Saturday, July 28, 2012

50 Shades of Malibu Barbie.

A friend and I were recently discussing reading and how we've long since believed books should have a rating system. She was telling me about a group of preteens who were giggling and pointing at a fresh shipment of erotica novels that had just made it into the bookstore, before one girl finally bought a copy. Say what now?

Movies, video games, even adult magazines have age requirements. Where is that rule for literature? Why isn't there a difference between Harry Potter, a relatively innocent story about a kid in wizard school and Crank, a hard-hitting, in depth novel about substance abuse? Those novels really shouldn't be in the same section, but unfortunately, the problem has gone from watching the train wreck to being in it.

Erotica has always been around, but I'm sure most kids would sooner read their comic books than deliberately seek out a sexually explicit novel. But with the recent explosion of the world-renowned 50 Shades of Grey, finding an over-the-top book isn't a problem. And really, with the epic coverage this very adult novel has received, why wouldn't a barely-teen be curious about the subject of her mom's wildly successful book club? I'll bet the money-makers in this situation didn't consider that.

But it brings us back to the original subject. Why can a thirteen year-old child walk into a bookstore and openly purchase an erotica novel? Who gets to say this is okay? I have two young daughters, and I realize I'm responsible for what they read, but that doesn't assure they can't get a hold of something they shouldn't, even accidentally. If they wouldn't be allowed to walk into a movie theater and watch Pretty Woman, they shouldn't be allowed to walk into a bookstore and buy it off the shelves.

What do you think? Do you think literature should be more carefully monitored?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Social Lemmings

I generally don't double dip when it comes to blogging--this one is for writing, the other blog is more personal snarkasm--but my Bumbling Alice post makes sense here, too. So I'm double-dipping. Leave me alone.

There's never a shortage of people who want to hate on something, and half the time, I don't think they even know what they're hating on ... they just want to be a part of something. And I get that. Heaven forbid people have their own opinion. I mean, who wants to be out on that limb alone? No one. Even so, at least know what and why you hate this new breed of evil. Don't join a team of social lemmings who just follow the pack to their own watery demise in the name of being part of the "in crowd".

People love a person/book/band when they're in their prime, but the second someone bigger than themselves start running their mouth, we're left with a group of turncoats. We saw it happen with Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears, and we're beginning to see it happen with Justin Bieber. But I think the biggest shift in allegiance has been for poor ole Stephenie Meyer *cough* she's-laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank *cough*.

Here's the thing, like it or not, Meyer moved millions of people to read. I've heard countless tales of people who've said, "I loved Twilight so much, I began writing. If a stay-at-home mom can be successful doing something she loves, so can I." Complain and say we have a plethora of crappy writers, but that's not the point. The point is, we now have people who are trying their hand at a thing they enjoy. Most will decide it's more work than they care to continue, but a select few will continue on, grow, and become successful ... the soon-to-be benefactors of all those vicious and fickle turncoats. Because as quickly as they attack without warning, they're just as apt to welcome you with open arms ... or wallets, if you have happen to be selling books.

Be who you are, because eventually, those lemmings are plunging off that cliff. Better make sure you know what's waiting at the bottom.

Peace. Love. Happy blogging.

Monday, July 9, 2012

When I Grow Up...

My friend Chi (AKA Elizabeth Isaacs) was on Goodreads the other day, searching out new books from her favorite historical-romance author, Lisa Kleypas. She came across a work she didn't know had even been published and realized it was the Kleypas' first novel.

Naturally, Chi was interested to see what people had to say about it, but was somewhat upset to find someone had made a comment along the lines of, "It shows this is Kleypas' early work."

This got me to thinking about writing in general. We all know that more writing makes for better writing. It's a learning process and a skill that has to be honed over time. I'm sure Kleypas, like all of us, looked at her first published novel with stars in her eyes. I'm also sure she, like all of us, has grown over time and shudders when she reads her earlier work.

She's grown.

Growth is what happens when you dedicate yourself to improving your craft. Where you once struggled with showing versus telling, now you can spot that problem a mile away. Or maybe you had a problem with dialog, but you studied authors who have mastered it, and now you know how to fix those problems ... or better yet, how to avoid them altogether.

I can see even in a year's time how I've grown as a writer. My first drafts are better the first time around, so there's less to clean up. The things I battled in the past are getting a little easier now. I still have a mound of issues I'm working through, and I have a long way to go, but I can also see how far I've come.

So, I both dread and eagerly await the day when someone says,"You can tell it's her earlier work." Because to me, that means I've accomplished what I set out to do: become a better writer!

Happy writing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordsmith Wednesday: Teaser #5

The objective:
Show us a scene from your current project. It can be creepy, adventurous, romantic, etc. Just a snippet to let readers see what they're in for!

The guidelines:
 * Must be from a current work-in-progress (WIP). Nothing already published.
 * You may choose from any section of the manuscript, but be mindful not to include spoilers.
 * Keep it clean and YA audience friendly, please. No erotica.
 * Stay under 300 words or about one page. It can be as little as a few lines if you prefer. We just want to give readers a chance to see everyone's selection.
 * Link back to Chirenjenzie to enjoy others' work as well!

Here's a scene from book two of The Willows series, Thorn.

"What a beautiful place," I marveled, peering around the most stunning garden I'd ever seen. Splashes of lavender and cream climbed a brick archway leading into yard encased by box hedges at least ten feet tall. A stream so clear it looked like glass laced around the edges, acting as a welcoming moat.
I skipped over the wooden bridge, pirouetting beneath a shower of delicate peach-colored petals falling from a nearby tree. My laughter dissolved till only a smile remained. I turned, reaching for Gabe, but came up empty.
"What are you doing?" I asked, looking between the entryway and him.
His brows settled low, his turquoise eyes stormy with conflict as he stared past me to the garden. His thoughts seemed a million miles away.
"Hmm?" His expression morphed into feigned disinterest.
"Aren't you coming?" I gestured toward the gate.
He hesitated a moment, his focus dazed as if he were lost in a memory. "Sure."
Gabe cast a furtive glance over his shoulder. He slid the bolt aside and pulled the gate back, motioning for me to lead the way. I passed through the archway, my fingers trailing across the aged brick, and entered an open courtyard. Yet another fountain adorned the entryway, only this was more than just a fountain. Water cascaded in a clear sheet, masking four marble beings behind a wall of liquid glass. The intricate carving left faces as beautiful and lifelike as the immortals they represented. A bubbling pool formed at the gray stone basin around their bare feet, the outer rim damp and darker than the rest. Rich moss grew from the chips and cracks, weaving pathways like tiny verdant fields. Somehow it felt almost alive, full of history and stories.