Ode to Willow and Ron and Graystripe…

You might be a sidekick if…

The new girl in town just rescued you from a vampire.
• The ancient/secret prophecy is actually about that other guy.
• The camera crews following you around…are pointed at your best friend.
• You find yourself saying: "Gee whiz, Superman!" a lot.
• The other folks on the island don”t seem to be telling you everything. (Did somebody say…polar bears?)
• Bad guys keep kidnapping you so they can force the hero to do their bidding.

(However, if you discover that your superpowered best friend is actually on a mission to rule the world, not save it, that means you”re not a sidekick — you”re a minion. And nobody wants to be a minion! Run! Run to the good guys and spill all your master”s secrets!)

Don’t forget to check out my Daily Blog entry at HarperTeenFanLit today, if you’re interested. I wrote about sidekicks and supporting characters, because it gave me a chance to mention Logan Echolls, who actually started on Veronica Mars as a supporting character but has become more of a romantic lead, and also, is super hot.

I wish there had been something like this HarperTeen FanLit contest when I was a kid. Not that we had computers or the internet in Paraguay, where I mostly grew up, so I’m afraid it would have been a much more complicated process involving letters and envelopes and international stamps, and my entry would probably have had to travel by llama, so the likelihood of it ever reaching the publishers would have been slim.

(Nor did we have TV, actually. We could either watch TV in Spanish, or our one movie of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (the absolute silliest musical in history), or the same three tapes of Sesame Street and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that our kindly grandmother recorded and sent to us from the US, figuring her deprived grandchildren needed a little American culture.)

(Of course I consider this lack of television growing up to be the root cause of my current TV obsession. I mean, could there be any other explanation? )

I have to say I’m psyched about the Paranormal storyline getting chosen. The others were awesome, too (I absolutely love Romance), but I think there’s a lot of potential for cool twists when the supernatural is involved. True, you have to stick to the storyline the Harper editors came up with, but there’s room for creativity in there — like giving someone else powers too, or including a romantic twist (Max is a vampire! She should be with the guy in the mirror instead!), or taking her into another world (I liked the one I read where she stepped into the mirror at the end…that could go anywhere!).

Unfortunately, as a guest author it looks like I can’t actually read all the submissions, because I’m not a teen, so I can’t vote on them (which makes sense). But I’ve been reading a couple of the ones people posted in the Discussion Forums, and they’re SO cool! It’s interesting to see how some elements pop up over and over again, and yet how good writers can make them different and fun.

Also, even though they’re stuck with a draconian word limit, some writers have managed to slip in some really great character descriptions or small details that stand out. For instance, I spotted this description that I really liked, from filbertmm (I hope I got that right):

"Hey Jane," yelled a loud voice from three feet away. Jane turned to see a girl who would make an excellent Candy-Coated-Candice.
"Hey Candice," Jane yelled back–equaling the unwarranted number of decibels.
"Cool party, huh?"
Candice was a freshmen, like Jane. They shared a desk in biology, had lockers right next to each other, and had a crush on the same boy. Otherwise, they had nothing in common.

Cute! What a great way to get us hooked really quickly. I’m intrigued — a crush on the same boy? That can’t be going anywhere good (for Jane…but probably somewhere interesting for the readers!).

Anyway, I can’t wait to read the winners!

As I was writing about the FanLit contest last week, I realized that I haven’t written anything in this blog about my favorite book that I’ve read maybe this whole year: Good Girls, by Laura Ruby (one of the judges in the contest).

It’s a BRILLIANT book. It’s so funny and smart and sexy and heartbreaking, and you can’t help but love all the characters, especially Audrey and Luke (much to my surprise -– I expected Luke to be the bad guy, but you end up liking him, too). The whole book is an excellent example of someone writing awesome supporting characters (and awesome everything else, too). If you haven’t read it, you definitely definitely should.

In other news, last night’s Amazing Race featured something so appalling that it may well have finally convinced me never to try out for this show. The contestants who took the Fast Forward had to eat…COW LIPS! Seriously! The lips of a cow! I never even thought about a cow having lips, let alone anyone eating them. EEEEEEEUUUUUUGH. And then they didn’t even get to the Pit Stop first. That was out of control. I am totally going to have cow lip nightmares.

Also out of control: Lincoln getting caught by the police again on Prison Break last week. MAN. That guy seriously needs to listen to Michael, like, ALL the time! Why he ever does anything except what Michael says is beyond me. If I had a genius organizing my escape from the country — one who has already totally succeeded at getting me out of prison in the first place, despite all the ways my natural idiocy managed to nearly thwart him — I think I’d probably quit arguing with him, wouldn’t you? My goodness. Frakking Lincoln.

All right, enough yammering. Good luck to all the writers who submitted first chapters in the contest! And in honor of today being the submission deadline…

Quote of the Day: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” — Douglas Adams