Sunday, December 19, 2010


Hey All!!!

So I know I've been MIA, but things have kinda gone a bit crazy...but in a good way. I'm working to get my groove back (which is happening in so many amazing ways that I can't even begin to describe how good it feels), and once things are a bit more settled in my working life I'll be back to talking most things writing, with some other things mixed in there.

Until then....Happy Writing!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Hello All!!!

So before you curse me thoroughly out, let me just bad. I've been so focused on job hunting in New York that most of everything else has fallen to the side. But I'm close to getting that coveted position, which will cause some stability to come into my life, so I'll be back on track in no time.

So, I've joined a new critique group, which was hard, hard, hard. After a few meetings, they revealed quite a few problems with the Fated manuscript that I had been working on. Now to tell you the truth I've been worried about this story for a while, and their notes just confirmed some fears I had. The problem I came upon was the fact that I had no interest in messing with the story. I'd look at the pages and my eyes would bleed. My brain felt like it was melting in my head. I stalled for days to even look at the suggestions, much less actually getting any work done. And that's when it came to me: I needed a break from Fated.

Every writer comes to this place in the process. You know the one. Where you cannot and will not look at a story. Where it's obvious that any work you do will probably cause more damage to the story, instead of making it better.

Instead of forcing the writing I decided to go back to my first book...and it was like a breath of fresh air. I'm excited to listen to Morghan again, to hear what she has to say and to polish that story. It's all about fresh eyes, people, and it's important, as writers, to understand when you need to take a break from something and when it's time to go back to it.

Happy Writing!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010


So, in moving in with my boyfriend, I'm learning a lot about myself, and in many ways, about characterization.

My entire life I tried to be something I wasn't - I tried to be what I thought everyone expected me to be. In essence, I tried to be a cookie cutout of a person, which is a complete bore. I wanted to be smart, girlie, pretty, confident, cheerful, and yet snarky all at once. I never had a drive to go against the grain or to be the original I was made to be.

But in moving in with the boyfriend, I've realized that at some point the only person I can be is me, and he's beginning to see every quirk and strangeness that I used to be able to keep to myself. He's seen how I like to pour my milk before pouring in my cereal. He's noticed how I have a bad habit of NOT eating leftovers...depending on what those leftovers are. And that doesn't even count what he's already seen before now - like how I twirl my hair when I'm concentrating.

All of these quirks make me who I am, and I'd like to believe that I'm more interesting because of them. That's what readers are looking for in characters. They don't want to read about people who do everything right. No one wants to read about a girl who's always done what she's told, and always will. Hell, there's no story without conflict. Characters have to do the unexpected, and it's the little things that make them come to life.

Writers have to remember that when creating their characters. You have to let the characters be themselves, flaws and all. You have to make them dynamic, and interesting, and crazy if that's who they are.

Happy writing!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Hello all from New York!

So, my life has been a little hectic, hence my MIA status from blogging for a while. In a time span of three weeks I've gone to look at venues for my future wedding, picked a venue (post on that to come later), driven over 28 hours across the country to move in with my boyfriend, and gotten settled in a new city and apartment. To say my head is spinning is an understatement. During this down time, in which I'm job searching and relaxing, I came across something I never thought could or would happen to me - I lost my mojo, my juju, my groove.

It started when I first arrived. I knew that I needed to be spending my days looking for a job/writing. It's my goal to eventually write full time, so I figured now would be really great practice. I would get up, eat, job search for an hour or so, write for an hour or so, watch t.v. for an hour or so, and then start all over again. It was a great plan. Genius even! But as the hours went by I found myself drawn to the varying distractions this place provided.

See, my boyfriend (and now I) has a great place. And when I say great...I mean great. The bed's comfy. He has darn near every t.v. channel known to man. And the internet connection isn't bad, either. It's a great place to relax and let loose. But soon I found myself watching more t.v. than writing. First it was Supernatural, then Law & Order, Cold Case, more Law & Order, and lastly Charmed. And that's in addition to the normal shows I used to watch every day after work when I was in Houston. It's a crime show junkie's dream!!!

