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LEGEND: Catch Me If You Can Meets The Hunger Games (Or, Vigilantes, Prodigies and Dystopia: an Interview Debut Author Marie Lu)



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Early last week, I was fortunate enough to get in touch with an amiable and talented author: Marie Lu. You might have heard of her through the blogosphere, her upcoming debut LEGEND is Putnam Children's Lead Title for Fall '11, set to hit your shelves this November. Not only was Marie more than happy to send an ARC to me all the way down here in Australia, but she was also very willing to let me host an interview here, despite the length of my list of questions.

So, without further ado, I present Miss Marie Lu!


I'm really anticipating your debut novel LEGEND, the first in a trilogy it seems, and judging by its Goodreads page, I'm certain that there are quite a few others who are as well. What can we expect?

Thank you so much, Nina! I really hope you'll enjoy it when it's out. As for what you can expect from LEGEND: a rebellious boy vigilante, a super-intelligent girl prodigy, a dystopian Los Angeles, puzzles, parkour, romance, and lots of action. And hopefully a story that will entertain you. :)

You describe LEGEND as Catch Me If You Can meets THE HUNGER GAMES. What elements from these sources have you integrated into your series?

LEGEND'S core story is similar to Catch Me If You Can in that it's about a teenage criminal (Day) who spends his life staying one step ahead of the authorities. In LEGEND's case, the main girl protagonist (June) is one of these authorities. The world they play cat and mouse in, however, is a dystopian North America. That's where the HUNGER GAMES similarity comes in.

Day and June's romance is apparently loosely based on LES MISERABLES (a book I love, by the way), that being Cosette and Marius I guess. In what way did you use that story to influence your own?

Ah, Les Mis! Such love. Actually, the part Les Mis inspired for LEGEND was the relationship between Javert and ValJean, the thief vs. authority concept. I suppose Marius and Cosette's relationship could apply somewhat to LEGEND, though. Cosette (well, during her convent years) and June both live sheltered lives until they get caught up with the events swirling around them, and Marius and Day are both revolutionaries. So I guess that comparison also works!

Day is in a bit of a spot of bother, being the most wanted criminal in the country. What sort of skills has he got and what sort of crimes does he commit? Are we looking at a more How to Steal a Million, or a Neal Caffrey or Firefly? What research did you have to do?

Definitely not Firefly (one of my favourite shows, by the way), because Day is not a mercenary. He never works for hire. The best comparison would be a teenage version of Robin Hood, since Day is a boy who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Skill-wise, Day is an exceptional parkour/free-running guy. He's very smart, athletic, and nimble. I had to watch a lot of parkour videos, as well as Google topics that have probably landed me on the FBI's watch list by now.

You had a rather unique way into your world for LEGEND, it being built around a world that you created for a Facebook game! So how did you get to adapting it into a novel? Or did the novel come first; if so, did this game help you understand your world better?

The novel actually came first. After I'd finished it and was waiting for my first round of feedback from my agent, I decided to make a related Facebook game in order to take a break from writing without leaving the Legend world. The game helped me flesh out the worldbuilding and get a better idea of what certain things (i.e. fashion, money) were like.

I hear there was quite a tug-of-war around getting LEGEND pinned to one publisher and that you had some exciting phone conversations. Could you share some of the great things these industry professionals were saying about LEGEND? What were your favourite comments?

Thank you! Yes, the week when I got to talk to interested editors was one of the best weeks ever. I can't share all of the wonderful things these editors said, but I can tell you two of my favourite comments. One came from a brilliant young editor who told me that June was her favourite character in the book. The other came from Jen Besser, who is my editor now. She told me that one of the ending scenes made her tear up. I'm very proud of that. :)

A three-book deal with Penguin Group, and the Putnam Children's Lead Title for Fall 2011? You have got to be fist-pumping and driving along highways screaming at the top of your lungs. Have you got any plans, lame or not so much, for the day when your book is out there on the shelves?

There was definitely much shrieking/fist-pumping while driving! I don't think neighboring cars appreciated it. :) I'm not yet sure what to do for launch day. There will probably be a book launch party, but beyond that, I think I'll just go out to eat with friends and then drown my anxieties in a giant tub of ice cream!

Dystopian Fiction is like a bad car accident that makes you slow down and stare. It’s surreal and disturbing and to write about them you’ve really got to get immersed in the scourge of history. Undoubtedly, with a number of titles being released in the near future, there’s a growth of interest toward YA Dystopias. What freshness does LEGEND bring to the table? What past dystopian-like concepts did you look to? What made you pick this genre for a setting?

I've always been fascinated by the bleak landscapes portrayed in dystopias. For LEGEND, I wanted to write a story from two points of view--someone "inside the system" who doesn't yet realize her world's problems, and someone outside of the system who is already aware of his society's faults. I really wanted to focus on building intricate characters as much as building the world itself. My mother actually lived through China's Cultural Revolution (truly a modern dystopian period), and I was living in Beijing when the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened. Other influences came from the United States' eugenics period in the early 20th century, ancient Sparta, and North Korea's current regime. It's terrifying how easily a government can brainwash and cripple an entire generation in only a few short decades.

Your portrayal of our future is dramatic, and disturbing indeed. Does the world in LEGEND portray the future you envision? Do you think modern society could ever reach such a point where they decline to holding the values ancient societies? For instance, how the Spartans would leave a “weak” baby to die outside the city?

I hope the world of LEGEND is nothing like our actual future. I do think modern society can degenerate to that point if we aren't careful, if we let irrational fear take over our better judgment. You can see that sort of fear coming out even in the U.S.'s current political climate. There's nothing like troubling times to bring out the worst in both politicians and people. I think the world's future will be brighter than LEGEND's, though. I'm still optimistic about humanity's ability to come together to face challenges.

CBS Films bought the film rights to LEGEND. Congrats! How exciting that it’s such a major deal too. What can you tell us about that process and what role you might play in the production?

Thank you! The CBS Films deal is definitely exciting, and I can't wait to take the next step. The process is not unlike the book acquisition process; my literary agent and I worked with a film agent (Kassie Evashevski), who brought LEGEND to CBS Films. Temple Hill, the attached production company, has been fantastic so far. One of their best traits is how willing they are to work with the author during the process. It's why Stephenie Meyer was able to have so much say in the Twilight films. I will probably get to give input during the screenwriting process, and after that, I'm happy to let them guide me wherever I'm needed!

