Jayme Woods

Writer. Geek. Adventurer.


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Baby’s First Blog Tour

Morning, all! Last Monday, the awesome-tacular Brooks Benjamin tagged me to participate in my very first blog tour. It’s called #MyWritingProcess and it’s all about… well, my writing process. Before I go on, check out Brooks’s writing process – and congratulate him on his book deal (!!!!) – over at Pour the Coffee and Walk Away.

1) What am I working on?

Right now, I’m mainly focused on a project I’d describe as Buffy the Vampire Slayer for MG… at least, I’d describe it that way if comparing my stuff to BtVS didn’t give me hives. Those are some big (yet stylish) shoes to fill.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s been said there are no new stories, but I believe there will always be new characters to filter those stories through. I check between all the literary couch cushions to find characters who’ve slipped through the cracks (or maybe hidden there on purpose). Then I shine the spotlight on them.

3) Why do I write what I do?

There’s a saying I’ve always loved: “Feed your imagination. Otherwise it might learn to hunt.” Personally, I’m not that sneaky or that athletic. My imagination would take me down fast, so instead of fighting it I’ve taken the How to Train Your Dragon route and made friends with it. Now we go on awesome adventures together, and I’d love nothing more than to take readers along for the ride.

4) How does your writing process work?

It’s a lot like The Emperor’s New Groove, actually. Observe:

STEP 1:

It all starts with an idea.

yzma 1

Whether or not it’s actually brilliant is up for debate.

yzma 2

Regardless, I let that idea run wild. I fill notebooks with doodles, character bios, snatches of dialogue, and pretty much anything else that catches my fancy.

STEP 2:

yzma 3

If the idea still refuses to let go, I roll up my sleeves and wrangle it into an outline. I block out conflicts, plot twists, and character arcs. I venture into the dark, tangled unknown and plant guideposts to keep my first draft from getting too far off track.

STEP 3:

yzma 4

Then I take that outline and flesh it out into a first draft. Along the way, there’s always a guidepost that’s disappeared into a bank of plot-hole quicksand.

kronk - by all accounts

I build a way around it only to discover there’s some troublemaker yanking up guideposts and tossing them into the river. Or the bushes. Or a cave full of bears. My neat little outline gets messy – and wonderful. It takes twists and turns I’d never imagined. Somehow, I survive (barely) and type the words The End.

STEP 4:

yzma 5 - Copy

In other words, I let the manuscript rest.

STEP 5:

yzma 6

That’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Once my manuscript is thoroughly destroyed, I put all the pieces back together again. I discard, rearrange, and rewrite until it all comes full circle Lion King style and I once again believe it is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Then I send the shiny new draft to my CPs and realize it’s actually…

kronk - yuck

So I rewrite some more. Send to more CPs. Rinse. Repeat. And finally there comes a day when it’s time to let it go…

tangled - light

Admit it. You were expecting Elsa there. But that’s writing for ya. Full of surprises! 😉

Whew! That’s about all the coherent thought I have left in me, but the blog tour doesn’t end here! If you need to distract yourself because your favorite television couple is currently submerged in a giant metal box sinking toward (un)certain doom…

fitzsimmons

… or, you know, if you just like interesting, useful things, dive into the archives on the #MyWritingProcess hashtag. Then steel yourself for the awesomeness coming your way next Monday (5/19). And because I always had to go last in school, here they are in reverse alphabetical order:

Lee Kelly

Lee Kelly

@leeykelly
Blog

Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she still can’t help but call herself a New Yorker. City of Savages is her first novel.

Ifeoma Dennis

Ifeoma

@IfeomaDennis
Blog

Ifeoma lives on a somewhat-tedious-to-climb hill in the caribbean island of St. Vincent but it pays off with a good view of the ocean and the boats. She is a medical student by day (and even at night), and a writer at all the odd scraps of time she gets. She loves fantastical worlds of magic and beautiful creatures, so little wonder that’s what she writes!

Patrice Caldwell

patrice

@whimsicallyours
Blog

Patrice Caldwell is a twenty-one-year-old introvert gone wild. Her love for reading has taken her all over the world from the Great Hall at Hogwarts to the depths of Mordor and to the dangerously romantic streets of Anne Rice & Lestat’s New Orleans and many other places she’d never have the time to name. However it was not until the summer after her first year at college that she completed a manuscript and began to call herself a writer of all things but mostly those with a speculative twist.

She currently studies Political Science and English (with a concentration in Creative Writing) at Wellesley College and recently won the SCBWI Student Writer Scholarship for her writing.


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May the 4th Be with You

HAPPY STAR WARS DAY!!

