I'm not a teen but I read a lot of teen books. Why am I confessing this? Because I've heard too many people say something to the effect "It's good that teens are reading and then they can move to better books" or worse is "those books are just eye candy." (Gadzooks! Are you kidding me?! Books that are just eye candy are being read! It means kids and teens are reading! It means they're getting something into their brains, such as vocabulary, spelling, grammar, punctuation, characterization, plot, and meaning to think about, not to mention a love for reading! And what do you define as eye candy anyway?! Non-fiction?! Anything that doesn't teach something deeply important?! Or any book that isn't considered a "classic"? Or maybe the truth is, any book or genre that YOU don't care for! Forgive my rant. I'm touchy about this subject because someone called Fablehaven by Brandon Mull--a book I liked--eye candy...it was a wonderful & thick YA fantasy; I do not define that kind of book as eye candy. And others are welcome to think otherwise; I'm still going to enjoy the book. Let's carry on, shall we?) Generally, I think when they say "better books," they mean adult books and classics.
I tend to read YA (Young Adults) or MG (Middle Grade) because those books are shorter which fit into my busy life. Although I've read the romantic teen books, I'm not into those; I'm often skimming the "Oo, I'm in love with him" parts so I can get back to the story. I believe the first book in the Harry Potter trilogy was considered MG. I just listened to the audiobook Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede which would be considered a YA. But in the third book of the series, the main character is now 20. There's a new book category called "New Adult" and perhaps that's where this third book fits in.
Like adult books, teen books can be deep or shallow, well-written or not, come in a variety of genres--fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary fantasy, contemporary, romance, mystery, etc. There are many teen books which address some hefty issues. Then there is the fluff. Then there are the teen books which are humorous and deep or humorous and fluff. Teen books aren't just for teens and they're not just a stage to get through. Many times, teen books are better written than adult books because authors have to instantly grab the attention of those in that age-group--not an easy task. On top of that, the books have to KEEP their attention. I find books written for adults tend to ramble on and on. I notice that in both non-fiction and fiction. I often wonder if adult books tend to be longer because authors and readers feel they aren't getting their money's worth if they aren't reading a tome. I enjoy good books, no matter who they're "geared" for. (I suppose if I like a book then it's geared for me...?)
"But you don't have to take my word for it." (Name that show about books from long ago. And can you name the actor who said it?) Try a YA novel. If you're unsure what to pick, ask your librarian. Or ask me! Tell me the genre you tend to read and I'll recommend a YA in that genre.
I blogged about when not to use cell phones (gasp! Horrors! Not use cell phones! As if!) here. But I was reminded yesterday of another place in which one should not answer a cell phones:
THE LIBRARY. Yeah, don't answer it there. Please remember that it's okay to call someone back later and not be interrupted by every "ding" that goes off.
And don't answer it in a FUNERAL HOME either, unless it's a family member or special friend who's on their way.
Speaking of the interminable *ding* of cell phones, it reminds me of the little bells that the masters would ring for their servants, and the servants would have to DROP EVERYTHING, including emotions, just to respond to the *ding*. I suppose the bell sound could have been *ringalingaling*. Midnight and the Lord and Lady of the manor just returned home? *Ding* Come get the horses, stable boy. *Ringalingaling* Bring me a petit-four, cook. *Ding* You may take my jacket, shoes, socks, hat and tie, valet.
*ding. Ding. DING. Ringalingaling! dingdingdingdingding!*
Or perhaps it works as a better example this way (I know my kid can relate to this):
MOM/ME: Have you taken care of the dogs?
MOM: Have you finished your school work?
MOM: Unload the dishwasher.
MOM: Load the dishwasher
MOM: Set the table. Do your laundry. Make your bed. Get a job. Finish your classwork. Pick up your shoes. Did you return the library book? Have you called the manager back? What are you doing?
Annoying, isn't it? Whether it's Lord and Lady Smith--Ding--or Mom--"did you...", it's constant interruption. Kind of like the notifications on cell phones, eh?
Funny stories are funnier when they're true:
A department store employee was helping frantic customers on Thanksgiving Day (Black Friday came on a Thursday this year). One upset woman confronted him.
"You shouldn't be open on Thanksgiving Day!"
Um, thinks employee.
"If you weren't open I wouldn't have to be here!"
"I could be at home, having dinner with my family!"
Um, wonders this writer.
It never occurred to me that people believe that Black Friday Events must be attended. Is it because of that kind of mindset that many people think Christmas is so commercial? Um. Just in case this changes anyone--YOU HAVE THE POWER IN YOU! Yes, indeed. You can CHOOSE not to go to sales events. You can CHOOSE to have a simpler Christmas. We do, have for years. Anyone have some tips for a less-commercialized Christmas? Share them!
I finished writing my fantasy novel White Fire. I finished formatting it for ebook-hood. I got it uploaded to Smashwords and Amazon. I set the date for it's premier opening (I do theater; it's hard not to associate things in theater terms. For instance, I had job auditions, not interviews. I digress). I told family and friends about the pre-order time period. Then it went live yesterday.
What the heck have I been doing with my writing since then?!
I'm supposed to be working on:
a book I'm adapting into a musical. (Distant Serenade by Michael McLean)
editing White Fire's sequel. (The Search for Sethrum's Children, tentative title)
a humorous contemporary book I want to finish asap. (Bertie's Lasting Legacy)
So, it's time to start writing - diligently, industriously, daily - again, again!
And next time, in fear of having to recall the Teletubbies, maybe I won't "rest" for a month before plunging into the next project! May you all learn from my sad experience and keep at whatever you're supposed to be keeping at, rather than having to start ranting, "Again, again!"
I'd rather not get lost in the woods, so I stay on well-marked trails. I sometimes get a little disoriented when I'm driving to a location I've never been before but a GPS tends to be a fairly accurate guide.
