Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

And no, I'm not talking about the movie with Robert Downey Jr. I'm talking about the fireworks that go off when your fiction characters lock lips.

As a writer, we want the things we see in our heads to psychically link itself to our computer to come out perfect.

But sometimes, that just doesn't happen. How we envision character movements or dialogue or expressions just don't seem to want to be written. So...we research. We search out that inspiration for what we're lacking and turn it into our own success.

Really, this entire intro just leads to my YouTube searches via writing frustrations.

I was watching music videos for writing inspiration and one thing led to another, then BAM--I'm staring at a list of the "Top 10 Best TV/Movie Kisses." Naturally, I'm intrigued. I click the link only to be very disappointed. I click the link at the end of that link, and once again--disappointment. Every list I looked at, every video I watched--they were all the same. What bothered me about these lists were half of the ten were from one show and half were from another. And all of them were based around the "Romantic Crack" shows (the ones you can't stop watching because of all the sexy going on): One Tree Hill, The OC, Gilmore Girls, Smallville. Not saying I have a problem with these shows because I've watching bits of them myself, but where is the variety? What about those romances that burst onto the scene in desperate moments? These always inspire me to write.

So, hey! I'm making a list of my own. These are the TV/Movie smooches that inspire my romantic moments. Some of these, due to the fact that I couldn't find them on YouTube, aren't my favorites, but they are--in my opinion--memorable. Hopefully they will be a muse for you too.


5.) Kate and Sawyer - LOST
For those that love desperate kisses:

All I can say is steamy, sexy, and dirty--literally. But it doesn't matter if they were rolling around in mud, it's still fantastic. Desperation, tension, want--it's all so vivid in this scene.


4.) Lara and Terry - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
For those that love dark kisses:

Reason: Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler. I think that should be "'Nuff Said" moment, but I'd like to go into further detail. Since I couldn't find the extremely steamy kissing scene all on it's own, I left a fanvid with a mix of different Lara/Terry clips. This couple has such a fun, dark, interesting chemistry, which makes their relationship all the better. Yeah the actual movie had some pretty cheesy parts, but you gotta admit: Angelina and Gerard make a sizzling couple.


3.) Jack and Elizabeth - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
For those that love infatuated kisses:

I had to add this one on here because I love all of the events surrounding it. The kiss that wasn't actually romantic, the lure, the mischievous smile--there's no actual romance, more of infatuation. Where as the lure of the kiss could have gone one way, like shock or disbelief, they chose to keep it tense yet calm with a hint of eeriness.


2.) The Doctor and Rose - Doctor Who
For those that love heartbreaking kisses:

What's the quickest way to make a Doctor Who fangirl cry? Play this video. It makes my list because it is just so unbelievably heartbreaking/wrenching--it's almost not even fair. It's the getting-lost-in-the-moment kiss mingling with I'm-leaving-let's-make-this-last-forever moment.


And lastly is a favorite of mine.:

1.) Tristan and Yvaine - Stardust
For those that love blissful kisses:

In my opinion, this kiss is one of the best ones I've seen in a movie. Not sure what it is about it though. Maybe the blissful smile on Yvaine's face or the boyish charm on Tristan's. Maybe it's the build-up of anticipation while the viewers waited for this moment. Whatever it is, the movie has a tendency to magically pop into my DVD player when writing a romantic moment between characters.


And that's my list. Of course, if I had my way with YouTube, there would be others on here like the Mal/Saffron kiss in Firefly, Brangelina in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Fifth Element kiss, Rick and Evie in The Mummy, and more. But seeing as fangirls have put up a ridiculous amount of fan vids (50% of them being sibling with sibling, at which I shuddered) I took what I could get of the scenes.

Now's the fun part. What inspires YOUR writing. Is it from a book? Movie? TV show? You tell us!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Guest Post and Contest by Marilee Brothers!!!!

Today we are thrilled to have an amazing writer of both YA and Women's Fiction as our guest blogger. Here is the fabulous Marilee Brothers!!!


