TWISTED playlist – vote early, vote often!

I did it! (I think.)

Thanks to all of your great suggestions yesterday, and a very, very late last night with Stef and Amy and my husband, I have put together the first crack at the TWISTED playlist and I posted it on iTunes.

If you go to iTunes>Music>iMix, type in halse in the Search box for iMix Name. That should take you to it. (Does anyone know of a faster way to do this?) iTunes wouldn’t take the whole thing, so I mentioned the other songs in the Description. Vote for my mix! (You vote by rating it on iTunes.) Make me smile! Throw me a bone while I sit, chained to my desk, the fires of the deadline crackling at my feet, smoke curling upwards!

I am asking to create a new page for my website that will features playlists for all of my books. Here is what I have for TWISTED, so far. And yes, the order of the songs is important:

“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” The Pogues

“Brick in the Wall” Pink Floyd

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nirvana

“Yoda” Weird Al Yankovic

“Trogdor” Strong Bad (

“I Want You To Hurt Like I Do” Randy Newman/ Land of Dreams

“Come As You Are” Nirvana

“Needle in the Hay” Elliott Smith

“Munich” The Editors

“Hurt” Johnny Cash

“She Hates Me” Puddle of Mudd

“How to Disappear Completely” Radiohead

“Everybody Hurts” R.E.M.

“Hallelujah” Jeff Buckley

“Real Men” Tori Amos

“Float On” Modest Mouse

What do you think?

P.S. One last thing: the Syracuse Post Standard ran my essay on how salt potatoes are so, so, Syracuse.

I need help from early TWISTED readers

A couple of you guys out there have read TWISTED. I need your help. I am putting together a playlist for the book and am desperate for recommendations.

For those who haven’t read it, some background. I think this is on the publicity materials:

“High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

In Twisted, the acclaimed Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a very controversial subject: what it means to be a man today. Fans and new readers alike will be captured by Tyler’s pitchperfect, funny voice, the surprising narrative arc, and the thoughtful moral dilemmas that are at the heart of all of the author’s award-winning, widely read work. “

The short pitch: Emoish guy with a good heart has his butt kicked by the world and thinks seriously about leaving life, permanently.

What songs fit him? Ideas? Please?

Dare to Read

Well this is something I never saw coming!

PROM was chosen to be part of Elle magazine’s Dare To Read Bookclub. Somehow, this qualifies me as an Elle girl. (I wonder if I can get that on a tee shirt.) Elle is having a contest, too – free books as the prize, so hop over and take a peek! Fellow LJer and cool YA author tanyaleestone is also on the list. Be sure to check out her book: A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl.

In the comments section on the 15th, Anon wrote: You often talk about story arcs in your novels. Would you please define what a story arc is, and discuss how different arcs relate to each other and pull the story along? Is there conventional wisdom for developing and using story arcs?

I will take a crack at it. (If any of you English teacher think I have messed up this definition, let me know.)

A story arc is the storyline… the path of a character as she works her way through the story. She starts the story, stuff happens, she reacts to the stuff that happens, she changes and grows as a result of the stuff that happens, and by the end of the story, she is a more mature and (one hopes) wiser person for having gone through these experiences. The trick in a novel is that you have a number of story arcs – different characters all on their own paths which cross and intertwine with each other. Every scene has to move someone’s arc ahead a little, or there is no point to the scene being in the book. In TWISTED, one of the secondary character’s arc was unclear. He was acting one way in the beginning of the book and a completely different way towards the end, and I hadn’t made clear why the transition happened. Not only was this bad for his character, but it messed up the interactions he had with the other characters in the book. So for the last couple of days, I’ve been studying every scene this guy is in with a microscope. I’ve changed a couple of the scenes. Today, I’m adding in a few more towards the end to better set up a fairly dramatic resolution to his set of issues with the main character.

That, my friends, is what we call revision.

And to answer Max’s question: the historical WIP is on hold until next week while I take a last pass through TWISTED. I occasionally look at the corner of the office where my notes are heaped on the floor and whimper, but I have to finish this project before I’m allowed out to play with the next.