I'd look up at the end of the day and realize I hadn't gotten any writing done. None! So, I called a friend, Barbara, and asked her how she does it. She told me to make a plan that involved rewarding myself for the writing I got done with t.v. shows and relaxation. And it worked! I began to be more productive with editing and outlining immediately. Now, I haven't completely gotten my groove back, but I'm well on my way.

When it comes down to it, writing is supposed to be like any other job. You have to put in your work everyday, and if you keep at it you'll get the results you're looking for. So, I now have more of a schedule set, and if and when I get to do this full time, I'll be ready for those pesky diversions.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It seems simple enough. At first glance, one would think that the above advice should be a given - something that one wouldn't even need to think about. But to be honest, it's so much harder than you may think. The idea that a writer should focus on creating what they love, with no thought to what's popular or selling or wanted is so much easier said than done.

My own dilemma involves the fact that I love YA paranormal romance...and I mean that when I say it. I read almost every one that comes out, and when it comes down to it, if the story is completely based in reality then I'm not interested in it. Hell, I live in reality every day, why would I want to read about it =). So, as you can see I love, love, love paranormal romance, so of course that means I've guessed it - paranormal romance. Problem is, the market is saturated with it right now. Due to the recent popularity of Twilight and other paranormal stories, every writer out there is taking their chance at what's become a hot genre. So, where does that leave me?

I'm a pretty good writer, but with the market being so flooded right now "good" just may not be enough. I just read how when agent and writer Mandy Hubbard was looking over queries she saw one that she really liked and that would've worked a few years ago, but in this market it just wasn't enough. So, what now?

Well, what every agent and editor is looking for at this moment is Middle Grade. So, of course, it makes sense that I should work on writing that. But with the exception of Harry Potter and a few other stories, I'm not all that into MG. I tried to think on a new MG story. I even thought on reworking an old book that I love, but that doesn't have a relationship in it and could be made into a MG. But when it came down to it, I couldn't make myself get this new YA paranormal romance out of my head. And I have another one pushing right up behind that story - both are itching to be written, waiting to be put down in black and white. So I struggled. I went back and forth trying to think on what to do - and then I remembered a piece of advice I gave to a critique group member and friend Barbara: Write what you love.

Is YA paranormal romance super popular right now? Yep. Does that make it more difficult to break in? Hell yeah! Will that stop me? No.

When it comes down to it, I have to go with my heart. I can't write what I think this agent or that agent will want, or even what I think will sell big. I have to write what appeals to me and hope that, one day, someone else will listen up and think it's as great as I do. It may take me ten years, but I know if I keep pushing at it then I'll reach my goal.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


So, I've decided to participate in, an online conference for children's book writers. It's a great opportunity for writers who can't make it to the regular conferences held around the world, and I'm so psyched about attending!

One of the many perks of the site include a place to upload queries and first pages, and the conference has a section open early so participants can get some input on their work. I put my query up and got some really encouraging feedback - people loved my query and thought my story would definitely be a great fit for the teen market today. I was flying high...on top of the world. No one could bring me down. That is, until one person came in with a critique, marked my query up in red, and basically didn't like or get anything about it.

When I read the critique I was a bit hurt - hell, I was crushed. I began to question all the work I'd done. Is my query completely unclear? Have I written a story that no one will want to read? Have my blood, sweat, and tears all been for nothing? I was drowning in silly sadness - all because of one person's opinion.

After speaking to my critique group, I realized that this experience is an inevitable part of the process. Just like no two readers will feel the exact same about a writer's work, no two agents will. It's not personal, it's just the way it is. And I had to realize that for the one bad critique I received, there were seven others that were overall pretty good.

So when you get one, or two, or even twenty negative or neutral responses, remember that this business is a subjective one. As a writer, you just have to trudge through those responses to get to the ones that matter - to get to the people who will love and get your work.

So, as Eddie Kendricks put it, "Keep on truckin', baby."

Saturday, June 26, 2010


As I'm coming towards the end of my edits for Fated, I'm starting to think more and more on whether or not my manuscript is truly ready for submission.

