This post, entitled An Intense Young Man At An Open Mic Night, could just as easily be called The One Where My Husband Writes A Book. Or the more passive aggressive One Where My Husband Has A Book Out Before I Do And Is Now Dead To Me. Or maybe The One Where My Husband Has A Book Out Next Week But It’s Only Poetry So Pfft. Continue reading “An Intense Young Man At An Open Mic Night”
Everything I know, I’ve learned from the internet. Here’s a sample offering of what I’ve found out in the past week:
- I need to get my shit together re my hairbrush choices (apparently my one is wreaking havoc on my fringe)
- Nick ‘Ron Swanson’ Offerman auditioned for the role of Wolverine
- Today is the 201st anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice
That last one got me thinking, mainly about Mr Darcy. I know, any excuse – AMIRIGHT, LAYDEES?!
You may be all hot and bothered about the release of JK Rowling‘s longed for new novel The Casual Vacancy tomorrow, but that’s nothing compared to the emotional torment of waiting for the fiction debut of Andrew Blair and Daniel Lilley. That’s right, I could only be talking about The R-Patz Factz, a new book exploring the life and loves of Twilight actor Robert Pattinson by committing to doing no research on them whatsoever. In the following guest post, Andrew tells me more about what inspired him to create this thing.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably point out a) the aforementioned author is my boyfriend, and b) Robert Pattinson in no way endorses or knows about the project.
A second guest blog from Rose McConnachie – on subjugation, syphilis and Twilight.
In my previous guest post, I ranted about the inherent confusion in the romantic fiction world between abuse and wooing. In this post, I hope to rant about some other stuff.
Yesterday morning I was mostly taping up resource packs to send to schools (FYI – avoid ‘tesa’ brown tape if possible, it splits if you so much as look at it), and considering the best way to progress with book 4.
Something is bothering me. If I am to write Jennifer as an engaging, even normal-ish teen (who happens to be a vampire), she’s going to need a bezzie.
I’ve set her up with a love triangle, as is the way of things, but between all the unrequited love and the being an orphan and other vampires trying to persuade her to start drinking human blood over animal, there’s too much angst and not enough silliness.
Even the most solitary people I knew at school tended to have at least one friend. Social outcasts band together just as popular types do. And whilst Matthias is a friend to Jennifer, he is also blatantly in love with her. Even though he’s unlikely to admit this to her, she sort of knows, and as a result he’s not someone she is going to be able to let herself go with.
But all this does is provide her with more angst. What she really needs to make her a teenage girl rather than a miserable caricature of one, is someone she can confide in, giggle with, and occasionally fall out with and feel like it’s the end of everything. A BBFL, in fact. And because she’s straight, I reckon it needs to be a female one.
For you see, to me it feels a bit like Jennifer’s self control re not drinking humans is related to not allowing herself to give in to any other hormonal type urges, like going out with Martin who she really likes. Her internal logic dictates that if she gets into a relationship with him she will relax too much, allow her instincts to take over, and possibly bite him.
Either that or someone else will have a go in order to get to her. Vampires are mean that way.
This type of pressure would get to a person, and it would have to manifest itself in some way. A lot of teenagers in a similarly high pressure situation, with a grim secret they can’t tell anyone, would act out (get in with the wrong crowd, do drugs or drink or petty acts of crime) as a cry for attention.
There isn’t a lot of point in Jennifer doing that, as nobody can help her. She has no family, and she can hardly go to a school counsellor or social worker and be like “yeah, I’m a vampire and stuff…” She takes the tack of attempting to remain invisible, and bottling everything up inside. Which is probably just as dangerous as making a fuss, because at some stage all those pent up feelings are going to overflow.
However, if she has a bezzie – a pal who understands that she is different, perhaps guesses at the reason why – then she can let some of it out in increments, and perhaps keep herself from going in to meltdown. Her sanity will be needed for any showdowns that may be forthcoming later on.
If the friend is a girl, maybe a goth who doesn’t have many other mates herself, maybe even one who has some sort of paranormal/supernatural secret not as yet defined (werewolf from space?!), it seems plausible that Jennifer would feel able to relate to her (after an initial period of worrying and over thinking it, naturally).
She can’t be allowed to have a completely straightforward relationship, though. So to complicate matters slightly, I’ve decided to make this girl Matthias’ twin sister. Her name should start ‘Ma’ because owners of twins can be like that, so I’m thinking either Mareike or Mathilde… (They are German, by the by. It has just occurred to me that this is the first time I’ve actually mentioned character names on the blog so this might not be immediately apparent. Oops.)
I instinctively write the ones I know – moody, foulmouthed and bored all the time.
Well, it’s cool to be bored, innit.
However, I also remember that as a teenager I had long periods where I was actually quite happy, and this presents something of a problem when writing Jennifer, the lead character in my Paranormal Romance/Dark Fantasy title. Should I allow her any respite from the angsty world of being a lonely vampire? Should she be allowed to have some friends who accept and even seem to be fond of her, as I did when I was growing up? Should she occasionally have hyperactive giggling fits when she is showing off in front of a boy she likes?
To turn to the heavyweight of this genre; Bella out of that Twilight book has friends – not that she appreciates them in any way. All she’s interested in is bedding her sparkly vampire Adonis, and she seems blissfully unaware of the fact that the kids of Forks go completely against stereotyping etiquette by accepting her into their group without question. She never laughs, or does anything much other than pine after a man a hundred years her senior, who has questionable dietary habits and a sense of humour bypass.
Is this something I ought to be entering in to? Up to a point I suppose I am trying to write for a YA audience, but I struggle with the concept that teenagers have no sense of fun. Granted, their concept of fun may be slightly skewed towards setting stuff on fire, picking on the weaker members of the friendship group, or hanging around street corners and shopping centres getting in people’s way… but it isn’t all time spent on the verge of tears over a member of the opposite sex.
Still, some of it is, and that may well be what people want to read about.
Based on the habits of my friends in school and of kids that came into the library where I used to work, part of my trouble is that a lot of teenagers seem to stop reading around the age of 13 and never pick it up again until they’re 19 or 20. In doing this, they manage to miss out on a lot of brilliant fiction because they go straight from kids books to adult ones. I tended to read books ‘aimed at teenagers’ between the ages of about 11 and 13, then I went on to more grown up ones. I only came back to teenage stuff a couple of years ago, as an adult.
All of which makes me wonder who the ‘YA’ audience actually is. And should my book encourage people in their mid-teens to keep going, or is it aimed at people in their late teens and early twenties? Or is it both? And if so, how do I appeal to the broad range of emotions and experiences that constantly change and evolve over the period of adolescence?
There’s a lot to consider, essentially. Although ultimately I think I’ll do the same thing I do every time – write as it comes to me and worry about it later.
The editorial process is going to be an interesting one.