Fun with Character

Favorite Color?  Dark Grey, like grass.
Favorite Color? Dark Grey, like grass.

Remember those surveys you used to complete all the time through email when email was new and cool?

Okay so my newest book, which will be a science fiction book for young adults, stars a 16 year-old girl named Emma.  There’s something pretty big going on in her life, but I can’t let that define her.  So I decided to dig up one of those old surveys and answer them for Emma.  Fun times.  Enjoy!

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  1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Ems, Emma Jean, Em.  I prefer Emma.

  1. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

There’s a mystery thriller I’m ready to dig into on summer break.  The copy of Scarlett Letter I’m supposed to be hating, but I’ve actually read twice, is calling my name now though.

  1. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

Oh I doodle during class.  I draw trees and outside scenery mostly.

  1. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

That has never happened.  God I like to sleep.  Where’s the bed?

  1. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

Peace and quiet?  I’d probably sleep.  I bet I could do three days.

  1. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

Throw them out.  Why save them if I can just call up the memory?

  1. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

Mom!  Secretly I think she has no faith that Dad’s technology will hold out and preserve some stuff.  She still has her wedding dress in the back of her closet.

  1. When making an entrance into a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

I can’t see myself showing up alone, I’m sure I’d be with Bells.  BUT if I were alone (for some reason) I’d immediately look for someone I know.

  1. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

My eyesight is the strongest.  I know lots of people need glasses or contacts but I’ve always been lucky.  If I had to give one up I’d give up taste.  Although I’ve heard that’s linked to smell and I would hate to lose smell!

  1. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Mirror?  Not many.  Reflective surfaces like phone screens?  Maybe twice.

  1. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That my father was perfect.

  1. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

This is a hard question.  Maybe eating carbs?  Bella says I should eat less of those but I just can’t!

  1. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

That’s easy.  Tyler.

  1. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?

Arizona Republic occasionally.  Like whenever it’s up on the screen and I’m sitting in the same room as Dad.

  1. Which animals scare you most? Why?

I’m not super scared of anything but I’m not a fan of creepy crawly things.  They’re just icky (couldn’t think of a better word).

  1. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

Depends.  I’m more the head-on kind of person but sometimes my external conscience (Bella and Tyler) convince me it’s better to avoid some.

  1. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?

I can’t think of one.  Does it count that a cute guy asked me out for coffee?  Is that a compliment?

  1. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

I hope I stop having to wake up at 6 AM, but I’m betting that won’t happen anytime soon.

  1. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

No way.  I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of girl.

  1. Are you high maintenance? Explain.

Um, no.  There’s like three total products in my bathroom: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner.  Bam.

  1. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?

I had to run to school yesterday because I overslept.  Does that count?

  1. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?

It’s high school.  Everyone knows of everyone else.  I can really only count on Tyler and Bella.

  1. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?

I don’t know, what a weird question.  Build other’s probably.

  1. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?

Something weird is going on with my electronics, but I’m sure it’s nothing.

  1. What do you think about more than anything else?

My friends or relationships.

  1. What’s something that amazes you?

Sunsets.  There’s nothing we can manufacture that even comes close to that (trust me, Dad).

  1. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why?

Give it to me straight.

  1. Where’s your favourite place to take an out-of-town guest?

The library.  No wait, hear me out…it’s the coolest building.  It’s all lined with windows and it’s like four stories tall.  There’s this great wide open space in the center that has a skylight in the top.  It’s amazing.

  1. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why?

Can I pay someone to do homework?  I’d totally do that.

  1. Do you have a catchphrase?

Not that I know of.

  1. What’s your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs? What conditions cause you to dislike or, conversely, enjoy talking with them?

Outspoken-good for you!  Dislike people who are one-sided.  Enjoy talking to people who are open.

  1. How and where do you prefer to study?

With a friend outside somewhere.

  1. What position do you sleep in?

On my side.

  1. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

I’ve always liked Tucson.  It’s a bit colder there than here but it has all the comforts of home.

  1. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?

Friendly, Funny, Nice eyes.

  1. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you?

I’m an only child.  This means I get all Mom and Dad’s attention (for good or for bad).  I get away with nothing.

  1. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?

I’m not at all organized. Sometimes I wish I was more like Bella in that sense.  I guess I’d fix that.

  1. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?

The one with my Dad.

  1. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I used to say I’d rather be named Constance.  I don’t know why.  I’m happy with Emma now.

