Friday, December 21, 2012

Well, I Woke Up . . .

Hello world!  Guess what?  We're still here.  Here's a photo that pretty much sums up my entire thoughts about the 12-21-12 apocalypse:

So yeah. . . I think a lot of people have some Christmas shopping they just now realized they need to do.  Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.  (If Christmas offends you, well, it's the day I choose to celebrate my Lord Jesus Christs birth.  So yeah, I guess if that is offensive to you, you should know that I don't plan to change.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In 2013, I Will

If you follow Nick Hight's wonderful blog, Writing Fire, you will have seen his video titled In 2013, I Will.  For those of you who missed it, I've put it below.
Now, I don't have the experience or the equipment or the software (from some jokes I've seen on the internet, Windows Movie Maker  doesn't cut it) to do a vlog.  I would one day like to learn how, because I think it is a useful skill, but until then, you'll have to make do with Nick's vlog and my goals.

In 2013, I Will:

Finish two novels
Take part in the Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 contest and complete this time
Write at least 2K a week
Take part in a NaNoWriMo
Reach 75 blog followers
Reach at least 200 Blog posts (this would make number 93)
Read at least 2 writing books
Learn to drive
Meet faithfully with my mentor
Learn how to become a mentor
Mentor someone else
Purposefully work on my relationship with my younger brothers
Work more on school
Take the PSAT for real
Pratice for the SAT
Work on essay writing skills
Read 100 books
Purposefully build strong relationships with other girls in my community
Exercise regularly (as in four times a week)
Get back into the habit of reading my bible every day
Grow in my relationship with God and draw others toward him
Become a leader in my youth group
Practice piano every day
Find/make more time for being with and hanging out with people
Memorize at least 52 verses
Critique someone else's novel and get mine critiqued
Finish (completely) my first novel
Send out query letters to agents
Keep my room much more clean then it currently is
Take steps to become a disciple of Christ

Yeah, long list, I know.  And it's not like I didn't do anything this year.  I did.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teen Ten Page Contest!

Hey guys!  My friend over at Candy Apple Books just hit 50 followers, so it's time for a Teen Ten Page Contest.
So here's how it works:

Every four months and every time the blog gets to a fifty follower increment (like 50, 100, 350, 1750, ect.)  I'll host this contest.  So you enter your first paragraph and then you can e-mail me at sarah(dot)y(dot)faulkner(at)  Then, me and my friend Hannah, a fellow teen blogger over at Candy Apple Books will judge the entries and pick two winners.  These winners will get a ten page critique by a third party teen, who will change each contest.
You interested?  This contest opens 12:00 AM Sunday morning!  I know, I can't wait either.

Each person may only submit one entry.  I'll reply when I get it, if you don't hear from me within 48 hours, send a follow up e-mail.  If you submit more then one entry per contest, you will be disqualified.
If you submit and you have a blog, you need to post about the challenge on your blog or grab the button for your site and never have to bother with posting.  If you do post, put the post link in your e-mail with your entry.
Your entry consists of your name, your e-mail address and the first paragraph  (it has to be shorter then 150 words)  of your YA novel or short story.

Here's an example of an entry.

Subject:  Teen Ten Page Entry

Dear Sarah,
Below is my entry for the Teen Ten Page you're hosting on Inklined.  Also, here's the link the the blog post where I talked about this challenge.
~Jane Dough

(Insert entry here)

Hope to see your entry in my inbox!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Post Over At . . .

Hey my amazing readers!

Just wanted to give you a heads up that my guest post for Maybe a Teen Author is live now!  Emily is celebrating her second blogoversary and for the party, she's lined up a bunch of wonderful bloggers to guest post on her blog, including yours truly.  Though I don't quite measure up to the rest of her line up.  :)

So yeah!  Happy anniversary to Emily, and head over to her blog to check out my guest post.  (I'm a bit biased, but I think it's pretty good.)

Also just realized this is the first guest post I have ever done!  That was fun.

On a completely unrelated note, Inklined's first blogoversary is January 25.  Any suggestions for what I should do to celebrate?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to Learn to Write

I have a quote on my wall that says,

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

The more I think about this, the more I realize it is true.  We are all apprentices.  We are all in the process of learning.  I think this is one thing that separates people who like to write from writers.  Real, honest to goodness writers learn.

We don't just sit back and say, "Well, that's it.  The first draft is done, now to find the perfect publisher."  Unfortunately, in that case, the only publisher will probably be a self publisher.  It's sad but often true.

No, true writers, honestly want to put time and energy into the craft of writing and take time to learn.  They buy books or at least check them out from the library.  (I have my two favorite writing books in paperback and use the library for the rest.)  They participate in critique contests and follow the best of the writing blogs.  They take the time to learn about their craft.

