Posts Tagged ‘Reality Check’

Beginnings (More)[premature post due to misclick)


June 2nd, 2018 Posted 12:39 pm

On Sundays, we’ve been doing beginnings – all the Chet and Bernies (as part of Chetspeak) – and now taking on all the Peter Abrahams novels in chronological order. Here from 2009, #21, REALITY CHECK, my first young adult novel and winner of the Edgar Award in that category.

[“The best writer of psychological suspense around.”
– Laura Miller, Talk of the Nation, NPR]

Except for football Fridays, Cody Laredo’s favorite day of the school year was always the last. Now, May 30, final day of his sophomore year at County High, he sat in the back row of homeroom, waiting for the teacher – a sub he’d never seen before – to hand out the report cards. As long as there were no Fs – even one would make him ineligible for football in the fall, meaning summer school, an impossibility since he had to work – Cody didn’t care what was in the report card. He just wanted out.


Football Returns …


September 6th, 2017 Posted 8:11 am

… even though it’s getting caught up in the culture wars and thus leaving the stage of pure entertainment. Sigh. I’ve done some writing about football – in the Edgar winning YA novel REALITY CHECK, plus various scenes here and there – in HARD RAIN, for one.

Super Bowl prediction: Patriots vs. Seahawks.

Side prediction 1: Malcolm Butler comes up big again!

Side prediction 2: Later in life he becomes president of the U.S. And gets my vote.



Enid’s Laws


March 3rd, 2017 Posted 7:41 am

Most of what Admin knows about writing he learned from his mom at an early age. He wrote it up for the Extras at the back of the paperback edition of REALITY CHECK (Edgar winner, Y.A. mystery category) some years back.

Enid’s Laws (by Enid, circa 1957; annotations and #7 much later, not by Enid):

1. Organization is everything.

If the story isn’t organized, what have you got? A mess. To be organized, you have to make some big decisions from the get-go, such as: What’s the POV? One character? Multi? Tell it in first person? Third? How about the tense? Tone? I’ve got a nice beginning but will it lead to an end? Getting stuck without an end is bad. Make sure an ending is possible, and “the world blows up” doesn’t count. There are maybe 10,000 decisions in writing a novel. Accept that.

2. Fiction is about reversals.

Just like high school or college wrestling (meaning real wrestling). It’s much more fun to watch a back-and-forth match than a blowout.

3. Torment your protagonist.

Or, flipping it the other way, don’t fall in love with your characters. And the main one – perhaps hero, perhaps not – needs to be tested.

4. Push everything as far as you can without contriving.

Get everything you can from your ideas – don’t leave the gold mine only partly dug. But stop before you do anything that makes the reader feel your behind-the-scenes presence and think that terrible thought: That couldn’t happen.

5. Always advance the story.

Sometimes when you’re writing you’ll come up with a lovely little passage, a description of sagebrush at sunset, say, and a white dove gliding low. Does it move the story forward? No? Then out it goes. Shoot that dove!

6. Be original.

On every page! In every paragraph! No boilerplate! Ever!

7. (added much later) Be playful.


Connecticut Children’s Book Fair


November 10th, 2015 Posted 7:32 am

Spence will be presenting at 10AM this Sunday. What will he talk about? WOOF and writing for kids! He’ll also probably mention the Echo Falls series as well. And what about REALITY CHECK (2010 Edgar Award winner for best YA mystery)? Why not throw that in, too? Then there’s ARF, coming in April. (He’ll never remember all of this.)



The Books

powered by wordpress | site by bakermedia