And I've got to ask: who's your dream director and dream cast?

I think everyone's dream director is Christopher Nolan, right? ;) (Right!) As for a dream cast, I haven't seen any actor that looks quite like how Day looks in my head. However, I love the idea of Hailee Steinfeld for June, and I've always pictured June's brother to be Ben Barnes. Of course, I don't have a say in any of that!

Rejection is an inevitable divergence on the path to publication for most writers. What experiences did you have with it?

Rejection and I have a long and intimiate history. I wrote a blog entry here detailing my writing journey. Some writers can hit it big on their first try, but for me, I wrote four unpublished manuscripts before LEGEND came along. It can be hard, but that's part of the reason we want it so much. If getting published were easy, it wouldn't be so rewarding when you finally get there!

How about your agent? How was it that you came to work with her?

I met Kristin Nelson five years ago, at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. She turned down my first manuscript. Then, years later, she took me on for a novel that we ultimately weren't able to sell. Then, we finally made it with LEGEND. I think that really is a testament to how amazing she is. She will stick by you through the good times and the bad, and that is priceless.

You've been writing since you were about fourteen. What's your view on teen writes? I noticed that on your website you posted the first chapter of a very old trunk novel. Like the rest of us, this first manuscript had a lot of flower, right? Do you think we should be publishing such young writers or be cultivating them a la Harper Collins on sites such as Inkpop? Or do you have your own view on how they should be treated or on how they are portrayed?

Haha - I hope you didn't read that whole thing! It was so flowery it could've filled an entire garden. I think young/teen writers should simply get the same treatment as any other writer. If the writing is good, it doesn't matter how young you are--you should be published! There are so many talented young authors today, like Kody Keplinger and Veronica Roth. The writing is always what matters most. Everything else is largely irrelevant.

Time for some rapid fire to wrap things up:

Favourite dystopian film? Blade Runner
Favourite dystopian novel? THE GIVER (Lois Lowry)
Character that you'd like to insert into your world? Captain Malcolm Reynolds
What keywords in a blurb will immediately draw you in? Vigilante, criminal or mafia
Two features of a book that are most important? Characters and endings
Best title you've heard? THE PAIN MERCHANTS by Janice Hardy. Doesn't that just suck you right in?
The book concept you always wanted to read about as a kid? A dark Peter Pan (Which, it turn out, is THE CHILD THIEF by Brom!)
Book you're dying to read this year? THE CLOCKWORK PRINCE by Cassandra Clare. I'm a Jem fan.
Favourite guilty pleasure? Tabloids. I know, I know, it's terrible. I try to limit my tabloid reading to when I'm at airports. :)
What scenes do you enjoy writing the most: action, suspense or romance? Suspense. I love romance scenes when they turn out right, but I find them the hardest to do.
Favourite superhero? Iron Man. I want to see Tony Stark take Bruce Wayne out on the town and teach him to stop being so angsty. You're rich and handsome, Batman. Smile!

Thank you so much, Marie! I look forward to reading LEGEND and seeing your career continue to blossom. Do you have any last words of wisdom for writers out there?

Thank you so much for having me here, Nina! This was really fun. Last words of wisdom for writers: Never simply brush off a bestselling novel as a bad book. Instead, pinpoint exactly what the book did right in order to gain such a huge following, and see if any of it can be applied to your own writing. Every author has a strength!

And there you have it, guys!

I don't know about you, but I like her. And I am psyched for when LEGEND is sitting in my hot little hands. If you're as excited as I am, you might want to check out some links:

LEGEND on Goodreads.com
Marie on Goodreads.com
Marie's blog and artwork on deviantART.com, mirror-posted on Blogger
Marie on Twitter
Marie on Facebook
and the LEGEND book trailer.

Get psyched guys, I know I am!

Now Starring, a Blogfest



9 comments

Oh, wow. It's been a while since I've blogfested, particularly because I stupidly figured that I wouldn't have time to do the A-Z this month. I now bequeath to you this. I'm currently in Nowra, which is tubuggery, so I'm hoping that in timing this post, it'll actually appear in time. The rules? Six characters max (Good thing, since my main cast is six), I must describe their appearance, then cast them, then describe reasons why I've selected said actor.

Ready? Break.

anna blackley
The youngest of the team at eighteen, Anna is in possession of the most developed of their Gifts, illusion. She is an empath and able to generate wormholes through her illusions. She's curious, meddling, sensitive and hyper-active. She exerts a fistful of quirks in almost everything she does. She curses like a sailor, if they substituted swears for others such as 'smurf' and 'buttnugget'. She also forms portmanteaus mid-speech and is overly loquacious.
description: Remarkably small, Anna is commonly referred to as pixie-like. She isn't striking, her face round and darkly freckled, and she hasn't quite grown out of that overbite. Her eyes are wide and oversized, with arching eyelashes. And her most unmistakable feature is her hair, impossibly thick and vibrant red, falling loose in untameable curls.
actress: Felicity Jones
why felicity?: I've encountered Felicity quite a bit in my Brit-Film travels (Doctor Who, Cemetery Junction, Brideshead Revisited, Chalet Girl) and she's proven herself to have a vast range which is integral for a temperamental character, such as an empath. She has an deeper understanding of what's necessary on an emotional level for a character, and her mannerisms are quite suitable for Anna. She has great comedic timing in general, her whole demeanour exuding the misplaced, quirky adolescent that's a little immature.
alternative: Emily Browning


