Tag Archives: MT Anderson

Romance Novel Prompt

First, this was in my inbox this morning.

PW Tip Sheet:Best Romance Novels.

Lots of choices. Including 10 Dirty Romance Novels.

So there.

Hmmm–should I be worried? Like in the novel FEED by MT Anderson?

Google’s getting me. Reading my blogs. My mind. Pretty soon it might write my posts for me.

Here’s your prompt.

#5  Your main character meets someone–who is this person? Does she like this guy right away? Describe him. Tell everything about him. In fact, tell things about him she will never know.







Filed under CLW, Exercises, Plot, writing process

Some Things I Have Heard

Sometimes I wonder where the line between the truth and another’s feelings should be. Here are a few things that have been said to me about my work. My response or thought, follows.

1. I’ll never let my children read your book. The kids in there are too naughty.

Steve said, after I told him this, ‘She didn’t have a lot of faith in her parenting, did she?’

2. Oh. Contemporary.

Yup. Just dumb, old, sad sack, someone dies and is nekkid, contemporary.

3. That’s what I hate about people like you who say they don’t like fantasy. You just don’t know what you’re talking about.

I  considered standing up to this person as this was said in a public place, in front of lots of my friends. But I let it go.

4. I’m not one of these [unpublished] people. My book is the lead title.

For me, humility is pretty important. Being an ass won’t keep you from being popular and rich, but I won’t like you. And neither will some of your contemporaries (who write fantasy! Hahahaha!).

5. You write rated R books.

I do?

(I actually liked this, it came from Steve. Still, I was surprised at first because I don’t watch R-rated movies.)

6. Why did you curse in this book?

Uhhhhh. Sorry fifth-grade kid. Ummmmm. ‘It’s life?’

7. I’m just worried you are selling your soul to the devil for money and popularity.

Well, then, my soul is worth pennies on the dollar compared to other people’s souls.

8. Children’s and young adult writing aren’t taken seriously in academia.

Then how do you expect people, who don’t read as children, to read as adults? As far as I’m concerned, we have the most important job of all, no matter what our degrees are.

9. Do you think you’ll ever write for adults?

Only if adults want a story with a main character who sounds twelve.

10. I like so-and-so’s work better than yours.


11. I know she’s sitting right over there, but will you sign Louise Plummer’s book for me?


I will have you all know that I did sign Louise’s book. With my own name. 🙂 Just as the reader asked me to.

12. At ALA a reader came up to me and told me everything I had done wrong in my book, GLIMPSE. She then compared me to a more popular writer of verse-type novels, telling me this other person was a better writer and etc than me.

Laura and Kyra were with me and tracked the girl down. They wanted to beat her up. We argued about it in front of MT Anderson.

13. “I guess you can sign it.” From a young lady who won my book and didn’t want it.

I don’t have to sign it for you.

These are just a fraction of the comments I have gotten. I’m not sure why people feel the need to help us along in these odd ways. And yes, some are funny, but others are painful. And it’s not always from children. Mostly the comments come from unthinking, unkind, educated adults. Sometimes the comments come my fellow writers.

Do they think because we have published a book, we no longer have feelings?

The truth is, most writers are MORE in tune with their feelings than the average bear. Just rewriting these things causes a bit of sting.

There are all kinds of ways to tell someone something about who they are or what they have written. I may not like your book, but you will never know.

Here’s something funny to end on.

I was doing a signing for THE CHOSEN ONE (you have to have read the book to get this).

A long line of librarians waited for me to sign their copies. It was so great, talking to all these men and women.

One came up, clutched the book to her chest and said, “I drive the book mobile as my job. I can’t wait to read this novel.”

I just smiled at her.


Filed under Agents, CLW, Life, Publication

That First Line

It’s almost time to evaluate yourself and see how you did this past year on your writing goals. I hope you’ve been good to yourself. This month we will have a couple of guest bloggers talking about goals. Here’s a hint: Both have first names. Both have first names that start with the letter “C.” And both are coolio people. So there.

As we end this year, I want to talk about the beginnings of our books. I mean all the way down to the first lines of our novels. The reason is Kyra’s book. I’m not so sure she knows what she’s done in this writing of hers, but Kyra has come up with a great first line–one that plays directly into the climax of the novel.

When you read that line, that beginning, you just think the author is being funny, and maybe a bit autobiographical. Then you see this first line works into the novel itself–being used once in a while–as a reminder. And because I happen to know the climax of the book, I know where this line is directing the reader. And the truth is, I’m not so sure I’ve ever had first line tie so well into the story. Sure they relate. They may even draw you in. But none have been directly tied to why the reader is reading.

The opening sentence of a book should be like a good pick up line. When you’re dating, you want a good one. After he opens his mouth you want to be able to say, “Oh, he’s cute and funny! I could spend some time here!” When you’re a reader and you open a book, you want a line that brings you into the story. “Oh, this is ____________ (tragic, hilarious, intriguing etc)! I want to spend some time here!”

MT Anderson does this, of course, in FEED, with that great first line about the moon that lets the reader know that something has changed on earth and we aren’t in Kansas any more. A good opening line is a promise of things to come. What an author never wants to do (but it happens all the time) is set up the reader with a false expectation, one the author can’t fulfill. That doesn’t happen in Anderson’s book. We get a whole novel that’s pretty darn terrific and it all started off with a terrific promise–a great opening line.

Unlike my daughter, Kyra’s book isn’t perfect–but it has a strong voice, a compelling character and a good reason to keep reading. You’re interested. What’s surprised me about Kyra is that she seems to know how a novel should unfold. Sure, she’s learned some of that from me. Mostly, though, she’s a natural learner. One who’s picked up skills from the amazing books around her. She’s let fiction be her best teacher–and what better teacher is there?

Just yesterday Kyra’s older sister, Laura said, “I thought I could write a book and then I started reading Kyra’s and I realized I just don’t know how to do it all.”

What Kyra has learned Very Well from me is how to complain. And about the very subject I complain about–those Icky Middles. Yes, she’s well into them. “Now what?” Kyra says when she wanders upstairs after writing. “What should happen now? I don’t know what happens next.”

Me either, Kyra. My best advice . . . keep going. A word at a time. And hopefully you’ll know how to finish up what you started–which is pretty darn good.


Filed under Uncategorized