Involving Outsiders (aka my friends)

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Friend 1:

“So my dad and my sister wrote a book.”

“I wanna read it.”

“But you don’t even know what it’s about.”

“Okay what’s it about?”

“Well, it’s about-”

“I wanna read it.”

Friend 2:

“So I have this description I want you to read (insert some story about Amazon sending me descriptions of soon-to-be-published books).”

*reads description* “Ooo this sounds good!”

“Yeah I thought so too. But I kinda lied…my dad and my sister wrote that book.”

“No way. I wanna read it.”

There were so many times when I wanted to tell my friends about Changers and so many times I stopped myself. I wanted to wait and tell them when it was finally done. When all the major plot changes had been made and when we were FINALLY ready for outsiders to read it.

We’re still making changes and tweaks but I can’t wait to get some feedback. Partly because I know the authors but mostly because I helped. I may not have “written” any words on the manuscript but I helped edit and tighten and tweak.

I’ve read quite a few books in my time and I never realized how much time goes into putting a story together and making it perfect. I love being part of the behind-the-scenes stuff and being involved in the entire process.

I just wish my friends would get back to me about Changers….*anxiously bites nails*

Limiting Details

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When I read a book, I have to be able to picture people and things in my head. I have to be able to kind of play a movie in my head with the book’s description. However, I don’t want the author to give me too much detail. I’d like to be able to add my own spin on the characters and places.

This begs the question: How much description is too much description?

You’re probably thinking “the limit does not exist. Use all the description.” I think this is a mistake. When you give the reader too many adjectives and start describing the irrelevant details, that’s too much description.

One thing my dad and sister had on their side when they started Changers is that they’re both avid readers. They know exactly what they want in a story. They know what they look for when starting a book. There wasn’t one time during my editing of Changers where I said “There isn’t enough detail here” or “Okay, I don’t care what her freckles would make if you played connect-the-dots on her face”.

I’ve read books where I’ve actually had to go back and find the original description of a character to realize that there is a huge continuity error. In the first chapter, someone will be described as having straight, black hair and by the end of the book, it’s curly and dirty-blonde (in Changers, this could happen *wink* but in books not about Changers, it’s not right).

The authors of Changers have made it so I can imagine the characters but I’m also allowed to make up details to complete the picture. If/When this gets turned into a movie *fingers crossed*, they won’t have a hard time finding the cast.



Reality Check Number 1

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reality check

We originally started this website to document our experiences in writing a book. It’s a way to share with anyone who wants to know, anyone who’s curious, and/or anyone who may be on the same journey. We also wanted to have a nice place to show off our talents, our personalities and a small part of our lives.

So it’s reality check time.We decided to send our – what turned out to be second-to-the-last – draft to some people that seemed genuinely interested in taking a look at our manuscript and giving us an outsider’s view of what we had created. We determined early on we wouldn’t bug these people with things like, “…so…what do you think…how far have you gotten…did you like the part where…what do you think about…”, etc. We delivered our book electronically to a few beta readers. After almost a month, we have heard not one word. From anyone. Not. One. Word.

Maybe it’s the book. Maybe it’s the story. We’ll keep looking for readers. A little better diligence and vetting next time around. We have to know what outsiders think about it.

In the meantime, editing continues.



Editing Babeesty

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Sometimes editing is a bitch. Damn! Even at this late stage in the game we’re finding issues with continuity and spelling.

About spelling: Watch out for ‘global search and replace’. I think we really did have all the spelling issues covered. We’re good spellers, so all the spelling errors we found were either fat-fingering or light-fingering. Then I just had to go and do a ‘global search and replace’ on a specific word I didn’t like. While reading through what I thought would be one of the last – if not the last – edits, I come across the word “babeesty”. So I’m going, What the heck did we mean by that? Never mind the details, it was irritating. It’s bad enough to catch accidental mishaps. But the self-inflicted errors are trying my patience.

