Friday, July 30, 2010

The Chicago Manual of Style: ; ) Issues

So, last night Steph, Hot Stuff, and I were talking about the usage rules behind emoticons. You know, those little smiley or frowny faces you make with punctuation to let people know that you are, well, smiling or frowning along with what you're typing. They're like the picturades-version of "lol".

We decided it was high time there were usage rules for emoticons, contacted The Chicago Manual of Style, and are very, very pleased that our entry is making the next edition*.

EXPRESSIVE PUNCTUATION

6.99 Emoticons. Expressive punctuation to denote happiness, friendliness, teasing, anger, or sadness is communicated using a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols. Although experts are still undecided on the inclusion of noses, for example :-) versus :) or even : ) (and the less common and far more polarizing use of the "bubble nose" such as :o) or the aggravatingly off-center :0) and their ilk), most agree that, used in the correct circumstances, emoticons are an acceptable substitute for more accurate and expressive language. These circumstances are only in the most informal of written communication. For example, within a blog post or an original tweet, an emoticon should never be used. The writer should be able to express themselves adequately without resorting to an angry face >: (. However, when responding to personalized tweets or comments on the blog post in question, an emoticon as emotional shorthand is perfectly acceptable.

The other day my downstairs neighbor made the trip up to inform me that my children's habit of walking on her ceiling was simply unacceptable. Needless to say, I was a little pissed off.

Note: no emoticons were necessary or appropriate in the post itself. But an acceptable comment would be:

Mean people suck : (

To which the original poster could then reply:

I know, right? ; )

The use of the "winking" face indicates that the commenter is no longer angry and has a playful sense of humor about the whole thing, and is much easier than saying, "I know, right? But don't worry, I am no longer angry and have a playful sense of humor about the whole thing now."

Note: Emoticons are especially useful when delivering short "thank you" tweets, making them seem friendlier and less formal. Emoticons are also highly valued when delivered in the margins of an editorially reviewed manuscript.


So there you have it. Usage rules for emoticons!

I know. You wish you could sleepover and my house, too! Tomorrow night I might write an entry on the most effective uses of "Dude."

Dude.

*That's not actually true. But it ought to be.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

IT IS A REAL BOOK

ACRONYM, GUYS, IT'S A REAL BOOK.

And it's beautiful. And it's real. And I still can't quite believe it. And it's real. And I knew this day would come, but somehow it's still a shock. And now I need to go hold it some more and marvel at what a miraculous thing a book can be.

Because, guys? IT'S REAL.

**Update: For those who are new/have asked, it is officially released on August 31st, and you are more than welcome to pre-order it. Encouraged, even! Thank you for asking!

**Further Update: IT IS STILL REAL. I have been checking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Supernatural Summer

Oh, HI, internet. Guess what? Today I get her:

Steph, that is. Not Anna. But I love Steph more, because without her, there would be no Anna.

And I am very happy about this. And after I get her and we eat cookies and cupcakes and buy everything at Trader Joe's, we are going to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference up in L.A. Will you be there? (Also, yes, I will report on everything I learn. And bring lots of nail polish for manicures. And have treats on me at any given time, so if you ARE there, you should try and sit by me during lectures/classes.)

So in lieu of a post today I probably ought to get cleaning; fresh cookies on the table can only get me out of so much. (I'm figuring fresh cookies = pass on cleaning my bedroom and the kids' rooms, which still leaves the family room, kitchen, and bathroom.) (Were I to make fresh cookies AND offer a surprise HBM*, that would be a different story. Alas, I am plum out of HBMs.)

If you want to read something by me, hop on over to HarperTeen's fun blog, Supernatural Summer, where I guest posted on summer crushes. (They also have lots of polls and fun extras from their books, as well as contests--very awesome for teens, if you happen to be one. And if you aren't, it may make you wish you were.)

Otherwise, please come help me clean.

*HBM = Hot British Male, as defined by Stephanie herself. She's rather a connoisseur of them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

And the Winners Are...

Let me preface this with the fact that you are all winners.

No, seriously. You are awesome. Everyone who entered the contest made me smile--many made me laugh--and if I had enough ARCs I would send one to each and every entrant. But I don't have that many ARCs. And seriously, picking the winners? NOT. EASY. Now I remember why I always do random drawing contests. It hurts my heart not to reward everyone who took the time to participate.

Alas. That is the nature of contests.

