Wordy Wednesday: Lullaby

It’s currently 2:15 PM on Wednesday and–WAIT. LOOK AT THAT. IT’S ACTUALLY WEDNESDAY. (I think I deserve an award.)

Things are crazy right now, but what else is new? I’m kind of in love with this semester. It’s hard keeping up with everything, and it’s about to get harder, but “everything” consists of really awesome classes, and projects I’m super excited about, and people I love, so it’s worth it, you know? (Now if only I had time to sleep for more than six hours a night.)

Things that have happened since last week:

The first Ch1Con Chat!

Members of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference team and our friends got together to talk about writing and books for our first ever Ch1Con Chat. We’re going to be doing a Ch1Con Chat the first Thursday of every month at 8:00 PM eastern. Want to help us choose the topic for the next chat? Vote here! And you can watch this month’s chat below. [Beware the numerous technical difficulties.]

Hannah and Julia’s Vlog is back!

Check it out! Hannah and I talk about what we did this summer.

I’m giving away a copy of Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place!

You read that right. I’m giving away a copy of Amy Zhang’s debut YA contemporary novel Falling into Place. You can learn about the book and giveaway here and enter to win here. (It’ll run until October 17th, so you’ve got about a week left to try to get your hands on this amazing book!)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a lullaby-ish-thing I wrote last week. I felt like playing guitar, but I was really tired and the sun was all warm, so I basically ended up putting myself to sleep.
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VERSE1
Turn the lights down low
Lay your head down now
It’s okay to sleep
When the rain is coming down

Tell me all your dreams
They’ll be less scary
Once you set them free
Feel free to talk to me

TRANSITION
This is all a fever dream
It’s so much less than it seems
You’re falling, but it’s only to sleep
Tell me, are you counting sheep today

CHORUS
This is all going to disappear
When you wake up from here
Close your eyes and you will see the sunrise,
what’s left of me
I’m just a whisper in your ear
You’ll wake up far away from here

VERSE2
You will dream of the sea
On a warm summer day
With the water so blue
Flowers blooming like in May

And you will dance in the sand
Holding my hand
Don’t you look at me
Or I’ll be sea glass beneath your feet

TRANSITION
This is all a fever dream
Faster than it seems
You’re flying, but it’s only towards
A door opening to a better day

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE
I know today is hard
Like burning out the stars
But there’s always more,
I promise

You will find your way
Just not today
So close your eyes and sleep
These dreams are yours to keep

[Repeat CHORUS]

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Thanks for reading! Let me know what you’ve been up to, in the comments!

 

~Julia

Giveaway: FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang!

So I’ve been promising to do a giveaway for approximately forever, but as I’m sure we’ve already established a thousand times, I am the laziest human being alive. Sorry about how long it’s taken to get this up. (I ran out of ways to procrastinate today. It’s a sad life.)

Anyway: Amy Zhang was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Chapter One Young Writers Conference, and we absolutely loved having her! Amy is hilarious and smart and seriously so talented oh my gosh. (I want to be her when I grow up.) Her debut novel, a YA contemporary called Falling into Place, came out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins in September and is just as incredible as you’d expect.

From GoodReads:

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Sounds great, right? Well, now it’s your chance to win a copy of Falling into Place!

You have two weeks to enter using one or more of the options in the Rafflecopter giveaway linked below. The giveaway will end at midnight Friday, October 17.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER ALL YOU COOL READERS!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Lessons from Ch1Con

It’s storming like crazy outside right now. A little bit ago, a mama deer and her two babies went prancing through our backyard and the babies jumped about two feet every time thunder clapped overhead.

Now we’ve progressed to the Thunder Rolling Sinisterly In the Distance segment of the storm, so I feel like it’s safe enough to have my laptop out. (Fingers crossed. I just ate some really greasy cheese and I’m not in the mood for getting deep fat fried the week before I’m supposed to leave for Europe.)

This past weekend (as I’m sure you’re aware, since I haven’t shut up about it in like two months) was the Chapter One Young Writers Conference. The conference was so much fun and I learned a ton from our speakers. So, I figured for this week’s Wordy Wednesday I’d share a few of their lessons.

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1. “There will probably come a time when no shortcuts or tricks will work. You just have to power through it.” –Ariel Kalati

Ariel gave a presentation on how to avoid common procrastination pitfalls. However, the conclusion she came to was this: Sometimes, nothing you do will make things easier. You just have to trust yourself and your love of writing, instead, and “power through.”

2. World-building is about the rules. [Patrice Caldwell]

Patrice gave a presentation on world-building in which she revealed that making a believable world relies on rules. Think about the “rules” of your world. How does the magic system work (if they have magic), what’s their religion like, and how’s their society set up? What foods do the characters eat and what activities do they do in their free time? Know the details and establish rules in order to make a world as real to the reader as this one.

3. “Mr. Rogers thinks everyone has a voice.” –Molly Brennan

Molly gave a presentation that compared journalism and fiction techniques. Somehow out of this we started our own sorta-meme: “Mr. Rogers thinks _____.” The odd yet important lesson that Molly inadvertently taught with this is that someone is always paying attention and someone always believes in you. (She also taught many journalism/fiction lessons, but come on. Why give up the opportunity to use a quote that includes a Mr. Rogers reference.)

4. Random questions can get you the best answers. [Panel with Amy Zhang, Patrice Caldwell, and Kira Budge]

We did an Ask Us Anything panel Saturday afternoon. It began with questions like, “When did you start writing seriously?” and “What are your favorite types of stories?” But then we moved to questions about OTPs and favorite fictional places, and I realized: you learn a lot more about people (and characters) from the random, seemingly pointless questions than the serious, traditional ones.

5. People want lives that resemble fiction and fiction that resembles lives. [Amy Zhang]

Amy gave our keynote address, which was on developing unforgettable characters. The biggest lesson I took from her session was that the key to writing good characters is writing ones who seem like real people, not characters at all. It’s the ones we can imagine walking past us in the halls at school, sitting beside us on the city bus, who stay with us long after we’ve turned the last page.

6. Don’t start at the beginning. [Kira Brighton]

Kira gave a workshop on writing opening pages. An important lesson she shared was that it’s cliche, these days, to start at “the beginning.” The first day of school, first day of summer, first day of a new job–overall, beginnings have become overdone. It’s better to start before or after this part. (And you’re also more likely to learn unique, important details about the characters by starting at another point.)

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Interested in attending Ch1Con next year? Help us decide dates!

And now, in case I don’t have a chance to say goodbye before I leave for Europe next week (I’ll be gone before Wednesday), I hope you have a good couple weeks and treat our guest posters well. 🙂 I can’t wait to post from Oxford! Love you!

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~Julia