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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ten Signs You’re Going to Be Killed Off At the End of this Novel

When I was in college, I went to see the movie Scream twice in the theater. I loved it, still do. But not because I thought it was scary, because I thought it was hysterical. Some of the greatest quotes ever came out of that movie. You can recite them all day like, “There's always some stupid bullshit reason to kill your girlfriend. That's the beauty of it all! Simplicity! Besides, if it gets too complicated, you lose your target audience.”



Gotta love a writer who can poke fun at his own work, especially one who can also famously offer the “RULES that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie.” If you’ve seen the film, you know that the rules include everything from remaining morally pure and virginal to insisting you never, under any circumstances, say, “I’ll be right back.” Because, of course, you won’t.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog you should know that I’ve been slaving away (seriously, chained to a computer screen with minimal bathroom breaks) on rewriters of my WIP. The project is nothing like my Amor and Summer Secrets series. It’s way more complicated with spies, and history, and death scenes, and all that fun stuff.

And as I gear up to kill off yet another character today, I thought I’d steal a play from Scream’s guidebook and offer:

RULES That One Must Abide By In Order to Successfully Survive a Young Adult Spy Novel:


1. Don’t have sex.
It’s simple and pulled straight from Scream, but what can I say, they nailed it (pun intended). The promiscuous girl (or boy) in any YA novel is much more likely to meet a horrific bloody demise—usually immediately post coital.

2. Don’t know too much. It’s simple fact: if she needs you to unlock her mystery, chances are you won’t live to tell the tale.

3. Don’t believe a word our heroine says. This is an extension of Rule No. 2. But let’s face it, most heroines fight alone. That isolation leads to anger that leads to some serious butt kicking. The more you support our heroine’s theories, the more likely you’ll be ripped from the world she lives in.

4. Don’t be related to the main character.
Think about it, no one’s killing off the mailman. But if you’re a blood relative, the odds of you taking a dive off a steep cliff increase dramatically.

5. Don’t leave hidden clues in the event of your death.
Come on, if you’re stupid enough to leave a “do not open unless I’m dead letter,” trust me our heroine will end up reading it—at your funeral.

6. Never, under any circumstances, say those three little words. Because nothing gets a guy deader than saying, “I love you.” So squash those dreams of weddings, puppies, and picket fences until the end of the series, or you won’t live long past the debut novel.


POP CULTURE RANT: Fashion Police

Now, I’m all for analyzing every stitch of clothing worn on the red carpet. It’s our duty as Americans to tell beautiful women that “their boobs are too small for that halter” or that “their skin tone clashes with that shade of yellow.” But, if you’re going to go on TV and spout this crazy analysis, you better make sure you look good. Those weird guys that comment with Debbie Matenopoulos need to take a look in their own mirrors. Because if you come dressed to the set in the outfit that drugged up Mickey Rourke wore the night before, you don’t have much room to criticize. I’m talking to you, Jay Manuel, Peter Ishkhans and Christian Siriano, because you three look like a hot mess.

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