Sunday, April 28, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Kevin Sharp is a New Mexico native who currently lives in Northern California, where he teaches high school English. He is the author of numerous screenplays and two award-winning short stories. While he has technically grown up, Kevin has yet to outgrow Looney Tunes, The Price is Right, fantasy novels, or comic books. Deep down, he still thinks that working with apes would be the best job in the world.
The Films Of Youth
By Kevin Sharp
I wrote After Dakota as sort of a tribute to the classic teen movies of the 1980s, by filmmakers like John Hughes and Cameron Crowe. The films that really meant something to us back then were the ones less concerned with big jokes, or big parties, or showing as much nudity as possible (not that my friends and I objected to that last one, mind you). No, the ones that really mattered were the ones about people and about life.
In that tradition, here are ten teen movies I recommend – from the ‘80s and beyond – that share some of the same spiritual DNA as my novel.
1. Adventureland (2009)
Because of watching fireworks while listening to Crowded House, and not wanting to be anywhere else in the world.
2. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Because while it’s (justifiably) famous for Sean Penn’s Spicoli and Phoebe Cates in her red bikini, it’s stuffed with riches beyond them: Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” the baseball dugout, Mr. Hand’s housecall, the way it all walks the line between comedy and teenage tragedy.
3. Fish Tank (2009)
Because of Katie Jarvis’s lead performance, dancing, fighting, cursing, powering her way through life – until she realizes she may be powerless after all.
4. Ghost World (2001)
Because of bondage masks and record collections and summer art class.
5. The Last American Virgin (1982)
Because the title suggests a shallow romp like Porky’s, but this is actually about the struggle between loyalty to friends versus loyalty to an object of desire. (It also has maybe the most realistically bleak ending of any teen movie ever.)
6. The Myth of the American Sleepover (2010)
Because of riding bikes at sunset. Because of dancing on a pier. Because of abandoned tunnels. Because of all the possibilities in the waning days of summer.
7. Rushmore (1998)
Because the whole thing takes place in fall, the late season light lending a fabulous melancholy that both undercuts and enhances the storybook quality.
8. Say Anything… (1989)
Because our hero’s best girl friend tells him: “The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy,” and even the guys watching have to agree with her. Because our hero trades his heart to his dream girl in exchange for a pen, and all the guys watching would have done the exact same thing.
9. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Because how could I not include a John Hughes movie? (This, in my opinion, is his most underappreciated.)
10. Submarine (2010)
Because the protagonist says to his possibly-girlfriend: “I thought it would be nice to get some mutual interests, now that we've had sex, other than spitting and setting things on fire.”
Monday, April 22, 2013
I had it--the story that would make me famous! It was good. Really good. Or so I thought. I was in love with it. Better yet, I was having the time of my life writing it. The words poured onto the screen like magic. I pictured its cover. I imagined the looks on the faces of those kids who were going to read it.
Then the rejections started rolling in--one after another, each a bigger, sharper dagger straight to my ego. The dream of my passion project being on bookshelves went up in smoke. I kept asking myself: what went wrong? I scoured over the rejections, looking for something that I could use, something that would help ease my mind--and reassure me that it wasn't just because I sucked.
Of course, as much as I tried to find an answer, I knew it was a pointless search. There never is one answer to why a particular project isn't right. It could be anything from bad timing to just being poorly executed. Frustrated over not being able to find that answer, I became down on the project, and worse yet, down on myself as a writer.
I was scared to death of starting a new project, worried about wasting another six months on something that would get me nowhere. Man, to view writing as wasted time... thinking back, I just shake my head. My mind was so consumed with negativity. I decided right then that for my next project I'd leave no room for error. I'd write a story that was guaranteed to attract an agent. It would have all the ingredients of a book that sells in today's market. In other words, I was writing for no other reason than to get published.
Don't get me wrong, I still loved writing. It was my passion, as it always has been. But the process of trying to get published, of being immersed in the publishing industry with all the querying, and Twitter following, and seeing other writers get deals--it makes you a bit obsessed. So, I tried my hand at writing to the trends. I was still confident in my ability, and I knew I could write a book that would sell.