  1. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?

No!  I believe that understanding something comes from learning about it.

  1. What do you consider unforgivable?

Lying.

  1. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Why or why not?

Yes. Forgiveness is the only way you move on.

  1. How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?

I don’t always demand apologies, so I don’t always get them.  Forgiveness is for you not them.  Let it go, man.

44.Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for?

Not yet.  I’m only 16 though.  I bet I’m the kind of person who would totally have one of those when I’m older.

  1. To what extent do you trust people? Explain.

Some people I’d trust with my life (Bella, Tyler).  But like people in general, not at all.

  1. In what area of your life are you immature?

Dad says it’s immature that I always sleep in…so I guess that.

  1. What was the best news you ever received?

Bella’s field hockey team won at Regionals last year.  That was pretty cool.

  1. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?

Not at all.  It’s harder for me to feel badly for you after I was honest.

  1. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? What was the long-term result? Conversely, are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first?

Bella.  We sat next to each other on the first day of third grade and we’ve been friends ever since.  On the other hand we hated Tyler for being “gross” on the first day of third grade (he thought it was funny to make these awful farting noises) but now we really rely on him.

  1. When do you find yourself singing?

Whenever I walk.

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Writing yourself and want to try it (or decided you’d have fun bringing this back to your friends by answering them yourself)?  Go here to find it.  https://efcarletti.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/50-good-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-others/

Readers

Shhh, I'm reading.
Shh, I’m reading.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I love my readers!  Okay so at this point I only have beta readers, but they are amazing!  Seriously.  Allow me to explain why.

Have you ever watched a movie that you LOVED?  What do you do afterwards?  Well if you’re anything like me you tell EVERYONE you know to watch it.  When you find someone else who HAS watched it and loved it as much as you…that’s like gold!  You sit down and talk with them about every character you loved, every character you hated, and every scene you cannot forget.  You quote the movie.  You just talk movie.

Well my own books are kind of like that for me.  Those characters are like little actors in my head.  Sometimes they are rehearsing scenes.  Sometimes they are just cued up, ready to jump into whichever scene I call out.  Either way I love them all (honestly I’ve discovered I even love the ones I’m supposed to hate, but that’s another blog post for another time).  So when a reader picks up my book and wants to talk about it with me…I love it!  Those conversations are like a drug, I have to have it!

Only a reader can love your story like you do.  Only a reader will remember the characters forever like you will.  Only a reader can pay you the courtesy of telling you what they really think.  They take the risk of this story becoming an obsession for them too.

For that, thanks readers.  Even if you’re not reading my stuff (ahem-yet), you’re reading someone’s and so you rock.

Writing

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I am a writer.

Was that believable?  I’ve been practicing.  I can almost say it out loud.

See, I’ve been writing one thing or another my entire life.  Poems, stories, essays, ideas.  I’m always writing.  I keep a journal.  Scratch that.  I keep journals all over my room, house, and workplaces.  I write all the time.   I scribble ideas for characters or stories.  I daydream when I’m not writing about stuff that I may later write about.  I’ve always been a writer.  But there’s a difference between being the writer I’ve always been and, for example, JK Rowling or James Patterson.  The difference is publishing and money, in case you were wondering.

Recently I decided to take that step and flip that switch.  That is to say I decided to try and be published for what I write.  It’s an excruciatingly slow process.  Don’t worry, I’m enjoying it.  I’m reveling in the wonderous pain that comes with holding that story in your head until your fingers can type fast enough to put it onto the page.  I’m writing almost daily.  I’ve finished writing and editing a full book and its sequel.  I’ve finished a third, which is in editing now.  I’m working on a fourth.  I’ve enrolled in James Patterson’s Masterclass on writing.

So I’m really doing this.

The problem is that I’m also a perfectionist.  If you aren’t in the business then you don’t know the mountain of rejection letters that are our reality.  That is the hardest part.  Tom Leveen (a great young adult author whom I had the pleasure of  taking a writing course with) says this job is equal parts talent and luck.  The problem is that once you start receiving those rejection letters, you start to wonder if it’s the talent missing…instead of the luck.

Enter the blog.  If I tell other people about it, then it must be true.  If I have other people watching my progress, it must be worthwhile.  I can’t stop fighting.  That is why I used the quote from Kurt Vonnegut as the title for my page.  I’m standing on the cliff of publishing, hoping those damn wings show up before I smash into the bottom.

Geronimo.