Official Tumblr of YA author Courtney Summers
Anonymous asked:
Hi! I want to ask some advice. Maybe you can help? How do you differentiate between giving up vs quitting something because it's not want you want ? It sounds obvious, but... I'm currently in grad school and every time I go to class I feel sad/odd because it feels like such a freaking chore. I don't want to do it. But I don't know if that's because it's a responsibility or if it's because it's not my thing. Most days I just feel lazy and like only reading makes me feel truly happy. Idk :(

This is a tough question because the answer is going to vary from person to person and how I differentiate might be different from how you need to or someone else does. I can’t tell you to quit grad school or tell you to hang in there definitively—not that you were asking—because I don’t have all the information and that would be irresponsible of me.

You sound like you’re at an emotional crossroads and it doesn’t feel great, so of course that’s going to lead to some personal re-evaluation. Grad school might not be for you OR grad school might be for you and something else is going on in your life that’s sucking the marrow out of the experience. If you don’t know what it is exactly, you might be misidentifying the problem. I can’t and wouldn’t diagnose you but you don’t sound happy—so which came first grad school or the sadness? If you liked grad school up until recently, the answer to that question might surprise you.

When it comes to decisions this significant, I would suggest talking to someone—whether that’s family, friends or a professional—to get to the root of why you feel this way. There could be a lot of reasons behind it and you want to make sure you’ve got a handle on what they are before you act. Don’t deny yourself any kind of helping hand. Sometimes when things are overwhelming and you’re very sad, the natural inclination is to think in BOLD MOVES! And then we find out we needed less drastic intervention than we initially believed.

There are always going to be some things we just have to grit our teeth and get through. Jillian Michaels always says during her workouts (I love that woman, what can I say), “This is uncomfortable, but you’re not going to die.” I like to remember that when I’m in the thick of work or responsibilities I might not be enjoying—and might even be HATING—but have to follow-through on because I’m an adult. Everyone has to do things they don’t want to do. That’s life.

That SAID.

There’s a difference between an unpleasant and doable situation and a situation that has become so intolerable it leaves you depressed, has you disengaging from the world and is making you genuinely unhappy. You’ve expressed a level of unhappiness that’s concerning. Whether or not you leave school or stay, I think you should reach out to someone or someones, if at all possible. Discuss your options with the school, talk to your parents, talk to friends, never be afraid to consult with a professional if that is at all possible for you. Also think less in terms of ‘quitting’ and ‘giving up’ and think more in terms of committing to your happiness, and your mental and emotional well-being. You are not okay right now, but you deserve to be so start taking steps toward that and see where they lead you. But one step at a time, and not alone if possible.

It’s tough, I know. Hang in there. Hugs.

Anonymous asked:
Hi Courtney! I finished a manuscript about 2 mos ago and set it aside. At the time, I was proud of it and was excited to begin revising. But as I've gotten back into the novel, I've been feeling awful about it. I don't know why I wasted so much time on something so bad. I'm lost and doubting my ability as a writer. I have no idea what to do or how to make the ms any good. I don't know why anyone would want to read it. Have you ever experienced anything like this? Do you have any advice? Thanks!!

First, congratulations on finishing your manuscript! That takes a lot of hard work and focus so I hope you’re proud even if you’re in the Feeling Awful Stage about it.

I think it’s pretty common for writers to be super happy with their book when they’re done—because often, there is such bliss in finishing—and then to experience that OH GOD IT’S HORRIBLE crash right before embarking on next round of tough work. The toughest work. Revision.

All books need revision.

ALL BOOKS NEED REVISION. I just have to say that again, in capitals, because it’s one of the most important things you’ll learn as a writer. And it’s something you’ll learn over and over again. It’s rare that anyone has a perfectly polished, ready-to-go novel after they’ve typed its last word. Sometimes it’s not perfect after the first, second, third or fourth round either.  (ALL THE RAGE took close to seven for me.)

You were excited to revise when you finished. WELL, I’m happy to tell you the prospect of revising can be a lot more exciting than the actual doing, so what you’re feeling is pretty normal. The actual doing is daunting. It makes sense to me that after diving back in after an extended break you’re feeling overwhelmed by what’s ahead of you and I think you might have sabotaged yourself a little by looking at the big picture instead of parts of the whole. Revision happens one word at a time.

After I finish a draft, all I can see is everything that is wrong with it and everything I have to do to get it to shine. I resent the book. I resent what I perceive to be a lack of writing talent on my part. I feel like the books I wrote before were a dream. I don’t want anyone to read it and can’t imagine anyone wanting to read it.

And then I start revising. And a lot of times, these feelings hang around, definitely overstaying their welcome. But eventually, you reach the point where the book starts taking shape.Take it a scene at a time—you might not be able to come up with a revision strategy at this point because you aren’t narrowing your focus. You’re just thinking BOOK BAD instead of taking it scene by scene, asking yourself what the purpose of each scene is and how you can drive it home or enhance it or cut it if need be. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.

Work in spite of your doubts, a word at a time, a page at a time. You will eventually remember why you wrote the book in the first place. By the end, even if you have to revise again (and again and again) that first round is going to really drive home the possibility of what you’re putting on paper. You’ll realize it’s not as bad as you believed, and even more exciting—that it can be better than you ever imagined.

What you’re feeling is normal. It’s hard. Revise your way out of it. I know you can do it.

I hope this helps!

Imagine 4 years.
Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars–every day, a turf war–six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.

High school.

- Cracked up to be by Courtney Summers (via quotemybooks)
Anonymous asked:
I've read two of your books so far (this is not a test and some girls are) and holy damn neither of them are the kind of book you can read in more than one sitting. And neither of them are the kind of book you can just finish and set down and leave behind. They stay with you for days (weeks, in the case of sga). You have an incredible talent. I can't wait for my next trip to a bookstore to try one of your other novels!

