Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Leaving your characters hanging

I always feel bad when I stop writing. I have this image in my head of my characters waiting around wherever I've left them, waiting for me to come back and give them more to do.

Right now my MC is standing in the woods. She has her arms crossed, looking up at the trees with a bored expression on her face. She's tapping her foot. She's giving deep, heartfelt sighs. She is, after all, a rebellious teenager who does not particularly want to be where she is.

A few feet away, her five year old cousin is crouching down and playing in the dirt. She's writing her name with a stick. She's kind of glad to be stuck in the woods, because it means she isn't at home being made to do chores.

My MC's future love interest is up the path through the woods, waiting to be introduced to the MC. They haven't met yet. He really wants me to hurry up, but I'm not sure how exactly it's going to work. He doesn't care. But so far, all I know of him is his name, so he's going to have to wait.

My MC's grandmother is waiting for MC and little cousin to get home from school so she can make them do chores. She gets antsy without people to boss around, and her husband and son are out working in the fields.

And I feel sorry for all of them, because I'm stuck. And therefore, so are they. Let's hope I figure it out before they freeze or are eaten by wolves because they are standing in the woods at night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pacing a teenage romance

I recently finished reading a highly anticipated YA novel, and while I enjoyed it, I had a problem with the pacing of the romantic relationship. It took fooorrrreevvveeerrr. Yeah, just like that. And on top of that, their interactions were extraordinarily brief and somewhat shallow, in my opinion. (Well, they were teenagers, so I suppose that is realistic)

On the other hand, I've read YA books where the romantic relationship moves at light speed. Ten pages in and they're in love and ready to run away together.

In my opinion, real teenage relationships fall somewhere in between. Yes, teenagers have intense feelings and tend to rush into things, but they are also for the most part incredibly insecure and afraid of said intense feelings not being reciprocated, so they tend to make absolutely sure of the other person's interest before admitting their own feelings.

The following steps apply to romantic relationships in modern day America, and may have to be adjusted for dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy genres.

1. The crush. The initial awareness of the other person's existence. Usually one-sided. Noticing of desirable physical or personality traits.

2. The "accidental" meeting. In high school, I memorized my crush's schedule so that I could casually be standing in a spot I knew he would pass on his way to his next class. Or made friends with guys on his sports team as an excuse to go to his game. Or happen to show up at the same after school spot where he hung out. If all goes according to plan, at this step the crush will become two-sided.

3. The first hang-out sess. Usually in a group setting, although some one-on-one time can be created. At this time, phone calls and texting are initiated.

4. 3rd party intervention. Friends on either side are made aware of crush and possible long-term interest and seek out confirmation of reciprocated feelings from other party, either directly or indirectly. This is the most important step, as the rest of the relationship hinges on whether or not both parties receive confirmation of like feelings.

5. The date. This can include simply sitting together at lunch if actual first date is not possible, or can include a one-on-one trip to the movies/mall/ etc.

6. Making it official. Facebook, that is. After this, public displays of affection and possessiveness are acceptable. Hating of jealous exes is appropriate, complete isolation from friends often ensues as the relationship gains in intensity and importance.

7. Complete and utter devotion

Friday, December 10, 2010

Obsessions in your writing

I think that all writers have certain obsessions that without fail appear in their writing. I know that mine come from things that have happened to me in my life and that I'm still (and will probably always) be dealing with or thinking about. My obsessions? Here is the list:

1. Death. Especially at a young age. If you missed the reason behind that, you can read my Thanksgiving blog post.
2. Forgiveness.
3. Betrayal.
4. Honesty.
5. Grandparents.
6. Missouri.
7. Florida.
8. Tattoos
9. Teenage romances that aren't perfect and don't end in happily ever after but teach you a lot about yourself.
10. God/religion/the afterlife
11. Puppies

So, what are your obsessions?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is this glass half full?