I read a lot of agent and editor blogs and one of the most common pieces of advice they give is to not rush things and to make sure your manuscript is in tip-top shape before sending out your query. And while most writers have this problem, there are some who deal with the issue of dragging their feet with querying, trying to wait for perfection.

I'm sure it's not the worst problem to have. At least the writer will know that every agent looking at their story will see something that's well written and polished. But if you keep putting the querying process off, you may end up looking back wondering what would've happened if you'd gone with your gut and put yourself out there.

My best advice is to work as hard as you can, put together the best story you can, and throw yourself out into the void. You never know what you've got until you get some feedback. Now, that doesn't mean that you send to agents/editors without having someone look at your work - critique partners and groups are a vital part of the process, and should never be ignored - but once you've written the story, had others look at it, and edit it many times over, then it's time to take a chance on the work you've done.

Now if I could just take my own advice and get on the ball.

Happy writing and good luck to everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


YA Highway is giving away critiques from some pretty amazing MG/YA agents and authors. Check it out at:

The prizes include:

-Agent Critiques from Suzie Townsend of Fine Print Lit, Kathleen Ortiz of Lowenstein Associates, and Mandy Hubbard of d4eo literary!!!
-As well as many many more critiques from YA Highway writers!!!

Good luck everyone!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


All writers share the same dream - to be published. And though it seems impossible at times, we continue to strive for it with vigor and determination. But what many aspiring writers don't realize is that there's much more to writing than just putting together a great story, with interesting and realistic characters, and an engaging's a lot of seriously hard work. That work comes in various stages, one of the most important being the ability to edit.

Now, it's one thing to take others suggestions like adding description to a scene or developing a character more, but it's an entirely different thing when you come to the place where you to have to look at your work and slash it apart.

I just had to deal with this on Sunday. I was going through my ms, trying to polish it up before I start to make the rounds with my query. I came upon a section where the main character is going to the movies with her best friend and afterwards is attacked by Cerberus. It's a pivotal section of the story filled with lots of tension and excitement, but something wasn't quite right with it. After looking it over, I realized that the pacing was off. I spent the first four paragraphs of the chapter describing the main characters trip to downtown Houston, the theater district, and the movie she and her friend saw. While the section was beautifully written and I loved the pictures it brought to my mind, I couldn't ignore the fact that it didn't do anything for the story. It didn't move the plot forward. It didn't add anything necessary to story. It just wasn't needed. So, I cut it.

And though it was scary as hell to do, I felt good when it was done. When it comes down to it, being a writer is all about making the tough decisions when it comes to your work. The ability of someone to look at their story and see what isn't necessary is vital in the publishing industry. For me, the moment that I was able to look past my own ego to see what was best for the ms, that was the moment that I was closer to my goal of being a serious writer - and not someone who just dreams of being one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hello All!!! My name is Trakena and I'm a MG/YA writer plugging my way through the obstacle course that is publishing. My goal here is to give you all a taste of my writing world, and the craziness that comes with being a creative being surrounded by people who do not understand you in any way. I hope that my little piece of the Internet can bring a little bit of energy to those who read it. So, here goes.

Today my sister, her boyfriend, and I sat down to watch The Lovely Bones, a movie directed by Peter Jackson, starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan. It tells the story of a teenage girl who's raped and murdered by a neighbor and watches her family cope with her loss. It is an amazing story that really takes the participant through a roller coaster ride of emotions as you experience the family's grief and, finally, their acceptance. We were all in here moving from yelling at the screen during dangerous scenes to hiding the glisten of tears in our eyes as we watched the father break down with sadness. All in all, it was a really exceptional movie...and got me thinking on how movies can really impact book sales.

What a lot of regular viewers might not know is that The Lovely Bones is based on a novel written by Alice Sebold, which has received a great deal of praise for its storytelling and writing. Now, I read the first few chapters online when I heard that the movie was coming out. I had every intention on picking it up and finishing the entire thing, because what I did read was phenomenal, but life with its pesky interruptions and constant distractions got in the way of that and I completely forgot.

Now, after seeing the movie, I'm pulled towards rushing to the nearest Barnes and Noble and getting my hands on that story.