I love to get lost in what I'm doing. Yesterday, I spent all day formatting my e-book. I didn't mean to. I started at 8 and figured I'd be done by noon; I've formatted before, not that hard, just a bit tedious. When I wasn't done by noon, I thought I'd be done shortly thereafter. At 3 pm, I wondered if I could get finished by 5 pm. At 11 pm, everything was complete, including uploading the cover and information (blurbs, pricing, isbn, etc) for pre-orders on Smashwords and Amazon. I almost forgot to eat. I didn't notice the comedy my daughter was watching in the other room. It would startle me every time the phone rang. It surprised when I realized I'd worked from 8 am - 11 pm without many breaks.
But I've done that before -- lost in a craft project, directing project, cleaning project, or a really good book! (The really good book is generally a graveyard shift schedule, such as 9 pm - 3 am). That lost thing helps me get something accomplished. I suppose that's being "In the Zone" or "In the Flow". I'll start calling it "Lost in a Good Way," "Lost" for short, or "LIAGW" because we all love acronyms, right?
How do you get LIAGW?
Does children's theater deserve less regard than real theater? I think I need to define and get more specific:
~When I say "deserves less regard," I mean less respect or less attention from the audience. Basically, does the audience get to ignore or, perhaps, make fun of performers if it's just a children's show? Is it alright if the audience becomes disruptive - such as yelling out to the performers, talking out loud or even whispering - if it's a children's show?
~When I say "real theater" I'm talking about going to a building that's got a stage and lights and props and costumes and there's an admissions charge.
~Now to get specific about the show:
What if the show is a group of children who are performing in the living room for their family?
What if the show is a group of children performing in a classroom?
What if the show is a group of children performing in front of their whole school and parents?
Does it matter if they're performing on the floor or on a stage? Should it matter?
What if the costumes or the set aren't fancy?
What if it's an adult troupe performing on the gym floor at a school?
What if it's an adult troupe performing on the grass at a park?
What if it's an adult troupe performing a children's show on a stage in a building that seats 500?
Here's what I think: The quality of the shows are definitely going to change but the quality of the audience behavior should not. I have seen the lack of regard by families who are attending a school production. "It's just the kids," they seem to think as they answer or play with cell phones or allow their younger children to run around. I have seen teachers stand in the back of the gym and carry on not-as-quiet-as-they-think conversations during a children's show put on by adults. For some reason, we've gotten the idea that it's okay to act differently if we're watching just a children's play than if we are dressed up and paying for a seat at the the-uh-tah. It's not okay. Audience members: act like you're dressed up; act like you paid a pretty penny to be able to watch a children's play, no matter where it's being performed or by whom.
I have a quotes collection. When I find a quote I love, I create a baseball-card size of it in my document program, complete with a background graphic and print it out on cardstock. After cutting it out, I put it in my quotes notebook which is a folder of those plastic baseball card holders.
But I have to say, with Facebook and Google +, I'm starting to HATE QUOTES. There's just an overabundance of them. Some of them are funny; some are deep; some are just there. But, gadzooks, must we post every single one we ever see? And, I must add, are any of those quotes making a difference in our own lives; as in, are we acting on them? If I post a quote about creativity, it better because I'm out to be more creative. If I post a quote about being kinder, I would hope it's because I'm going to try to be just that. If I'm reading or posting even just a handful everyday, what on earth do I still have time for? It seems like the theme of many quotes is living life well and to the fullest and with the people you love. If I'm constantly reading quotes, I won't be doing any of that. So today, I'll do and be and love, without all the quotes.
If you're just a semi-perfectionist, do you only drive yourself semi-crazy? But isn't semi-perfectionism an oxymoron? I suppose "semi-crazy" is an oxymoron, too. But if you're a perfectionist about one thing but not another, aren't you still a perfectionist in that one thing? Or does that lean into the OCD category?
When I answer an email and I'm short on time, I'll still look it over several times before sending it. I made myself a small purse and I didn't want to create a pattern, no, I just got the design in my head and eyeballed my cuts. But one of the pieces didn't look straight at the bottom so I trimmed it...and trimmed it just a little more but I had to stop before I trimmed it down to nothing. If I know only one part of a song and my husband happens to pick that one part out of that one song to sing, I'll correct him if he gets a word or note wrong. Good grief.
The biggest problem is there isn't a word for what I am! If there were, I'd feel much better but I'm not really a perfectionist or I would have started all over on my sewing project. I'm not really OCD, that I know of. I just have these moments of...weirdness.
Maybe I'm just human.
(and because I want to get back to what I was doing before I so rudely interrupted myself to write this post, I didn't take the time to proofread it. Wait a minute. Am I ADD?)
The other day, a friend mentioned his wife is always late. I understood. I mentioned that I have the same problem because there's always one more thing to be done. I hate to waste five minutes on waiting around to leave so I'll start something that I think I can accomplish in five minutes. Ten minutes later I'm exceeding the speed limit, trying to catch up on time already used. My friend said that he makes a list of the things that need to be done that day; he prioritizes. I said I do too--I make lists. He said he keeps his lists to those items that will work within his time frame (such as his 8, 9, 10-hour day). He said his lists are realistic...Ooohhhh! Is that how it works?
Something good happened when things changed. Ack! Changes! Scary. Rather than write up a whole different post about it, go to my other blog (http://encountersinwritingandtheatre.blogspot.com/2013/12/shake-it-up.html) to read it. I'll have to see how I can apply my own blog to my writing...and life. (Eek.)
Marian, that's me!
I love stories! I love to read fairy tales, fables, stories from around the world. I especially love scifi and fantasy. And I like to write. And watch movies. And play board games. And do theatre things.