Monday, October 11, 2010

The Inspiration Bug

It's biting.

Lately it seems I'm seeing more and more people posting about how they were just hit with inspiration for a new and exciting project. Several times even! This is the position I'm finding myself in now.

I've always had a few project idea sitting on the back burner, waiting for their turn to be written, but they've always done just that. Waited. There was an order in which I knew what I wanted to write. But now...?

I've been bitten. At least 3 times. I'll be working on my WIP by day, and dreaming about another story by night (am I cheating on my WIP? Lol).  I keep a journal by my bed, because I'm often struck with (what I like to think is) a brilliant idea to improve upon a plot. This is often not for the my WIP, but for my (mistress?) other ideas.

So while I'm writing THE VACANT THRONE, I've managed to almost completely outline SAVIUM (a little mermaid retelling), and have also fallen in love with another idea, which is untitled as of yet (it involves hourglasses, accidental kidnappings, agelessness, and of course, magic). None of these feel like the 'back burner' type. They are all screaming to be written.

What a dilemma.

What I've decided to do is this: Write them all. At once.

I plan on writing whichever one I feel interested in every time I sit down at the computer. Eventually (I'm hoping) one will stick more than the others, and will be the only one I dedicate myself to finishing. This approach should work fine, being that I'm not too far into TVT.

In other news, I have something like 21 tweets until I'll have reached my 1,000th tweet, and so I've challenged myself to write 10,000 words (in one story) before I reach my 1,000th tweet. 21 tweets is not very many, so it's good incentive. :)

And if you'll notice, on the side bar I've added "Show and Tell" where I'll be posting random quotes from whatever I'm working on at the moment. I also added a "book shelf" of the books which I currently own and are in my TBR pile, if you were wondering about my tastes, or were looking for something new to read. <3

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Race in YA: Why it's ok if all of your characters are one color

All over the blogs of writers, agents, and editors alike, you can find posts about how books lack diversity. How they mostly consist of Caucasians. How they wish every cover didn't have a white girl on it. Many cry out for more diversity.
I'd like to take a look at why diversity (while nice!) isn't a must. In fact, it sometimes may not make any sense!

It could be because of where we live that this happens. I mean come one, the U.S. is referred to as the melting pot. Racial diversity is something common- in some parts of the world.

If you were publishing a book in Japan, and everyone in the book was Japanese, would anybody really mention "Why are there no Hispanics in this book?". Probably not. Keep in mind, while many countries have noticeable racial diversity, such countries are hardly the majority.

The fact that the U.S. is so diverse has led its citizens to expect diversity in all forms of media.

But what if you're writing a fiction? A fiction that takes place in a world that doesn't exist in real life? What if that world was like Japan? So everyone in this world has tan skin, that doesn't mean the author lacks diversity, does it? Does every world we create have to be just like America? A big melting pot? Why can't it be in the beginning stages, where they haven't been able to travel and explore the whole world, and thus have a population that isn't that diverse.

If my world takes place where they travel with covered wagons, and have to take dangerous sea voyages to get to the next continent over (which is hardly the entire world) what are the realistic chances that my characters will ever meet someone who looks so different from them selves? Pretty slim I'd say.

Not that I discourage having diversity in your book (or other form of media). And I'm not saying you should make everyone white/black/olive/etc. skinned. I guess I'm just saying that in some worlds injecting diversity for the sake of diversity can be unnecessary. Sometimes the world we live in isn't diverse at all (A German or a Mexican would stand out like a soar thumb in Japan ).

If it's really that important, try not mentioning the color of your characters' skin. Let the reader's own personal preference kick in. ;)

(mirror posted on my LJ)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The results are in! :)

MOCKINGJAY is out!!!! But you knew that. :)

I have to say... THE HUNGER GAMES is a book which would have never caught my attention on its own. Before reading it, I had read the inside flap, and it just didn't seem that appealing to me. BUT, eventually I picked it up and read it. Why? Because SO many people I knew were recommending it.

Thank you, to everyone who ever exclaimed to me "You haven't read it yet!? FTW go to the book store NOW!". It's nice, when you discover you love a book you may have otherwise never picked up. Trust me, I'm compiling a list of all your favorite books, and I plan on making a Christmas wish list with them. ;D

So, I guess that brings us to what you've all been waiting for.... The Winners!

The winners of a copy of MOCKINGJAY are....
C.A. Marshall
Cass (Words on Paper)

And the winner of the entire HUNGER GAMES series is...
Roof Beam Reader

*throws confetti* The odds were in your favor! (Yes, that was a HUNGER GAMES reference)

Congratulations to all three of you!!! I can't wait to mail you your books! There's just one tiny little detail... I need your addresses (No, I will not stalk you. Probably ;D). Please email me at with the address you would like me to send your prize to. The sooner you get that email to me, the sooner I'll be able to ship them!

