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Friday, April 22, 2011

Write What You Know?

I'm the last one to tell you to write what you know. Does J.K. Rowling know what it's like to go to Hogwarts and battle the most evil dark wizard in history? Does Stephenie Meyer know what it's like to fall in love with a vampire? Does Lisa McMann know what it's like to be sucked into people's dreams? Does Tamora Pierce know what it's like to be a lady knight in Tortall?

No.

I've never put much store into the advice to "write what you know." Lately, however, I've been having second thoughts. What happened to cause this change?

I don't believe the phrase "write what you know" is meant to be taken literally. It doesn't mean to write only what you already know and not explore other avenues. It means to use your experiences as a foundation for your writing. And sometimes a lack of experiences really can impair your writing.

Example: In every one of my novels there is at least one kiss scene. These scenes were based on what I'd heard from friends, seen in movies, and read in books.

Then I got my first kiss and everything changed. I realized that kissing wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I've been going back through BB and revising all the kiss scenes and I don't intend to ever write a kiss scene the same way again.

I never thought I had a problem with writing kissing scenes until I gained some knowledge and realized that I wasn't giving a realistic picture.

Does this mean you should only write what you know?

Of course not! That's boring. But keep in mind that many novels have an anchor in the author's experiences. Perhaps the phrase shouldn't be "write what you know" but "know what you write."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RTW -- First Kiss

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
Compare your first kiss with your favorite characters first kiss?

My favorite character's first kiss was the one between Daine and Numair in Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce. Technically it wasn't either character "first" kiss but it was their first together. It's desperate and passionate and revealing and raw. It's the first time Daine finally faces the truth that Numair is in love with her even though it's been obvious since the third book. I read that scene more than any other as a middle schooler and I'm still in love with it.

It was the exact opposite of my real first kiss. Mine was with my boyfriend of a month sitting on the floor watching a movie at a lock-in. When he went in for it, I thought he would never kiss me. It was short and sweet when he finally did.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Annexed Review

Until I get my laptop back, I'm going to try to blog three times a week and then I can go back to doing RTW and Week in Shorts.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar
What was it like hiding in the Annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world within a world at war -- alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside.

Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive.

Look through Peter's eyes. He has a story to tell, too. Are you listening?

I've been a World War 2 historical kick lately. Now, I haven't read Anne Frank's diary yet so I can't compare Peter's experiences in Annexed to her actual diary. I just found it in the library a couple days ago and intend to check it out once I finish my current round of books.

I absolutely loved the book at first, but as time went on I felt more and more indifferent towards it. The story was intriguing and I enjoyed the peek into what Peter might have felt, but the entire time it felt like something was missing and I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I think it was either due to Peter felt restricted because he was based on actual person or because he didn't seem anything like what one would think.

There were entire parts of Peter's personality that I didn't understand why he did it. Like the whistling scene at the beginning. I seriously started to question whether he was actually sixteen at that point.

I did find the concept that things happened in the Annex with Peter than Anne didn't put in her diary intriguing.

Overall: 6.5 This was a solid book, but there was just something missing for me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another Laptop Crash

My laptop has (once again) crashed which means my only online access is through my mom's laptop which she uses as much as I use mine. I have no idea how long it's going to take me to get a new laptop and I highly doubt mine is going to spontaneously start working again as it has sometimes been known to do. This means that for at least the next month or so my blogging is going to be incredibly sporadic. I promise that I will blog when I can.