I wasted a lot of good years writing depressing poetry about life’s gloomiest and/or wackiest topics. Teenagers meandering down the highway of life searching for answers. My fear of spiders. Lonely old women who drink too much beer. Seriously. Some of it even got published. When I started my first book, a historical romance, I learned something important about myself and, in the process, found my true, authentic voice.

In the beginning, Castle Ladyslipper had the most dreadful, dark and dreary plot one could imagine. Sir Garrick of Hawkwood, my hero, was emotionally damaged, thanks to all the conniving women in his life, starting with his mother. (Why is it always the mother who screws up the son?) The opening scene was an epic downer. As my heroine, Emma, scurried across the bailey, she heard William, her brother, calling to her from an upstairs window. She looked up to see the poor lad plunge to his death, a victim of over-enthusiastic waving. Is it any wonder I could barely drag myself to the computer each day? When my output dwindled to nada, I finally realized I was fighting my nature and consequently hated what I was doing. I ditched the first scene and came up with a new recipe.

Step 1. A dash of magic in the form of a crystal, a curse and a ghost.

Step 2. A castle full of strong, opinionated woman.

Step 3. A hunky, chauvinistic knight who believed women were basically large children and should be treated as such.

Step 4. Mix thoroughly and see what rises to the top. I started to have fun, found my voice and completed my first book.

What does this have to do with YA fiction? Only everything. Kids can spot a phony faster than the time it took William to go splat after his plunge from castle window to cobblestone. I try to remind myself of that fact each time I sit down at the computer. As writers, as human beings, we all have to be true to our natures. When we aren’t, we’re fighting a losing battle that manifests itself in stress-related illness and depression as well as incredibly bad writing.

CONTEST!!!

Because I believe in keeping it real, I often use the names of people I know in my books. Long-time friends appeared in Moon Rise as a fabulously wealthy couple who built their own planetarium for Star Seekers. In the same book, my Canadian friend became an American citizen and a FBI agent. Would you like to see your name immortalized in print? I’ve just begun writing book 4 in the Unbidden Magic series.
All you have to do is leave a comment. If I draw your name, it’s possible your 30 seconds of fame may be right around the corner. Your name will not only appear in my book, I’ll send you a signed copy when it comes out in 2011. Don’t know what to say? I’ll make it easy for you. You can choose: (A) I want my character to be good (B) I want my character to be baaad (C) Surprise me!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flashback Fridays: Memorial Day Salute to Veterans

'Create

With Memorial Day on Monday, we are dedicating this week's Flashback Friday to veterans. It is the greatest sacrifice someone gives when they serve in the military. Whether it's during times of war or peace, we owe a great debt to the men and women who wear the uniform. There are many ways you can personally help support that sacrifice by collecting items for donation.

Here's some ways you can help both the industry and our servicemen and women:

Operation Paperback sends gently used books to troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, they have shipped over 1.1 million books to troops around the world. Their website says, "Many of our troops are serving far from home and living in facilities that provide few of the comforts of home. At the end of the duty day, the opportunity to escape into a good book is welcomed. Every week we receive thanks from troops who are glad to be appreciated and remembered." There are two ways you can help. First, you can give a monetary donation. Second, you can collect books and actually ship them directly to the troops. To do this, you will need to register with their site.


Books for Soldiers was started during the first Gulf War as a way to get rid of used books as well as helping find entertainment and enjoyment for soldiers. BFS is a non-profit corporation, operated as a ministry of the non-denominational, interfaith Order of the Red Grail church in North Carolina. You can register on the site and send books to either individuals or a unit.


Beanies for Bagdad: "Beanies for Baghdad is a bridge between our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, the children of Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan and very generous kind hearted people back home who want to do a small part to make the world a better place. Our Network of Points of Contact receive joy in passing out donations to young children who have suffered so much and have so little happiness in their life. Many of the children live in extreme poverty. Your support is very much appreciated as the requests from the troops remains strong."












If you're interested in doing Care Packages for a soldier or a unit, here are some websites that will help:







We would also like to highlight some of our family who served their country

Krista's grandfather, Herbert Ashe, served in Navy on the USS Kenyon destroyer.






