About continuity: A character is last heard from at a particular location. Two chapters later, the same player appears 370 miles away with no mention of how she got there. It would have been optional rather than mandatory, to just have the player in the new location, because that kind of thing happens all the time. The reason we thought this might be an issue is because the events in the three chapters at issue were taking place concurrently. We had to insert a short scene to justify this player’s presence elsewhere within the three-to-four-hour timespan. It actually worked out neatly. We like the addition.

Ultimately, it’s so much better that we find these things before we submit query letters to agents. I read a critique online where the agent said, “Gosh, didn’t you even edit this?” We don’t want to come off with, “Thank you for considering our book with typos and continuity errors. We’re hoping you don’t notice, because we didn’t.”

So back to work. You know what they say about babeesty!

Relating To The Players

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kid stuff 1

When I was a kid, I always thought when I became an adult, I would be this all-knowing, mature, cool person. I imagined all the asshole-ness of my childhood would be gone because I would be mature. I thought the ‘underdog me’ and the ‘cool kids’ would finally be on the same playing field.

Adults are just big kids. We’ve learned from our mistakes. I think people learn to suppress past portions of their lives they’d rather not remember. So much suppression is going on in most adults, they actually cause themselves to forget where they came from. They forget the hurt. They forget the feelings of youthful rejection. They forget the innocence and the playfulness. There’s a line in a song by Bob Seger that says, “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” The kid inside never really goes away – people just don’t know the kid any more.

Writing YA is a natural for this team because we remember what it’s like to be a kid. We remember the good, the bad, the hurt, the simple joy. We remember where we came from.

Creating and developing the players in Changers comes from remembering, from never letting go of the kid inside.



The Book Was Better

books to movies

“The book was better.” HA!

It seems like there’s an over-abundance of prequels, sequels, and remakes coming out of Hollywood these days. (Can you believe they’re remaking Dirty Dancing?). In the last 20 years or so, Hollywood has been buying the rights to YA (young adult) books in hopes of bringing the characters to life. And really, who wouldn’t want to see their favorite book on the big screen?

I read this about book-to-movie adaptations: it’s not easy to fit a 300-400 page book into a 2 hour movie. As much as we may hate it, there will likely be cuts. I always hope the author will have enough input with the screenplay to minimize cuts that might compromise the story.

I read The Maze Runner series by James Dashner before it was announced they were making it into a movie. Once that news was out, I kept abreast of details like casting. When Dylan O’Brien was cast as Thomas I was skeptical, so I started watching Teen Wolf on TV. In Teen Wolf, O’Brien plays a main character. Ultimately, I fell in love with the show and his acting.

Another detail that concerned me is that in the Maze Runner books, Thomas and Teresa are telepathic, although only with each other. When I heard the telepathic angle was omitted from the movie, I wasn’t happy about it – at first. Director Wes Ball said he cut the mind-reading to make the movie more realistic. I ended up loving the movie and I’m actually glad they took out the mind-reading aspect.

There are some movies that stick to the books and end up creating the perfect adaptation. I had read the back of the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman. When I heard it was going to be a movie, I wanted to read it. I love the premise because it’s different: A family gets into a car accident and the teenage daughter is in a coma. The book is about her being ‘out-of-body’ in the hospital. While out-of-body, she sees the people there to support her. She recalls significant memories but she’s faced with a choice: let herself go or stay. In the book, there’s a scene where her grandpa is talking to her while she’s in her coma. He tells her that if she needs to go, he’ll understand. I cried (I tend to get emotionally invested) and when they recreated the scene in the movie, I cried even more. To me, that’s one sign of a good adaptation.

I recently read a list of books that are being adapted for the big screen. I found my favorite series, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken has been written into a screenplay! I am beyond excited to see if it really does become a movie. Here are a few up-and-coming book-to-movie adaptations that I can’t wait to see because I loved the books:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I can tell from the trailer there have been some big changes but I still think it’ll be a really cool movie
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Death Cure by James Dashner

So is it true that “the book is better”? I’ll answer it like this: The book is the raw, hardcore original, and nothing can take that away. But many times, bringing the book to life enhances an already awesome story.