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Friday, March 29, 2013

Shards by Kitty Griffin

by Kitty Griffin

Some people have little bits of memories.
I have shards.
Fragments that have jagged edges 
so that when I remember
I bleed

That's what I came across in one of my many writer's notebooks. I'm sure it was the result of an exercise. At the back of this notebook I found a collection of 5 by 7 index cards, the big ones. Each one had an exercise. 

While I can't remember the class, or the teacher, or the place, I do remember this exercise. 

The teacher gave us this one sentence:

The big dog went to sleep.


How about that, I have a big dog for you. Not just any big dog, but the dearest sweetest Newfoundland dog, my beloved Moses. For 13 1/2 years he was my faithful companion, by my side every minute of every day. Ahh...see, here's one of those shards. His passing was so painful that even now my eyes burn and my heart aches. 
Never have I known such a kind, polite, respectful dog. It was my privilege to be owned by him.

So, let me take you back to the exercise.

The big dog went to sleep.

If you could see the card, you'd see that every line was written by a different hand with a different color ink. So we must have passed the card around. This is what happened...

The big dog went to sleep.
The big dog, breathing evenly, went to sleep.
The huge, loving dog fell into a deep sleep with my head resting on his exhausted form.
The hulking dog with salivating jaws was much less overwhelming when asleep.
The big fluffy dog climbed onto my freshly made bed and went to sleep.
The dog laid his head down and closed his eyes his form encompassing the entirety of the rug.
I's never seen such a big dog curl himself so small to go to sleep.

Ha...so there were seven of us in this class. 
And each person went to a different place for their sentence. 

When I work with new writers I always tell them, "Each of you could write a story about the same thing and each story would be different. Don't worry about anyone stealing your work, because no one can. If you can't write because you worry about someone stealing your work, well, you can't write.

So, you find yourself stuck on something. Do this exercise. Take one simple sentence and see how many ways you can change it. See if that doesn't perk the little gray cells.

Now, this next exercise I found...well, I must have been in a bit of a gray mood. This was a What If exercise. From looking at the card I must have been told to start with a sentence and  I was to keep adding "What if"...

Peters Lake

What if
What if I saw this old man sitting on a bench
What if it was a cold snowy day
What if the old man was my grandpa
What if I'd come home from school and what if I saw all his pain med bottles on the floor
What if they were all empty
What if I knew they'd just been filled the day before
What if I knew he'd just been to the doctor
What if he asked me to just sit and wait?

I know. Kind of goes with that shards poem.

But that's how writing is. Sometimes you have to let the shards cut you again and again because sometimes when you write you have to go to where the pain is so you can get the write words out...excuse me, right words. (There's one of those things Freud used to talk about, eh?)
Here's the most important thing, you also have to know when it's time to put the bandaid on. When it's time to cheer up and pull away. Spend too much time with the shards and you'll have too much blood on the page. No one will understand what you're trying to say. 
Writing is finding the balance, the balance between what is imagined and what is real. You have to be the conductor for your reader. You don't want them lost, you don't want them getting off at the wrong stop. 
Choose your shards carefully my friends.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

19 Characteristics of RT19Writers

It's coming. We have to believe.
Have you ever wished you had a writers group that worked a little better for you? A group that inspires and truely helps each other find their way? One that honestly revels in each other's success? 
Not to brag, but we have a group like that. It is a very fortunate circumstance, one that we would wish upon anyone who wants to write and be published. Some people write best in a vacuum. But if you’d benefit from support, be it creative, emotional, or technical, a group might be the way to go.
Being part of the RT19 Writers, I thought it appropriate to pass along 19 aspects of our group. Maybe you could tweak yours, or maybe you could pass along some tips that work well for your group (we’re always tweaking--and yes, some are tweeting)
  • There are 11 of us.
  • We meet twice a month at a local coffee-shop
  • One bi-monthly meeting is in the morning
  • One bi-monthly meeting is in the evening
  • Some are published, some are not
  • We each hold equal standing within the group
  • Our fields are diverse: Poetry, illustration, non-fiction, picture books, early chapter, middle grade, young adult, craft books 
  • One of us participates, primarily, virtually
  • We send our work via email to be read prior to meetings
  • We generally don’t read our work aloud during our meetings
  • There are no limits on what you can send: one word titles to full novel manuscripts 
  • If we send a novel, we give ourselves a month or so to read it
  • We attempt to discuss all material that was emailed to us 
  • If no one has circulated anything, we discuss trends, industry news, our blog etc.
  • We try to mix a couple of parties in, usually a Christmas dinner and a summer picnic
  • We recently held a fantastic Master class with Emma Dryden and now hope to hold a master class yearly
  • We plan to have two workshops this summer with everyone reading something they’re working on.
  • We are kind, considerate, and constuctive in our critiques
  • We understand that everyone has complicated lives that sometimes interfere
There are aspects of our group that can’t be reduced to a bullet list. They relate, instead, to character, creativity, dedication--pieces of which will emerge from most everyone in a nurturing environment. We hope you find such a place for yourself. If you have, we would love to hear about it. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Building by Kitty Griffin