My sister and I saw The Internship the other day, and we spotted her desk organizer, Chip the Desk-Bot, sharing the screen with none other than Mr. Dylan O’Brien. Hers is on the right:

stiles with robot

What does that have to do with Star Wars day? Well, apparently, Dylan O’Brien’s dream role is Han Solo. And Chip’s is Chewy. My sis knows these things. So I decided to do some (very rough) photo manip to make that happen because: (1) it’s Star Wars day, (2) the world needs more Dylan O’Brien and Chip the Desk-Bot, and (3) I like making dreams come true.

So without further ado, I present Dylan and Chip’s Star Wars photobomb:

Chip shot first:

chip shot first w text

Is this Leia chick strawberry blonde? Green eyes? Five-foot-three? No? In that case…

stiles dont care w text

A long time ago in a trash compactor far, far away…

trash compactor w text
That’s enough nonsense from me. May the 4th be with you.

Always.


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When Life Gives You a Toilet Seat…

Today I may or may not have broken my toilet seat.

I may or may not have boxed it up, created a shipping label to disguise it as school books, and left it on my sister’s doorstep.

And I may or may not have included a note signed, “With love, Fred and George Weasley.”

hogwarts toilet seat 2

When life gives you a toilet seat, make… haste to wrap it up and give it to a friend!


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Teen Werewolves Invade My Disney Vacation

You may have noticed my blog has been pretty neglected the past few weeks. Or maybe you haven’t noticed because you’ve been just as busy watching Teen Wolf as I have.

For those of you who don’t know, Teen Wolf is a teen paranormal drama on MTV. It’s loosely based on an 80s movie I’ve never seen… and it’s kind of been running my life for the last few weeks.

It all started about two months ago, when I wanted to do something nice for my sister. Teen Wolf didn’t really look like my thing. I don’t like horror/gore. I’m not huge on romance. But my sister loves Warm Bodies, City of Bones, etc. Teen Wolf seemed somewhere in that zone, so out of the goodness of my heart I endeavored to introduce her to her new favorite TV show.

After the first episode, I thought, “Huh. That was actually pretty good.” Three episodes in, I wondered, “How many seasons of this have they made??” By the fifth episode, I was hurling things at my computer screaming, “STUPID GEICO COMMERCIAL! STOP INTERRUPTING MY SHOW! I WILL NEVER BUY YOUR INSURANCE!! NEVER EVER EVER EV– ooh! Stiles is back.”

So in the end my sister ended up introducing me to my new favorite show. She even bought me the first season for an early Valentine’s gift. My parents followed it up with the best birthday gifts ever – Season 2 and Season 3 Part 1!

Basically, my family is the best.

I’ve been racing to catch up before the finale, and now I’m sort of seeing Teen Wolf everywhere. Even at the Happiest Place on Earth. To prove it, I snapped some pictures.

On Toy Story Mania, my sis and I ended up in Stiles’ car!

24

On Haunted Mansion, we spotted birds like the ones that attacked Ms. Blake’s classroom. You know, when Stiles shielded Lydia with his body? And anti-romantic me actually uttered an, “Aww!”

haunted mansion bird

As we exited Haunted Mansion I snapped a pic of this awesome window, which reminded me of the gates at Eichen House and (*sobs internally*) Oak Creek:

eichen house

In Liberty Square, I advised my sis to be her own anchor:

anchor

As we passed the London section on Small World, my sister whispered to me, “Wave hi to Jackson.” I’ve never been prouder. 😉

jackson in london

I got a little choked up by Small World’s wall of goodbyes.

goodbye

Because we’ve already said goodbye to [spoiler] and with the finale looming I’m sure we’ll soon be bidding at least one other person adieu.

But that’s a downer, so on to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, where my sister caught me making advances on this shrub. Why? Because Bambi is our nickname for Isaac. No offense intended. We love Isaac. But he’s got those big innocent Bambi eyes. Observe:

bambi vs isaac

I’m even seeing Teen Wolf at work. I was tempted to scrawl “De-” on the front of this Void stamp (I resisted):

void

When the vending machine ate my money, I came *this close* to employing the patented Stiles (or Boyd) method of snack extraction:

vending machine

Even the Veronica Mars movie, which I’ve been looking forward to FOREVER, couldn’t escape a Teen Wolf comparison. It’s their own fault, really, for opening with a case wall crisscrossed with red yarn just like the one Stiles has. All I could picture was this…

Lydia

…and imagine that after a quick chat with the yarn Lydia could’ve solved the murder in time to go ice skating with Stiles, Scott, and Allison. (Again, no hate intended. I ❤ Veronica)

So there it is. My name is Jayme and I have a Teen Wolf problem.

