Writing a novel (or a story, for that matter) is confusing work. There are just so many characters running all over the place, dropping hints and having revelations. So it's no surprise that many authors plan out their works beforehand, in chart or list or scribble form, in order to keep everything straight. After the jump, you'll find a mini collection of those planning papers, so you can take a peek into the process of some of your favorite authors, from James Salter to J.K.
One Nerd thing I’ve been dying to officially say for ages … During a ceremony where the late Christopher Reeve was honored for his portrayal of Superman, it was said he was great because he made us believe a man could fly.
Not so. The special effects made us think a man could fly. What Christopher Reeve did was take someone who is technically an alien, and make him very human in his love for the people of his adopted planet. He didn’t care for us by use of his given abilities only, yes he saved people from crime, disasters and accidents, but there was also a quality that’s not scripted.
Whatever this element is, it’s something earlier actors didn’t convey. It could have been the time and direction, when strong men were silent, stony faced and one-dimensional. And damsels in distress constantly bit their knuckle in a recurring expression of fear. You know the one I mean.
With Reeve’s Superman, the world was shown someone with unlimited strength, who also wore his soft spot for a physically weaker people, with humility. He was a man willing to learn from anyone, any situation, even his own mistakes.
Let me put it this way, everyone has power over someone else, adults over kids, bosses over employees, you get the idea. How do you wield the power you have? Have you had a real life example to emulate?
Author Linda Cassidy Lewis, tagged me to answer these questions about my work in progress. This author meme is called The Next Big Thing. Please read Linda’s responses about, An Illusion of Trust, her next big thing here,
What is the working title of your next book? I’ve been calling this story, the first in a trilogy, Book of Rachel – Requiem Dreams.
Where did the idea come from for the book? I had an incredibly vivid dream of the story and near the end of that dream, I saw myself at my desk with a woman standing over me telling me to, ‘write this story down’. I’ve felt awkward about this fact until I read that Stephen King got the idea for Misery in a dream, and so I figured it probably happens fairly often.
What genre does your book fall under? The genre for this story is Young Adult Fiction.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I’ve seen Maisie Williams playing Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, and she could breathe life into Rachel which, to me, is worth far more than finding a mirror image of the character I have in my mind.
I would also love to see Rachel Weiss play the mother, Jane. Jane grew up in Great Britain, she’s beautiful and she mistakes her unbending, over controlling behavior as concern for her daughter. I haven’t seen everything Ms. Weiss has done, but she often plays a woman who is fiercely determined and kind, which Jane has under layers of ice as it were.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Rachel Maclean hides the fact that she has precognitive nightmares in a desperate bid to avoid being sent back to where they started.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My book is in the final polishing stages and I’m creating a query letter to send to potential agents.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I’d say it took about nine months to a year for me to write out a complete first draft.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’ve made a point to avoid reading stories that sound even remotely similar to my own. The only exception is a newly released story called Pivot Point by Kasie West, where the main character has the ability to see two possible future outcomes and is able to choose one. I read this story because Kasie and I were in the same writer’s group a few years back and I always enjoyed her work.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? Life is a huge inspiration, but I also haven’t forgotten the woman in the dream telling me to write the story down.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? There’s a bevy of things to enjoy in this story: an outspoken best friend, a sweet boyfriend, and a paranormal gift Rachel has had for as long as she can remember. Add to that an unethical psychiatrist, and a worldwide pharmaceautical corporation who think they’ve created a drug that brings about precognition and will be worth billions.
I’ve had the pleasure of reading the work of the two authors I’ve tagged,
Mariam Kobras, author of The Distant Shore, and, Under The Same Sun.
Sam Hilliard, author of The Last Track
Oh yum yum yum! One of my beadtastic friends, Mary, came over with these fantastic award winning cookies last week. She won the Marcus Restaurants Holiday cookie contest with this recipe. With two always hungry guys (Papa and Caleb) and one one pregnant Mama, these cookies lasted only two days. The softness of the cookie, the chewy caramel combined with the sea salt works so harmoniously together.
When it’s time to pick myself up and dust myself off and get back in the game, I often like a little theme music to go with it. I’m partial to Dory the fish singing “Just Keep Swimming”, but that’s because I have kids. The nerd in me looks to the last Star Trek film, how in hell did Kirk keep getting up? I know, I know, it was scripted, plus it had marvelous music. More times than not the soundtrack is playing, okay, blasting in my car, especially track five.
