Things that scare the heck out of me: spiders, giant squid, octopi, the thought of querying, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, the White Witch, the...

Things that scare the heck out of me: spiders, giant squid, octopi, the thought of querying, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, the White Witch, the writing of a query letter, the creatures in my closet, the beasties under my bed, the actual act of querying, and those creepy, balloon-men thingies you sometimes see on the side of the road. I think I actually had a nightmare about those once...

But back to the whole querying thing. For those of you who don’t know, querying is essentially the act of ripping out your heart (complete with all your hopes and dreams) and sending it out to book publishers and literary agents, practically asking them to toss your very soul on the floor and dance on all your ambitions and aspirations - all the while praying that they won’t.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I mean, publishers and agents do want to accept your work; after all, it’s how they make money and, like writers, they have all dedicated their lives to the bettering of storytelling because they love stories.

Still, knowing that doesn't make the process any easier. I mean, as I said before, the very thought of querying is scary, and the writing of a query letter is not only downright terrifying, it's also extremely difficult. If you haven’t done it, imagine trying to sum up your favorite book or movie in under three hundred words with no “ums” or “uhs” or “ers” and as few as possible “And thens” or “What happened next was”. Plus, you have to write it in such an enticing way that the reader feels like they just have to read more. Because if they don’t, the agent or publisher sends your heart back to you, shredded into little itty bits and pieces, with your dying hopes and dreams gasping out their last, and a letter saying something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but this project is not right for us at this time.”

So... yeah, no pressure.

And I haven’t even gotten to the part where you send the letter. I mean, you’re thinking, “Let me get this straight: I am sending my very heart and soul to someone I do not know, probably have never met, and am just hoping that they’ll love it? That they won’t immediately burst out laughing at the stupidity of the concept? Or glare at the misplaced comma? Or scoff at the naivete of my main character?  That’s what you want me to do???!!!” It’s freaking hard enough to convince myself to let my mother read it, much less some big-time stranger in New York who’s represented or published like half of the greats.

And that’s the other thing. I dare to have the audacity to think that my book could be read alongside one of the greats? That somebody would even want to read it? That they’d so much as take a first look at it, much less read the entire thing? I’m a teenager, for Pete’s sake, an amateur, practically a newborn in a dirty diaper compared to most of these guys. And I’m trying to get published? Pfft! It’ll never happen! I’m just wasting the publishers’ and the agents’ time. I’m wasting my time. I should just do something attainable like become a neurological surgeon or the queen of Sheba. Why should I even bother?

Why should I bother, you ask? Because I want to be published. Because I believe in myself, I believe in my dream, and most of all, I believe that this is what I’ve been called by God to do. Querying happens to be a necessary evil in the process, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna try to skip over it. I’m going to keep thinking about query letters, keep writing query letters, keep sending query letters, and keep getting rejected - until I stop getting rejected. Until someone looks at my book, poor, ragged, little thing that it is, and sees the potential. The diamond in the rough, if you will. And then, I’ll get a call or an email, and someone will scream or write: “I LOVE IT! Can I please see the rest?”

And then I will scream and do a little happy dance. And then I’ll freak out. And then I’ll tell all my family and my friends. And then I’ll remember the agent or publisher that’s still waiting on me and hurriedly send off my little baby manuscript. And it’ll all be the start of something great. Difficult, but great.

And hey, sometimes even rejections can make you feel good (though not half as good as an acceptance would). Back in August, I got a rejection from an agent, but she said that it had less to do with my strengths as a writer and more to do with her goals as an agent. She also said that I should keep writing. I'm taking that reply and looking at the bright side: clearly, I’m not too crappy a writer. Lol. Honestly though, even though it was a rejection (and might even be a form one at that), I’ve read that thing over and over, telling myself that each query I send out is one step closer. One step closer...

Because it only takes one yes. Even if I get a billion no’s, it only takes one yes. So, I’m going to keep writing, keep querying, and keep pushing for that yes. Because I know that, eventually, it’s coming my way. Someday, someone’s going to send my heart back to me with all of my hopes and dreams not only intact, but primed and proofed and ready. Ready to be shown to the world and to shine.

