Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dumb Disappointment

Yes, aces- I am disappointed in the winner of American Idol (is it just me or is that Carrie Underwood song HOTTT?) last night, but if you know me, you know that's because I thought Casey James should go away with the title- but alas, that's not the case- so moving on.
I was thinking about my disappointment and also thinking about the Flash Forward (finale I HOPE) that is coming on tonight. And I realized, WHO writes that show??? Or maybe I should blame the actors instead of the writers, but either way- the show is kinda whack. Just in case you never saw it- please check out this remixed version of one of the lines from the show.

Now, I ask you- why are some of us still struggling when we can write better material than this? My thought process led me to this question I would like to ask all of you- do you ever feel like you are dumbing down your writing in order to get published/sell your novel(s)?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Music-al Monday! Book Musicals

Hey aces :) It's yet another (dreary,dark in VA) Monday and I am fresh from NO Sleep due to the fantabulous Lost series *weep* finale. I had a strange dream at one point - it might have been a daydream even- and it made me think about musicals. No, you do not want details as to what my dream was about. Anyway, it got me thinking- which novels would make great musicals? And I'm not talking the obvious ones- like novels based on mythical creatures and/or novels about true love. I'm talking about obscure novels that would ROCK as a musical.

For example, John Grisham's A Time to Kill. Imagine this: cold court room, prosecution lawyer is pacing back and forth. He is making a nice rhythm with the click of his slick black dress shoes. The judge bangs his gavel to the beat.

The African American fathers stands and sings, "Hell yeah, I think they deserve to die- and I hope they burn in hell!"

Beautiful? Yes. Disturbing? A little.

But you get my point. Some novels would make brilliant musicals. Another one that comes to mind is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.The costumes and scenery for that would be rock hard!

Or think about if Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (if it already hasn't been) was made into a musical. Wouldn't that be bad ass?

This idea can't be that far-fetched, Greenday already has a flipping musical! Can you think of a novel that would rock as a musical???

BTW- the answer to my *oh so wrongly done* 6 truths and a lie post- I never knew, nor do I want to know, how to knit. So, that is the thing that is not true about me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tat-Tat-Tatted Up!

It's that time again! My aces at YA Highway have given yet another stellar and thought provoking question for this week's Roadtrip Wednesday. I have been trying to push myself to get a tattoo for the past two years now. And for good reason- it would be to remember my late father. My entire immediate family (mom, older sister, and younger brother) all have theirs, but I am too much of a wimp to git 'er done! So...I am enjoying this week's question. What tattoo would I get to celebrate my book's success OR what tattoo would I get to celebrate my favorite book?
Of course if I every really get the courage to get a tattoo- the first one will be an ode to my dad, but in the meantime I want to play around with this topic! I'll start with the first part of the question, if one of my books is ever successful- only one is complete so I will use that for this post-I would get devil horns AKA the rock symbol. Why? Because my POS Chasing Manson is a 1960/70's music (mainly rock) love fest. The novel is not entirely focused on rock n roll, but the chapter and section titles are all pulled from song titles during that time period so it seems only fitting.

And as for a tat to celebrate my fave book??? Oooh...hard one. I have so many fav books right now! I guess I would have to get the mickingjay from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins- most def!

And I would want something to rep. Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates and stay tuned- you might see Q_P_'s (the main character in the novel) playlist up here one Monday! Maybe I can get something like a rattail- read the book, NOW, if you wanna know why I chose that. I could write about this forever. There are so many others that I can think of- fangs for the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, a baseball bat for Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim, and a gavel for The Associate by John Grisham. All great books and totally ROCK HARD tattoos ideas!

What would you choose for a tattoo?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Got An Award *Wipes Tears*

Really, I feel like I just won a blogger version of a Golden Globe. She likes me, she really, really likes me! The "she" I am referring to? Why, none other than the Blue Lipstick Samurai! She gave me a "Creative Writer" Best Blog award. Granted I share it with some other cool cats at the moment, my cuz, Pam Harris, and the wonderful Tabby Catt. But still, it ROCKS to get this award. The really awesome part about it? First I get to pass it on, and I will pass it on to: the lovely Sarah Enni with her always inspiring blog, Jessica Byam who loves to share her insight, and Stina Lindenblatt who just got an array of fabulous blog awards..And second, I get to tell you 6 truths and a lie and see if you can guess which one is a lie. It's like Christmas day for a writer! My evil brain is now at work. Can you figure out my lie?

  1. When I was younger I ran into a 4 * 4 log of wood that hung out of the bed of a truck. Ever since that day, I can't remember a lot of stuff.
  2. In my spare time I knit sweaters, blankets, etc for pets and babies.
  3. On my very first trip to England my room was infested with labybugs.
  4. I stalk Casey James, Robert Pattinson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Eminem, and Ashton Kutcher on a daily basis.
  5. I used to have to run from someone referred to as "The Naked Clown," during my childhood in the "ghetto".
  6. My novel (POS Chasing Manson) already has a screenplay written for it.
  7. I love to eat grape jelly on sausage biscuits- YUM!
Tell me- which one do you think is a lie?

