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Posts Tagged ‘HarperTeen’

Creating a Paranormal World: inkTips from Author Cynthia Hand

Posted by inkpopbecki on April 6, 2011

Cynthia Hand knows a thing or two about writing compelling paranormal worlds. As a debut author, she was able to intrigue a HaperCollins editor so much, she sold the paranormal trilogy Unearthly on her first round of submissions. That is practically unheard of in the publishing world. How did she do it? Ask her yourself. Join us for a live chat with Cynthia Hand today at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop Event Forums.

In the meantime check out these helpful tips from Cynthia on how to create an engaging paranormal world.


1.Do the research. For most paranormal worlds there is some sort of mythology and history out there. Most of the big best-selling books like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc, that have fantastic, creative and original worlds also have a very strong basis in real history and myth. Don’t be intimidated by it—dive in! Become an expert in the subject, really let yourself get into it and try to look at your topic from all angels—whoops, I mean angles. J The more you know, the fuller and richer the world you create will become. Creating a believable paranormal world is about the details, and doing the research will provide you with all kinds of beautiful details. Make it your business to collect details.

2. Follow your instincts. While you’re doing all this amazing research, let your gut lead you. If there’s a nagging little voice at the back of your brain that says that a piece of information you stumble over could be important, or that maybe you should look into this particular story or subject a little more, listen to it. Be curious. Go after what interests you, not just in a little way, but in a big way, because if something is super interesting to you, chances are that it will be interesting to everybody else, too.

3. Ditch the research. At some point you will have to push out on your own. Don’t let the information you’ve gathered confine you—break away. Take what you want from the research and abandon the rest. What will make your paranormal world successful is ultimately not about the fact-gathering you’ve done, but about your own unique vision. That’s why there can be ten great vampire novels out there or why so many writers can get away with retelling the story of Cinderella; even if the story’s been told before or we’re familiar with the subject, you, as a writer, can make it new. It’s all about your creativity, your twist, your fresh take.

4. Don’t forget the real world. Maybe the biggest, most important tip I can give you in creating a paranormal world is to put as much focus (if not more) on the real world of your story as you put on the supernatural world. When we are immersed in a real world that feels true and visceral and er, real, then it is easier for us to believe the aspects of your story that defy belief. A good story is not just about the flashy special effects—it’s about the people, and you want your people to live in as real an environment as possible. Practice restraint with your crazy supernatural stuff and think instead about what your main character eats for breakfast. (My main character, Clara, is a fan of Cheerios with banana slices.) Again, this is about the details.

5. And finally, have fun with it. Let yourself play! This is the fun part of being a writer!

Want to read more about the Unearthyly series? Check out Unearthly at HarperTeen.

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inkpop Fundamentals: August 19, 2010

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on August 19, 2010

‘The Vampire Diaries’…the prequel The love triangle between the beautiful Elena, and bloodsucking creature-of-the-night brothers Damon and Stefan has been leaving readers on the edge of their seats since The Vampire Diaries books first debuted back in 1991 via L.J. Smith’s hand, causing curiosity over which brother Elena would choose; publishers, however, have obviously selected their frontrunner – at least for the moment. Come November 2010, HarperCollins Children’s Books and Alloy Entertainment will release Stefan’s Diaries # 1: Origins. The first in a proposed trilogy, Stefan’s Diaries will provide a glimpse at Stefan and Damon’s history – including scenes which take the reader back to Civil War-era and the romance that began their feud with one another. Entertainment Weekly.

What’s cool? Adam Rex’s ‘Fat Vampire’! It was just a little over a month ago that Fat Vampire author Adam Rex was in the inkpop forums, giving us advice about writing parodies; and already his YA effort, which was officially released on July 27, 2010, is receiving praise and being called “cool.” Whitney Matheson, of USA Today’s Pop Candy said “Rex manages to satirize the current vampire craze while at the same time craft a thoughtful and honest teen tale. Along with a thirst for blood, the book has heart.” Here’s to hoping a book tour isn’t far off! Pop Candy.

Girl power – paranormal style! Empowering female protagonists are oftentimes overlooked in the world of fiction, finding themselves overpowered by heroic males whom step in to save the day in the nick of time. Nevertheless, avid readers know that there are plenty of heroine’s on bookshelves, and the authors know it too; thus the reason eighteen of literature’s feistiest female writers have banned together to participate in the Smart Chicks Kick It! Book Tour. Set to launch in Austin, Texas on September 13th; the Smart Chicks Kick It! Book Tour will feature Wicked Lovely author Melissa Marr, The Immortals author Alyson Noel, and Darkest Powers author Kelley Armstrong in person on each of the twelve stops; with special appearances by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kimberly Derting, Jeri Smith-Ready, Holly Black, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Jessica Verday, Sarah Reese Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Rachel Vincent, Rachel Caine, Melissa de la Cruz, Mary Pearson, Cassandra Clare, and Carrie Ryan. Publisher’s Weekly.

