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Tag CloudAmazon Breakthrough Novel Award anthology Bethany Caleb Blood Countess book reviews Cabin Fever characterization Christopher Pike circus cover art dreams Dreamwalkers ebooks first draft formulas Ghosts of Circus Past happy dance Hitchhikers horror movies inspiration lost to the computer gods manuscript request! Mistaken Identity Nanowrimo Nostradamus Project publication! query process reading recovered computer files rejection resolutions rewrites Secret Diary self-publishing sequels sewing short story The Art Kids The Wolven word count work in progress writer's block writing group writing process zombies
I love Sarah Dessen. She has a lovely variation of the girl-meets-boy, classic teen romance storyline that always keeps me coming back for more. I haven’t read her newest book, The Moon and More, yet… but I’m sure it will fit this formula!
Sarah Dessen Summer Romance Formula
That Summer, Keeping the Moon, This Lullaby, The Truth About Forever, and Along for the Ride all take place during summer vacation.
+ Summer Job…
Halley from Someone Like You works at Milton’s Market with her best friend Scarlet.
Colie from Keeping the Moon gets a job at the Last Chance diner with Nathan.
Macy from The Truth About Forever works at the library, then gets a job at Wish Catering with Wes.
+ Divorced Parents (1 Famous Parent)…
That Summer – Haven’s parents are divorced and her father is remarrying the local TV weather woman.
Keeping the Moon – Colie’s mom is single and a well-known exercise guru.
This Lullaby – Remy’s deceased father was a famous musician who wrote a song about her. Her mother is a novelist.
Along for the Ride – Auden’s father is a novelist, who has remarried.
Divided by 1 Quirky Guy
Norman (Keeping the Moon) is a long-haired artist whose parents kicked him out of the house; he collects sunglasses.
Dexter (This Lullaby) is in a rock band whose big hit is the song “Potato Opus.”
Wes (The Truth About Forever) is another artist, instead of painting like Norman, he does metal sculpture.
Owen (Just Listen) is really into music and works as a DJ for a radio station
Eli (Along for the Ride) is an insomniac
Dave (Whatever Happened to Good-bye) is a prodigy who decides to attend a public school just for the experience
Toss in a few Easter eggs…
= a sweet love story
BONUS: The Sarah Dessen After-School Special Formula
1 Famous Parent/Guardian
Lock & Key - Ruby’s brother-in-law was the creator of UMe (the Sarah Dessen version of Facebook)
What Happened to Good-bye - McLean’s father is sorta like a Chef Gordon Ramsey
+ Serious Issue (sometimes x 2)
Someone Like You deals with teen pregnancy and death; Dreamland deals with abusive relationships and drug abuse; Just Listen deals with eating disorders and rape; Lock & Key deals with parental neglect; Whatever Happened to Good-bye deals with identity.
+ Missing Person
In Dreamland, Caitlyn’s sister goes missing. In Lock & Key, Ruby’s mother disappears.
+ School Year
All of the above novels take place during the school year.
=a not-too-heavy examination of various social issues, with a hopeful ending
Since I’ve been having some difficulty getting myself writing as of late, I figured this is something I might need. Plus, I am going to offer this as part of the teen summer reading program at my library. I needed some event to go with the theme “Beneath the Surface” and specifically the interpretation “Express Yourself.” I was already toying with offering a weekly writing workshop, and this comes with its own structure.
I’ve decided the mistakes during my last stint at camp had to do with using a partially completed story that was also a sequel. Both are big no-no’s for wrimos. Part of me wanted to complete the sequel to Seven Minutes to Midnight (since I’ve been re-reading some of my older novels, thinking I might self-publish those as well…), but that story has the same issues as Dreamwalkers – partially completed (about 20,000 words) and a sequel.
Scavengers, book 3 in the Wolf Point series, is obviously a sort of sequel, but I haven’t written a word of it yet. Zeke’s story thus far departs from Daniel’s story and does not reconnect, so I am free to move the story in whatever direction I’d like – Kayla’s story had to follow along a certain path, and now that the paths have reconnected, I’m not sure what to do. All I know is that Kayla and Daniel have to find Zeke. What better way than to write Zeke’s story, and finish Kayla’s story already knowing what happens?