BTW- Way back when I was despondent about blogging b/c no one would follow me *sigh* my lovely cuz, Pam Harris passed on the Sunshine Award to me too. I just wanted to give her a shout out for thanking of me way back when :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Music Monday: Character Playlists

Hey aces! It's time for music again- so pump up the volume! Yes, I did just use that archaic phrase, but I am cool enough to make it swaggerific again. So, last week I talked about tips on using music in your writing and included a list. In that list, I told you all to make playlists for your characters in order to help you better understand that character's voice and write their scenes. Therefore, I thought I would give an example of playlists for a few literary characters that we all might know. Ready for it! Here we go!

Bella's Playlist (Twilight)
  1. Obsessed-Mariah Carey (Song to Jacob :) )
  2. Crush- Jennifer Paige
  3. Bubbly- Colbie Callat
  4. '03 Bonnie and Clyde- Jay-Z feat. Beyonce
  5. The Only Exception- Paramore
  6. Clumsy- Fergie
  7. All Around Me-Flyleaf
  8. Crush on You- Lil' Kim feat. Lil' Cease
  9. 3- Britney Spears (Ha ha!)
  10. My Life Would Suck Without You- Kelly Clarkson

Melinda's Playlist (Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson)

  1. Don't Speak- No Doubt
  2. More than Words- Frankie J (originally written/recorded by the rock band Extreme)
  3. Another Brick in the Wall- Korn (originally by Pink Floyd)
  4. Talk Show on Mute- Incubus
  5. Enjoy the Silence- Depeche Mode (Re-makes by HIM and Tori Amos)
  6. Numb-Linkin Park
  7. Drop the World- Lil' Wayne feat. Eminem
  8. Our Lips are Sealed- The Go-Go's
  9. Silence- Portishead
  10. Cleaning out my Closet-Eminem
Micha's Playlist (Liar by Justine Larbalestier)
  1. Liar-Rollins Band
That's the only song for this one because I wanted to expose you all to this rare, precious jewel of a song- please check out the link. My cuz Pam can vouch for the beautiful-ness that this song possesses :)

Can you think of any literary characters whose playlist you would like to create?

Friday, May 14, 2010

YA Writing Tips

Hey aces :) I wanted to share with you another article from the Writer magazine that I read this past week. I usually don't get a whole lot of info from the Writer that I can use myself, but this past issue seemed like it was catered to me!

There is an article written by Nora Raleigh Baskin where she spells out six tips for writing young adult (YA) novels. Nora is a Middle Grade/YA author who also teaches at Gotham Writers' Workshop. Some of her books include, Anything but Typical about a 12 year old autistic boy, and All We Know of Love about a girl who's mother walks out on her and she goes on a journey to find her.

If you are a not a subscriber to the Writer magazine, and you still want some inside info, check out my blog from time to time b/c when I find really cool articles I will definitely share with my fellow writers!

Without further adieu here is what Ms. Baskin says about writing YA novels:

  1. Get your POV right- the perspective needs to be immediate. The teenager will not relate to an adult looking back as much as they would relate to the here and now.
  2. Make sure the character's age suits the audience- middle grade novels should deal with kids in middle school, while young-adult novels should deal with high-school aged characters. Baskin says that most high school students read adult books too, so the real audience is somewhere between 7th and 10th grade. Your character needs to learn, grow, an change during the course of the novel
  3. If your figure out the voice, the language will come- while writing the first draft, figure out what kind of voice you want your character to have and the sentence structure, vocabulary, and even plot structure will follow.
  4. Don't shy away from touchy subjects- As a general rule middle-grade fiction does not actively involve sex and drugs, but YA can be on pretty much any topic. They are no bounds-sexuality, homosexuality, abuse, drunk driving, incest, or rape are all topics that are considered "acceptable" for YA fiction. ( I find this slightly debatable- I think some people still shy away from some of these topics).
  5. Don't get preachy-No one wants to be taught a lesson while reading fiction (unless it's a fable or something) Writers don't need to answer the questions- we should raise them.
  6. Write hopeful endings- Most YA novels leave readers with at least a glimmer of hope. Don't drill in lessons or give warnings, but allow for possibility.
At the end of the article there are helpful links and here are some of them you should check out:

Young Adult Library Services Association

Interview, Podcasts with YA authors and agents

Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (which I am a member of and I am attending the LA conference this summer! YEAH!)

I hope this helped you if you are writing YA or Middle Grade- and as I said, these are mainly Nora Baskin's words/tips- however, I agree with most if not all of them. What do you think about her tips? Would you change any of them?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fictional Following

My number 1 aces at YA Highway have posed a BRILLIANT question for this week's Road Trip Wednesday. They are asking, what fictional character would you follow if they had a Twitter account? Ooooh, how cool is that???? I am Twitter obsessed so this question couldn't get any better for me. I have a few literary characters whose tweets I would love to follow! Check it out below:

  1. Micah from Justine Larbalestier's Liar. Why? She would have the most outrageous tweets and I would never know if they were the truth or not :)
  2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Why? Because she is uber cool and says some of the wittiest things.
  3. Melinda from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Yes, she doesn't have much to say but whenever she does speak, it is sooo profound
  4. Austin from Pamela Harris' soon-to-be-published-because-it-needs-to-be WIP Wants. Why? The dude is swaggerific- like forreals ;)
  5. Alcide the werewolf from Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series? Why? Because he seems so sweet and hot at the same time.
  6. Last but not least, Edward Cullen from the Twilight series...why? Because I stalk Robert Pattinson, therefore, I must stalk Edward Cullen. Makes sense right???

