Posts tagged ‘sarahenni’

April 26th, 2011

I was born in 1995

by Madeleine Rex

I am not under the impression that any of you are creating a timeline of my life or writing a paper on me. My purpose in stating the year I was born is to remind you that I am the teenager of today. Going to high school five days of the week, talking with and texting teenagers, and drowning in the glory of overactive hormones and a swarm of young people with the worries/sense of invincibility/insecurities we read about makes me an insider.

I know that adults are constantly saying things along the lines of, “I remember when I was your age…” but that’s not all that’s required to write a young adult novel. You might remember an event or experience, but you, admittedly, did not experience it in 2010 or 2009. Prom in 1988 is different than prom now, despite the fact that the major characteristics are the same.

Miranda Kenneally, who is still young, once asked me what kids my age call a record store. And I said, “Um… a record store?” When I read a draft of one of her books, though, I came across an instant in which the main character mentions seeing someone’s underwear. My eyes bugged out of my head for a moment before I realized she meant undershirt.

I can promise anyone my age would have spit their Sprite all over that page if they’d read that the main character could see the guy’s underwear while he was leaning against his locker. And the reader probably would have blushed, too.

There are little differences between generations. Even those minor differences can help loads when it comes to making stories and characters easily relatable to the audience (people my age). Sarah Enni posted about this last week, and made many great points. I commented and left a short list of things that have struck me as slightly off or outdated and a few things that I think many people would assume were before my generation but are actually talked about. Here’s the comment:

You’re pretty much spot-on, although I think a lot of people my age have a hazy remembrance of 9/11. I remember walking into the living room on the morning before my second day of kindergarten and finding my mother standing in front of the TV, eyes glued to a building going down. I think lots of people my age feel some sort of connection to it (though I could be wrong). Also: We watched the version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio in it, and girls *were* drooling. One person people bring up all the time is Justin Timberlake, but I hear practically nothing about him. 😀

There are a few things I see in books that don’t strike true (and sometimes my adult friends will come to me with questions as they write, trying to verify). For example:

1. We (meaning the people I talk to at MY high school) don’t say “cell”. Often, we don’t even say “cell phone”, unless we’re asking if someone has one or what we’re saying could truly mistakenly be applied to a home phone. Most of the time we just call it “phone”.

2. There are names that creep up in a lot of YA books these days that I hardly ever hear. It’d be hard to list all of them, but there are many.

3. People do talk about politics. And the economy. They tend to sound like they’re regurgitating their parents views (and they are often pretty liberal, at least here). However, people get really worked up over it. Even in middle school during the last election, Obama’s face and name were *everywhere*.

4. OJ is still brought up occasionally. Michael Jackson is still brought up all the time. And almost everyone’s seen Titanic at least once.

5. We sometimes mention Blue’s Clues. And Elmo. And The Cookie Monster.

6. We don’t wear skirts over jeans. Ever.

7. Don’t forget Jamba Juice! It’s not all Starbucks.

I realize that these details might seem insignificant, but they’re the ones that stand out to me as I read. Particularly the overuse of “cells” and the occasional character who wears skirts over jeans. I never see that.

Although I understand that particular characters are unique and might break a generalized rule, I wanted to make the point that the details do not go unnoticed by the target audience. It’s like being ripped out of a dreamworld when the reader comes across something that feels off. Suddenly, we’re distanced from the situation or character, simply because we’ve remembered that what we’re reading is fiction. It’s our job as writers to sustain the illusion.

July 5th, 2010

Award! And more about Madeleine… BEWARE

by Madeleine Rex

I love awards, don’t you? I’m so glad that Wordbird is enjoyed by you folks. Not to mention how wonderful it is to think that people I don’t even know are reading what I write. It’s fantastic. Thanks so much for reading! Speaking of which, I’m planning a giveaway to celebrate 10,000 blog views (thanks for what is only the second of many times I say that in this post!) and having written 100 posts! However, I don’t know what book to giveaway. Anything that has been published already would do. If you have any input, talk to me in the comments!

And… Thanks to Sarah Enni for passing me The Versatile Blogger award! I’m very grateful!

You might regret reading this post. At this particular moment, I don’t know what I’m going to list as the mandatory 7 things about yourself. I’d be nervous if I were you.

But… I’m going to go over-the-top. A friend of mine who just happens to have a spectacular blog (titled Holes in My Brain – how irresistible is that?), Audrey, tagged me to list 25 random things about myself.

So, below: 25 things about myself…

  1. I love TV. A lot. It’s mostly the characters that draw me. I can never resist the opportunity to find more people to love.
  2. I love avocado. And mushrooms. I eat mushrooms cooked, raw, everything.
  3. I don’t just read books. I collect them. Every book I read is added to my wishlist, and I hardly ever give books away.
  4. I currently own four copies of Anne of Green Gables and counting. Actually, I intend to buy these when I get my first book advance.
  5. I hate it when I say sorry and someone argues, “Why? It’s not your fault! Why should you be sorry?” I feel the urge to say, right now, that the definition of “sorry” clearly states that it can mean you feel sympathetic.
  6. My name is pronounced Mad-eh-lynn, not Mad-eh-line. I will be eternally grateful to my parents for this.
  7. I really enjoy reading out loud to people.
  8. I love to bake. Especially cakes.
  9. I can’t swim. Well, I can a little bit. Only enough to save my life under semi-dire circumstances. If we pass into totally-dire or utlra-dire, my dad will have to pull me along… or I’ll just be screwed.
  10. I hate math. I still work hard at it and do pretty well, but I hate it.
  11. I am a teenager, but, against all likelihood, I’d rather spend a day with my mom or dad than with friends. I become more clingy as I get older.
  12. My real goal, despite the fact that I always say “while in my teens”, is to be published or in the process of being published at 16. And, no, you didn’t just read that.
  13. I love a lot of people. And I love those people a lot.
  14. I’m like my bosom friend, Anne Shirley/Blythe, in that I’m usually ecstatic or simply happy, but I can plunge into the depths of despair in the blink of an eye. However, my mood usually returns to its pleasant state quickly.
  15. I love hugs. A lot. I hug my parents constantly. They get irritated when I stop them in their tracks, sometimes.
  16. I have two finches. One is an Owl Finch, and the other is a Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleu. They’re both girls and their names are Clove and Willow. I want to get a red finch soon and name her Cherry.
  17. I hate broccoli. Really.
  18. I go through moisturizer like my brother goes through waffles.
  19. I procrastinate like there’s no tomorrow. It’s so difficult to write with Twitter and email.
  20. I like to sprint, but I don’t really like jogging.
  21. I love the color green. Actually, the sweatshirt I’m wearing now is green.
  22. I own two pairs of moccasins. One is orange and the other is purple. I love brightly colored moccasins.
  23. If I had to eliminate one dessert from my life, and my options were ice cream or cake, I’d choose cake. Ice cream is simply too precious to me.
  24. I like gory movies. And scary ones. I laugh at the gore, though. I always watch this kind of movie with my dad because I need to grasp his arm tightly when I’m freaking out but determined to keep watching.
  25. I love 80’s music and 80’s movies. Go Fletch!

Those are so difficult! Anyway, it’s time for me to pass the award onward to 15 blogs I’ve recently discovered. However, you guys only need to list 7 things about yourselves, link back to my blog (I’m not being snobbish – it’s actually in the rules), and then list 15 blogs you’ve recently discovered and let the bloggers know.

And, because I haven’t recently discovered 15 blogs, I’m only going to list a couple.

Yeah, I’m not subscribed to as many blogs as most of you, but I love the few I’ve found recently! I recommend checking them out!

June 11th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

I’ve been gone so long that all my readers must:

  1. Really miss me
  2. Really hate me
  3. Have forgotten me

No matter how you feel or what you’ve forgotten, I am back, if temporarily, with The Chirps of Other Wordbirds, my weekly collection of the fabulous posts I’ve read recently. Most, if not all, are writing/publishing related, and I can assure you that every one is a gem!

First off: I’m sorry. Next week is my last week of Middle School (this is the best sentence ever), and I’ve been busier than usual lately. I haven’t neglected my blog for this long since last year, at which time I shouldn’t have been deemed a blogger. I’m hoping this upcoming week is more prosperous, but, if not, I’ll be back after the 18th!

The Greatness this Week:

The Post: Nathan Bransford, aka Mr. Literary Agent Celebrity, posted about his psychic agent-powers that have told him The Rejection Letter of the Future Will Be Silence. I find this idea incredibly interesting, and Nathan’s thoughts on the incredible nature of publishing in the digital era are well-put.

The Quote:

No one sits around thinking, “You know what the problem with the Internet is? Too many web pages.” Would you even notice if suddenly there were a million more sites on the Internet? How would you even know? We all benefit from the seemingly infinite scope of the Internet and we’ve devised a means of navigating the greatest concentration of information and knowledge the world has ever seen.

So what’s the big deal if a few hundred thousand more books hit the digital stores every year? We will find a way to find the books we want to read, just as surely as we’re able to find the restaurants we eat at and the movies we want to see and the shoes we want to buy out of the many, many available options.

The Post: One of the most discussed topics of the year is the digital publishing revolution. Eric at Pimp My Novel has an interesting take on not just e-books, but on the death of particular publishing formats, particularly audio books and large print.

The Quote:

As we progress further into the Most Glorious Digital Age, mes auteurs, I can’t help but feel that some book formats and practices are going to be made obsolete. Now, before anyone gets started with “Kindle-this” and “iPad-that,” I’m not suggesting that 1.) these changes will render print books in general obsolete, or 2.) these changes will be specific to any one e-reader, company, or file format.

They are as follows: large print and audio books (as they currently exist) are goners.

The Post: Titles catch my eye. Book covers catch my eye. These are the things that make books pretty and shiny and appealing. As a writer, I love titles. Occasionally, I come up with titles before even a fragment of an idea presents itself. Eric (again) posted about the crucial nature of titles and why it’s important to get them right in A Rose by Any Other Name. (Plus, he gives tips!)

The Quote:

Sad but true, author-amigos: sometimes the title you pick for your book is terrible.

Sometimes an author selects a title that simply doesn’t work for his or her genre (e.g. titling a romance Guns and Bros and Explosions). Occasionally an author unwittingly (or worse, wittingly) gives his or her book a title that’s uncomfortably similar to the title of a very different, much more widely known work (e.g. naming a memoir about directing a summer camp for disabled youth in Germany Mein Kamp).

The Post: Kathleen at GotYA posted “I am not Margo… Or John Green,” a post in which she ogles over Paper Towns (review forthcoming here at Wordbird… hopefully) and talks about how, as readers and writers, we’re destined to find authors we want to kill but hug before we do so. They’re too good to be true. Worse yet, their general awesomeness is about ten times what you imagine you could ever achieve. (And I actually said something to that effect to Miranda the other day, and, coincidentally, I was talking about John Green, too.)

The Quote:

It’s not that I don’t love John Green. If anything, I love him too much. You see, John Green is the author who makes me want to fall to my knees and cry, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”

I have this theory that everyone has an author like that—even if they haven’t come across them yet.

You know that line in “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” where the narrators says, “The race is long; in the end, it’s only against yourself.” I believe that line. I really do. Almost all of the time. I suspect there are a few published writers that I’m better than and lots of published writers who leave me in the dust. That doesn’t bother me. But when I read John Green, there are moments when I stop and think that I’m just not worthy to practice the same craft.

The Post: Take Advantage of the Morning, folks! Sarah Enni published a very true post on how important it is to wake up in the morning, free of the troubles of life, and squeeze out a few words. I’ve been writing 500 words in the morning for months, and believe me, those words are precious.

The Quote:

It doesn’t matter what you write down: dreams; conversations from real life or imagined ones; events of the day before — anything at all. “Your primary purpose now is not to bring forth deathless words, but to write any words at all which are not pure nonsense,” Brande writes. Anything your brain comes up with before it is exposed to the daily deluge of external influence.

Have a great weekend!