Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday #123 Best Book of the Month!

In March I read 2 new books. (Plus many articles, some of which were quite good, but not relevant here.)
I read

Cara M gave 5 of 5 stars to:
The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill
The Mostly True Story of Jack
by Kelly Barnhill (Goodreads Author)
read in March, 2012
My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
shelf: read
When I first started to read this book, just picking it up at the library, a chill crept down my spine. A book about a boy who feels ignored by his parents, sent to stay with his aunt, a skateboard, a crumbling old house, a parent who is split in tw...more


Cara M gave 4 of 5 stars to:
Ramage by Dudley Pope
My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing
shelf: read

They were both interesting and fun and I enjoyed them quite a lot.  But in March I also reread a book.

Cara M gave 5 of 5 stars to:
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
My rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it it was amazing (my current rating)
shelf: read

Have YOU read this book yet?  Have you?
Because this book is honestly wonderful.  And sure, it's an MG, but it's an MG that is a lot smarter than most adult literary fiction.  And it's funny and thrilling and exciting, as well as being smart and sharp and Spot On.

NB. There is no magic in this book.  There are unions and kings and geese and the printing press, but no magic.  Call it fantasy at your peril.  But it's not realism, historical, dystopian, or sci fi either.  It's not a genre.  It is just an excellent book.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Heart YA #11: You Oughta Be In Pictures

So it's, uh, been a while.  Academic life is hard. *pouts*

Suze Reese on her I <3 YA blog tour has offered up the topic of Books being made into Movies.  I thought I'd put a little spin on it and toss it back and ask, Writers, what about your book being made into a movie?

To some extent there's always going to be a bit of a Hell Yeah! So that isn't interesting.  Instead - What do you think about fantasy casting?

For me, I always tried to keep myself pure of basing characters off of hearthrob actors.  It would pervert and cheapen the character! I thought.  (As a fanfiction writer, this is a little hypocritical.  Don't call me on it.)  So I flailed about, working on my own sketches of the character, trying to get something that felt right.

Then I started working on my Sci Fi novel (a W still very much IP) and I sketched out a few characters, who they were, how to set up the basic situation.

A quote:
"ok 4 philosophers/politicians2m/2fone is a ship's captain – female
one a plantation owner – male
he’s a philosopher.  One of his slaves is his lover.  He rationalizes slavery as a way to keep us all safe from lazy idle people.  He wants to free her and marry her, but he’s already married. 
one is a transplanted aristocrat – female 
and one is a former trader/explorer who is now a wealthy merchant – male"

(Yes, I am older than 12, even if my note taking skills do not support this claim.)

I started fleshing out these very basic descriptions, and suddenly, I had an image.
Transplanted Aristocrat:
Christa Miller

And then they kept coming.
Ship's Captain:
Lucy Lawless... as a blonde

And then my plantation owner:
Christina Cox in Blood Ties
Everything was right about that picture, the colors, the glasses.  Everything, except that suddenly my nice even gender split was thrown off, because my plantation owner was a woman, had to be a woman.  And the story just spun out of my fingers.

(Eventually I came up with this pic for my ex-trader/adventurer:)

Essentially, what I got out of these pictures wasn't an actor and their particular physical make up or their usual expressions, or anything like that.  I got an image.  I got a sense of color and of attitude.  I found a concrete way into these characters that was repeatable.  Sometimes people can do it with a song that speaks to them in a particular way.  For this story it was images.

So how about you?  Do you use fantasy casting as a way to help along your creative process or does it hurt it?  Do you have any other methods?  Making mixes? Sketching pictures?  Let me know!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Lucky 7 Meme!

Donelle Lacy from a Little Dversion tagged me in the Lucky 7 Meme.  And go and read hers, because it's totally intriguing and cool.

Here are my 7 lines, from the middle of my current WIP.

Deanna’s fingers twitched the edge of the blanket. She stared down at its patterns, as if they were a scrying bowl in which she could see her own past. “I had to beg to learn to fight,” she said. “I had to be the best at it. I had to prove that I deserved to learn, deserved to be my father’s heir. If I wasn't better than the boys, the best of the trainee guards, better than my cousin Garrick, I was useless.
“But all of you could fight. No one said you were just girls trying to do things you weren’t supposed to do. I had had to work so hard to just be allowed to pick up a sword and you all had it so easy. If I couldn’t beat you, just girls from a bunch of countries who had forgotten what war was like, what good was I? I had to win.”

And as a bonus, here's 7 lines from the 77th page of my last novel, (massive and ungainly, and on a querying break.)

Blaise looked at him and then down at his hand. “A gat-limb? What is that?”
“It’s a replacement.” Tom squeezed his arm. “This is a mine. Often people are injured, and with a replacement limb they can get back to work right away. I have one myself.” He bent and rolled up his pants. One skinny leg was lightly dusted with orange hair, but the other was bare and olive-toned. “The original was crushed in a cave in. But if you don’t work, well.” He glanced away down the tunnel, looking for the insects. “They need to get the gat-limbs from somewhere.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Heart YA #8: Lovin' Our Heartthrobs

Ah, the heteronormativity of YA puts me out of it a bit.  If I was going to put up my Davy Jones, it would have to be Glynis Johns.
Frigging gorgeous, and charming, totally sexy voice.

But within YA you always get the poor objectified boys, and I'm not into objectified boys.  To be a heartthrob, the boy has got to be more than a sexy object.

If there's any YA boy that's been a total heartthrob for me in the past couple of years, it's got to be Rudy Steiner.  He won my heart when he did his Jesse Owen run, and played with his sisters, and was proud and innocent, and totally would have joined the SS if it would have saved his father.

Jesse Owen
In non-YA books you actually sometimes get guys pursuing awesome women, and a totally awesome female heartthrob has got to be Tilla, from Medicus.  She is totally hardcore, a terrible cook but an excellent poisoner, unbearably stubborn and the most arrogant slave you are ever likely to meet.  But that book is full of great female and male characters.
There is seriously no image on the internets that accurately represents her awesomeness, but here's something vaguely unobjectionable at least.

(If you assume the green bits on her face are bruises, we've got at least a hint at accuracy.)