Posts by jdavidson

So I’m a boy…

So I’m a boy…

If you don’t know, I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater.  The lady has a magical way with words reserved for people who are gifted enough to use them in the right order.  I read a post of hers the other day entitled “So.  I See I’m a Girl. :/” where she discusses growing up reading books/watching movies that lacked female characters who exhibited what might be considered to be male attributes: swagger, toughness, humor–strength.  She says it much better than me, and I don’t want to warp her words or put new ones in her mouth (please just read her post), but the gist is that the attributes she most admired were reserved for men.  And she envied them. Now, let me say.  I love Puck, Katniss, Tris.  Strong, independent female characters who don’t give ground to their male counterparts–who don’t need to.  But–puts hands in pockets and shrugs–I’m a dude.  Growing up in my neighborhood, <enter get off my yard mode> before 2″ x 3″ screens or handheld controllers kept kids off the yard </end mode> all the kids played outside.  Now there were plenty of girls in my neighborhood, and they could sword fight with the best of them, but there were times when, being a dude, I wanted to re-enact a scene from Star Wars–not THAT scene–I wanted to take the girl in my arms and swing her to safety.  (The part of the cables was played by a jumprope attached to a swing set sans the swings.)  The point is I wanted a girl to save.  A part of me needed that.  Didn’t have anything to do with a girl not being capable of doing it herself.  There were some girls I knew were capable of slinging me over a shoulder and jumping to the other side, but I totally get that some ladies dream of kicking butt and slugging it out, and I write characters like that because I like them too, but there are also times when, as a dude, I want to save them.  I think part of we of the other chromosome need...

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The Scorpio Races review

The Scorpio Races review

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is an absolutely beautiful book masquerading as young adult literature.  I mean that as a compliment.  Her arrangement of words is a thing of beauty.  As a writer, it can both inspire and irritate as you envy over the simple ways she paints the watercolor scene in black and white (or sepia if you have chosen to set your e-reader that way). For the purpose of this blog, I’m not going to focus so much on the things like word choice, sentence structure, or syntax.  These are style issues that are personal and develop over time and with practice.  Instead, I’m going to focus on particulars within the book that I believe every writer can incorporate to improve his/her writing and chances of getting published. Structure The book is written in first person present tense (fpp).  Common in many YA books, and I really like this  as it removes all the barriers.  Third person POV places a narrator in the way.  Past tense can create distance since the reader feels like someone is telling what already happened.  With fpp, you are the character and you are there now.  Whatever the character is experiencing the reader does too–as it’s happening. The all critical first line sets the mood and sucks the reader in: It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.  Right away, the reader wants to know:  What happens in November that kills people?  As a writer you might be able to get away with that meandering chapter that paints the scenery and builds suspense along the way, but I think the truth of it is: You can only get away with it if you are a proven author who the publisher believes the readers will trust enough to put up with your meandering. –and– The readers do in fact trust you to get wherever “there” is. Bottom line for me is: I’m not a published well known author.  I should probably stick close to convention.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but there are simply too many agents/publishers who preach this concept to ignore. Characters She establishes the character’s voices right away, doing what I think is quite difficult to do—she creates a “loner” character that readers want to know more about in Sean Kendrick. I am wretchedly attached to creating loner characters—orphaned, isolated, wall flowers.  These...

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