Monday, May 21, 2012

Buy Books!

My dad and I were discussing books and he'd said he'd recently read one he'd gotten at the Dollar Store and loved. (You can cringe, I did) Anyway, there is a sequel to it, one he wanted. I looked it up online and found it for $13. He didn't want to pay the money, and trust me, buying the book wouldn't have sent him to the poorhouse. But since he got the first one for a dollar, thirteen dollars seemed like a lot to him. I bought it for him, and he whipped through it in a couple of days because he loved it.

This is what astounds me. People who love great books, people who read all the time, won't spend money on books. I certainly don't expect people to buy the number of books I buy in a year, but if all those avid readers, like my dad, bought a couple of full-price books a year, there wouldn't be all these tales of woe coming from the publishing companies and booksellers. If you love books, buy them! It's the only way to make sure they stick around, and if $13 seems like a lot to you, below are a few price comparisons you and my dad should really be scoffing at.

Starbuck's Frappuccino - about $4.00
Mmm. Yum yum! A delicious, coffee-flavored frosty beverage. Buy three of these, and you've bought yourself a book. A book is hours of enjoyment and intellectually stimulating. It tickles the imagination and evokes emotions. A frappuccino gives you coffee breath and thunder thighs.

Movie Tickets - $10.00 (each) 
I'm sure the price varies from location to location, but this is what we pay here for 2 hours of entertainment while sitting on a smelly, uncomfortable seat with sticky floors and some guy yapping on his cellphone through half of the flick. One movie ticket and you've bought yourself an e-book you can enjoy on the beach with the soothing sounds of the ocean and a crisp breeze kissing your cheeks. And once it's over, you can read it again, for FREE! You want to see a movie a second time, better get out your wallet.

Cable Television: $80 a month (at least)
I think I'm being generous to the cable companies here. And sure, for your eighty dollars a month (which comes out to almost a grand per year) you get awesome shows like The Walking Dead (based off a graphic novel), True Blood (based off a book series) and Game of Thrones (based off a book series...sensing a trend here?). But there's more! You get Jersey Shore, Desperate Housewives and a whole bunch of other lackluster, reality TV shows. Sure, the History channel is right there, but what do you watch? Snooki beating up some other girl in a bar. And each time you watch it, you get dumber.*

Cut the cable and guess what? You get network channels for FREE with plenty of crappy shows to occupy your time, AND you could have 8 new books a month to fill in the informercial spaces! Your brain cells will grow, your imagination will expand, and when the next, hot book gets picked up for a TV series, you can be the coolest of your friends when you say, "I know all about it. I read the book."

So Dad, as you're writing that check for your cable bill, think about your $13 book and decide what's more valuable: eight more great books a month, or Keeping up with the Kardashians.

*There is no actual science and data to prove this, only my biased opinion as being a person who does not have cable.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Switching Perspectives

Oh yeah. I'm doing it. In first person. Something I keep seeing in current YA lit and can't stand. Why? Because it's confusing. The characters always end up sounding the same, which is espcecially annoying when one is supposed to be a boy and they both sound like girls. After reading quite a few of these, I think I've come up with some ways to avoid the pitfalls, and I want to try my hand at it.

#1: Catch Phrases
The characters I've chosen to narrate are very different, which I think, helps. My male MC is a Southern boy, so he narrates with Southern comparisons, ie, "She looked like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs." Often I start his chapters with one of these sayings so the reader knows right away who is speaking.

#2: Description
Okay, this is similar to the above, but the way two people describe things should be different. My female MC is VERY detailed. Where my male MC would say, "her eyes were blue," she would say, "his eyes were pale blue with flecks of green and gold slashing through the iris." Again, if I start a chapter with a saying like this, it establishes who is speaking.

I also keep the voice consistent throughout the chapter, and when writing my male MC's parts, stop myself when I catch him describing clothes. Boys don't care about clothes like girls do (at least not most of the boys I know.) If he says something about clothes it might be, "She was wearing those huge heels that every girl at school tromps around in."

#3: Names
This is such as easy way to establish narrator at the beginning of a chapter...say the other character's name. "John!" I cried.
Obviously my female MC is speaking because people don't go around shouting their own names out (most of the time).

These are my tricks for making the perspective switch a little easier for the reader. Have you ever written a novel from two different narrators in 1st person? How did it go? And what did you do to make it clear to the reader who was narrating?