Over to you…are you a fan of The Vampire Diaries series? Will you be buying Stefan’s Diaries, or are you holding out hope for a spin-off series told from Damon’s point of view? Have you red Adam Rex’s Fat Vampire? What do you think of the Smart Chicks Kick It! Book Tour? Will you be attending the Smart Chicks Kick It! Book Tour if it makes a stop near you?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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inkpop Fundamentals: July 15, 2010

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on July 15, 2010

Let the invasion begin! Over the years we have seen literary releases from a variety of species – from human to feline to canine, and even hamster a la Betty G. Birney’s The World According to Humphrey; but perhaps HarperTeen’s upcoming release I Am Number Four, is the very first novel to be penned by an actual extraterrestrial – Pittacus Lore, to be exact. Scheduled for release on August 3, 2010; I Am Number Four will be the first in a series of six books that follow the misadventures of an on the run teenage alien. Don’t let the release date fool you; I Am Number Four is already stirring up hype in the book and film community. Why? Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay have already signed on to produce the movie adaptation! Entertainment Weekly.

Show & Tell…shopping style The economy may be down, but that doesn’t mean that back-to-school shopping is coming to a grinding halt – rather, some of your favorite stores are merely looking for a new way to market their products…with your help! In a marketing move that places stores such as Forever 21, J.C. Penney (JCP), and American Eagle (AEO) in the throes of social media; retailers are turning to VLOGGERS who post “hauls” – self-made videos which allow the star to claim bragging rights on their most recent purchases, and share them with viewers – to get the word out about products, and help drive up sales. USA Today.

From Broadway to the big screen! Since it’s publication in 1995, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked has been a phenomenal hit, spawning a long-running Broadway show of the same title that has won the hearts of worldwide readers and viewers; now, however, with demand for film musicals at an all-time high, there is talk of a possible Universal Pictures-backed big screen version of the Broadway hit – with rumors of four individuals in the running to direct the film, including Glee’s Ryan Murphy. MTV.

Over to you…do you believe in life on another planet? Will you be reading I Am Number Four? Do you think that the arrival of aliens in teen fiction will displace the current vampire craze – why or why not? Do you trust video hauls, or do you think of them as another form of advertising? Would you ever purchase items seen in a haul and/or star in a video haul of your own – why or why not? What do you think of a big screen adaptation of a Broadway musical – yay or nay? Who do you think would be the best person to direct a big screen adaptation of Wicked?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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Inside the Mind of a Bestselling Author

Posted by inkpopbecki on May 19, 2010

What does it take to become a New York Times Bestseller? Kim Harrison can tell you. She hasn’t just done it once, but multiple times. Want to know more? Come talk to her personally at the live chat today at 5 p.m. EST.

Photo Credit: Blue Heron Photography

How did you get started writing?
It was almost by accident that I got started writing.  I hadn’t taken any but the most basic English classes in high school, focusing on technical fields instead.  But I was a voracious reader, and so when the words started to flow, they came in a flood.  I actually got bored one weekend, and started to write down a story I’d had in my head for about ten years.  The next day, I wrote a little longer, and the day after that, I wrote longer yet until I was writing about four hours a day.  I treated it like a part-time job, until I could finally quit my day-job and work at it full time.

How did you find your literary agent?
I credit my writer’s critique group with me finding my literary agent.  One of the members was a published writer, and she arranged a party at a writer’s conference and invited a few agents with me and a couple other writers in mind.  I had actually submitted to Richard Curtis before, but after having met me and seen my drive, (and having nothing to do on the plane ride home) he read my work , asked me to make a few changes, and took me on when I proved I could work under direction.
What is it like writing in two separate genres? Do you have to keep certain things in mind when writing for one versus the other?  Are there similarities between the two genres that make it easier to cross over?
I quite enjoy writing in two genres.  It helps keep my storytelling from going stale, and I get bored easily.  I’m sure that I’m unconsciously keeping a lot of things in mind as I shift from one to the other, but much of that comes from simply changing from an adult character to one still living at home.  That I’m still writing about the supernatural is a big plus in that it makes the transition easier, but it doesn’t allow me to stretch my writing muscles as much as I’d like.

What do you think it takes to become a New York Times bestseller?
The same thing it takes to get to Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice.  And an editor who wants to see you there as much as you want to see


yourself there.  And a spouse to pick up the slack of daily living.  Oh, and someone to pay the bills until you start making enough money to keep yourself in paper and ink.  Okay, so it takes more than practice, but if you don’t write, you’ll never get there at all.

