Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Posts tagged ‘honors college’

TO DO A LONG STORY JUSTICE

When I was seven, thirteen years ago, my second grade class created Studentreasures manuscripts. Studentreasures is a print-on-demand publisher that publishes the books of elementary school students, often, from my understanding, for no charge. As I completed mine, my teacher recognized what would later be identified as a prodigious level of ability in my writing, and simply told my mom to be sure to invite her to my first book signing. When my mom told me, it finally clicked in my brain that the names on book covers are actual people, that actual people could create something so magically transportive. I wanted to harness that power.

When I was eight, my published book came back and I was inspired to set the goal of getting published “the big way” while I was still a kid – that is, before my twentieth birthday.

When I was nine I began having dreams that were too perfectly unforgettable to leave behind without plotting the missing pieces.

When I was ten I was published in the Southern Sampler for the first time.

When I was eleven my novel began to take shape.

When I was twelve I tested my story by roping all of my friends into it.

When I was thirteen I perfected the plot of an eight-book series.

When I was fourteen I began writing a satisfactory first draft.

When I was fifteen I finished and began editing. I was scammed into submitting to a publisher through a personal connection full of bad advice. Applying to the SC Governor’s School for the Arts motivated me to read enough latin american magical realism and canon works to discover the true nature and powers of description – a journey I look back on as nothing less than a renaissance. My book began to connect me to people, including a great aunt and uncle whom I’d had little connection with in the past. When they discovered my novel they took it upon themselves to mentor me through my efforts.

At sixteen I had saved up enough money to attend the Southeastern Writers Conference, where I found guidance from the poet laureate of my state and author Emily Sue Harvey, and I left with the SWA Juvenile Writing Award and the M. L. Brown Award for YA lit.

At seventeen I attended the South Carolina Writers Workshop for the first time, where I met the literary agent who had represented my favorite childhood authors, including Jean Craighead George and Gail Carson Levine. She remembered me a year later when I queried her. My efforts in the publishing industry embellished my college applications and earned me a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. I worked on a magazine internship and received multiple awards for my poetry.

At eighteen I had crafted a query letter that earned me serious consideration and critiques from some of the best literary agencies in the field, including Andrea Brown, Fineprint Lit, Curtis Brown, and Literary Foundry + Media.

At nineteen I rewrote my manuscript for the fifth time at the request of one of these agents. I was enlisted to help draft adventures for the upcoming Boy Scouts of America emblems Plug & Axel. I earned a critique that has sold in auctions for over two thousand dollars.

In my journeys I have met C. E. Murphy, Nicholas Sparks, Steve Berry, Patricia Smith, Marjory Wentworth, Michael Connelly, and countless other authors of less renown who should be far more renown than they presently are.

I have no accomplishment that can possibly yardstick the hours, the sacrifices, the hope, and the passion that have gone into half a dozen rewrites and hundreds of revisions. But I have gained more respect for myself and shown the world more of my soul than I ever could have done had I taken another path.

I take vicious pride in knowing I did everything I could do.

On my twentieth birthday, the top of my Mount Everest was sliced off before I could reach it. It broke my heart.

And I know that the opus speaks for the life, not the life for the opus – no one will want to read this story to so little gratification. It’s the door that gets farther away the faster you sprint toward it, it’s the video game you lose on the last level. Except a little less hopeless.

What now? Well… that’s top secret writer information. 🙂

My Whole New World ~ The Little HS Author Starts College

Sorry for the long time no see! My life has been a little crazy as I’ve made a rather epic transition. I am no longer little Fort Millian high schooler. It’s to Columbia with me, to the Honors College at the University of South Carolina.

Sweet freedom. Sweet change. Sweet refuge from dramaaa…

For the last three weeks or so, my focus has been all on the changes and not on my writing. Regrettable. But necessary. Now I am ready to buckle down and GO.

