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Amy Zhang

bits and pieces from my MS

#100DaysofFiP Week 2

There are only 86 days until FALLING INTO PLACE is out in the world! What?! Week 2 pictures of #100daysofFiP are below. Day 92 might be my favorite this week–it’s also one of my favorite lines in the book. What about you? Which ones do you guys like?


photo 1 (4)

92 days: “And my heart will beat for someone who deserves it.”

photo 3 (4)

91 days: “And then there is Matthew Derringer, who is just the slightest bit disappointed, because he has already ordered flowers for the funeral.”

  photo 3 (5)

 90 days: “Wednesdays were important to them. Wednesdays were theirs.” (HINT HINT)

  photo 4 (3)

 89 days: “Suddenly, the trees ended…”

  photo 1 (5)

 88 days: “When she threw her head back, she could see the sky bending away from her, and it seemed closer than usual.”

photo 2 (2)

 87 days: “Death, unfortunately, is not in the business of lending wings.”

  photo 2 (3)

86 days: “Our breaths carry our dandelion wishes higher, higher, until they become the clouds we watch.”

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#100DaysofFiP Week 1

Week 1 of #100daysofFiP is complete! This week’s pictures are below, along with daily excerpts from FALLING INTO PLACE. Are you following? You can follow me on Instagram @amyzhangbooks for daily updates. I also usually post to my FALLING INTO PLACE Pinterest board and to Twitter.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments! xoxo


photo 1 (1)

100 days: “She is human and bound by the same laws of nature–gravity, in particular–as everyone else. Try as she might, she will never grow wings.”

 photo 2

99 days: “He…just looks at it all, the final diary of a dying girl.”

photo 1 (3)

98 days: “[We dreamed] until our dreams came true.”

photo 3

97 days: “Today, I wear a pink sequined dress. I have the hair of her favorite doll and a pair of shoes she’s designing herself.

photo 4

96 days: She walked in time to some indie singer, who called her beautiful and stronger, stronger, stronger.

photo 2 (1)

95 days: “Within the walls of Meridian High School there is a hush like smoke, like smog.


photo 4 (2)

94 days: “And suddenly it’s very clear to her that every action is an interaction, and everything she has ever done has led to something else.”

photo 3 (3)

93 days: “Soon, we will get bored and put the chalk away, but right now, we are happy. We draw. We sing.”

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In Which I Chicken Out of Swearing

Hi! I’m back! Yay! There are too many exclamation marks in this line!

I had planned to give you guys a basic overview of my NaNo novel last week, but things happened (namely, homework), and I didn’t get around to it. So I’m doing it now! (Also, I was tagged last week by the lovely Olivia for the Liebster Award, so…I will eventually get around to that, too. Someone poke me with a stick if I don’t. Please).

Here’s a pitch for FOR EVERY LIFE:

Liz Emerson is not a good person. She spreads rumors. She drinks. She kisses her friends’ boyfriends. And she’s ruined a few lives here and there. Okay, so she’s ruined a lot of lives. But because she is Liz Emerson, because she is ruthless and heartless and fearless, people don’t expect her to care.

She does.

Liz Emerson, you see, is drowning. She is suffocating beneath the weight of all the things she has done, and now, she simply can’t go on. But because she’s hurt enough people in her short and catastrophic attempt at life, she makes her suicide look like a car accident, certain that she will die and be forgotten.

Except. She doesn’t die.

Told from the perspective of Liz’s childhood imaginary friend, FOR EVERY LIFE is a story about the loss of innocence, the art of being alive, and a heartbroken girl’s countdown to giving up.

And here’s a small excerpt! I literally closed my eyes, scrolled through the manuscript, stopped at a random place, and copy/pasted it below. Enjoy! 

WARNING: There is exactly one naughty word below. So. You’ve been warned.


