Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lucky 7: Peek at a New Story

I was tagged by Lisa B.

The Rules: Go to page 77 of your current MS.
Go to line 7.
Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written.
No cheating.
Tag 7 other victims …er, authors.

This is from a MS currently in edit-land.

I know where I am.

On the other side of the fence, I see my lawn chair sitting next to our small, inflatable pool. Inside my house, lights blink on and off through the windows. By following the lights I can follow the Coven’s progress through the rooms. They’re searching my room now and taking their time. The blinds start to lift, and I duck down and press into the wall of Seth’s room.

I’ve been here once before. Three years ago, Frank and Mildred Kauffman lived in this house.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

B.I.G. Code

I'd never heard of the Kill/Boff/Marry guy rating system until I read this post on Forever Young Adult regarding The Hunger Games . (You should read it. It's hysterical.) I guess I was ahead of my time because in high school, I had my own guy rating system. And this was before Twitter, Facebook and when typing in shorthand was just catching on. (My favorite: a/s/l)

Working at my first job making pizzas, one of my female coworkers and I needed a way to rate the male customers who came into the store without them knowing. This spawned B.I.G.

B: Beastly
I: I'd do him (except we didn't say "do")
G: Gorgeous

Then we had variations because not every boy fit into one of the above categories.

BBI: Beast but I'd still do him (for those nice/fun guys who aren't an A+ in the looks dept.)
GG: Gorgeous God
GBB: Gorgeous but beastly (for all those good-looking jerks)

The slang may have changed, but teenage girls have not. How many YA protaganists are 16-year-old girls? A lot. And this is what teenage girls do. Think about boys, talk about boys, whisper about boys. They share private jokes with their best friends and sometimes even make-up their own language.

Of course, teenage girls aren't one dimensional. When they're not thinking about boys, they're worrying about their appearance, dealing with their parents, planning for the future, passing their finals, picking colleges, standing up to bullies...and on and on and on. I think that's why so many writers like to write YA. There's never a shortage of drama.

But adding little tidbits to your novel like a secret guy rating code between friends adds realism to your characters, because it is real. I couldn't have been the only teenager to do it. Keep that in mind when crafting your characters. The quirks and details are what turn a series of words into a real person.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hotties of Literature

I now know my hubby doesn't read my blog, which is a good thing for this post because I can freely talk about barely-legal hotties. Agency sister and friend, Brigid Kemmerer, spawned this event to cast hot, young actors for books we love. (Her debut, STORM, is coming out next month and has four tasty boys to choose from.) When she mentioned it, I couldn't resist. She knows I'm always on the lookout for a nice set of abs.

The book I chose to cast is: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. This was my favorite book of 2011. I'm hoping to see it on the big screen eventually, and here is who I'd like to see.

Tris: The MC and narrator of the novel. She abandons her self-sacrificing family for a more exciting future with the Dauntless. She's a fighter, but years of thinking of others' needs first sticks with her. Described in the novel, "I am not pretty--my eyes are too big and my nose is too long--but I can see that Christina is right. My face is noticeable." For that reason, I chose... Dakota Fanning, specifically how she was done up for the Runaways.

Four: The hard-edged Dauntless instructor who has a soft spot for Tris. He values teamwork and bravery and has a shaded past. Described by Tris, "He has a spare upper lip and a full lower lip. His eyes are so deep-set that his eyelashes touch the skin under his eyebrows, and they are a dark blue color..." A tough combo, but I'm going to go with Logan Lerman best known as playing Percy Jackson and about a four out of five himself..on the eye-candy scale.

Christina: Tris' outgoing Candor friend who always says what's on her mind. Described as, "...tall with dark brown skin and short (black) hair. Pretty." I'm going to assume she's black, and select Zoe Kravitz, though I'm not sure how tall she is.

Will: The intelligent Erudite boy who has a thing for Christina. "He is a blond with shaggy hair and a crease between his eyebrows." For him I choose Kendall Schmidt, because I can see him being the smart, nerdy-type, the guy who you can snuggle up to while he reads you excerpts from a textbook. Not that you'd be paying attention to the subject matter.

Eric: The Dauntless leader also taking part in the transfer training. He despises the weak, and is the novel's bully. Described by Tris, "His face is pierced in so many places I lose count, and his hair is long, dark and greasy." I choose Robert Adamson. Yeah we have to toughen him up, but he looks like he could have a mean, dark side.

Al: Tris' large and loyal friend, Al is the golden-retriver type: sensitive and kind. Described in the book, "Al is half a foot taller than Will and twice as broad. As I stare at him, I realize that even his facial features are big--big nose, big lips, big eyes." This was my toughest pick, but I'm going with Miles Teller who played Willard in the remake of Footloose because Willard is a similar character to Al.

That covers the main characters. Join the fun! Cast your favorite book and share the link so we can all see.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What's Hot in Children's Books?

My husband and I are having our first, and likely, only child. In setting up the nursery, I'm of course, stocking up on children's books, including many of the classics I remember from my childhood, like:

The Dr. Seuss Classics (That my sister tells me were apparently banned from our house because our Southern mother couldn't get through the rhymes. I had to read them at school.)

Mr. Men
The Richard Scarry Books (Mom failed at Dr. Seuss, but she made up for it by sewing us a Lowly Worm plush out of felt.)
The Poky Little Puppy
Goodnight Moon
and...Pat the Bunny

And what fun it is to read through these again and relive my childhood memories! (Although, as an adult I found some of the character development to be lacking and the motivation for their actions shallow at best.) But how much depth can you really create in 20 pages of a few words each?

Since I'll be a first time parent, I've been out of the children book scene for a while. And by a while I mean about twenty-six years. I always like to read the latest in YA, so my question is, what's hot in children's books these days? Are any of you parents? What do your kids have? What do I absolutely need to add to my collection? And are there any classics I'm missing?

Since I'll probably screw up most other aspects of his life, I'd like to at least make sure his reading material is top grade.