Tag Archives | young adult

UNTRACEABLE – an ending done right.

Danger. Lurking at every turn in the woods.

Mystery. Pulling at Grace’s heart strings, drawing her further into the lies and cover ups going on in her town.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Well, it is.

We all know the first few chapters need a hook. But more importantly, we need the last quarter to keep us on our toes, worrying about the main character, hoping she’ll be okay, wondering how she’ll reach her goals.

The second half of UNTRACEABLE is chapter after chapter, scene after scene of revelations, tension, and heartbreak. The first half draws you into the mystery. I cared for Grace, felt her pain. Put it together and it’s WOW!

Thrillers seem to be up and coming in the young adult arena and UNTRACEABLE leads the way. A unique, well-written story about Grace, who uses her tracking skills to find her missing father.

Everyone tells Grace her father is dead and she needs to move on, but Grace listens to her gut. She meets dead end after dead end. Is she in denial? Or could her father still be out there? And will she manage to stay alive to find out the truth.

A must-read, fast-paced, heart-racing thriller that will pull you in and not let go until the last page.

Way to go Shelli!

Contact information:

Author newsletter – http://blogspot.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=114def4ad4e805b98ea071bff&id=68312804dc

website: Market My Words

Untraceable on Amazon

Come back Wednesday when Shelli will share tips on writing a thriller!

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DITCHED give away! And tell me a crazy prom story, truth or lie!

Wouldn’t you just love to read this fun read by Robin Mellom before Christmas?

Justina wakes up in a ditch the morning after prom and she doesn’t remember anything. The memories rush back and through the stains on her dress she tells the story of going to prom with her best friend, Ian. Except this wasn’t just any prom.

An extremely cute, fun read. I enjoyed the format, the characters, and Justina’s voice as she figures out her love life.

And I have a copy of an arc to give away! Woo hoo!

All you have to do is tell me a real life crazy prom memory. Or, if this was your story, and you woke up the morning after prom, in a ditch, tell me one crazy thing that might’ve happened to you!

Please leave your email in the comments so I can contact you.

Thank you everyone for a great fall! This is my way of giving back and saying thanks! ‘Tis the season, after all.

I’ll be taking a break this week for pumpkin pie, cinnamon spice and time with family. (And some mad revising when I get a second.) See you next Monday! And help spread the word about this terrific book by retweeting!

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Plot Busters – THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE – High concept?

We’re going to spend the next few weeks studying this incredible book. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson.

Okay, truth time. I put off reading this book for a long time– why? I’m not even sure anymore. I chose it specifically for studying structure to see if a fiercely character-driven and more literary book would hold up to structure. And I’m so glad I read it. So, let’s take a look.

Logline: (from the inside cover)

In the months after her sister dies, seventeen-year-old Lennie falls into a love triangle and discovers the strength to follow her dream of becoming a musician.

High concept or no?

Doesn’t sound it from this description, does it?

But I’m going to say yes. This is about something big. Death and grieving and survival. And that pushes it up into the arena of high concept, for me, anyway. You are free to disagree.

1. Does the character offer the most conflict for the situation?

Lennie lived in the shadow of her older sister, Bailey. And now she has to learn to live without her. I’d call that conflict. Not shoot ‘em up conflict but still powerful.

2. Does she have the longest way to go emotionally?

Yes. A very big yes. She wasn’t a particular strong person before her sister died. And similar to the above question, she not only has to overcome grief, she has to figure out who she is as a person. As an only child.

3. Demographically pleasing?

Again. Yes. A teen girl dealing with death. Many, many teens deal with loss. Almost anyone can relate to this story.

4. Is it primal?

I probably don’t have to answer this one. But any story dealing with life and death is primal. So, another big yes!

By definition and compared to other “big” stories, the logical person would say this book is not high concept. But, to me, this story was BIG. It was more than just a sweet romance or mystery. Through out the story, Lennie works through her grief and has to decide whether to truly live her life or not.

What do you think? High concept or not?

Come back next Monday for a look at Act I of this terrific book.

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How to find practical application power for your writing? Plot Busters.

What is Plot Busters?

Plot Busters is my attempt to strengthen my writing by studying the structure of published novels.

But I have a secret.

Some of you may think I created Plot Busters because I felt the innate desire to share all my expertise.

Not really. I’m not an expert. I don’t pretend to be.

In fact, looking back on my earlier Plot Buster posts, I realize I might break them down differently today. That’s how much I’ve learned doing this.

I am on a journey to become a better writer, and I knew I needed to study published novels to do it. I’d read the craft books, but I found them hard to apply. I had too much head knowledge and not enough practical application power.

My first attempts at it over a year ago were pretty pitiful. I had some turning points and the climax but I wasn’t sure how to break down each act. I’d written a middle grade ghost story that I absolutely loved. I wanted to rewrite it but I knew it was lacking structure.

Then I read Save the Cat and I loved how Blake Snyder broke down structure. So I started breaking down books. You can use many different methods to break down stories. The nine point grid (didn’t work for me), five acts, four acts, 8 sequences, three acts, hero’s journey – just to name a few. Find one that works for you.

My studies provided answers but also raised questions.

  • Do books have to follow structure?
  • When’s the best time to be flexible with structure?
  • Is it only high concept stories fit for film that work with structure?
  • Is there a difference in structure with middle grade and young adult books?
  • Is there a difference in structure with character driven vs plot driven books?
  • Do my favorite books follow structure or not?
  • Could some best sellers possibly have been even better with stronger structure?
  • Can strong writing, voice or a compelling hook make up for a weak structure?

So many questions. And I wanted answers.

Want to learn with me? Every Monday. Here. Plot Busters. Some books we’ll spend a month with and others one day.

Starting next week, we’re looking at THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, a young adult novel by Jandy Nelson. Because I was pretty sure a character driven book like that wouldn’t have a strong structure.

What do you think? Do character driven more literary books have strong structure?

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A celebration of 2011 authors: THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS!

The allure of reading a just released debut author’s book, with a shiny new awesome cover is powerful. That’s why Christina Lee organized a day for us to promote some of our favorite authors of 2011.

I won the arc for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson. The title captured the imagination. The cover made it seem mysterious.

Honestly? I had no idea what to expect from this high fantasy, which I don’t often read.

I loved it!

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

Chosen for an extraordinary and fearsome destiny, a sixteen-year-old princess becomes the heart of a revolution. Her journey from untried teen to young woman of fierce love and untold power is, simply put, epic. Lush, adventurous, and wrenching, this is the first in a trilogy for fans of Kristin Cashmore’s GRACELING and Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books.

What I loved about it.

But this story was more than a fantasy, more than a princess tale, more than a revolution. Yes, all of those things added to it. But at its core what made me love this book was the main character, Elisa, and her internal struggle with her self image, with an addiction to food, and learning to stand up for herself.

Why yes.  This was a story of a fat girl. And it totally took me off guard because Rae Carson never came out and told us that Elisa was over weight. But just a little bit into her story, through great showing, I realized it. The description of her problem and her love of food was incredible. And that’s not even half of the problems Elisa had to deal with! Imprisonment. A hidden prophecy. Love. Evil enemies.

If you love contemporary stories, I think you’ll really enjoy this high fantasy because it was really just the story of a girl.

The entire list of participants is at Christina Lee’s blog.

And here’s the link to buy THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS.

What’s been your favorite read this year?

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