Kim’s new book, Early to Death, Early to Rise comes out May 25, 2010. Check it out here. Want more supernatural stuff? HarperCollins is bringing you vampires, witches, werewolves and more all summer long at

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inkpop Fundamentals: May 11, 2010

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on May 11, 2010

Boys and the vamp Though vampires have been a hot commodity in multiple forms of fiction (i.e. in book, small screen, and big screen formats) courtesy of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries, and the now-defunct, but still highly-popular, Buffy the Vampire Slayer; much of these series have catered to a female audience, leaving males somewhat uninterested in sinking their teeth into tales featuring vamps. Author Jason Henderson has decided to change that. A fan of vampires for over thirty years; Henderson hopes to pique the interest of male readers via the release of his novel, (the first of a projected series), Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, which follows the adventures of a 14-year-old vampire hunter.

The monster mash! Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been a favorite for over one hundred years; and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has been prevalent in classrooms for decades. Now the aforementioned books, in addition to countless other timeless tales, have received a facelift from publishers with the addition of zombies, vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal entities; making the books of yesteryear more adaptable to today’s society in the form of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Android Karenina, and HarperTeen’s very own new release Little Vampire Women. The trend, implemented by independent publisher Quirk Books just one short year ago, is said only to be the tip of the iceberg. Expect more monster mash-ups to hit your favorite classics very soon! The Wall Street Journal.

‘Avalon High’ 2.0 Meg Cabot’s Avalon High has seen much success since its 2005 publication. The book, which follows the story of Ellie, the new girl in town who attends Avalon High, a place, she soon comes to realize, that is full of students all of which are reincarnations of individuals from King Arthur’s court; has been crafted into a three-part manga series featuring art by Jinxy Coronado, and was the recipient of two awards: the Texas Lone Star Reading List, and the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age – in addition to snagging the number three spot on the New York Times Children’s Best-Sellers List. Now, Disney has teamed up with Cabot to bring Avalon High to the small screen starring Britt Robertson, Gregg Sulkin, Joey Pollari, Devon Graye, and Molly Quinn. The film is scheduled to premiere this fall on the Disney Channel. MTV.

Over to you…what is your favorite vampire series? Do you plan on reading Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising? What do you think of monster mash-ups – yay or nay? Do you want to see classics updated to involve paranormal beings, or would you rather read them in their original state, as the authors intended? Have you read Avalon High? Do you plan on watching the film adaptation?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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Tips From a First Time Author

Posted by inkpop on May 7, 2010

Ever wonder what it takes to publish your first novel? Well wonder no more. Phoebe Kitanidis, author of the new book Whispers, has some writing tips for you!

Photo Credit: Dani Weiss Photography

1. Find yourself a power group.

Forge your own community of four or five writer buds, supportive people who take writing as seriously as you do. Give your new group a name (really… it helps!) and meet once a week, online of off, for critique or shoptalk. You’ll feel a surge of inspiration after every meeting.

2. Listen to your gut.

Your subconscious is your partner in writing, so don’t ignore your partner’s feedback. Notice your physical response to your words as you type them: when something jars or rings false, you’ll feel it before you go too far in the wrong direction. On the other hand, when you get that quickening pulse or deep shiver, you know you’re onto something amazing.

3. Accept the challenge.

Every book you write will challenge you. Instead of feeling inadequate or frustrated because it never gets any easier, accept that writing books is tough for everyone. Be proud that you’re someone who perseveres anyway, and who actually enjoys learning and growing and becoming a stronger writer with every project.

4. Remember, it’s your world.

When you’re struggling to get your character from point A to point B, keep this in mind: if the higher truth of your story demands it, you can always change the landscape, the situation, the timing, the outline, or anything else you please.

Cover Design by Tom Forget

Want to hear more from Phoebe Kitanidis? Check out her live chat Monday May 10th at 5 p.m. EST on inkpop.

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inkpop Fundamentals: May 6, 2010

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on May 6, 2010

2012…year of ‘The Hobbit’ Since December of 2007 when New Line and MGM announced that J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit would be seeing a big screen debut in 2011, fans started counting down the days until tickets would go on sale – despite the fact that the release was years away. Now, much to the chagrin of fans, the two-part adaptation, being worked on by both Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Torro, has been pushed back slightly, with release dates in December of 2012 and December of 2013. Nevertheless, Warner Bros. and IMAX only see this slight delay as their chance to perfect the films, and make 2012 the year of The Hobbit! Heat Vision Blog.

Texting in the classroom Once banned in classrooms all over the country; many teachers are now embracing cell phones, and various other forms of wireless technology, and even implementing these devices into their lessons to teach students new concepts, and help them to better grasp the information put forth. Recently a middle school allowed students to use cell phones and text messaging in the classroom to study poetry. The result was that those who used text messaging learned more, answering 80% of the questions correctly; whereas students who were taught the very same lesson using traditional learning methods only answered 40% of the questions correctly. Times-Herald Record.