will cooper
Wilhelmina "Will" is the only non-Gifted Gardien, of a genius-level IQ (187), eidetic memory and incredible physical combat capabilities and experience. Her mother died when Will was young, a genius war veteran who served in conflicts disguised as a boy. Will was shipped to Liechtenstein to an accelerated, elite academy, and forced her body and mind to reach unattainable goals, striving for perfection. Linguistics, martial arts, armed combat, weapons manufacturing, engineering and physics - she took a MGB GT apart and put it back together, aged eleven. Her explosives instructor smuggled her out soon after when he departed to carry out a ground-level mission amidst the Chechen conflict. She escaped to the Alps with a bounty hunter team of embittered ex-militants as a renegade. Will is stubborn, manipulative, worldly, judgemental, volatile, desires efficiency and suffers from a specific and unique PTSD. She uses wild finger spells and evocative gestures when she speaks and is a smoker.
description: Will has an average appearance held by many Australian youths. She's the tallest of the female Gardiens, has a heavily toned body, with eyes a little wide apart, a crooked nose and thick, blonde hair. She has tattoos (Southern Cross on her right wrist, three black stars on her left earlobe, a series of rings tattooed on her right ring finger, OK on her right little toe), piercings (three hoops in her right ear cartilage, scars from her eyebrow, nose and lip) and a branding from the organisation she joined in Thailand.
actress: Teresa Palmer
why teresa?: More commonly known as Number Six from the recent Alex Pettyfer film, or that girl in December Boys or from the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Teresa is a BAMF Aussie actress. It seems appropriate to cast an Australian in the role of one (though most of the Gardiens are Australians). I know she can pull off action sequences, has the appropriate facial expressions, and I'm presuming that she can play a vulnerable emotional role as well. What I like about Teresa is that she can seem very ordinary, both in manner and appearance, which is something I wanted for Will. Will has had a really eventful life and is one of the more complex characters, so in order to not make her go overboard, I wanted an actress that could wear near to no makeup on-screen and focus on her purpose and her personality.
alternative: Katie Cassidy


arden grigoriadis
The protagonist, Arden is a telekinetic and neurotic to a near-OCD level. She has been a Gardien longest, for about thirteen years, and is the maternal personality on the team. She's nagging and didactic, taking charge and is concerned for the wellbeing of the others over herself. But that's not to say she won't slap one. She has a knack for making people feel guilty, and is also highly strung. She's a humanitarian, desires control and is highly emotional, with little interest in romance. Arden has a fear of physical pain, water, vulnerability, heights, disability and burning alive to a crippling extent.
description: Arden is incredibly average, of below-average height, with broad, boyish shoulders, a small waist and wide hips. She descends from Greeks and Italians, and gives no thought to her figure besides the exercise regime that comes with being a Gardien. She has features that hint at her heritage, with a straight nose, high cheekbones and dark, dull eyes. Her hair is thick, unruly and bothers her; she cuts it into a sort of long bob whenever she is pissed.
actress: Sophia Bush.
why sophia?: Regulars will know how much I love Sophia's talent. I know that she could carry a whole film based on her emotional scenes alone. And for Arden, there are a lot. Arden is a very emotional character, between her relationships with the Gardiens and her neurotic tendencies, she'd be quite a bother for her portrayer. Sophia has a way of delivering lines in the middle of confrontations that is so effective, and she has a real BAMF attitude that would serve well in a great deal of the film. Her skills would allow these scenes to lose any possible cheesy nature they could accumulate.
alternative: Emmy Rossum


micah konstantinov
The oldest of the Gardiens, Micah is a technopath and is able to shape-shift into a large canine. He was born into ancient wealth in the Russian country, where his lifestyle was more to that of Regency England than the late twentieth century. Because of close conflicts, he was moved to Venice where he remained for two years before being located to Northern Italy where he was raised in a fortress in the countryside. He lived a traditional childhood, figuring out early that he had a high to near-genius intellect and soon English became his first language after being taught by live-in English tutors. He's lost nearly all of his formative accent since then, though in certain instances the Russian comes through. Defying all cultural stereotypes, Micah is not loudmouthed or overly friendly. Instead, he is eerily calm and collected. He's an introvert, a nebbish, with the desire of peace. His shape shifting is triggered by a raised heart beat, so he has learnt to control himself. He is chivalrous, fears abandonment, and is prone to sulking and frustration. He fears ignorance and the loss of his humanity, going wolf forever. He is rather cynical about this change, believing himself to be a monster, and continually executing black humour. He boycotts shoes all the time recites lines of poetry under his breath to calm himself down, is a well-practiced violinist and a misanthrope.
description: Micah doesn't care much for appearances. He doesn't comb his hair, won't tuck in his shirt and holds himself like a scarecrow. He relies on Arden to cut his hair in tufts of James Dean-esque nature. He is lanky and not very muscled, terribly unfit and has a scar from his right eyebrow to the bottom of his right cheekbone and scars from a psychometric, which are dark ornate curls that appear as oddly shaped shadows. Years of practice have now allowed Micah to position his face into a scowl or a pout when it's seemingly relaxed.
actor: Ben Barnes
why ben?: Ben has a generally quiet demeanour, and I'd think he'd pull of the Byronic hero-type pretty bloody well to be honest. He's Prince Caspian, Dorian Gray - and from the interviews that I've seen, he's an intelligent bloke. I don't think he'd sound uncomfortable in a character who uses verbose, archaic language and he's got the right kind of tonal quality to his voice that would serve the dialogue well. And given his Narnia films, he's no stranger to action sequences, despite the fact that he'd rarely be in them as a person, given his shape shifting-ness.
alternative: Paul Wesley


lachlan trafford
The leader of the Gardiens, Lachlan isn't even his real name but one that his father devised for him when he left home to join the team. Raised in a single-parent home under a military-like rule, as his father was a soldier, Lachlan has developed a complex that nearly enables him incapable of losing. The Gardiens describe him as "tyrant", "psychotic", "callous", "caged" and "overly-devoted". His Gifts include muscle mimicry, healing of both himself and others, and transmutation, which other characters deem him an "alchemist" because of. He broadcasts himself as a gentleman to the public, Will even calls him a knight in white satin. He is, however, rather asexual, never interested in anything beyond the next mission, the last mission, the current mission.
description: Lachlan's formative years were akin to a bootcamp, consequently, he holds himself as someone with military training does - upright, posture-perfect, tidy. His healing has an effect where he never needs to cool his body down, so he never sweats - enabling him, even in the Australian summer, to wear a full suit. Which he always does. Tailored, expensive, he wears Rat Pack-like clothing. He is tall and narrow-shouldered, the most muscular of the Gardien boys and the best-presented. He is exceptionally average, enough to draw the eye perhaps, but never enough to make a lasting impression. His features are typically Anglo-Saxon, and his has blue eyes with cropped, dark hair and not a scar on his body.
actor: Max Irons
why max?: A new actor, there isn't much known about Max's repertoire. I, however, think that I've seen enough of him of Dorian Gray and what I've managed to glimpse Red Riding Hood to cast him. Despite being Jeremy Iron's son, he's got a good approach to acting and genuinely wants to get into it. I can really picture him playing the focused, successful hero, and being a little callous and domineering whilst doing it. He might have to tone down his accent though, maybe pick something a little north of London?
alternative: Chris Hemsworth


wesley whishaw-flyte
Wes is a trickster, a glory-seeker and a flirt - or, just a no-good womaniser. He's intangible and a teleporter, and uses both all of the time, especially when it's inappropriate or certain to scare someone, if only to get a rise out of the Gardiens. Some would refer to Wes as manipulative, her prefers the term 'seductive charm'. Many a girl has fallen prey to his brilliant smile and blue eyes, not to mention his general body structure and superhero body. He has an addictive personality, smoking, drinking, with a continual stream of overnight guests. A reformed art thief and general cat burglar, Wes is bursting with sarcasm, cynicism and will tease, debate and prank until executive action is taken against him. He does have a temper, and isn't one to check himself before throwing a punch. He's not much of a talker in heart-to-hearts, more obscene and dismissive. He's shallow, tortured, flippant and fidgety.
description: Wes is the same height as Lachlan, but is leaner in every muscular regard. He is toned without any added bulk, as it's much easier for him to transport himself around. Broad-shouldered, he has defined features with a chiselled face and ever-present shadow on his jaw and lip. Arden is always teasing him about the fact that he's got satellite-sized ears and is always nagging him about the unruly nature of his hair. He wears very average clothing, mostly knitted sweaters and jeans.
actor: Alex Pettyfer
why alex?: Oh, Alex. He seems to have only improved over the years, and I didn't flinch at his acting once in I am Number Four. I think he'd pull of the debauched, tortured and witty hero pretty well, I'd think. He's got the right tonal quality to deliver this Englishman's lines, and a general attitude that would meld well with the character. He's no stranger to action sequences, and I'd like to see how he'd pull of the teleporting.
alternative: Hayden Christensen

Aha, yes. So this is me done, about to drive to Nowra and a little CBF to put in gifs of the actors like I was planning to. Enjoy. If you have questions, remarks, or swooning/flaming to do, the comments are all yours.

The Fitzgeraldist Reviews: White Cat



3 comments
White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Series: Curse Workers #1
Release Date: May 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 320
Source: Giveaway win
Rating: 
Buy it: Amazon | BookDepository | Barnes&Noble
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories.
Review: 
I'm not going to lie, I am somewhat obsessed with crime. (Perhaps this is why I write about it, no?) I frequently mimic Don Corleone's accent, I've wasted many hours of my life rewatching American Gangster, I've watched so many episodes of Criminal Minds I can tell you who is what and why in which episode just by looking at the title, and well, I've always had a crippling I'm going to buy this book, I don't even care if it's bad thing with con men. On top of that, well, curse magic is just the icing on the cake.

Yes, Holly Black's WHITE CAT is the first instalment in her CURSE WORKERS series. I haven't read Black before besides the occasional fanning of TITHE'S pages in the bookstore. Unfortunately for me, when I saw this on Goodreads, all I could do was excitedly flap my hands around and then pout and curse when my local stores didn't carry it. (Enter: Trisha, who awarded me with an Amazon.com voucher. Thanks, sweet!)

This book...This book messed with me. You see, I'm one of those people who like to guess what's going to happen, go all Oh yes, Nina. You are sooo clever. Bravo. No one is cleverer than you, you fine reading thing, you. WHITE CAT then came along and, yeah, no.

So, WHITE CAT is told by protagonist Cassel Sharp, who longs for normalcy, despite being the only normal one in his family, who are curse workers with connections to crime families. In Black's reworked history of the world, curse working isn't a secret and is a matter of personal and rather political importance. The norm is for people to wear gloves, as curse working is only applied through physical contact of hand to skin. People can influence emotions, erase memories, manipulate luck, etc. There's talk of legislation and inequality and testing and the like which makes the reader feel more at home in both the protagonist's skin and being immersed in his world.

Over the course of the novel, Cassel slowly comes to the realisation that things are not what they seem and that the con men surrounding him may be conning him. He sort of flexes his toes with smaller cons, building the hype for the big climax (which I won't spoil for you), sort of in the way a superhero would stop a couple bank robbers before taking on his arch-nemesis. In full, the novel is a journey of self-discovery and of dark discoveries and perplexing developments.

The problem with this type of book is that usually, the author is so incompetent that none of the reveals are anything special, the pacing is all wrong, and the amount of information that is fed to the reader is either far too much or way too little. Holly Black is a mastermind, an evil mastermind of Megamind proportions and she deserves for someone to send her some sort of giant blue head hat thing. I got to the point in WHITE CAT where I just stopped guessing. That's something that's pretty hard for an author to do for me, seeing as my critical brain is always on. Black's slow reveal of the end result, but having built up a novel where anything was possible, left me doubting my thoughts, my expectations.

I know that a lot of people are putting down whether they liked WHITE CAT to how well they adapted to the male POV. What about the boys? Wouldn't they have liked to not work so hard to get into a girl's POV? I for one thought Cassel was pretty realistic. But this business of creating a good boy POV because he's likeable yet flawed is absurd. If this is why female POV character are so vapid - WRITE THEM LIKE BOYS, PEOPLE!

As far as the secondary cast goes, I loved Cassel's family, his friends, Zacharov and his people. Especially Barron. I think Barron's a fox. Anyway...Black introduced a cast of perfect size, and his antagonist, Anton, wasn't epically bad. He had one thing that he wanted and he did whatever was necessary to achieve that. Subtle, yet effective.

Concerning what I had problems with, I would say the beginning. I think it was trying to be effective by plunging us into the action head first, but all it did was disorient me. With a what is going on? sort of WTF-ness.


But Black made up for it, so that's all that matters. Aside from that, I really wanted to know where Danica's mother and her little dangling thread of a plotline went. WHERE DID IT GO? I'm ordering RED GLOVE in hope that maybe it's brought up again. I think Black has the opportunity to go where no YA authors in her area seem to want to go - into political and cultural land of intrigue. I believe she can do it, and I believe she can do it with grace and talent.

You know what I loved above everything but the basic premise? The romance. If you've read it, you're probably thinking What romance? Exactly. Lila and Cassel were our leading pair, but the reader has no idea whether they have mutual feelings, or whether it's a big muddle of emotions within a huge, dangerous con. The end result, of course, made me do a Noooooo!, much like the image above. But that's what I loved about it. Instead of following suit with all the other authors, Black put her foot down and let the reader's mind go wild on the relationship instead of on the plot or on the world.