First, we have our honorable mentions, who do not get a prize but distinguished themselves most nobly:
If I were being honest, every single entry would have made the honorable mentions, but alas, my head hurts and I can't link to that many people or it'd take all night. There were poems, photographs, jewelry, videos, you name it. And they were all awesome. Thank you!

And now, onto our first prize winners! Thanks to my generous and clever editor, I am getting three extra ARCs! The winners of a signed Paranormalcy ARC are...

Debbie (aka NerdGoddess) who not only recreated Evie's dress for a Barbie, but also made her a miniature Taser:

The dress from the cover! On a Barbie! WITH A TASER.

Guess which part my six-year-old daughter wanted to play with?
Yup. The Taser.

Angela Cason, who made an adorable trailer but won for this beautiful jewelry:


She makes stained-glass jewelry--how cool is that?? And of course the pink-and-black to match the cover!

And last but not least, Annie Cechini, who made the first non-sucky diorama in the history of dioramas!


And now, for the Grand Prize Winner, who wins a signed ARC of Paranormalcy, along with ARCs of Matched, Firelight, and Before I Fall, not to mention the Very Pink Prize Pack...

Kim Walus!

I really worried about picking a grand prize winner, but I think it's pretty obvious why she won.

Holy crap. I mean, really, just holy crap.

They even took a picture of it in the "W" section at the bookstore!

Now I need to buy a house with an office for the sole purpose of having a wall to hang that up on. (Seriously, it almost made me cry. I'm going to treasure it forever!) To see closer up details (along with her other designs), please visit Kim's blog. The woman is an artist! Amazing.

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered--all of your entries made me so happy! And don't despair if you didn't win--Paranormalcy comes out in just a few weeks. EEK.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Public Persona of a Private Life

Something weird happened to me this week.

I was at In-N-Out (no, that isn't the weird part, I live in Southern California--of course I was at In-N-Out) with my kids. It was crazy crowded (also not the weird part, again, In-N-Out, of course it was crowded) with the lunchtime rush. After finishing, I stood up from my table to refill my soda (also not the weird part, of course I was drinking Dr Pepper) when I walked past a man I'd never seen before and he said, "Is your name Kiersten?"

It's not unusual for people I don't recognize to know me. My mother-in-law knows pretty much the entire state, and people I have no memory of attended my reception, or taught my husband in scouts, or recognize that I'm a member of his family simply because my kids are dead-ringers for him and his sisters.

But...

Weird number one: He knew my first name, not my last.
Weird number two: He pronounced it correctly. (There are some people I have known for YEARS who still do not say it Keer-sten, but rather Curse-ten.)

So I smiled and said, "Umm, yes?"

And then he smiled and said, "I read your blog."

Now, this is the part where, if I were a horror writer, things would start going very, very badly. But I don't write horror, so it's all good. Turns out his name is James and he's a graphic novelist who was on his way to Comic-Con. (Hi James! Hope you're having fun and loads of people are appropriately awed by your graphic novel of awesomeness.) I was caught off guard, of course, and said something really clever like, "Wow. This has never happened to me before."

And that was pretty much that. We chatted for a few seconds, then he went on his way, I went on mine.

But when I got to the car I thought, wait a second. I didn't say anything clever. Not a single clever thing! I was so caught off-guard by being recognized at random, there wasn't a witticism for miles! And the make-up, or lack thereof...I'm not an especially vain person, but my pictures on the blog are very pretty, aren't they? And how weird was I behaving while eating with my kids and unaware someone was actually noticing me? Did I sing any songs? Because sometimes I do that. And it's weird. But my kids think it's funny. Except when they yell at me to stop. But of course I can't remember just how strange I might have been behaving, which could have been anywhere on a vast continuum of strange, because I am a stay-at-home mom to two small children and trust me, we get strange.

So suddenly I'm thinking, great, someone who reads my blog and then sees me in the wild is going to think, "Hrm. Kiersten isn't nearly as clever or pretty in person. How disappointing."

And then I thought, at least he knows I'm really this short. That fact is a constant, on- or offline.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

But it was a strange thing, unexpectedly meeting someone I don't know who could potentially know quite a bit about me. And it's got me thinking about this platform, this business of creating a public persona for oneself. I highly recommend reading Natalie's recent posts on behaving online (both very, very helpful and insightful).