Key West, Florida

Ah, as I think back on this picture...sigh, Key West. Sunshine, the ocean, warmth...a fresh fish dinner and a good stiff drink. We're predicted to have another eight days with snow off and on. I want winter to go. It's spring! I'm going to find that ground hog and growl at him because he said it would be an early spring. Has he been the one drinking? 

Enough complaining. Onto the writing world.

When Emma came to visit she looked around my office. She  noticed a painting right away and remarked, "That's interesting." I told her of course, you know that because that's the manor where Brother Johann grew up. Emma edited a story for me, one set in 1313 and involving a certain Gretel, the girl who must deal with the fact that not only did her beloved father leave her in the woods to die, that with her hands, she killed another. I showed Emma several pictures that I used to help me build Gretel's world, a place called Landende. A place built in my brain from bits of Germany, and much of it from a large county park that I walked in almost every day as I worked on this story. It became my world, the hills, the trees, the stream. I know this 4,000 acre park as well as if it were mine, because it's architecture is now part of my novel. 

I used a photograph of a girl that I found and one of a boy for my Hansel and Gretel. I used pictures that a friend took of the Black Forest in Germany. My neighbor is German and her parents sent me post cards from Bavaria. 
I did what I could to make my world real.

Emma said world-building is one of the most serious tasks a writer takes on, whether writing fantasy or historical fiction. As I work on a story set in Washington D.C. in 1952 I've been fortunate to find tour books from that time period as well as post cards. I put these all around, along with a map of D.C. to keep me focused.

How do you build a world? Look deep into this picture I took in Mingo Park, near my house. It's another place. Another world. Once that I dove into, heart and soul.

Landende, Kitty's imagination

Dalkey Village, Ireland
I was fortunate enough to take a visit to Ireland this year.
What a treat! This picture is of Dalkey Village, located on the Eastern coast, just south of Dublin. It's where Maeve Binchley lived. (May she rest in peace). I don't know much about village life, but should I write a story set in one, I'd start with this picture.

The Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Again, who knows what it's like to live in the shadow of a volcano. What would you do if you wanted to put one in your story? Where would you start?

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

The book I published with Atheneum when Emma was there was set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (The Ride: The Legend of Betsy Dowdy). Like a bit of gold found on the beach, I found this forgotten legend and reshaped it into a picture book. To really get to know this world I interviewed fourteen people about the history, the biology, and the geography. I bought books on birds, seashells, the ocean, and ponies. I wanted my story to be as real as I could make it. That, combined with the exciting, electric art of Marjorie Priceman gave us a book that received wonderful reviews and awards. Really, it was finding a treasure. 

When you find your world, remember you are the architect. Make your world as believable as possible. Do what you need to, visit if you can, find pictures, paintings, interview people, and dive deep. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There's Still Time!

I received an e-mail asking if I would agree to be interviewed for the blog Pub (lishing) Crawl (publishingcrawl.com.) They wanted my reaction to getting pulled from the slush pile of Grosset  & Dunlap (Penguin Books for Young Readers) and getting a contract to write a series of early chapter based on my submission. I agreed, and Jordan Hamessley London asked me and Michael Kline, the book's illustrator, several questions then she posted our answers on the blog. Pub Crawl is written by a group of authors and industry professionals who blog about all things writing, publishing and books. I think you'll enjoy this blog and our interview. Look for, "Interview: Slush Story Success! The Doodles of Sam Dibble," then scroll down and you'll find a place to win a free copy of the first two books in the series. There's five days to go so you still have time to enter. Good luck!

Social Networking... Should I or Shouldn't I?


