writing, ya, young adult

You’re not perfect but you’re perfect for my story…

In recent weeks, I read a lot about the building of characters, how to make sure they are believable, that readers can root for them, love or hate them…Here are some of the posts which got me to ponder (or smile):

After all, we all have flaws and so do the people in the novels we read. On top of my head, I am thinking about a trilogy by Catherine Hermary-Vieille in which the women are clearly not perfect but they are idealistic or cynical, secret, fragile but strong, they commit errors, sometimes do not learn from them until it is too late, they embrace their feminine side or reject it. While my characters may not be as extreme (I promise I will do a book review on her trilogy soon :-)), they need to be authentic.

“A writer should create living people; people, not characters.  A character is a caricature.”

Ernest Hemingway

My “people” grow with the novel itself, they tell me their past as they react to events thrown at them. One of my main male protagonists, Aleksi, is rebellious, tender, cynical, loving, mysterious, funny, clearly hot, complicated, smart and charming (totally reminds me of my husband *Disclaimer: he is reading this blog* :-))

He would be a mix of:

Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and no Aleksi is not a vampire)

Pacey from Dawson’s creek  

Dylan from Beverly Hills(the early episodes)

Now tell me 🙂 As a reader: what makes you fall in love with a character? As a writer: who does your male protagonist remind you of?


A little bit of this…and a lot of Twitter

The week-end was very relaxing, we did not do much, enjoyed some good movies, good food and good wine. I started reading and finished The DUFF (hard to put down), took care of some Christmas gifts, joined YAlitchat, I worked on my novel a bit and I…signed up for a Twitter account.
Follow commutinggirl on Twitter

It is a scary but exhilarating dive. I did not realize how much there was going on this little bird, how many aspiring and established writers, avid readers hang out in this alternate universe. There is a lot of interaction (much more than what I thought), interesting, thought-provoking tweets…

It´s an entire new way of communicating which I need to become more familiar with and I am still learning how to actually use it. I feel like a baby elephant in a porcelain shop and I have to ensure I do not spend too much time on it (especially arguing to myself “this is related to my writing so it counts as writing time” :-)). But so far: I´m loving it…

Do you use Twitter? Any tips for a beginner? What is your experience with it?

Follow commutinggirl on Twitter


At the beginning…or how I became a writer

It´s Friday night, a long and productive week behind me and while waiting for my tea to heat up, I am trying to remember when I knew I wanted to become a writer…Going down memory lane. Ready? Hop on 🙂

As a child, I loved to read and make up stories. As a teenager in Junior High, one of my favourite assignment was “composition écrite” or a sort of creative writing. I used to tell stories out loud (even practicing my English or German as I went along). I wrote poetry (either love poems or socially engaged ones :-))

In High School, I started what I thought would be my first novel. I cannot remember why I stopped. Here and there, I tried again. I finished one short story (which I was very proud of and am now thinking I could actually use in a future work).

Two years ago, I dipped my toes into my current WIP, then put it on hold when work got too intense or I let things get in the way. I have seriously dived into it in September. I think somebody asked me: “what would you like to achieve in life?” Of course I said “world peace” (love the movie Miss Congeniality *smiles*). One of the answers was to be a writer. It does not mean I am looking for the money and the fame (even though I would not say no 🙂 ) but it really triggered me to realize how much creating stories, plots, characters meant to me. It is part of who I am, one of my passions and one of my goals. I am glad I decided to be more serious about it and making the time for it. I am happy to have already “met” wonderful support and inspiration in the blogosphere and forums on top of the one I have at home (I know, dear husband, that you will be reading this, that is, after you´re done playing with the PS3)

My tea is waiting for me but before I go, I have a question for you: when did you know you wanted to commit to your writing? Looking forward to hear your stories 🙂


Christa Wolf – another great writer passes away…

My husband just broke the news to me over the phone: “Did you hear that Christa Wolf passed away?” He knew it would move me…I wrote my Master´s thesis on one of her books: Medea, using theories of new historicism and feminism to look at the de-mythology of the woman and the new perspective on the GDR.

Just some of my books on Christa Wolf

It´s strange how we become attached to writers we never met, never interacted with. Christa Wolf had an adventurous and controversial life. Her books have been part of me during my Graduate Studies.  Medea retells the myth from a different perspective, with the woman in the middle point becoming a tragic heroine instead of a murderer, adding dimensions of power and politics, love and passion…The characters, the story are multi-dimensional and their own voices tell us how it has happened. Some critics have seen this book as a way for Christa Wolf to defend herself against what has been said about her past…It is more than this. It is a beautiful and dramatic re-telling of the past to teach us about the present.