 Happy Hunger Games!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We love you, Suzanne Collins

Six more days, guys. Six more days until our minds are blown.  Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Six more days until MOCKINGJAY is released! I have been waiting for the release of this book since... Well since maybe 2 months ago, when I finished reading "Catching Fire". BUT it was a REALLY long 2 months, ok? And many have been waiting longer...

So, in celebration of the upcoming release, I thought I'd give away some books...

To one person, I will be giving away the entire Hunger Games trilogy (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) in hardcover, and to two other people, I will be giving each a copy of Mockingjay. In the event that the winner of the set already owns them, they may choose 3 alternate books, the same applies for the winners of Mockingjay. (these books must still be in print)

Here's how it will work:
-Contest is open from now until 9:30 a.m. August 24th. Prizes will be shipped later that day.
-Contest is only open to the U.S., sorry. :( (BUT, for those out of country, if you know anyone in the U.S. who would be willing to ship it to you, I would be happy to mail it to them to forward to you!)
-The winners will be chosen via
-You must leave a comment telling me what your favorite book is. If you can't choose, feel free to list several. :)

For extra entries:
+3 for blogging about this contest
+2 for a link in your blog's sidebar
+2 for following me on twitter
+1 for tweeting about this contest, be sure to include @SammiKWalker in the tweet so I can keep track of them (can be tweeted more than once, for a total of up to +3 extra entries)

Please tally your extra points in your comment, and be sure to leave links to your blog/twitter. :)

Winners will be announced on the 24th! ^____________^

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What I learned from the first 1,000 words

I've written the first 1,000 words many times, for essays, letters, blogs, and fanfiction (etc.). The first 1,000 words of a novel, however, are much different.

Something you need to know about me is that I like to plan. A lot. I would be an excellent event planner, I'm sure. I also like to get things right the first time.

 Because I like to plan, and because I like to get things right the first time, writing the first 1,000 words of my novel was like pulling teeth. I like to think this was both good, and bad.

1)Outlining is good, but don't let it hinder you

Outlining was my first obstacle. I know I say I like to plan (and I do), but all of my previous writing experience was actually spontaneous. I would have an idea, and run with it. This is where wanting to have a plan conflicted with the way I write. Because, how could I possibly write the beginning if I didn't know what was going to happen in the middle? What if I needed to add something in the beginning to make the middle flow better, what about foreshadowing, etc. ?

Basically, I was freaking myself out.

So it was bad because even though I do like to plan, writing spontaneously just works better for me. By worrying myself over the outline, I was refusing to work in the manner which suited me best. Beginning the story seemed beyond difficult. I agonized over it, and procrastinated endlessly to avoid it.

But guess what? Once I finally started writing it, it was so easy, lol.
Outlining was good because I forced myself to sit down and outline the entire book. It's true that a lot of (the better) inspiration actually hits while writing, but that doesn't mean you can't write a loose outline, right? Creating the outline helped me get from "They leave the castle" to "The end", and also filled in the middle (which was previously non-existent). Writing the outline itself was hard until I figured out something amazing(I'll post about it another time). I've never had an outline before, but now I love it, because I always know where the story is going next (I just have to figure out how).

2)There's always tomorrow a second draft (and a third, and a fourth...)

Trust in the promise of a second draft. Wanting to get it right the first time really tripped me up here. I was so focused on having the perfect opening line, I was literally getting no where. I wanted so much to write every sentence perfectly, and place every comma the correct way that I was sucking the fun right out of the whole process.

But I learned. Write now, edit later. Later can be as soon as you receive revisions from your crit. partners, or as late as when the MS is complete. So long as it happens AFTER you've actually written something. :)

3)When you're done writing for the moment, end mid-thought

I think this method is invaluable. For example: "She wanted to go, but she didn't know how to ask. Maybe if she met him by...." If there is always a sentence waiting for you to finish it, it will always be easier to continue your thought process. Of course, if I have an idea for what will happen next, I do leave myself notes (ie. She meets him in the stables, gets invited, picks the blue dress, etc.)

4) Having a crit partner is essential

Ok, so I already knew this, but it's still important! It's easy to critique the writing of someone else, but it just doesn't work that well on your own stuff. I think it's because while the work of others is fresh and new to your eyes, your own work is too well known to you. Believe me, I tried to polish my first chapter to perfection before I sent it off. And you know what? I was shocked at the OBVIOUS mistakes I had missed, which my wonderful crit partner (kindly) pointed out for me. A little embarrassing, but 100% necessary.
5)Le Sigh

Another thing my soul-mate crit. partner pointed out. Have you ever noticed how much your characters sigh? As if there's a huge oxygen shortage and everyone isn't getting enough air? Sometimes, we write our characters too idle. "She looked at him and sighed." or the arms "He crossed his arms, avoiding her gaze." etc. If they don't contribute in some meaningful way, there's almost always a better verb to help describe what your character is doing.