Dave Amaditz

If you're like me, you've often wondered about the necessity of social networking, websites, twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc.. Obviously, if you're reading this, you're at the very least, blogging. Do you participate actively through comments or are you a passive follower, the kind that scopes out all of the up-to-date sites and soaks in all the information provided but prefers to remain anonymous? For a long while, I was a passive listener, and many times still am, as I wonder who would want to hear what I have to say.

Anyway, this past weekend, March 15-17, Route 19 writers enjoyed exciting master class sessions with Emma Dryden, http://www.drydenbks.com/ where she briefly discussed social networking. Check out the following link http://writerunboxed.com/2013/03/18/5-industry-trends-requiring-every-writers-attention/for a site she recommended, and after reading, decide for yourself the type of social networker you want to be and if you should get involved.

Also, if you're interested, and haven't yet heard of the following website, check out this link. As long as you're a writer, whether you're an active participant or a passive follower, this site should interest you.

Of course, the choice is yours. The least you should do, however, is to research your options thoroughly so you can make an informed decision.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Dose of Vitamin E (for Emma)

What a great weekend! The Route 19 Writers invited Emma Dryden of DrydenBks to come work with us and critique our work. And boy, did she! In this and future blogs, we’ll share some of what we learned from Emma. But first we want to share some pictures and give you an idea of how much info, fun and food 11 writers and one editor can cram into a weekend.

This is Emma. In every single picture taken of Emma, she’s talking with her hands. Cynthia does that, too. Wonder what that means  . . .


We gathered on Friday night at Judy’s house for a salmon dinner, conversation and the first critiques. Emma reviewed the synopsis and first 10 pages for two novels, both YA contemporaries. While we are a darn good writers group that provides supportive, constructive but kind criticism for each other, it was so helpful to have a seasoned pro arrive and nudge us to work harder and smarter.

Emma has edited nearly five-hundred books for children and young readers. She understands the challenges of writers who want to create great, compelling books for children and young adults. But before a writer can reach an audience, she/he has to get published. Emma helped us step back and ask ourselves some basic questions – who is your audience for this book? Do toddlers want to see a book with a little baby main character or do they prefer to see toddlers like themselves? Or if your characters are graduating from high school you'll be losing some of the YA high school audience and venturing into NA (new adult). Is that who you want to reach? 

Basic writer/craft topics were also addressed. Even though our group boasts published authors and fairly advanced writing, Emma informed us that we were missing the mark on synopsis writing. Oops!

E Tip #1: A synopsis is not a pitch, a tease or an outline – it’s meant to communicate your main character’s emotional journey – their want – and major plot points. Don’t just jam in a bunch of details about time and place. And you can’t forget to put the category (picture book, YA fantasy) and word count in the upper right hand corner.

On Saturday, Miss Kitty hosted all of us at her house. She read us a book to get us in the right mood. We had a fab lunch after a morning of reviews. We finished up crits in the late afternoon despite bombarding Emma with questions all day. One of our poets is considering getting into self-publishing so Emma pointed out pros and cons about that route vs. traditional publishing.

Coriander kept Emma’s seat toasty whenever Emma got out of her seat. That’s western Pennsylvania hospitality.


This is Miss Kitty capturing the ever present Stinkbugs that plague western Pennsylvania. They're an odd little bug – harmless, stinky if squashed. Maybe they're writing little stinkbug novels and wanted some tips from Emma, too. Emma assured us that New York has bugs, too. They have cockroaches. Which makes stinkbugs seem sort of okay.

We ended the day over glasses of wine and hanging out at the kitchen table. Having Emma there chatting about the market and social networking do’s and don’ts felt totally comfortable. It felt like all of us had made a great new friend.

E Tip #2: Quit stalling. Get a website. Get a Facebook. Follow Tweets from your favorite agents. It’s called social networking for a reason - be social and network!

Thanks for a great weekend, Emma.

If your writers group is ready to get nudged to the next level and would like to talk to Emma for a dose of Vitamin E, she can be reached through her website .

 by Jenny Ramaley


Friday, March 15, 2013

Understanding Place by Kitty Griffin

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I chose this picture I took in Ireland because I was talking with someone about setting and place in our stories.

I taught an on-line kid's writing class and this was an exercise that we did.

Four books were presented to the students, everyone had to read Cynthia Rylant's book, "The Islander."

Then they could chose to read one of the following:
Gary Paulson  "The Island"
John Rowe Townsend "The Islanders"
Gordon Korman "Island"

I suppose by now you notice a theme going on, that's right, ISLANDS.

