Show Me the Romance

No cherubs. No doilies. No crap.

Archive for the category “About: Broadway High”

Wednesday Writing: Broadway High Update

A few wonderful people have read Broadway High and given me some helpful feedback, including one person who recommended I try condensing the last three chapters into the story’s climax, leaving only a little bit of falling action instead of two chapters’ worth.

For any writer friends reading this, yes, I know better than to take forever to finish the story after the high point . . . the problem is, I didn’t realize what the high point was! With my focus on resolving the romance between the hero and heroine, I didn’t identify the musical’s opening night as the big finish—the point to which the whole novel is driving (the “final battle” in archetype lingo).

Maybe other readers will disagree about opening night being the climax, but now that I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to implement her suggestions, one thing is abundantly clear: I indulged myself a little too much with resolving the romance. So it’s being trimmed a bit (but I don’t think it’s losing anything . . . there was plenty of room to cut).

Once I’m happy with this revision to the ending, and I’ve done a few more tweaks to the rest of the story, I’ll be looking for another round of beta readers. Who’s in?

P.S. Why are there no pictures online of the BHS auditorium? Instead, you’ll have to settle for Tom and Natalie: 

Wednesday Writing: Written Word Time Machine

Tee-hee . . . I have a new nickname for Tom, the nice, serial-dating heartbreaker in Broadway High. This nickname is low-brow and simple—so 7th grade and exactly what I needed, since my heroine coins the phrase after Tom dumped her best friend back when they’re all seventh graders. When it occurred to me, I felt like I was back on the green vinyl seats of the school bus, snickering with my best friend Becky. Ready for it?


Heh-heh. (Shut up, Beavis.)

This is one of the things I loved about writing a YA book, especially one set in my own personal version of the real world. I had to claw back through my memories, force my 30-year-old brain into the thinking patterns and concerns a 17-year-old (or in this nickname’s case, a 13-year-old) would have. It was like stretching an old muscle, an adventure that often turned up things I had completely forgotten.

Even if you don’t try write much, or you aren’t aiming to write a novel or publish, try to write down a childhood or teenage memory in detail. Maybe it’s a funny story, or a difficult time, or just something that has always stuck with you. Whatever you choose, the act of writing it down somehow makes that memory come alive in a new way. Maybe you’ll realize you learned something from that experience. Or maybe it’ll just make you laugh (and make for a good facebook post). But either way, it won’t be a waste of time.


Wednesday Writing: A New Year and a Revitalized Blog

I mean it this time. I have a Plan. And that’s Plan with a capital P, just so you know I mean business.

I’ve revamped my story excerpt pages (Click on “My Novels” at the top, or one of the novel pages to the left right under my picture) to include brief descriptions of two of my novels–including the first online appearance of Broadway High! It’s finished, edited, and going through some polishing rounds with beta readers, so I’ll start querying it as soon as I can get a synopsis written.

My new focus will be to give this blog a thrice-a-week format: Mondays will feature the main attraction—film, show, or book reviews with a focus on the romance subplot and whether or not it succeeds. Wednesdays will be about writing—sometimes this will be about my writing, other times it will be writing tips, or Grammar Nazi posts, or even agent interviews if I can get up enough courage to solicit some.  Fridays will be random, but I will post something, even if it’s just a rant about Real Estate agents and who they think they’re fooling anyway by calling a house “cozy.”


That’s my resolution, and I’m sticking to it!


*Michelle climbs back onto the face of the earth.* Whew, quite a tumble I took there wasn’t it? I haven’t posted anything new since July?? And I’ve read so many books I should review, too.

Here’s what’s coming in the next few weeks: review of the TV show “Farscape,” review of Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (yes, I was living under a rock after falling off the face of the earth, so it’s taken me awhile to get on board with the book everyone and their senile uncle has read) and a Grammar Nazi post (really, she should rename herself the Spelling Nazi, because that’s all she really harps on. *ouch* Okay, she just smacked me for finishing that sentence with a preposition. And she’s seething over this entire paragraph. Heh.)

On other news, I’ve finished the major revisions to Veiled Iron and have begun querying. I’m planning on entering a few contests, and resuming work on Broadway High (for those of you keeping track, that’s the YA musical novel). My fanfiction story is finished, and several lovely readers from that experience have volunteered to read Veiled Iron for me and give me some feedback. Yay 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!


