I Wish I’d Thought of That!

These are the Top 5 YA Books (or Series) I Wish I’d Written (in no particular order):

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  2. The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
  5. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

It’s not only for the popularity of the books that I wishI’d written them.  It’s because they are amazing!

***Possible Spoiler Alerts in the next section***

The Hunger Game Trilogy.  AH!  What a brilliant dystopian YA series!  (Although I’ve read it’s called a science fiction and fantasy series.)

It follows Katniss who lives in the last district, District 12, of Panem where North America once existed.  Each year, the President of the districts holds The Hunger Games as a reminder of what an uprising of the districts costs.  Two kids (a boy and girl) from each district are to participate.  In the game, they have to kill their opponents and be the last one standing. When Prim, Katniss’s little sister, is chosen, she immediately takes her place.  She and Peeta, the other boy chosen, are taken to the Capitol where they are dolled up and presented to the people as two of the hunger games contestants.

The Hunger Games ends unbelievably, and you’re thrown into an unimaginable world of what happens when things don’t go quite like the Capitol has planned it.

I won’t tell you much more about it in case you want to read it, but it follows Katniss and others as they fight the Capitol and President Snow.

I read each book in under a week.  The story is addictive.  The characters are relatable even if they are teens.  I would have loved to been like Katniss when I was 16.  You know, minus the whole living in a dystopian society thing…

(I CANNOT wait for the movie!)

The Trylle Trilogy.  Another brilliant series about trolls.  But it’s not about the large cave trolls in The Lord of the Rings movies, and it’s certainly not the grumpy old troll who lives under the bridge in Dora the Explorer.  They can pass as normal humans but are more earthy.

They have their own society which they wittily disguise as a school to fool the humans, yet it doesn’t detract from the story because that’s not really what’s important.

There’s two separate groups of trolls who are enemies.  There’s a big to do over what they both share, romances you see coming, some you don’t, and you’re left with a trilogy that ends and leaves you wanting more (but not in a bad way).

Amanda Hocking self-published these novels on Kindle, and look at her success story!  They’re even turning them in a movie.

Divergent.  Another dystopian novel.  The beginning of a series I’m anxious to know more about.  I won’t tell you what Divergent means in the book.  It’s all part of the story, but it’s about Tris who is the main character.  She lives in a faction where she doesn’t feel like she belongs.

During the faction choosing ceremony, she abandons her family and becomes a Dauntless.  (Each faction represents a virtue.  Dauntless represents bravery.)  She doesn’t quite fit in with them either.  She learns their way of living which is very different from hers.  She falls in love and loses people she cares about.  She survives their initiation, but surviving everything else thrown at her is a little more difficult.

Veronica Roth is an up and coming author who thought of a brilliant novel/series that’s all the rave now.

The Vampire Academy Series.  Yes.  I’m going there, and yes, I’m part of the vampire craze.  But, admittedly, the Twilight thing is overdone.

So, Vampire Academy.  It’s set in an academy full of Moroi and Dhampirs.  Moroi are the vampires who are alive, and Dhampirs are half human, half Moroi.

The story is set around the character, Rose, a Dhampir.  She trains to become a guardian of the Moroi, specifically for her best friend, Lissa.

Each of the Moroi are blessed with a gift in the elements, as well as Spirit.  Spirit can do amazing things, which ties Lissa and Rose together.  (That’s elaborated on more in the stories.)

Rose surprisingly falls in love with her dhampir instructor, the sexy Dimitri.  So, the story tells of their forbidden love and protecting the people she loves from the Strigoi, the undead vampires.

Believe it or not, it’s an amazing series.  I didn’t want the series to end, but after seven novels, I can safely say Richelle Mead tied everything together well.  This series blows Twilight out of the water.  It’s even being turned into a movie.

Finally, Beautiful Creatures.  It’s the first book of the Caster Chronicles, and a Southern Gothic/historical novel.  It involves a world of Casters, incubi, and the traditions of the South.

