RTW: Words With Friends

Writing Song of the Day: “More Than Words” by Frankie J

Wednesday: I used to HATE spelling this word in elementary school. I would never get it right. But now, I’m cool with it. Mainly because it means it’s Road Trip Wednesday day with the ladies of YA Highway. And guess what we’re talking about this week: WORDS!

The Highway-ers wanna know:

What words do you absolutely hate? Which ones do you adore?

As writers,  of course there are several words we adore! As of late these have been our favorites:
Now on to the hate, here are a couple of words that we cannot stand to say/hear:

What about you? What words do you absolutely love and hate?


B*&%@ Stole My Story!

Writing Song of the Day: “Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional

Okay, it’s Wednesday–one of my favorite days of the week because we get to join the lovely ladies of YA Highway for another Road Trip Wednesday! This week, they want to know:

What SNI were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?
Those gals sure know how to ask the hard-hitting questions. I may have mentioned once or twice on this blog how I’m just a LITTLE (see the irony?) obsessed with checking out the deals on Publishers Marketplace. There have been a handful of moments where I cringe and say: “Wait a minute, that sounds familiar…” In fact, Quita just purchased a book that slightly reminds me of Project J (*shakes fist at Quita*).
Alas, I’ll focus on the story that Quita and I were supposed to write together. About a year and a half ago, Inception blew our minds. So much so, we were inspired to co-author a novel that would blow other people’s minds. But then, we started noticing a trend in the marketplace. Almost every book in the YA section was dystopian. Almost every new deal was a dystopian novel. And then in several interviews and panels with agents and editors, they said they were a little tired of seeing a certain type of submission. I think you know where we’re going with this one.
So Quita and I have decided to step away from this project…or at least temporarily. We’re trying to think of a unique way to allow our baby to stand out in a saturated, yet AWESOME, marketplace. We’re trying to think of a way to make it less dystopian-y (like my new adjective?), and more BAD ASS.
What about you all? Ever have your dreams ripped out of your hands? Or something slightly less dramatic?

Say What?

Reading Song of the Day: “Say It To Me Now” by Glen Hansard

Wednesday. Middle of the week. Road Trip Wednesday with the ladies of YA Highway. All the best things. Today they want us to:

Write a dialogue between two of your favorite YA characters.

So. Hard.
This would have been fun if we had the energy to come up with this post in more time than one day. We’re running on fumes that are not quite creative…so, instead, we’re gonna show you what most dialogue in YA novels consists of:

First: Conflict

Second: Conflict solved…people are happy for awhile. Alas, not for long…
Third: More conflict and we’re left waiting for the next book OR dreaming up a happy ending. Unless, of course the book is by Stephanie Perkins or John Green AKA Masters of Delicious Dialogue!

 So, this is what happens when our brains can’t function. We promise to be more creative next time! What do you guys think dialogue in YA novels is like?

RTW: What’s in a Name?

Writing Song of the Day: “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child

Woo hoo! Once again it’s Wednesday, which means once again we get to join the lovely ladies of YA Highway for their Road Trip Wednesday question. This week they want to know:
If you couldn’t use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?
Okay, is it weird that I thought of this answer before…like, A LOT? I would love to write in more than one genre, so I assumed that while I establish myself as Pamela Harris, I may want to try something else out under a new name. I have two choices: Nadine Hunter or Nadine Shelton. Nadine because, well, it’s my middle name (I know–ugh). I chose Hunter because my mom’s maiden name is “Hunt,” and I chose Shelton because that’s my dad’s first name.
Quita used the same formula to pick a penname (sorry, I got too lazy to spell the other word again). She would use either Sherie Hunt or Sherie Levitt. Sherie is her middle name (pronounced like the French word cherie–her mother just tried to get all creative). She chose Hunt because, again, that’s her mother’s maiden name (our moms are sisters–get it?), and she chose Levitt because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She said, and I quote, “Out of all my celebrity boyfriends, his last name sounds the best with my middle name.”
Don’t worry–me and the rest of the fam are already fitting her for a straitjacket.
What about you all, peeps? Have a name you’d like to use? Which name do you think we should use if given the option?

RTW: Come Sail Away With Us

Daydreaming Song of the Day: “Daydreamer” by Adele

It’s Wednesday, AKA the best day of the week for daydreaming and completing a Road Trip post from YA Highway. Okay, maybe not the best day for daydreaming, but the topic this week makes us do just that. This week, the ladies are asking us:

Describe your dream writing retreat. Where would you go? Who and what would you bring?
Funny that this question is coming up right when we’re considering taking a writing retreat in the summer. If we had things our way and didn’t have to worry about money, this is what we’d do.
Where We’d Go:

Beautiful St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands (Close runner up: A quiet area–not desolate–but quiet, somewhere in Italy).