Jamie's grandfather, James DeShon, served in the Navy on the USS Hilbert. Her other grandfather, John Marochino also served in the Navy. Her husband, Mike Blair, is veteran of Desert Storm.






And Jennifer's grandfather, Jackson C Gates, also served in WWII


Although she was Canadian, Kathleen's aunt, Ivah Sherrard, served in the US Women Army Corp. Both of Kathleen's grandfather's were Canadian Army veterans, and their service to their country should be noted.























Krista's dad, Raye Ashe, served with the 11th Armored Calvary in Vietnam during 66' and 67. His tour came during the heightened use of Agent Orange, a pesticide used to defoliate the jungle. However, it had long term health effects on both the servicemen and citizens of Vietnam. In 1997, Raye passed away from Soft Tissue Sarcoma, an Agent Orange related cancer.

























So on this Memorial Day and everyday, please remember to keep our servicemen and women overseas in your thoughts and prayers

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For Realz: Top 25 Books Teens Are Reading

Ever wonder what real teens are reading. Like when they go to the library, like actually go inside and check one out, what do they pick? Well, the media specialist at my high school usually runs monthly reports of what are the "hot" books of the month. It's great to gage what students are interested in. Today, on the eve of school being out, we received the yearly report of the top books.















Drumroll.... Here's the Top 25 Reads for 2009-2010

(1). Tricks
(2). Identical
(3). Marked
(4). Crank
(5). The Perks of Being A Wallflower
(6). Betrayed: House of Night
(7). Lessons from a Dead Girl
(8). Tempted
(9). Vampire Kisses
(10). Chosen: House of Night
(11). Untamed: House of Night
(12). Impulse
(13). Someone Like You
(14). Speak
(15). Beast of Noor
(16). The Lightning Thief
(17). Vampire Night # 5
(18). Vampire Night # 6
(19). Dear John
(20). Glass
(21). Just Listen
(22). Time Travelers Wife
(23). Eclipse
(24). Breaking Dawn
(25). Twilight
And we also have an AMAZING library at my school. It's called "The Unquiet Library". How awesome is that? I have to remind myself not to shush kids when I go inside! You can check it out HERE
. There's great links to giveaways as well as a TON
of information about YA literature.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The making of a scene

I was reading through A Little Too Late, my current WIP when I came to a very physical scene and remembered how I worked out the details. I think I will always read this scene and remember the steps it took to write it.

I've never been in a physical fight. Never. I would lose. Seriously, I'm a wimp. Verbal argument? I can hold my own very well, but physical? Nope. I'm a wuss and don't like pain.



There was only one time that my husband hit me, but it doesn't count. He was sleeping and in his dream was protecting himself. I just happened to be quite close to him in the bed as he slapped at the bad guy in his dream. It hurt, but didn't even leave a mark so there was nothing to give him grief over the next day. He still tells me I dreamed it. But I know the truth :)



Which brings me to the scene I was working on. I wrote this scene and wondered if it worked, so after dinner one night I asked my husband to help me. I simply asked him to be still and I balled up my fist and swung. I wasn't going to hit him, I swear it, but he didn't know that. Geez Jenn,ever think of telling someone what you're about to do? Anyway, he grabbed my arm and kept me from hitting him. Ow. After explaining myself, we continued in the "research" and my arm was a little sore. But I figured out where a girl's punch would land and what part of the hand would hurt.

Moving on, I needed to know what would happen next. Let me back up and explain why I asked my husband for help - he was a bad boy in college and won bar fights so I knew he was almost an expert in this area. See the good things that can come from a checkered past?? Back to the scene...after we discussed what a guy who was punched by a girl might do, we discussed what another guy would do to stop that guy from hitting the girl back. And then practiced it..on me..big mistake...huge mistake!



