I don’t enjoy reading vulgarity. I am sickened by how over-sexed YA fiction can be, and I think using excessive expletives only shows an inability to communicate in a more intelligent manner. I either sound uppity or like a complete nerd. Either way, I feel these self-imposed standards are a nuisance. For example, if I am in the middle of a really great book and one of the characters starts throwing the F-bomb around, I’m likely to chuck the book across the room and never finish the story. That’s not normal, right?
Not only are my walls suffering, but I am eliminating a TON of potential reading material AND wasting my time on half of every offending book. You see the problem?
This is why I was so happy to have found Annette Larsen. Not only is her writing style engaging, but she keeps it clean for the sensitive types. I fell in love with Annette’s debut novel, Just Ella, and cannot wait until her next book is released.
Do yourself a favor and go buy this book right now. It is saturated with emotion and conflict, tension and sweet moments. The bonus is I can read it to my 7 year old without blushing.
If you would like to win a free Kindle edition copy of Just Ella – leave a comment below before midnight on November 4, 2013. I will announce the winner shortly thereafter.
Prefer paperback? Find it here.
Now, here is a post from the author herself. Thanks for joining us today, Annette!
A Few Lessons I’ve Learned from Reading and Writing
Exclamation Points: They tend to sneak into our writing where they don’t belong. I would suggest that they should only be used when a character is exclaiming something. Don’t fall into the trap of using them just to emphasize a point. If you want to give a sentence some punch, use your words. The sentence itself needs to be strong enough to demonstrate its own importance.
In the movie Dan in Real Life, Dan’s second daughter is dramatic and passionate. If you’ve seen the movie, you remember her screaming at her father, “You are a murderer of LOVE!” It’s hilarious—a great moment in the movie and she’s a great side character. But would you want to read an entire book from her point of view? Probably not. If a narrative has an excess of exclamation points, it can bring to mind a teenage girl, jumping up and down and clutching her hands as she tries to contain her excitement.
“It was the very worst experience I have ever had in my entire life!” has far less impact than a simple, “It was the worst experience of my life.”
Excessive exclamation can cheapen your words and make a reader roll their eyes. Whereas a statement of genuine emotion, with a matter of fact period at the end, will make readers sit up and pay attention.
Setting: You have to know where your characters are. This is something that I struggle with at times. My imagination and creativity are based in emotion, so I oftentimes see only my characters and I’m unable to see the setting. But even if the setting is of less importance, you have to have a clear vision of your characters’ surroundings. I spent a lot of time searching in Google images for castles, hedge mazes, lush gardens, etc… Do whatever works for you, but make sure you know what the setting looks like.
Villains: The bad guys in your stories have feelings too. It’s important to keep that in mind. A villain will have far more impact if they aren’t a caricature. An evil cackle and a sinister rub of the hands works for children’s movies, but if that’s not the feel you’re going for, then you need to take your villain’s character as seriously as you do your main characters.
Why do they act the way they do? What are their motivations? Who in their life loves them despite all their faults?
Have them show a little bit of vulnerability, maybe even give your readers a reason to sympathize with them. The bad guy/girl needs to be a person first, and a villain second.
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.
I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.
I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
For a chance to win a free Kindle edition copy of Just Ella – leave a comment before midnight on November 4, 2013. I will announce the winner shortly thereafter.