Archive for July, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Ages 12 and up

This is World War I as you have never seen it before. The powers of Europe are not just divided into the Allied and the Central powers, but into Clankers (Germany/Austria-Hungary) and Darwinists (Britain/Russia/France). The Darwinists use the work of (surprise, surprise) Charles Darwin, who has figured out how to manipulate the life threads of creatures to create new and useful fabrications. The Clankers have advanced mechanics creating war machines that rival the Darwinist creations. These opposing sides of science are simply waiting for the chance to prove who is superior. When Austrian Archduke and his wife are assassinated close to the Serbian border the thready peace between the two alliances is shattered. Outcast by his own people because of his mother’s common ancestry, their son, Aleksander is forced to flee from the same people who killed his parents. The young prince is put to the test when the Darwinist airbeast, Leviathan, crashes near his hiding place. Soon, he meets Midshipman Dylan Sharp, a young airman who is not quite the lad that he seems to be. In fact, she is not a lad at all. She is really Deryn, a lass with a love of flying that was instilled in her by her father. She also seems to have inherited a fair bit of talent. With her da gone and her mother forcing corsets and tea parties on her, Deryn disguised herself as a boy and joined the British Air Service. These two find themselves as unlikely allies, the one putting his faith in machines and the other with a love for the fabricated beasties of her country. If they want to survive the oncoming war, then Alek and Deryn are going to have to trust each other. But with all the secrets and prejudices between them, is that even possible?

I am in love with this book (I’m talking deep, abiding Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings, Cheney Duvall type book-love). This series has elevated Scott Westerfeld to my list of authors who can do no wrong (in my opinion, at least). I enjoyed Leviathan so thoroughly, that I still have that just-read-a-phenomenal-book glow a whole week later. I mean, it has illustrations for crying out loud! How awesome is that? Okay, obviously no book is perfect, but it had so many of the elements that I consider part of a good book. Secret identities, swashbuckling adventures, tutors with massive mustaches and just the barest hint of romance (with promise of more, eventually).

Westerfeld handles the switches in narration between Alek and Deryn beautifully. Sometimes the stories lead into each other and other times you’re left hanging while he moves to the other person (obviously, because they only spend the latter half of the book in each other’s company). Just thinking about all the planning that had to go into writing the two POVs this way gives me a headache. It’s mind-bending… And each voice is distinctive, even though it’s in third person. With Alek, the language used to narrate is a lot more sophisticated, which goes in line with his upper class upbringing. Deryn’s POV is littered with distinctively Scottish slang (even though many of the words seem to be specific to Westerfeld’s world), Air Service jargon and much looser in phrasing. Still smart, but not as…pretentious.

And speaking of slang! If you’ve read my review of either Specials or Extras, you’d know that one of my favorite things about Westerfeld’s writing is the colorful vocabulary that he invents. (Or is it discovers?) It is infectious and it is fun. Deryn’s slang has worked its way into my thought process and I find myself using some of her words in my everyday conversation. It’s kind of humorous to see the looks on people’s faces when I ask them to put away the “barking Honey Mustard sauce” or tell them that their brains are full of “clart”.

All of this is part of the world that Westerfeld creates for Leviathan. I loved how he took the WWI story and then escalated it with such a fantastical idea. It’s larger than life. I mean, the Darwinists were able to turn a barking whale into an airship! With an ecosystem! That’s totally awesome. The time before Deryn and Alek collide and all hell breaks loose, is used to solidify the difference between the mechanical Clanker mindset and the evolutionary Darwinist thinking. He’s also very good at showing the strengths and weaknesses of both. He doesn’t appear to have any bias toward one or the other. He makes the war as much about opposing beliefs as it is about politics.

I had buckets of fun reading this book. My reading list has been full of good books, but not all of them have been fun book. In Leviathan, the premise is fun (and a little crazy), the writing is fun and the characters are fun. Westerfeld has all of his strengths working for him in Leviathan, plus he has Keith Thompson’s distinctive illustrations to bring the world we’re reading about to life. It works wonderfully. This world is SO detail rich that being able to have the visual element is not only exciting, but helpful.

All in all, this is a book I would recommend to anyone, whether or not they are into the steampunk movement. I found it a very good introduction of the genre and it has me aching to delve deeper. But it goes beyond that. This is an excellent example of solid storytelling. Westerfeld builds an alternate universe without developing a case of world-builder syndrome. He creates memorable characters, both major and minor. And he knows exactly how to pace the action. It’s fast, but not so fast that you can’t absorb this alternate world in full detail..