My right arm was twisted behind my back and his left arm was wrapped around my throat. I yelped in pain, not bad pain but still pain. Told you I'm a wuss. And I tried to get away. If he would not have released me and would've been trying to hurt me, I wouldn't have gotten away. Time for self-defense classes. Seriously, I realized how I could be over-powered but that is beside the point. Although, I must say I looked at my husband in a different light that day. I couldn't ever reconcile the man I knew to the man who got into fights, and won, even when he fought more than one. I just couldn't see it in him, still can't completely, but I have a clue.

Needless to say, I have the scene and am very happy with it. I can't say the research aspect of that scene left me feeling happy, my arm hurt, for days, since it wasn't made to be twisted like that, but knowing that the fictional character who not only got punched by the girl but had his arm twisted by the guy, that feeling is priceless.

Have you ever done anything not quite smart to research a scene?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Beach Reads? Let's Kick Off the Summer with a YA Book Drop!

True to most trends, this GotYA blogger was late to the party and missed Operation Teen Book Drop that readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, and YALSA hosted again this year.

Inspired by Operation TBD, you're cordially invited to the GotYA Book Drop!

Date: NOW!
Time: NOW!
Who: YOU!
Where: Anywhere!
RSVP: gotyablog@yahoo.com or @theGotYA on Twitter

Print the bookplate below and paste it into your favorite YA book(s) and drop them all over town. Then let us know about it via email or Twitter. We'll let your fellow GotYA readers know where they can find your dropped book! Really, who doesn't love free books, right?

Find a book? Let us know about it! We'd love pics of drops and finds too!

Let the GotYA Book Drop begin!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I am your Starbucks Overlord.

photo from msnbc

I have been working for Starbucks for over four years. But no, this post is not about me and my job or whether or not I like it. This post has everything to do with your writing environment.

I know that writers thrive at Starbucks. I've heard it. Seen it. Listened to people chat online about the hours they spend in their favorite coffee shop.


As a barista, I'm pretty much the overlord of everything that makes you comfortable as a writer. I have the power to make your ears bleed with loud music or make your drink taste better than it already does. I know the science behind your espresso and how the heck your supposed to get wifi in this gosh darned confusing place.

I also have some tips.

Tip One: Food
I'm kind of into food. Calorie intake, fat intake, you name it. Sometimes, I nearly have a heart attack with the orders of my customers. No, people, A Venti Extra-Caramel Caramel Frappuccino and a maple scone isn't breakfast. Or an afternoon writing snack. It's your suggested calorie count for the DAY.

In fact, it may be good to avoid the pastry case altogether unless you plan on getting a pastry and an unsweetened tea, or a water. If Starbucks is your constant safe haven, the sugar can add up over time (and also make you fatigued during your prime writing hours, which is something all of us want to avoid!). Pastries that are the exception are Marshmallow Dream Bars and Organic Blueberry Oat Bars.

Snacks that also are the exception, if you're hungry, are the all natural snacks they have outside of the case, such as the Two Moms in the Raw bars, the all natural dried fruit, and the organic nuts.

Tip Two: Drinks that kill your wallet and kill your soul

Seriously. Milk based espresso drinks and frappuccinos will probably destroy you if you have them every day. If not your figure, than definitely your bank account. If you're into a lot of caffeine but not into spending five dollars, try iced coffee. It packs a bigger punch than espresso and is about half the price of a white mocha. If you're not into having tons of caffeine, iced teas, even sweetened, are less than 100 calories and are around $2.

Also:
Avoid the whip
Embrace the Organic soy!
Remember, Matcha Green Tea Powder has a good amount of caffeine and lots of antioxidants. And it's also yummy!

Tip Three: Be comfortable
The music too loud? We can adjust it. Can't figure out wifi? We can help. Need me to watch your laptop as you use the restroom or grab a sandwich from next door? I can do that too. I always hear people whining about the atmosphere and my response always is: "Well, did you ask?" As for me, I'm definitely biased towards writers. I always want to make them as comfortable as possible because I know how it is!


