Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Am the Next Stephen King (or Lesson Learned: Write What You Know)

Tip of the Day: If you come across some horribly embarrassing angsty poetry that you wrote when you were a pre-teen or teen, burn it. Or post it on here so we can all have a giggle. :)

Before I started writing YA around three and a half years ago I didn't write much fiction. I used to write stories and such as a child but not so much as an adult. I wrote loads of nonfiction though. The first time I tried to write a fiction book was a little over four years ago and I decided I was going to write a horror/murder mystery story. Yup—I was going for Stephen King-esque stuff. I got about 29 pages in and realized, hmmm, I know nothing about really scary killers, police investigations, or big murder mysteries. I can’t really go anywhere with this book. I was majorly stuck. And the idea was kinda crazy anyway. The book was called Best Friends Forever and was, get this, about a psycho killer who is the Main Character’s (a college professor) best friend since childhood and she is kidnapping college girls and setting them up in a slumber party atmosphere in a hidden house (unbeknownst to the MC of course). The killer never felt like she had real friends growing up so she was forcing girls, dead or alive, to be her friend now.

Oh boy, I can’t believe I’m even posting this. This will come back to haunt me won’t it?
Ok. Here are two snippets from the book:

* * *

“Why are you doing this to me?” Amanda cried as she wiggled in the hard wood chair, trying to free herself. “Who the hell are you? Untie me you goddamn freak!” The room had a faint sweet smell, like baby powder. It reminded Amanda of the Babe perfume she wore when she was a kid. The room was small with white walls and white shelves with stuffed animals and books set upon them. There was a small twin size princess bed with a flowery pink canapĂ© against a wall and a pink bean bag chair in the corner. A small TV sat atop the white desk only a few feet from where Amanda was tied.

“Now, now,” a woman replied in a sweet voice, “do you really have to be nasty? No one likes a bad attitude. Try to calm down.”

“Screw you!” Amanda screamed and wiggled harder, trying to pull her hands from the yellow twined rope that tied them to the back of the chair. Her wrists burned from the rubbing of the rope. “You have no right to keep me here! You can’t do this to me! Help! Someone help me!” Amanda screamed but didn’t know if it would help. Or who could possibly hear her. She didn’t know where she was except that it must be a house. And she didn’t know how she got here. One minute she was getting in her car in the campus parking lot, the next thing she knew she was tied to a chair in what looked like a kid’s bedroom.

“Geez Louise Amanda. You are a selfish, selfish girl.” The woman crossed the small room and began to rummage through a black duffel bag on the floor. She pulled out a roll of silver duck tape and turned back around to face the screaming girl. “Don’t you know that a good friend doesn’t just talk but listens?” the woman asked.

Amanda’s eyes widened as the strange woman ripped off 6 inches of duck tape and smoothed it across her mouth.

“There, much better,” she said. “We are going to get along just fine.”

And another snippet:

“So Jen, do you have a crush on anyone from school?”

Jen slowly lifted her head to the right and tried to open her eyes. Her head was too heavy and she felt it roll back down to her chin. She waited a moment and then tried to roll her head to a straight up position again. She managed to hold it upright and blinked her eyes open.

“Wh…what…who are you?” Jen mumbled, straining to keep her eyes open and focused on the woman sitting cross-legged on the floor.

“We were talking about boys. Who do you think is cute?” the woman asked.


“I said, who do you think is cute from school?” the woman said in an annoyed voice.

“School?” Jenn stammered, “you go to Chicago U?”

“Chicago U?” the woman repeated laughing. “Oh Jen, you are so funny. No, Apple Grove high school of course.”

“Huh?” Jen said utterly confused. “What are you doing? Who is that?” she said now noticing the girl laying stretched out in front of the woman, apparently asleep.

“What does it look like I am doing?” the woman answered, brushing the long black hair of the dead girl stretched out on the rug before her. “Molly’s hair.”

Weird right? How on earth did I go from there to YA?! And the writing is terrible. Repeat myself much? The girl is stretched out, the girl is laying stretched out. Help, someone help! She didn’t know if it would help. And I love how in one line we know that the girl on the floor is apparently asleep but then we know in the next line that she is dead. I obviously had no critique partners back then.

Kristina, Miss Soon-to-Pub


Kate Fall said...

The thing is, this really could be a YA! With a few changes of course, but you could have girls in the high school mysteriously disappearing. The best friend who solves the mystery could be a student instead. It's hard to imagine a serial killer with a bff anyway.

Lisa Schroeder said...

The plot makes me think of something you might see on Lifetime. Or something. :)

DeenaML said...

Tina, this is hilarious! It reminds me of the movie script I wrote in HS with my friend Kim about a sleepover where one of the girls murders the others by pouring pool chemicals in the punch.

Emily Marshall said...

Okay, you as Stephen King is a bit funny. But I think it could be done. It does sound very lifetimeish.