After reading the two books, students were to create their own island. They had to decide where to put it, in a lake, a river, or an ocean. They could choose the shape and geographical features.

It was their island to own.

I wanted them to get to know their island before they put any people. We spent time going over descriptions and drawing maps.

Once that was done we began to talk about story possibilities. What I wanted them to examine was how does being confined on an island impact on story?

What surprised me was doing the assignment along with my students and really enjoying myself. It made me think long and hard about place.

I recommend all four books, although the Townsend one may be hard to find.

If you don't have time for that, just pick up a pencil and get a blank sheet of paper and make your own island.
What comes out just might surprise you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easy Reader: Not So Easy to Write by Judy Press

The weather today is hot and sunny. A surprisingly warm and muggy day considering summer is still a few days off.  Maybe it's the heat but somehow I've gotten into my head to work on an easy reader. Here's what I've found; these books are not easy to write (or get published!) Below are a few tips if you do attempt to write one. 

-Easy Readers are generally 32 to 64 pages long and range from 200 to 1,500 words. 
-The story is told mainly through action and dialogue in gramatically simple sentences, typically one idea per sentence.
-The books average two to five sentences per page in lower levels, going up to a paragraph or two per page or two per page for older readers. 

Leveled Readers:

Level 1- Emergent Reader: 24-32 pages, 20-100 words, controlled vocabulary, repeated words, picture clues, predictable patterns. 

Level 2-Progressing Reader: 32 pages, 100-300 words, longer sentences, simple dialogue, more in depth plat, non-fiction and fiction.

Level 3- Transitional Reader: 32-48 pages, 300-500 words, controlled vocabulary, multi-sylabble and compound words, more dialogue, different POVs, more chapters, more complex story lines, great range of genres

Level 4-Fluent Reader-48 pages, 500-900 words, controlled vocabulary, more advanced vocabulary, detailed and descriptive text, complex story structure, in-depth plot and character development, full range of genres, table of content.

Beginning Readers come after Level 4 and Early Chapter Books come before Chapter Books. 

note: Controlled vocabulary usually refers to words on the Dolch Sight Word List (www.kidzone.ws/dolch/index.htm)

Monday, March 11, 2013

What David Baldacci and I have in common

Ten years ago this month my very first book,  Here's What You Do When You Can't Find Your Shoe burst upon the children's literary scene.  I was prepared for a deluge of requests to speak about my book, autograph books, and be interviewed about this landmark publication.  My family and I were preparing to go on a trip for spring break and so I booked several book signings in the Florida town where we would be staying.  One of my signings was at a Books-a-Million store the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Perfect, I thought.  Lots of parents wanting an autographed copy of a brand new first edition zany poetry collection from yours truly for their darlings' Easter baskets.  I sat in a prime spot, visible to all customers coming in to the store.  Wearing a smile and a cute pair of bunny ears on my head, I beamed at the giant pile of my books on my tiny table.  My husband had even surprised me with a brand new Waterman pen for my first autograph session. 
Two hours later, my bunny ears were drooping as was my spirit. I had signed one copy for a customer, and two for book store staff people - pity sales for sure.  I sighed, thanked the Books-a-Million employees for their kindness, and headed out.

I was reminded of this experience when I recently read an article in the Savannah Morning News about my literary cohort, esteemed author David Baldacci.  According to staff writer Dash Coleman,  Baldacci was scheduled last month to speak to a group of Armstrong Atlantic State University students as part of the sixth annual Savannah Book Festival.  15 students gathered in the showroom of the Southern Motors on Broughton Street to hear him.  To be clear, Mr. Baldacci's crowd beat my crowd.  But to be fair, the article goes on to say, "...After meeting with the students, Baldacci headed to the sold-out Trustees Theater where he brought the festival to a close..."  But 15 students? In a car dealership showroom?? I am sad to say that made me smile.  My guess is that before he went to the Trustees Theater, he must have put on some bunny ears.