And finally, my favorite writing food/drink pairings:

tall coffee/caramel macchiato biscotti
iced soy green tea latte/ dried apricots
iced venti no water unsweetened passion tea (0 calories!) and a double chocolate brownie (to make up for it :-) )

Also, I never forget my headphones (sometimes we play pretty obnoxious music.)
And, it's a good idea to bring a throw blanket, because corporate controls temperature at a lot of stores, and it can get pretty cold sometimes for no reason!

Questions? Comments? I pretty much know everything there is to this coffee paradise. Just ask. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If You Let Me Read...



There are few companies better at stirring (and capitalizing on) the spirit than Nike. Regardless of what you think of the company itself, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that their ads are almost always very good and are frequently just plain amazing.

The “If you let me play” ad aired in 1995. Fifteen years later, not only can still I remember it but watching it again (thanks YouTube) made me want to haul on my sneakers and dig out my tennis racquet (the only piece of sporting equipment I own, purchased when a friend and I foolishly thought that we’d actually take up tennis if we took the first step and bought racquets and bouncy green balls).

Yes, I do have a point. Please stop pointing at your watch. I’m a writer. We sometimes ramble. We occasionally like to set the scene with details from our own lives. I know my life isn’t that exciting but, if you’ll just humour me—what was that? Oh! Right! The point!

I went to a kid’s birthday party yesterday and books were a popular gift (even though said kid can’t yet say the word “book”). And I started thinking about that Nike ad. About how my life has been better because my parents encouraged me to read. About how early books like The Paper Bag Princess and The Velveteen Rabbit taught me that I don’t have to marry the handsome prince just because he has a nice castle and how real is more important than fake. And about how reading thousands of books has made me a better writer.

And I thought it’d be fantabulous if we made our own virtual “If you encourage me to read...” ad in the comments. If reading has changed you for the better, if you think it has the power to change others, please leave a comment telling us how. Or, even better, blog or tweet about it. All books. Any books. One book.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flashback Fridays...80's/90's Toys & VLOG!....and Romance Times Winners

'Create

Welcome to Week Six of our fabulous segment Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. We'll be "flash-backing" on our own blogs, but most of all, we want YOUR participation as well. So, mark Fridays as your blog days to gaze into the past and smile!


This week we're flashingbacking to those fabulous items that held our childhood attention and imagination...yep, TOYS! Of course, toys greatly differed whether we grew up in 80's or 90's depending on our ages.

First up, I busted out this picture of a Christmas morning from my kiddy days.


Yep, that's right. Not only am I modeling the fantabulous purple Members Only jacket I got, but in the midst of the Barbie van, dolls, and record player, I'm clutching my Mr. T doll from the A Team. I kinda love my expression in the picture as well, don't you? It's like I'm channeling the whole, "I pity the fool taking this Polaroid picture!" I was a HUGE fan of the A-Team, and I had all the dolls. I'm totally bummed I didn't hang on to this one, but you can find lots of A-Team memorabilia at Ebay.









Can we also say I'm super pumped about the A-Team movie coming out in June? I mean, Liam Neesom as Hannibal and Bradley Cooper as Face...AWESOME!!!









Ah, Exhibit B: Care Bears. If you grew up during the 80's, you probably had a Care Bear or two. I had several....and I think I might still have one in the attic. I ended up sleeping with this one for many years, and I still remember the moon on it's belly. Good times. (Pst, I knew you hadn't gotten enough of me rocking the fantabulous Members Only Jacket! LOL)







Need some reading material for 80's toys? Then check out:





Just Can't Get Enough: Toys, Games, and Other Stuff that Rocked the 80's











Boys' Toys of the 70's & 80's: Toy Pages From the Legendary Sears Christmas Wishbooks 1970-1989














And here it is....my first ever VLOG! I'm proud that I let my perfectionist side go and just record for the heck of it! And since we'd just done a post on body image, I'm kinda proud that I went au natural in the vlog! Well, it's me after a day of wrestling teenagers in those last, fleeting days of the school year. We have one week left! BOO YAH!I'm thrilled to have held on to these toys all these year--course, having a grammy who is big into antiques and once owned an antitque store, also helps. Everything has the potential to be an antique and shouldn't be thrown away!

