MAY I tell you something about the Page 69 Test?

A week or two ago, I blogged raved about attending Seattle’s YA or Bust tour stop. In case you’ve forgotten or are unaware, YA or Bust featured contemporary YA authors Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman, who discussed writing and their books. One question they were asked during the panel portion of the event had to do with character development. This question got the authors extra excited. “Let’s do the Page 69 Test!” Gayle suggested.

You can find out more about the original Page 69 Test HERE (it’s a cool and unique book blog). The YA or Bust authors have modified the initial idea to demonstrate how they develop character. Nina, Stephanie, and Gayle each read an excerpt from one of their novels (from page sixty-nine, obviously), and then discussed how the excerpt revealed something about the passage’s character(s). Nina used her MC’s reaction to his setting to reveal more about the kind of person he his. Stephanie showed what one of her characters carried in his pocket, which spoke volumes about his personality. And Gayle read lyrics written by her MC, which illustrated the pain he was going through when he penned them.

I learned so much from the YA or Bust Page 69 Test, I thought it would be fun to do my own. Below is an excerpt from page sixty-nine of my manuscript Where Poppies Bloom, and below that, I’ve shared a bit about the story’s MC, Callie, and her friend Tucker…

Kittens. Several, wriggling around, making sad little mewing sounds. Their eyes are open, but they’re tiny. They look like Daisy Cat, gray and white, and they’re very cute. I’m unexpectedly grateful to Tucker for dragging me out here.

“I think this is where my aunt found her cat,” I tell him.

“You’d think their mother would’ve come running to the noise they’re making. She must have abandoned them.”

I stare at the kittens, thinking of the photograph in my pocket. I can’t help but wonder if whatever may have scared off their mother is the same entity that’s been scaring me in Stewart House.

“Cal? What should we do?” Tucker asks.

I pull my eyes from the kittens and look at him. “I don’t know… nothing?”

“We have to do something. We can’t leave them out here.”

“Why not?”

“Because they’ll freeze. Or starve.” He gives me a teasing smile. “You don’t want dead kittens on your conscience, do you?”

Something about my expression must change—darken—because his smile vanishes.

Hopefully this excerpt shows how profoundly Callie is impacted by the mere mention of death, and a bit of the push-and-pull she’s going through as far as normalcy — she resisted Tucker’s initial invitation to go outside, yet she’s surprisingly happy that he managed to convince her. The mention of Tucker’s “teasing smile” speaks to his good-natured personality, as well as his comfort level with Callie, despite the fact that she tends to hold him at a distance.

Tell me: What’s one way you’ve revealed character in your own writing? (Oh, and if you give the Page 69 Test a try on your blog, let me know… I’d love to check it out!)

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MAY I share something funny?

In the spirit of Friday Five and Friday Funny, I give you:

Five Funny Things My Four-Year-Old Daughter Said This Week…

5. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had a Princess Leia tattoo?”

4. In reference to the 1986 film Labyrinth: “Hey, can we watch that movie where David Bowie steals Toby?”

3. “I’m sorry I acted naughty. I’m going through a growth spurt.”

2. When asked if she wanted to call her Nana and Poppy: “Nah. They’re probably still sleeping. Old people need a lot of rest.” (My parents are in their fifties and it was 10:00 a.m.)

1. “Daddy, your beard makes you look like a badass.”

♥ ♥ Cute & Sassy ♥ ♥

So? What’s funny in your world these days?

MAY I tell you something about Aria?

Today’s Bookanista recommendation is Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and to tie it in to Blog Me MAYbe, I’d love to talk about one of the story’s two main characters, Aria. First, a quick synopsis:

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

From Goodreads: Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse. Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive. A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Let me be honest about Aria… I did not find her initially likable. When we meet her at the novel’s beginning, she’s naive and pampered and pretty helpless — although through no fault of her own. Aria is Aria because of her environment, the Pod she grew up in, confined and safe and clueless, and she appears to embrace that lifestyle. That said, there’s much more to Aria than meets the eye, and after life throws a few major curve balls her way, she starts to become a protagonist readers can believe in.

While Aria at first resists her new world and all its challenges, it’s not long before she takes initiative. She learns to feed herself and defend herself and, in the process, to be herself. She has a way of dealing with Peregrine, her “ally,” that I found very intriguing. Though they’re opposites in many ways, in several instances Aria seems to know intuitively exactly what Perry needs. Their relationship was balanced and grew out of respect, which made its progression a satisfying climb. The more Aria accepted her new world, and Perry, the more I grew to love her, until I found myself invested, rooting for her and thinking about her plight even when I wasn’t actively reading. Aria’s steep, authentic arc transformed her from a character I felt eh about, into a character I adored, a character whose story I can’t wait to continue reading.

And, if Aria isn’t enough to make you desperate to pick up a copy of Under the Never Sky, here a few more ways in which Veronica Rossi’s story amazed me:

1. Word-building – Thorough, creative, inimitable. There are so many thoughtful, unique details in Aria and Perry’s world.

2. Pacing – Unputdownable! A surprise around every corner…

3. Perry – Tortured, tough but secretly sensitive, courageous, intelligent and loyal. Oh, and he makes leather pants look good.

4. Prose – Straight-forward, yet elegant and descriptive. I found myself rereading passages because they were so beautiful.

5. The Spontaneous Kiss — Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s so sweet!

Please, please, PLEASE check out Under the Never Sky if you haven’t already!

