We’re just getting back into the swing of things here at TGNA, but just because we haven’t been here doesn’t mean we haven’t been elsewhere! TGNAers have blogs and social media accounts across the web (as does TGNA itself), and we’ve been creating a lot of great content over the past few months. Check us out elsewhere to find out what we’ve been up to, and be sure to let us know what YOU’ve been doing in the comments!
I have a few things for you guys today. They are all directly correlated to my last post about blogging more and also tie in to my firm belief that an important part of being a writer is also being an avid reader. I tend to read mostly YA and mostly fantasy because those are the things that I write and it keeps me current and inspired but I also like to participate in challenges because they force me to step outside of my reading comfort zone and also expose me to authors and writing styles I never would have discovered otherwise. So, in the spirit of encouraging more reading and this more inspiration, here are two book bingo challenges hosted on my new collaborative book blog The Book Hangover–and inspired by Retreat by Random House who also has a few bingo cards to look at, as well! The third link is to an EXTREMELY AWESOME 365 Days of YA infographic from Epic Reads that is so beautiful it brings me to joyful tears every time I look at it. There are multiple printable graphics on the page through the link provided, so you can pick and choose which ones look most compelling to you! I’m just crazy impressed by the work and detail that went into it.
1) 2015 Reading Bingo Challenge #1
2) 2015 Reading Bingo Challenge #2
3) 365 Days of YA Infographic by Epic Reads
I hope you enjoy these as much as I plan to!
Happy Reading (and Writing)!
I love the Timehop app on my Galaxy. Sometimes it reminds me of people with whom I’ve since parted ways and the good memories we once shared. Sometimes it makes me laugh quite literally out loud because the things I said in my early twenties are pretty much intelligible out of context–I must have been the Queen of posting inside jokes, I guess. So inside that even I don’t get them now, ha. The most important reason why I love Timehop, though, is because it reminds me of the things I wanted one, two, three years ago and forces me to think about where I am now in relation to those wants.
Seeing as though it’s the first month of the new year, one could imagine what most of my old posts were about. I think one was from my old blog–that I have since decided not to keep running–saying, “This year I will post more than just my New Year’s resolutions!” That never happened. My heart was clearly never in that blog. Some of the resolutions, though, were things I still want for myself and things I need to be reminded of because I haven’t achieved them yet. So, Adventurers, for today’s post, I am going to share with you my List of Five Goals for 2015. Not resolutions–no one ever keeps those–but goals. Attainable goals. Goals that I can feasibly reach by 2016.
1. Blog More
I’ve at least already started working on this one! A couple of friends of mine and I have been putting together a book blog called The Book Hangover where I can actually document the thoughts I have during my typical hours-long book discussions had over skinny vanilla lattes or wine. My heart’s way more into this than the old blog I had.
2. Write Something Every Day
Even if it’s just a haiku or a dramatic email, I just need to get in the habit of writing especially when I don’t feel like it.
3. Attend a Conference
The two I’m shooting for with this one are SCBWI Midsouth’s conference in September and then YALLFest in November. If anyone’s planning to be there, let me know!
4. Finish What I Started
Idyllmir‘s first draft, at the very least, needs to be finished this year. I’d like to surpass this goal and move into edits and final edits but I’ll be content with finishing what I started.
5. Learn More
I mean, I’m going back to school, but it’s not for writing, so I’m going to have to be responsible for this on my own. A friend recommended Margie Lawson’s lecture packets, so my goal is to get through three of these lectures.
Do you do New Year’s Resolutions? Goals? What are they?
I have worked in several industries–the coffee industry, the funeral industry, the financial industry. Each of them has had their own specific things you needed to do to really break into them, like joining associations or networking with industry professionals. Since I actually wrote content for magazines for the first two listed industries, being involved and relevant in the industry was incredibly important. So I started really thinking about this in terms of how to get involved and stay relevant in the writing industry. In some ways, it’s no different than any other industry I have worked in–but in others, it is an entirely different beast. A lovely, rewarding, fun and beautiful beast. Today’s List of Five involves ways to get involved in the writing industry and, while absolutely not comprehensive or all-encompassing, is a good start!
1. Write or read every day.
I put this one first because I don’t think it’s a reasonable expectation to be involved in the writing industry if you’re not participating in it in some way shape or form. Sometimes writing just doesn’t happen but it’s easy to always make sure something is happening on a daily basis, whether it’s reading a chapter, checking out blog posts on writing, writing a paragraph or what have you. I think not trying to do something that involves writing or reading on a near daily basis will cause a disconnect between yourself and the industry in which you’re wanting to be involved.
2. Join the social media conversation.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter–these are all great resources for connecting with authors, writers, readers and more. Twitter is my favorite one because it’s so easy to reach everyone at the same time through the use of hashtags.
3. Go to conferences and workshops.
This is one I haven’t been able to get into yet just because of limited time and resources available but one that I think is imperative in terms of wanting to write professionally. These are great for learning opportunities and also networking. Agents can be vastly more accessible at conferences, too, so if you’re at the point of wanting to shop your manuscript, going to conferences is an excellent avenue. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a great resource for finding these events.
4. Join a writing or critique group.
This one has been an extremely important stepping stone for me. They’re good for helping you grow as a writer and as a critical reader but, more importantly, a good writing or critique group holds you accountable. To me, that’s the most important thing I have ever gotten in my journey toward being a professional writer.
5. Be persistent and consistent.
Easily the most difficult step for me considering how OOH SHINY I am minute by minute, this is also easily the most important. It takes persistence and consistency to stay relevant, involved and heard among a sea of voices. The writing industry is not an easy one to break and stay into but it’s possible as long as you’re just constantly staying involved and open and undeterred by momentary setbacks!
How do you guys stay involved in the writing industry?
BONUS: Since I won’t be posting another List of Five before the New Year, I wanted to share this little list, too, which is not at all by my own creation. List of Gifts for Writers and Bibliophiles from Buzzfeed. If anyone I know is reading this, you now have my Christmas List!
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. [Goodreads]
When I first heard that this book was coming out, I was very enthusiastic about it because I loved the Matched trilogy. One early reviewer described the book as a dark twist on the classic tale of The Little Mermaid, and I was totally sold. It was a little bit of a disappointment, then, when I realized that this story has very little parallel to the classic. Once I got past this predisposition, however, I found the story in and of itself enjoyable. One thing Condie does very well and continues to do well in this book is use beautiful language to describe thoughts and emotions that are difficult to detail. This same language is used to describe the city of Atlantia in such a way that the reader can clearly picture the world and immerse themselves within it. Condie’s world-building, too, is impressive and exciting.
While the setting and the narrative was very well done, I struggled to keep up with the main character, mostly because I never felt like her story progressed organically. One minute, there would be a page full of one question after another and then suddenly an answer that was presented as obvious but never felt obvious to me as the reader. The book was slow to start, the majority of the first third of it devoted almost solely to world-building and back story–both of which I felt may have been better presented slowly and threaded throughout the rest of the narrative. Atlantia is a stand-alone and I think this was one book that would have done well as a series, allowing for more time to build the worlds Above and Below, as well as to delve deeper into the characters’ stories to allow the reader to become more attached to them.
Overall, I would recommend the book to others looking for a quick, interesting dystopian that is both familiar and unique. Fans of Ally Condie would not be disappointed–her writing rings true throughout the entire novel. The book does, at times, detour into narrative that comes across as political but this is palatable in the context of the rest of the book. If you’ve never read anything by Condie, this one would be a great place to start!