Hope everyone had great Thanksgiving. Mine was lovely, with the exception of the bruises. You know, from trying to wrestle my MS Hellbound into submission. We fought, bitterly, for many days, until the merest thought of the damn thing made me so nauseous I almost turned down seconds of apple pie. Almost. Yeah, it got bad.

Therefore I have come to the massively gut-wrenching decision of shelving it for the time being. I desperately wanted to finish it before taking a break from it - I have been working on it steadily for almost a year. And itisthisclose to being done (well, the first draft, anyway). But I am so sick of looking at it that I can't bring myself to open it.

On the bright side, I have had a lightning strike of inspiration for my previous WIP, crappily titled Banished, which I shelved to work on Hellbound. The rough draft of Banished was completed and I was religiously editing when I realized that the plot was not working. I've come up with an idea to fix it, however....

It requires almost a complete re-write.

Sooo....I'd better get to work.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving Post

I don't usually talk about this, because it's something that is very difficult for me, even this far past it.

7 years ago today my best friend died. We were 16. It's been a while since the anniversary fell on Thanksgiving. I think about her every day, without fail. A lot of times I think about how unfair her death was, how it wasn't supposed to be this way. I think about all the plans we had and all the things we talked about doing that will never happen now. I think about little things, inside jokes we had and times when we just laughed and laughed about pretty much nothing at all, because when you're 16 and invincible you think you have all the time in the world.

But today, I'm thinking about how lucky I was just to have her in my life at all. As much as I wish we could've become crazy old ladies together and done all the things we talked about, what's important is that I loved her when she was alive, and now I appreciate every second I had with her. She was an amazing friend, the loyal, funny, irreplaceable kind that don't come around very often. I hope that wherever she is she knows I'm thinking about her and that I will never forget her, and that her death changed me in ways I never could've imagined.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Plea to YA authors

Dear YA authors,

Please stop making your heroes decades, centuries, and in my latest read, a couple MILLENNIA older than the heroine. I'm supposed to believe that a guy who has been around for thousands of years fell in love with a normal 16 year old? That over those thousands of years he never met anyone more extraordinary than this plain person? I don't care that he looks like he's 16, he's not, nor should he be acting like he is. It's honestly a little creepy.

Thank you for your time and attention in regards to this matter, and I appreciate your discretion in the future.


Smoothie Girl

Friday, November 12, 2010

REVIEW: Siren by Tricia Rayburn


Seventeen-year-old Vanessa Sands is afraid of everything--the dark, heights, the ocean--but her fearless older sister, Justine, has always been there to coach her through every challenge. That is until Justine goes cliff diving one night near the family's vacation house in Winter Harbor, Maine, and her lifeless body washes up on shore the next day.

Vanessa's parents want to work through the tragedy by returning to their everyday lives back in Boston, but Vanessa can't help feeling that her sister's death was more than an accident. After discovering that Justine never applied to colleges, and that she was secretly in a relationship with longtime family friend Caleb Carmichael, Vanessa returns to Winter Harbor to seek some answers.

But when Vanessa learns that Caleb has been missing since Justine's death, she and Caleb's older brother, Simon, join forces to try to find him, and in the process, their childhood friendship blossoms into something more.
Soon it's not just Vanessa who is afraid. All of Winter Harbor is abuzz with anxiety when another body washes ashore, and panic sets in when the small town becomes home to a string of fatal, water-related accidents . . . in which all the victims are found grinning from ear to ear.

As Vanessa and Simon probe further into the connections between Justine's death and the sudden rash of creepy drownings, Vanessa uncovers a secret that threatens her new romance, and that will change her life forever.

I'm not a huge paranormal YA reader, especially when it involves mythological creatures. But something about this book caught my eye (the creepy yet gorgeous cover possibly?). I was intrigued, and after reading the glowing reviews I had to read it. I scoffed when the reviews insisted that this book had to be read in a day...but they were right. I bought this book last night and finished it this morning.