Because truth is, I am not always cheerful and perky. (GASP. I KNOW!) I am not always funny. (I use it all up on you, my beloved readers. Hot Stuff can testify I am a dull as a rock come the end of the day.) I am not always kind. (Which is why I have to quickly backtrack and tell my kids that yes, it was wrong of me to yell, "IDIOT DRIVER!" at the car that nearly sideswiped me.) I do not actually speak with a lot of parenthetical statements. (Although I do interrupt myself a lot.) And I am not always as cute as my author photos have captured on film. (The hair is good, but sometimes I have bad face days.)

On the other hand, the me you see on here, while only a portion of me (because really, you don't want to hear me whine like I do to Natalie and Steph. I am an EXPERT whiner. Like, Olympic level. The competitive whining circuits have been trying to recruit me for ages, but it's just not a challenge anymore.) is still genuine. That's the most important part of having an online presence, I think. You can only fake it for so long; sooner or later the real you will out.

The secret is to pick the parts of you that translate best into writing and use those. The rest you can save for real life. (Unless you guys want me to start stressing out/obsessing to you, in which case get ready for EPICALLY long posts with very circular patterns. You'll want a more comfortable chair. And some snacks. Also, maybe a babysitter, because your kids won't see you for a while once I get going.)

So now you know. I don't wear much makeup most of the time. I call other drivers idiots. I may or may not behave strangely to entertain my kids in restaurants. I am, I hope, clever and witty on occasion, but I'm also just plain tired a lot of the time. I always try to see the bright or at least the funny side of things, but sometimes even I get worn out and discouraged.

If you ever meet me, though, you can count on one thing: I am definitely short.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back to the Beginning

I broke a book.

Well, I didn't break it. But I royally screwed it up. I took a great premise, an engaging voice, an awesome narrator and...did nothing with them. I ended up with 100 pages of meandering. Conversations. Haircuts. Watching paint dry. (Okay, not watching it dry, but putting it on the walls. No, I'm not kidding.) Nothing much happening at all.

I knew I was completely tanking this idea, so I quit. And I thought about it. And I didn't think about it. And then I thought about it some more. That's when I knew that I had to go back. I don't have any problem abandoning ideas--I've got three, or four, or five started-but-never-finished novels that I feel no compulsion whatsoever to return to. I don't even know how many story starts and characters are in my Word graveyard, because they don't talk to me anymore. They're dead.

But this character refused to die. She kept talking to me. She let me know that I butchered her voice--she isn't nearly that sullen! She'd never react that way! And I didn't even get her taste in music right. But Character, I said, I don't know what to do with you! It wasn't working! My idea didn't work, and I don't know what to do to fix it! I have all of these awesome scenes in mind, but I don't know how to get from where I started you to where those scenes are.

Character was not happy with me.

Neither was my crit partner Natalie. She kept asking about Character. I kept hemming and hawing. Finally, Natalie said, "What if in the beginning instead of X you had Y?"

And then it all clicked. I had shot Character in the foot from the very beginning by taking what I thought to be the natural plot path. That plot progression lacked any sort of narrative tension whatsoever. It was an idiot move. A complete idiot move. Six completed novels under my belt and I can still doom a manuscript within the first twenty pages!

That, my friends, is talent.

Actually, that, my friends, is writing. Sometimes we mess up. This is the worst I've ever messed up. Last night I deleted twenty-THOUSAND words. It used to be that would make my heart hurt with lost effort. Now, however, I'm excited. Those twenty-thousand words didn't work. But now I've got words building up and screaming to get out that will.

And that's also why I have an alpha reader--someone who reads my things as I write them. Because otherwise I wouldn't have had someone nagging me, someone who knew what I had and why it wasn't working. Someone to suggest just the thing to spark the idea for how it all could work.

Three cheers for Natalie!

I know not everyone uses alphas, but I can't recommend them enough. Sometimes we get so stuck in the path of how our stories "need" to be that we don't see what they can be if we'd only let them. I knew something was wrong with the story--had known from about 10k words in--but it took me to 25k to admit that it was too wrong, that nothing was going to fix it. And it took a wonderful crit partner to help me see what I needed to do to get Character back on the plot she needed to tell her story.

Character is happy. Natalie is happy. Agent Michelle is happy. I am happy and excited about a project for the first time in a what feels like a very long time.

Writing is hard, and it's very easy to mess up (I never make the same mistake twice--I come up with new and innovative ways to screw up every time!), but that's the glory of first drafts--the delete key can be our very best friend. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go argue with Character about why, exactly, she is forcing me to listen to The Cure and Passion Pit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, HI. It's ME! Again!

