Arclight Giveaway

Thursday, February 28, 2013

0 Chiming In

I actually meant to do this on my birthday - sort of a reverse gift giving thing - but things got crazy last week, and I forgot to make this post, so I'm doing it now.

I've got another ARC copy of Arclight to give away. If you'd like a shot at it, just post in the comments below and in a week or so, I'll grab a random number from the generator and pick a winner.

Good luck! And thanks for stopping by.

Inside the Arclight #1

Monday, February 25, 2013

0 Chiming In
We're about two months out from ARCLIGHT's release date, and from what I've seen online there still seem to be some questions about the book. But that's okay - questions are a good thing.


The main character's name is Marina, and if you've seen the version of the blurb that mentions "the son of the man who died bringing her to safety," that character's name is Tobin. However, there's a typo in the ARC's of the novel, and twice he's called "Tobias." Which is understandable, considering that Tobias was the character's original name.

 ... until I found out that Four from Divergent is really named Tobias.

I spoke to my editor about the coincidence of that name, as well as another, overlapping from an established series, and asked her if it was okay for me to change the name in the novel to Tobin (Though it sounds like a minor change, there's a point in edits where you really can't alter much because it affects the formatting of the pages). She okayed the change, but unfortunately, when I did a global search/replace, I'd misspelled "Tobias" a couple of times, so the replace didn't take. My copyeditor caught the typo and fixed the spelling, so that it was correct for the character's original name, rather than the replacement.

So now you know. He began as a puppy and ended up a typo. And that's how characters are made.


(Also, I'm planning to resume the Writing Wednesday segment ASAP. Things got a bit off between the film rights announcement, and some stuff IRL, but I think the posts will be a lot more consistent, now. Fingers crossed, and we'll see what happens.)

Arclight and Indie Next

Saturday, February 23, 2013

0 Chiming In
ARCLIGHT has been named an Indie Next pick for the list's 2013 summer children's list. For those of you unfamiliar with the list, it's based on nominations by independent booksellers who read the book in advance, then submit the names of their favorite reads.

Here's the link to the list in full (Arclight's a "teen" book, so it's in the last list on the page), and this is the chosen blurb about the book used in the copy:

Arclight, by Josin L. McQuein
(Greenwillow Books, $17.99, 9780062130143)
“This is a page-turner of dystopian fiction unlike anything I’ve ever read. A stunning debut novel, there’s a reality throughout this work that one doesn’t usually find in science fiction aimed at adolescents. So much more than just an ‘entertainment for young people,’ this story of identity and the courage found when one faces one’s worst nightmares deserves a very wide audience.” —Keri Rojas, Cornerstone Cottage Kids, Hampton, IA

And, most of you probably heard me yakking about Arclight's movie deal over the last few days, but Publisher's Marketplace has put up their announcement, so I'll include it here, too.

February 21, 2013

 Film rights 
Film rights to Josin McQuein's forthcoming debut ARCLIGHT, set in a post-apocalyptic future where remnants of humanity are hunkered down in an outpost protected by a wall of light and featuring a teenage girl with no memory of who she is and how she survived the Dark, to Universal with Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer producing and Matthew Sand adapting, by Pouya Shahbazian of New Leaf Literary & Media on behalf FinePrint Literary Management and Suzie Townsend.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Chiming In
Normally, I'd make this post tomorrow, on my birthday, with my usual birthday post, but this year I have something better. I've been sitting on this for a while, and can finally share.

Universal picked up the rights to ARCLIGHT with Imagine signed on as the production company. YAY!

Two weeks after picking up a supernatural young adult novel from hot teen author Julie Kagawa, Universal is back in the YA market, picking up the movie rights to Josin L. McQuein’s upcoming novel Arclight.
Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer is on board to produce while Matthew Sand, best known for writing the 2009 Wachowski-produced action movie Ninja Assassin, will pen the screenplay.

Here's the link to the full announcement in The Hollywood Reporter for those who want to read it.

Not Writing Wednesday

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

0 Chiming In
Not this week. This week I have been otherwise occupied to the point that I didn't realize yesterday was actually Tuesday.

