Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RTW: Who's in your book?

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments on YA Highway.

I never have based a character completely off someone I know. But I do sometimes borrow specific traits or quirks. I gave a character in my WIP a fear of worms, borrowed from a college bestie (And I now know multiple people who fear worms! You silly worm fearers.) Most of the time, the parents in my manuscripts share something in common with my own parents—if only in their attitudes towards their children (I have a really hard time writing bad parents. I blame/thank my own parents for this). The school cafeteria in my previous WIP is, in my head, exactly the same as the one in my high school. One of the adults who appears briefly in my WIP has a personality reminiscent of the mother of one of my childhood friends, who always had this air of importance about her. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a friend with a parent like this. I named a character after my sister, but gave said character none of my sister’s personality traits. I just got tired of naming people. I did use an expression earlier in the same WIP that my sister uses frequently: “Are you out of your tree?”

And probably most notably, I think often my characters take things from me. I work really hard not to give them my actual personality, but sometimes they have little life events in common with me. In my previous WIP, the main character collects insects and pins them to a board in her room. I didn’t have a board, but I had a piece of Styrofoam, and I collected insects as a child—although not quite so ambitiously as this character. In my current WIP, I gave my main character the memory of a scarring kiss based on awkwardness and a weird tongue, and this I definitely borrowed from my own memory bank, because how can I not share that teenage awkwardness with my characters?

I’ve definitely used more things than that, but those are the ones that come to me most immediately as I’m writing this post. Sometimes, people or things happen in your life that just need to be fictionalized. It’s only fair to the universe.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RTW: I would have given anything to be like...

First, did you all enter the LIKE MANDARIN giveaway on YA Highway yet? For the full effect of this week's prompt, read the main RTW post on YA Highway, or better yet, read LIKE MANDARIN ;)

Well, I thought about this long and hard. And I concluded that I never had a sole Mandarin in my life. But there were a lot of times in high school where I would look at some other girl and think, what would it be like to be her? I don't know how I appeared in high school, but I felt like I was kind of awkward. I wasn't really any particular...thing. I was just sort of there. Not outgoing enough to be noticed by everyone, not weird enough to be one of those kids who just owns their weirdness. So from time to time, I would just latch onto a particular person in my mind, and wish I could be more like them.

There wasn't really a common thread between the girls I wanted to be like, except a pure confidence--or appearance of confidence--in who they were. In retrospect, I'm sure all the other girls at my high school felt awkward about themselves, just like I did, if not necessarily for the same reasons. But as a teen, I didn't think of it that way, and I thought that maybe someday I would feel confident like that too, and comfortable with myself. (Which, over time, did happen.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Like Mandarin Release Day!!

This book is so good, there aren't even words to describe its awesome. And today, it has been released into the world! So buy it. And if you need to be persuaded of its worth (why don't you just blindly trust me??) Kirsten has uploaded the first chapter to her blog. You will be blown away by how beautiful it is.

And in celebration, YA Highway is giving away lots of cool things (including some copies of the book!) so go ahead and enter!

Happy release day, Kirsten!! <3