Tag Archives: young adult

A New Twilight?

This past week, Stephanie Meyer, the best-selling author of the teen vampire series, Twilight, upon which the blockbuster movies were based, made a big announcement.

With the 10 year anniversary of the first Twilight books’ publication, Meyer has announced a new Twilight book, Life and Death – A Twilight Re-Imagining sold in conjunction with the 10th anniversary edition . Well, it’s not really *new*, it’s a new version of the first book.

This release is not like her unreleased and incomplete version that was leaked and then given for free on her site at one point, Midnight Sun, which was told from Edward’s POV. The new re-telling is the same story with – wait for it- gender swapped characters! (Cue eye roll).

In this new book, Meyer now has the teenage vampire as a female character and the love struck human as a male. Instead of Bella, we have a Beau. Instead of Edward, we have Edythe. Other characters are also gender swapped, like Carlyle, but the story is the same.

Meyer has said that this “new book” is not really a new book and she views it as more like “bonus material”, however new book or not, it will get a lot of sales I would imagine, given the series success.

Here I will admit I enjoyed the Twilight books. I know, the writing wasn’t good. I know she totally ignored the vampire tropes and gave the world the sparkling vegatarian vampire. (Cringe) I know the female lead isn’t the strong character I prefer to read about and see portrayed in film. I know. But I enjoyed them. Yes, part of this had to do with liking the British actor who portrayed Edward in the movies. (I love the Brits okay?) It absolutely had to do with the fun of the first movie and the great soundtrack. For all of the books’ (and movies’) faults, I enjoyed them. Chalk it up to guilty pleasures if you must. I’m coming clean here. I liked Twilight. Judge me all you want. 😉

Having admitted to that, I can tell you I think it is absolutely ludicrous to re-tell the same story with changes. I’ve seen her defense that it’s a response to the harsh critisism she’s faced with her ‘damsel in distress’ main character. I think the flaws with Bella go beyond a simple gender swap to play with the weakness not being female. If she wants to respond to giving us a weak female character, she should write something entirely new with a kick-ass female lead.

If she wanted to capitalize on her well-loved existing series, she could take one of her other characters in the world she has already created and explore her story. Alice was a cool and capable character that she could make the heroine in a new series. It could still be in the same world people are already plugged into and could be either before Bella or after Bella.

She hasn’t done that with this new “book/bonus material”, so I have no interest in reading it. I hope for her that she gives her audience a better option in the future. Better yet, perhaps all the readers who fell in love with Twilight can continue enjoying all the great books that have been published since in the same young adult category that are really worth the read. Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is fantastic and has a kick-ass female lead. Marie Lu’s Legend series is a great read. Ally Condie’s Matched series is also great and her prose is beautiful. Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series are both captivating. (The Infernal Devices series was my personal favorite between those two series, by far.) I also enjoyed the very popular Divergent series but didn’t like the writing as much as others. The YA audience has a wealth of strong options to choose from, so I would say, let’s just skip this “new” Twilight book and look nearby on the shelves for another instead. 😀

What do you think? (Amanda and AJ you don’t get to chide me for my Twilight guilty pleasure! 😉 ) Is a re-tooling of an existing story ever a good idea? Does her gender swap accomplish anything? Should successful series ever be re-visited? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. (No, Amanda, nothing about the Twi-Hatred you may have haha).

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

~CJS

An age old question

When you meet a writer, one of the first questions is, “what do you write?” or, “what are you working on?”

 
This past weekend, while some of our fellow Twisted Writers were running the library book sale, I met another local writer. And sure enough, these were her first two questions, “what do you write?” and, “what are you working on?”

 
I struggle with these questions. I am not sure why, but I always have. It is almost like I guard these tidbits of knowledge as my own precious jewels needing to be locked away from prying eyes. Mine!

 
But being a writer is opening up and sharing your bits of treasured words with others. So I guess I should start handing out my treasure maps…

 
What do I write?

 
I write contemporary fiction, usually in the YA (Young Adult) or NA (New Adult) genre. I write flash fiction on the side, but it’s not something I really think much about in the long haul. My love is for novel writing and that is where I want my future to be.

 
What am I working on?

 
At the moment I am working on several different pieces.
My biggest project is writing the Storyteller’s point of view in my novel. (Synopsis: The synopsis for this one is; One family. One hour. One Action. Several Reactions. They say blood is thicker than water, but what do you do if that blood is slowly choking the life out of you? We delve into the lives of six family members, three generations; each dealing with a situation that could make or break them.) It is a big project for me because there are so many POV’s that if I do not get this done correctly then it will become a confusing mess of words. I have written out the stories from everyone else in the book, but now I am left with the most important one, the one who created the mess in the first place. My goal is to have her side written by the end of the year so that I can start on edits and rewrites by January.

 
My second smaller project isn’t really a project at all. Yet. I had an idea come to my head a few weeks ago and I am working on getting the bits and pieces out on paper to see if I want to take it further into a story later on. Right now, I have a bunch of random scenes and dialogue scrawled out in a notebook. Oh and a time line. It’s always good to have a time line.

 
For my mini project, I am working on a short story for a Twisted deadline. (I say mini project, this is the one giving me the most grief at the moment.)

 
Human nature is to always be working on something, towards something, or doing something. It’s what we do. Keep our minds busy, our hands working, our imaginations rolling or we become stagnant.

 
And no one wants that.