Who We’d Bring:
We’d bring, each other- DUH, also our lil’ sis Racquel, our Weekend of Awesome pals, Alicia, Erinn, Kat, and Holly (not pictured), and our buddy Megan (also, not pictured). Hmm, we need some pics with these girls…
Racquel, Pam, Quita

 Erinn, Kat, Quita, Pam, Alicia
What We’d Bring:


iPads:  ‘Cause we’re kinda obsessed with them. And also because they will be full of musical inspiration, novels to read (for the times we’re stuck on what to write), and hopefully (by that time) the Scrivener App.
Netbooks/Flash Drives: For writing. Nuff said.
Moleskin Notebooks: For those moments that we need to jot down something we might forget later.
Novels: Actual ones that we can hold in our hands–because some novels MUST be held.
Forms of Lubrication (get your minds out of the gutter!): Lotion for Pam & Chapstick for Quita. Also Sun Tan Lotion–’cause ya know, sometimes we’ll have to go on the lovely St. Croix beaches to relax before getting more writing done.
Colored Pens: If we’re revising a printed draft.
Candy and snacks: To refuel and whatever other excuses we can think of to eat all the bad things.
And,um,some adult beverages: Hopefully these will be provided by the wonderful people at our luxurious Virgin Islands resort…for free.
Oh and we also wouldn’t mind bringing a nice, smart (and HOT) island boy back home with us 😀
What about you? Where would you go and what would you bring with you??

RTW: What Would You Do For a Klon…err, Book Contract

Desperate Song of the Day: “The Distance” by Cake

It’s Wednesday. Two days until the weekend, and another chance to join the lovely ladies of YA Highway for Road Trip Wednesday. This week they ask:
How far would you go to get published?
Ooh, good question! One that actually had us doing this:

You see, we’ve wanted to be published authors since the very first time we could grip a pencil. We already know how we’d celebrate when we FINALLY see one of our names in the “Deals” section of Publishers Marketplace (and if you know anything about us, you’d know it has something to do with food).
So far, the only thing that we’ve both done is make revisions based on agents’ suggestions. However, we’d never change anything we wouldn’t feel comfortable about. For example, if for some reason we were asked to change a character’s race or sexuality, our response would be a resounding NO! We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t had to make those decisions thus far.
As far as genre hopping, I’d be lying if I said we haven’t *considered* it. I mean, we SEE what sells–and we both have written manuscripts that were outside of our contemporary comfort zone. But I think our writing really shines when we’re true to ourselves. If we wrote something just to fit to a trend, the passion wouldn’t be there–which means that nobody else would want to read it anyway.
So yeah, I don’t think I completely answered this question. Just know that if Quita and I get lucky enough to get published one day, we’d be able to say that we kept our self-respect.
What about you all? Would you do anything “crazy” just to see your name on a book spine?

RTW: Required Reading List

Reading Song of the Day: “Part of the List” by Ne-Yo

It’s Wednesday…and we are counting down the day until the freaking weekend! But, in the mean time, we’re going road tripping with our budding from YA Highway.

This week they want us to discuss books! We couldn’t be any more excited. The topic is:

In high school, teens are made to read the classics – Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens – but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

*Squee* We could talk about this alllll day. In fact, we did a post about creating our own YA Master Class and what books we’d have students read here. But, we digress. Back on topic, if we could create our own list of required reading for teens, this is what we’d include:

* Crank by Ellen Hopkins

WHY? Because she merges two great styles of literature: poetry and prose. And she does it BRILLIANTLY. This book can be used to teach units on effective fiction techniques, as well as poetry techniques. Winning!
* Looking for Alaska by John Green

WHY? Because the novel is a great tool for teaching climax and character development. As a matter of fact, all of Green’s books are great for teaching these concepts. Can’t go wrong with Green!
* Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
WHY? This book is all about the teenage struggle of finding their voice and using it. We think teens can learn a lot of valuable life lessons from this novel.
* The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

WHY? To make students better understand plot and pacing. Collins is PERFECT at these two aspects of writing.
* The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
WHY? There’s no better book to use for teaching voice. Seriously.

* Divergent by Veronica Roth
WHY? This novel is probably THE best book to use to teach all of the important elements of literature: plot, character, climax, pacing, etc. BUT at the same time, it’s a fun and exciting read. It’s guaranteed to have boys just as interested as the girls.

* And we’d keep: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
WHY? Because some classics are still relatable and they stand the test of time. We feel that modern teens can still gain insight from reading these novels and each one can teach an aspect of studying literature.

DONE! You tell us, what else would you add to a required reading list??