I think coming up with a cast for your book is a great exercise. Just like pinning ideas on a pinterest page, it helps you determine qualities of your characters and brainstorm traits you didn’t think about.
I put together a cast for my book currently posted on Kindle Scout, The Light of Supremazia! It’s about kids who can see spirits and attend a high school run by famous dead people.
Jules Winklevoss would be played by Kiernan Shipka, also known as Sally Draper from the Mad Men series. Just like Jules Winklevoss, she can be tough, brave, snotty, and vulnerable at the same time.
Jules has two best friends at Vita Post Mortem Academy. Dahlia Langdon is the shy and awkward friend who grew up in a prestigious, broken family. She would be played by Ariel Winter from Modern Family.
Jules’s other best friend, Logan Klomp, is a know-it-all, lovesick half-Asian dude who doesn’t care about fitting in. He would be played by Nickelodeon’s Ryan Potter.
Jules’s equally brazen, but less approachable, sister, Sharpee Winklevoss would be played by Emma Watson. Honestly, I picked Emma because she looks a bit like Kiernan, and of course I loved her as Hermione.
Sharpee’s best (and only) friend is Chase Hastings, a rich kid, living in his older brother Ryder Hastings the Third‘s perfect shadow. Chase and Ryder would be played by Nash Overstreet (from the band Hot Chelle Rae) and Chord Overstreet (Glee).
Social circles exist throughout our lives, but are most prominent and frustrating in high school. When writing a young adult fantasy book, this can’t be overlooked.
As I edit my next book series about kids in high school who can see ghosts, I have been thinking about these social circles. Navigating the many forms can be tricky, just check the convoluted social map in the movie Mean Girls.
John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink is a great example. Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who has a crush on one of the “richie,” preppy boys in her school, Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy).
Another classic example is Grease. Danny Zucco (John Travolta), a bad-boy greaser, is a member of the T-Birds, while the girl of his dreams, Sandy Olsen (Olivia Newton-John) is a cheerleader.
In my series, (after)life lessons, Logan is very candid about the social hierarchy at Vita Post Mortem Academy:
“There are three unofficial school alliances that determine where you fall in the school’s social hierarchy, but don’t worry; attend important events and make the right friends, and you’ll be set for the next four years.” His words dripped with sarcasm.
There is something exhilarating about happening upon a blip of a fantasy world in everyday life. For a fraction of a second you believe you have actually been transported to an alternative universe, or the secret world was there all along, and miraculously, you managed to get a glimpse of it. Are talented authors taking everyday experiences and making you believe it’s special? Or is life imitating art? I don’t know the answer to that, but I love stepping into my favorite fantasy realm, and I try to do it as often as possible.
I looked for Percy Jackson in front of the St. Louis Arch!
I attempted to get into the Ministry of Magic from a phone booth!
I fought the mist at the Lotus Room so I could get back to Camp Half-Blood!
Finding fantasy in everyday life is a thrill. That’s what I hope to create in my next series (after)life lessons! Check the first beta review I received from an 8th grader! Comment if you would like to be a beta reader!
Either my brain is hardwired to relate everything in life to Harry Potter, or the world of magic is real. I vote for the latter.
Maybe wizards will reveal themselves to the global population like vampires in the True Blood series. A girl can dream.
…or maybe that’s a terrific idea for a new book series.
Anyway, did you pick out these similarities? Looks like Spain’s Olympians thought the first event was quidditch.
Or how about the Hogwarts Express? I bet it was headed for Platform nine and three quarters.
Did you catch the thestrals? Maybe you didn’t see them because you didn’t witness death.
One of these days, you’ll be picking out creatures and costumes from (after)life lessons. My new book series, coming soon!
Think it’s difficult to get into Harvard? Try Vita Post Mortem Academy, where John F. Kennedy teaches social studies and Albert Einstein gives physics lectures. Of course, there’s no hope getting in if you can’t see ghosts. …not a problem for Juliandra Winklevoss.
Yesterday, I ventured to a new lunch spot and tasted onigiri for the first time. As I bit into the delicious sushi-like sandwich, I couldn’t help but think about Lord of the Rings and their Elvin bread, Lembas.
ONIGILLY [Oh-Knee-Ghee-Lee] is a traditional Japanese fast food known as onigiri, or rice balls, that dates back over 2,300 years. Samurai carried these rice balls with them during war for a quick meal…sound familiar?
“Eat little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall men of Minas Tirith.“—The Fellowship of the Ring, “Farewell to Lorien“
Don’t be mad. I just googled the band, Mötley Crüe. I know its a heavy metal band formed some time in the 80s, but why were they a “motley crew?” One picture solved the mystery for me:
Don’t be surprised, but this is where I relate Mötley Crüe to young adult fantasy books.
I’ve been doing lots of research on character introductions and came to the realization that most of my favorite books have some sort of motley crew – a group of underdogs who beat all odds and save the day.
The obvious one is Harry Potter. Wasn’t Luna a little looney? Neville Longbottom accident-prone? And Ginny Weasley just a little girl? But you loved the ragtag bunch.
Percy Jackson wasn’t any better – his best friend was a satyr and his brother was a cyclops.
Don’t even get me started on Lord of the Rings.
How about the New Directions in Glee? Definitely your standard geeky bunch.
Well, my next book series starts the same way – a mismatched gaggle of kids, looking for a brave leader, getting into trouble, and of course, attending a school taught by famous ghosts. Look for it soon, called (after)life lessons.
I feel like real life isn’t so different. Didn’t everyone in San Francisco cheer for the 49ers?
I take jazz classes with a talented teacher named Ann twice a week. There are a group of us who joined about a year ago. We started in the back of the class, our own version of a motley crew, tripping through combinations and embarrassing ourselves. Through dedication and hard work, we improved. Most recently, the teacher suggested we stand in the front of the room. I felt like my own personal underdog, able to keep up with her challenging routines and perform next to beautiful dancers without missing a beat. [Perhaps I’ll attache a video soon!]