So I’m actually gonna do it the other way around: more about me first, then I’ll show you the cool writing exercise. Ha. So you have to r...

So I’m actually gonna do it the other way around: more about me first, then I’ll show you the cool writing exercise. Ha. So you have to read through all this extra stuff about me before you can get to the cool writing thing. Unless of course you skip down to the bottom of the post. But please don’t do that. You’ll make me cry cybertears.

Now, on to me. I realized I’d neglected to mention a couple of pretty important things in my first post, so I figured I’d better make another post and finish introducing myself.

I’m a Christian (as it says in my handy little blog header thingy), a teenager (but no parties here), and I’m homeschooled (no, I do not normally do school in my pajamas. I’ve gotta shower and stuff, too, you know. Sheesh). Fanfictions are a major passion of mine; I’ve been writing them since I was about 10 years old and daydreaming about them since long before that. A couple of years ago, I started posting my stories on, so now people actually get to read about some of my crazy little ideas. ;)

As I mentioned above, both in the post and in the header, I’m a Christian and my favorite Bible verse is 1st Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but you can set the example for believers through your love, through your faith, through your speech, through your conduct, and through your purity.” I wrote that mostly from memory, so it might be slightly off, but that’s the gist of it.

OK, I think that’s all the important stuff. If I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to let you know in future blog posts.

Now on to the cool writing exercise!!!

I found this on the Go Teen Writers blog, and they got it from Donald Maass’ book, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. This exercise really helped me this past week in coming up with some new plotlines for the WIP I’m editing.

This exercise is really good if you feel like the pacing in your book is too fast or it just feels like something is missing. First, write down a bunch of character names, settings, and events you already have onto post-its or index cards. If the papers are small enough, put them all in a bowl, mix up the cards, and pick them out at random. Read over whatever cards you have (i.e. Jamie; Chrissa’s engagement party) and see if you can find a way to connect those two and come up with a whole new plotline! Does Jamie meet her future boyfriend at Chrissa’s party? Or could something happen that reminds her of terrible nightmares from her childhood?

If you’re using index cards, you could lay them face down like you’re playing Memory, and switch them around again till they’re all mixed up. Then, you pick them up, same as above, and see if this gets any new muses mulling around in your brain.

It worked pretty well for me; I came up with five new plotlines, at least four of which I’m definitely going to use. And I didn’t do the exercise alone either. I got my mom and my brother to pick some cards out, which was kind of interesting because they had no idea what any of the cards had to do with each other.

All that to say, if you’re feeling a bit stuck, I would definitely suggest trying this out. It was fun and helpful.


Bet you thought I was gonna tell you something cool, like I went to Europe, or I met the Doctor and went to Raxacoricofallapatorius. (Yes, ...

Bet you thought I was gonna tell you something cool, like I went to Europe, or I met the Doctor and went to Raxacoricofallapatorius. (Yes, I had to look up how to spell that, though I can pronounce it). But nope! I'm just gonna tell you about the books I've read this week. Which, of course, are other dimensions in their own right.

First up, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson.

Description is from Goodreads: A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.

Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them! infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.

My review: 5 stars out of 5. This book was fun, hilarious, and action-packed. I loved the characters from the beginning; they were just so quirky and endearing. The Talents were hysterical, too, and I loved how Talents that seemed entirely useless ended up being crucial to the plot.

Plus, I think I have Sing's talent (he can trip and fall to the ground) but it never seems important whenever I trip and fall. But who knows? Maybe someday it’ll come in handy, and I’ll find out I’m a Smedry! Now wouldn't that be cool.

This was a great read for anybody who loves the sarcasm of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the fun and adventure of Percy Jackson. I loved it!