I can’t wait until the final volume of this trilogy is released in September. Of course, I still have to finish my review of the next book Behemoth. That should distract me for one whole…day.

This is a good example of:

  • Character distinct POVs
  • Character building
  • World building
  • Rewriting history
  • First book in a series
  • Pacing

This book is on my recommended reading list.

shock by Meredith Farmer

Watch out, I’m opening with a shocker…

I don’t want to write Christian fiction.

Yep, you heard me right. The ambition of my life is not to write a gazillion books about Character #1 who is either unsaved or [falls for/becomes friends with/talks to] someone who is unsaved and how they get saved by Character #2 or lead Character #2 to Christ. That’s not me. That’s not the kind of writing I want to do. (Yeah, those of you who read Christian fiction know exactly what I’m talking about.)

Now hold on, before you get all huffy, let me continue to explain.

I don’t want to write Christian fiction, I want to be a Christian who writes fiction. See the difference? Yes? No? It is a subtle difference, I’ll give you that. Almost a nuance. But, for me, it’s more than just changing around the order of the words.

I have spent the last year reading as much as I could cram into my schedule (which, honestly, was still not enough). I’ve been eating up YA fiction like asphalt eats at my tire treads and I have been doing my best to keep up a regular Bible study. And here’s the thing…this stuff that I’ve been reading? It’s breath-taking. It’s amazing. It’s brought up more questions about myself and caused me to look at more things through my world-view than many of the Christian books I’ve read. Now, I’m not saying that I dislike Christian fiction. It’s what I grew up on and some of my favorite authors write solely Christian fiction.  But I think that in the Christian genre there is a tendency to fall into a rut. A bad habit of focus solely on the message you want to get across (or beat into the reader’s head) and forget you are telling a story. That you’re trying to glorify God with what you’re writing and how you’re writing it. I’ve read a lot of good Christian fiction, but I as I look back, not much of it has been breath-taking fiction. Not much of it has challenged how I think (there are some very, very good exceptions, like Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti come to mind) or look at life or even my faith (that usually comes from my Bible).

I don’t want to write a good book. I want to write a great book. I want to write a book that is going to make people sit up and take notice because it is different, because the characters are different, because I am different. Because in the end I could write a book that preaches the salvation message perfectly. That has every biblical ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed. But what happens when the reader looks at my life. What happens when they follow my Twitter feed and like my Facebook page and see how I live and think and act? If my life isn’t in line with what I believe, then that book I just wrote is worthless. Because I am a hypocrite. Because I am saying this is what is right (and it is), but you don’t have to live that way. To me it is a more powerful witness is to have them take note of your life and see that there is something there that they don’t have. To read what you write and realize that you are different. And then to go find God for themselves.

I don’t believe that a book has to lay out the salvation message or mention God/Jesus’ name every third page in order to glorify Him. I believe that if we could look at Jesus’ bookshelf (oh, boy, that’s just a wonderful thought right there, Jesus’ bookshelf) we would be surprised by what we see. I think we ‘d find things like Pride and Predjudice and The Princess Bride and the Percy Jackson series on his bookshelf. Because they are a part of this world and sometimes God brings something beautiful and bright and true out of the sludge that gunks up our lives. Sometimes He uses the least likely source to create something pure (That is in no way a comment on those authors faiths, I honestly have no idea what they believe).

Does this impact how I write? Drastically.

You see I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And that He came and took our sins upon Himself so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. You can disagree with me if you like. And I’ll withhold the right to disagree with you. It won’t keep me from reading what you write. But it will most definitely influence what and how I write (and what I read/recommend).

You see my characters may not spout Bible verses like a Junior Bible Quizzer and they may not be actively involved in leading others to Christ. In fact, in my current WIP, they are a little busy fighting for their lives. Not many opportunities for them to talk to others about Jesus. But just as my faith influences my life and how I live and act and speak, my characters’ faith is going to influence their lives. What they do, how they handle relationships (both romantic and platonic), whether or not they fight the urge to cuss–that is how my faith is reflected through theirs. And yes, they will probably (okay, they will definitely) drop the name of Jesus in casual conversation. They may (will) debate or discuss their faith.

And that is going to glorify God.

