Vampires, Cheerleaders and Neantherthals…oh my

I woke up this morning with this diatrab so I ask for forgiveness in advance for the sheer “ranting” of the following post.

I also woke up this morning with the next plot point in my head. After a weird night of off and on sleeping brought on by the time change, I had the whole next part of the book in my head. Inspired, I ran to a pad of paper and picked up my pen and wrote down the points. It was thrilling to see where it was going as I was just telling my friend T last night that I wasn’t quite sure how the book was going to move to the next step and that I had to trust the process (which was quite difficult for me to do) and then this morning, here it is! Excellent. Quite excellent indeed.

I think that I should be thankful to my “inspirational” tools. One should not discount the movie going experience of sitting in a retro circa late 1980s movie theatre watching a movie aimed at the under 20, cancel than, under 18 market with ones best friend in a room where the average age was about 14. Now, normal people might be weirded out by this experience, but my friend and I have embraced our love of the teen movie genre and think that there has been a severe lack of them in the last couple of years.

I was so pleased to see this movie advertised last month as although it seemed more “Animal House” then “Sixteen Candles,” there was the possibility of a couple of hours of teenage angst ahead. And my friend and I were not disappointed. We laughed at the subtle nuances that I am not sure the group of 13 year-old boys behind us got, and were pleased to see that there are some “evolutions” more outward lesbian/gay references then subtle lesbian/gay references and some pretty quotable lines that the formula of the teen movie was not that messed around with

My personal favourite:
“Who would of thought expressing your feelings was a great way to score snooch?” (a word by the way I have never heard before…)

I think the success of Fired Up comes from some great writing and the perfect pairing of cuties, Heroes, Nicolas D’Agosta and (from my little research on IMBD just now and went “right, that is where I’ve seen him”) Brothers and Sisters, Eric Christian Olsen. They work off each other so brilliantly that I was actually disappointed when the movie was over because I could of kept watching them.

This is just the kind of movie I would have loved as a teenager and rented and watched countless times. I probably would have put up a poster of the guys (if found in Teen Beat or Tiger Beat) on my wall. And I think if it wasn’t inappropriate for a 30-something to do it, I might. 🙂 But, in all seriousness, it was great to see how the writers used the genre and made it just a little bit different. This is what I have been trying to do in my writing.

For practically two years, I have probably been reading mostly kids and teen books. It has come to the point where I get surprised when there is really graphic sexuality and dialogue in a book. That is not to say that I haven’t read teen books with swearing and sexuality. P.C. and Kristin Cast’s books reference oral sex and drinking and one my favourites of the last little while, “Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Dark Side” has a few swear words. I have no problem with that by-the-way. It is how people talk and anyone who says that they didn’t drink as a teenager would be lying. But I digress…

I am reading the good, the bad, the brilliant and the downright horrid in kids and teens hoping that I will find my perfect place within a growing genre that I think was made for me. That is why I follow so many teen author blogs. Part of the research process.

The last two books I have read were Anna Godberson’s Envy, the third in a series that is a combination of Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen- who is alive and well in teen lit and it is because that many of the genre’s authors tend to have a lot of English lit degress (yours truly included in this BTW.) There is a lot of lush description of the turn of the century Manhattan with vicious bitches, beautiful boys and the underlying pressure to be what society wants you to be. It is satirical, but also compelling because it has all the plot points that make up a good bodice ripper (for teens that is).

It was kind of refereshing to read something not with vampires in it for a change. Since the popularity of Stephenie Meyer, most of the new teen books have been about vampires. Probably why I so enjoyed “Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Darkside” because she played with the perfection that seems to have become part of the vampire motif since Meyer’s Edward hit the scene. I actualy enjoyed Meyer’s books (which might make me less loved by whomever would become my colleagues as her prose tends to be the first thing people criticize) because with Bella she has a clear voice. I might have issue with some of the plot points, and Breaking Dawn pratically ruined the series for me, but I think that she has tapped into something and that cannot be discounted.

The second book made me miss my bus stop on the way home from the movie last night – a sign of a compelling read. There are three Canadian authors that I want to be when I grow up: Kenneth Oppel, Susan Juby and Arthur Slade. All three have won literary awards but have also sold books and have a nice following of fans. Plus, they all are amazing writers. It was Arthur Slade’s “Tribes” that had me fixated last evening. A book that I have practically finished and plan to do just that after I finish this post. This is the second Slade novel I have read in recent months. The first was his most recently published novel, Jolted, about a young man tries to outsmart the family curse of being killed when struck by lightening. Tribes was published a number of years ago and sat on my shelf waiting to be read. (I get pulled in many directions because of the amount of reading I have to do for work. That is my defence…:) ) It is the story of Percy who is deeply affected by his father’s disappearance and his best friend’s suicide which sets him apart from his High School compatriotes. Because his father was an athropologist, Percy and his best friend Elissa become Observers as they watches the various “tribes” in his High School such as: the “Jock Tribe”, the “Madonna wanna-be” tribe and the “Born-again Tribe.”

I want to be able to do what Slade does which is incorporate the subtlties of his themes into the situations and dialogue of his characters. Right now, I feel like everything in mine is just too blatant and cliche. I am inspired by how accesibile he makes some of the complex ideas of anthropology into the High School scenerio. I hope that I can somehow blend in the life and times that I am writing about in such a way that the reader will see what I am doing without it being too heavy handed. Thank you Arthur Slade.

There is definitely something to be said about sleeping in late on a Sunday morning after a time shift. Clearly there was something in me writing behind the scenes while I was in the land of nod.

About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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