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The changing face of high school musicals

I wrote over 4,000 words for Broadway High on Monday, and with a clearer hold on the novel as it’s taking shape, I’m re-evaluating my choice to use Guys and Dolls as the performance in the story. Currently, the forerunner to replace it is my personal favorite, Hello, Dolly! but in my research to see which of these is more overused (according to Time Magazine, Guys and Dolls is) I’ve also discovered something that I kind of suspected but never really knew: musicals at the high school level are evolving into grand spectacles of their own.

Experts seem to agree that revitalized interest in music theater among young people is partly due to the emergence of the “new family musical” in the mid 1990’s and 2000’s (Beauty and the Beast, Wicked, The Lion King). Most recently, the kindling interest caught fire with Disney’s High School Musical franchise.

In 1999 (the year I graduated from high school), the first chapter of the Cappies was founded–Tony Awards for the high school performance set. Since then, they’ve grown and now have something like 14 chapters across North America. There still isn’t a chapter in the Shenandoah Valley, but maybe there will be someday.

Now high schools are tackling Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Urinetown, and even one brave school near Chicago put on Rent a couple years ago. (Ha…can’t see Rent being performed at Broadway any time soon, but you never know). I just read an article about a school in Seattle whose big-top performance of Barnum cost $90,000 dollars to produce!

Part of me wishes Kim Tate and Holly Dickerson at Broadway High School had that kind of budget to play with, but another part of me is proud of what we did (it was Kim Tate and Scott Smith back then) and what Kim and Holly continue to do. It’s all possible with the support of parents, the community, and the sheer determination of kids fighting to produce a show that will transform cardboard walls and a budget auditorium into March magic.

So whether I go with Hello, Dolly! or Guys and Dolls, here’s to hoping I can do justice to a school that brings the glittering toil of music theater to a little country town far from the maddening crowd.

The words are always greener on the other side of the genre

I’ve only ever written novels set in some world dated at least 400 years ago. Maybe that says something unflattering about my ability to relate to the world the Good Lord plunked me down in, but in the past, whenever I read something clever and visceral set in the “now,” I always made myself feel better as a writer by dismissing it as “oh it’s easier to write the world you live in.” Or “it’s easier when you can use the swear words and expressions people say today.”

I’m writing my very first contemporary novel and it’s freaking me out.

It’s not that I don’t think I can WRITE contemporary stuff (eek what if I can’t?) I just think I might be over-thinking it a bit. It’s like an alcoholic being locked in a room full of top shelf liquor and being told he’ll be locked in there forever if he doesn’t empty the bottles in the right order. Weird analogy, but bear with me. I can’t wait to get my hands on all those words and expressions and descriptions I could never use before, but now that I’m free to do it, I’m constantly afraid I’m doing it wrong.

Part of the problem is I’m currently writing the all-important first two pages, which can always be revised/cut/rewritten later, but of course, how awesome would it be to get it right–first thing out of the starting gate.

Perfectionism, thou art my frenemy.

Snowed in & dreaming

I’m in a bit of a netherworld right now…waiting for some feedback on Veiled Iron before I induce the Heavy Edit, complete with all the different passes I blogged about a month ago. My query is also kind of in a limbo stage (I’m scheduled to get some critiques on that toward the end of the month). So what’s a writer to do when there are 2+ feet of snow on the ground outside, continuing blizzard conditions, and my mind wants to create? Why, come up with the idea for the next novel, of course.

Looks like this one will be my version of Little Women–my deviation from all the fantasy and high adventure to write what I know. And what I know is a small high school in the valley of Virginia where cheerleaders are ignored and the annual musical rules the school.

This won’t be Disney’s High School Musical. This will be about what happens after auditions divide the stars from the chorus line: the escalating expectations from one year to the next, the tears, broken toes and power tools, paint that smells like rotting eggs, and the endless hours of “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2…” There are power trips, intrigues, romances sparked and allies lost, costumes finished at 3 am, falling sets, and directors laughing so hard they lose bladder control–WHEN they aren’t threatening to cancel the show altogether. Welcome to Broadway, Virginia.

And of course, it’ll be a romance. Sound like fun? I hope it will be 🙂

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