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September 28, 2009

Green Eggs and Vamps

Kate Hart
I came across not just one, but two Green Eggs and Ham parodies that touch on the Twilight phenomenon. Both hilarious. But the second one is dirty, so don't come crying to me about your virgin eyes. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Slush Reading, Seuss Style by Jim C. Hines
Bella I Am by Twi-Soup

Is that a slush pile, or a Twi-hard 
who imploded after running into RPattz?

September 23, 2009

Waiting for feedback is like...

Kate Hart
ugh. It's like waiting on the sidelines at a junior high dance.
"Please pick me! You don't have to like, fall in love with me or something. Just take me for a twirl."
*looks down*

"I KNEW I shouldn't have worn a skort!"


*I did, in fact, wear a forest green skort to my first junior high dance. With loafers. And a white shirt with matching collar. Thankfully, I don't have a photo, or else I would feel compelled to share it too.

September 16, 2009

Research

Kate Hart
My WIP is set in a fictitious town on the border of the Wichita Mountain Nature Refuge in southwest Oklahoma. My grandparents live near there, and when we visited them over Labor Day, we took a side trip to get a feel for the area-- I hadn't been there since I was a preteen.



It was absolutely perfect: We got to the top of Mt. Scott as a storm was blowing in, which is exactly what happens in one scene of my WIP.



This area feels to me like the place where the forests of the southeast meet the deserts of the southwest.


This was my boys' favorite part. Give them rocks to throw into water and they are happy campers. Or hikers, as the case may be.


Gratuitous cactus shot. I love cacti.

September 14, 2009

The Absolutely True Blog Entry of a Sherman Alexie Fan

Kate Hart
Yesterday I sat down and inhaled The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I said a few weeks ago that I thought I would like it, and wow-- did I ever. Usually I despise first person narration that talks to the reader ("So, you know? I mean, don't judge me, blah blah blah") but our introduction to Arnold is so unusual and interesting that I settled right in without a second thought.

I've always loved Sherman Alexie for his willingness to tell it like it is. After plowing through pound after pound of academic treatises on Native Americans for history papers, it was always a relief to pick up Alexie and read things like, "The term Native American is nothing but a white construct to assuage their guilt" and "You are not a Cherokee princess. You are not descended from a Cherokee princess. There's no such thing as a Cherokee princess!" (Roughly paraphrased, obviously.)

I've read a lot of advice and criticism re.YA novels suggesting that writers don't need to be careful of controversial topics or language anymore. Granted, I haven't read a ton of YA, but as I make my way through the current popular books, I'm seeing the former is true, and the latter-- not so much. Not even that profanity is avoided so much, but more like there is tiptoeing around the way teenagers really speak. Not Alexie. Phrases like "You should approach each book-- you should approach life-- with the real possibility that you might get a metaphorical boner at any point" and "How is it that a bulimic girl with vomit on her breath can suddenly be so sexy?" had me nodding my head and thinking, "Yeah, this is how it should be." Teens might not actually speak that way, but those worth reading about think that way.


The illustrations by Ellen Forney are also genius. I couldn't find my favorites online but here is a sample.


Researching the whole writing/agenting/publishing process makes me feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. I over research. It's what I do. Whether it's for school or for work or to assuage my fangirl tendencies, I read everything I can and get frustrated that I can't master anything.

That's probably why I dogeared this page:
"Look at all these books," he said.
"There aren't that many," I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town.
"There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here," Gordy said. "I know that because I counted them."
"Okay, now you're officially a freak," I said.
"Yes, it's a small library. It's a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish."
"What's your point?"
"The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."
Wow. That was a huge idea.
Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant that Wllpinit, that smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery.
"Okay, so it's like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all the books ever written, it's like you've read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you just keep on learning there is so much more you need to learn."
"Yes, yes, yes, yes," Gordy said. "Now doesn't that give you a boner?"

September 10, 2009

Side effects may include...

Kate Hart
No one warned me that trying to write YA would make me regress to my own teenage behaviors. The big one: I have developed an unholy obsession with Radiohead. I've always liked them, but all of the sudden it is a 24/7 need. I haven't been this consumed by a band since I discovered Tori Amos when I was fourteen. (My obsession with The Black Crowes doesn't count because it has been an ongoing chronic condition since I was old enough to have a preference.)

Anyway, my husband downloaded Thom Yorke's solo album The Eraser (also known as Kid B, as it was recorded around the same time as Radiohead's Kid A). A small consolation is that we have both been consumed with this song ever since-- and as if the song isn't cool enough, the video is also the shit.
(Please be warned: A solid half of this song is profanity. Sensitive ears should avert themselves at once.)

September 1, 2009

Do's and Don'ts of Being Friends with a Writer

Kate Hart
This blog entry by Eileen Flanagan, called "If You Love a Writer," has great suggestions for what you should do to support a friend who gets published. Agent Nathan Bransford references her article in his own on the same subject. (Hint: Buy the book, and spread the word.)

But what should you do if you have a friend like me, who is toiling along on a book that may or may not ever see the light of day? I have a few suggestions.

One: Don't be condescending. This includes calling it "your little book" or giggling when your friend calls it "work." Writing is hard, and if your friend has half a brain, s/he already knows there's about a 1/100 chance of that work paying off. Your friend (probably) doesn't laugh when you say you have a meeting or that you're slammed at work. Extend him or her the same courtesy. (By the way? This also applies to people who work from home in any field, as well as stay at home moms. *steps off soapbox*)

Two: It's okay to ask what the book is about, as long as you don't follow up with, "You know what would be way cooler? " or "Oh, that genre isn't real literature, I'm sure you'll get published."

Three: Unless you have been approached as a beta reader, please don't ask if you can read what they have written so far. Seriously. It's like asking if you can take four cookies with you before the dough has been baked.

----

Other suggestions for what NOT to say, regardless of publication status. Courtesy of the AW forums:
  • "When will it be published?"
  • "When are you going on Oprah?"
  • "Oh, you want to be the next Stephen King/J.K. Rowling/Stephenie Meyer/Dan Brown?"
  • "Can't you write about something nicer?"
  • "Is that sex scene autobiographical?"
  • "Where's my free copy?"
  • "Why isn't it dedicated to me?"
  • "Is it any good?"
  • My absolute least favorite question EVER: "Am I in it?"

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