And while I've decided that I will never own a summer house in Maine -- bad things always happen at summer houses in Maine--the rest of the story was completely original and interesting. I didn't think I would like the MC and narrator Vanessa, a girl afraid of everything? No way. But she turned out to be immensely likable and sympathetic. Although I thought she avoided asking obvious questions, she turned out to be strong and brave. I loved Simon and Caleb. Especially Simon. He was ah-dorable.

The author drops enough hints throughout the book that you suspect what's going to happen, and yet it doesn't feel entirely predictable. I also loved the writing style, simple and straightforward but with just enough detail to get mental pictures of every scene.

I felt disappointed with the vague ending and the loose strings not being tied up into a pretty bow....but to my immense relief it is going to be trilogy. Phew!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deciphering the Teenage Mind

Okay, the title of this blog is misleading. There is no deciphering the teenage mind. The things teenagers do don't make any sense. However, if you are writing a YA novel and sometimes wonder how a teen would react to something or what they would say, here are a few ways to get a glimpse into the teenage brain.

Watch 16 and Pregnant/ Teen Mom religiously.

These shows are the epitome of teenage naivete and immaturity. How a 16 year old girl could get pregnant (for the most part on purpose) and think that her equally irresponsible boyfriend will a) want to stay with her for the baby b) suddenly become responsible c) be an excellent, supportive father is the best example I can think of to show the utter lack of common sense teenage girls display. And yet somehow at the end of the show, every girl says "Oh, yeah, I should've waited to have a baby. It's hard."


Read Seventeen magazine. This is what teen girls actually care about: boys, hot boys, flirting with boys, having sex with boys...oh and makeup, clothes and shoes.

Disney Channel is not an accurate representation of normal teens. Normal teens are not secret pop stars, don't have magic powers, and no school sinks that much money on costumes and sets for high school plays . Instead, look at what happens to Disney stars in their private lives. Sexting, naked pictures, eating disorders and cutting, nasty break-ups, now that is realistic.


Watch MTV's True Life and/or Made. Okay, watch anything on MTV. No, watch everything on MTV. The absolute best source for info on teens.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Face wall. Bang head. Repeat.


What do you do when you feel completely overwhelmed by your MS? (I'll tell you what I do...give up for the moment and write a blog about it) When it needs so much work that you don't even know where to start?

I am determined to finish Hellbound, especially as soon I will not be working and would love to be able to query by the time I start school in January, because I sure won't have a ton of time to get it in shape then.'s a mess. I wrote it out of order and there are random scenes everywhere. I've never written a romance and I'm having trouble with the pacing and development of that relationship.

Any ideas? Brilliant words of wisdom? A hug? I'll take whatever ya got.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Writer's Guilt Game

You know how it goes. Every day you have a conversation with yourself that goes something like this:

"I should really be writing. But, hmm, the kitchen is a mess. And the dog needs a bath. I haven't made the bed since Tuesday....*phone rings*....Now I've agreed to go out to dinner with my bestie. So....I'll write tomorrow. Good plan."

" is my only day off and the male-creature I love also has his first day off in 16 days. We should probably do something coupley like visit a farmer's market or see a movie. So....I'll write tomorrow. Excellent."

"Work. All. Day. Am. Exhausted. Can't. Touch. Computer."

"I haven't written in a week! I am a horrible, pathetic loser type person who will never finish a novel let alone be published!!!!"

It's a sad reality that as much as we would like to, we can't spend all day, every day typing away on our WIPs (okay, I wouldn't really like to do that, but I would like to at least have the option) and as a result we feel guilty when we don't write because of any number of things.


I think it is important to remember one thing. WRITING WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.

Your MS isn't going to storm off in a huff because you've been neglecting it and never return. Your writing is like a precious puppy dog. Whether you've been gone five minutes or five days, it's going to be just as happy to see you when you get home *minus the tail wagging and barking*.

So. Go easy on yourself. Live your life, and never feel guilty for choosing to spend time with the people you love instead of writing. Writing will always be there, but those people might not. (But if you can eliminate work/school/cleaning-DO IT).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some Sad (and yet...happy) News!

I am sad, and at the same time excited, to announce that as of October 25....