Today I have a special treat! Remember last October when I went to New York and was able to meet Amazing Editor Erica (ahem, sorry, I mean Amazing Senior Editor Erica--she got promoted! YAY ERICA) and Utterly Fabulous Agent Michelle (who also promoted herself to CEO and Queen of Wolfson Literary Agency) (or if she didn't, she should immediately, and print new business cards)? While there I filmed an interview. And...here it is!

Paranormalcy ARC: Wait.

Kiersten: Umm, hey, Paranormalcy. What's up?

PA: No offense, but you've been talking about me a LOT lately.

K: Oh. I guess I have, haven't I?

PA: Yeah. And as flattering as it is, isn't your blog about more than just me?

K: Of course it is! But HarperTeen is releasing all of these cool multi-media things, the trailer, the podcast, and now the interview. It's really exciting and I want to share them with people!

PA: Is that the only reason?

K: ...yes...

PA: Really?

K: Okay, fine, I'm exhausted and lazy and these make for easy posts. I'm letting HarperTeen do my job for me.

PA: I'm glad you're admitting as much.

K: Speaking of confessing things, weren't you hanging out around my computer the other day? And why do I suddenly have 53 pre-orders for Anna and the French Kiss on my Amazon account?

PA: You should totally post that video now! Your sweater looks awesome.

K: Mmm hmmmm. We'll talk about your access to my credit cards after. With no further ado, I give you my Author Video!




PA: Umm, you aren't going to cancel those orders, are you?

K: I already have it ordered. We only need one.

PA: Are you REALLY going to share Etienne St. Clair with me?

K: Okay, maybe we need two.

PA: I love you.

K: I love you, too.

PA: I'm glad they only filmed you waist-up, though. This way no one knows your feet hung four inches above the ground!

K: Or at least they didn't until now.

PA: Remember how I love you?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Goals

(GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLS! [insert that annoying angry-mob-of-bees-sound-here])

There is nothing quite so annoying as sitting down with a teacher/guidance counselor/employer and having them ask you what your goals are.

Examples:

High school goal: To get out of this place alive, with my sanity intact, and get into a college where no one knows me or cares how smart I am. Also where there are a lot more boys to flirt with.*

Pointless job in college goal: To make enough money so that my husband and I will be able to eat out once a week, then graduate and forget I ever worked here except when the same calling center calls me asking for donations, and then laugh and wax nostalgic at the fact I'll never have to do that again and agree to donate.

But today I'm going to ask you to sit down with me (umm, metaphorically or imaginarily, because I am sitting in a rocking chair and there is definitely not room for both of us. Also, I am still in my pajamas, so I would not open the door if you knocked) and think about what your goals are as a writer. Or as a person in general if you aren't a writer. Because you don't have to be a writer. (For the record, being a writer is AWESOME. It is also really hard, and there are a lot of other awesome things to be. Like a pastry chef. And if your goal is to become the world's best pastry chef, my new goal is to live next door to you.)

A while back the luminous Aprilynne Pike posted on what her goals as a writer were. She didn't specifically say what hers were, the point being that you simply had to know what yours were. It's very easy in this industry to catch the "not enoughs." Because in a way it will never be enough. Someone is always going to get agented faster than you. Someone is always going to have a bigger deal that you. Someone is always going to have cooler opportunities, or more marketing and publicity, or more buzz. Someone is always going to have a better cover. (Fortunately that's one area I've never had to be jealous of anyone else in. Love, love, love my cover designers!) Someone is always going to win more awards and be higher regarded. Someone is always going to make more money.

If you never know what your goals are, it will never, ever, EVER be enough. I promise. So decide now what your benchmarks for success are.

I have several. One of them is sales-related, and I'm not going to talk about that one. (Although I am doing everything I can to do my part to make it happen, I try not to focus on it.)

But my other goals I'm willing to share.

1) Be someone publishers want to work with. I always try to be professional, I try to do everything I can to make my publishers' jobs easier, and I always, always make my deadlines. Along with this comes writing the highest quality books I can so that we can both be proud of this product we've made together. I also make sure that my online presence is never something that would embarrass my publisher, and that I only speak of them in the highest terms of praise. Which isn't hard, because HarperTeen has been nothing but an absolute joy to work with. They make that part really easy.

2) Be someone people want to read. I write fairly commercial books--I want them to appeal to as many people as possible. I have no issues with this. Someday I will write a crazy, niche book that most people will not want to read, but for now my goal is to find the biggest audience I can and make them happy.