Friday, March 8, 2013

VOICE...Can you hear me? by Kitty Griffin

Louis Armstrong

Lyle Lovett

Bobby Darin

Okay, so why do I have singers on a site that is about writing?
Voice. Plain and simple.
Just the other day someone was asking me about writing and voice. 
When I teach introduction to writing, I start with these three singers. I have everyone listen to one song that all three do-- "Mack the Knife." (Lyle's version is "Moritat").
Each one of these singers has a very distinct voice. You know just by hearing a few notes who they are.
And the same goes for a writer's voice. 
Some writers are so distinct with their style that readers familiar with their work will know them by their words. 
Think about Star Wars, "Oh, the force is strong with that one." Now, replace the word force with voice.
Miss Marple is quite different than Hercule Poirot, yet they each have a strong voice. Miss Marple has a razor-sharp mind and Hercule has his "little grey cells" but I can picture each character and they are quite different. Christie used her voice to do this.
So voice has to do with the power of your character, the power that's inside of you as you write. That's why the adage, "Write what you know" is so important, and that's especially true for emerging writers. 
Learning to bend my voice has been a challenge for me. What do I mean? Well, writing from a male perspective is one example. Too many times I've read through a student's work and had to ask, "Are you sure your character is a boy? Because I couldn't sense a penis." Needless to say, that produced some open mouths and gasps. Even in a middle-grade story, if the main character is a boy, he has to present as a boy. It doesn't mean the writer has to acknowledge sex organs, but they need to be there. And that's shown through voice. 
A good strong voice.
Try this, just for fun. 
Go to Itunes and listen to the sample of "Mack the Knife" by an assortment of singers. As you listen, write down a few words to describe the voice you hear. 
I promise you, try this with five or six and by the end you'll have a new insight into the word, "voice."

Monday, March 4, 2013

First Friday-Five Favorite Things: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, Meredith Zeitlin

by Meredith Zeitlin

This past Friday, March 1, Marcy and I posted our answers to Meredith's debut novel, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. Today, you get to read Meredith's favorite's. If you look closely enough you'll notice that some of the answers Marcy and I posted on Friday are the same as Meredith's answers.

Here are the five (SPOILERS WITHIN)!

What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

The first time Kelsey really considers someone else's situation before her own is when she learns a friend she's in a fight with is being played by her boyfriend. Kelsey isn't malicious in her self-centeredness - it's just sort of how she is. But at this moment in the story she realizes her problems might not be the most pressing: "Can I really not say anything to Cassidy? She needs to know the truth, and from a friend; finding out through the rumor mill might serve her right for dashing my hopes and dreams, but it would be humiliating and awful for her."

What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

The end of the chapter where Kelsey catches one of her best friend's kissing her crush. The first time I read this aloud to a group, everyone gasped. It was such a cool moment!
"It's Cassidy. My Cassidy. And she's kissing... Jordan Rothman. My stomach drops to my knees."

Meredith - Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Probably JoJo. I love how much self-confidence she has, and her ability to be herself and never worry if her choices are "cool" or not. I wish I was more like her at 14... or, you know - now.

What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

The scene where Kelsey gets her costume for the school play: "I look like Pavarotti - if he were grilling at a barbecue. In seventeenth-century Russia."

What is your favorite line of dialogue?

My editor insisted I take this line out, saying that no mother in the world would actually say this to her daughters. I told her that my mother (who I dedicated the book to, lest anyone doubt that my mom is an amazing and beloved woman) has been saying this to me and my sister for as long as I can remember, and the line was staying IN. It's the editing battle I'm proudest of winning. "I always said you girls take after me, even if you look just like your father. He ruined both of you with that nose."

Congratulations Meredith on your debut novel Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters! 

Thank you again, Meredith!

You can find Meredith at:

Friday, March 1, 2013

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

by Dave Amaditz and Marcy Collier

Welcome to March's version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut author, Meredith Zeitlin's novel, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave - I picked this passage from the beginning the book, as I believe it sets the stage for all the problems the main character is going to face throughout the novel.

 "That's another thing. Guys. How did it happen that I'm the only one of my friends - including Em, the shy one! - who has never hooked up with anyone? Not that I haven't had any chances, mind you. A certain Keith Mayhew has been frantically pursuing me since sixth grade. (He's totally nice, but... I don't like him that way.) I just want my first real kissing experience to be this utterly awesome thing, with the right guy and the right situation. And I know fourteen isn't that old... but it feels like I've totally missed the boat. I mean, I am seriously the only one now. And what if my friends start having sex or something before I even get to first base, and I'm still wandering around, unkissed, unnoticed? I'll just die of humiliation. Not that I can imagine anyone (especially myself) having sex with any of the guys I know - or anything leading up to sex, really. It all seems so awkward and sort of gross... and yet it's what I think about ALL THE TIME."

