Monday, February 27, 2012

Serial Monday - Supes - Week 3

We're getting a little late start to Serial Monday, but it is still Monday (barely). This week's installment is a bit longer (by request).

Last week's poll:

What should Duke do next?
Zap Lou to make him back off.  9 (25%)
Walk away.                           27 (75%)

Last week: Week 2
Week 1: Week 1
Rules: Serial Monday Rules

Supes - Week 3

Duke glanced over to be sure both cafeteria ladies were still in the kitchen. His hair stood up as the field around him grew. His power had never come this fast or strong.

Duke watched Lou through a haze. Lou reached out, hand cupped as if he’d choke Duke.

He’s not really hazy. The field’s blurring my vision.

Lou had to have some power if he was at Parker Memorial, but Duke didn’t know what it was – or if it would be enough to shield Lou from the worst of Duke’s power. The last guy Duke had zapped blacked out. With this much charge built up, the current running through someone might put him in the hospital.

I can’t do this.

Duke grabbed the metal tray ledge just as Lou’s hand would have penetrated the electric shell. Duke’s boots thunked on the floor when the field around him dissipated. The acrid smell of burning eggs wafted out of the service trays.

Duke blocked Lou’s hand. “Just back off, dude. I don’t know what your deal is, but I don’t want to hurt you.”

Lou glared at him, and Duke’s headache returned full-force. Duke’s vision narrowed to a pinprick.

Crap, I’m gonna pass out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Supes - Week 2

Last week's poll:

What should Duke do next?
Get in line behind the weird guy. 15 votes (68%)
Sit with the overachieving girls.     7 votes (32%)

Last week's installment of the story: Supes - Week 1
Here are the rules: Serial Monday Rules

Supes - Week 2

That's one handy side effect!
Food first, then I’ll find a place to sit. 

Duke shoved his cafeteria code in his jeans pocket and walked over to the food line. The greasy kid turned to watch Duke approach. The closer Duke got, the more the kid glared. When Duke stepped up behind him in line, the kid bared his teeth and growled.

Does he think he’s a dog?

Duke rolled his eyes. No wonder everyone cleared out of the line when this guy was around. Duke made a point to ignore the kid and glanced over at the cafeteria ladies.

They both stood about a foot behind the service line. One looked from Duke to the other kid, then headed into the kitchen.

“I’ll just get more eggs.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reference Book Rehash - Week 2 (WGBfYA)

Author: Regina Brooks
Title: Writing Great Books for Young Adults

This week I read chapter 2 in Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks. I'll admit I left it until the last minute - I read it Friday - but I got sucked in and read a couple of chapters before I made myself stop and focus just on chapter 2.

Ms. Brooks does a great job of guiding the reader through exercises that lead to story ideas. All of the exercises in this chapter dealt with remembering emotions from when you were a teenager and using those emotions to come up with story ideas. I was surprised to find that it was easy to call up all of those teenage emotions. The story ideas they conjured were fun, and I'll definitely be adding a couple of them to my list of works in progress.

I didn't expect to be able to call up those teenage, angsty emotions so easily, especially when I can't remember a lot of the day-to-day events that happened then. Here's an exercise for you: try to remember a strong emotion from when you were a teenager. Call up that emotion. Feel it. Now use that emotion and imagine what type of a character would feel that emotion. Who are they? What's the story behind the emotion? Jot down the story idea and see where it goes.

The exercises in chapter two were more specific than this, each focusing on a specific type of emotion. I was surprised at the different places my teenage emotions took me. I went from a 1950s high school girl to a prince in a fantasy kingdom to a newly freed slave on an alien world. Where do your emotions take you?

More Details
Week 1

Friday, February 17, 2012

I've Been Tagged

Kelly Hashway tagged me to answer some questions here, then come up with questions for other bloggers to answer. Here are my answers - and the list of people I want answers from. (Hint: You're one of them.)

The Tag rules:
1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Kelly's questions for me:
  1. If you could live in a fictional world, where would that be?
    I like the real world an awful lot, but if I had to pick, I'd say Eureka. I know, I picked a TV place, not a literary place, but I'm sticking with it.
  2. Do you read in noisy or quiet places?
    Yes. I read anywhere there are words.
  3. What was the first book you ever read?
    I don't remember the very first, but the first I remember is Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!
  4. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    I object to this question on grounds of cruelty. Only one book? Really?
  5. Favorite author?
    Right now I'd say Orson Scott Card because I just finished Pathfinder and loved it. Tomorrow I may have a different favorite.
  6. Do reviews influence your choice of reads?
    They don't influence whether I'll read something, but they do influence whether I buy it before I read part of it. If I'm unsure, I'll read a bit at the bookstore before I buy. If I get sucked in and don't want to put it down, I ignore the review and buy the book anyway.
  7. Fiction or Nonfiction?
    Usually fiction, but I love history and science books as well.
  8. Have you ever met your favorite author?
  9. Audio books or Paperbacks?
    Audiobooks are great for long car trips! Everyone gets to participate and be entertained. Otherwise, I like books any way I can get them- paperback, hardback, ebooks, I read them all.
  10. Classic or Modern Novels?
    Usually modern, but I am a sucker for Jane Austen. 
  11. Book Groups or Solitary Reading?
    I've only ever been involved in one book group, so I'll say solitary as a general rule.
My questions for others: I'm following Kelly's lead and cheating. I'll ask the same questions, but I'll add to number 4. If you can pick just one book, why would you pick it?