Check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:

Christine Fonseca revels in TO RIDE A PUCA

Stasia Ward Kehoe gushes over GILT

Tracy Banghart delights in THE DISENCHANTMENTS

Gennifer Albin celebrates SHADOW AND BONE

Jessica Love is wowed by YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT

Shelli Johannes-Wells is crazy for CLOCKWISER

Have you read Under the Never Sky? Thoughts?

MAY I tell you something about country music?

♥ Thanks so much for all the love regarding my YA Confidential announcement yesterday, guys! Your excitement and support mean the world to me! ♥

Welcome, May, and the first day of Blog Me MAYbe! Since it’s been awhile since I last posted about this awesome idea, here’s a refresher:

The brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung, Blog Me MAYbe is a weekly blog format for the month of May, an easy schedule to follow with topics built right in. Of course, if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, no biggie. Blog Me MAYbe is all about ease and fun! You don’t have to worry about following every blogger who participates or commenting on everyone’s daily posts (though if you want to do that, feel free!). The intent of Blog Me MAYbe isn’t to gain followers — although that could very well happen – but to branch out, make a few new friends, share information, and get into the head space where ideas for blog posts flow freely.

And here’s the schedule:

  • Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
    • This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!
  • Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
    • Pretty self-explanatory… Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or, maybe they do. It doesn’t matter–this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better.
  • Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
    • Ask your followers something about themselves.
  • Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
    • Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who’s fascinating. A character from a book. Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative, but let the spotlight shine on someone else!
  • Fridays: May I share something funny?
    • Fridays = The start of the weekend… BOOYA! A reason to celebrate and laugh on its own — plus, who doesn’t want to see something amusing after a long week?

Fun, right?! There’s still time to sign up, so head over to Sara’s blog if you’re interested, and feel free to grab our banner or the button below (both made by crazy-talented Tracey Neithercott) to use on your own blog.

And, since today is Tuesday and Tuesdays are for Tunes :), I’m going to share a little something about myself in the form of this fantastic music survey I snagged from Love is your Shield (slightly modified):

1. What are your three favorite songs right now? This Years Love by David Gray, Alone With You by Jake Owen, and Dancin’ Away With My Heart by Lady Antebellum.

2. What is the most played song on your iTunes? If I Die Young by The Band Perry (pretty much the theme song for my manuscript Where Poppies Bloom, so no surprise there!)

3. What song are you listening to right now? Farmer’s Daughter by Rodney Atkins

4. What was the last album you bought? I never buy full albums on iTunes and it’s been forever since I bought an actual CD, so… Maybe the soundtrack to Annie to listen to in the car with my daughter? (Incidentally, you should hear my girlie sing Tomorrow… Adorable!)

5. What was the last concert you went to? Taylor Swift’s Speak Now Tour last fall. It was freaking amazing. I took my daughter, and we had a blast!

6. What was the first album you ever bought? Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet (the cassette tape!). My parents bought it for me in the eighties because they’re cool like that.

7. What was the last single you downloaded? Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson… Such a fun song!

8. Favorite artist or band? Tim McGraw. I ask you: Is there a sexier man? (I also love Johnny Cash and Sugarland and T-Swift and Kenny Chesney.)

9. What’s your favorite musical genre? Country. Obviously.

10. Quote one of your favorite lyrics: I love this verse from Anna Nalick’s Breathe (2 am) because it speaks of writing:

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to

.

I encourage you to grab this survey, fill in responses of your own, then comment here or tweet me to let me know where I can find your answers!

Until then… What’s your all-time favorite song?

N is for Noteworthy

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the TWO winners from my Lucky Me, Lucky You book giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations…

Jaime Morrow and Sophia Richardson

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of either a signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars or a free book of choice from The Book Depository, up to $20. The second winner to email will receive the remaining prize. (Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book to you!)

Congrats again, Jaime and Sophia, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about Lucky Me, Lucky You!

🙂

And… Here’s a super fun idea you might be interested in participating in, especially if you’re looking to rejuvenate your blog, or get into (or back into) the habit of blogging regularly:

Gorgeous banner created by crazy-talented Tracey Neithercott! 

The brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person Sara McClung, Blog Me MAYbe is a weekly blog format for the month of May, an easy schedule to follow with topics built right in. Of course, if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, no biggie. Blog Me MAYbe is all about ease and fun! You don’t have to worry about following every blogger who participates or commenting on everyone’s daily posts (though if you want to do that, feel free!). The intent of Blog Me MAYbe isn’t to gain followers — although that could very well happen — but to branch out, make a few new friends, share information, and get into the head space where ideas for blog posts flow freely.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Mondays: May I tell you something about writing?
    • This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!
  • Tuesdays: May I tell you something about myself?
    • Pretty self-explanatory… Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or, maybe they do. It doesn’t matter–this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better. 
  • Wednesdays: May I ask something about you?
    • Ask your followers something about themselves.
  • Thursdays: May I tell you something about someone else?
    • Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who’s fascinating. A character from a book. Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative, but let the spotlight shine on someone else!
  • Fridays: May I share something funny?
    • Fridays = The start of the weekend… BOOYA! A reason to celebrate and laugh on its own — plus, who doesn’t want to see something amusing after a long week?

Fun, right?! I’m already committed to participating, as are Sara, Cambria, Tracey, Jessica, Lola, Alexandra, and AlisonBlog Me MAYbe begins on the first of May, so head over to Sara’s blog if you’re interested in signing up, and feel free to grab our banner or the button in my sidebar to use on your own blog.

Tell me: Will you participate in Blog Me MAYbe?