The #BuqoYA Experience: Writing Under Pressure

I have a soft spot for YA books. It was what really got me into reading. My shelves were crammed with books like Sweet Valley Twins, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton, to name a few. These days, YA has expanded to include so many other genres. I’m not even sure if I’m classifying it correctly.

I was still high from my NaNoWriMo win so I decided to sign up for an online writing class with Mina V. Esguerra. Mina’s been making waves in the local romance writing and publishing industry, as she’s been promoting books and encouraging authors. Call it an advocacy, and it has been paying off. It’s my second class with Mina, the first being #flirtsteamyreads wherein I failed miserably. This class is about young adult romance fiction, and it was sponsored by digital distributor, Buqo.

The reward, other than the satisfaction that you have finished a story, is a possible distribution contract with Buqo. How’s that for amazing?

Because of my schedule, I couldn’t attend the face-to-face meetings. I tried to keep up with the classes through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media certainly has changed the trend of writing. It used to be solitary, and writers suffer through challenges on their own. Now, if I’m stuck, or if I need inspiration, a quick status update with the hashtag buqoYA would net me responses of encouragement, suggestions, and silly stuff that would make me laugh.

While I consider one’s drive and desire to finish the story as one of the biggest factors in finishing a story (aside from having a story to write of course), having a community also helps. It makes you feel less alone, and in a way, it makes you competitive. When you see others improving or accelerating, you want to do it too. And because you’re with people who have the same interest, you’re not so shy anymore when it comes to telling the world what you are writing.

The workshop ran from January 19 to February 28. Stories follow certain guides as set by Mina, and should be a finished story of at least 5,000 words long. Personally, I think the deadlines helped because it forced me to write. And not just put down words, but also to make sure it’s coherent and well written. While writing with a deadline doesn’t appeal to everyone, in some cases it works. I became more conscious about the passing time, and I managed my time so I can finish my tasks AND be able to write my story. It hasn’t improved my style or my writing habit drastically, but I know better now. It has also helped me become more familiar with how I write, and what I want to write.

I would definitely recommend joining a class hosted by Mina. Not only will get your work done, you can also pick up tips and ways on getting your work out there. You’ll meet new friends, and hey, you will most likely end up with a few new stories to read.

If you’re interested, there’s another workshop coming this April. Contemporary New Adult (NA) romance, and those who finish may get a publishing contract with Anvil’s Spark Books. Sign up, sign up for the SparkNA workshop!

[Book Review] The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

A few months ago, I participated in a writing class lead by Mina Esguerra and Buqo. I never got around to finishing my story, but quite a few of my classmates have and the results have been amazing. You can get the books from Buqo, a local online ebook store.

The first five books are bundled as “Sizzling: #buqosteamyreads Vol.1”, which you can get at the store for only P45! Five awesome reads for that price, it’s a bargain. But if you want to take a chance and win copies of the ebooks, you can check out the giveaways fellow book lovers have on their blogs.

The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

The Best Friend Hook Up

A bridesmaid in distress…

Mara is desperate to find a “hot” date for a beach wedding she has no wish to attend. The groom is her almost-boyfriend and the bride, her hated cousin. Her list of available, eligible men is virtually nonexistent. What is a girl to do?

Enter scorching hot Ian Stapleton, Mara’s best bud and go-to guy, to the rescue. Seeing his best friend in a red bikini for the first time is triggering a lot of reactions in Ian, the non-platonic kind! Does Ian dare take their friendship to a whole new level?

I’m a sucker for friends-turned-lovers stories, which is what got me reading Suzette’s story. There’s something quite satisfying about seeing people who know so much about each other stumble about falling in love and then getting it on.

I love Ian’s character. He seems like the kind of guy all girls want to have as a boyfriend and all the guys want as a buddy. On the other hand, I can relate to Mara because of my moments of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. Yet she found herself, and got the guy to boot. Let’s not forget that hot encounter by the beach and… Whoops. Spoilers.

Some parts of the story tend to run into each other, to the point where I got confused. Perhaps it was the book’s formatting, but at one point I didn’t know if what I’m reading was a flashback or an event currently happening. I guess it’s the limit of the words (10,000 or less, if I remember it right) that makes it seem that way.

That aside, the story is a fun, fast read. Personally, I couldn’t help but cheer for Ian as he pushes his way through Mara’s defenses, and it was endearing to see Mara become more confident in herself (even if she’s a bit of a drama queen). If you’re interested in a friends-to-lovers story with a lot of sweetness, this one’s for you.

Disclaimer: Story copy was received for review. No compensation was given.