There’s also the part of me that needs to go a little deeper, and that’s when I read how other people in real life manage to continually get back on their feet, literally and spiritually speaking. I very much enjoy reading “Eat Pray Love”. I won’t compare it to the movie, because I’ve never seen all of the film. And to be truthful, I haven’t read all of the book, yet. However, from what I’ve seen and what I’ve read, there are simply many thoughts the movie cannot convey.
I’m near the end of her time in India and frankly, I look at this book as full of Spring days (that make me crave pizza) and I’m parceling them out for when I need them. Why you might ask? The answer also happens to be my favorite thing about the book, the humor a very close second. My favorite thing about this book is that she never gives up. Yes she gets bogged down a bit here and there, but overall she continues to ask herself, how do I get out of this and keep going? And that’s really all any of us can do, is to keep using the tools we have, or try new ones, so we can untangle whatever we’ve gotten ourselves tied up in.
Lately, as I spend a lot of time with my mom, she got a brand new left knee a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been her helper, I’ve found myself needing reminders to take deep breaths as my patience gets tested. I pull out the book, which I can relate to on many levels, and read a bit, and remember to not give up on finding love and compassion in every moment, for myself as well as everyone else. And now I have to dash, she has a physical therapy class to attend.
Is it me or my social networking site?
There’s speculation that because we can tell our large, or small world, of family and friends what we’re up to at any given moment, that we aren’t really making meaningful connections with one another. We no longer have person to person, face to face conversations that matter. I did agree with that idea, but woke at one a.m. thinking, it’s not the vehicle, it’s the people.
If I don’t have or make connections with people every day or even once a year, that doesn’t preclude that I never will or never have. I have a grown daughter who does not allow ‘parental types’ on her FB page. That’s alright with me. When we see each other, I make a point of sharing with her a bit of who I am, what I think of outside of being a mom, and the work I love. Wonderfully enough, she returns the favor, trusting I will listen, and not rush to judge.
However, that doesn’t happen simply because we are face to face. We have meaningful conversations over the phone as well, because we’ve built a trust enough to say what’s really in our thoughts. I can and do have similar conversations with other people in my life, who happen to be on my social networking site, and, a couple of them I have only met once, and one or two I’ve yet to meet. We have built this for one another and use it to bridge any distance. Sometimes it will be months between nice long chats or emails, but when these communications happen, they mean the world to me.
That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter if I literally see a person once a week at a family dinner, or everyday at work, or only in person once a month. How honest we are about what we love, and how we support each others goals in life, is up to us. Before all of the technological goodies came along, people could have stood around the town hall, saloon, or sat in a knitting circle and talked about a whole lot of nothing. I’ve decided to converse with people on a particular level, in any forum, takes cultivating.
I had a bunch of other things I was toying with blogging about, but what I really want to ask is, has anyone else noticed that when a teen girl in a YA book has sex, the proclivity is for circumstances punish her for it?
What I mean is this. Is there a YA book out there where a teen girl has consensual sex and does not suffer some kind of physical or emotional fall-out from that act? Specifically, no accidental pregnancy, no STD, no rape, no clinical depression or even suicide.
I’ve been reading a Lot of YA books, since I was a young adult and recently. While I don’t want to name particular titles, I have to say if there’s a human female in there who is sexual, woe onto her. I haven’t read every YA fiction that’s out there, not by a long shot, but so far nothing good comes to those who have sex. Off the top of my head, there’s been a possible suicide, a definite suicide, rape, and so on and so forth.
There aren’t a lot of YA books dealing with this at all, and I understand the desire to avoid that topic, especially if it’s not a key part of the story. But, there are so many girl crush books out there where the couple only kisses, maybe. Which is fine, but they ring false in that they rarely deal with how hard it is for teenagers to fight their hormones. Yes, a pushy boy is often mentioned, but, I’m just going to say it, girls have hormones too.
I’m not putting down the books that deal with rape and situations where it may arise from, those things need to be written and talked about. From where I’m standing though, it does look as if the field is uneven. So much about the dangers and very little or nothing about what can go right. Shouldn’t there be a contemporary story where the couple go over the risks, cover their bases and enjoy their first time together?
I’m not saying I advocate teens having sex. I don’t. That being said, I do stand firmly on the side of educating kids on ALL options because I understand nature is a tough cookie sometimes. Expecting young adults to abstain out of fear doesn’t strike me as a good solution.
Is there a book out there where a teen girl, or even a boy, can have consensual sex without obviously suffering for it afterwards that has been published in the last ten years?