 
What are you working on at the moment? Share with us down in the comments, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

 
Till next time,
~AJP

What’s your genre niche?

When you go into a book store/library, what do you find yourself browsing for in a book? Is it a spicy romance novel that has your heart racing? Or a thrilling horror that has you screaming when your kids startle you… by merely going to the bathroom in the middle of the night? How about a travel through time to see the world how it used to be? Maybe you prefer an exciting trip into a world not quite like our own? There are so many varieties out there that it is mind boggling.

It is human nature to find something you know and like then to stick to it.

Growing up I tended to read more of the horror genre only sneaking my mom’s romance novels when I was really desperate. Then as I became a grown up, I read whatever book was passed to me from my mom and grandmother ; still mostly romances – Nora Roberts, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Danielle Steel, etc.

Somewhere along the way, the three of us branched out a bit further, now my grandmother tends to pick up suspense and mystery novels; my mom is more of a thriller junkie.  Me, I still read whatever is usually passed on or referred to me.

As a writer you have to read a lot. They say read what you write and write what you read. Research your genre and see what works and what doesn’t.

How does that work if what you write isn’t necessarily what you like to read?

When I read a book, I want my characters to have a happy ending. I know, I know, how boring. Life doesn’t always have that happy ending and neither does a book. I don’t care, I like what I like and good should over come evil, the bad guy should get his butt kicked by the end of the story, and the couple that is madly in love should have their happily ever after. Oh how it kills me when a romance story kills off one of the main characters at the end.

However, when I write, I don’t follow my own reading rules. This makes things a little difficult when trying to juggle reading for pleasure and reading to better your writing.

When I started writing the first draft of my current novel, I had no clue where I was going with it. In fact, it had started out as a short story to let off some steam. Once I had finished the short story, I realized that it wasn’t completed. There were other voices that needed to be heard, other point of views that needed writing. After all was said and done, I approached Amanda with my first draft and asked her just how crazy was I in doing what I did.

Her response… Eek. You did what? With how many different…

Like I said, what I have been writing is not something I generally like reading.

Being able to write something that wasn’t overwhelming or confusing and had people wanting to read it meant a lot of research in finding what worked and what didn’t. I was left with the possibilities of having to change so much that I considered giving up many different times but I kept going, expanding my story and plotlines.

Then it came time to start reading what I was writing… and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Again I contemplated just leaving it as a first draft and cutting my losses.

Research is fun for me… as long as it is not a requirement. Then it becomes tedious. So not only was I faced with having to read a bunch of books that I was sure I would dislike, I also had the chore of figuring out what books would benefit me the most. Needle in a haystack. (Ha! more like a book in a library.)

As I mentioned earlier, most of the books I read come as recommendations from friends, family or other bloggers. I have been extremely lucky these past months, almost every single book that has been suggested to me has somehow helped me with my current book.

Books ranging from a YA ghost story, a dystopian collapse of mankind that spanned over 70 years in time, a YA written in present tense, a historical two-person view that absolutely broke my heart, and a multitude of books all written by the same author who has many titles under their belt exploring multiple POV’s.

As far as research reading goes, I hit the jackpot. And it was because I did not stick to one specific type/style of book. I had to branch out and jump around from shelf to shelf, picking my way through what works and what didn’t work for me. My job isn’t done, I am still reading and with each new book, I am better equipped with the knowledge that I need to do the best that I can do.

If I had stuck to only one particular genre, I’d have probably given up on my novel by now.

Do you have a favorite genre? And does it help your writing? Let me know in the comments.

~AJP

Twisted Together

Here we are on day three of the Twisted Writers. I do hope that you enjoyed our first two posts, if you are a returned visitor. If not, and this is your first time for stopping by, then Welcome, glad you could make it, you are in for a treat and should stay a while.

Now while Jesi told you a twisted tale and CJ shared with you a bit about our inner twisted side, I want to explore the other side of just how twisted we really are.

Writing is said to be a solitary activity/career/hobby.

In a lot of ways, this is the truth.

However, I have learned over the last decade that my writing thrives when I have other heads to bounce ideas and plot lines back and forth with. No, not actual heads – wait, yes actual heads, but these said heads are still connected to their respectable bodies.

In my hunt for the right head to talk writing with I stumbled across a treasure chest. Not one filled with gold, no, one of those you used to see at the doctor/dentist office when you were a little kid. (Now they give you stickers that get you in trouble when you forget to take it off of your shirt when mom does the laundry.) A chest that was not quite full but the inside held a jumble of strange trinkets, things you weren’t quite sure what to do with.

This is what it was like for me when I found my writing group –a mix of people that I was not quite sure what to do with. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, just how are any of these people going to help me with my writing and how could I possibly help them with theirs? No one wrote anything remotely similar to what I was trying to do, nor did I have much of a clue in their genres either.

We had a science fiction/paranormal romance writer, a historical writer/cartoonist, a spy thriller writer, a poet, and a steamy romance writer. I mostly write in the Young Adult and New Adult fiction genre and in this room, I was the only one at the time.

But I stayed. And they stayed.

Others came and went, but the six of us kept coming to each meeting. We kept reading each others writing, whether it was a short story, a poem, or a chapter in a novel in progress, and we have learned what we needed in order to help each other out of the muck that is our own self doubt.

Each one of us brings a different view, personality, and genre to the table.

We are as different as night and day, the same as the beginning of each sunrise and sunset, and twisted together to bring you everything we’ve got.

Till next time,

~AJP