Because to me, it’s far more important that I have my act together (or that I trust God to help me keep my act together). It’s more important that when my readers are browsing Barnes and Noble and they pick up my book and they look deeper into my life, that they see something different. Will I write a book that deals with the salvation message? Heck yes. In fact, I already have a series shelved that covers just that, I’m just waiting for my writing skill to catch up with my vision for that book (I’ve already written about six drafts of it…or was it seven?). And I won’t be offended if you decide not to read it. I mean, it’ll still be as awesome as my other books will be, and you may be missing out…but just as it is my prerogative to skip chapter or even put a book down if it conflicts with what I want to put in my mind, it is your right to skip over my book because you don’t want that in your mind.

Because in the end, I believe that how we live our lives and how we act out our faith through our lives is a greater and more powerful witness. And if the sum of my life ends up being what I have written (which I would be just fine with) I want to be able to stand next to Jesus at his bookshelf and have him point to the ones I have written and say “Well done.”

That is enough for me.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Ages 13 and up

Aya Fuse lives in a world dominated by reputation. Either you have face rank or you’re a nobody. An extra. It’s the way society functions after the mind-rain brought on by Tally and her friends. With a face rank around 400,000, Aya is as good as an extra, unlike her older brother who is pushing the top thousand. Inspired by him (or aggravated by him), she’s become a kicker–someone who breaks video stories to the whole world. All her previous stories have been small fish, barely making a dent in her face rank. But she’s found a group of daredevil stunt girls that might just rocket her face rank to the top. Only problem is that these girls actually want to remain anonymous and Aya is forced to become one of them if she wants to pursue her story. And then they discover something bigger than a group of girls doing dangerous tricks. They discover something that has the potential to destroy cities. And the story Aya kicks is one big enough to send her face rank to the double digits. Problem is, with all that attention she’s bound to attract the attention of the people that’s she’s just exposed and they aren’t beyond abducting one girl and her friends to protect their mission.

Remember back in May, when I finished Specials and I said that I wasn’t sure that I like this series because of the way that book ended? Yeah, it took about two weeks to decide if it would even be possible for me to like the book and all I wanted to do was see if Westerfeld fixed it. So there was more than a little trepidation when I picked up Extras. Fool me once and all that. But I am SO glad that I did. Because he did fix it! And he did more than I was expecting. I was hoping for just a little cameo, just Tally dropping in or being mentioned and maybe a little bit about her life three years after the mind rain. Not so, I got a whole half a book of Tally-action, making Extras quite possibly my favorite book in the series (It also is partly responsible for the recent Scott Westerfeld-a-thon in my reading life–that and the fact that I was able to get Leviathan for six bucks). It brought Speicals from possible book-burning material (So far, the only book I’ve ever burned is Wuthering Heights–now that was cathartic) to just one more book in a series that I absolutely adore. Yes, I’m gushing, I know. Now, let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns…sorry, couldn’t help myself).

It was interesting to see Westerfeld’s society after the mind rain. You get the distinct feeling that it is a society still adjusting to the downfall of the bubblehead era. They are expanding and making new discoveries. Hurrying to make up for the time lost in the pretty-time. The face rank system is what Aya’s own city has come up with to cope with the sudden demands of a society that is no longer mindless and complacent. It’s just one of the clues that labels this city as a futuristic Tokyo (I’m assuming, Tokyo, it could be another prominent Japanese city). There are references to Tally and the pretty-time, echoes of how the world was in the previous three books. It is still an active part of everyone’s memory (her own brother was a pretty for a few months) and a definite influence on the decisions made by Aya and her friends.

Speaking of Aya. I really liked her. She could be little dense, yes, but there’s something about her need to be noticed that just resonates. Westerfeld sums it up beautifully in the first chapter: “It still pretty much sucked, being fifteen.” We’ve all been through it, that span in our teens that we felt uncomfortable and unbeautiful and unpopular (for me it was actually seventeenish, but whatever). And I’d forgotten how well Westerfeld is able to capture that. Aya resonates with the reader because she is SO very fifteen. And kicking stories isn’t something that she does just to gain attention. She does it because she’d good at it and because she enjoys it. And it makes her feel like more than just an awkward teenager. How many of us wouldn’t want to be famous for doing what we loved to do.

I love how the plot of this book becomes so much more than it seems at first. I thought that the whole story was going to be about whether or not she would betray her new friends and kick their story and it ended up not being about that at all. I was pleasantly surprised. There are more layers to this book than there are in a birthday cake. Just when you think you’ve got the whole thing figured out, Westerfeld surprises you with some delicious new ingredient that sweetens the plot. Kept me on my toes.

