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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Will Edward and Bella Round The Bases?

Eclipse releases today! And if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve clearly been living in an Amazonian jungle with those strange vampires that show up in Breaking Dawn. But anyway, as the latest chapter of the Bella and Edward saga releases in theaters, it has me wondering about some key plot points and how they might translate into film.

We’ve all seen the commercials, and it appears as though Riley’s newborn vampire army is going to get a little more airtime than in the book—meaning that the movie could take a few deviations from Bella’s first-person perspective. This sort of reminds me of the original Twilight movie where we got to see Edward chasing the deer, James and company attacking the fisherman, etc. Personally, I find this exciting. I found the movie adaption of New Moon to be way too literal for my taste. I’m the type of person who likes to see the essence of a book on screen with a few extras that I know happened but didn’t get the benefit of reading (e.g. James).

Now, basing this entirely on the commercials and having had no advanced screening, I’m going to take the following guesses as to what might happen in this film (which I intend to see by next weekish).

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the book, read no further.

My Best Guesses for the Eclipse Film:

1. It’s going to toss in tidbits from THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER. It makes sense. The novella was complete when they were filming this movie, and given the extra Riley moments we’ve seen (them walking out of a lake?), it appears we’re going to get some added newborn vampire perspectives.

2. The Edward and Bella bed scene is going to be different.
You know the one I’m talking about, where he gives her the ring and readers pretty much get the only heavy-petting scene in the entire franchise. First, where would a king-sized bed fit into the representation of Edward’s bedroom in Twilight? And second, and more importantly, I think they’re gonna get past first base. Edward’s shirt is gonna come off. We’re gonna get some barely-controlled passion, and I think even a few of Bella’s buttons are gonna open. My theory is this: the kiss in the Twilight movie, while not in the meadow, was more passionate than the one in the actual book. And since we all know who Bella’s going to choose in the end, I think the movie is going to lead viewers in Edward’s direction with the added smoochies.

3. The Jacob/Bella rape-kiss is going to be underplayed.
In the book, Bella tries to fight him back and then just shuts down, detaching herself from what’s happening to her body. I don’t see the film going there. I think it’s going to be a brief forced kiss with barely there contact before she pushes him away. The movie only has two hours, not six hundred pages, to redeem Jacob and they’re going to want to keep him likable.

4. I think we’re going to see the Cullens and wolves hunt for Victoria. We might even see Emmet get into that little skirmish with one of the wolves rather than having Bella just find out after the fact. Think about it: movies tend to want to stay where the action is, which is not with Bella in Jacksonville; and no one would hire Bryce Dallas Howard for just one fight scene at the end.

5. I think there are going to be some cool flashbacks/montages.
I want to see Rosalie’s story of becoming a vampire and attacking her vicious fiancé, and Jasper’s tales of the Southern Vampire Wars. Personally, I don’t see how the franchise could go forward without these scenes. You need Rosalie’s tale in order for her actions in Breaking Dawn to make sense, and you need Jasper’s tale in order to see him as a military leader. Let’s just hope it’s not them sitting around talking to Bella with no visual flashbacks. Give us something, people.

So enjoy July 4th and let me know if you rush out and see the movie tonight. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Prologue or Not to Prologue, That Is The Question

So the first version of the White Whale, which I wrote about five years ago, had a massive prologue. We’re talking a ten-page info-dump. (It was my first book, I didn’t know any better.) And I’m not saying it was bad (okay, it was), but it was no way to start a novel. Yay, page one! Let’s read a bunch of filler information!

Now as I’ve written a bit more, I’ve learned to extract prologues and to spread that information out slowly throughout the first chapters. The AMOR series doesn’t have prologues, my WIP, ANASTASIA, doesn’t have a prologue. But here’s the kicker, the White Whale still does.

You notice how I contradicted myself there?

But I have a reason. I like prologues when they’re short, one page, when they’re italicized (okay, so I'm specific?), and when they’re setting a mood or theme. Not when they’re giving background information.

Think of the prologue to TWILIGHT. It told you that Bella’s life was going to be in danger soon, that she would be willing to sacrifice her life for someone else’s, and that there was some major action ahead. That’s a lot to convey in a couple of paragraphs, but that's why it worked.

Now, don't worry, I'm not biting off of Stephenie Meyer with my White Whale prologue. (I guarantee my 13-year-old cheerleaders will not turn into vampires. Though that might be one of the only vampire concepts not yet on the market. Copyright 2010.)

I’m using my prologue to prepare readers for the unusual structure of the book (which is actually titled FOUR DAYS LEFT OF NORMAL). You see I chopped up my old manuscript, deleted half of it, replaced it with new scenes in a new timeline, and then mixed them all together. Confused yet? Really, it’s not as weird as it sounds.

This book is told from four different girls’ points of view, with one of the characters, Deirdre, getting to tell her story from the first person. (The others are in third person.) And I wanted to show how differently each of these girls perceive the events in their lives. So by having two different timelines—Deirdre before “the incident” happens, and the others girls after “the incident”—you can really see how unique their thinking is toward that event (which doesn’t occur until the middle of the book).