Who would you legally stalk on Twitter????

Monday, May 10, 2010

Musting Advice

My title sounds like this post is going to be about how to get yourself musty- what I attempted to do was a mash up of music and writing...bad idea- noted.

Anyway, the weekend drained me! I feel like a zombie robot- hey, has anyone written a book about zombie robots yet? Wouldn't that be badass???

Anyway, I always have energy for my aces, so I'm back on Music Monday to discuss the beautiful relationship of music and writing. I was doing some research on how many other blogs/sites out there discuss the use of music in writing and I stumbled upon this jewel of an article. Here, ginettewk12 (her username) discusses how you can best use music when working on fiction. She outlines steps in order to get the most out of music. I am going to do my own variation on her list! Feel free to check out hers to linked above by the word- jewel :)

Getting the most out of music when writing:
  1. Turn on your music, be it iTunes, Rhapsody, or an old fashioned stereo (cough- loser-cough).
  2. Whatever song is on, listen to the music/lyrics- what are they telling you? Is it a bad pop song that is begging to sound like Britney Spears about being "tamed?" OR is it is a rap song talking about picking up the entire earth and placing it on someone head? Whatever it is about- use it! Take those lyrics and think about writing your characters into those situations. What would your teenaged protagonist be like if they were locked in a cage and needed to get out, or if they were so frustrated that they wanted to attempt to cause bodily harm to someone?
  3. If you are using iTunes or something like it, create a playlist that fits the mood of your novel. Let the songs play as you type and allow the music and lyrics to determine what decision your character is going to make, or where the next scene will take place
  4. Create playlists for each of your characters- if they have key parts in the novel and you want to create a distinct voice for each of them- make a playlist that seems like would be on their iPod and play it whenever you are writing scenes or dialogue for that character
  5. FINALLY- Repeat all of the above. If you play this music over and over each time you write- yes, you will grow to hate the song, but it will get you used to writing on a regular basis.
Okay- that's it for my musting words of wisdom. What do you think about these 5 points of advice?

Also, go check out a contest from recently signed Frankie Diane Mallis- she just signed with Laura Rennert from Andrea Brown Literary Agency and she is giving away something uber cool if you're a fan of the Hunger Games trilogy. Why are you still here? Wait! Comment on my blog first and then go check out the contest- and make sure you tell her I referred you!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Casey Fever!

Okay, aces- at first glance this may seem like it has nothing to do with my writing----and well, maybe it doesn't- but if Casey doesn't get enough votes tonight and ends up going home on Wed., I think I may cease to exist.

Dramatic? Yes. True? No.

But, I need YOUR support, your help! I think Casey James (listen to this performance is you don't think I'm right!) is the most talented person to grace the American Idol stage in some time. Okay, so in your opinion he may not be AS good a singer as David Cook, or Chris Daughtry- but the man is GORGEOUS and he can blow! Watch him sing "Don't" on AI here. Who else could make a Shania Twain song so sexy???!!!

If he goes home tomorrow, I will not only have lost faith in the AI system, but I will also have lost my will to go on- which in turn makes me lose my creative juices, which in turn makes me stare at my computer screen and wonder what the hell I should write.

Long story short, if you ever want to read my brilliant work, Casey James MUST survive on AI. It's that simple. I will tweet his number later on tonight so you all can vote for him...I know that you will because you realize that the fate of the publishing world relies on this one night.

I have CASEY FEVER! Do you????

**Disclaimer- NOTHING- not even Casey James- will take away my desire to write. This is just my evil, yet clever, ploy to get more votes for the best artist on American Idol right now.**

Monday, May 3, 2010

Music Monday: Book Scores!

What's up aces???? So, I went to see A Nightmare on Elm Street this past Friday ( I told you guys I was going!!!!) and it was exactly what I expected- suspense, drama, a REALLY scary part here and there, and a killer score.
This got me thinking...if my book could have a musical score, what would it sound like? I know that some people make book trailers and I can only assume they use some type of music during the trailer, but I'm thinking more along the lines of an actual song/score that I would hear while reading my novel.

Of course my POS Chasing Manson is heavily influenced by 60/70s music so it's easy for me to think of several songs while I am re-reading and re-writing. However, I am talking about an OVERALL song/score. Now that I think about it, I am sure it would be "Riders on the Storm" from the Doors. It might even be an instrumental version- but the lyrics/music of this song are haunting enough to the be the theme song of my novel.

What about you? If you had to choose a song or score that embodies your novel(s), what would it be?

BTW- Casey McCormick is giving away a really cool prize on her blog- go check it out!