Ahem. At least, officially. I have given my two weeks notice and will be retiring from the smoothie girl profession (if all goes according to plan, permanently.) However, I will always be a devoted smoothie groupie and lover of all things delicious blended fruit drink. I will forever be a smoothie girl at heart and therefore, the title of this blog will not be changing!

And, in the happy/exciting news department....


Yes, you read the correctly. Now, you may be thinking "But Smoothie Girl, you already hold a bachelor's degree in "How to Be Nice to People" (a.k.a. Hospitality Management)". And you might also be asking, "Smoothie girl, in such a precarious economic situation, are you saying that a degree in being nice to people is not conducive to a successful, fulfilling, and wealth making career?"

No. No, it is not. I'm getting a second bachelor's degree in accounting (don't judge!) because after 7 years of dealing with people day, after day, after day, I'm thinking a job with a cozy desk and limited amount of human interaction and where I can wear cute dress-up clothes is just what I need. (Oh, and I kind of like accounting. But don't let that get around. I've got a reputation to uphold.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Small Packages Blogfest!!

Today is the Small Packages Blogfest, for you bloggers out there like me who have less than 150 followers. Awesome idea courtesy of Jessica at Witless Exposition. If you want to sign up or just check out the other blogs, click here!

The subject of today's blogfest is:

What's your favorite Halloween episode from a TV show?
If your one of those young people that doesn't remember when TV was fun, what's your favorite scary TV show or movie?

Now, I believe I am old enough to remember when ALL the t.v. shows had holiday themed episodes. For some reason, the ones that stick out most in my mind were the ones from Roseanne. My mom loved that show, and it reminded me of my own home life (middle class, suburban, although my mom was much nicer than Roseanne). They always had awesome customs and a haunted house that was similar to one my neighbors put on. Plus they were hilarious, Roseanne and Dan always played the best tricks on everyone. It was like April Fool's meets Halloween.


As for scary t.v. shows, I believe a majority of my childhood was spent cowering in the corner while my brother giggled maniacally as we watched "Are you afraid of the dark?"

The answer to that question being a huge, resounding YES! I slept with a nightlight until I was ten....Okay, twelve. FINE, FOURTEEN!! Sue me, okay? I got over it. For the most part.


The episodes I remember most clearly (well, there are alot of them, actually) include the ones where 3 girls get lost in the woods at summer camp and meet 3 old women who have been lost for years. Another where a guy who stole treasure from a ship can't fall go to sleep or zombies will come after him. And one about a little girl stuck in a mirror who keeps writing help on the walls backward.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wannabe Writers #37

Are you a wannabe writer? Sign up here.

Where I am in the writing process: Unpublished. And at the moment, distinctly unmotivated. I started a new MS last weekend (big mistake!). I now have 5 WIPs. FIVE!!! 2 finished, which have been shelved. 1 that is approx. 75% complete and is my main focus (Hellbound) and which I hope to edit and query. And 2 that are in baby stages and I hope to complete someday.

My current problem(s): Motivation. I've hit a wall with Hellbound and haven't looked at it in at least a week. It's soooo close to being done and I can't even look at it at the moment. I'm not sure what else it needs and I'm not looking forward to figuring it out.

My question this week: Do you work on multiple projects? Or do you write one book at a time?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tracking Your Stats. Yea or Nay?

So, as I've navigated my way around the lovely blogger universe, I've noticed a theme on other writer's blogs.

People keep track of how far along they are in their WIPs and how many words a day they write and how much time they spend writing/editing/staring blankly at the screen....etc. Huh. I also discovered you can keep track of how many people view your profile, read each blog post, etc. Hmm.

I don't do any of these things. I have no idea how long a WIP is going to be, so how can I know I am 80% done or whatever? When I write, I write til I don't feel like writing anymore or I've finished a scene or I have something else to do. I don't set writing goals. I have a valid fear that setting goals and then not meeting them will be detrimental to my self-esteem.

I think if I kept track of how many (or, um, few) people look at my blog I would turn into a dejected basket-case, and again, take a blow to my confidence.