So how do you learn to be a good writer?  How do you study this?  I've already listed a few ways.  Take classes, read books on writing, follow writing blogs.  There are a lot of them.  Read.  Write.  And study.
Now, I'm in school, so I know about studying.  I know about notes and flashcards and cram sessions before the big test, but how do you study if you don't know materials are being covered.  This is my suggestion for learning this about writing on your own.  And remember, children and adults all learn better when they learn things for themselves.

For the purposes of this post, we are going to pretend we're trying to learn how to write a pitch.

Step 1.  Get a Goodreads account.
     It doesn't actually have to be Goodreads, but get something like that such as Shelfari.  Something that lets you record and rate the books you have read.

Step 2.  Rate and Read Tons of Books
     Find books that you loved and say so.  Put them in one place online so that you can see a list of good and bad books quickly.

Step 3.  Find the Books Relevant to what You're Trying to Learn
     For pitches, this is not hard.  The back cover or inside flap are part of all books, but if you're looking for how to deal with time travel, you're going to want to shift through your good and bad books to find the ones on this topic.

Step 4. Read.  A Lot
      Read the back cover copies.  Read five and try your hand at one for your own book.  Take a break.  Catch up on piano practice.  Read five more back covers or internet blurbs and try to write another one of your own.  Rinse and repeat.

Step 5. Write Down Your Findings
     What did you learn about back covers?  What did you learn about writing time travel?  What are some good and bad ways to do both.

The end.  That's all I can think of right now.  I'm off to go read back cover copies.  See ya!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bad Sarah, Sarah is a Bad House Elf . . .

Please excuse my Dobby moment while I bang my head against my laptop.  Sarah is bad.  Sarah did not do what she ought to have done and posted more blog posts.  Bad Sarah.
Okay, so I was horrified to look on Inklined today and realize I haven't posted since December first.
Now, there are, of course reasons.  Reasons like, I have about five people asking about guest posts that I have yet to get back to, and if I post, they'll realize that my internet didn't just spontaneously combust.  (If you're one of these people, I am ever so extremely sorry.  You are about third on my current to do list after this weekend.)
Other reasons I haven't posted include:

  1. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family has four birthdays and my parents anniversary.
  2. The choir performance was November 29 and 30.
  3. Play practice for Pride and Prejudice (I got the part of Lydia, which was completely unexpected, thought very awesome) started December 3rd.  We have way too much homework and character studies to do.
  4. I have a piano recital at on December 16 and Mary Did You Know is not sounding so great.
  5. The end of the year party for the bible study I lead is on Friday and I still have LOADS to do for that.
  6. I've been playing piano at church every Sunday, and that requires a lot of extra practice time.
  7. I have been critiquing two books and might be critiquing a published author's newest book over Christmas break.
  8. School is . . . yuck.  I don't want to talk about it.
  9. I wrote a guest blog post for Blog of a Maybe Teen Author's annual blog party.  That should go live on Thursday.
  10. I got a cavity, who's filling will be taking up most of the rest of my afternoon.
  11. My brother (who is one of the December Birthdays) is finally old enough to watch Lord of the Rings, and I promised I'd watch them with him.  At three hours per movie, that's a lot of time.
  12. Plus, all of the normally things that go along with getting ready for the holidays.
  13. And, there's a mouse in my bedroom that has been waking me up at night.  I'm sleeping in one of our other bedrooms for the time being.
  14. Okay. . .  I think that's it.  This is my filler/excuse/go check out Teen Author's blog party post

Saturday, December 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo and Habits

So, happy December!
The beginning of December marks the end of November.  In case you couldn't tell by the badge proudly portrayed on the right side of my blog, I finished National Novel Writing Month on November 30 with 50 thousand words!  I screamed, I think.  I know I was thrilled.

So, today's December 1st, and as I sat down the fire us Netflix after dinner dishes I couldn't help but feel that something wasn't quite right.  My laptop, which sat on the coffee table next to be, seemed to say that if I didn't use this time to write, I would be a shame to all writers everywhere.
They say it takes 21 days to make a habit.  Well, NaNoWriMo is 30.  Thirty days of writing an average of 1667 words per day.  (I actually wrote as low as 430 words on November 21 and as high as 2675 words on the 7th.)
This, I think, is one of the reasons NaNoWriMo is a great idea. It gets you in the habit of writing, and writing a lot.  If you're hoping to one day be a writer for a living, you get used to working with dead lines.  And now, today, 30 days after I started trying to write a book in a month, taking a day off seems like a crazy idea.  After all, I have a book to write.  Just staring at my closed laptop and a bottom bar without a word document waiting for today's word wars and musical word wars and word tourneys and races.  I fell just plain guilty.  Because I'm watching TV and getting on Facebook and blogging.
But in a way, that's a good thing, even a great thing.  I thinking about writing.  I'm thinking about how I should be writing and why I should be writing.  And how the next part in my writing is going to go.  And I love it.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like a writer again.  I haven't written much of anything steadily for the past few months, and this November, I did.  And it feels wonderful.
Okay.  That's it for this post.
Did you do NaNo?  If so, how'd it go, and did you feel funny not having to try to reach 1667 words today?