It could work.
At the very least I’ll get a good chunk of writing done on Scavengers, and be that much closer to being able to publish the Wolf Point series (not sure if it will remain a trilogy or if there will be more books…).
Today only (June 1st), my two novels are free on Amazon:
If you do download & read, I would love if you could post a review on Amazon or Goodreads!
In self-publishing news…
My very first novel, Bethany Caleb, is now available! So is The Art Kids! It’s ridiculously easy to publish a book on Kindle. Too easy. Have I made a mistake? Are there typos? Probably… It’s a scary thing to send your creations out there. While in the privacy of my own home I love them and feel so confident, then I hit the “publish” button and I get worried.
Both books will be free on June 1st… I’m working on the actual print editions via Createspace which is a bit longer of a process, but I will run another free promotion once I have print copies in hand!
In writing news…
I started a new story about the aftermath of a nuclear war, and as I was describing the plot to my brother he informed me that it sounded exactly like the video game Fallout…
Also, I finally got over the hump in Dreamwalkers where Daniel’s story ends and intersects back with Kayla’s story… now maybe I can make some headway with it.
In reading news…
I was about halfway through Joe Hill’s new book, NOS4A2, when I saw that he was going to be here in Nashua for a book signing! I was psyched to get to meet him, since the last time he toured around my area, I was on vacation in Jamaica (don’t worry, I sent my parents down to the Toadstool Bookshop with my copy of Heart-Shaped Box and a gift certificate to buy Horns and had them get both signed!). He was fun to listen to and I read about a quarter more of the book while waiting in line… NOS4A2 is really good and I highly recommend it! I think every book I’m in the middle of right now is approximately 800 pages long (the Anita Shreve book just FEELS 800 pages long) so I feel a little like I’ve been in a reading slump of late, but I haven’t really. I’m just in the middle of four 800-page novels…
In circus news…
I caught my new trick in flying trapeze last week – it’s called a full twisting straight jump. It’s pretty hard, and I’ve been working on it for, oh, a few months now. Finally I was ready to try catching it, and got it on my second attempt! No video yet, but I’ll be throwing this trick in the show on June 8th, so perhaps then…
In aerial silks, I’ve been working on putting together a routine to Bjork’s “Hyperballad.” You can see a video or two on my Youtube page. Last class I was also able to do several meathooks in a controlled way… If you don’t know what a meathook is, Google it - the pictures are mostly on trapeze because it’s not commonly done on silks. But it is definitely a power move and I feel pretty badass that I can do it!
Of course I did. After stressing about having to reconstruct the whole novel…
I thought I had already tried getting my Bethany Caleb off my old floppies last year, and all I had was an incomplete draft (draft 9). But lo and behold, when I inserted the floppy this time, it told me the disk had to be formatted. I said NO and was ready to give up. But then the contents of the disk magically appeared on the screen! And when I clicked on draft 9, the COMPLETE DRAFT APPEARED!!
Albeit, most of the draft was in some horrible decorative font, and there was about 50 pages of other crap at the end, but it was nothing a little copy and unformatted pasting into a new document couldn’t solve! And in the end, I was able to publish said novel in its entirety on Kindle last night!!
So, without further ado…
Here it is, my first novel! Right now it is available in Kindle format only for a mere 99 cents. I’ll be working on a paperback edition to be available in the near future!
After losing a good portion of the final draft of Bethany Caleb (I’ve got 27 pages of roughly 100), I’ve been attempting to reconstruct it… and it’s almost harder than writing it the first time. I found a handwritten copy of Bethany’s school schedule, so I’ve been trying to piece together her one day at school from scenes in previous drafts that correspond to her schedule. It’s all the transitions from one scene to another that will require the most work. And the ending, in which I’m fairly certain I came to a very different conclusion than I did in the original 8 or 9 drafts.
I’d probably be better off forgetting about my original final draft and just take this on like a wholly new venture.
I just have this feeling that as soon as I create a new final draft that I’m happy with, I will find the original final draft somehow.