Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
What is this amazing series, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. The Hourglass Door Trilogy, by Lisa Mangum. The author has an incredible way of pulling you into the story and making you want to be a part of it. She weaves intricate story lines and problems that manage to blow my time every time I read her work. The books follow a girl named Abby and her oh-so-intriguing classmate Dante. Let me just say, girls, you will love these books! I also think guys will love them too, but especially girls. The story will take you all sorts of places you have never imagined as time itself is threatened, especially for Abby. I don't want to give anything away by telling you about the second and third books, but here is the synopsis for the first one:
Abby's senior year of high school is textbook perfect: She has a handsome and attentive boyfriend, good friends, good grades, and plans to attend college next year. But when she meets Dante Alexander, a foreign-exchange student from Italy, her life suddenly takes a different turn. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Time behaves differently when they are together, traveling too fast or too slow, or sometimes seeming to stop altogether. When the band Zero Hour performs at the local hangout, Abby realizes that there's something dangerous about the lead singer, Zo, and his band mates, Tony and V. Oddly, the three of them are also from Italy and have a strange relationship to Dante. They also hold a bizarre influence over their audience when performing. And Abby's best friend, Valerie, is caught in their snare. Dante tells Abby the truth of his past: he once worked for Leonardo Da Vinci, helping to design and build a time machine. When Dante was falsely implicated as a traitor to his country, he was sent through the machine more than five hundred years into the future as punishment. As the past and the present collide, Abby learns that she holds a special power over the flow of time itself. She and Dante must stop Zo from opening the time machine's door and endangering everyone's future. More than one life is at stake and Abby's choice could change everything.
Monday, January 28, 2013
What I want to talk to you about today is really more advice than a tip, but I think when it comes to writing it is the most important thing, right up there with never throwing away your work or giving up. This morning I was thinking about what to tell you today, and then it hit me. Today I want to talk to you about saving your files.
As a writer your words are your life. They are how you live, eat, drink, breathe. They're your outlet. They are you. We spend hours and hours typing away, getting our souls and stories down on paper (electronically or real) and the very last thing we want is to lose what we have put down. I am coming to you as one who has lost work and who has always been haunted by what was lost.
In 2009 I did my very first NaNoWriMo. I was going to college, living with room mates, and writing a book. In other words, having the time of my life. I'd had my laptop for about a year and then all of a sudden one day, it failed me. It didn't come through like it had on all those other days. It crashed. I was devastated, to say the least. Luckily, I had been smart enough - or paranoid enough, either way I'm grateful - to save my story in more than one place. As I was writing, I saved my book on my computer, and I also emailed a copy to myself. Now, it just so happens that I hadn't done that in a little while when my computer crashed, so I lost a scene. That's pretty good news I think, only one scene! But, it just so happened to be a really great scene that I thought I had written particularly well. Not cool.
Eventually I got my computer up and running again, and, using my gracious fellow-Nanoer and room mate's computer, I rewrote that lost scene, but it was never as good as the first time around. As much as I hate that it happened, I will forever be grateful that it did happen, and in such a small way, because it taught me that I have to be more careful, because I never want to lose another word.
My advice for you today is to always save your files in more than one place. You'll never know how much you appreciate it until you lose something. As a writer I have changed immensely since I finished my first book. I have grown older, become a much better writer, and a several times NaNoWrimo veteran. I have also learned a lot. Luckily for us, technology is getting more and more awesome with every second of every day, and we have so many options for saving our novels securely and in multiple places. Here's a list of some ways you can do it:
- Email: This is definitely not my first choice, since, like I mentioned above, you can lose everything since the last time you uploaded, but it's definitely something and will work if you don't have any other option.
- External Memory: This is a good option too, though one I don't rely on. I've heard too many stories of people's memory sticks getting misplaced, or eaten by their dogs, and in all reality your external hard drive is a computer - it can crash just like the computer you are using to write your book.
- Google Drive: Previously Google Documents, this is great option. I used to use Google Documents all the time, especially to collaborate with other students. It's easy and free (to an extent) and it guarantees that your file will be saved online.
- Dropbox: This is the option I choose, because it is my favorite. I depend on it so much it's not even funny. It's my life line. Everything related to my books is saved on Dropbox. Like Google Drive, you are given a certain amount of space for free, but you can grow that space by sharing, getting other people to join, and doing other things. My space has grown quite a lot, thanks, probably, to a lot of you. Dropbox (and Google Drive) installs a folder on you computer where you save files, and each time you press save on your document, it is instantly saved online, and wherever else you have downloaded your Dropbox folder. I currently access my Dropbox folder from my computer, my Mom's computer, my phone, and online. You can have it on all of your mobile devices and computers, and can access it anywhere by logging in to the online site. If you change a document in your folder, it also saves those changes in all the places you have the document. For example, I can open my novel on my phone, add a new line, and when I get back to my computer file, that added line will already be there. A-freaking-mazing in my book! I believe Google Drive works the same way.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Here's your weekly update about Through the Paper Wall. I have received complete edits from two of my beta readers and I have been working through them. Overall I am thrilled with what I am hearing and I have been given some really great direction and advice. As of right now I'm about two hours away from being done with this edits, if I estimated right and I stay at my normal pace. So, in other words, I'll be finished with them today if I can keep myself on track! That's the goal. After that, I'll be going back through and doing another edit on my own, looking for some specific things I want to fix, which include the following:
- "Dad" vs. "dad"
- Deciding what I want to do with the first line in a chapter
- Adding to the epilogue so readers know what happens to one of the characters
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
"Come with us, be one of us. We have power that you would never have imagined," they call out in harmony. Over the years people have been snared, claimed by the growing darkness within the shadows.