Claps for Holly!

Black can create so much with so few words, you can see how she's mastered imagery with as much fluidity as possible. She had a great premise to work with, but she also allowed the magic, the illegal magic, to take the forefront. Brilliant! While I'm not crazy about the cover, I will definitely say that this could very well be the best thing I've read all year.


This has been a post.

If you've read the book, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. I love hearing what people thought of the books, even if they do disagree with me!

Until next time: Happy reading!

Nina

Are You Feeling Anything Yet? (Or, Cheers to These Teenage Years and How to Portray Them So You Don't Piss Us Off)



5 comments
I go to the movies often, more with my friends than with family or the nonexistent boyfriend. I also seem to arrive first. Once, after I texted one of said friends about her whereabouts, I received: I'll be there in five minutes. If not, read this again.

On other occasions, I've received quick replies quoting THE DIVINE COMEDY or Lord Nelson or Thackeray or Humphrey Bogart or Marilyn Manson or Miley Cyrus. These are average teenage girls. They pierce bits of their bodies and gossip and whine and flunk maths tests and drink and attempt to drive. Their parents still treat them like they're eight, then tell them to act like a grown up. They curse and scream and bitch. They hate their bodies, their man hands their fat thighs. They obsess over films and people and move on to something new tomorrow. They're hot and cold and you shouldn't call them on it. They are the greatest liars and con artists in the world.

And that is why you cannot possibly con a teenager into believing your flying by the crotch of your pants structuring and referencing and patronising in your YA novel.

You can say that the lives and societies of teenagers is shallow and in dire need of maturing. But what you don't know is that they know. Yeah, they know. They know that it is all bullshit, that people say they care when they couldn't care less. They know that facing that truth hurts, that everyone is one mistake away from being ostracised, that everybody doesn't want to be alone. And so they deal with it, and they adapt. Because teenagers are brilliant at adapting. Stephen King once said something that was a little like if you enjoyed being a teenager, there is something wrong with you.

The teenage years are a psychedelic strobe-light Picasso painting of pain, tears and laughter that is constantly spinning so that every time you place your finger on it, you touch something different. Every teenager is different, undergoing different pressures and expectations, is accumulating different experiences and ambitions, and has a different perspective on the world. Unfortunately, a lot of the collective perspectives are warped; because the teenage years are also the years where you're the most susceptible to outward influences. The way we are supposed to be, that complex, forms from the mediums we take in. Every girl has something they hate about themselves. Thunder thighs, man hands, unibrow, moustache, mountain-range acne, etc. The ugly duckling personification is beloved because we relate to it. But at the same time, we are highly critical. If we hate something, we hate it. And originality, brilliance - we gush and love and obsess.

You you search the tag teenager in tumblr.com you get a lot of crap, but you also get a lot of amazing quotes and photo-quote mashups.

Love in YA is the big money-maker. Well, that's what it seems like anyways. And I must admit that if I get attached to a couple, every intimate moment between them makes me clutch at the pages and read more carefully. It's built into us. We want the fairytale. We want that other half that loves us and adores us. We want that love and happiness. I couldn't have been the only person cheering for Ron and Hermione or Alec and Magnus.

I know that some people hate this thought, but for some teenagers (and I mean some), sex is not directly related to love. For others, they go hand in hand. But for some, you'll get their approval from meaningless sex in one character and the chaste reasoning in another. They do not like to be preached at.

I haven't read Alexandra Adornetto's HALO, but from what I hear, her being an avid Christian has come through in her novel and has made a lot of teenagers very angry. If you're going to send a message, make it subliminal. Make it very, very subtle. Teenagers can be some of the most proactive people, and even if they're not active or supporting, they have this ability to know what is going on. If you preach to them about how bad something is (ie. smoking, drinking, premarital sex, whatever) all you're going to get is a snort and your unfinished novel in the recycling. But if you want to take the James Patterson MAXIMUM RIDE: THE FINAL WARNING approach and lose all respect from more than half of your readership from preaching global warming to them...Go ahead. Teenagers have adults telling them left and right to do things to help themselves, their environment, their planet - they do not need you to.

Alright. Time to get dark. Voldemort dark. Dark like the dark humour one of my characters continually dishes out. Dark like what's the difference between a pile of dead babies and a Prius? I don't have a Prius in my garage kind of dark. Namely, dark urban fantasy. I've had a couple forum discussions here and there about the web on this.

Put it this way: regardless of writing capabilities and the end result, the most exciting books for me of late have been THE REPLACEMENT (snatching kids out of cots and replacing them with creatures), WHITE CAT (mafia and con men with cursing), NEVER LET ME GO (children cloned in order to die in their early thirties via transplanting vital organs) and, believe it or not, THE HUNGER GAMES (children killing each other gladiator-style in a dystopian setting). Now, I might've been a little more than disappointed in some of these books, or well, one, but the premise for each of these made me sit up and go I want. Now. I speak purely for the other teenagers who find this kind of brutality and violence and edgy darkness more exciting than sliced bread (which I find very exciting).

The concept of teenagers not being able to handle certain things is ridiculous. For the love of all that is good, don't be their mother, as in don't censor their intake. Don't underestimate what they can handle. Have you seen their TV shows of late? Sex, drugs, and rock n roll (though they really need to get rid of this techno crap and bring back rock n roll.) I read FIGHT CLUB when I was eleven, MADAME BOVARY and Anne Rice when I was twelve. Right now, I'm juggling YA between Russian lit and teaching myself Latin. I watched Hellraiser and all that shit when I was seven and Mum didn't think I was looking. I watched Scarface and Pulp Fiction when my friends were still watching Winx Club. My first hero was Batman, the old Batman cartoon, who beat villains to a pulp with his fists. ...You know, it's a miracle I'm not some sort of serial killer, a la Se7en, of course. I can take mutants, I can take gladiators, I can take genocide and I can take whatever the hell you want to throw at me.

