Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Slacking

I officially switched into summer mode last week during a family beach vacation in North Carolina. Here's the view from our balcony (photo taken by my hubby with his iPad2--which I have to admit is pretty cool):

I didn't write a single word the entire week, but I didn't feel guilty about it either. In fact, after falling asleep one night to the sound of crashing waves, I dreamed a cool new story idea that I'm really excited about. For me, down time fuels my creativity and re-energizes me. It also gives me more time to read, which hopefully makes me a better writer.

As this is my son's last week of school, I know I'll soon be spending more time at the pool than at the computer, and I'm okay with that. I tend to do my biggest spurts of writing in the fall and winter, while I spend most of my summer outdoors. Come September though, when my kids are back in school, I'm ready to crank out pages again. I know some writers write almost every day of the year, no exceptions. Some are published authors with contracts and deadlines, and others are driven by different motives. I love writing and will always do it, but for now, I'm fine with finishing one book per year. And spending summers with my kids? Priceless.

What about you? Any other cyclical/seasonal writers out there? Any die-hard writers who think I'm a total slacker?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I'm a sucker for underdogs. If you ask me who I want to win in any given sports match-up, I'll usually ask who's supposed to win and then I go for the other guy (unless it's my favorite team, but they're never supposed to win and are permanent underdogs--sorry Chiefs). My hubby and I watched The Fighter this weekend (based on a true story), and though I loathe boxing and am not a big fan of violence in general (well, unless aliens, space monkeys, or vampires are involved), I loved the movie. Part of it was that the movie focused as much on him as a person as on the fighting (and the family dynamics alone make this a must see), but what hooked me were the odds. Because they were stacked against him and his crack addict brother from the get-go. And he won anyway. 

 Remember the Titans (also based on a true story) blew me away and is one of the few movies I'll watch every time I catch it on t.v. This coach had to win every single game to keep his job and fight racism while doing it--I get chills just thinking about this movie.

I realize these are sports related examples, but I think sports lends itself well to the underdog theme. Remember, the Boston Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees and win the 2004 American League Championship (pure awesome). Or the one-armed catch that helped the Giants beat the Patriots in a Super Bowl outcome no one expected (never mind that the receiver later shot himself in the leg).

I'll bring this around to young adult books (and try to curb my use of parentheticals in this post--geez). The underdog theme might involve the MC fighting back against a tyrannical government in a dystopian society (a la Uglies, The Hunger Games, The Giver, Possession), or the MC is an average human attempting to survive/defeat the all-powerful paranormal creature (Need, Twilight, Hush Hush), or they're attempting to defeat normal, real-life issues like death and high school (If I Stay, The DUFF). Chances are, if the odds seem insurmountable and like there's no way the MC can succeed, it's my kind of book.  

What about you? What are some of your favorite underdog stories? (They can be either books or movies, and I swear that's my last use of parentheses for this post).