One of my favorite things about the series actually comes back to bite me in this book though. I’ve always loved Westerfeld’s way with words. How he comes up with new phrases, like “nervous-making” and “brain-missing” (my personal favorite from Extras). However, I feel that he overdoes it a little bit in this book. And perhaps that was just a part of the new society overcompensating…but I started to get tired of all the noun-verb-ing combinations. But thankfully, that didn’t last long once we got into the real action and it was a small distraction.

Like I said earlier, I believe that this is my favorite book in the entire series (that might change when I eventually reread the series, I’ll let you know). Partly because of the way that it wraps everything up. Partly because we get to see Tally picking up the pieces and making something amazing out of what she’s been given. Also, partly because I think this book, gets to be a little more light-hearted. All the evil, overbearing powers have been stopped. There’s no one forcing people to get brain surge (although, that doesn’t stop some people from getting brain surge anyways). We get to experience a society that’s a little different, a little familiar and sometimes more than just a little confused.  For anyone who enjoys YA fiction, and especially if you like the dystopian genre, this series is a must read. And don’t discount Extras just because you think things have moved on. This is a vital piece that finishes off the puzzle and helps turn a trilogy into a masterpiece.

This is a good example of:

  • Creating a society
  • Creating a distinctive vocabulary
  • Character building
  • Plot twist
  • Writing for YA
  • Merging theme and plot

This book is on my recommended reading list.

Heist Society #2: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Ages 12 and up

Kat is back. It’s been two months since she “robbed” the Henley and she is famous…among certain circles. She shouldn’t be surprised when she’s approached to steal back the world famous Cleopatra Emerald for its rightful owners. After all, who better to pull of the impossible theft of a cursed jewel that hasn’t been seen in public for thirty years than a team of teen-aged super thieves. They’ve done the impossible once already. It should be easy, right? Except just when Kat and her crew think they’ve pulled off the greatest heist since the Henley, everything blows up in her face. Now, if Kat wants to fix her mistake, she’ll have to convince her crew to pull off the impossible one more time.

If Heist Society was the intro to Kat and her world, Uncommon Criminals gets into the nitty gritty depths of the characters. This was a stunning follow-up to the first book and it also happened to be a blast to read. Ally Carter definitely delivers in this book. She’s not just continuing the story, but deepening our understanding of Kat and her friends. And she’s not afraid to get “real” with her characters either.

After reading Uncommon Criminals, I have to say that book one just scratched the surface of the characters. We get to see Kat slightly apprehensive in book one, but still determined and gung-ho. She doesn’t have the luxury of stopping to doubt herself for very long. In the second book, doubts abound. Of course, that’s typically what happens when you fall flat on your face (figuratively of course, not literally). We get to see her mess-up big time in this book–both on the professional and personal levels–and that’s nice. I like knowing that the characters I’m reading about aren’t perfect. After all, what better way to stretch a character than to make them face their own failure. Remember, perfect characters are boring characters.

Another highlight in this book for me was the growing relationship between Kat and Hale…or maybe I should say growing awkward relationship. They’re caught in that place where they’re more than friends, but they haven’t quite committed to crossing the line. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I did spend half the book yelling at them.) And we get to watch as Kat contemplates that cross and what it means. Aside from Kat, Hale does continue to be one of my favorite characters. My notes literally have a bullet point with just his name and an exclamation point. And I have no idea what I meant when Iwrote that…so I’m just gonna gcover my bases. Just like Kat struggles with her own issues, we get the impression (from what we can see through her eyes) that Hale is having to deal with his own. And surprise, surprise–they mainly involve her. Some of my favorite moments in this book are the moments between the two of them. In fact, my favorite part is centered around him and his perfect sense of timing. I cheered, just dropped the book and whooped and hollered (and that’s all I will say).

All of our favorite characters are back in this book, including more time with Uncle Eddie (sort of) and some quality time with Gabrielle. I find I like her a lot more in this book (she’s growing on me). She and Kat are less at odds. After all, there’s already enough conflict surrounding Kat with out escalating her rivalry with her cousin.

Just like with her Gallagher Girls series, this second book is nicely wrapped up at the end. Mostly. There’s enough loose ends to have something for a sequel, but were not left with anyone dangling off a cliff. All matters have been settled. I would have liked to have more revealed about what happened to her mom, but I’m assuming that that is going to develop into a greater plot point should the series continue (which it really should).

This is a good example of:

  • Character development
  • Shifts in POV
  • Character flaws
  • Character relationship
  • Plot twists (it’s a big one)

This book is on my recommended reading list.