I can take it, but you don't need it. My point is that you shouldn't second guess yourself when considering whether or not to drop the F-Bomb, or whether or not to black out before your MC goes overkill on their tormentor, Evil McWasshisname. But just because teenagers can deal with the scourge of the world doesn't mean you should just put it in because you can. If it doesn't advance your plot, then don't use it. You should also know that even if you target 16 year olds, teenagers are notorious for assuming they're maturer than their age (Hi, yeah, me again) and you're going to get 14 and even 12 year olds too. Just a fact. And there was some study that said besides sleeping, between the ages of 8 and 18, kids spend more time in front of a screen, mainly a computer screen. Teenagers Google everything. Everything. Seriously. If they don't understand a word, or a reference or a concept you're talking about - Google. They will do it because they don't like not understanding. Thereby, do not dumb it down for those members of your audience that are going to Google something. You will only piss off the members that already understand you perfectly. And they are the ones you don't want to piss of. At all. They are the ones that go to the bookstore every week and have decided to pick your book off the shelf because you managed to win their attention.

Do not piss them off.

Realism. What I also don't get is the number of girls in YA who are so willing to dish out every itty-bitty part of their souls and lives their to their magical boyfriends. One of my friends goes through waves of really bad breakouts, yeah? And there was one time that people were actually coming up to her and going "Ooh, so you breaking out? Yeesh, that's got to hurt. Do you know why?" Her face is a part of her life that she gets stressed and insecure about. She turned to me and said: "Shit. I didn't realise my skin problems weren't my business anymore, but a public concern." Then she did a "mind ya business" impression from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. You know what I'd like to see? A girl who gets touchy, not about her vamp-boy batting his eyes at someone, but about her vamp-boy telling her to pluck her eyebrows or something, or inadvertently enforcing the customs of his true culture on her. I mean, come on, a Victorian-age sweet heart isn't going to be gun ho! on his girlfriend going to university, much less killing werewolves with her bare hands. Teenagers have mood swings and the simplest of things to you can set them off. I find that I'm reading novels at the time and wondering why she didn't throw a fit at something and then raising my eyebrows over what she does throw a fit about.

I think John Hughes' The Breakfast Club had a pretty good grasp on teen life. But at the same time, when I think about all the iconic teenage experiences, I recall my own experience pretty much like this:

And for the love of GOD. For the amount of time I waste in my life doing homework, I would like at least one scene per YA novel where they are in high school with some reference to doing homework. Or, or how about this: a family that is actually close-knit. Parents that aren't conveniently out all the time and who the kid actually gets along with. Instead of neglected child #783 to the nth million, how about kid who needs to find a real way around their parents or a kid that has parents that allow them one night out a week as long as they do their homework and chores and whatever?

Do not use slang. Ever heard that saying "You had to be there"? It usually follows an explanation of something that was crying-of-laughter good but when time has passed, it loses nearly all of its brilliance. And by slang, I mean the current stuff. By all means use the universal things, the stuff that's been around for ages: damn, shit, crap, fuck. But it's the things like LOL and ROFLCOPTOR that if put into print looks ridiculous. The too-cool-to-care teens and well-read teens will only roll their eyes and second-guess you from then out. Remember when saying dope was cool? I don't. Went out of fashion before I knew what a trend was. If you hear a teen say it now, they're being ironic. Yeah, seriously. If you want to go ahead and date your novel, slang is the best way. You know, if you've got a this happened in 2006, it's a pretty good way of maintaining authenticity.

And do not smart it up. If you've got a 13 or 14 year old, don't have them tossing around "I acquiesce" unless they've reason to. Reasons? Big readers, writers or clever kids. JASPER JONES had one flaw in my opinion: Charlie was too mature for a 13 year old. Hell, I only know about four or five people in my entire school who would talk like him. Yes, being well-read is one thing, but his understanding of situations was well beyond any scope a 13 year old could hope to achieve in the suburbs. But then again, if you've got a 16 or 17 year old going through their SATs or SC or HSC, then they're going to be loaded with all sorts of weird words from school - and having them implement the odd word is clever.

Even if you target girls, for God's sake, make something blow up. They don't separate books in stores by gender. And with all the sappy romance floating around, people are wondering why boys in general aren't latching onto the reading craze. Suzanne Collins had kids killing each other - she could've done with a little less kissing, but still, people were dying. I was grinning. PERCY JACKSON, according to my younger brother, had monsters and battles; those are the only books I've ever seen him reading in less than three days. My brother is a jock, a sixteen-trainings-a-day-and-still-not-doing-enough jock. That's a big thing. A little bit of excitement isn't going to kill you. There is a reason why you are writing about creatures instead of normal people. It's not for glamour. Creatures have mysterious and violent pasts for a god damn reason. Use it people!

This post is getting on the long side, so I'm going to end with: make your MC liveable. You want to take time from teenagers which they could be using to do any number of other things. They are going to spend x number of hours with this character. They'll only do this happily if they like them, or tolerate them. I seldom love a POV character. You want to make them a shell - which SMeyer did well and which some authors who've copied her outline failed to do. Or you want to make them real, and someone that these teens would want to deal with. They usually read up, as in their MC is usually 2 or 3 years older. But at the same time, don't accommodate for every taste. Take into consideration your genre and your sub-genre. You already have a certain audience. Don't accommodate for people who aren't reading. Stop trying to make your MC vapid so that anyone can try them on.

I read somewhere that the average child asks 400 questions a day. Quadruple that and you've got the number of questions that are unvoiced by teenagers every day. They are critical and they are imaginative. If there's loophole you're praying they won't see...They're going find it and go insane because it's a loophole.

So yeah, that's me. Procrastination at its fullest.

Anything further? Comment below.

Book Promotion Activities When You're Unpublished (Or, I Spent My Miserable Day Looking At Book Trailers)



4 comments
I spent this morning trudging through a rewrite of one of my chapters. I soon decided to waste my day on the internet, also watching Se7en, with B-Pitt and The Man Who is In Everything. Somehow, I got onto YouTube and to searching book trailers.

Quick, quick, before I begin: Changes have been made to the site that are not quite visible from the homepage. So, Who is She? the page, is now expanded on and includes a picture of my face (don't all rush at once, I know you want to order a hit on me). There is also a new page! My Work. That is the first place where I have included information on my novel REVENIR (RETURN as I call it in posts) anywhere on the internet-slash-blogosphere. Check it out to read up and possibly understand all that I've been yapping on about for the four-odd months that I've been writing this blog. Anyway...

