. I favor them in books I read, but not necessarily books I write. Books I write must end the right way (the way that grows, changes, and challenges its characters), and that is not always the happy way.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes, especially when my mistakes are underlined with red and green squiggles. I can’t stand red and green squiggles.

25) Does music help you write?

Sometimes. I have playlists for TIB and FELL (although FELL’s only has one song so far). But I like quiet, too — the kind in coffee shops, not libraries.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.

I see him again on the northbound 17 express: Rush hour traffic and nowhere to sit, rain spattering the windshield, and that boy standing in the aisle ahead of me, pretending to read Steinbeck like yesterday but never actually flipping the page.

And it scares me. The day before yesterday, he was just another passenger. Yesterday he was cute, and once I stared back when I caught him looking, fluttered my eyelashes and smiled like a fool. Today, he is terrifying. I don’t know why.

~ from FELL

Well, that was fun. Time to write a paper or two. I tag Laurie.


Filed under Uncategorized


I hesitated a lot about posting this. I like to be upbeat on this blog, and if I were you, reading this, I would tell myself to get a grip and stop groaning. But writers are not always upbeat. Quite opposite… while half-impassioned with a deeper desire (need?) to tell stories, I tend to mope and groan about the impossibility of slapping words onto paper.

So I will be authentic with you. Here’s me right now.


Maybe it’s Seattle — the clouds and rain and empty week.

Or maybe it’s the “THE END” stamped on a whole year and a half of purpose.

Whatever it is, I’m feeling forlorn. Like an empty-nester. My baby is with my agent, all grown up and ready to face whatever’s ahead. And I am alone —

Not really alone. Barely conceived plots and characters are growing inside my mind. They frighten me: I don’t know them yet. They have no beginnings or endings, no faces or smiles. Just whispers where life might come…

Anyway, I don’t know what to do with myself. Two weeks ago I had purpose: finish the book and make it perfect. And I loved that purpose, loved being with Sophie and Esmund and Luke and Noah again… They are silly and safe and familiar. I know them so well. I’ve known them for a year and a half. We get along.

These other people, weird new people with half-imagined stories and personalities, strange names like Birch and Harley (or is his name Ian?) — they are monsters creeping around the corners of my mind. They are danger — because I don’t know where they’ll take me. I don’t know them well enough to see where they want to go.

The sequel is safer, and it demands to be written. But I guess it’s not really safer. While Sophie thinks there’s more to be said, I don’t know quite what that is. I try to see but it’s like skiing through fog: is the fog the snow, or the snow fog? Which way is up? Where am I going? Cliffs ahead?

I suppose I am just being an angsty, half-grown-up college student who loves being home with family after so many months of being away — but then after a while feels very ready to go back to other sisters and brothers at school. This was my place in high school (my identity, who I was), but now I am shifting into someone else who has a different bed, different friends, different schedule.

Or I am suffering a holiday let-down.

Whatever I’m being or feeling, I don’t know what to do with myself…


Tomorrow: the first AW Exposed interview!


Filed under Uncategorized

Seven Reasons Why…

…it’s time for Christmas break!

meet our suite's paper snowman...

7. It’s cute that Southern California is trying to be wintry and cold in its SoCal kind of way, but I’m ready for some real winter: clouds, rain, temperatures below 55 degrees, maybe snow?

6. I’m out of socks. Also, I might be out of clothes… I’m also over cafeteria food.

5. I have spent my life savings and my life at the Coffee Bean this week (should I admit that I studied there at least five times in the last six days?) so it’s definitely time to switch to Seattle and Starbucks…

4. My brain’s on holiday halfway across the world and I can’t think of number four… I did have one in my head… but I forgot…

3. Weird things happen during finals week. We can’t be blamed; we are exhausted and stressed and crazy. It’s not our fault we got kicked out of the library for laughing too loudly… But enough weird things have happened. UNCLE!

Most excitingly,

2. FINALS ARE OVER! I just got out of a beastly rhetoric final that zapped every ounce of brain power from my poor, tired mind. Luckily…

1. I’m heading home in four hours!


Filed under Uncategorized


I’m going to take the rest of this week off to soak up family and home and rain and time to process everything that’s happened this semester

I’m thankful for all of it — although it’s been pretty hard at times. Lots of new things have been thrown in my face over the last couple months… and I’m tired. But thankful for the moments that stick out: out-of-control laughter with my roomie, impromptu games of pool and balderdash and cards, lazy days at the beach, deep conversations at coffee shops, that first phone call from my agent, late-night volleyball games, sunsets in dirty parking lots, first dates… and the promise of Thanksgiving break.

What would we do without Thanksgiving break?

Be thankful this week. And eat lots of turkey.


Filed under Uncategorized

Star tipping

This is kind of like a blog challenge. (To that my rhetoric prof would say: is it a blog challenge, or is it not a blog challenge? So scratch the “kind of like”. It’s a blog challenge.)

The next time you can see the stars — not just a few stars that poke through the haze of city lights but STARS, millions of them that make the sky look like glitter — find yourself a big field. The bigger, the better. Then find yourself some friends.

Right, this is not a star, but use your imagination. I had no star pictures.

Right, this is not a star, but use your imagination. I had no star pictures.

Everyone takes turns. When it’s your turn, stand in the middle of the field and focus on one star. Then start spinning really fast, as fast as you can, and keep looking at the star.

Your friends will be holding a flashlight. They’ll count as you spin, maybe to ten or just until you’re so dizzy you can barely stand up. Then they’ll shine the flashlight right in your face.

Get ready for your world to explode… literally. It is the strangest experience. I still feel kind of dizzy, and we did it two hours ago (as in, I’m typing this post at midnight, not 9 a.m. like it says). One second I’d be spinning and the next I’d be crashing into the wet grass with no idea where I was, and then the stars would twirl above my head for a while…

Trippy. This is the blog challenge. Go do it.


Filed under Blog Challenge, random