Hello, My Name is Susan, and I am a Marshmallow

I’m not exaggerating when I say that there are days I’d much rather spend with fictional people than real ones (with a few very special exceptions). And one of the fictional characters I LoVe most is Veronica Mars, a snarky, adorable, wicked-smart teenage PI.

When Rob Thomas and Kristin Bell started a campaign to raise money to make a Veronica Mars movie, I didn’t even have to think about supporting it. In fact, it was more like “Shut up and take my money!” As a backer, I’ve got my t-shirt, my stickers, and my poster (not to mention the digital download and DVD that will come my way in the coming days/months). Plus my name is on the official movie website, which kinda kicks ass.



And now the movie is finally in theaters. And my girls and I are going tomorrow in our backer shirts (Krysti and me), LoVe shirt (Lindsay), and Mars Investigations shirt (Erin) to fangirl all over the place for characters we have loved (and missed) for years. I have all sorts of faith in these writers and actors to do these characters justice. And to give LoVe the happy ending they need. Team Logan all the way.


Masters of Dialogue

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As a writer, I draw a lot of inspiration from television. That’s not to say that books don’t also have considerable influence ‘cause c’mon, you’ve seen my verging-on-needing-a-straightjacket book fangirling. But there are certain shows and show creators who, in my mind, are some of the best storytellers around. I worship at the feet of Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me), Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls, Bunheads), Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars and Cupid), Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly) and Greg Berlanti (Everwood).


While they all had a staff of super-talented writers to back them up, they are the brains behind the characters I adore. They made girls who were snarky and quippy and smart and kick ass. They made bad boys good (ahem, Logan Echolls) and good boys swoon-worthy (hello, Piemaker). They made parents who gave a shit (Papa Mars walked through fire for his girl!) and friends who were fiercely loyal (Wallace, Lane, Hannah, I’m looking at you!).


And they instilled in me an epic love of dialogue. Man, do these writers know how to turn an f-ing phrase. If you don’t believe me, go watch five minutes of any of the shows above. That’s all it will take to recognize their brilliance. I’ll wait.


Okay, no, I won’t ‘cause once you get five minutes into any of those shows, you won’t come back until you’ve mainlined every season available. Just trust me on this.


But all of that’s to say that what gets me most excited about writing a scene is how the characters react to each other. What they say, how they say it, what physical movements go along with those words and the tone. Sometimes one line of dialogue in my head is enough to spark an entire scene or spin the plot in a whole new direction. Dialogue tells me who the characters are at their cores. And it gives me the opportunity to be snarky (okay, maybe I don’t need an excuse for that!) and funny and brave and bitchy and coy and angry and intense. And a whole mess of other things that I tend to keep hidden behind my antisocial shell (at least from the general masses).


So, as I get ready for Friday (let the NaNo games begin!), I’m remembering what I love about each of these shows, these characters and hoping what I write will be half as smart as they are.  And I’ll be doing it in VMars style, ’cause this came in the mail today:



A long time ago, we used to be friends

Hell, who am I kidding? We’re still friends, VMars.  And I miss you like crazy.  And Logan, and Papa Mars, and Wallace, and Mac.

I cried the night VMars went off the air (and got a little more than slightly drunk).  I’ve spent two Christmases alone with seasons 1 and 2 while my husband worked. I compare all book/TV boyfriends to Logan Echolls. I donated to get this show on the big screen. You should too. Like now.