Personally, I am pro book trailers. They are fun and easy to access and they help psych up fans for upcoming debuts or new additions to beloved series(es?). My next point comes from an hour or two mindlessly watching videos and wasting my internet GB-age, throwing my money into the bottomless chasm of Youtube-hell. Anyways. Why do so many of these book trailers have to be so...tedious? A lot of them are the same thing with different font and (sometimes) different images. The ones that are acted out, why do they have to be so bad? I'm sorry, but there's no other way to say it. I mean, a student made one for Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH and my God it was good. A student, a collective that is notorious for their shortage of money. Now what's stopping the big publishing companies from dishing out amazing book trailers?

But as I kept watching, I began to find bits and pieces that I liked. I apologise in advance: this is going to be video heavy. But don't assume the post's over (something I would probably do), it continues below the list. Also, you might want to full screen them? Anyway, here is a shortlist of my favourite book trailers I discovered today.

1. THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH


2. LINGER


3. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK


4. MOCKINGJAY


I'm sure that by watching those you see the sorts of things that really stood out to me. The stop-motion individuality of Maggie Stiefvater's, or the very Neil Gaiman clip for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and we all know that my review of MOCKINGJAY wasn't the glowing review of the year, but the simplicity of that trailer was great for an upcoming instalment in a series. Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH is the only one on that list that I haven't already read and the trailer, as well as the premise, really makes me want to read it. It's a pity that my local booksellers don't sell it.

Now, how about authors making book trailers for themselves when they're unpublished? You know how some of us draw our characters, or do up the blue prints for the main venue in their novel, or write up profiles? We do these things predominately when we're procrastinating (Oh, admit it, you do). So, how about making book trailers? You get to mess around with casting your novel, setting the theme, ironing out the imagery in your setting - you also have to narrow down the summary of your novel. (Good for those games where you have to come up with a summary in 20-words for a hypothetical situation where you're stuck in a hypothetical lift with a hypothetical dream agent and get to make your pitch) You set the atmosphere for your novel, you get to have a break from your world of words and documents with walls of text and mess around with videos and music and special effects.

What do you think? You don't necessarily have to do the trailer yourself, but if you had a hypothetical film editor who had the entire film world of clips at hand and a music library of everything - how would you do it? A slideshow of images or movie clips? General cast? How about your music, its tone? Voice over? What about the text you include? How would you make your novel come across to your audience?

If you have no idea, then what about your cover? I think nearly everyone has their own DIY cover. How do you use symbolism or how do you portray your novel to whoever picks up your novel?

So that this post isn't completely pointless, I decided that I was going to post my day's progress. I did the following in about three hours on iMovie. This is me embracing more of a cinematic trailer, and you're welcomed to laugh and point at me. Though for some reason, there are some cringe-worthy editing mistakes here and there as YouTube decided to upload a earlier draft of it, but whatever. So, yeah, check it out (It's probably going to have better quality here):


"Don't you dare try and twist my words around and make yourself seem like you're not a backstabbing, two-faced bitch." (Or, How to Argue)



7 comments

I find it odd how I can write about people being maimed and killed in explosions or through axe-wielding zombie Nazis or I can sit around thinking about how a telekinetic can kill someone in the most terrible of ways, but after writing one intense argument between two of my main characters, I feel displaced from the world and need to take a shower to calm my red-facedness down.

Admittedly, this was an argument-to-destroy-a-friendship thing and drawing it out bit by bit was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. And it's not even finished, it's just sitting there on my desktop in script format. It's not even going to be in the damn book.

This scene has existed for three years now. I formulated the whole concept of it at thirteen, when I first started to string this novel of mine together. I never wrote it. I didn't even know what was said or how emotional it got or even what subjects it touched on - I just knew the outcome and I knew the general message of it. Three years. Three years I worked on this book and I never wrote this scene because I knew I wasn't ready. Until today.

If you look around on the internet, there are a million and one how-to's on how to write a fight scene with swords or fists or guns. If you call out for them Rocky Balboa style, the damn things will converge on you like fat kids on a birthday cake. However, if you did about as in-depth a search as I did, you'll find nothing of any real help about writing arguments.

People are messy. It's hard to try and empathise with two sides of an argument, especially if it's very personal for your characters. But you have to admit, the best drama on TV is usually surrounded by conflict that results in a lot of "bitch"-calling and slapping. But writing great argument scenes is based entirely on your mood. It's not something you should go into unless you're prepared to get worked up, hot and red in the face and so uneasy that you need to stand under a hot shower. So, I'm here, rambling and instructing. Enjoy.

Be aware of your surroundings.
You need to stage your scene before you even start to consider writing it or slipping in witty one liners. (Don't hide it. We all do it.) There is a monumental difference between a fight that happens in the living room and a fight that happens in the middle of the mall. No matter who someone is (unless they are fearless), there is a place that they will never dream of reaching. They wouldn't even consider it. Whether it be yelling at a certain volume, or physically slapping someone, or using certain curse words. You need to set your characters' boundaries before they begin. Depending on where they are, you'll also know how "into" it they'll get. There may be the one who's willing to argue with a microphone in their hand, but there is also the person that will try and delay an argument until they're in private.

The better they know each other the bigger your boundaries.
My characters, in their late teens, have known and lived with each other since they were seven. He has healed her wounds and brought her back from near death. She has cooked him food and consoled him and folded his god damn undies. This only gives them more ammunition to fire at one another when their argument gets heated up. I'm telling you straight up: this fight I just wrote is ugly. It is ugly and I would hate to have been in it. There is nothing classy about what they have to say to one another, and it is a big, long attack on one another's personalities. But it makes for good drama, it makes for effective drama.

But that's not to say that characters that know little about one another can't have effective drama. In fact, that's probably an ideal situation to show characterisation and to drop bombshells of personal information in an emotional climate. You've got the we got married in Vegas after dating for two weeks couple, or the dorm room mates for a month best friends, or the brand spanking new step brother or brother in law. And if you've got this situation, then you know there is always the "you know nothing about me" card that you can pull at any given time. Use it wisely.

The past should stay in the past until they get desperate.
This links pretty closely with the whole "the better they know each other", but it does deserve to stand on its own. Especially with best friends and couples, the past serves as a weapon, a nuclear weapon that if dropped can decimate everything. If your scene is a relapse into something that goes hand-in-hand with the past, then you should be rubbing your hands together and screaming "Gold!" If you scroll down, you'll probably find the part where I reference all these amazing fights and whatever, and when you get to it, there's one from One Tree Hill.

