Thursday, February 28, 2013
Breaking the law, breaking the law!
As writers we tend to spend a lot of time in our solitary writing caves, hunched over keyboards, grumbling about revisions. So when you gather us together in public and add melt-in-your-mouth buttery crepes and book talk, we get a little giddy.
And possibly loud.
This past weekend I met with four other kidlit writer friends for a semi-frequent get-together (semi-frequent, as in, whenever one of us thinks “Hey, it’s been a while” and sends off a flurry of emails to corral us.) Once we finished oohing and aahing over one of our groups shiny 2-book deal with Harper Collins (everyone add MONSTROUS to your TBR list now!), someone posed the question, “So, how established do you think you need to be before you can break all the ‘rules’?”
“Rules? What rules?” we asked, slurping our café au laits.
“Well, for instance, before you can get away with starting a book with a dialogue line.”
“Or a prelude,” someone added.
“Or on the first day of school!”
“THE MAIN CHARACTER WAKING UP TO AN ALARM ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” we chanted as one.
Oh, this was fun. Rule talk turned to cliché talk. Red haired characters (2% of the natural population, 98% of the literary population)! Green-eyed characters! Ooh, better yet, emerald-eyed characters! Characters with symbolism-filled names of flowers, birds or variations of “the chosen one”.
And those oversold categories: dystopian, paranormal, dystopian paranormals.
In honor of my over-caffeinated, weighed-down-with-butter writing friends, whom I truly love seeing outside of my computer, my new WIP is just for you. Everyone else, feel free to add on in the comment section- I'm sure I've forgotten some good ones (and please take it with a grain of salt and a healthy sense of humor if your ms happens to have one of these cliches- no offense is intended!)
It was a dark and stormy night when crazy, crazy action happened. This action will not happen until page 776 of the book, whereas the first 775 pages will be extremely quiet and contain oodles of flowery, adjective-filled prose. There will be frequent six-page descriptions of the barren landscape. But hang in there, because you KNOW from this prelude that the action is coming…eventually.
Sigmund Freud: “Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.” (much like the characters in this book)
Elmer Fudd: “We’re hunting wild wabbit”
“Wake up, Chrysanthemum!”
My brother’s deep and authoritative voice cuts through my restful sleep and I finally realize my alarm clock has been ringing for some time. I gingerly sit up in bed and stretch, nerves already jangling as I remember what today is.
I shouldn’t be this nervous. With everything we’ve been through this last year: losing our parents to the uprising, discovering my superpowers, finding out I have to be the one to save the world, and Jake’s final transformation to full-on vampire, starting at a new school should be a piece of cake.
I sigh deeply, moving aside the ruffled, petal-pink duvet and placing my feet tenderly on the ground. With a heavy heart I move to the mirror and examine myself carefully, noting that even at this early hour, my luxurious, wavy hair looks perfect and is the same luscious red as an old-time movie star’s lips. My eyes are a brilliant emerald green. They sparkle at me in the reflecting glass.
I’m so grateful that I still have my piece of mirror, a small reminder of what our world used to look like, before The Great Disaster struck, and took my parents, along with most of the world’s adults. Mom and Dad would be proud of the way my younger brother Jake and I are handling this brave new world.
We’ll get through today just like we’ve gotten through the last 300 days. One step at a time. I may be the chosen one, but today I’m just a normal sixteen year-old. And my forever love could be waiting for me right now, in Geometry class.
Four truths and a lie: My MG debut AT YOUR SERVICE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin) publishes Summer '14. I spent a gap year traveling the world solo (favorite spot: Nepal). I'm repped by the fantabulous Holly Root at The Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. I met my husband on the highway. I went into labor on Stevie Nick's tour bus. Okay fine, the truth is that there isn't a lie.
14th -- Jennifer Galasso
16th -- Chris Bedell
22nd -- Rosanne Rivers
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