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Amy Zhang


#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

Hi everyone! WOOOT NEW WEBSITE!!! What do you guys think? Isn’t Tessa Elwood BRILLIANT?

So the lovely Chessie Zappia tagged me for the #MyWritingProcess blog tour, and I was supposed to post this yesterday but I forgot because I am TERRIBLE. But…um, better late than never? Right?

What am I working on?

…to be totally honest, I’m mostly working on graduating right now. I haven’t really gotten the chance to just sit down and write in SO FREAKING LONG, and I get all crabby when I don’t get to write, so basically I’m constantly raging these days. But I’m working on yet another outline/draft of THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD ENDS, my contemporary WIP about a girl and a boy who make a bet over whether people in general get miracles or apocalypses. I’m also worldbuilding STORYWEAVER, a fantasy set in a castle that sits at the top of a waterfall, in a ridonculously pretty notebook. And still brainstorming MEMENTO MORI, a contemp about a girl with HIV who kidnaps her grandma and takes a road trip with her best friend. And counting down the days to FALLING INTO PLACE’s release, of course (112 DAYS. NOBODY PANIC).

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I think what sets FALLING INTO PLACE apart at first glance is the narrator. Writing through an imaginary narrator is the coolest–it opens up so many possibilities. Time isn’t strict, order is up for interpretation.  It’s was so fun and so freeing to write, and I think it’ll make for a very different reading experience as well. But beyond that, I think what sets FALLING apart are the characters. I know I’m biased, but I really do love these characters, and I also understand how damn unlikable they are at times. I wrote a book about bitches, guys. They aren’t the best people in the world. They just aren’t, but I wanted to make sure that they were people that readers could cheer for regardless. I hope I succeeded.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I have something to say about it. FALLING INTO PLACE is about high school and bullying and good friends and bad friends and everything you overhear in the hallway. It’s everything I wanted to say during high school and didn’t. THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD ENDS is about equality and slut-shaming and victim-blaming…um, everything I wanted to say during high school and didn’t (also, for this one, I have this Paper of Rage titled “I Need to Write This Book Because,” and it’s covered in all-caps and venting). STORYWEAVER, on the other hand, just intoxicates me. I love worldbuilding. I’m making up the religion for the world right now, writing myths and variations and children’s bedtime stories, and it’s, like–I get drunk off that stuff. I love it.

How does my writing process work?

I usually start with a blank sheet of paper. I write a one-sentence summary of the idea, usually. And then I start drawing arrows–the characters appear, the plot develops, lines of dialogue start popping into my head. From there, I start making an outline. I usually make chapter-by-chapter outlines…until I get to halfway-ish point of the book. That’s where I start getting lazy and impatient to actually WRITE. So I do.

And it’s that easy. The words always flow and the characters behave and it just works.


There’s a lot of coffee. A lot of chocolate. Usually some tears. Usually some throwing of nearby objects and pouting. Writing is damn hard. It’s also completely worth it.

I draft using Microsoft Word 2000. It still has the little paper clip dude. I have 2013, but I rarely use it. For STORYWEAVER, I’ve been using Scrivener. I make a schedule. I do my best to stick to it. I give myself stickers when I reach goals. When I revise, I always start with a blank document. And then I revise again. And again. It goes to critique partners. I revise. It goes to my agent. I revise. And then it starts all over again.

Next week on the blog tour:

Stephanie DiazTwenty-one-year-old Stephanie Diaz wrote her debut novel when she should’ve been making short films and listening to class lectures at San Diego State University. When she isn’t lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fan-girling over TV shows. Visit her online at


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The Next Big Thing Meme

The fabulous Lori M. Lee tagged me for this one! I’m going to cheat a bit and tell you about both my about-to-be-published book and my WIP, because ERMAHGERD, guys, I’m so excited for both of them. Okay? Okay.

(Side note: those of you who have added my book on Goodreads, THANK YOU, but that isn’t the official Goodreads page. My publisher didn’t make it. And whoever did mixed me up with another author, so…yeah. Not me. I’ll let you guys know when there’s a book to add–it’ll be around the time that I get to share my title with all of you!)


Still can’t tell! But I CAN tell you that I submitted it as FOR EVERY LIFE, which is a reference to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, and I CAN tell you that the title of my WIP is MEMENTO MORI, which is Latin for “remember you will die.” Mori is also the name of my protagonist (who’s dying. Shocker, huh?)





UNTITLED (we’ll just call it that for now–isn’t it easier?) actually began as two short stories–one about an abandoned imaginary friend, and one about a girl who tries to commit suicide. UNTITLED is their lovechild. I’m not sure where the ideas for the two original short stories came from, but I knew there was a connection between them and I knew I wanted to develop that connection into a full-length novel.