As for the video, I have big plans for learning how to edit this summer as well as getting a laptop mic! So, here's the toys of my childhood.......


And just in case, here's the LINK just in case b/c I'm trying to upload this at school, and we have the websense of doom....no Youtube, Facebook, etc.





















AND, here's our contest winners too!!!


Jacuqeline C ---Wins Signed Melissa Marr Book *Fragile Eternity


J.L Jackson--Wins Blood *Promise (Unsigned Copy)

Nicholas Johnson--Wins signed poster

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WHAT JANET REID IS REALLY THINKING





TOP FIVE REASONS (THERE ARE MORE) WHY JANET AND HER AGENT-POSSE-FRIENDS TURNED YOU DOWN 
(proceed with caution. this post intended for funnies only.) 

  1. YOUR QUERY LETTER IS TOO PERSONAL 
    1. Don’t be a shmuck.
      1. You’re not best friends.
      2.  Don’t personalize the email, you crazy stalker.
      3. Do you want them to get a restraining order??
        1. THE POINT: no more using first names, last names, surnames, or baby names. Just CC every agent in the industry. Keep it generic. They like that kind of thing. It makes them think you’re professional.
  1. YOUR BOOK IS TOO SHORT 
    1. You really think you can tell a story in 50-100,000 words?
      1. You obviously know nothing about the literary industry. (Have you even SEEN the 7th Harry Potter book??) (Have you??)
      2. Good books dive into details. LOTS OF DETAILS.
      3. DON’T CUT WORDS. You have to savor every saturated syllable in every silky sultry letter you use to describe the 15 varying variations of the differentiated differences in the different shades of silvery symmetry in the cascading currents of the Caribbean sunset. Maybe note why each one is so unbelievably and unimaginably insignificant, and maybe throwing in a sonnet (iambic pentameter, lest we forget) wouldn’t hurt either.
        1. THE POINT: your book needs to be at least 200k. Any shorter and agents will laugh at your ignorance.
  1. YOUR FONT IS UNREADABLE (this is a real word) 
    1. Times New Roman, guys? Seriously??
      1. You need to stand out. Be unique! Creative! Show off your personality! Try something new!
      2. Also: black is so BLAH. Font colors should be sharp and vibrant! The brighter the font, the easier it is to read. See?? <-----
      3. Papyrus! Lucida sans Unicode! Comic sans MS! Futura! Bell Gothic bold! (Maybe make your own handwriting!)
        1. THE POINT: with so many font colors and options available, why do what everyone else is doing?? Be MEMORABLE! (Fuchsia STENCIL STD is my fave.)
  1. YOU NEVER SPECIFIY WHAT TYPE OF NOVEL YOU’RE WRITING 
    1. This one should be obvious, guys, SERIOUSLY.
      1. Is it a FICTION novel?
      2. Is it a non-fiction novel?? 
      3. Is it a memoir novel?
        1. THE POINT: be specific. Fiction novels are VERY different from non-fiction novels/memoir novels/photography novels/biography novels/picture-book novels/etc.
  1. IT DOESN’T RHYME 
    1. Everyone knows that rhyming-things are more catchy, and consequently, less likely to be forgotten.
      1. If your query doesn’t rhyme, you’re not doing it right. Not really.
      2. It helps if you choose words that end in –end (more things rhyme with this.)
      3. Random example:

My novel is made of fiction, 
my fiction is made of words.
My words are filled with diction,
my prose is made of turds (insert: genius).

The story is about a sailor,
the sailor goes on a trip.
The story is about a sailor 
and the whale who eats his ship. 
Etc. etc. 
        1. THE POINT: see how much better rhyming-queries read? The query possibilities are endless!