The problem is that it’s only Sunday… and the finale isn’t until Monday. 😉

How about you guys? What’s your secret (or not so secret) TV obsession? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


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Nerd Valentines

Love it or hate it, this Friday is Valentine’s Day. To celebrate, I’ve whipped up a few Valentines for that special nerd in your life. This is all done with Sharpies and the Microsoft photo software that came with my computer (no Photoshop here), so apologies in advance if the TARDIS is not quite the right shade of blue.

First up, one for all my fellow Castle-holics:

Castle Valentine

For you Whovians out there, here’s one to get both of your hearts thumping:

Doctor Who Valentine

Fellow Teen Wolf fans will go crazy for this one (see what I did there?):

Teen Wolf Valentine

And finally, since one Teen Wolf Valentine just isn’t enough, here’s one for all you future Mrs. Stilinskis out there:

Stiles Valentine

Can’t choose? Get all four here:

Nerd Valentines PDF

Hope everyone has a great week!


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Make Your Own Mary Poppins Hat

In celebration of a jolly holiday (i.e. the release of Saving Mr. Banks), I’ve decided it’s time to unleash this on the world:

If you’re looking for a craft that’s practically perfect in every way, this Mary Poppins hat takes about 40 minutes (including time to obsessively photograph for the blog). You’ll need:

*Cardstock (black and white)
*Scissors
*Tape
*Hot Glue Gun
*Optional: any other decorations you’d like (plastic cranberries, etc.)

A compass is useful for drawing circles, but two pencils with a string tied between them will also do the trick.

(1) Tape two pieces of cardstock together (one side only).

tape cardstock

(2) Draw one circle as largely as you can on the paper. Draw a second circle inside the first, leaving a couple of inches for the brim. Now is the time to make sure your head will fit the hole. The hat I’m making is perfect for a large teddy bear. If you want to wear it yourself, reduce the rim width and voilà! Person-sized hat. 🙂

circles

(3) Cut out the inner circle. It’s best if you use the tape bend to start the cut. If possible, leave this inner circle in one piece. It will become the top of the finished hat.

Admit it. You have scissor envy right now ;)

Admit it. You have scissor envy right now 😉

(4) Cut out the larger circle. If possible, leave the blank areas on either side of the circle intact. They will become the body of the finished hat.

What you have should now look like this:

pieces

And this:

pieces2

(5) Remove the straight edges on either side of the remaining black cardstock. These pieces will connect the brim to the top of the hat. I call them the “body” of the hat.

body pieces

(6) Fold the body pieces along their longer edges to make lips of about half an inch. Make sure the folds face opposite directions (outward for the brim and inward for the top). Don’t listen to the picture below! I initially made these lips a quarter inch and the finished hat turned out WAY too tall.

folds

(7) Tape the body pieces together. Make sure the folds match up (outward/outward, inward/inward).

body taped

(8) Snip approximately every half inch along the lips. This will make them easier to tape into place.

(9) Tape everything together, making sure all tape faces the inside of the hat. This will hide the tape when the hat is worn. I suggest starting with the top and moving to the brim.

tape

(10) Flip it over and press the top into the sides a bit so it doesn’t look so angular.

Before:

before

After:

after

(11) Print or sketch a few daisies on the white cardstock. Don’t worry about making them perfect. Real flowers aren’t perfectly symmetrical. I also prefer to layer two “flowers” on top of each other for a 3D effect.

flowers

(12) Hot glue decorations as desired.

hat

Let everything dry, grab an umbrella, and you’re good to go!

bear

Wishing everyone a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!


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NaNoWriDOH!

November has been a crazy month – and not, as the blog title suggests, because of NaNoWriMo. I’ll get to NaNo in a second, but first some context.

My month kicked off in rather epic fashion. For starters, I visited FOUR castles.

Not pictured: Prince Eric’s castle. Also: yes, Rapunzel’s tower totally counts as a “castle” ;)

Not pictured: Prince Eric’s castle. Also: yes, Rapunzel’s tower totally counts as a “castle” 😉

On top of that, there was the little matter of the best concert ever. All of which was awesome, except very little (read: no) writing got done at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Which would’ve been fine except I also came back from vacation with a tickle in my throat.

Famous last words.

How disgustingly ill was I, you ask? I still haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World. Anyone who knows me knows how sick I’d have to be for that to happen. I blinked and a week of my life vanished – an entire week. Another seven days where writing fell to the wayside while I babysat Flu Jr.

If you’re wondering, I call it Flu Jr. because it wasn’t as bad as the full-blown flu, as evidenced by the fact that I’m typing this. But it still made me feel like this:

GIF credit to the fantabulous Chrissy

GIF credit to the fantabulous Chrissy

Only worse.

