Please join me in welcoming authors Melinda Metz (on the left) and Laura Burns (on the right) here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The first book in their Crave series, Crave, was recently released on September 21, 2010. You can read an excerpt here.
One lucky commenter has a chance to win a copy of Crave. Details are listed at the end of the post.
Welcome Melinda and Laura!
Editors like to talk about books as being either plot-driven or character-driven. We always say that we start every book from character, putting ourselves completely in the character-driven camp. But when we sat down to write this blog post, we immediately realized that it isn’t true! It’s not as if we think of an amazing character or two and then build a plot around them. So, we said to ourselves, what are we talking about? Have we been lying to ourselves this whole time?
Well, no. And yes.
The fact is, we actually start every book from plot. We think of a story we’d like to tell. Or a cool idea that could lead to a fun story. Sometimes it’s the end that we know. Sometimes it’s the beginning. Occasionally, if we’re really lucky, we know the whole plot arc right from the minute we think of it.
With CRAVE, we started with a couple of plot elements. For instance, we knew we wanted a girl to get blood transfusions, transfusions that give her visions of a vampire’s life.
As soon as we had that idea, the very next thing we had to do was figure out who the girl was. It’s not enough to pick a name (Shay McGuire), an age (17), and a hair color (dark brown) and then just plug the person into the story. We need to know what makes our characters tick. And when you think about it, that’s a complicated thing to figure out. What makes you tick? It’s a combination of how you were raised, what your family situation is like, who your friends are, where you live, what you look like, what’s happened to you in your life…we could go on and on.
When we started working on the character of Shay, all we knew is that she needed blood transfusions. So why would a teen girl need transfusions? Maybe if she had a car accident, she’d lose a lot of blood and need a transfusion. But we wanted our girl to need several transfusions. So we decided that she should be terminally ill–she needed the blood to live. Okay, well, why? Clearly her own blood was not “working.” That led us to realize that Shay had been sick her whole life. Which is huge. That’s the sort of thing that affects every aspect of her personality. Friends and teachers have always treated her differently from other kids. Her mother has spent Shay’s whole life being worried and stressed and hovering over her sick baby. As a consequence, Shay has never felt normal. So it’s the thing she wants more than anything. That’s the thing that makes her tick.
Figuring this out gave us an idea for more of our plot. Since all Shay wanted was to be normal, maybe those transfusions should give her not only visions of the vampire’s life–they should also give her the strength and energy to finally be able to do all the things a normal girl could do. This led us back to more character work. What would Shay want to try first? How would she react to all that freedom?
So apparently, we have just realized, we actually jump back and forth between character and plot! Both are important, and for us, they both feed on each other. And that’s how we ended up with, well, CRAVE, a book that isn’t plot-driven or character-driven, but plot- and character-driven.
Melinda’s Author Bio:
Melinda Metz has long been fascinated with the paranormal. She wrote about teen aliens in the Roswell High series, a girl with psychic powers in the Echoes series, and an evil force taking over a small town in Raven’s Point. She’s thrilled to have had the chance to take on vampires with oft-time writing partner Laura J. Burns in Crave. Melinda lives in Concord, North Carolina with her dog, Scully, who possesses one of the highest barks ever recorded.
Laura’s Author Bio:
Laura J. Burns has written more than thirty books for kids and teens, touching on topics from imaginary lake monsters to out-of-control Hollywood starlets. With Melinda Metz, she has also written for the TV shows ROSWELL, MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. They were nominated for an Edgar Award for their book The Wright and Wong Mysteries: The Case of the Nana Napper. Laura lives in California with her husband, her kids, and her two exceptionally silly dogs.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Crave.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
If you had superhuman strength and energy, the way Shay does after her blood transfusions, what would you do with it?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Monday, October 18th at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.