I spent a nice hour in the bookstore today doing my Cinderella Mouse thing – gather stacks of books so high I have to use my chin to keep them from falling. Then I sit down with them and scan through the pitches and acknowledgements pages, taking notes on the books that sound interesting and literary agents I need to check out. (I’ll type my notes up below.)

I LOVE doing this.

I also realized something pretty epic when I was in the bookstore today. There used to be about nine shelves filled with teen fiction. Within the last three or four months, that number has grown to eleven.

If I miss this wave, I will not know what to do with myself. Thanks to Miss Stephanie Meyer and Mr. Edward Cullen, my genre is skyrocketing, maybe just in time, maybe in time….

Meh Notes:

Title – Author ~ Agent
Waiting for You – Susane Colasanti ~ ? *(I found this one interesting because the acknowledgements made references to depression and anxiety, topics of personal interest to me.)
Bait – Alex Sanchez ~ Miriam Altshulter
Snap – Carol Snow ~ Stephanie Kip Rostan
My Soul to Take – Rachel Vincent ~ Miriam Kriss (Interesting for its language. I read the first page.)
Shiver – Maggie Steifvater ~ Laura Rennert
Breathless – Jessica Warman ~ Andrea Somberg (Gorgeous cover on this one, but the only word in the pitch that caught my interest was “semiautobiographical”)
Graceling – Kristin Cashore ~ Faye Bender
Kissed by an Angel – Elizabeth Chandler / Mary Claire Helldorfer (This is one I should read because it resonates so well with my life and the stories I tell, but I haven’t been able to find this lady’s agent if she has one.)
Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler ~ Ted Malawer (I think this title was a bad idea.)
Reincarnation – Susanne Weyn (This has the potential to be FASCINATING.)
Radiant Darkness – Emily Whitman ~ Nancy Gallt
The Fetch – Laura Whitcomb (I’ve heard this ones really good.)
A Kiss in Time – Alex Flinn ~ George Nicholson
As You Wish – Jackson Pearce ~ Jenoyne Adams


I left the store with:

Crank by Ellen Hopkins (I need to read her books. I just need to.)
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (So I don’t have to borrow it from Megan again)
Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephanie Meyer, and Lauren Myracle (Needed this too.)
Pride & Prejudice  by Jane Austen (An extra copy because I shall be reading it for SCHOOL ^.^)

More later! ❤

Book 2 is Underway!

All I have time for today is a quick update. I want to get going on organizing my life for college. Finally I feel the drive.

I hit the 10,000-word mark on book 2 today. Hooray! It’s been a geniune struggle to start this one, so I’m over the moon. I simply can’t write this one in order. Just can’t.

Word Count:  10,225

Partial Requests:  3

Dream Diary:  Loving college.

Pheonixes, Nightmares, and Anime

3 changes to discuss.

1)  Everything in my own life, as a few of my readers may know, is about to change. I’m about to uproot and reroot a little bit closer to the sea and everything else in my dreams. In 17 days, I will be moving to the new Honors dorm at the University of South Carolina.

Meh new homme!

Meh new homme!

Scariness. To me, this feels like a death–a phoenix death–and I’m looking forward to my ashy renewal. I’ve just got to get the dying part over with.

In honor of this new change, I’m going to change some things about my blog.

2)  Blog change number one:  I’m going to add a dream diary. At the bottoms of posts I’m going to update the number of partial requests I’ve received and my book 2 word count, but I’m also going to share one of my freaky over-imaginative nightmares : D

3)  Blog change number two:  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since I posted Studies of Storytelling, which shares my thoughts on using everything from Disney movies to anime to internet emails to help us writers improve our craft.

If that’s the case, why should I only review books here on my blog? I can share thoughts about anime and movies as well.

This sounds like so much fun to me. More later! ❤

Book 2 Word Count:  6000

Partial Requests:  3

Dream Diary:  I had a nightmare that a truly vicious classmate who tormented me through middle school and sneered at me through high school was in two of my college classes. (Cue shrieking violins) Have I mentioned I’m ready to be in Columbia? Change is nice.

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