An early sketch for the cover of my futuristic novel A CRACK IN THE SKY by the amazing artist Per Haagensen
Some thoughts for writers:
In some ways the writerly concept called “world building” is just another way of saying “writing”. Still, no matter your story’s genre, taking the time to think through and organize some of the story-world’s details and rules up front can help keep the story coherent, consistent and feeling ‘real’ (and save you lots of rework time later). Whether you’re writing sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary realistic, or any other flavor of fiction (or non-fiction, for that matter), the following non-exhaustive list of considerations is intended only as thought-starters as you begin to organize and plan.
What is your story’s world?
A Few Questions/Considerations
Place and Time:
When and where does the story take place? An current-day town on an ordinary day? Future Earth? Another planet? An imagined ‘Almost-Earth’? A suburban garage? Somewhere else?
What is the geography? Terrain?
What is the climate?
Is it a time/place that really existed? Is it totally imagined? Where do the real and imaged overlap?
I was interviewed by kids from the school newspaper at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School in Franklin, MA on 1/31/2013. Coolness… (But I’m not sure what took me so dang long to get rid of that pizza plate.) 🙂
When I was a teenager music was a big part of my life. It still is. But there’s something about the music we listen to when we’re in our teens that sets it apart, it seems to me. At that age music is more than just music, it’s a statement about who we are. We have lots of time for it—at least I did. Time to sit around and listen to a new album, taking in each song, track by track, lick by lick, lyric by lyric, over and over. Absorbing it until it becomes not only a part of us, but the soundtrack of that pivotal chapter in our lives.
I turned thirteen in 1979, so for me it was Talking Heads, The Cars, The Clash, Elvis Costello, the B-52s, The Pretenders, Madness. These sounds (and many others) are now like my own personal time machines, emotionally evocative with a specific power no other music could ever have for me. Even now when I listen to “Planet Claire” by the B-52s or “My City Was Gone” by the Pretenders, I’m a teenager again in a way that simply never happens when I listen to other music, even great music, that wasn’t of that era in my life.
But the music of our teens is more than just a source of nostalgia—and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this. In ways large and small, the soundtrack of those years actually affected who I became. Really.
Yesterday I was in Madison, NJ and ran into a family friend, 8 year old Tanasia K., a singer, dancer, actress, and big-time Lemonade Mouth fan, who told me that her friends never believe her when she says she knows me and my family. Here you go, Tanasia – evidence. She told me that once I post this picture she could show it to her friends and say, “Ba-BAM! Proof!” So, let’s all say it together:
Without a word we started walking along the water together, Olivia and me. The tide was going out, and after a few steps we took off our shoes and let the waves roll over our feet in the soft wet sand. There was a sailboat in the distance. Behind it, a line of pink puffy clouds looked like the castle wall of a faraway country. We stopped to look.
“Do you ever feel lonely, Wen?” she asked. “Like we’re just small parts in a giant, complicated universe?”
“I’m not lonely,” I said. “I’m here with you.”
She blinked at me. Then something unexpected happened. She reached out and touched my cheek, staring right into my eyes, and kissed me. And I kissed back. It was a real kiss, soft gentle and quiet, the kind that gets your blood rushing and your head spinning, and when it was done I just stood there, surprised, looking at her, focusing on every inch of her face.
And she was looking back at me.
– From Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up
Do you ever have moments where you feel like we’re all just small parts of a complicated universe? Or do you think its better to live life moment by moment without wondering or worrying? Let me know your thoughts! – MPH
“YARN: You have your very own YouTube channel, tweet regularly, and post often on your website. Do you feel that these are now required extensions of your profession? Is this more so in YA or just a general shift in contemporary literature? Do you think social media creates more of a bond between author and reader?
MPH: This is yet another area in which I’m by no means an expert. I just do what feels natural and right by connecting with readers online. I appreciate the power the Internet brings in enabling authors like myself to hear from and speak with those who wish to connect with me.”
– An except from YARN’s interview with Mark Peter Hughes
Incredible but true: The LM cast speak out for the new LM2 book Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up! I’m very grateful to the cast of the movie, who were not only kind enough to make a new song and video just for the new LM book (which comes out TODAY!) but they also made these special photo & video messages for me. What nice people, huh? (Stay tuned… more on the way!)
“The novels of Mark Peter Hughes…provide us with pure fun.” – The Young Adult Review Network
Sometimes as readers we forget that YA can be fun. Sure, we enjoy discussing its technical and literary components, but YA is often at its best with some gleeful enjoyment thrown into the mix. The novels of Mark Peter Hughesoffer both the joys and tribulations of being a young adult and provide us with pure fun as well.
Mark Peter Hughes ’95G is in a good place: His young adult novel, Lemonade Mouth, masterfully told in the voices of five high school outcasts who form a band, was made into a Disney Channel movie musical. His family received star treatment on the set and he even appears on the screen — dressed as a bee. The movie was a huge hit and boosted book sales. A sequel… (read more)
Local Author Talks Family, Movies and the ‘Lemonade Mouth’ Sequel
by Brooklyn Lowery, Wayland Patch, 10/20/2012
Lemonade. It’s a perfect summertime drink, the staple of kids’ front-yard stands everywhere and, for one Wayland man, a key ingredient in his recipe for literary success.
In 2007, Mark Peter Hughes’ book, “Lemonade Mouth,” hit bookstores – and the Hughes family hit the road in a billboard of a car, traveling the country to spread the word about a misfit group of high school freshmen who formed a band called Lemonade Mouth. Now, five years and one Disney Channel movie later, Hughes… (continue reading…)