It's Thursday, which means it's the day I ask one of my what if questions. But Briane Pagel wanted a shot at it this week (and to tell you about IWM), so take it away, Briane...
The JuneRific IWM Blogtacular Marathon Of Made Up Words Blog Tour continues! IWM, for the acronymically challenged, stands for "Indie Writers Monthly" and is a blog and magazine put out by 5 great speculative fiction writers, offering you tips on writing and publishing and more.
This is part THREE of this modestly-titled tour, which presents to you
INDIE WRITERS MONTHLY
THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY FACT-BASED
AND IN NO WAY EXAGGERATED
SO YOU CAN'T SUE US PROBABLY.
Part 1 appeared on Sizzling Hot YA Books, and told how reading IWM will teach you how to time travel.
Part 3 WAS going to tell you where to find the Lost Dutchman's magic gold mine, but Liz reserves Thursdays for the big questions around here, and I love Liz's big questions, so I volunteered to ask my OWN big question, which won't be anywhere near as good as Liz's, because Liz'a always make me think of gods and robots and stuff. But I'll try.
The #3 Reason to Read IWM: We bring your imaginary childhood friends back to life!
As you all probably know, there was a flap this week when Slate magazine published an "essay" by a "writer" who in a blatantly annoying attempt to get publicity -- which is why I'm not linking to it, as we shouldn't encourage people like her-- in which this 'writer' said adults should be embarrassed to read YA books.
I don't read much YA. It's not really my thing. But I have read some (including the Harry Potter books, which we are required by law to mention whenever YA comes up)(the way we have to mention 50 Shades whenever adult literature comes up) and I still read things that would probably fall broadly into the category of "adults shouldn't read that," if you're going to be one of those annoying jerks who thinks telling other people what to read is a way to live your life. Like comic books, which I read from time to time.
The entire Internet has already exposed this 'writer' for what she is-- annoying, pretentious, and wrong, so I won't elaborate more. Read what you want. No reading is bad reading, as everything you read exercises your imagination and whets your appetite for more reading. When we start judging what people read, we make them embarrassed of it and turn reading into a chore. Who wants that?
So to rekindle the love of YA you might have forgotten or been book-shamed into ignoring, here's the big question:
Which characters from YA books you read do you wish were real, and why?
Hey, there's still a couple of days left to enter a time-travel story in our anthology! Win money! Enter by Details here., or if you really need a bit more time just ask!
IWM is also a magazine: the June issue ("June Bugs") is on sale for just $0.99 on Amazon, and features three great short stories plus tips on coming up with titles, plus MORE! Get it here.
For me, I'm going to pick one that's maybe a bit obscure. The first one that popped to mind when I thought of this question was a kid named "Roger," from the book The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear.
The book is by a guy named "Kin Platt," and I looked Platt up on Wikipedia today after going to find the book again. Platt wrote radio comedies in the 30s, then Disney cartoons, and then worked on a movie written by Robert Benchley (who is one of my favorite authors, and is almost completely forgotten, but that's for another day.) He then wrote comic books, and after a stint in the Army in World War II, he created a character called "Supermouse." He wrote comic strips and then went on to write (in the 60s) for Hanna-Barbera cartoons like The Jetsons, which was another favorite of mine when I was young. He wrote YA books starting in 1961, mixing it with what were called "mysteries" that he wrote under pseudonyms -- mysteries like this:
|"More innocent time" indeed.|
His last book was published posthumously in 2005. I never knew all that about the author, or even who the author was, but I never forgot his book The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear.
It was about a kid named "Roger" whose parents had a rough divorce and who weren't very close with him. A childhood accident had left Roger with a speech impediment, and he couldn't pronounce his own name: he said it "Wajah," and I've never forgotten that. It's stuck with me for 35 or so years. Roger's dad is an absentee and his mom is abusive and he ends up wandering around New York nearly having a nervous breakdown until he learns to cope with the help of a speech therapist and some friends. It's It's like the anti Catcher In The Rye, in that Disappear didn't suck and wasn't overrated.
I read Disappear probably when I was 10, 11, and I've never forgotten the basics of the story or the parts that moved me, even though I've never gone back and read the book again. Roger has stuck with me all my life, almost like a kid I actually knew.
And so I pick Roger as the kid that I wish was real, and here's why. I went to my 10-year high school reunion and none of the others, because of the few high school friends I wanted to see again, most didn't come back and in the end, we didn't have all that much in common anymore; in high school we'd all been friends but now we were lawyers and professors and ex-soldiers and whatnot, with kids or not, divorces or not, but lives that have grown apart. The only connection we had was back in high school, and we had some fun talking about those old times. I didn't, after that, have any real desire to see those guys again, although I do check in now and then just to see how they're doing.
Roger is like that for me. He was one of the first characters in a book that I cared about. Later on would come Luke Skywalker (who I wanted to be) and Bilbo Baggins (who I thought was amazingly brave) and Benjie and Ezzie from The 18th Emergency (who taught me not to hold my thumbs in my fist when I get in a fight) and Arthur Dent and more characters I liked or remembered or learned from as I read anything I could get my hands on. But Roger was the first character I can ever remember really being affected by. I would sit and think how hard it would be to not say your name, to have a dad that wasn't around or a mean mom, to be lost in New York. He really connected with me.
If it wasn't for Roger and how his story cut through me, I might not have grown to love reading so much. Roger's story taught me that stories can stick with people their whole life and make them think. It's not surprising that I didn't even know 'til today that the author wrote other books or stuff. It wasn't the author that mattered to 10-year-old me. It was Roger and his story. He was my first book-friend. And that's why I picked him. Like my high school friends, I wouldn't necessarily need to meet him or hang out with him. I'd just like to know he turned out all right.
|Briane Pagel, and a waterfall.|
(Guess which is which!)
You should bookmark Indie Writers Monthly. Click here to go to the site.
And like I said, our June issue is on sale on Amazon for just $0.99 -- a bargain at 10 times the price! Well, not really, but it's a bargain at THIS price. Click here for that.
And there's still time to enter a story in our time travel anthology contest! Win prizes! Details here. (And if you need a bit of extension on the deadline, just ask. We're nice folk.) (Also, get it? Still time?)