3) Create a sustainable career. This goes along with the first two. I love what I do. I'm amazed on a daily basis that I get to do it and get paid for it. It's so incredible it almost doesn't seem fair. With that in mind, I want to do this for the rest of my life. I try to plan beyond what's happening right now to make sure that I always have something else in the works, that my fabulous agent and I have an action plan for at least a year in advance, and that I'm continuing to learn and grow as a writer so I'll be able to continue to write things that I enjoy writing and you will (hopefully) enjoy reading.

4) Be someone's favorite author. This one's a little different. I want someone--anyone--out there (hopefully a teenage girl) to love my book so much that when someone asks her what her favorite book is, she'll say without hesitation, "Paranormalcy!" That's all. It doesn't have to be thousands or even hundreds or even dozens of people. Just one person. I think that'd make my whole career worth it.

5) See someone reading my book on the beach. This probably falls more under the realm of daydream than goal, but every time I go to the beach and see people reading, this little flutter in my stomach starts and I think, "How amazing would that be, to see someone reading something I wrote?" And then I would run over to them, but I'd accidentally kick sand on them so they'd be annoyed, and then I'd start babbling about their book and how I wrote it and I'd probably start crying I'd be so happy, and they'd think, "This crazy woman in board shorts, ugly beach hair, and sunburned skin looks nothing like the polished, pristine woman in the author photo." And then they'd get scared and start screaming and the lifeguards would come over and I'd probably get tased.

Which, given Evie's weapon of choice, would be poetically hilarious.

What? You don't have daydreams where you accidentally terrify people and are attacked with a Taser? Huh. Maybe your goal should be to get a better imagination, because nothing says Author Daydream like being violently electrocuted.

Anyway. Those are my main goals. (Except the Taser part. I don't really want that to happen. Promise. Please don't tase me in the name of making my dreams come true, because I would totally prosecute you and we would not be friends.)

And, for the most part, they are things that are up to me. That's important in setting goals--make sure they are things YOU control. You can't control sales. You can't control being nominated for or winning awards. You can control what you do and what you write to make those things more likely to happen, though. So focus on what you can control, decide what your goals as an author (aspiring author/pastry chef/world's foremost expert on rare evolution type Pokemon/professional beach Taser operator) are, and then figure out what you can do to make them happen.

As for me, my newest goal is to think of an author daydream in which I do not end up twitching on the sand.
*This goal of being a massive flirt lasted until I met Hot Stuff seven days after I moved to college, at which point my only goal became: GET HIM TO DATE ME. Nine years later and I am still succeeding.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Titles and Trailers and...Some Other Third Thing that Starts with T

I was trying to think of some clever preamble, but really, JUST WATCH:


The awesomeness! The awesomeness! And I can say that without being arrogant because I had nothing to do with this video (other than writing the book, of course). It was all the genius team at HarperTeen!

I'll wait while you watch it again.

And now you take a turn waiting while I watch it again.

Wasn't that fun? Gosh, how cool is my life? Don't answer that. It was rhetorical. But if it weren't rhetorical, we would hold hands and jump up and down shrieking, "OH MY GOSH SO COOL AAAAAAAAAAAH!" and it would scare the children, which is why we will leave it as a rhetorical question.

In other OH MY GOSH SO COOL AAAAAAAAAAH news, remember that book that comes after Paranormalcy? The one I've been ever-so-cleverly referring to as The Sequel?

It has a title.

I give you:

SUPERNATURALLY

Life's never fair when faeries are involved. Coming in Fall 2011!

Okay, screw rhetorical answers and please jump up and down with me! For some reason having an Official Title makes it feel so much more real than it was before. I'd like to thank Editor Extraordinaire Erica and also my fabulous design team, as this was very much a joint effort. My last edit of Supernaturally (AH! I don't have to call it The Sequel anymore!) had an old title with a subtitle of "Or some other, better title" beneath. Thank heavens we can now take that off.

And a huge bonus: since my titles are, well, LONG, I often refer to Paranormalcy as Para. Which means Supernaturally will be shortened to Super. Which will be very good for my self-esteem to constantly refer to my book as Super.

So, I hope you have a SUPER DAY. And that you don't feel too awkward now that we've held hands and jumped up and down screaming together.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You Can't Kill the Undead: Or, Paranormal Romance Isn't Going Anywhere

I've been thinking a lot about why the paranormal genre has gotten so big, and just what, exactly, teenagers and people in general find so appealing about these books. So today, I'm going to talk to you about...

