Saturday, February 25, 2012

Inspiration...How Important is It?

I like to think that I am a writer that is led by inspiration. I can't just pick up a pen and start writing. If I wrote without inspiration, it would make absolutely no sense and the story won't flow. I prefer to have some sort of inspiration for the piece and then inspiration that keeps the story flowing.

For example, I wrote a YA romance piece. My initial inspiration for the piece was a bible verse and I expounded and fictionalized the verse to the point you wouldn't even know the piece was from a verse from the Bible. To keep me on track with the romance element of the piece, I listened to A LOT of Taylor Swift (Back to December, Our Song, Story of Us), The Cinematic Orchestra (Arrival of the Birds, Transformation), Yiruma (A River Flows In You), among other songs that my brain registered as romantic. For some reason, I desperately needed the songs because they put me in the mood to feel what my characters were feeling at the moment in the story.

Even now, I am listening to Switchfoot Dare You to Move over and over while writing a military piece. The beat makes me think of a soldier climbing through sand dunes to do his job so he can get back to his family. The song puts me in the mood to write about my main character.

I wonder how important inspiration is to truly connect to a story. Is it important at all or purely optional? Does the setting of the author help the setting of the characters in the story?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Slim Pickings in YA Fiction

I went on a hiatus from reading young adult fiction. I haven't had the time to invest in reading after having my daughter and finally decided to pick back up the passion. When I finally did visit my local Barnes and Nobles or the virtual store on my phone, I became so sad because I was so sad at the slim pickings. I feel like little Twilight babies are everywhere because of the amount of paranormal/ fantasy books that line the shelves! The amount of books is overwhelming, however, I'd love a book that wasn't about a magical school or human-vampire-werewolf love triangle. I was determined that I wasn't going to read another book that anything to do with magic, vampires, and werewolves, hence the reason I said there are slim pickings in the young adult world.

Vampires and Werewolves were cool when Stephanie Meyers wrote about them, but after four books, four movies, (and one more on the way) posters of a pasty white guy and Jacob <3 everywhere, I am all vampire'd out. I'm sure there were vampire love stories before her's but hers was the one that caught on and she beat the idea to death. Let it die.

I can always count on Jenny Han and Jennifer Echols, but I am looking for more contemporary teen literature that isn't doused in drama and lit on fire with angst. For once, I want the perfect teen romance/ coming-of-age story that isn't overly paranormal/ suicidal/ dark/ or otherwordly.

Book Review: Sh*t My Dad Says

Somewhere near the 1 a.m. mark, I was bored and was desperately fiegning for something to read. Of course, like any tech savvy person would do, I pulled out my phone and began scanning through the android market for something to read. After searching, I found SH*T MY DAD SAYS. Of course, the title drew me in and the mixed reviews made me even more intrigued, especially when they all had the words 'hilarious' or 'funny' in them, even if the review was bad. I paid the $9.99 for the book and began reading and genuinely laughed while reading.

SH*T MY DAD SAYS is a book explaining the main character's, Justin, relationship with his father. His father, though very education, often uses curse words to express his feelings, but Justin reveals this is because of his poor upbringing in Kentucky, his struggle into education and his stressful job as a scientist. Through the muck, Justin's father gives many life lessons that make Justin stronger and in the end, realizes that his father loves him and his brothers more than anything in the world.

It's a crude book filled with more f-bombs than a bar at night. Some of the language would even make a drunken sailor say, "Hey man, watch the language," but all-in-all, the book was great. There were many reviews claiming that the book was too crude, too rauncy, too this, too that.

Rather it makes sense to everyone doesn't matter because it was Justin's relationship with his father. It perplexed me a little bit that Justin's father was a cancer researcher in nuclear medicine but he spoke like he never completed seventh grade, but that's what makes the book so genuinely beautiful: it's ironic. You'd never think a man that curses so much and is so crude could love his family as much as he does--which is what the book is trying to express.

If you get past the lack of transitions, descriptive words and eloquence then throw in a lot of curses and funny statements, you have a book that is genuinely charming and funny. I loved it.