I must be the most naive person in the world. Seriously, here I am asking these questions about whether it would be better to use a real town with fictional elements or a wholly fictionalized one, and not once did it occur to me to worry about whether people living in that town might think I am writing about them. And yet this appears to be the first thing that most of the writers on the Verla Kay board thought of when deciding on the setting for their books.

And even now that it's occurred to me, the idea of someone from my past suing me because they think I'm writing about them seems so ridiculous that I just don't care. See? Naive. Or just pig-headed. You decide.

In other news, I thought The Giver and Gathering Blue were pretty good, but Messenger seemed to me dull, preachy and obvious, and I found Lois Lowry's writing style boring. Actually, I'm finding most of the books I've read lately quite lacking style-wise. I know Patricia A. McKillip's books have become next thing to incomprehensible, but my word, her style is gorgeous. Robin McKinley is probably a better balance -- lovely sentence structure and imagery and a recognizable plot. Reading Lloyd Alexander out loud to my six-year-old son has given me a new appreciation for his descriptive abilities. And I can think of many others whose writing style I enjoyed when I was in my teens and enjoy reading still (bows to [livejournal.com profile] pameladean). But where are the stylists in YA fantasy these days? Has everybody been brainwashed into thinking they have to write with a limited vocabulary and short sentences so the illiterate teenage masses can keep up?

Of the books I've read over the past year I've encountered only one author who tried her hand at the kind of lyrical, vivid style I associate with great fantasy, and even there it seemed to me that the really good bits of her writing came in flashes with a lot of merely average stuff in between, while at other times I itched to line-edit her prose.

Or maybe I'm just hypercritical of everybody's style at the moment because I'm unhappy with my own. Again, you decide. But I do think I have a point about the lack of lyricism in modern YA fantasy writing. Though I'm certainly open to correction if anybody has good counter-examples to recommend.
Okay, okay, so I got distracted and am... well, not exactly behind schedule, as I still have until the 15th to complete Day 1-6, but not exactly on schedule either.

Mind you, I don't have enough information in my head yet about the secondary characters for Indigo to write down more than a line or two for each of them, and I already wrote down all the thoughts I had on Thea and Leith on Days One and Two. Today I'm supposed to be making notes of the various settings in the book, and compiling a research list -- but I don't know yet what specific settings I'm going to need, and since the majority of the book's action takes place in a town where I lived for ten years, I'm not too worried about getting the details wrong.

On a tangential note, though -- I'm trying to decide whether to set Indigo in the actual Sudbury, or a fictional northern Ontario town just like it. The advantage of a fictionalized city is that I can rearrange landmarks and make up new ones without local readers saying, "Hey, there's no such place as Trufflehunter's on Lasalle Boulevard!" It also prevents any potential English readers being confused (since there's a Sudbury in the south of England which is manifestly different from the Canadian one).

On the other hand, it's just possible that nobody actually cares about that stuff so long as the general feel of the place and the major geographic and historical details are right. [livejournal.com profile] james_bow, care to weigh in on why you chose to invent Clarksbury rather than work with an actual town? It might help me to decide what I want to do. And, of course, anyone else with experience of reading or writing about contemporary places is heartily invited to comment.

***

BUT I DIGRESS AS USUAL. The actual point of this entry is to present the fruit of my distractableness, in the form of my revised hook for Knife:

The New NEW Hook )

I've tried to include the added plot and conflict details that Miss Snark and the Snarklings requested, and I think the result is an improvement over the original, but I'm still not sure if it covers all the necessary bases. Thoughts? Suggestions? Squashy tomatoes?

ETA a totally different version of the hook, just to confuse the issue for everyone and MAKE YOU ALL SHARE MY PAIN.

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