Thank you Christa Wolf for having made me thought for hours, for having been a topic of conversation during and after classes, for having tickled my critical mind and for having transported me into a world of words I did not know existed.


What´s the best book(s) you read in November?

Very long day today…left the house at 6.40am and got back right before 8pm…Luckily, it is Road Trip Wednesday on YA Highway and my fingers have been twitching to get on it.

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What’s the best book you read in November?

Ok, so I am going to cheat a litte and share the best books I have read in November. I commute, I read a lot…It´s already hard to narrow it down and they´re all different genras *makes puppy eyes to ask for forgiveness* (those do work on my husband :-))

1. Juliette Benzoni Trilogy “Secret d´Etat”

A trilogy following Sylvie de Valaine saved in June 1626 by Francois de Vendôme after her entire family was killed by the men of Richelieu. Raised by the Vendôme, Sylvie becomes at 15 years old “girl in waiting” of the Queen who never ceases to scheme against Louis XIII and Richelieu. She is dragged into very dangerous adventures…

Why did I like it?: This trilogy really takes you into the realms of the 17th century of France. Sylvie is a very likable character, she is strong, loving, trustful and trustworthy. The love between Sylvie and Francois blossoms over the years and even though everything separates them (including the fact that Francois does not realize how he feels until it is somewhat too late), they find a way to make their relationship work.

2. Karen Rose – I am watching you

Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to know her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the criminals she herself is powerless to stop. This avenger even knows Kristen’s deepest secret–the one that has kept her from surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her. Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that can never be regained. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to each other and dare to rediscover passion…even as the messages and vicious murders continue. Even as the killer’s thrist for retribution makes Kristen a target for murder.

Why did I like it?: Karen Rose´s book are scary, steamy and sexy…what more can I say? I am a sucker for good romantic thrillers and her books fit the bill! Enough said 🙂

For more on Karen Rose: you can see her website.

3. Beautiful Darkness – Jocelyn Davies

On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites;like fire and ice;Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

Why did I like it?: Well first have you seen the cover? Love it! The story was well paced and I could really jump into the book through some of the scenes. Even though, I sometimes wished for a bit more insight into the characters, I still devoured this book. The ending left me hanging (a bit too much) but the writing was strong and the story line  was intriguing (oh and the guys were hot!)…Cannot wait to read the next one and see what happens to Skye…

Here is her website

What would be YOUR pick(s) for November?


The BIG question: Are you a Monica or a Phoebe?

Or…where is the story going?

No, I am not yet wondering what happens after I am actually done with my WIP…(ok sometimes I do wonder but this is not the point here, *smile*). I am asking myself questions about where my story should go. I have reached more than 35000 words *does the Chandler dance* (this one in case you don’t know what I’m talking about :-))

  I am starting to be worried about a possible ending to my story. So I decided to use my friend Google to gain some perspective on the dilemma a lot of writers face: outline or no outline?

 That’s when I realized that writers do have a language of their own and the question I really should ask myself is: Am I a pantser or a plotter?

In a nutshell, the pantser goes with the flow while the plotter well plots…Let’s go back to Friends. One could say Monica is a plotter; she usually likes to make sure that everything is planned ahead while Phoebe on the other hand is a tad more the pantser type…Sometimes, it works better though when Monica gets out of her comfort zone and just let´s go (remember London?) while for Phoebe, when she actually thinks some things through, she gets a better result…

Ok enough Friends references 🙂

 I currently only plan in my head the possible scene as I type it but this makes me now stop to ask myself THE question mentioned above: what happens next? Should I try to plot now to make sure I actually get to an ending at some point or do I just keep on going?

 There does not seem to be ONE miracle solution but I need to find one that will work for me. And after much thinking, here is my take on this:

  • I will keep on writing with the flow while I can
  • I will learn more about plotting (so that I can use it when I hit a block road)
  • I will show flexibility as everything related to my writing: it is OK to be a plotter one day and a pantser the other day or to become a hybrid.
  • I will continue to seek advice from fellow writers (you guys rock!)

Now tell me (I am curious) Would you be a Monica or a Phoebe?