Every Cloud... by plushoff

So, it’s officially official.

What’s officially official, you ask?

Me. Taking a year off of school. That’s what.

Turns out that there was form that I needed to have filled out. I knew about it, but I got the email in April right before I was headed to one of my classes and I forgot. It is now July. And I’m not interested in taking out $13,000 of student loans. So I’m going to take the year off and get in a better position financially before I take up my schooling again.

And I find I’m okay with this.

It actually got me thinking. We writers have to be very special people. Because let’s face the truth: Instant success is a rare thing in our business. Quite often a writer faces years of rejection and crushed hopes before they ever get that one person that says, “Yes, I think your book stands a chance.” I’ve heard of authors, now published, who have reams of rejection letters. enough to use as wallpaper for a room or even the whole house.

And even after you get  the publishing contract, you still have that lingering question, “Will anyone buy my book?”

You have to look for the silver lining. You have to stop and ask, “What can I learn from this?” and figure out what progress has been made. So that’s what I did. I sat back and asked: “What can I possibly gain from taking a year off school?” And I came up with some pretty good stuff, along with some kind of sad stuff. Some of which I thought I’d share with you in a simple pros and cons list (Oh yeah, Gallagher Girls style):

PRO: Less financial stress. Let’s face it. With me needing to rent my own place and having to make car payments, credit card payments and insurance payments there wasn’t going to be money for anything else. Like gas or clothes…or food. And I don’t know about you, but I kind of like not starving. It’s funny how God knows me so much better than I know myself. He tries for the subtle hints, like my parents and the fact that not all the math adds up. And then, when I blatantly decide to ignore these things (mostly by basing my plans on a whole lot of “ifs”) he draws my attention to the open window by temporarily closing the door. He knows I sometimes need giant arrows or a knock on the head to get me headed in the right direction. I would have killed myself trying to accomplish things my way (the just get-it-over-with way). If only I’d climbed through the window three months ago…it’s would have saved me a lot of trouble.

CON: I have to be patient. I hate being patient.

PRO: I get to hang out with my friends and family for another year, instead of only coming home once a week for dinner…and Bones.

CON: I don’t get to hang out with all of the new friends that I met a SEU (including the cute boy who happens to both read and sing) nearly as much. I do plan to go up for some of the choir gigs and other musical stuff so that I can be supportive of my friends. But it’s sad to actually be looking forward to next semester (because of people and classes) and then to have to wait another year. Especially since some of them graduate next spring.

PRO: There are actually bookstores in St. Pete, so there’s the possibility that I can get a job sharing what I love. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while actually. And not just because I’ve got my eyes on the employee discounts (though that has something to do with it). I love to read (big surprise, I know) and the idea  of being able to share that with someone else, of maybe even being able to show someone who doesn’t read how amazing a good book can be (Recently did this with a friend and it was exciting) kind of gives me goosebumps. The good kind, not the I should of brought a jacket kind.

CON: It might not happen and I could be stuck with a job that I find less imspiring.

PRO: Saving the best for last: I get a whole year to work on my book without school competing for my attention. Yeah, that book that I’m currently supposed to be 50,000 words deep in(heh heh), it’s been sadly neglected (partly, because we’re repainting my room at some point and I’ve been putting things in boxes). It’s hard enough to find time to write working like I am, but I’ve been able to find some time. With school and the amount that I would have had to work to even remotely pay my bills, there would have been no time for me to write. Not if I want to sleep and eat. And, while sleep deprivation does seem to unlock some of my magical writer skills, there’s a certain point where I get miserably sick when I’m running on minimal sleep. It’s not pretty. Now I can have both and stay in good health at the same time. I think this was the one that really got me when I first found out about my financial aid situation. I was like, “Crap, I’m not going to school next semester…but at least I get more time to work on my book.”

CON: I really can’t find a corresponding con for this one. I mean, either way, I was working on my book.

I think you’ll find that the pros greatly outweigh the cons. This is my silver lining. and I’ve discovered that I actually like the silver lining quite a bit.

Just Another Summer Day by Dia

Writing is like breathing for me, it’s necessary and a part of what makes me the way I am.

Indulge me in a little  bunny-trailing. I’m an avid lover of Twitter. And I might follow some sort of famous people. And some of those famous people might have a Formspring account. Okay, just take out the “mights”, and you’ve got the picture.

