Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sparkfest! aka Thank You Amy, Lois, Caroline, Cecily, James, and Kody

I am participating in Sparkfest 2011, brought to you by The Writer Coaster. I couldn't participate in the Star Trek blogfest also happening since I have never watched the show. But I have seen Galaxy Quest. Does that count??

For this blogfest, Christine Tyler @ Writer Coaster asked us the following:
What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 
What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?
Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

I thought about this for a while. I wish there was one moment, one writer that provided the spark for me to write. I've wanted to write ever since I was a kid, unlike every other author in the universe... :) It was a steady stream of movies, TV shows, and books that gave me the enthusiasm to pursue writing.  

Amy Heckerling - Clueless
I've watched tons of movies and am known as somewhat of a movie buff. Clueless, however, will always be my favorite movie. Even though it is loved the world over, I still feel that it's underrated. The screenplay is one of the best in modern movie times. It's true! If any aspiring screenwriters are reading this, Clueless is a paragon of voiceover usage, and its dialogue is flawless - revealing, true to character, doesn't try to be cutesy (cough *Juno* cough), and darn funny. I've watched this movie around 13242 times, and I can probably quote it start to finish for you, if you'd like. The spirit of Clueless hangs over everything I write, and I aspire to write something 1/26th as good as Heckerling's movie.

Caroline B. Cooney - The Face on the Milk Carton
Lois Duncan - Killing Mr. Griffin, I Know What You Did Last Summer
My comments section blew up when I posted about I Know What You Did Last Summer the book. For good reason. I was a couch potato in middle school, but when I did read for fun, I read Cooney's and Duncan's books. Their hooks drew me in - what if you received mysterious letters taunting you about a deadly secret, what if you saw your face on a missing child poster, what if some students plotted to kill their nasty English teacher. They made reading fun for me, and their twisty, suspenseful novels provided the spark for many of my early short stories. Even today, these books still hold up. 

Cecily von Ziegesar - Gossip Girl
On a 2004 flight from London to New York, I needed a book to read to pass the time. I had heard about this hot new young adult series and decided to give it a shot. It would be a fun read for the flight. And I was hooked. I read five books in this addictive series about spoiled New York teens. (I stopped when the plots got too ridiculous and repetitive) This series inspired me to write YA. I read it and thought, "Hey I can totally write something like this." It was sharp, snarky, risque, fresh -- a notable difference from the YA of my childhood. Gossip Girl seems passe now, its references to the Hilton sisters and brand-name labels a quaint reminder of Bush-era excess. But YA had grown up, and I wanted to ride the wave. 

James Frey - A Million Little Pieces
Say what you will about the veracity of the story, but this is a compelling, well-written book. I read A Million Little Pieces post-scandal, when I suddenly found myself unemployed and didn't know when I'd get back on my feet. It was fall 2007, and I was trying to make a career writing in television with no luck. The book gave me hope and reassured me that no matter what happens, it will be ok. I reexamined the type of writing I wanted to pursue after reading it, and a few weeks later, I began my first attempt at writing a novel.

Kody Keplinger - The DUFF
I'm just not that into paranormal romance. I have full respect for writers and readers of those books, but I am simply not one of them. My genre of choice is regular contemporary. It can difficult for me to find the kind of books out there that I want to write. The Duff restored my faith in the genre. I count is as my "I wish I wrote that" novel. It gave me hope that these issue-with-a-lowercase-i books can get published and find an audience - in TV terms, a Dawson Leery can survive in a world of Edward Cullens.

All of these authors inspire me in some way, their influence molding together to give me a swift kick in the butt with my writing. Who inspires you?

***p.s. Follow me on Twitter --> @FillupSeagull ***


  1. I am a child of Judy Blume. Are you There God, It's Me, Margaret, set me off on a serious reading rampage. And I loved Ramona. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were kind enough to adopt me and welcome me into their fantasy worlds. For a brief moment, once I reached legal age, stories of Zane's ilk drew me with their erotic and crazy passions but the appeal was short lived, bringing me back to my fantasy beginnings. Christopher Paolini's ridiculous debut with Eragon was as much of a swift kick in the arse as any and I've been more serious about writing since then.

  2. I love your inspirations! I do think the audience for contemporary YA is growing and I would love to write one myself someday.

  3. I wish I could point to one book or movie or person and say 'that's what made me want to write', but I honestly can't. I honestly don't know where it came from, it's just here :)

  4. Great inspirations. It's great how we can find it everywhere, if we look. :) Nice meeting you.

  5. Great inspirations indeed! if! I so loved that movie!

    Found ya from Spark - following on twitter.

  6. Neat! I really liked A Million Little Pieces and the scandal didn't affect that at all. I also really enjoyed The Face on the Milk Carton! That's why I'm loving this blogfest - I'm meeting so many people who've enjoyed the same books that I do. It's very, very cool!

  7. Hi, Phil! I've never seen Clueless. I know, it's crazy, especially since I'm a child of the '90s. I better go add that to my Netflix queue!

    Have a great weekend!

  8. @Angela - I loved Judy Blume, too. Superfudge was my fave. And can you believe Paolini was a teenager when he wrote Eragon??

    @Ruth - Yay! More contemporary lovers! I look forward to reading your contemp YA novel in the future :)

    @Sarah - Maybe it was a gradual buildup caused by years of exposure to books, movies, TV, etc. Rather than 1 moment. I believe that's true for tons of people.

    @M Pax - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, inspiration is everywhere! Especially where you least expect it...

    @Bonnie - Thanks for the follow! Ah Clueless...'nuff said.

    @Crystal - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who is unafraid to love A Million Little Pieces. So powerful. What a great blogfest!

    @Laura - You've never seen Clueless??? *passes out, falls off chair* You poor girl.

  9. I haven't read most of these, but Face on the Milk Carton always intrigued me. I just never took it home for some reason. Clueless really did make perfect use of the voice-over narration. I loved reading about your sparks :)

  10. I wandered over as part of the Campaign, but found myself caught up in your blog as a whole :-) I, too, am not a huge fan of fantasy. I really like contemporary fiction. I am also a huge fan of Clueless. The characterizations and dialogue truly are flawless.
    Nice to meet you!!! Happy writing and campaigning. I will definitely be back.