My Favorite Female Writers

  
Happy International Women’s Day!

To celebrate, I’d like to pay something of an homage to my favorite female writers. The following women are everything I aspire to be as a writer. Also, from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty cool people, too.

Jennifer Niven Starting off this list with my newest fave. I’ve only read one of her books so far, and loved it, so suffice to say I’ll be reading her other stuff just as soon as I get my hands on it.

Marisa de los Santos I haven’t read her in a while—been on a YA kick for the past year or so—but she’s an absolutely gorgeous writer who you should check out. Start with this book.

Stephanie Perkins Her books are these beautifully-written, entertaining looks at young love. I talk about my love for her books here.

Maggie Stiefvater I fell in love with this series and can’t wish for the last book to come out. Also, she’s a rockstar on Tumblr.

Lauren Oliver Everything this woman writes is pure gold. And I’m pretty sure she’s like, my age. 

JK Rowling Self-explanatory. Not only am I huge Harry Potter nerd but this woman continues to inspire me with everything she says and does.

Tana French Otherwise known as the writer of some of my favorite books of all time. She is, quite simply put, the most beautiful writer I’ve ever encountered. Her character studies are unparalleled. Also, she’s Irish! (I love Irish people). You can read me gushing about her here.

Any other amazing lady writers I’ve missed? Let me know!

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Learning from the Masters: The Meet-Cute (sort of)

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In my current manuscript, there are many things I’m struggling with. (More on some of those other things here.) One of them is when my protagonist first meets the boy who will eventually become a love interest. In movies, known as the “meet-cute.”

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Learning From the Masters: The Meet-Cute Part IV

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No series on writing meet-cutes would be complete without quoting the master of the contemporary YA romance: Stephanie Perkins.

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Good Reads Lately

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Been a little while since I updated you all on my reading list. Here are some recent good reads (and incidentally, you can follow my other good reads on Goodreads).

Vanishing Girls Firstly, the prose is beautiful. Lauren Oliver’s prose is always beautiful. This is the story of two sisters, distinct enough from one another but both very realistic, compelling characters, who have issues with each other in the way only sisters can. The setting is perfectly drawn. The other characters are flawed and so real. I read through this in a few days, and loved spending time in this world so much I just didn’t want the book to end. My only issue? The same one I had with all her other books: the ending. It just wasn’t my fave. But that won’t keep me from reading everything Lauren Oliver writes, and it shouldn’t keep you either.

Attachments This book was insanely cute in the way that only a Rainbow Rowell book can be. It’s actually an adult novel, in that everyone in it is in their late 20s or older, but it reads very much like Eleanor & Park and Fangirl to me–maybe because some of us (myself included) never stop being teenagers at heart. It’s a story about finding yourself and figuring out who you’re supposed to be with and what you want to do with your life. It was really well done and you should just go read it, now.

Isla and the Happily Ever After It’s no secret I loved Stephanie Perkins’s other novels, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. They were adorable, well-written, with interesting, relatable heroines and swoon-worthy boys. But I loved this one THE MOST because it struck very close to home for me: it so perfectly captures the obsessive sensation of first-time love. I’m no longer a teenager, but this book transported me back to being 18 and in love for the very first time–the butterflies, the feeling that every moment apart is total agony, the text from him after being separated meaning everything to you. I’d kind of forgotten that feeling, actually, and it was so lovely a thing to be reminded exists, especially as we get older and get into more comfortable, less fireworks-inducing stages in our love lives. Can’t wait to see what Stephanie Perkins does next!

All the Light We Cannot See This was lovely and haunting and beautifully-written and deserves every ounce of praise it’s gotten. I keep wondering when people are going to get tired of World War II stories, and the answer is, I don’t think they are, as long as talented writers like Anthony Doerr continue to bring them to live so vividly. It’s sad, as expected, but also hopeful. Just read it. And then, when you’re done, come with me on my journey back to Saint-Malo.