I am a huge Sophia Bush fan; she is crazy talented and deserves stardom for her emotional scenes on this show. In fact, she pulls these scenes out constantly about this one conflict, the love triangle between her, her best friend Peyton, and Lucas Scott. The quote in the title is said by her. You see, Brooke (Sophia's character) has fallen in love with Lucas a couple of times, and every single time, Peyton steals him and destroys Brooke and their friendship. But then it mends. In one of the confrontations between her and Lucas, he brings up the time he forgave Brooke for sleeping with this other guy. Now, this scene was in an old episode and it was an incredibly romantic scene where she and Lucas got back together. And the fact that he brings it up, after he has kissed Peyton again, gives the scene a whole new level.

Are you understanding me? Under stressful situations, people can reference things that they think will stop the blame from being piled on them. Or they'll say it to hurt the other person. This can be really effective if your reader has already encountered whatever you're referencing. But it is also a great characterisation tool if you need to give your character a bit of depth. If you need to throw of your reader's perception of said character.

Violence should be a last resort for emphasis.
Someone once told me that a slap can be used to break "angry" tension and introduce sexual tension (that it is more or less a symbolic orgasm); they used the example of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Used before the snap of aggression, this would introduce intense release. That's all and well, but there are other reasons why I think you should hold back on the slap.

It's a cliche. Don't fight me on this, you know it's true. Girls slapping each other, it's a given. But girl slaps guy while they fight is just yawn. Violence also characterises significantly. Just like how the Joker said that someone's last moments show their true selves, so do serious, heated arguments. A guy who lashes out and strikes a girl? Remember: your readers are watching, and they are judging, they are judging a lot.

Swearing should only be used to show a turn in conversation.
If you've ever run a 200 metre race, you know that you kick on the turn. So, if you're going to drop the F-Bomb, it needs to be the moment you kick. I have no problem with "bitch" and "shit", because normal people toss those around all the time. It's the big ones. The really offensive ones that would make your mother's eyes drop out of her head and her ears melt off her body.

But at the same time, swearing should also be used fittingly. Think of it like this. I watched Ben Affleck's The Town today, which had "fuck" being thrown around all the time. However, the frequency in which it appeared in the chase scene, where they pile into the getaway car, made it really effective. You knew this was bad. You knew that shit had gone down that shouldn't have. I think this is a good point to raise with characters who swear and curse and grunt like sailors on the high seas; there's no reason to restrain your F-Bombs with these guys. It'll just put them out of character. And then there's JK Rowling's Molly Weasley. People bring her up all the time, but it is just such as great scene when she screams in all-caps: "NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!" and goes on a rampage. You know that she is pissed off as hell. For example, I have a character who swears all the time, but substitutes cutsey words and terms in so it doesn't sound so bad even if it is insulting. When she gets really riled up, her potty mouth disappears and she uses sporadic and common curse words. Instead of calling someone a "sphincter-cannon", she calls them a "bitch".

Don't stop once you get going.
Stopping a scene when you're beginning to feel for each of the characters, and you're as desperate and you're clinging to each of their stories and each of their sides and you know exactly what the result of this argument is going to bring...You're going to lose it. An argument is an argument, if you could actually leave and return to your own arguments, the world would be very different. You know how when you've just walked away and then you think of the perfect comeback? That my friend is an emotional copout. If you just write and you enable yourself to feel, you'll get the stupid comments and the poor comebacks and the raw anger and desperation that is realistic in an argument.

Once you can step back and see the argument as a whole, and as a third-party who is now detached from the matter, you can begin to cut and replace and such.

Research. If you get stuck, research.
I know for a fact that I am not a confrontational person. Maybe if I underwent some of the shit that authors put their MCs through I'd develop into one, but the current, content me is not a confrontational person. The current, content me is a twiddle my thumbs and try and figure out why they hate me person. Thereby, I look for inspiration. I tend not to look toward books, as film stimulus usually gives you more to absorb, more to contemplate. I'm about to hand you some terrible things, so try not to judge me. (I also apologise in advance for any poor quality)

One Tree Hill
In all of these scenes, there is some great acting going on, particularly on Sophia's part. There are some dud lines, but overall, it's pretty great for making your emotions start swirling and words start forming in your head.
1. In Season 3, Brooke and Lucas fight at a wedding when she discovers that he has cheated on her again with her best friend, Peyton. Link.
2. In Season 5, Peyton and Lucas fight about how she refused him when he proposed to her a year ago and that he's brought his new fiance to town. Link.
3. In Season 3, Brooke confronts Peyton after Peyton tells her she has feelings for Lucas. (1:06 is one of my all time favourite "angry lines"). Link.
4. In Season 4, Brooke and Peyton destroy their friendship in a huge argument about their different relationships and how they've treated one another. Link.
5. In Season 5, Peyton squares off against Lucas' fiance Lindsay in a very bitchy sing-a-long that turns into a pretty intense confrontation. (Look out for spirit fingers!) Link.

Closer
This movie, or, this scene (I'm plastering a big MA 15+ on this for language) is, perhaps, the greatest break up I have ever seen. It's incredible. The way that it is executed is realistic and emotional; it includes some pretty foul language and racy topics that are used in a way that doesn't even breed a thought about trashiness. The acting is also mind-blowing. Both Clive Owen and Julia Roberts execute some fantastic lines. Link.

Gossip Girl
I'm sorry that I only have one clip to give you, but the majority of YouTube Gossip Girl clips are about kissing and romping and whatever. You should know that if you're interested, some of Leighton Meester's best acting comes out in the scenes where Blair chews someone out and gets angry and personal.
1. In Season 1, Blair pretty well foreshadows the entire show when she confronts Serena about how she takes everything from Blair. You may as well watch the whole thing to get some perspective, but the confrontation itself takes place around 2:00. Link.

The Notebook
I feel like I can't talk about arguments and intense fights without mentioning this movie.
1. Their break up at the sort-of beginning outside Allie's house. This couple, particularly in this scene, show a whole confusing and shocking turn that would be must see viewing for anyone writing people who bicker a lot. Link.
2. This is toward the end, and is pretty good viewing. Link.

And with this I bid you adieu. Any further comments on how to write arguments? Post them below.


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