Falling for Forever (Before Forever #2)
by Melissa Chambers
Publication Date: July 3, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
The second Jenna Quigley turns eighteen, she’s headed to L.A. to extend the timer on her fifteen minutes of fame. Too bad her dad made her promise to graduate high school first. Silver lining? Her new school has a serious talent competition with a $25,000 cash prize, which would go a long way in L.A. Jenna’s got plenty of talent—she didn’t almost win America’s Newest Sensation for nothing. But it’ll take everything she’s got to bring down the music nerd with a stick up his butt…no matter how cute he is in those glasses.
Miles Cleveland needs to win that talent contest. When some hot girl stole his audition spot on America’s Newest Sensation, his chance to study music flounced off to New York with her. Now, not only can he win enough money to pay for his education, he can get revenge on that very same girl. He can’t start to question his plan, though…no matter how deep Jenna buries into his heart.
Melissa Chambers on Writing Advice
There is a plethora of writing advice out there waiting to be dispensed. I am very careful about how I dispense my own advice, because it’s all so writer-specific. I have a hard time identifying a goal/motivation/conflict in one of my favorite books of all-time, and there was no inciting incident in a book I finished not too long ago that’s so popular it’s being made into a movie. So it’s a good thing these two authors didn’t follow those rules!
Here’s some advice that has worked for me. Feel free to take it, leave it, or bend it in a way that works for you.
- If you get skewered by a contest judge or a well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) critique group or partner, do NOT let it get you down. I really do believe that most writers are helpful people and they really do mean well, but they don’t always know what they are talking about. Typically (not always) a beginning writer by default will be paired with another beginning writer, so everything they say needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing is SO subjective. But on the flipside, also be open to hearing about problems in your writing. I had this one piece I sent out in an RWA contest. I was so proud, sure I was going to final. My judged entries came back bleeding so hard with red marks I thought I’d been shot. But here’s the thing, they weren’t wrong…and two out of three of the judges were showing me the same problem. One was nicer about it than the other, but still, I got the picture. It changed the way I wrote, and I’m so thankful for both of those critiques…even the mean one!
- Listen to Stephen King! The only novel I’ve ever read of his was his partial memoir, partial craft book, On Writing. In other words, I’m not a fan of horror novels or movies, but this man knows his stuff like no other. One thing I learned from this book was not to over-describe a scene. He teaches to describe only things that are relevant to what your characters are experiencing. He tells it much better than I do. Pick it up! It’s really fun, too, learning about how he got started and where he came up with some of his story ideas.
- For ninety-nine percent of writers (probably more, actually) there is way more rejection than success, so celebrate those little victories! If you query fifty agents and one asks for pages, you have done something very right. Seriously. Be proud of that. But don’t put all your eggs in any one basket. That same agent may never even get back to you. (I personally have two agents who requested pages who I never heard from again.) Be patient and keep moving forward with your writing.
- Delete your first chapter. This one came from Susan Elizabeth Phillips at an RWA workshop. She said this to a room of probably a hundred and fifty people. She said something like, “I’ve not read any of your work, but I’ll tell you right now, you all need to delete your first chapter.” I thought, she’s not talking to me, she’s talking to newer writers who haven’t learned what I have. I found out later that this definitely applied to me. Info dump is not a writer’s friend. A big thing I learned from my first critique group was to trust my reader who is smart and can easily pick up on hints…and who doesn’t need everything spelled out. A writer once made the analogy of a first date. You wouldn’t sit across the dinner table from your date and dump your backstory, baggage, and life’s pain on that person. They will find out over time, and that’s okay.
- I wish I would have read, and taken to heart, Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Good Writing before I ever sat down to write my first novel. They are short and sweet and easy to apply. Even if you only decide to use half of them, you’ll have a leg up.
Thank you so much, Falling for YA, for letting me gab with you today!
For more about Melissa or Falling for Forever: https://entangledpublishing.com/falling-for-forever.html
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