But, tonight I’m ‘gonna hold you so close
‘Cuz in the daylight, we’ll be on our own
But, tonight I need to hold you so close
To learn more about Teena Adams and her work, visit the following links:
- Heidi Nicole Bird
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Could the road to the afterlife be a two-way street? Derek Stone just turned fourteen. He's lived in the heart of New Orleans with his dad and older brother, Ronny, his whole life. He's a little overweight. He can't hear well out of his left ear. Oh, and he's on the run from the dead. Derek never imagined that the dead could be anything but dead. But there's no denying it. They're back -- and they're after him. He just doesn't know why. And he doesn't have long to figure it out.
The Haunting of Derek Stone: City of the Dead is an incredibly written piece of literature. Though the book is juvenile fiction, I have never been so creeped out by a story in my entire life! Abbot combines great story telling with fantastic detail and imagination to create a story that is frightening enough to make you reconsider everyone around you, and yet so compelling that you can't put it down. This book literally took my breath away and, even though I was feeling rather terrified in my empty house when I finished the book, I was left craving more.
Due to my level of being freaked out I have yet to read the next book in the series, but it is sitting in my room at this very moment, among the other books I hope to read soon. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a chilling story, likes being scared, and loves juvenile fiction. If you scare easily, you might want to stay away from it, especially if you are considering it for your child. All in all, I give this book a huge five stars for being so brilliant and well put together.
Have you read this book? Do you plan to? I'd love to hear about it!
- Heidi Nicole Bird
Monday, January 21, 2013
In a previous post I talked a little bit about editing and I also mentioned that I would be trying a technique that I learned from Caitlin Hensley. She posted it as a tip on her blog, and now I am going to try it and share it with you.
If you've been following my blog you know that I am in the semi-final stages of editing my book before it is published. The method that Caitlin suggested is to go through the entire manuscript word by word and only look at each word individually, not looking or reading ahead at all, or reading for story or content. Simply focus on the words themselves and you should find a lot of typos you may have missed the other times you were editing.
Sounds tedious, right? Yes, but I am willing to try it because I think it is a great tip, and that is why I am re-sharing it with you. If all goes as planned, I will be implementing this technique this week, and when Friday rolls around I'll let you know how it went.
Have a great holiday!
- Heidi Nicole Bird
Friday, January 18, 2013
Now that you've been updated, this week I was nominated for the Liebster Award! So here we go with a fun little blog hop!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
- Set yourself a deadline and writing plan and stick to it.
- Don’t think it’s the best thing the world has ever had the opportunity to lay their eyes upon. But don’t think it’s the worst, either. It’s always somewhere in the middle.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
So, remember yesterday how I said there are bumps in the road? Well, tada! One showed up today, just to help me prove my point. Today I planned to write out a fabulous book review to share with you, but instead I am writing you a quick note from my phone while I play mom for my sick little brother. So we are just a bit off schedule, but oh well, right? I have great posts coming over the next two days, so we at least have that to look forward to.Thanks for sticking with me!
- Heidi Nicole Bird
Monday, January 14, 2013
- Turn off spell check. I have found that this helps tremendously! It is a lot easier to keep plunking down more words if you don't see red, green, and/or blue squiggles plaguing the words you have already written. Take away the distraction. You can always turn the spell check back on later when you are editing.
- Use the strike-through tool. The first time I used this was in the last book I wrote, Through the Paper Wall, and I plan on using it from now on, especially during NaNoWriMo. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get 50,000 words written, not to get 50,000 good words written. I saw several of my fellow nanoers forget this fact in 2012. If you aren't happy with the words you've got down, don't delete them, and don't chuck your whole file! Instead, if you type something you find particularly revolting, hi-light it with your mouse, and apply the strike-through tool, which you will see next to your bold, italics, and underlining tools.
It works like this! Great huh?That way, you still have your original words, which gives you the word count, and it allows you to see what your original thought was when you come back to edit.
- Sprint. One of the greatest things you can do to keep yourself writing, and so many writers will testify to this, is to do a word sprint (also called a word dash, or word war). Get with some other writers, or even do this on your own. Pick a start time, and how long you are going to go for, then during those minutes write as fast as you can. A little competition can do wonders for your word count and also force you to think.
- Practice. Of course one of the best ways to get used to not going back and fixing things in your manuscript is to practice. It will he hard, sure, but you can do it! I've seen so many writers, including myself, overcome the urge to go back simply by just pushing onward. Always remember that your first draft is probably going to be crappy and there is nothing wrong with that. Best-selling books are never the author's first draft.