I am so sorry it took me so long to reply to this ask! I have been slowly playing catch-up with them between writing PLEASE REMAIN CALM. This was such a wonderful and kind note to receive. I’m so glad that you dug THIS IS NOT A TEST and SOME GIRLS ARE and they stayed with you. If you read the others, I hope they do to. Thank you so much and thank you so much for reading. :)

Just felt the need to share my critique partner and THROUGH TO YOU author (which is an AMAZING book, fyi) emily-hainsworth's thoughts on some early pages of the THIS IS NOT A TEST sequel.

Get readddddy


brace yourself, it’s gonna get easier.- Nico Vega, “Easier”

brace yourself, it’s gonna get easier.
- Nico Vega, “Easier”

Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. The world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it was changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was of the essence, the act of putting one foot in front of the other and allowing himself to follow the drift of his own body. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal, and it no longer mattered where he was. On the best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere.
- Paul Auster



Do authors cry when they kill the best character or do they smile, laugh and have a cup of tea with satan


[sips tea]

I was away from my computer for most of the day and my phone was dead so I had to do some PLEASE REMAIN CALM writing the old fashioned way.
And also make note of a bird that I saw because ???

I was away from my computer for most of the day and my phone was dead so I had to do some PLEASE REMAIN CALM writing the old fashioned way.

And also make note of a bird that I saw because ???

Anonymous asked:
Hi! I've recently finished a book (about four months ago) and am going to do a final edit here soon after letting it sit for seven weeks. I'm really looking towards publishing it and have done some research, but still feel overwhelmed with where to start and how. Do you have any advice on trying to get published?

Hi! Congratulations on finishing your novel!! That’s wonderful and it’s no small feat. The next step can be kind of intimidating, I understand (but also really exciting—so don’t forget to enjoy it!). On my writing advice master post, I have a section on Publishing and there might be something there you’ll find helpful. Good luck! 

Anonymous asked:
I just watched Heathers and it made me want to go reread Some Girls Are (for like the fifth time). Just wanted you to know!

I LOVE THAT YOU DID and I love that this happened!!!  Thank you for telling me!  :D :D

Anonymous asked:
I stayed up all night reading This Is Not A Test, and a regret nothing! It was so out of this world, and the emotions were so much to handle, you are mean in some ways (the end) but I just love this book so much, my first time reading about zombies. My question is... You wouldn't kill neither Rhys nor Sloane... right?

Thank you so much! This ask made me think of the regret nothing chicken gif and now I am all happy. I’m thrilled you love it and I am so glad you read it. Thank you for letting me know.

The fates of Rhys and Sloane will be in PLEASE REMAIN CALM, which comes out early next year (probably January). I cannot give away what they are.


Sneak peek at ALL THE RAGE's interior, designed by the amazing Anna Gorovoy. It is beautiful and I can't wait for you to see the other neat little style elements that have made its way inside. I'm getting more and more excited to share it with you next April. This was the hardest book I've ever written—I can't even tell you how much—and it was 100%, without a doubt, worth it.
(Summary here.)

Sneak peek at ALL THE RAGE's interior, designed by the amazing Anna Gorovoy. It is beautiful and I can't wait for you to see the other neat little style elements that have made its way inside. I'm getting more and more excited to share it with you next April. This was the hardest book I've ever written—I can't even tell you how much—and it was 100%, without a doubt, worth it.


(Summary here.)


(I got this ask but Tumblr will not let me post more than one photo in my response, so let’s try it this way!)

Thank you so much, anon! I hope you like them. :)

TRUTHFULLY. I am SO BAD at this question because every time I try to answer it I always pick actors (or not actors) who are way too old to be teens or people who played teens when I was a teenager and I am sure that looks super out of touch AND when people ask me to cast my books, I more or less think of it as a visual thing ie what do your characters LOOK like? Like, “Are there any celebrities who come close to what you envision your characters to look like that I can use as reference as a reader?” Because to be honest I know what a lot of actors look like but I basically only watch Supernatural so I have no idea if they can act, sooo. It would be embarrassing if you looked at one of my picks and thought DOES COURTNEY SUMMERS NOT CARE ABOUT PERFORMANCE VALUE?! The answer is she has no clue, generally.

Anyway, that was too much disclaimer. To the visuals!


Crystal Reed as Sloane
I’ve also mentally cast her as Parker from CRACKED UP TO BE, depending on her hair.


Diego Boneta as Rhys
Rhys is the narrator in PLEASE REMAIN CALM!


Dominic Zhai as Cary


Elle Fanning as Grace


Ryan Hansen or ????? as Trace
HERE IS THE THING ABOUT TRACE. I just kept visualizing Ryan Hansen as Dick Casblancas in S1 of VERONICA MARS the whole time I wrote Trace because Dick was such a bastard and so was Trace but now Ryan Hansen is too old the end. Actually he was always too old. I AM TOO OLD IS THE ISSUE. So if anyone has an idea for Trace I’m just gonna guess and probably be right that it’s better than mine.

??? as Harrison
Harrison was the person Sloane cared about the least in the school. She didn’t give him any credit, she wasn’t really interested in his life, so a solid visual—beyond the fact that he cried a lot—never really planted itself in my brain. Sorry, Harrison!


Jena Malone as Lily
But with longer hair.


Lee Pace as Mr. Baxter
Poor hot Mr. Baxter tbh

I am not sure who I would cast for Sloane’s father. I have to think on it more but he would be a big guy with not a lot of hair and probably glasses? Helpful, I know.

And that’s all I got. I hope it answers your question!