Anyways, no names, but someone posted on this person’s Formspring (Margaret’s paraphrase) “After you finish with your current series will you write other things?” I looked at this question and knowing the (very) little I know about this person from their blog and Twitter, I had this reaction:

“There is such a thing as a stupid question.”

Now, I’m sure there are those out there that wrote their one grand opus and then they were done. But the writers I know wouldn’t be able to stop writing without the aid of a lobotomy.

You see, writing is like a disease.

A happy disease, without the coughing, puking or doctors visits involving large needles. You don’t want a cure.

It starts with something small, like a love of reading or make-believe. And then it spreads and the next thing you know your hurriedly scribbling notes onto a Chick-Fil-A napkin while trying to hear some soccer mom’s order over her screaming kids.

Looking back, I should have seen it coming. This writing thing. It just followed the natural progression of things. I was always grades beyond where I should have been reading. I never went anywhere without a book. And then there were the games my brother and I played. We’d pretend to be Transformers (anyone remember the show Beast Wars?) or Digi-destined and we’d come up with whole storylines. Of course they were never very complex, but we didn’t care. Eventually, just for the fun of it,  I joined a creative writing class at my co-op (once a week gathering of homeschoolers where we learned things our parents didn’t want to or couldn’t teach us, i.e. math). See what I mean about natural flow?

I believe it really started with Star Wars. My brother and I were obsessed (well, really, I was obsessed with Padme and her wardrobe, but whatever). We came home from, maybe our third viewing of Episode I and we decided to make it so Qui-Gon didn’t die. Cause that was just sad. And from there, off I went. I’d always had a vivid imagination, plus I was good at entertaining myself. So I started entertaining myself in pretend worlds. Basically, I wrote Mary-Sue fics in my head. I believe I wrote about my character, Danae Naberry, somewhere else in this blog. And as I grew and learned more about writing, my Mary Sue became a little like a real character. Of course, by then, I had expanded to other world’s. Like J.R.R. Tolkein’s. Oh that was bad…I lived slept and breathed Lord of the Rings for three whole years. And that’s about the time I started taking my fanfiction and writing it down. What I got was very bad rewrite of the first half of Fellowship. I think still have that sucker tucked away in some dark corner, because I actually came up with some vaguely usable dialogue and stuff, just not as fanfiction.

From there, I wrote The Ring of Aluthya. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. It was my first attempt at original fiction. Over the few years that I worked on it and rewrote it and rewrote it, it went from LOTR knock-off to a story with actual potential. This one too, I have filed for later. Mainly because I just don’t have the skill yet to take it to the level I want to. My second novel, a Cinderella spin-off inspired by my time reading twisted fairy-tales has been shelved until I’m finished with Mind Games, simply because my mind-set is currently in the MG world with David and Annette. They are the ones who keep walking in my head and chatting, even if they do it haphazardly and I often have to ask them to back up and tell the story in an orderly fashion (they like to skip around between books, today’s it’s book one, but yesterday it was book three and some of book two).

And that is my writing life as of yet. It’s crazy to think that I have been writing for over half my life now (that’s only 12 years, before you start feeling impressed). I’ve gone off and on. But even during the days or months or years that I haven’t been working on a book, I’m always writing. It just doesn’t get onto the paper sometimes. At work, I’ll be playing around with the scene I was working on. Thinking up ways to make David a little less perfect or make Annette a little more real. When I watch movies or TV shows, my mind starts analyzing scenes and coming up with what’s going on inside the character’s heads. When I finish a book like The Lost Hero or Wither or Uncommon Criminals (all three of which had less than complete endings) my mind takes those characters and tries to figure out what will happen next, it comes up with scenes and conversations and possible plot paths and tries to figure out [Insert Author Here] will handle *spoiler spoiler spoiler*. And some days, when I’m really bored or life is just a bit too much, I pretend I’m someone else. I turn to my favorite movies or comics or books and I make my own character and do some internal fanfic-ing. Which is actually the start of a lot of my fanfiction now that I think about it…

I am always writing.

It actually gets kind of ridiculous.

To the point that I lie awake in bed, with plot ideas and characters backstory and dialogue spinning in my brain. And it won’t stop.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so thankful, that God has given me this gift and that he has given me the passion to pursue it. That no matter where life takes me, or who or what is in my life, writing is constant. Kinda like He is. It’s always there in the back of my mind and if I get nothing out of it but a little amusement and some good stories for my friends, then it is enough.

Not that I don’t also spend time imagining how it would feel to walk into a Borders or a Barnes and Noble and see my book on the shelves…

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