MEMENTO, on the other hand, has been sitting in the back of my mind for…a year? Two? I don’t remember where the idea came from, or when I got it, but I remember thinking, “I have to write this story. I have to.” 


UNTITLED is YA contemporary with a touch of magical realism. MEMENTO is YA contemporary with a touch of ice cream (or a lot of ice cream).


Something about UNTITLED: there are no descriptions of the character’s appearances. None. I want people to be able to see themselves in Liz and Kennie and Julia. I want them to be able to see their friends. I want the characters to be anyone, everyone. So no actors 🙂

As for MEMENTO….I don’t know I’m just really bad with actors and stuff okay LEAVE ME ALONE


UNTITLED is about a girl who tries to end her short and catastrophic attempt at life, told from the perspective of her abandoned imaginary friend.

MEMENTO MORI is about a girl with half an immune system, a boy with half of his muscles, a cat named Schrödinger, and the road trip they take to solve the paradox of life.


UNTITLED is coming out in fall of 2014 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. MEMENTO MORI is not currently under contract.


I wrote the first draft of UNTITLED during NaNoWriMo 2012–so, a month. I’m actually super proud of that, mostly because November was a rough month for me, and I was under word count the entire time. I managed to pound out something like 13K in the last two days. Then I revised for about two months, and it sold the following February.

As for MEMENTO…well. I’ve been drafting for the last four months or so, and I have about another 15K to go.



MEMENTO: Hmmm….I’m not sure. My CP says it reminds him a bit of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, except, you know, far less AMAZEBALLS.


“Isn’t this basically the same as question #2?”

Lori’s answer, which I’m seconding. 


UNTITLED is told by an imaginary friend, which opened up these incredible options for the story. The story is actually told in a non-linear fashion–there are three main times: a countdown from seven days before Liz crashes her car, a countdown of the hour before Liz crashes her car, and the day after Liz crashes her car. And there’s a chapter with eleven words. I love that chapter.

In MEMENTO, Mori has written letters to the dead for as long as she can remember, and the book is actually her last notebook of letters. Among the addressees: Maurice Sendak, Gregory Peck, Nannerl Mozart, Georgiana Cavendish, and, of course, Schrödinger. I really love playing around with narration (have you noticed?)
I’m tagging fellow Greenwillow author Chessie Zappia, whose book ASK AGAIN LATER sounds totally amazefrackingballs and Mark O’Brien, because he’s working on this new MS that I want everyone to be excited about. Take it away, guys!

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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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Tag! I’m it!

So, Mark O’Brien the Fabtastic tagged me for this! Now you get to listen to me rant! Yay!

1. What are your 5 favorite movies?

Ugh. I’m too fickle to pick favorites. I’ll go by genre.

Fantasy: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Comic Relief: Get Smart
Sappy Romantic: Roman Holiday
Book-to-Movie Adaptation: Pride and Prejudice (the one with Lawrence Olivier and Greer Garson)
Miserable Monday Night Go-To: The Little Mermaid (don’t judge)

2. Would you rather go without makeup for a year, or without shaving your legs for a year?

Makeup. Not shaving legs for a year? Ew. Wait, but I’m still allowed to wear makeup for prom and stuff, right? Does bronzer count? Because I have awful razorback tanlines from tennis. And I can still use my eyelash curler, right? As long as I don’t use mascara? I don’t ever wear mascara because I always end up stabbing myself in the eye. But I curl my eyelashes. Is that weird? Have I made it weird?

3. What book have you read recently that you really love?

Recently. Recently…oh! I read Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein, and it was fabulous. Not just because she has an excellent taste in names. See my review of it here.

4. What book have you read recently that you really hated?

The Official SAT Study Guide. But my AP English textbook comes in close second.

5. If you had to eat one food for one meal every day of the year, which would you choose?

Oh! Right now, I’m craving the pomodorie e gorgonzola salad from my favorite Italian restaurant. It’s to die for. Seriously. Like, I’m not usually a salad person when I go out to eat. But that stuff. Food of the gods of food.

6. What was the best part of your senior year of high school?

I dunno. I’ll tell you when I get there.

7. What piece of electronic equipment do you think you could easily live without?

An alarm clock.

8. Do you prefer your beverages from a straw, a bottle, or another container?

Um. In the can it came from? Is that an answer? It is now!

9. Would you rather have glow-in-the-dark skin or squishy teeth?

Glow-in-the-dark skin. No competition.

10. Who would win in a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore?

Oh. Um. I guess…Gandal–wait, no, Dumbled–but then…um, pass? Am I allowed to pass? I JUST DON’T KNOW, OKAY?!

11. Do you consider pushup bras to be a form of dishonesty?

Oh. Definitely. Sternface *runs to closet to hide the one bought during an eighth-grade identity crisis* Stop judging. Puberty makes you do stupid things, okay?!

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