You can also follow along with my reading adventures on my bookish Instagram!

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Friday Things

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I like being drunk. On booze, on fiction, on writing, on love, on beautiful sentences. Maybe that’s why I’m so discontent on a daily basis; my day job can be quite sobering most of the time.

At least it’s Friday. Here are my 3 things for the week.

1. I adore Tumblr. Have I mentioned that? Nearly everything good I find on the internet (like the image above) either comes from or has some point been on Tumblr. What’s more, people are nice to each other there. Come join me: there’s my personal Tumblr, where I blog photos, quotes, and a mini-journal. Then there’s the Tumblr I started just to record all my favorite sentences.

2. This article on why it’s important for writers to talk about where their money comes from really spoke to me.

3. I admit I don’t read fanfiction but I know how big a thing it is (I am on Tumblr, after all). I even downloaded Wattpad to look into it more. But … I just can’t find anything I want to get into. The problem is that I like my writing polished and my prose beautiful, and Wattpad is full of first drafts. Also, when I read poorly written fiction, it tends to seep into my own writing. Am I being snobby? Is there good stuff on Wattpad? Anyway, this article is really helpful for those who are curious on the entire phenomena.

Reading: I just finished The Beginning of Everything and I have mixed feelings. I just started Isla and the Happily Ever After and I’m already sure I’m going to love it as much as Stephanie Perkins’s other two novels. If you’re looking for light but well-written, romantic YA, pick all her books up immediately.

Watching:just started watching Sherlock on Netflix. I have no idea what took me so long.

Listening to: Radical Face. It’s lovely and haunting.

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Learning from the Masters: Kissing Scenes

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So in my contemporary YA work in progress, I’m finally finally at the point where the people I want to kiss, do.

Yay!

I wrote a draft of that scene. And then reread it. And it was … meh.

I wanted the literary equivalent to fireworks, only less clichéd. I did not produce that. And though I know that great things are rarely achieved on the first try, I knew I needed help before having another go.

Whenever I get stuck on writing something, from kissing to opening lines to closing lines, I go back and consult the work of the experts that came before me.

Otherwise known as re-reading my favorite novels. It’s a rough part of the process, but so necessary.

So! Here I present some of the best kissing scenes I’ve come across. I’ve removed character names so as not to spoil anything for anyone–you must read all the stuff leading up to the kiss in order to really appreciate it!–but I’ve included links out to where each scene is from at the bottom.

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Good Reads Lately

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January is a great month for reading. (Then again, what month isn’t?) If you need some recos, here are some good ones I’ve read lately:

Where the Moon Isn’t is beautifully written, heavy, and pretty depressing. Think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night with a Flowers for Algernon kind of tone. It’s a quick read though, so at least you’re not mired in Matthew’s fascinating but heartbreaking mind for very long. Definitely read it, but have something lighter ready as a digestif. Like some light YA.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was lovely and sweet, just like Stephanie Perkins’s previous novel, Anna and the French Kiss. Charming, well-paced, well-written, and with a predictably happy ending.

Then I picked up Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, since I really liked Eleanor and Park. I liked Fangirl even better–it’s a romance that also dealt with growing up, family issues, and best of all–being a writer! I don’t know much about fanfic–I’ve always found there is too much actual fiction out there to get into it–but I became curious about it when I started reading Cassandra Clare. Now I think I’ll explore it a little more. (Any suggestions?)

Side note: I didn’t know you could classify a book as Young Adult if the protagonist is already in college–doesn’t that fall under New Adult? But I’m happy about that since in my current WIP my protagonist is 18, but a young, naive 18, so it definitely belongs more in the Young Adult world than the New Adult one.

I decided my next book needed to mix it up a bit more, so I picked up a book with a non-teenager protagonist (who is also male!) I’m about a quarter of the way through Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s kind of like a modern Shadow of the Wind (loved that book). I really need to quit my corporate job and start working in a bookstore.

Happy reading! And if you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments!

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