Well, what resulted was one of the worst cases of writer's block I ever had. It was beyond block. It was a writer's funk. I would start one thing, lose interest, and then start another. Did you know that I tried to write a paranormal romance? I know, right? Me! Paranormal romance! Then I moved on to dystopian, becauce those were big at the time. Then YA sci-fi. Then contemporary realism. Then magic realism. I just kept jumping from genre to genre, forcing myself to churn out a story.
Well, fellow YAtopians, I'm afraid it doesn't work that way. At least not for me, as I learned the hard way. I wasn't passionate about any of those stories. And so, my writer's funk continued--for 18 long, excruciating months.
Then I got some advice from someone near and dear to my heart.
"At the end of the day, you're a story teller, Ryan," he said. "We're all sitting around a camp fire waiting for you to spin your next yarn. At the end of it, it's not about profit. Just a good story."
"Write what you feel, what you're passionate about. Write you. Don't write to get published, because then you lose the story. If you're thinking about getting published more than a story that will be memorable, then in my opinion you're in the wrong profession."
It hit me. I was writing for the wrong reasons. Somewhere I had lost sight of why I was writing, and more importantly, who I was writing for. When I first started out--bright eyed and fresh-faced--I wasn't writing for agents. I wasn't writing for publishers. Certainly not for money.
What happened to that guy? What happened to the guy who wrote that goofy story about the kid-eating washing machine? All he wanted was to write stories that filled kids' heads with a sense of wonder like Roald Dahl books did for him. That guy needed to come back in the worst way.
And thanks to that advice, he has. For that, I'm eternally grateful. As long as it echoes in my mind, I'll never lose my way again.
Remember this: trends come and go, but truly great stories written by people who are passionate about them are timeless.
Write about what you love, not what you think others will love.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Until Eighteenth Century gargoyle, Jack shows up and saves her.
Jack has woken from a century long slumber to tell Beau that she's accidentally been drafted into a power struggle between two immortal races: Demons and Gargoyles. The knife she picked up is the only one in existence capable of killing immortals and they'll tear the world apart to get it back. To draw the warring immortals away from her home, Beau decides go with Jack to Bulgaria in search of the mind-bending realm known as the Underworld, a place where they'll hopefully be able to destroy the knife and prevent all hell from breaking loose. That is providing they can outrun the demons that are chasing them. .
Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. YA aficionado. Brit bird. Film Nerd. Identical twin. Junk Food enthusiast. Rumoured Pink Power Ranger. Zombie apocalypse survivor. Avid collector of book boyfriends.
You can find Louise on herBlog, on Twitter and on Facebook where she's anything but as still as a stone gargoyle.
Giveaway – Open Internationally
To celebrate her upcoming release, Louise is giving away an ecopy of IN STONE and a Kindle Fire to one lucky reader! One runner-up will also win an ecopy of IN STONE. UK and US residents are eligible to win the Kindle Fire. If you live outside the UK or US and your name is drawn, you will receive an Amazon gift card valued at £160 (GBP) instead. The winners will be announced July 29. Good luck!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Janine K. Spendlove is a KC-130 pilot in the United States Marine Corps. Her bestselling first novel, War of the Seasons, Book One: The Human, was published in June 2011 and her next novel, War of the Seasons, Book Two: The Half-blood, was released in June 2012. She’s also had several short stories published in various anthologies. A graduate from Brigham Young University in 1999 with a BA in History Teaching, she is an avid runner, enjoys knitting, playing Beatles tunes on her guitar, and spending time with her family. She resides with her husband and daughter in Washington, DC. She is currently at work on her next novel. Find out more at WarOfTheSeasons.com.
Then I read a novel & was very disappointed by the ending and took my first foray into writing fanfic to give the story the ending I thought it should have had.
That story led to others... and before I knew it I'd caught the writing bug and was writing original fiction.
14th -- Jennifer Galasso
16th -- Chris Bedell
22nd -- Rosanne Rivers
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