Which of these heroes would you trust?
You hear it all the time. People utter the phrase because they mean it, because they think it’s true, or just because it’s what we expect. It’s a phrase that lovers of literature revel and lovers of film revile: “The book is better than the movie.”
So what about the comic book? Continue reading
The best mornings used to be the ones when the lorikeets would visit. They’d paint my balcony rail with their plumage, giving the mural of landscape behind them a purpose. With the lorikeets visiting, blue water and swaying foliage would become something steadier: a background they could dive-bomb and ascend. Trees would become the pedestals for their prizewinning beauty. Continue reading
Visit WOW: Women on Writing and KYSO Flash for my latest flash fiction: YA coming-of-age Weak as Tissue and an undersea rescue with under-skull parallels, In Deep… or read anything from my full list.
Even ‘Emos’ have fun.
If you write a book about Emos, I bet you won’t call them that. Does your novel follow a Psycho? Maybe you describe her as an alternative thinker. If nerds are the heroes of your story, or for that matter vandals or drug abusers, then your story—almost by definition—is trying to make them seem more heroic.
You’re writing to shift the literary ‘center’ of their subculture.
The problem faced by champions of a subculture (let’s call them ‘writers’) is that the center of it starts in the world’s metatext. In other words, the subculture already has a bad reputation… not just in our world but in other literature, in nasty jokes and riddles, and in casual putdowns from the mouths of cops and parents. The job of a YA champion, then, is to shift the center of the subculture into the story’s text. Continue reading
Authors have a choice between Fate and Suspense
Into his or her arms she or he runs. Their love has overcome every obstacle—every racist or homophobe or job offer in Houston—to bring them back to each other, where we all know they should be. Fate is victorious again.
And that’s exactly the problem.
Alyssa Milano stops her wedding to be with her perfect love—her imaginary friend—in James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s
There are so many familiar tropes in romance fiction: the race to the airport, or the interrupted wedding. The last-minute defiance of a controlling parent to be with a lover who means so much more. All of these are fun, but even variations of them are predictable, because the characters acting them out are running their race over a generic green-screen called Fate.
And relying on Fate is a sure way to remove a key element of a story’s conflict: suspense. Continue reading
Resistant Readers are the agents for change
It’s my favorite chicken-n-egg: does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? I was sedating some students yesterday with my talk about “resistant readings of literature,” when it all fell into place for me. I should have seen it years ago.
Life imitates the opposite of art. Continue reading
Another season has passed for the WOW: Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest, and it’s a privilege to announce that my story linked here, Weak as Tissue, was not so weak after all. In fact, it rated as a runner-up. It’s a light coming-of-age story, told from a teen girl’s perspective, which might give my dozen fans a taste for my more involved novel, Olivia Tames Olympus. Click here to visit the stories of the well-deserved winners and my fellow runner-ups… runners-up… run-uppers (or however that’s pluralized). I like to read one every day.
It’s not the magic that makes a story. It’s the ordinary guy who makes it magical.
The Power of Three needed a fourth…
I’ve been watching a lot of Charmed lately. No, not the stylish reboot, but the original white-girl series that helped make way for a better deal than girls had back then. My discovery of the series is thanks to a beloved student whom I’ll call TLT, who insisted that I watch at least the first three seasons. Since the show is older than she is, I thought I had better see what kept her coming back.
But here’s my shameful little secret: I’m now into Season Six.
The question, then, is what kept me coming back? I guess it was partly the much-needed replacement of hard-hearted Shannen Doherty with her surprisingly funny successor, Rose McGowan. Maybe it was partly the development of Leo, the witches’ own personal Great Gazoo who would appear inside sparkles to save their lives and sire their spawn. Maybe I just like watching those stained-glass windows shatter. What it wasn’t, though, was the magical powers or the nasally delivered rhyming couplets. It wasn’t the interminable series of failed dates with mannequin co-stars, nor the increasing density of Alyssa Milano’s makeup.
Mostly, what kept me coming back was a supporting character named Darryl. Continue reading