Friday, September 23, 2011

Christa Talks To The Teen--The September Edition

Okay, lovelies, it is time once again for me to ask questions of my teen beta Aliya so that old(er) people can gain insight into the inner workings of a reading YA's mind. 

1. Jeggings, bootleg, skinny jeans, or those flowy numbers I've seen people wearing? What kind of pants are the teens wearing?
I wear bootleg, but there are only a few of us left.  EVERYONE is wearing skinny jeans. 

2. Have you ever read a YA book that you thought a character might be better if s/he were gay in? (#yesgayYA)
I have never thought about changing a character before.  A character is just like a person in the sense that I have no say in whether or not they're gay, so I never thought about their potentials to be.  Unless, of course, the author purposefully has you wondering whether they're gay or not.

3. How old do you think my daughter needs to be to read Twilight? To Kill A Mocking Bird? Hex Hall? 
11 or 12.  That's when I started reading them.

4. Would you ever pick up a YA book with characters who were all a different race or ethnicity than you?
Definitely!  When I was younger I probably just wouldn't have picked them out from other books, but recently I've been reading a lot more about people who are different from me. 

5. Do fictional vampires need to worry about STDs?
Psh, no!  They are otherwordly and don't have to deal with the complications of STDs.  Unless we're talking about Peeps, in which case vampirism IS an STD.  Although, that would make an interesting twist... But no one would want a vampire with STDs.

6. How do you like your iPad? Are you reading exclusively on it yet? Pros/cons vs. regular books?
I LOVE it!  I use it for them than just reading (iPad games are the best!).  I still read physical books most of the time, but I'm slowly reading more and more on the iPad.  I'm afraid of neglecting physical books.  I will not give up my goal of owning 800 books!  I'm so glad I have it, when I get ebooks I'm not killing my eyes by reading on my computer or tiny iPhones screen anymore.

7. What do you think about the lack of parental involvement in YA books? Unrealistic? And if parents are more involved, does it taint a book for you?

I think it's a good character conflict and that's why it's in so many books.  Kids, teenagers, we need our parents, and it's a big deal when a person doesn't really have them there.  I don't mind parents being there in the books, but it does give teenagers a feeling of maturity to read about an independant teenage character.

Thanks Aliya. As usual, you are made of AWESOME. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Working on craft...sadly, not Kraft

Yes, it would be nice if I were eating Mac N Cheese, but no. I am fixing GESTAPO. I imagine all of you are as tired of hearing about this book as I am of revising it. But it has some craft "problems" as it were. It's funny when you've done some editing, when you've read books for critique partners, and when you've made your way through a giant slush pile, you start to realize what your bad habits are.

I'm not talking about the obvious ones like overuse of "just" and "that." I'm talking about things like when you're writing in first person and get in another character's head. I evidently do this quite a bit. Sadly, this is usually signaled by an inappropriate use of an adverb.

So if you've seen my website or you've been following me for awhile, you have a general idea about what GESTAPO is about. And perhaps you even know that I changed the whole thing from 3rd person to 1st person. Well, in doing all this revision, I've managed to forget that my MC doesn't know exactly what everyone is thinking.

For example, "Andrew swallowed uncomfortably."

This seems fairly innocuous until you start to ask yourself, "Can our MC see him swallow? And how does she know he's uncomfortable?"

Ack. Double ack. So I'm trying to fix those. I'm also guilty of failing to contract enough.

This morning, I used the FIND button to discover every "am" in my manuscript and see if I needed to change it to an "I'm" instead of "I am." I love the FIND button sometimes, but today, not only did it FIND all the "I am" cases, but also, "family" "game" and "team"---super fun weeding through that!

So what about you, my writing duckies? What are the bad habits you need to use the FIND button for?