So yeah, just a few things I learned. Some I already thought I knew, and just had to experience it to realize I didn't, and others were completely new to me. :)

In other news, I got a few giftcards for my birthday, and am now the proud owner of "Heroes of the Valley", "The Amaranth Enchantment", "Incarceron", "Aurelia" and "Princetta". I also wanted "The Fool's Girl" but could not manage to find even one of the 3 copies we have in stock (someone has hidden them from me, I just know it! T_T)

Oooh! Also, a book I'm excited about which comes out in November... "Matched". I found it on Amazon, and thought it was already out... But, there is good news! Alexandra Shostak is giving away an ARC of "Matched" or "Beautiful Darkness", so someone is going to ultra lucky (I hope it's me, lol!)

(Oh yeah, and as for the picture in my blog background. Did I shoot it? No, sadly I did not u_u)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book seller, reader, and writer

Sometimes we get an idea. It's just a small, fleeting thing, really, but then it starts to grow. We writers, being the geniuses we are, recognize this idea for it's greatness, and jot it down in a little note, using scratch paper, a napkin, anything we have on hand. That idea, that note, starts out small, but eventually it becomes a world of it's own, filled with characters we love, and villains we might never have the nerve to face in real life, and ultimately it become a book. From Note, to Shelf. :)

Being that this is my first entry on this blog, I think some  introductions are in order.(Be warned, it's a bit long!)

My name is Sammi, and I'm a 21 year old (in 6 days, that is) college student, an employee at the Barnes & Noble (somewhere in south San Bernadino County,CA), a devourer of books, and a writer.

As for being (almost) 21, it doesn't matter much to me, because alcohol taste gross (eeew), I much prefer chocolate milk (stop looking at me funny!). In college I'm majoring in Creative Photography, not only because I enjoy it, but because if I had majored in English I would have had to write essays. When I say I'm a writer, it is not of essays. Because essays bore me. A 6 page research paper=Bleck , 6 pages of my book=Fun.

I began working at B&N 2.25 years ago, originally in the cafe. Not because I like coffee (which is a taste I've only recently sort-of acquired... a little bit maybe), but because it was the only position available. After two long, sticky, chocolaty, "hey, you smell like a latte!" years, I managed to get myself moved to the bookfloor, trading the smell of espresso for the smell of new, lovely, wonderful books.

And I thought I spent a lot of $ on books before.

I learned very fast that it is unhealthy for my wallet, me being a bookseller surrounded by my passion 5 days a week. Now not only do I buy books that have been recommended to me, or that I've already researched, but I find new books I never knew about. I find them when I'm shelving new books, I find them when I'm shelving customer's books (Please, clean up after yourself/your children =D), I find them when I'm dusting, and straightening shelves, or working on projects. I pretty much find new books I want to read every day.

I should probably just start accepting my pay in the form of books. But alas, I have rent to pay, and so this can not be (did I mention my birthday is coming up?)

Today I bought "The Last Unicorn" as highly recomended by S.J.Maas on her blog (, and "Howl's Moving Castle" because it's been on my list to buy for a while. Yes, I know, rent is due in 3 days.

And then there's my writing. For many years I was an avid writer of FanFiction, a humble beginning. And although I will never tell you my user name, I will admit that I wrote some awful, and some wonderful Inuyasha and Rurouni Kenshin fics. When I look back at them, I find myself thinking "I wrote THAT?", this can be taken as both good, and bad.

Eventually resulted in my finding, where I stumbled upon S.J.Maas' ( "Queen of Glass". To say the least, it became my world, much in the way that some become engrossed in World of Warcraft, I spent my hours devouring QOG. I only ever made it 2/3 or the way through (chapter 52, I think). I had to stop, because my mother didn't like my eyes glued to the computer screen for hours on end. After all, I did need go to school.

Early this year, I went back to finally finish QOG, and found that it had been taken down. Sarah had an agent! I was thrilled, because I always knew QOG should be published. Soon after, QOG was purchased by Bloomsbury, due to debut in late 2011. I will have the first copy at my B&N, and hopefully I'll get it signed some day. :)

Anyways, the point of my telling you all of this is inspiration. I've wanted to write books long before I ever discovered QOG, but never took the steps to do so. Since seeing Sarah's Success, and seeing how it CAN be done, I've taken the leap, and am now (finally) writing my first book. I've got the concepts, I've got the motivation, I've even got the crit partners (well, almost, there's still one person I'm trying to work up the nerve to ask, lol!).

I'm just barely 2,000 words in (I'm already editing it to death), but it's started, and it'll be finished, and who knows, maybe I'll get to go to work one day and shelve my own book. :)