    THE FINAL POINT:

    Don’t be bothered to read query guidelines and/or rules and/or restrictions and/or regulationsGuidelines are for geeks. (And you don’t want to be shoved in a locker, DO YOU??) (DO YOU????) Let your TRUE personality shine through your query lettersCALL the agents at their offices, maybe even their cell phones. (They might like the sound of your voice, because hey! Maybe your voice is sexier than your words? Work with what you’ve got!) ALSO: Drop in unannounced as much as possible, (maybe with a bouquet of long-stemmed roses??) because agents want friends just as much as you want a book deal. If you show them you really care, it’ll prove how dedicated you are to your craft, and they’ll be sure to respond more quickly. More $$$$$$$ literary pleasure for you!!

    SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!

    Send your dream agent that personalized mug full of granola bars/bleached flour/stale valentine’s day candy/personal care products/love note/your phone number!!

    AGENTS ARE WAITING FOR YOU!

    In conjunction with NEAT TIP! Nes-day, this post is sponsored in part by Query-YESCopyright © 2010 Query-YES! T. H. Mafi, Inc. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by Query-YES! T. H. Mafi, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. 
    SERIOUSLY. We'll hunt you down. We're not even joking a little bit.   
    Query-YES! is the only way to guarantee SUCCESS! 

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Of Margo Channing and Buffy Summers



    My bookcases are an almost even split between books and DVDs. I love great writing—especially great dialogue—and that’s not something that’s always restricted to a few hundred bound pages. In fact (and I’m probably committing some sort of grievous offense by admitting this) I’d say one of the biggest influences on my own writing has been my love of well written, highly quotable movies and television series.

    Hello, my name is Kath and I’m a dialogue junkie. (Blame my parents for letting me watch Neil Simon movies before I was old enough to speak in complete sentences.)

    Because it’s 12:03 AM and my brain is feeling about as sharp as a hardboiled egg, I’m going to share a list of some of my favourite movies and television shows from a dialogue perspective. Please note that not all of these (heck, not most of these) are teen movies. I’m only pointing that out so that mobs with pitchforks don’t come after me when a teen rents Almost Famous, then leaves home to become a stewardess. Have you ever been chased by a mob with a pitchfork? It’s not a fun time.

    Without further ado, the list (which is neither comprehensive nor complete – I did mention that it’s 12:03 AM, 12:11AM now):

    The Classics:

    The Apartment
    All About Eve
    The Goodbye Girl

    The Comtemps:

    Say Anything
    Juno
    When Harry Met Sally
    Almost Famous
    The Princess Bride

    The Television Shows

    WKRP in Cincinnati
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Firefly
    Veronica Mars
    Wonderfalls

    * Alright, so there's no actual dialogue in the above YouTube clip but it's PUPPET LLOYD. How can you not love a puppet tribute to Say Anything? I had to post it somewhere.

    ---

    Alright guys, your turn. What shows and movies should be on the list. Battle it out in the comments!

    Let me say it again, kill redundancy.

    On a line-edit, few things bug me more than misused homophones. Redundant words are one of them.

    Let me put it out there that I like repetition - when used right, the emphasis is fantastic. In dialog, it reveals a lot about a character, depending on context.

    I love arguments where one person stubbornly repeats their position. Or conversation where Bob reiterates a point that Andrew just made thus revealing that he wasn't listening to Andrew in the first place.

    "The line's going to be long, so we should go early."
    "I don't really know what time we should show up, but the last time I went, there was a long line."

    Doesn't that make you want to smack Bob and bless poor, patient Andrew for putting up with Bob?

    Redundancy is different.

    "He opened the hand painted door he was so proud of, and I walked into the apartment, sidling past the painted naked lady on the door, mentally promising myself to be quick, and hoping that he left the door open behind me."

    Grrrrr. Sure, there are details, important details...because really? Never enter the apartment of someone who's painted a naked lady on their front door. But there's got to be a better way to say that.

    I'm as guilty as the next person. It's actually pretty embarrassing. My two favorite tools for combating this are:
    1) Find/Replace - I do searches on "thought that" and tell it to replace it with "thought" - It's faster than searching all the thats and looking at them one by one. "said that" "told me that" "assumed that" "grateful that" It's still a long list.
    2) Beta Readers. - Some of the words I repeat are specific to one scene, betas can catch this - especially if I've done #1 already before they read it.