Marcy - The main character, Kelsey thinks that her mom wants to re-enact her own teenage years vicariously through her daughter. Kelsey never gives in and tries to keep her away from her friends and the latest gossip, until one day Kelsey has a breakdown. This scene is pivotal in the development of Kelsey’s relationship with her mom.
And then the weirdest thing happens. Maybe it’s her shrill, endlessly irritating voice or just the fact that my life is a mess, but I burst into tears. Even as it’s happening I’m surprised, though I guess after the last couple of months this is sort of becoming routine. Thanks, hormones. Anyway, Mom is really surprised. And somehow I find myself telling her all about Cass and Jordan and Em (I do not mention Keith for fear she’ll overreact and drag me to a gynecologist or something) and she actually really listens. Puts down the newspaper and everything.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - This cliffhanger stood out to me, as I lived the tension right along with Kelsey. Who wouldn't want to die seeing their best friend kissing their crush?

I laugh, looking back up at the balcony. Then the stage lights do a sweep over the audience, and for a moment, the girl's face is illuminated.
It's Cassidy. My Cassidy.
And she's kissing...
Jordan Rothman.
My stomach drops to my knees.

Marcy - Kelsey has a major crush on Jordan Rothman. She believes that freshman year will be different, and she and Jordan will start dating even though they’ve barely ever talked.
*** Spoiler alert ***
Then Kelsey sees one of her best friends making out with Jordan. You have to read on to the next chapter to find out what’s happening. Terrific cliffhanger!
It’s Cassidy. My Cassidy. And she’s kissing… Jordan Rothman. My stomach drops to my knees.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave - I switched back and forth between Travis, Kelsey's younger sister, and Mom as my favorite secondary character. Mom won out in the end. She has parenting down pat and deals with the ups and down of teen life with humor. She knows when to back off and give her daughter room to grow, but also knows when to step in, to put her foot down, to say enough is enough.

Following is a response from Mom to Kelsey after Kelsey has just finished confiding in her about boyfriend/girlfriend problems.

Then she says, "I'll tell you this much, honey: Even if Cassidy is experimenting sexually" - GAG! - "she is probably one of the few. Everyone always thinks the whole freshman class is getting it on" - vomit, seriously -"but then senior year you find out it was three people and a lot of imagination. Otherwise 20/20 would be doing a show about it."

Marcy - JoJo beats to her own drum. She is this spunky, outgoing character who is full of life. She is a free-spirit who is always up for an adventure and makes every scene where she appears exciting. You never know what this character will say or do, but she is honest and true to her friends. Her laid back personality balances Kelsey, who is often high strung.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave - I picked this passage because it shows how desperate Kelsey feels to fit in. She describes Lexi, a new girl in school, as being beautiful, yet she has yet to realize her own beauty.

"It only takes a single day for me to realize that Lexi is way too busy being admired to even notice me shooting her death-ray looks across every hallway and classroom. She has a lot on her plate, after all, what with crossing and uncrossing her endless legs in their $250 jeans, giggling, and flipping her perfect, evil, cascading blond locks.
Not that I'm spending all my time watching Lexi. Most of the time I watch Jordan Rothman watching her. Day by day, my meticulously imagined future with him slips away from me like a helium balloon on a windy day."

Marcy - This line made me laugh out loud, and I’m quite sure this is how teenagers feel.
My phone vibrates in my pocket, and I take it out to see a lovely text from my mother about dishes in the sink and how she’s not my maid. Thanks, Verizon, I think, for making your phones so user-friendly that even the elderly can send text messages.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave - This is spoken by Keith after a quite awkward kiss with Kelsey, her first. (Boy am I glad I'm no longer a teen.)

Keith glares at me and shouts over the band, "Well, it's more like you're not doing it right. Have you ever even made out before? My brother is in college, y'know, and he told me everything there is to know about Frenching when we were in seventh grade, so I think I know what I'm doing, Kelsey. But don't worry - I'm happy to practice with you till you feel more confident about your skills. "

Marcy - I did not see this accident coming. JoJo and Kelsey are at JoJo’s house drinking. After way too much alcohol, Kelsey brings the bottle of vodka to her lips and smashes the lip of the bottle against her mouth. She doesn’t know she has cracked off her front tooth until she looks in the mirror.
I yelp, “Oh my God, JoJo, I think I just broke my face!” 

You can find Meredith at: