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: Shoot the (Fictional) Gun

So, a couple things:

First off, the Chapter One Young Writers Conference‘s 2014 keynote speaker Amy Zhang’s YA contemporary debut FALLING INTO PLACE came out yesterday!! (That was such a mouthful, wow.) It’s SO GOOD, and I’m not just saying that because I know Amy. You need to read this book. I couldn’t put it down all day and was basically walking around in a fog whenever classes forced me to.

Find FALLING INTO PLACE on:

Also, make sure to stop by Amy’s website, because she’s giving away some cool FALLING INTO PLACE swag on her blog right now!

Second off, Ch1Con‘s about to kick it into high gear with about a thousand announcements in the next few weeks, so BE PREPARED for the onslaught.

Third off, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. [Trigger warning: I’m talking about triggers today.]

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I woke up this morning to an email from the police that there was a man with a gun in the chemistry building and the campus was going into lockdown. This didn’t affect me much since I was, you know, still in bed and live off campus. And almost instantaneous to me seeing the original Emergency Alert email, they sent out the All Clear, anyway. So everything was fine. Just a fun little disruption to our day. (That’s sarcasm on the “fun” front, my friend.)

It turns out the “gunman” was just a Navy ROTC member with non-weaponized equipment (aka: a gun filled with concrete so it isn’t dangerous), returning said equipment to the ROTC office. In the comment section of an article about the incident, someone groused about everyone needlessly freaking out because someone carried a gun through a class building without their knowing whether it was a working gun or the man had an intention of shooting anyone with it.

I’m not going to go into my stance on whether or not people should be allowed to own guns right now, but this comment really bothered me, because after everything that’s been happening on campuses across the United States, I think the general assumption (and the one that helps keep students safer) is that if someone has a gun with them in a place guns are not meant to be fired, there’s a good chance it’s not good.

After all, the purpose of a gun is not to humbly sit there, bullets within it, not touching the world around it. The purpose of a gun is to shoot things.

And if it’s not shooting something, it’s not fulfilling its purpose.

Thus, by this definition: an unconcealed weapon in the chem building is something we should react to first and ask the carrier questions about second. (Seriously. Who’s going to walk up to a guy with a gun outside a college classroom and be like, “Yo. What’cha got there? You planning on shooting anyone with that today?” NOT ME.)

This inherent (and what I believe to be intelligent) response to seeing someone with a gun (you know–reacting by assuming s/he’s going to shoot it) is also really important in stories.

If someone carries a weapon of some sort into a scene–be it a gun, or a knife, or some really juicy gossip–it can’t just Be There. It has to be there for a purpose. A gun in a scene is a promise that someone is going to shoot it. And if someone doesn’t, that becomes a broken promise to the reader. And when you break promises to the reader, bad things happen. (I’m not going to go into the bad things. The first rule of Reader Club is you do not talk about Reader Club.)

This rule about weapons applies to more in fiction than only things characters can use to hurt each other. It applies to everything. Did your protagonist just comment on a pretty picture? That’s great for the moment, but for it to be great for the story, you need the fact that you’ve drawn attention to the picture to mean something in the long run. Maybe there’s a clue to the mystery hidden in the picture. Or the picture has some sort of symbolic resonance that you come back to during the climax.

What matters is that it matters.

I was thinking about this today, not just because of our non-weaponized “gunman” (poor, poor Navy ROTC member), but because yesterday I had this opposite-of-an-epiphany moment in which, for no apparent reason in the middle of one of my film classes, I realized I have this paragraph in the middle of the climax of the novel I’m revising that makes no sense within the scene.

It’s information I need to share, and it comes out in a realistic way, but it isn’t important to the scene it’s in.

So while that scene is important to that information, that information is not important to that scene. And it can’t work,that way.

It’s a reciprocal relationship. Everything needs to make context in a scene (your reason for bringing a gun) and everything in a scene must be important to the scene (shooting the gun). And all of this, ultimately, needs to be important to the overall story (the results of shooting the gun).

Every word you write is a promise to the reader. Like a real gun, the purpose of your fictional (or metaphorical) gun is to shoot it.

So, shoot the gun.

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Thanks for reading!

 

~Julia