However, I will promise you this -- I have news, and other news.

News #1 is that Kirkus reviewed Arclight today, and it was a good review. YAY!

News #2 is ... *CENSORED*.

Er... news #2 is ... *REDACTED*

Lets try this again. News #2 is ... *TOP SECRET*


Oh - fine! News #2 will have to wait until I get permission to share. But I reserve the right to hand out noise makers and party hats that will put Mardi Gras to shame, so there.

Writing Wednesday 6 -- Conflicting Signals

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2 Chiming In
At this point, when you're writing your own novel, you might be tempted to think "YAY! I have a first chapter!" and then jump up and down.

Don't do that - people will think you're weird. And, since you're writing a book, there's a 99.999999999999% that you're sitting at a table inside Starbucks with your MacBook open for all to see while you brood and emote. Jumping up and down in this scenario will lead to coffee spillage and stained clothes, if not burns. (People think writing's all safe and stuff, but it's really quite the dangerous undertaking.)

Seriously though, what you've most likely got on your hands is a *potential* first chapter that's mostly character sketch rather than plot. In the case of my example opening, we now know a lot about the main character, and a little about a few of the others. For a novel to function, we've got to get out of that main character's head and find out about everyone and everything else. And yes, it's possible to do this, even in first person present tense. This is where you start to focus on: CONFLICT.

Conflict is what drives the plot. It's the shove against the wheels of your story machine that keeps it rolling, and there should ideally be conflict in every chapter.

Does this mean that your character has to be engaged in a fight or flight scenario on every page? No. It means that she needs to keep moving. The signs can be subtle, and they don't have to be violent.

In the example chapter one, there's implied conflict between the main character's parents, as well as conflict between the main character and the changes that have been thrown at her. We know her parents aren't together, and we know that while London's mother seems to still care about her father, she never passed along the gifts that the father sent. We know that London is fighting circumstance by using her school uniform as armor. We know that London can't quite bring herself to add the 'mother' to stepmother, and thinks of "step" as a nickname for Stephanie to rationalize it. Those are all conflicts to either be resolved or continued throughout the story.

Going into a second chapter, you'll need new conflicts to add to the existing ones, and since the main character is going to be interacting with the family she's never met - for the first time - there will be ample opportunity. What's left to decide is how intense this conflict will be, and how easily resolved it becomes. Sibling rivalry can always be intense, but imagine how different it is when the siblings don't know each others' limits, or what buttons to push to get a reaction. Imagine the fear of a girl with a stable family suddenly having an outsider thrown into the mix, maybe even vying for her dad's attention or her younger sister's. Imagine the fear of the outsider disrupting the normal routine and wondering if everyone she sees secretly wants her to leave.

The answers to those questions (or the ones most appropriate to your own endeavor) will frame the next step of the main character's journey. Here's where the other characters will begin to solidify, and you'll get to show off their personalities. Determine if the characters in question are the type to actively make a bad situation worse, in hopes that the offending element will remove itself, or if they're trying to do the right thing, but it's still not working right. Conflict can exist even in a scenario when everyone is a "good" character.

Just remember that the key is movement. Readers don't have visual cues like you get with a movie or television show; they need the cues and clues you provide to fill in their imagined versions of the world you've created. So long as you keep up the struggle, they've got something to hope your MC triumphs against (or loses to, if your MC is the villain). Conflict in fiction isn't a bad thing. It's the driving force behind your narrative.

Author Review Meltdown in 3...2...1...

Monday, February 4, 2013

1 Chiming In
I told myself I wouldn't do it.

When reviews happened, they'd be what they'd be and that would be the end of it.

But now that I'm getting notices of reviews for Arclight, I have to say something.





So, since I've already decided to stalk neither reviews nor reviewers, I'll just say it here: THANK YOU to anyone and everyone who takes the time to read and review my novel. I hope you'll all enjoy it, but even if it turns out that the story isn't your cuppa, please know that I still appreciate the time you invested in reading it. You could have chosen to do something else or read something else, and knowing that you chose Arclight instead means a lot.