But because the story isn’t told in a traditional, linear fashion, I thought it needed a bit of a lead in. So here’s what I came up with for the prologue to FOUR DAYS LEFT OF NORMAL:

The Final Days

I didn’t realize while I was living it, but I only had four days left. Not to live. I would unfortunately keep breathing. I just wouldn’t have much of a life anymore.

I was alone, but in a way that can only be felt in a crowded room when no one will speak to you. It can make you second-guess whether you’re even there. Surely, no one would notice if you left. Or if they did, it would only be because they’d lost the person they were sneaking glances at, whispering about. Because people were definitely talking
about me, they just weren’t talking to me. That was too dangerous.

To think, just four days ago, I was going about my life as if everything were normal. I had no idea that the countdown had already begun…


Then you go into the first chapter. And I will tell you that I managed to sneak the words “bull semen” into the opening sentences. No joke. Hopefully you’ll all get to read it soon to find out what I mean.


Somehow I completely missed all the announcements that these awards were happening, which only proves how old I’ve gotten that my choice of television programming no longer includes commercials for MTV. But thanks to The Soup, I quickly realized my mistake and rushed to On Demand to watch New Moon win everything. Honestly, I think those kids would have found a way to vote New Moon as best cartoon if the category existed. And here’s the thing, I completely disagree the awards. Best kiss? Really? Bella and Edward were apart for half the movie. Best Actor to RPattz? Okay, I’m going to just say it—I think Robert Pattinson is more appealing giving interviews than he is playing Edward. He’s an over-actor two steps shy of Jim Carrey in The Mask, and his American accent needs work. And now that I’ve been getting into Vampire Diaries, I've been wondering why the CW attracted more talent (Boone from Lost is amazing!) than the silver screen. Go Team Damon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Go Ahead, Take It In GCC Member Wendy Toliver's LIFTED

So we all know that girl in high school who got arrested for shoplifting. Now imagine her doing that perp walk in small religious town. That’s the world GCC member Wendy Toliver has created in her new novel LIFTED, which debuted this month through Simon Pulse.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Being Bad Never Felt So Good.

Poppy Browne had never stolen anything in her life before moving to Pleasant Acres, Texas and meeting Mary Jane and Whitney. But when Poppy walks out of the mall with her two new friends and her first pair of stolen jeans, she’s hooked.

Before long, Poppy is lifting whenever she gets the urge—it’s never about the merchandise, it’s always about the thrill. But when her secret gets out, the girls in Poppy’s clique turn on one another. As she watches her life collapse around her, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie … and how far she’ll go to protect herself.

And to give you an even better idea, watch Wendy's amazing new book trailer:

Here’s what Wendy had to say:

Q: In AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Mariana discovers a hidden family secret. Are you a good secret keeper?

Wendy: I am an excellent secret keeper, especially when it’s a whopper and always when I’m asked not to tell. For example, one of my friends has a tattoo but only me, another girlfriend, and her husband know about it.

Um, well, not anymore... :)

Q: What is the favorite place you ever traveled to, and what was the coolest thing you saw/did there?

Wendy: I loved going to Costa Rica with my husband a couple of years ago. We traveled all over and got to see a wide variety of beautiful scenery and met the nicest people. We stayed in this awesome rainforest full of waterfalls and amazing plants and animals. I loved the tree frogs (so cute) and the tres leches cake (mmm!).

Q: I often tell the story of how a psychic once predicted that I would go on to write children’s books. Have you ever visited a psychic?

Wendy: I’d love to visit one someday. I’ve only visited ones at parties that say very generic things that would apply to anyone.

Q: My character Mariana spends her summer in Puerto Rico connecting with her father’s heritage. Have you ever researched your family tree?

Wendy: Like many Americans, I am a mutt, coming from all sorts of places and people. I am related to Davy Crockett and I think Christy Turlington (the model). I haven’t spent much time researching my family but my dad has. Once my family got to America, a bunch settled in Georgia and Texas. My dad and brother went to Georgia to look at graves, but I’ve only seen those that are in East Texas, namely Kilgore and Longview. This is the general area where LIFTED takes place, though there isn’t really a “Pleasant Acres” in East Texas.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published?

Wendy: When I found out that Lifted would be published, I was at home so I could squeal and take notes and what-not. When I got the news of my first publishing deal (The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren), however, I was driving and had to pull over. My agent was so cute about that: “Pull over right now!” It was a quick conversation, though, because I was running late (as usual) and didn’t want my young son to be getting off the bus and having no one home to let him in. Of course, it’s such an exciting phone call and I’m just so thankful I’ve had three so far!

Thank you, Wendy! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teaser Thursday: The Soundtrack to My Illusive White Whale

So I finished yet another round of edits to my White Whale, otherwise known as that darn-tween-novel-that-will-never-be-finished. And I got so wrapped up in it, I found myself mentally compiling the soundtrack to the movie that will be based on this novel, which is not yet published. The list has gotten extensive, so I’ve decided to share.

Now, I think the last time I mentioned the White Whale it was titled THE EX-BFF, but these days I’m calling it FOUR DAYS LEFT OF NORMAL. The premise is the same—showing the intense inner-workings of tween friendships through the eyes of four very different girls. It’s the type of story that will resonate with anyone who’s ever lost a best friend and been left wondering where it all went wrong.