Next, we have Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

Again, the description is from Goodreads: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
My Review: 4.5 stars out of 5. Great book! Funny with a likable, though occasionally clueless, heroine. Plus, it was full of magic and mystery (two of my favorite things), and this book has the honor of being the first time I ever truly liked a vampire! It took me a couple of chapters to really get into it, but Hex Hall was definitely worth reading.

Third up, we have Love Thy Neighbor: The Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson by Ann Turner.

It's a Dear America book, and my description is coming from (where else?) Goodreads: In Greenmarsh, Massachusetts, in 1774, thirteen-year-old Prudence keeps a diary of the troubles she and her family face as Tories surrounded by American patriots at the start of the American Revolution.

My review: 5 stars out of 5. I really liked Prudence and her family. They were so sweet, and, though this is a historical novel, they felt real. Relatable. Plus Pru and her questions about the world kinda reminded me of me.

Another thing I really liked about this book is that Pru and her family are Loyalists or "Tories." It's extremely rare that you get to read anything about the Revolutionary War from their side, particularly if you live in America (which I do). As my Mom likes to say, "He who wins the war, writes the history books." Since the Americans won the war, they get to paint the Tories in whatever light they want. I'm not saying the Loyalists were saints or anything, but they were more than just a bunch of evil, rich people who didn't want to give up their money to fight against the king. They were real, everyday people, with real, everyday lives, hopes, dreams, fears, and family. This book went far deeper than most do when it comes to the Tories, and I really enjoyed reading about how life might've been for them back then.

And last but absolutely not least: Akiko in the Castle of Alia Rellapor by Mark Crilley!

Unlike the others, this is actually the last in a series, or at least the end of this particular adventure, so I'm not going to give a description or a review. However, I will say that even though it's technically for more elementary to middle-school aged kids, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Akiko, and would recommend the series to anyone interested in inter-galactic space travel - whether your 8, 18, or 80. Also 5 stars out of 5. So, yeah, I enjoyed it.

Well, that's right about it! As you can see I have a rather wide range of reading tastes. Particularly considering I’m currently reading a contemporary story about a teen father and next on my list is kind of a sci-fi thing about a ring that'll let you time-travel... Just can't put me in a box I guess ;)

For more book reviews, check me out on Goodreads. I'm Alexa Skrywer on there, too!

Hope you liked and see ya'll next week!

Hello blog world! So I guess normal people would probably start a new blog within the first few days of January, but I’m a rebel and I’m we...

Hello blog world! So I guess normal people would probably start a new blog within the first few days of January, but I’m a rebel and I’m weird so I decided to wait till the fifth before posting my first. Plus, I was at a New Years’/Birthday party for my grandpa in a completely different state, so you’ll have to forgive me. And if you don’t forgive me yet, you’ll really have to after reading this poem I wrote just for you.

Forgive me
For not posting
On the first
Like a good citizen

I had way more fun,
More interesting
Things to do
Over New Years

Forgive me
Being good
And being normal
Are ever so boring

Now that that's out of the way, I’d like to introduce myself. My penname is Alexa Skrywer, Alexa because I like it, and Skrywer because (I found this on Google translate) it means “writer” or “author” in Afrikaans, and, as you may have guessed by now, I’m a writer. A writer, but not a poet, which is probably a good thing.

The amount of times I used the word “writer” in the above paragraph should let you know how serious I am about it.

You might be wondering about the name of my blog: Summer Snowflakes. I chose it because, just like me, snow in the summer is unexpected, different, unique (unless of course you live up with Santa in the North Pole). And, while I may manage to appear perfectly sane and commonplace when company is around, trust me, I am not normal. But I’m OK with that now ;)

You might’ve noticed that I’m new to this blog thing, but I’ve got a couple ideas for stuff I’d like to do: posts about writing, about reading, about life, and about Star Wars, my favorite thing in the world. Just kidding about that last one, but the first three are for sure, as well as some random, just-because-I-felt-like-doing-it posts thrown in here and there. Those last ones will be about everything from politics to pop culture.

So stick around! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it (even more would be good, too), and hopefully, I’ll see you later on this week for my next post!

Buh-bye! :D
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