Thursday, August 19, 2010

Five Bucks at the Mall and a Mini-Writerly Moment

I was at the mall with my little sister (my other little sister, not the one from the Beach-Day-From-Hell [see the post BEFORE the last one. *shudder*]), and while we were there I had a mini-writerly moment...

First, a little about my sister. Like the previously mentioned sister, she is also awesome, also into clothes, but unlike my other sister, this one counter-acts the mojo that makes crazy things go wrong on family trips. Seriously, when we all went beach camping a few weeks ago, nothing crazy happened throughout the whole weekend!! Unheard of! Until we were getting ready to leave and she drove off first. Then there was craziness but ANYWAY, a story for another time people. The bottom line is, this little sister has a calming effect on the world.

So, the mall. We didn't have a reason for going to the mall other than to talk and hang out. We decided that this time, we would have a strict five-dollar rule, because otherwise talking and hanging out could get really expensive (as we've learned before *sad, sad sigh* *cringes, pushing away bills*).

At first we joked about what we could possibly find for five dollars at the mall, but really, finding something for five dollars is not the hard part; the hard part is knowing that once your five dollars is spent, you have no more money to play with. It became like a game... bracelets or hair clips from Claire's Accessories? How about something from Old Navy? Flip-flops, tops, stuff on clearance? Then there were random small shops with eyeshadow and nail polish, or layered tank undershirts... and The Disney Store-- haha, our favorite store ALWAYS-- had clearance ball caps for under five dollars, plus a bunch of little things that so rocked, like a keychain viewfinder and sparkly princess lip gloss!! We couldn't decide! It was an embarrassment of under five dollar riches!

We had a ridiculously good time trying on sunglasses and whatever else we could find-- everything under five bucks was manhandled and used for our sarcastic amusement-- but in the end we spent our precious cash at... wait for it... waaaait for it...

The Sweet Factory.

Candy. YES, we spent it on candy. Pointless? Maybe. As Charlie said in Willy Wonka, candy doesn't have to have a point. That's why it's candy. Hanging out with my sister was the point *gasp* and we both didn't care about buying more crap we didn't really need. So that's when I had this mini-writerly moment.

At SCBWI one of the workshop presenters emphasized the importance of character development. One way to check this in your story is to see if what your character WANTS at the beginning of the book is what they NEED at the end of the book. As I munched on strawberry cheesecake jellybeans and sour peach rings, I realized my sister and I had semi-illustrated this. At first we wanted to spend five dollars, but through the course of the day we realized we didn't NEED to spend the five dollars. We just needed to be together *sniff sniff* *group hug*

Had we known this in the beginning, we might have just stayed home to talk and hang out on the sofa, but would we have had as much fun? No!! The same with our characters. If they knew what they need at the beginning of the story, they might not go through the whole crazy adventure in the book we're writing, but that's what makes it fun. They get to figure it out.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


  1. Today you're like that old man from the Karate Kid. I so heart you.

  2. love the writerly advice and the glimpses into your life. Sounds so fun. I should hang with my sisters more often.

  3. OMG! I just had an "AH HA" moment with my WIP! YESYESYES! Thank you Di!!!!!!!! *dances away to write it down before I forget it*

  4. Tina- I heart you too Tina!!!!! ***HUGS***

    Mary- I do have a lot of fun with my sisters. They crack me up :)

    Melissa- I LOVE those moments!! I wish I had more of them...