To give you a better idea, I’ve decided to share a few songs from each of the girls’ playlists.

Daughter of a blue-collar single dad (her mom died of cancer) and sister to a Homecoming Queen, Deirdre feels like a lanky, multicultural mutt—even her friends call her “Gigante.” But still, she’s popular. And maybe she would stay that way if she didn’t have a crush on the boyfriend of the most popular girl in school, and one of her so-called friends.

You Belong with Me,
Taylor Swift
Good Enough, Sarah Maclaughlin
Scars, Allison Iraheta

The quiet Asian girl who’s desperate to meet the insanely high expectations of her parents, Amber will do anything to add popularity to her achievements—including betrayal.

Girl Next Door, Saving Jane
Perfect, Alanis Morissette

The most popular girl in school dating the coolest guy, Becca was taught to be the best at all costs by her workaholic parents. So why won’t her ex-BFF talk to her anymore? And why does her boyfriend always smile at Deirdre?

Meredith Brooks
Miss World, Hole

Raised to be beautiful, Allie has her sights on landing a high school boyfriend. But when rumors start to swirl, Allie’s single-minded focus is drawn back to her friends, specifically her ex-BFF, Becca.

You’re Beautiful, James Blunt
Poker Face, Glee Cast

POP CULTURE RANT: Eclipse Commercials
So I’m anticipating the debut of the new Twilight movie as much as everyone else, even though I was sorely disappointed with New Moon (wasn’t everyone?). But Eclipse comes with higher expectations. And while I love all the sneak-peek scenes of Riley and the newborn vampires, I have to say I’m still not sold on Robert Pattinson. He’s cute and all, but I think he’s a bit of an over-actor. Every time Edward gets angry, I wanna laugh. So here’s hoping, Robert steps up his game for this movie!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So You Think You Can Write? (Working Title)

This idea came to me in the shower (where all great ideas strike), the almighty television has given most other industries a shortcut to success. Singers have American Idol, America’s Got Talent, et al. Models have Tyra Banks. Fashion designers have Project Runway. There’s even Top Chef, HGTV’s Designer Star, Shear Genius, So You Think You Can Dance. The list is ridiculously extensive. But what do we have, writers? Nothing. And I propose we change that.

Here’s my thought: our great champion of books, Oprah Winfrey, is going into talk show retirement. But she is not leaving us behind, dear viewers, she’s starting OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. So I've got the perfect pitch for our publishing Midas:

So You Think You Can Write? (Working Title)

We get three judges to sit on a panel and judge the work of potential contestants/queriers. Each week, wannabe writers are assigned a new genre. Thriller! YA! Screen play! 18th Century English Literature! They have seven days to research the genre, write a first chapter, film a Pepsi commercial (we need sponsors), and a put together a plucky video package telling viewers “Something we don’t know about them” or “Some tragic family hardship to tug at our heartstrings.”

Then our panel of judges review the work. I’m flexible here (okay, maybe not) but my dream team would be the following: Stephen King, Tina Fey, and Meg Cabot. Think about it. Mr. King could be the “mean” judge (“I’ve seen pig’s blood better than this…”); Ms. Fey could be the “honest yet funny” judge (“You need to work on your voice so your readers will want to go to there…”); and Ms. Cabot could be the “nice” judge (“You get my tiara for this, sweetheart!”).

And now we just need a host. I’d say Ryan Seacrest because I think there are a few hours when he’s sleeping that he could squeeze in another job, but on the off chance he doesn’t want to fly to New York each week (where we’d obviously film), then I say we go British. Every reality show needs a Brit, it’s just the way it is. So I’m gonna go with Ricky Gervais. Anyone who created The Office can understand writers’ desires to quit their day jobs.

Each week, all the first chapters could be downloaded on iTunes (like Glee!). The winner could get a book deal, a promise to be an Oprah Book Club selection, and $100,000 to start their own line (wait, that’s Project Runway, but you get the idea).

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Diana, who in the world is going to watch people write? And you have a point. But if America can watch someone bake a cake, raise their eight kids, buy a wedding dress, or have an drug intervention, then why not write? And really, it’s the Oprah Network. Will it really disrupt their busy schedule of teaching us to live our best lives and love ourselves thin? It’s a natural fit.

So what do you guys think? Should I Google Oprah’s number and giver her a call?

(P.S. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm knee deep in edits and starting to go a little crazy. But hey, it could work...)

POP CULTURE RANT: General Hospital
Does it really need to be said that women who watch soap operas aren’t exactly looking to see an 18-year-old boy get raped in prison at three in the afternoon? And here’s the twisted thing, I’m not joking. Sure, these things “happen in real life,” but since when are soap operas about reality? If I wanted that, I’d watch HBO. Honestly, I have no idea what was going on in that writer’s room when this idea was pitched. “Hey, let’s do a love triangle!” “No, let’s do prison rape!” It’s sick, folks. I started watching soaps when I was five years old with my grandma. Imagine what the audience out there could be for this…

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