So there I was. Two weeks. Limited writing. That may not sound like the end of the world, but I was kind of crushed. Why? Because this year I’d made up my mind to attempt NaNo. I knew my vacation might throw me off a bit, but I’d still decided to write my little guts out in pursuit of that elusive 50k. That goal seemed pretty unlikely when I woke up on November 11 with just 2k fever-induced words. That’s right. 2,000. As in, 4% of 50k. Not gonna lie, I was a little discouraged.

Then I stumbled across this: How I Won NaNoWriMo in 9 Days . That’ right. Ava Jae hit 50k in 9 days – and her friend Taryn hit that mark in just 3 days. Do not adjust your monitor. You read that correctly. 50k in 3 days. My mind was officially blown. I’m still not sure I can churn out 48k in two weeks, but I’m sure as heck going to try.

So here’s my challenge, fellow writers*: forget about the last 15 days. Maybe, like me, your word counts haven’t been what you’d hoped. Maybe you’ve been watching from the sidelines and you’re now ready to join the fray. Either way, the time is NOW!

And remember: you don’t have to “win” NaNo to come out a winner. We’ve got 15 days left, people. 1500 a day will mean 22,500 by the end of the month. Squeeze out an extra 500 words per day and you’re up to 30k. We can do this!

Do you have a NaNo war story? Are you ready to show the second half of November who’s boss? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or over on Twitter. #NaNoWriDOH

Until next time, WRITE ON!

*Unless you’re a fellow writer who’s already won NaNo… in which case, go celebrate. 🙂


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How Hanson Makes Me a Better Writer

I just got back from Orlando, and my ears are still ringing from the best concert EVER. Six concerts, actually. They spanned two nights and featured none other than my favorite band: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem!

electric mayhem

Kidding. It was Hanson. They dropped into Epcot November 4-5.

Clearly I was too excited to hold the camera steady.

Clearly I was too excited to hold the camera steady.

For those of you who’ve never heard of Hanson (or if you haven’t heard anything since MMMBop), here’s the cameo-studded video for their new single, Get the Girl Back (yes, that’s Kat Dennings and Nikki Reed and Drake Bell and Drew Seeley and… you get the idea). The song starts at about :35. Consider it the soundtrack for this post:

Awesome, right? So now you all understand the depth of my excitement when I found out Hanson was coming HERE. To Florida. To say the wait was long would not do it justice. By 5:29 November 4th I felt like this:

This guy's from the The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow at Disney Hollywood Studios, btw.

This guy’s from the The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow at Disney Hollywood Studios, btw.

Only better fed because, you know, theme park food:

The soft pretzel loves Hanson... and that random dude in a baseball cap. But mostly Hanson.

The soft pretzel loves Hanson… and that random dude in a baseball cap. But mostly Hanson.

To top it off, my shiny new camera has [in my best Po impersonation] legendary zoom capabilities that are the stuff of legend!

Here’s a shot of all the guys:

group shot

Isaac killing a guitar solo:

isaac

Taylor making everyone jealous of that random person with the blue watch:

taylor

Zac going all Animal on the drums:

zac

Also, here’s one of Zac on piano. Because hair like this needs to be appreciated. Go ahead. Take a moment. I’ll wait.

zac piano

If you’re jealous of my mad photography skills, don’t be. 90% of my pictures came out like this:

blurry isaac

And all 90% of them are still eating up memory on my computer – because those blurs are HANSON BROTHERS! 😉

Which brings me to the “better writer” portion of this blog. Just before the very end of the very last concert – I’m talking end of the whole shebang – the lights went down. For a second, I thought it was over… and they hadn’t played my favorite song. My thought process went something like this:

I am a grown person. I can deal with this. An awesome time has been had. Epic poems shall be written. Or perhaps epic picture books. Because:

issac taylor

What’s one song to all that?

Then the lights came back up, Taylor whipped out a harmonica, and the band started in on – you guessed it – MY SONG!!! And I died a little. Okay, a lot. Just so we’re absolutely clear about the level of awesomeness involved, here are more exclamation points:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!

In that instant, I was twelve again. When I left, I turned to my sisters and the exact words I’d used after our very first Hanson concert *cough, cough* years ago flew out of my mouth: THAT WAS AWESOME!

It’s in all caps because, by then, I was kind of deaf from loud music. It was totally worth it.

As someone who writes MG, experiences like these are golden. It’s easy to forget how powerful firsts are. The first day of a new school year. The first time your best friend betrayed you. Your first crush, first dance, first heartbreak.

And, yes, the first band that totally *got* you.

What about you? What songs/memories instantly take you back to a point in time?

Wishing everyone a Hanson-tacular weekend!