But I'm curious, does keeping track of how much you write and/or how many people visit your blog and/or setting goals (daily, weekly, monthly?) work for you? If so, why?

Friday, October 1, 2010

New plan for getting published. It could work for you too!

I have formed a new plan to get published. And, if I may say, it is B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T.

Am I going to....
Finish my MS?
Polish it til it shines?
Edit, Edit, Edit?
Have others read it?
Edit some more?
Query like my life depends on it?
Gain an agent who will sell my book?

Nope. The answer would be none of the above.


I'm going to be on a cheesy reality show, get on the covers of tabloids, publicly embarrass myself (possibly get arrested...that's always helpful), maybe throw in some rehab, some public service, a dash of contrite apologies...and BAM! Editors will be fighting over me and my unwritten book. SUCCESS!

Please feel free to borrow my plan, adjust to your liking, and pursue.

*Note: I believe there are a select few celebrities who wrote their own books (or at least had input in them) and deserved to have them published. (But I'm not going to be one of those)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week, Tahereh at Grab a Pen and The Rejectionist have asked all us lovely bloggers to review one of our favorite banned books. You can find yours on the ALA list

First, can we just address the ridiculousness of the idea of banning books?? If you don't want to read a book, don't read it. Simple. What difference does it make to you if others read it? It doesn't. Point made.

That said, I had no idea how many amazing and frankly, harmless, books were on these banned lists. How many I read in school or on my own and which certainly influenced me and inspired me to become a writer myself. My favorite example of a harmless, brilliant book:


My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat. The size of a small Labrador, only mad.

Stupid underwear. What's the point of them, anyway? They just go up your bum, as far as I can tell.

Full-Frontal Snogging:
Kissing with all the trimmings, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues ... everything.

Her dad's got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her best friend thinks she looks like an alien -- just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stalking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia's year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever

This book is ha-ha-hilarious. The diary of a completely, 100% average teenage girl, with 100% average teenage problems. Now, let's examine what got this book banned by some old white guys who are clearly uncomfortable with the term "snogging" and would prefer that "thongs" still referred to flip-flops. Here is my take on how the conversation that got this book on the list went:

Thongs. Teenage girls wearing less than full-bottom covering underwear!? SCANDALOUS!!

Snogging. (Possibly the use of a great deal of British slang contributed to the banning of this book.) IF WE CAN'T UNDERSTAND IT WE SHOULDN'T READ IT!

Angus. Clearly, Angus the "Cat" is code for a tattooed, cracked-out, motorcycle driving, daughter-kidnapping corruptive boy.

The dad is referred to as a tele-tubby. UNDERMINING MALE AUTHORITY!
"Angus" is trying to eat a poodle. WE LOVE POODLES! HOW DARE YOU???

And, the final nail in the coffin.
The word SEX appears in the blurb! SEX!?? NOOOOOOOOOOOO......

Thus, banned. I believe this is the only way this could've happened....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tagged. Against my will.

Okay, so I've read like, 1239873 blogs that say I've been "tagged." I believe it's similar to what they do to wild animals for research purposes, some sort of electronic thing that marks me so as to keep tabs on my whereabouts. Or maybe this is one of those things that if I don't do what they tell me I'll have a lifetime of bad luck and my hair will fall out and no one will like me all because I didn't do it. I'm not clear on the details (it could be harmless fun...but I'm not convinced) and I am quite vulnerable, me superstitious, but I'm doing it.

1. If you could have a superpower, what would you have? Why?

I would like to be able to write for hours and hours and not get distracted or stuck or bored. that not a super power? Then I suppose I'd like to be invisible. Not all the time, I mean. Just when I wanted to be.

2. Who is your style icon?

Lauren Conrad. A-dorable.

3. What is your favorite quote?

Is it possible for an author not to love a million quotes? Here are two favorites from my FB profile. I apologize for the depressing (but oh-so-true) nature of the second:

"Life is like a poker game. Some players fold while holding a winning hand, some win holding nothing but a pair of deuces. It isn't the hand you're dealt in life-it's the hands that hold the cards."