‘The Carrie Diaries’ carried to the big screen! Candace Bushnell’s debut YA effort recounting Carrie Bradshaw’s, the star of the popular Sex and the City, senior year of high school hit bookstore shelves just last week in the form of The Carrie Diaries, and already there is a buzz over whether or not the book will be adapted into a big screen version. Bushnell, who has penned countless adult novels, all of which have been optioned for film deals, and two of which (Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle) were turned into hit TV shows, says that there are currently no plans in the works, but you never know what will happen. In the meantime, she’s busy penning The Carrie Diaries 2, which follows Carrie as she experiences her first summer in New York! MTV.

Over to you…are you a Tolkien fan? On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you for The Hobbit film? What do you think about using text messaging in the classroom? Yay or nay? Have you read The Carrie Diaries, and/or do you have plans to read it? Who do you think would be the best actress to play young Carrie in a big screen adaptation and why?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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inkpop Fundamentals: April 6, 2010

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on April 6, 2010

Are you ready to get… ‘Pretty’? Rumors have swirled around Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars coming to the small screen since the book series first debuted back in October 2006. Finally the rumors are being put to rest with the announcement that the show will officially debut on ABC Family on June 8, starring Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery, Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings, Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields, Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin, and Sasha Pieterse as the girl everyone loves to hate…Alison DiLaurentis. The debut of the TV series will coincide with the release of the eighth Pretty Little Liars installment…Wanted. Variety.

Actor James Franco shows off his writing skills Best known for playing Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man trilogy; James Franco shares his writing talents in the form of short story Just Before the Black, featured in the April 2010 issue of Esquire magazine. Did you know…Palo Alto, Franco’s first short story collection, will hit shelves in October of this year. Esquire.

Modest Mouse gets animated! Since 1993, Isaac Brock has been the lead singer and songwriter for indie band Modest Mouse; now he’s taking his songwriting expertise to Cartoon Network, where he is writing music for an upcoming special episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack – an animated series which follows a boy on his quest for candy, and the adventures he encounters along the way. No air-date has yet been scheduled. Pitchfork.

Over to you…if you could have cast anyone in the roles of Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hanna, and Alison, who would you have chosen and why? Will you be watching the Pretty Little Liars TV series? What are your thoughts of actors who cross over to other creative fields such as writing? How do you feel about a serious musician creating songs for a cartoon? Will it make you more or less likely to watch?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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Write a knockout first line

Posted by inkpop on October 23, 2009

LynnWeingarteninktip #4: Wherever Nina Lies author Lynn Weingarten recommends learning from the greats

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

This opening line from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice ranks second on the American Book Review’s “100 Best First Lines of Novels,” and is one of Lynn Weingarten’s favorites.

Weingarten, author of Wherever Nina Lies, lauched her career by editing books for Alloy Entertainment, the creator of Gossip Girl, The Clique, and the Private series. Currently working on at two-book series for HarperTeen (the first of which will be released in 2011), Weingarten shares her tips for hooking readers with a strong opening line for a book, short story, essay, or poem …

Communicate a personality

While there are no hard and fast rules for writing an awesome opening line, Weingarten recommends that writers communicate a personality. “This doesn’t necessarily have to be the personality of a character—the personality of a place or a time works, too,” she says. “Give the reader something unique, either in terms of setting, event, perspective, character, or voice.” 

The opening line of Wherever Nina Lies is about the Ellie’s (the main character) perspective of “a ridiculous guy”:

The guy walking toward me is good-looking in an obnoxious way, like he’d play the hot jerk in a TV movie about why drunk driving is bad or how it doesn’t pay to cheat on the SATs.

Don’t obsess

A killer opening line is important to any project’s success, but at what point during do you channel your energy into producing a knockout? “It varies from person to person and project to project,” Weingarten says. “Sometimes obsessing over the perfect first line from the get-go can ruin your momentum. Other times it can help you figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to say and point you in a good direction that you might not have thought to go in otherwise.”

Weingarten likes to jump right into a story and not worry too much about the first line, and revises later.

Like we always say: Read, read, read

Study up on opening lines of published works to identify their spark. “Then forget all of that. Forget that other books and other writers even exist, and sit down and write something that is totally your own,” Weingarten suggests.

Once you’ve cleared your head, look at your own first line from the perspective of a reader. “Ask yourself, ‘If I picked up a book or magazine and saw my first line—knowing nothing else about what was to come—would you want to keep reading?”

Afterall, sometimes you are your own best critic. 

Inkpop Forums topic: What’s your favorite opening line?

The inkpop blog is written by inkpopAmy

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