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Dawn of the Dead

April 23, 2011

Well, my killer project finally ended, and I have space in my head again for something besides work.  If – *if* – I can keep a reasonable level of work without it subsuming me again, maybe I can get some writing done.

Like all writers, I’ve been idle but not thoughtless.  The demands of the job caused me to come home and “tune down” to the level of watching episode after episode of TV shows I’ve never seen.  I watched three seasons of Nip/Tuck, which was okay for a season, great for the second, then just stupid in the third – when you hear writers for TV talking about “pushing the envelope” what they mean is “jumping the shark” because they’ve run out of good ideas.  I’ve buried myself (ha) in True Blood, which is more fun than the books.  And, fortuitously, I finally read the Hunger Games trilogy. 

As with TV shows, I prefer to wait till a book series is finished before I start – yes, I too was sucked into the “Game of Thrones” series ten years ago, only to resign myself now to the fact that it’ll never be finished, and I’ve decided to watch the TV series but not buy any more books until it’s surely for sure that it will END.  I’m glad I never watched Lost, because the world’s disappointment with the ending rewarded my patience and my decision to skip it.  I watched all of The Wire, the greatest story ever told, in a few months, a show that is designed to be read as a novel.  And while I wasn’t thrilled with the puttered-out ending of the Hunger Games, I  believed it, which given the awesomeness of the rest of it, was satisfying enough.

The Hunger Games was an awakening because I realized something:  LTP would make a fantastic Young Adult novel.  I know, I’ve said I’ve abandoned it, it just won’t work, and yeah that’s true in its current incarnation.  Herewith my case for why it would work as YA.

* Caroline is more believable and sympathetic as a lonely teenager dwelling alone in her room than she is as an adult.

*  Christopher’s secretiveness, relative amoralism and selfishness, and his brother’s naïve idealism, are both “teenage” traits that are more forgivable and understandable in young adults than in the full-grown versions.

*  What struck me in the Hunger Games, and what I remembered from Harry Potter, was how “anti-luminist” YA fiction is – i.e., you must tell the freakin’ story without kicking up a cloud of “sentences.”  So the style suits me fine.

*  High school is a far more dramatic environment than an office.

*  High school kids are facing the demands of the “Orderly March” so there’s room for all my reading on that subject here as well.

*  While it’s not exactly a “teen paranormal” or “post-apocalyptic,” Caroline is in love with a ghost in the form of Alex, and there is a dystopian element to how Christopher sells Alex out to a huge corporation and Caroline has to “get him back.” 

*  It’s not one of those “who will she choose” romances with two good guys to be torn between, but I trust that not every young reader needs that storyline included.  (And Caroline in the end is torn between perfect Alex and the messy, human relationship with Christopher’s brother, to whom I once assigned a name which I’ve forgotten now.)

*  I can sell it on Amazon.com as an ebook for two bucks, forget the consuming worry about finding a publisher that dogs me every time I have a project idea, and still make some ducats off it.

See?  Brilliant, what?  Now all I need is the time and energy to do it.  Next time, I’ll run up the story issues I have to deal with to make this happen.

[Oh yeah, I got an “A” on my Art History midterm; so the Bronzino project is fallow but I am learning what I need to know about art not to make a muck of it when I do get to that.]

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