"When someone you love dies it's as if they leave you with half shares of your life together. The person you were in their eyes dies with them."

4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?
My mom told me today she thinks I am a great writer.

And my boyfriend tells me every day that I'm beautiful :)

5. What playlist/cd is on your ipod/cd player right now?

I'm replaying a few songs constantly. Love like woe by The Ready Set, Strip Me by Natasha Bedingfield, and Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
My job makes me a morning bird (I think morning "person" doesn't have the same cache as "night owl"). But by nature, I am a night owl.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Dogs. I love my dog. She is my spoiled, pampered baby. But for some reason, I also bought a cat. When I realized she was demon-possessed it was too late to take her back. But I find little ways to get even with her for torturing me...

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I am a smoothie girl by trade, and I have many profound and fascinating epiphanies that need sharing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Create an authentic teen in 9 easy steps!

As someone who works with teenage girls, waits on teenage girls, and coincidentally, is not long past being a teenage girl, it has come to my attention the depiction of teens in YA and books/movies in general are pathetically inaccurate. So. If you want your writing to have a truly authentic teen, use the following rules:

1. Facebook is GOD. If it is on Facebook, it is irrefutable fact and must be treated as such. Likewise anything said in facebook messenger can and will be used against you in future rumor spreading. There are also numerous rules and codes on Facebook. For example, if you list a best friend as your “sibling”, you are declaring to the world that you are BFFE. There is also listing yourself as “married” to your best friend, and your “wifey” bff has an even higher rank than your “sibling” bff.
Note: If you wish to show commitment between your female MC and her significant other, please ensure that you include they have made it “Facebook official”. This concretes the relationship and ensures that it will never, ever, end. I would compare it to Bella marrying Edward, only much, much more serious.

2. Begin all sentences with “Dude”, “Bro”, “Oh my god!” or “Seriously”
“Dude, did you see the VMA's last night?”
“Bro, was Kanye a dick again?”
“Oh my god, Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat.”
“Seriously, she's like, such a snazzhole.”
*Note: I'm not sure what a snazzhole is, but I just heard a 16 year old girl use it. I'd assume it's similar to calling someone an asshole.

3. Insert “like” after every two to three words. This is a given, and I'm not sure why it isn't used in dialogue in YA novels. We all know teens talk don't like this:
“I saw Maci at the mall with Josh and oh my god, she looked huge!”

They talk like this:

“I like, saw Maci, like, at the mall, with like, Josh, and like, oh my god, she like, looked huge!”

4. Use long, rambling, difficult to follow sentences. “Dude, you're the one acting weird. That's why he put a sad face. Because you're the one acting different. You know if you're acting that with Kyle and Sara's acting that way with him what do you think he's going to do? Seriously, it's not his fault that you're being a snazzhole right now and totally freaking out on him because of what he did that like, wasn't even his fault, like seriously how was he supposed to know that you knew that Sara told him she was into him?”

5.For some reason, in YA books and teen movies, there is that one, reliable, always-there, labrador-loyal best friend. DURR!! No!! That is completely unrealistic. Your teen character needs a new best friend every week. And a huge end-of-the-world, never-speaking-to-you-again blowup fight to end the friendship. *Note: Said ex-best-friend can be reinstated without warning at any time. Replacement best friend now becomes frenemie number 1. This cycle can be repeated throughout your book and is important because it shows what true friendship is (competition and jealousy).

6.When showing your character writing an e-mail, text message, status update, etc. please add extra letters to all words, for example: boyssss and be sure to include <3333s and :) and difficult for adults to understand acroynoms: ilysm, rofl, lmao, ily, wtf, etc.

7.If you are writing a contemporary YA romance, sexting is a must. It's completely romantic and well-thought-out on the part of the teens.