I've tagged: 
There are some people I didn't tag because I saw someone else already tagged you. Here's a bit more cheating: I would love to see answers to these questions from anyone not tagged - even the non-bloggers among you. Kate, D, Shauna, and anyone else out there - I would love to see what you think of these. If you want to answer in the comments, that'd be awesome.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Story 1 - Working Title: Supes

Duke Harrison chained his bike to the bike rack outside his new school. He sighed. Two other bikes in the rack, and a parking lot full of late model sports cars. It looked like this school wasn’t going to be much different than the last one his nomad father had dragged him to. 

Seven different high schools in two years was more than Duke could handle. About the time people got over his weird name, Duke would have to pack everything so they could go haring off to some new school three states away. They had to stay now, though.

Now that Duke’s powers had manifested he was deemed unsafe for normal high school, so Stanley Parker Memorial would be his home until he graduated. If his dad got itchy feet he’d either have to go off by himself or buy some foot powder. Duke didn’t really care which.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Serial Monday - Rules

I've been looking for a fun writing project to keep myself writing regularly, and a way to hold myself accountable, so I will meet the goals I set for myself. As a kid, I loved the books where the reader would choose which path to take and turn to the designated page for that part of the story. I think writing that type of a story will be a fun project, but I want to make it interactive so you readers can determine what's going to happen as we go.

Starting tomorrow, Mondays here will be Serial Mondays. Each week I will post a portion of a story that ends at a decision point for the character. I'll post a poll for readers to vote which choice the character should make. You'll have until Friday to vote (voting ends at 11:59 on Thursday evening) then I will write up the next week's installment, to be posted on Monday. Feel free to comment on the story - let us now why you think the vote should go your way. Even if you don't comment, please vote on which direction you'd like the story to take.

Please keep in mind that this is an unedited story. Though I will take each installment through more than one draft, I am writing and posting between Friday and Monday. There may be mistakes, but I will make every effort to keep them at a minimum, and correct them as they're noted.

The first story starts in the next post. (Which I will post on Monday.) There is a jump break in the story, so click on the link to read the rest, then vote for your choice! Have fun, and thanks for reading!

Fine Print: All comments must be good-natured, positive, and in good taste or I will remove them. I am the final (and only) arbiter of what is good-natured, positive and in good taste. All rights to the story remain with me, but feel free to post links back to this site.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reference Book Rehash - Week 1 (WGBfYA)

Author: Regina Brooks
Title: Writing Great Books for Young Adults

This week I worked on the first chapter of Writing Great Books for Young Adults, by Regina Brooks. This chapter isn't an introduction, but it's along the same lines. No exercises, but it does lay down five rules for engaging young readers. The last two were very appropriate for me this week.

I've been thinking of writing a story, and the idea that kept coming to me was a combination of things that I haven't done before, and I haven't seen much like it on the YA shelves. Rule four tells us to write the manuscript before we worry about how it's going to do on the market. Write the story as it comes to you. I guess that answers my concerns about whether I should bother writing that story. Maybe something great will come out of it.

Chapter two is where the meat of the book starts, with exercises to work through, so I hope to have some great insights after next week's reading.

Have you heard any "rules" lately that struck a chord with you? Any words to live by that started bells ringing?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reference Overload - A New Plan

One of my favorite things to do when I visit the bookstore is to roam through the writing reference section. I don't always let myself buy anything, because, let's face it, reading about writing doesn't get any writing done. If I find something that looks really great, or if I'm feeling particularly like I need inspiration, I'll buy something. That's probably one out of every ten trips. That doesn't sound like a lot, only 10%. I really put in in perspective when I stopped by the bookstore today. Out of all the books they had on writing, there were maybe ten that looked like something I would like that I don't already have at home. That's not just me, is it?

I've read some of all of them, and all of some of them. Some I went through, highlighted, took notes, did the exercises, and used them to improve my craft. Why not all of them, I wondered? At one point, with each book, I felt like it was just the thing I needed to get through this passage or that story. I realize that there's no secret formula in any book to writing the perfect story and having it published. I think the exercise with these books is to use them to get my butt in the chair and write - because we all know that practice is the only way to get better at anything. It also won't hurt to have some advice along the way, or to try something new.

So, starting this week, I am going through my writers' reference books, one chapter a week. I'll post an update after the week is up to see what I've learned (and to hold me accountable). Since I've been working on a YA novel, I'm going to start with Writing Great Books for Young Adults, by Regina Brooks.

If you have the book, feel free to work along with me and post your revelations in the comments for that week. I'll work through each chapter, one chapter a week (excluding introductions, prefaces, etc.). For this book, that will be 12 weeks. If you don't have the book, or don't want to work along, please feel free to come chime in on whatever post and comments there are for the week.

Note: The book link above will take you to the store section of, the publisher of Writing Great Books for Young Adults. Clicking on the book cover at the right will do the same.