Thursday, October 18, 2012

Q: What do you get when you cross...

...J├Ągermeister, a BMW 760Si Sedan, and a pair of shearing scissors?

A: Chapter 6!

Okay, okay, I couldn't resist. It was too good not to share. That being said, it also got me thinking about the Young Adult (YA) genre. While I do still consider my audience primarily YA, I would be remiss to not put a "warning" on the book about the mature content and language. (For those of you who don't know me yet, I'm rather partial to the F-bomb.) 

But when I think about my own teenage years, I can't really say they'd be much different than some of what these girls experience. Well, aside from the $180,000 luxury "emissions-friendly" BMW. Oh, and the demonic nemesis. Yeah, I had my differences with a few people, but none of them were ever as evil as my antagonist is about to be. 

I think on one hand, we haven't traditionally given our teenagers (and what they experience and want to read) enough credit. But things are so much different now than they were when I was in sixteen. I was reading Sweet Valley High for God sake. Well, until my junior year when (thankfully) a friend introduced me to the strong heroine and sensual experiences of Skye O'Malley and the darker, more complex Gothic fiction of VC Andrews

It's one of the reasons that pushed me into starting this book to begin with. I wanted to tell a story about these three best friends, but I wanted it to be gritty and real. I didn't want to dumb it down for a certain rating or genre. I wanted to share what some teenagers experience--which is, unfortunately, some very adult and mature situations. That, laced with some really epic mistakes that all great teenagers make!

So, I'm really proud to be a part of this next generation of writers who have the courage and the insight to write what teenagers really want to read. To be honest. To show our flaws and our mistakes and our complications. To write with a certain sense of rawness and humor. To give them the credit that they know how to separate the mature and dark content they read from reality. After all, adults use fiction to fantasize and escape, right? It's no different with teenagers. 

Let's just hope the J├Ągermeister, BMW, and shearing scissors make the cuts after I'm finished with my classic "shitty first draft" (thanks Anne LaMott!). 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Every good writer has a soundtrack, right?

Every writer has to start somewhere, and my "public" journey with my novel writing starts here. It's officially been announced, so I have to buckle down, commit to a publication date, and get my manuscript finished. I hope you'll join me on my journey and check back from time to time to see what I'm up to! 

Last night I went on a writing bender of sorts. Anyone who's a creative type understands this manic sort of obsession when you just can't shut out the ideas. When you literally feel as if the ideas are eating their way out from the inside of your brain. (Sorry for the visual. It will stick with you.) When you just wish the kids could put themselves to bed and you could shut out all the cat noise, the interrupting husband, and just the general life-full-of-technology-chatter. Despite an important Presidential debate on TV that I felt as if I "should" be watching, I couldn't stop writing instead. No regrets. 

Have you ever had one of those moments when you get a glimpse of divine intervention? When energy just syncs up the way it was meant to? That's what happened to me last night. I was in the middle of an important scene where my three young protagonists are trying to get out of a sticky situation. It's a pivotal scene where the reader gets a first glimpse that Grey, the focus of book one, may not be a "normal" teenage girl. I needed song lyrics to exactly shape the tone of this scene and a dialogue back and forth between the three girls. 

That's when I stumbled upon Ani DiFranco and her hauntingly depressing, but divinely soul-stirring, song that she recorded live in 2002. It's aptly titled, Grey. Of course, being a good and honest cookie, I still need to secure her permission to use her lyrics in my novel. But they are so captivating, and it was as if the song was written for my Grey. After all, every good writer (with the hopes of landing a movie deal) has a good soundtrack in their heads, right? 

I'm curious to know, what music inspires you to be more creative? Do you write while listening to music, or is it too distracting? How does it shape your artistry? Drop me a line with your all time favorite writing song!