Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The Crappy Used Diary will require some research. I need to know what was happening day-by-day 100 years ago on certain dates. That isn’t particularly difficult now that we have that magical device, the Internet. Understanding how events might impact the life of a 12-year-old girl is a little more challenging.

Perhaps the most challenging thing is to capture the idiom of pre-teens then and now. Again, having the Internet at my disposal will help me better understand the way girls today talk, but what about the girls of a century ago?

For contemporary entries, http://teenagediarycollective.tumblr.com/archive will offer some help.

For entries from the teens (girls and years) from that other century, I will need to locate a diary or two. I’m fortunate to have a family diary from about that time, although the journalist was elderly.

And, as I write this, I realized that the “diary” will only be such for the first three or four entries. After that it will be much more like letters from one girl to another and from one century to another. They will be much like pen pals who slowly learn about each other. Telling about their surface lives will come easily enough for them, but it will take some time to open up about their interior lives, their fears, their dreams.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Repeating History

The Crappy Used Diary is a story about a 12-year-old girl who gets an antique leather diary for her birthday from her father. He has found it while doing restoration work on a house of historic interest to his family. The daughter is bummed. She wanted a new iPod, and all she got was this stupid diary.

A few days after her birthday, she is bored and picks it up to thumb through it. That’s when she notices it is used! There are three or four entries. In spite of her pique she decides to read the entries. She notices that the dates correspond to recent days, but from one hundred years ago. There is already an entry for “today,” but she decides to do just what her dad wanted and make an entry in the diary herself. Her entry is all about how what she really wanted was an iPod and all she got was a crappy used diary.

The girl leaves her pen in the diary and closes it, never intending to write in it again. The next day, she’s looking for her pen and remembers where she’d left it. To her surprise (but probably not yours, at this point) there is another hundred-year-old entry below the one she had written the day before.

Intrigue and complications ensue.

This will give me an opportunity to explore several areas of interest. As I said yesterday, I will be able to write about friendships of adolescent girls. More important, it will allow me to compare and contrast the lives of girls of that age one hundred years apart. And, didn’t someone once say something about repeating history if you ignore it?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Shiny New Vehicle

Authors over the years have used many vehicles to take their characters--and their readers--into other worlds. Think rabbit holes, mirrors, tornadoes and wardrobes.

In my books, so far, the vehicles have been a lava tube, a backpack and dog urine. Yeah, you’ll have to stand by for that last one. It’s still only about half written.

I bring this up because I’m about to step into a shiny new vehicle of the literary type: A diary.

Blood of Anjels is out to readers in draft form (let me know if you’d like to be a reader), so I’m effectively setting that aside and starting some preliminary work on the next one.

The working title of this book is likely the one I’ll keep: The Crappy Used Diary. It will be a young adult novel with--there I go again--mostly female characters. I’ve written three coming of age novels, two of them about girls. I’m particularly drawn to stories about the friendships between girls. Maybe it is because passionate friendships between females is more socially accepted than passionate friendships between boys. And see, there your mind goes barking off in the wrong direction. When I said passionate your first thought was sexual. Just slap yourself. I mean deep and enduring. Also, poised on the dramatic.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the options on the vehicle I’ve chosen to take us back and forth between worlds. Yes, it has air conditioning, Internet and electric windows. Except for when it doesn’t have indoor plumbing. Stay tuned.