8.No more Miss Nice Girl. High school girls. Are. Bitches! I don't care how nice or innocent or sheltered you think your MC is. She isn't. By definition, she must be a bitch because she is a teenage girl. She must call other girls fat, regardless of how skinny they are. She must flirt with other girl's boyfriends. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

9.If you think you might be going to far (drugs, sex, alcohol, tragedy) you aren't. If you're writing about kids in high school, it is impossible to go to far. If anything, real teens are far more screwed up and out of control than you could ever concieve.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My two cents for The Great Blogging Experiment

Today is the day, in case you haven't heard (is that possible?) of Elana Johnson, Jen Daiker and Alex Cavanaugh Great Blogging Experiment! To read the other blogs check out Elana's blog here. The topic is writing compelling characters. And now for my two cents:

The thing that makes characters compelling for me are when they do things that are totally unexpected. Characters who always keep me guessing, even when I think I know how they will react (and how I would react) and they do the complete opposite. This always makes me want to read more to figure out why they did what they did. Of course, there has to be sufficient motivation to justify what the character does, especially when it is dangerous/crazy/unexpected.

Example: Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich. 16 books into the series and she still surprises me somehow. Even though I know she is constantly getting herself into trouble, I'm never bored or able to predict what she will do next, but I'm always sure it will be entertaining and compelling.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Banished by Kate Brian


Let me preface this by saying, I love Kate Brian. I've loved the Private Series since it first came out. I love her other books as well. She is without a doubt one of my favorite and most admired authors.

Which makes what I'm about to say even harder.

I did not love this book. *cringes* I didn't even like this book.

I'm not including any spoilers because I love Kate and still recommend her books, so I apologize for the vagueness.

I put off buying it for a little bit as things have been so busy and I knew I'd want to read it in one sitting. Normally I would've bought it the same day it came out. So when I finally sat down to read it yesterday, the anticipation had grown enormous.

As it started, I waited to be grabbed, to be sucked in so completely I literally couldn't put it down, as I had with every other book in the series. such luck. I wasn't grabbed, and I really just wanted to know how it was going to end, although I already had a sneaking suspicion. So I did something I have never done with this author before...I skimmed. The entire book. Until I got about ten pages before the end. And when I got to the end, I screamed and threw the book down. I threw a book.

Oh, the shame!

But I couldn't help it. Kate Brian has kept me on edge with killer cliffhangers and shocking revelations. And Vanished ended with one that made me not even want to read the next book. I've read 12 books in this series (12!) and now she completely changes everything I've ever thought this series was about in one line on the last page. And more than anything it felt like a cheap ploy to have a plot for the next book and jump on the YA paranormal fad-train.

NOTHING in the previous 11 books makes this end plausible or realistic. There has always been a certain amount of suspending reality to make this series work, and I never minded before. There could never be so much murder, so many lunatics, kidnappings, secret half-sisters, ridiculously hot guys, etc. in real life. But Vanished crossed the line into completely ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What. Would. My. Main. Character. Do.

I need one of those obnoxious bracelets on my wrist with W.W.M.M.C.D. (is that too long for a bracelet? I have tiny wrists. Whatev, I'd just wrap it around twice...) embroidered on it. And then when I have my main character do something that I would do and not what she would do I could snap myself with it and delete said action.

I am not my character.

Everyone! Say it with me!

I am not my character.

Good. Now, continue writing and make sure that your character does what makes sense for them and their motivation/personality/situation and NOT what you would do if it was actually happening to you.

*Note: I am writing this under the assumption that everyone slips up and forgets that they are a separate entity from their character and writes as if it were happening to them and has the character react accordingly. Please...don't let this just be me...

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm a writer, I don't watch t.v...

Ha, not! I hate it when people do that. "Oh, I don't watch t.v. I just read." I read more than anyone I know but come on people, who doesn't love t.v.? So when I saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Top 10 TV Shows Blogfest I couldn't resist! Here are mine,without further ado (in no particular order):

The Office




Teen Mom/16 and Pregnant

Say Yes to the Dress


Top Gear


The Buried Life





Modern Family


Man Vs. Wild