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 samanthakswalker@live.com 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 random.org
-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)