Ethan Wate is a normal teenager, living out his life as a jock.  He’s popular, living the life with the “in crowd”, but when he meets the girl of his “literal” dreams, he quickly forgets his popularity.

Lena, and especially, Ethan are taken into a world they’ll never forget.  One where Casters and Mortals can’t be together.  One where there’s a constant battle between good and evil, but how thin is the line between the two?

I love all things Southern, being a Southern girl myself, so I definitely fell for this novel.  You see a side of the South that’s traditional to mortals, and a side traditional to Casters.  To me, it’s such a page- turner.  It’s a bit lengthy, but then again, that’s okay too.  I didn’t get bored, which is important for a long novel.

The second novel of the series, Beautiful Darkness, is more of a page-turner as these characters are driven into a place they never knew existed.  One of dark magic and a claiming moon that will either claim Lena as good or evil.

So, as I get over the whole “Dang, I wish I could think of something that good” moment, I continue to work on my ideas, and hope one day, someone will envy me.  😉

Five Reasons Why My Writing Sucks (Or Five Things I Need to Improve On)

Number One :  It’s not for everyone.  I’m a YA writer, and I know that not everyone likes YA Fiction.  I like to think that my novella, Piercing Through the Darkness, is for all types of readers.  In fact, hardly any Young Adults have read it (that I know of at least).  But, my current work in progress is YA.  It’s about a high school senior who is being terrorized by her parents’ murderer.  So, I know that it doesn’t always work for everyone.  (I’m not limited to YA though.  My short stories tend to be more adult-oriented. Just had to throw that in there. ;))

Number Two : I feel like I don’t add enough description of my settings, and especially characters, at times.  When I’m writing, I know what everything looks like, so I have a hard time remembering to let other people in on the secret.  Description is just as important as believable characters and a good plot.

Number Three : I’m bad about using filter words.  (This also relates to number two.)  Filter words are varieties of these phrases.

  • to see, to hear ,to think, to touch, to wonder, to realize, to watch, to look, to seem, to feel (or feel like), can, to decide, to sound (or sound like), to know

(Read, Are These Filter Words Weakening Your Fiction from Write It Sideways.  It’s definitely worthwhile!  That’s where I borrowed this list.)

As she says in her post, they weaken your fiction.  I have actually started filtering my filter words, so my writing is improving.  I have to be careful though.

Number Four :  My characters can get a bit chatty.  I love dialogue, but I have to watch out.  I have a difficult time making sure my characters don’t talk too much.  Although, it’s hard not to make your characters somewhat chatty when there’s a psychiatrist involved…

Finally… Number Five : I have a problem with overusing the word just.  Here’s an example taken from my current WIP:

Landon tries changing the subject to trivial things such as the win our high school football team pulled off last night and how he dreads writing the English paper.  We all try to keep the conversation going, but it just isn’t working out.

Our food comes, and we busy ourselves with eating.  Well, mostly I just pick at my food.  I eat a few bites because Christian stares at me until I give in.  I start to feel sick again, so I push my plate away.  He looks at me, but this time I don’t give in to him.  I just can’t force myself to eat another bite.

I keep thinking about what is going on in my life.  It has all just turned to a jumbled mess.  I have not only told the one secret that can get me killed, my brother hates me and Landon and Christian, who happen to be best friends, are hardly talking to each other.  I’m tearing our group apart.

Sometimes, I feel like the word just is important to the sentence, but I have to make sure I don’t use it all of the times.  The last thing I want to do is beat my readers over the head with repetition.

Believe it or not, I’m not just downing my fiction (look, I just used just…twice. ;)).  I want to make sure that I know what’s wrong with my WIP in order to make it better and more enjoyable by all (Well, the people who will read it at least.).   With my top five reasons my writing sucks, I can take away what is bad about it and make it good.  Hopefully.