GUTGAA: Next Big Thing Award

Recently I was tagged for the Next Big Thing Award by the lovely Carrie-Anne, as part of all the GUTGAA fun. So sweet, right? Make sure to go check out her blog!


What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from?

Seeing as I’m a teenage girl, I’ve had my fair share of unattainable crushes, and I wondered: what if you could get that dream guy, despite him being way out of your league? What if your entire life was like that? Like one long, perfect dream?

What genre does your book fall under?

This is sort of a tricky answer, since I’ve changed my genre classification like five times now. At the moment I think I’ve finally settled on YA speculative fiction, but that’s not a guarantee. There are elements of romance and thriller and mystery and contemporary and scifi, and it’s all thrown together into one big mushy mess that possibly falls under speculative. I think.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I’m not really sure… I’d honestly love to play my MC Lauren, even though I know that’s even more impossible than a movie ever getting made. I’d probably be good with anyone, ultimately. As far as Joshua, my guy lead, goes, I’m torn between Andrew Garfield and Josh Hutcherson. They’re both just so perfect. *swoon*

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Stuck in a dream version of her life, sixteen-year-old Lauren Brender must battle against her own subconscious in order to wake up from a coma (and yes, there are explosions).

Will your books be self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agency or bust.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four and a half months—I wrote about 58,000 words in November for NaNoWriMo, another 10,000 over winter break, and then put it aside for a couple months until March, at which point I went on a writing spree for a few days and finished it out at 82,000 words. Seeing as most of that writing was done during classes, I’m pretty sure my teachers appreciated it when I was done.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For creative writing class my junior year, I had to write a short story. At the time, I was going through this really bad I-like-him-but-he-just-wants-to-be-friends sort of ordeal, and I had the idea about having a dream life, which seemed like it’d be a good place to start for the assignment. However, I barely got a page in before I realized how impossible it would be to fit the entire plotline into a short story, so I decided to save it for my senior NaNoWriMo instead. So I guess that’s my inspiration? Not really sure. A lot of the subplot stuff throughout it was influenced by what was going on in my life when I began writing it in November 2011; writing about everything helped me work through my own issues.

What else about your book would pique the reader’s interests?

There’s romance and action and attractive guys, along with some deeper-meaning stuff like working through abandonment and grief.

A lot of people talk about writing the books they wanted to read—I wrote the book I didn’t want to read, but needed to. (I know. I’m so deep and philosophical-like.)


I’m tagging fellow GUTGAA participants:

Kira Brighton

Jadzia Brandli

Thanks for reading!


GUTGAA Meet and Greet

It’s Monday, which means it’s GUTGAA Meet and Greet time! If you’d like to get in on the writer blogfest action, make sure to visit the Gearing Up to Get an Agent website HERE.
Quick bio: My name’s Julia Byers, I’m eighteen years old, and I’m a freshman at the University of Michigan, where I’m studying creative writing and drama (and loads and loads of required Spanish, due to the college I’m in). I like writing and acting (if you couldn’t tell by my concentrations), I’m a vegetarian, and I watch an obscene number of Youtube videos. I’ve written four novels, am currently writing a fifth, and I would love to get to know you if you’d like to leave a comment. 🙂
Now, to complete the Q&A:
-Where do you write? 
At home, I write a lot in bed, propped up against my backrest pillow. Now that I’m at college, though, and my bed’s lofted so it’s sort of hard to hang out in, I write at my desk. Here’s a fun lil’ picture:
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A photo collage of my friends and family. (Cue the universal “awwww” sound.)
-Favorite time to write?
Back in high school, it was during classes (honestly, I have no idea how I maintained my GPA), but now that I’m at college and everybody has promised that things will be more difficult, I’m probably going to be writing a lot in the evenings.
-Drink of choice while writing?
Water, although I’ve also got a pretty solid supply of tea and apple cider mix with me, for when it’s cold.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
It depends on the project. I used to hate listening to music when I wrote, but now I really enjoy listening to movie scores to help get me in the mood for certain scenes (it especially helps when I need to write something angry or sad but I’ve just had a really good day).
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
Junior year of high school, I had to write a short story for creative writing class, and at the time I was going through this phase where I really liked a guy but he didn’t care about me that way in the least, and I started having these dreams where we were together, which was obviously awesome while I was asleep but sucked when I woke up. I started thinking about what it would be like if I could get everything I wanted all the time, like I was in a dream–and BOOM: a novel was born.
Of course, back then it was just an idea for a short story for creative writing, which ended up not even getting beyond the first couple of paragraphs because it seemed like too big of a story to do in the word limit my teacher had set (no duh, seeing as it turned out being 82,000 words long), so instead I wrote it for NaNoWriMo my senior year, and I turned in this really awful short story about saving prom to my teacher (which can be read HERE, if you’d like to laugh at its horribleness).
-What’s your most valuable writing tip?
It’s one I’ve heard time and again during the past half a year or so, from Chris Baty and the-lady-giving-a-speech-at-UMich today, alike:
It’s by John A. Shedd, and it basically describes the challenge all of us aspiring authors have to overcome: We have to take our beloved stories, build them and build them and build them, loving them all the time–and then we have to let them out into the world, to be judged and rejected and battered by storms. Because although it’s easy just to go into our cozy little writing corner and write away to our hearts’ content and never show our writing to anyone, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to share our writing with the world. That’s why we write.
To everybody from GUTGAA, it’s nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by, and good luck with all your writing endeavors! We’re on this journey together, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. 🙂

Welcome Week

I’ve been at college for a few days now, and let me just say: I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how gorgeous campus is. I was feeling really homesick yesterday, and just sort of holed myself up in my dorm room for a little while not talking to anybody, but then I needed to go find my classes and run some other errands, and the moment I stepped outside it was like my homesickness was just instantly better, because of how pretty and full of life everything is here.

I swear, U of M is like a mini New York City, only the buildings are shorter.

So, college so far has been pretty fun (although, I mean, classes haven’t started yet, sooo). I have a super nice roommate, and my room overlooks this beautiful nature-filled courtyard, and for anyone who knows what Team Starkid is, my drama class is in the same building as where they first performed A Very Potter Musical. Talk about geek-out moment when I saw the location on my schedule, right? (For anyone who doesn’t know what Team Starkid is: It’s a theatre company that posts its musicals on Youtube, and they’re all really funny and nerdy and TOTALLY AWESOME.)

But anyway, I don’t have much to talk about this weekend, because I’ve been really busy with packing and getting moved in and then going to Welcome Week activities. HOWEVER, I will be posting more often than usual in the next few weeks, because I’m participating in this cool blogging event for writers all throughout September, and the first portion of it takes place on Monday. Yay!

Check it out:

See you on Monday!