There are three kinds of people in Liz’s world after the surgery is pronounced successful.
There are the ones who are breathless, shaking, crying in that crushing and desperate kind of relief—namely, Julia and Monica. When the doctor first told Monica that her daughter had not, in fact, died on the operating table, Monica went to Julia and held her, because she couldn’t hold Liz.
There are those who aren’t at all surprised. They shrug and say that they were never worried, that they knew Liz was strong enough, and this is true enough. Then they sit around and share stories about Liz, laughing together at the things she had done, things that were once b*tchy but were now decidedly hilariousand awesome and so freaking legit.
And then there is Matthew Deringer, who is just the slightest bit disappointed, because he had already ordered flowers for the funeral.
…yeah, okay. I chickened out of the naughty word thing.

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The First Look Challenge


I know. I haven’t posted anything in forever. THINGS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING. Not good, writing-related-on-sub things. More like teachers-don’t-understand-that-they-can’t-expect-us-to-do-five-hours-of-homework-a-night things. So.

This week, I was tagged by the lovely Patrice Cadwell for the First Look Challenge. Basically, you have to find the word look in your manuscript and share the surrounding scene. The one below is from the manuscript I’m currently revising, tentatively titled BENEATH THE DISQUIET STAR. Y’know, the hot chocolate one?

This is a scene from the beginning-ish, from the POV of the male MC, who disappeared seven years ago and has just returned to the town of his childhood. He’s watching an execution in a place that was meant for sacrifice, and is about to fall in love. And as I mentioned, it’s being revised. So I apologize in advance for general suckiness.


The sun rains dusty light over us, and the haze bends time until I am seated between Million and Holloway again, younger and afraid of smaller things. Before my eyes, only my eyes, it is the Day of Disquiet, and the stadium is only noise and fire. I remember a burning star, a blue-gray fenrisulfr, a terrified dead man, an entire town watching. Million is on his feet with the rest of the crowd, but I have stayed seated, and Holloway’s hand is on my shoulder.

I ask him, why?

And he says that when the star fell and the monster wolf was born, someone had to fight it. Or the wolf would turn on the town and eat everyone. This is the only way.

I ask, but why do they cheer?

Then his face is grim, and he answers, “Because they want to live, lad. They are cheering for mortality, because it means they will not die this year.”

The stadium was built to be a place of sacrifice, but it contains more than the fire of the Disquiet Star now. It’s become a place of blood, because this town takes Finigal and makes it ugly. Men were meant to die here. But not like this.

I look around at the blur of faces, a sea of open mouths and words. I wonder what they cheer for now, when no one has to die.

Million has waited for this event for months and I had no wish to stay in Holloway’s store alone. But here I can feel a thousand pairs of eyes on me, and it makes my heart quiet and uneven. There are so many sounds echoing within this circle of stone, breaths and coughs, whispered words and shouted ones, and I am unused it. I left Finigal’s monsters for Finigal’s men by returning, but in this stadium of sacrifice, my eyes have yet to adjust to the difference between them.


Oh, and:

Mark O’Brien Writes

Olivia’s Opinions

The Incessant Droning of A Bored Author

A Fuzzy Mango With Wings

Crazy Red Pen

Y’all have been tagged!

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Be Inspired Blogshop Meme!

Hiya, everyone! This week, the lovely Silent Pages at Pro(B)logue tagged me for the Be Inspired Blogshop Meme! *cue confetti* Yay! So, I was trying to figure out which project to do this about, but then school started and I got distracted by the fact that 5 x 5 = 30 in Chemistry and my schedule was screwed up and I didn’t have pre-calc first semester, and I totally forgot about this until last night. So. I think I’m going to do this one about the MS on subs right now. Because. I can’t stop thinking about subs. So.