    Lastly, if it's an action you keep repeating, say, rolling eyes, or cracking knuckles, you may want to head over to The Bookshelf Muse's Emotion Thesaurus. They have emotions listed followed by the many different ways people express them.

    - Holen

    P.S. Congrats to Mel who won our awesome auction package and helped a great cause at the same time!


    So tell us, what actions do you overuse?

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Do the Write Thing for Nashville



    What has more sparkles than Edward Cullen? Could it be the fantabulous auction package we've put together for Do the Write Thing for Nashville?

    Highest bid will receive:

    A summer guest spot on this blog consisting of blog posts in June, July, and August (posts must be YA or writing related and must be appropriate for a YA audience).

    From agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh of Judith Ehrlich Literary Agency: A critique of your query letter and the first 15 pages of your manuscript.

    From agent Taylor Martindale of Sandra Dijsktra Literary Agency: A full manuscript read and notes on your ms.

    Manuscript critiques from at least 3 of our blog members.

    A Query critique from at least 3 of our blog members.

    Copy editing of mss from a former Sourcebooks proofreader.

    One signature banner (for use on forums like Absolute Write or blogs) and coordinating bookmark design from one of our resident graphic designers (sorry guys, you're stuck with Kath). Winner has option of providing photographs which they would like used. If winner does not have photos, we will select stock photography (iStockphoto, excluding Vetta collection) for them based on a summery or query for their ms and using our own discretion and judgment.

    And a YA-themed "I read banned books" bracelet.



    ---

    About Emmanuelle:

    Emmanuelle Alspaugh is a literary agent with Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC. She represents upmarket fiction, historical fiction, women's fiction and romance, urban fantasy, thrillers, young adult fiction, and select memoir, narrative nonfiction, and how-to projects. She also represents GotYA's Kathleen. For more information about Emmanuelle, please visit her agent profile at JELM (http://www.judithehrlichliterary.com/agents.html).

    About Taylor:

    Taylor Martindale is a literary agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. is interested in Young Adult fiction -- specifically contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and any story with a captivating voice. Taylor is also interested in commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and multi-cultural fiction. She represents GotYA's Debra. For more information about Taylor, please visit her agent profile at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (http://www.dijkstraagency.com/meet-the-agents.html).

    HUGE HUGE thanks to both Taylor and Emmanuelle!

    Go forth and bid!
    Run to the auction site like a band of werewolves are nipping at your heels!

    AND A HUGE THANKS TO ANY AND ALL BIDDERS (we'll put in a good word for you when the zombie apocalypse comes).

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Flashback Friday

    'Create

    Welcome to Week Five of our fabulous segment Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. We'll be "flash-backing" on our own blogs, but most of all, we want YOUR participation as well. So, mark Fridays as your blog days to gaze into the past and smile!

    This week we're going retro and sauntering back through the fashion and fads of the decade when we grew up, which can be the 80's or 90's depending on our ages.

    Krista: 80's and 90's Fashion Craziness

    Jennifer: Focusing on 80's fashion.

    Annie: Valley Girl Recap











    First, I decided to bust out a picture from my family album....















    Um, just kidding.

    Here's a look at some of the 80's Fashion and Trends....the good, the bad, and the spandex!



























    One word: Jellies. Loved them, had a zillion pairs, were completely craptastic for my feet, but I didn't care!















    Banana Clips, Swatch Watches, Friendship Bracelets.....they were the shizz!





    The 90's introduced us to the Grunge & Urban looks as well as keeping in some of the crazy colors and fabrics of the 80's.


















































    Nike Pumps....Pump up and air out!





    Want some bedside reading to take you back? Check out the following books on 80's or 90's popculture.





    Totally Awesome 80s: A Lexicon of the Music, Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Stars, and Trends of that Decadent Decade










    The 80's (20th Century Pop Culture)
















    The 90's (Pop Culture







    Are You the Master of Your Domain: 1990's Pop Culture Book








    So, what are your favorite trends or fads? Good or bad?