LOVE. TRUE LOVE.

My opinion on why paranormal romance in YA is so popular and isn't going anywhere is this: it's the ultimate metaphor for teenage romance.

(Yup, metaphor. Finally, my BA in English is paying off! I'm going to perform literary analysis on an entire genre.)

Remember when you were a teenager and that guy/girl was both the object of your affection (okay, obsession, because admit it, you totally doodled his/her name all over your notebooks, and you had elaborate daydreams involving nothing more than an imagined conversation and how it would go and what you would say and how that would then make him/her realize that he/she was desperately in love with you and then...but you could never really get past that part because you weren't sure what would happen or what you wanted to happen, so best just to go back to the conversation and make it even better, and make yourself sound even cleverer and flirtier and then, dude, STOP OBSESSING I NEED TO GET ON WITH THIS BLOG POST) and a source of constant, agonizing frustration?

Because you liked that boy/girl to distraction. But you did. not. understand them. What made them tick? Why did they always wear that particular sweatshirt on Tuesdays? What did the initials written in sharpie on their backpack mean? What on earth were they thinking and how could you ever, ever get to the point where you knew whether or not they liked you, too? And even if you did miraculously get to that point, how would you know that you didn't like them more than they liked you? How would you know whether or not your relationship would last until the next dance or until FOREVER?

Why couldn't it just be easy?

This agony, this feeling that truly connecting with your crush was impossible, stemmed from the idolization of the Other. That person was so foreign, such a mystery, it made you want them even more and terrified you that it was impossible to ever get them. The biggest obstacle of all was the sheer OTHERness of the object of your affection. It was almost like they were a different species...

(Did you see that transition? Genius. Clearly my skills of critical analysis have not faded over the years of watching Baby Einstein and Pokemon.)

And what is more Other than a vampire? Or a werewolf? Or a faerie-fallen angel-yeti-kraken-shapeshifter-cyclops?

What the paranormal genre does is take that sense of the Other and magnify it. We take all of the fear and all of the passion and all of the obstacles and blow them to life and death proportions.

Because admit it. When you had that crush, sometimes it felt like life and death, didn't it? When you take those delicious emotions and you turn it into literal life and death--not just if you aren't together you won't go to the dance but if you are together your parents might not approve, but rather, if you are together, one of you will die, or if you aren't together, one of you will die, or if you are kind of together, one of you will kill the other one (healthy relationships, all of these, by the way), or if you are together, THE WHOLE WORLD WILL DIE but you don't care because you love each other SO MUCH that nothing will stop you because love will find a way!--you've just taken what normal teenagers feel anyway and given it a kick-butt plot. And occasionally sparkles.

YA paranormal romance takes that tendency toward idolization of the Other and legitimizes it, romanticizes it, and affirms to teenagers (and adults) that yes, love is hard or even impossible, but it's also worth it.

(Man, is anyone else really feeling the need for an eighties Power Ballad right now? No? Okay.)

Sure, your 3rd period crush might not give you the time of day yet, but if plain and boring Bella can snag sparkly and eternal Edward, you are RIGHT. Your friends might not get along with your boyfriend, but if Sam and Grace can figure out how to keep him from turning into a wolf when the temperature gets too cold, you are RIGHT. Your parents might give you a ridiculously early curfew making it impossible to date your boyfriend, but if Clary can love Jace and then find out he's actually her brother and then love Simon but not be able to get over her feelings for Jace but then find out that Jace isn't actually her brother so it's okay if she loves him again even though their father (well, her father, not his, or is he?) is trying to use their magic to control the world and turns out Simon's a vampire anyway which makes Isabel want him again even though she originally didn't think he was good enough, then...you are probably really confused. But RIGHT.

Because in the YA paranormal world, love conquers all. It conquers species. It conquers curses. It conquers death, and undeath, and re-death, and any other kind of death you can think of. It bridges the gap between heaven and hell, and it conquers the greatest divide of all: the one between you and that other person.

Because that person you love? Will always be Other. They might not be a fallen angel or a vampire or a leprechaun, but they might as well be. And that's why I think so many people can't get enough of this stuff. Odd as it may sound for a genre populated with fantastic creatures and wild plotlines, people relate--people want what's been captured.

Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl can't possibly understand each other or ever be together.

Boy and girl somehow manage to do just that.

Add fur, add fangs, add feathers, and it all amounts to the same thing: a really great story. A true story.

The end.