Some helpful links if you want to read others’ takes and advice on this:


Holiday season in the country of Goethe

I just enjoyed a wonderful week-end with my parents and my husband´s family who came to visit us, the weather has gotten a bit colder and the holiday season has officially started…

The Christmas Markets in Germany opened last week which means strolling through little wooden houses, beautiful lights, more yummy food to sample, waffles, crêpes and Gluehwein (hot spiced wine)…

Yes I agree, the holiday should not be the only moment we are all nice to one another but it is still one of my favorite times. Memories from my childhood come back:  making cookies with my sisters or my parents, the entire gang at the table on the 24th with my cousins, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles…the laughs, the stories…Now that I am a *tad* older, I love to reminisce about my happy childhood while I enjoy creating new memories, spending time together, the smiles, the little thoughtful gifts (the ones you spend awhile thinking about, they don´t have to be big but you know the other person will have a little twinkle in their eyes as they unwrap the paper).

Today, my husband and I just started a new tradition. Since we spend the holidays in my family in France, we do not have a tree (I can fight and whine about it but I know deep down he is right), we do have advent candles…

How do YOU feel about the holiday season?


The music muse?

The nine canonical Muses

As always, there seems to be different takes on this: music inspiring characters, stories, plots, listening to music while writing, blocking out music altogether…

I personally do not really listen to music when I write, except sometimes in the train when I am blocking out other noises (especially loud conversations because my natural curiosity makes me listen, I may be a tad nosy but aren´t we all? :-))

It´s kinda of the chicken or the egg question for me. Do I get inspired by the music or does the music illustrate some of the plots/characters I already have in my head ready to jump on the paper?

So tada…here is a list of songs which make me think/or inspired me some of parts of my story:

Behind Blue Eyes – Limp Bizkit

For my male Main Character or should I say Main Characters…They both have some dark sides to them just like you and me and they struggle with it. It goes way back to 16th century France after all…

Love bites – def leppard

No, there are no vampires in my story. The title of the song may be misleading 🙂 But there are some love issues stretching over hundred of years…Yes, there is a love triangle (crossing my fingers that it is an original one :-)) and I just like this song…

Through glass – Stone Sour

Forever does seem like home…(no stalking but a curse hard to get rid of)

These are just examples of some of the soundtrack of my WIP…there are many more…which I will share with you very soon, I promise.

What songs would you say is YOUR soundtrack for your novel? Looking forward to listening to them 🙂


Dirty Dancing…and a margarita (or two)

Sunday will be my random post day where my posts will not be related to my writing nor to my commuting…

I started last week by a little poll on where did you think I was from…and while some thought I was from Canada or from Germany, I am actually French (but I do currently live in Germany). I spent about 7 years in the US and I called Maryland home during that time (but that´s another story).

I love the movie Dirty Dancing, I must have watched it at least 99 times and I love margaritas (on the rocks with salt). Oh and I love my husband. Well this week-end, I had the luck to go see the musical of Dirty Dancing, drink some margaritas and spent time with my wonderful husband…(if he reads this: thanks again baboo).

The musical was great, the added subplots were funny/interesting…

I just had one of those magical times, where the eyes shine a little brighter and where my smile just would not stop 🙂

Hope your week-end is going well too – what are YOU doing?


Week 44 – A little about me…and a poll

This blog is now over a month old…(Hmm I should have made some birthday scones for it).

Thank you to everybody who is reading, commenting, passing by…You all make my day 🙂

I realized though that in the past month, I did not say much about myself (well except the fact that I commute, that I write and that I am a junkie for books) so here is a little tiny bit about who I am:

  •  I am 30 years old
  •  I am happily married to the love of my life and my best friend
  • I have wonderful friends and family
  • I like all sorts of foods (from fast foods to gourmet restaurants) and I do try my hand at cooking
  • I try to work out (here note the emphasizis on try) When I do, I like running, swimming and ballet.
  • I am a big movie and tv fan
  • I love karaoke (it does not mean I am good at it though)
  • I enjoy poker nights with friends (I am much better at poker than at karaoke)
  • My drinks of choice: margarita on the rocks with salt or a glass of red wine
  • I miss playing the piano and volleyball
  • One of my hobbies: photography
  • Little things make me happy (which I consider a gift) even though I am naturally anxious.
  • I speak 3 languages fluently (I can understand another one and have basics in Russian)

And now a little poll – let´s see if you can guess where I am from. You can comment to let me know how you found out and to tell me more about yourself 🙂