My Favorite Books

Today I will be listing a bunch of my favorite books and sorting them into categories. If you’re running low on reading material, maybe you will find these as enjoyable as I have. Let’s get started.

Books To Help You Write.

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer. This book is WONDERFUL! If you are a young writer looking to learn some tricks of the trade this book is a definite read. It is fun, easy to read, and the authors offer lots of tips on writing. One of the best parts about it (for me at least) is it’s open and friendly feel. If you’ve been feeling different because you’re a writer, come here and you will know that somebody out there understands what it is like.

Writing Magic: creating stories that fly by Gail Carson Levine is another one that I read when I was first starting to write. It is another instructional book on writing.

The New Baby Name Survey by Bruce Lansky. This is one of my favorite name books. It gives you tons of names along with a list of famous people with the same name and a description of what people normally associate with the name. In my mind, it is one of the best name books out there.

Books I Love.

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. Synopsis- “A boy wakes up in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. As time goes on, he finds that all the people around him have the same memory loss. Strange things are happening in the place he now finds himself in, and it seems he is the cause of it all.” There are three books in the series titled The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure. There is also a prequel called The Kill Order and in 2016 another book, called The Fever Code, is being released.

Chasing the Nightbird By Krista Russell-  Synopsis- “14 year old Lucky Valera is a whaler, who loves the sea and is planning on going with the whaling ship called The Nightbird, when he is kidnapped by his hostile half brother, who claims guardianship over him since their father died. Lucky’s brother forces him to work in a mill, stopping him from leaving with The Nightbird. But Lucky is determined to escape, even though his brother isn’t making it easy for him. At the mill, he befriends an escaped slave by the name of Daniel, who is afraid people are going to come and take him back to slavery. Will Lucky escape his older brother? And will be Daniel captured?” This book is a favorite of mine. I loved it so much.

The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho- I haven’t read this book in a long time, so excuse me if my synopsis is off, but this was one of my favorite books when I was littler so I will try my best to describe it to you. “12 year old Dara travels with her family to the Thai border. They are fugitives in a war torn Cambodia after the fall of Khmer Rouge. At the border, they meet another family, and Dara makes a friend named Jantu, who gives her a magic clay marble. Life is good, until fighting nearby forces them to flee and Dara finds herself separated from everything she loves.”

A Treasury of Christmas Tales- I’m not sure who the author of this book is but every year at Christmas time when I was younger, my mom would take out this book and read from it. It has a collection of different, short Christmas stories in it and it was a family tradition that I loved.

The Book I am Reading Now

Legend by Marie Lu- I haven’t gotten very far in this book, so I can’t really give a synopsis of it. Sorry. :/

So those are my reading suggestions. Till next time, and may many hours of reading be between then and now.


Editing: Tips and Advice

Well, NaNoWrimo is officially over. Not only did I complete my word count goal at 80,856 words, I  also finished the novel. Yes, it was hard, yes, it was tiring, (one night I stayed up until midnight) and yes, it was worth it (I think). But seriously, let’s be real here. No one, except really passionate (and slightly crazy people) would attempt to write this much in a month. So, if you achieved this insane goal, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it! Also, let me know in the comments how you did!

Okay, so now that NaNoWrimo is officially over, you know what that means. Editing. Endless hours of making your project better! Some people think editing is boring or difficult. Some people like it better than actually writing the book. I am here to tell you my stance on editing and give you some tips to help tackle this daunting task.

I kind of enjoy editing. It means that I get to share my work with other people and get constructive feedback on it. I very much enjoy this. Also, I don’t have to plot or decide what happens next. I just have to make what already happened better! So, without further adieu, on to the editing tips!

Tip number 1- Many people say to let your work sit for awhile. To take a break from it. I personally don’t do this very often but it seems to help a lot of other people, so if this is your style, go for it!

Tip number 2- Don’t delete huge scenes. I know, I know “That’s what the editing process is for!” you say. But don’t do it. Instead, copy and paste the large sections you want to take out to a different file. This way it is out of your manuscript but if you decide that what you wrote to replace it isn’t working, you can just paste it back. This way if you change your mind you will not have lost all that work!

Tip number 3- Research. Make sure the things that happen make sense. You know that big scene you wrote where the main character got stabbed? Is he bleeding to death? Research it to make sure your character could really loose that much blood and survive. Make sure it feels real.

Tip number 4- Make sure your writing stays in the same voice and tense the whole time. Sometimes, writers can make the mistake of slipping through the second person to the third person or past tense to present tense in the same story. Make sure this doesn’t happen!

Tip number 5- Be ruthless. Make every sentence fight for it’s place on your page. If something doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. Maybe even take out characters. In the past, I’ve had to delete a really good character in the editing process. It hurts. A lot. But it has to be done.

Tip number 6- Have fun. Remember, if you’re not having fun writing the book, chances are, the readers won’t have fun reading it either.

Tip number 7-  Read it out loud to yourself. This will give you the chance to hear how the sentences fit together. What flows and what doesn’t, where the incomplete sentences are, and when you have too many words describing that flower vase in the corner.  Maybe your characters are speaking in too many incomplete sentences. Maybe you’ve over used the word ‘said’ (even though you shouldn’t under use it either).

Tip number 8- Look at character development. I was my editing my NaNoWrimo novel and I realized that one of my characters was acting way different than she was in the beginning. And I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Just make sure the character development makes sense and stays true to the character while they are being molded.

Tip number 9- If you don’t have a title yet, now is as good a time as any to find one! Think about what your book is about and try to emulate that in the title. Look to things your characters said, sentences in your novel, or an idea in it, for title possibilities. For instance, in both of my completed novels, the titles have come from things the character said. The title should also in some way reflect the ideas, concepts, and/or basic plot of the book. The reader should be able to pick it up and have a vague idea of what it is going to be about based on the title.

Tip number 10- Have fun! Don’t let the editing process drag you down. You can do this! I believe in you. And at the end of this you will have a clean, new book to do what you want with, whether it be sending it off to the publishers, or setting it on your bookshelf to be read only by you and a few of your closest friends and family. Whatever happens after, you will have the pride of knowing you completed a book. Your very own novel.