1. What is the name of your book?


2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

Hmm. Let’s see. I was on a mission trip when I first got the idea for WILDFLOWER. It was in the mountains of Arizona, and it was dry and hot and my nose was constantly bleeding and I was dehydrated and there was only one toilet between twenty-five girls and it’s highly possible that I was hallucinating slightly. I was lying awake in the middle of the night and someone was snoring across the room, and I was trying really, really hard to fall asleep because we had to wake up at four. See, when I need to fall asleep, I do this thing were I imagine things. By then, I’d already written one (very terrible) manuscript, and I think I’d been considering a revision when suddenly, this boy with a scar appeared in my head and told me that he had a story.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

Definitely YA Fantasy.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

Erm…I…dunno…I think maybe Ian Somerhalder for my MMC, Aro, because he has that arrogant, secretive look. Only, his jaw is too extreme. As for my FMC, Faye, I really don’t know. Hmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

In a world where everyone carries knives, Faye knows she should never be surprised to be stabbed in the back–until she’s captured by Aro, a quiet, enigmatic soldier from the enemy kingdom who makes her realize that keeping her heart locked away won’t be enough to save her life.
6. Is your book already published?

Sigh. It’s still on subs. You guys will know if anything happens. I promise.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

Well, it took me just about three months to write the first draft. I rewrote and revised thirteen times, though. So, all in all, about a year and a half.
8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
Well…hrmmm…I think it could be compared to Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief, because it’s set in a similar world. Like, epic-ish fantasy without the dragons and elves, y’know? Make sense? No?
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
E.B. White, who wrote the first book that ever made me cry. J.K. Rowling, who made me fall in love with words. Lemony Snicket, who taught me that letters, when they are arranged correctly, have the power to break your heart. Frances Hodges Burnett, who taught me to see the beauty between the lines. L. M. Montgomery, who made me laugh when I was alone. And then there are the authors who made me want to keep writing…I could go on forever.

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
I drew a map for it once! Wanna see? I posted it once a long time ago, but I’ll paste it again. It’s not the most recent version, but…hey, this is the land where the story takes place. 🙂

11. Tag five people!

Mark O’Brien, my fantabulous critique partner, who’s writing this new story that is so beautiful and emotional and GAHHHH-inducing I just. Can’t. Even.
John Hansen, who’s writing a new sci-fi that sounds absolutely wonderful.
Ari Susu-Mago, because she rocks AWL TEH SOCKS OFF.

And…I don’t know who else to tag. Everyone I was going to tag was already tagged earlier this week : So…have some cumin. Love y’all!

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A Map of My World!

Guys! I’ve just finished drawing a map of my the setting of my novel (I was bored waiting for my beta readers to get back to me, alright? Don’t judge), and I’m so very proud of it that I’m posting it here!

I usually sketch out a map when I’m writing my first draft, especially if it’s a fantasy novel, because it helps me visualize the setting and the characters’ physical and emotional journeys. I’ve actually drawn this particular map three times already, and this time I think I’ve finally go it right. I was a bit more obsessive drawing/artsy-wise while working on this project because it offered a lot of opportunities for me to create visuals (I’ve also drawn out prison blueprints, building faces, and castle floor plans for my WIP), and frankly, I’m more attached to it emotionally. And for whatever reason, I enjoy drawing these maps 🙂

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Game of Sevens

So, Meredith Barnes has posted a game for authors on her blog (see here). The rules are:
1. Go to the seventh or seventy-seventh page of WIP.
2. Count down seven lines.
3. Copy the seven sentences that follow and post them on your blog.
4. Tag seven other authors (on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr–up to you!).

So, here are the seven sentences that begin on the seventh line on the seventy-seventh page of my manuscript. Enjoy!

As we remount, Aro calls casually over his shoulder, “You’re the only thing keeping me from riding after your men, little girl. Remember that. If you care at all for their lives, you won’t throw your own away so carelessly.”

My teeth clench, but I say nothing. The impulsive decision that had seemed so lucid just a moment ago has faded to foolishness, and my cheeks are burning with my inanity. I glower at the back of Aro’s head as Eras hovers beside me, ready to catch me if I decide to launch myself off the cliff again. But I’m not going to throw my life away so easily. Not yet.


Oops. Guess that was eight sentences. I’m such a cheater.

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