Tag Archives: Olivia Twisted

TWIST AND BOUNCE: How a story got twisted

25 Sep

I’m kind of mad at my fellow Chick Tracey because she already came up with the idea to cheat and use TWIST and BOUNCE in one post. *stamps around pouting*

Okay, so I’m not really mad. It just shows we’re brilliant (or that we put things off–in my case, WAY off)!

OLIVIA TWISTED debuts in less than two months! *Cue freaking out*

This month, I thought I’d share some of the ways I twisted the original characters of OLIVER TWIST to make it a contemporary story, giving you a little insight to the world of OLIVIA TWISTED.

CHARACTERS

Olivia (Liv) Westfield (Oliver Twist)
Olivia, like Oliver, is an orphan. While Oliver lived his young life in a workhouse, Olivia is raised in the foster care system. Like Oliver, she yearns for love and, regardless of a rough life, is still innocent at heart. But though Oliver never really did anything illegal on his own, Olivia made some wrong choices. Sometimes making the wrong choices helps guide a person to making the right ones later.

Z (The Artful Dodger)
I think I might’ve had a tiny crush on the Artful Dodger when I was a little kid and saw the movie Oliver! Just a tiny one, mind you, before I realized he probably should take a bath. So maybe that influenced my decision to make Z the hot bad boy who rides a Ducati. But I always liked how the Artful Dodger took Oliver in hand and was a friend to him (albeit a friend with underhanded motives). I thought this was the perfect opportunity to brew a romance with Liv (I like brewing things, you know). His internal turmoil begins when he starts thinking about someone else besides himself for once in his life.

Nancy (Fagin/Nancy)
Oh, poor Nancy from the original story—what a horrible hand she was dealt in life. Seriously. But I really liked her and the way she fought against everything to help Oliver, even though it led to her demise. I made her the “mom” of the Monroe Street gang because I always thought she deserved better. Though sometimes her decisions are a little messed up (hello, Bill Sykes).

Bill Sykes (Bill Sikes)
Every party has a pooper, that’s why we invited you: Bill Sykes. Yes, Bill is the leader of the hackers (and, cough cough, other homes of ill-repute). He was evil in Oliver Twist. He is evil in my story. Evil can be so much fun (*rubs hands together evilly*)!

Sam (Charley Bates)
Yes, I could’ve named her Charley after the Artful Dodger’s sidekick. But Sam is the type not to do anything because someone told her to. She was Sam to me from the very beginning, and her character is quite happy with that name. Sam is the fun-loving friend and partner of Z’s who befriends Olivia right off the bat. Sam is much closer to Olivia than Charley was to Oliver, though, like Z, her motives aren’t always well intentioned.

BOUNCE over to my website at www.vivibarnes.com to see more on how I twisted the classic. Then BOUNCE over to www.oliviatwisted.com to check out the new trailer for Olivia Twisted, which debuted this past week on www.Hypable.com (there’s still a couple days left to enter to win a signed book and swag)!

Dizzy yet? 😉

Add OLIVIA TWISTED to your Goodreads shelf.

Pre-order OLIVIA TWISTED from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million

OliviaTwistedCover

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TWIST! Change it up

24 Aug
John Talbot; Ottawa, Canada (Crystal DNA at the National Arts Center) CC 2.0

John Talbot; Ottawa, Canada (Crystal DNA at the National Arts Center) CC 2.0

Once again, I have taken on too much.  Sound familiar?  I have a hard time saying “no” to Really Interesting and Cool Stuff, even when I don’t have the bandwidth.  It’s literally in my DNA.  The thing is, when you’re creative, you can’t just do the Stuff That Must Be Done and ignore all the Really Interesting And Cool Stuff that happens along in life. Denying the experience of those cool and interesting things = souldeath.  And I, for one, am not interested in souldeath, despite some of the really cool zombie movies that are out there these days.

Speaking of zombie movies, I saw one recently that I absolutely love: Warm Bodies.  I’ve never been a zombie fan, but this movie made me one.  How? Simply put, some of the best scriptwriting I’ve seen in a long time.  Somehow, the writer managed to create a story that was all at once cleverly funny, awkwardly romantic, sweetly heroic and brain-eating(ly?) gory.  And, by the way, it had a rockin’ soundtrack.

Probably my favorite scene is when a group of zombies, on their way to SAVE the planet, is walking down the highway – in slo-mo – to Rock You Like A Hurricane by the Scorpions.  Hilarious.  Brilliant. And, you are totally cheering them on.

So, how did the screenwriter(s) do this?  Took something that was “good” and gave it a twist.

Zombie eating brains = good.

Zombie developing crush on a human = twist.

Zombies, zoned-out and wandering around an airport = good.

Zombie who collects and listens to 80’s vinyl  = twist.

See how that works?  Another example is Vivi,’s book: Olivia Twisted, coming out this November (warning: shameless friend-promotion.) She wrote a modern take on the classic Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  But instead of just making the same story happen in a contemporary setting, instead of making the youths pickpockets, she made them hackers.  Great twist, right?  Oh, and the protag is a girl, but you probably knew that already.

The best part about TWISTing your creative work is: it’s fun!  And, definitely helps prevent souldeath.  This month, as I’ve written, I’ve tried to remember to throw in some twists that really up the interest.

What are you working on that’s good, but would be great if you gave it a TWIST!?

DIVE! When you suck at blogging, blog more

18 Jun

So I’ve come to a realization about myself. I suck at blogging. Really—it seems hard to come up with one smart thing to say each month (how do you bloggers do it?), and I use the word “smart” loosely. So what does one do when one sucks at blogging?

I bet you didn’t guess start a new blog.

But that’s what I’m doing. In addition to my role on this blog as one of the 4 Chicks (‘cause I’m not going anywhere!), I’ve started a blog on my own website. Diving into new waters, as it were. And that one I need to really keep up with, since I don’t have 3 other friends to cover for me do the dirty work post in my absence. I can’t guarantee it’ll be earth-shattering posts every time, but I’ll try to say more than um…um…

Although that may very well be part of it.

Vivi crazy

My usual expression

Seriously, though, I know I’m not the only one out there who is pulled in a million different directions every day. The problem is that I love every one of those directions, be it hanging out with family, writing, revising, working. I just never seem to have the time to devote one hundred percent to each one. I mean, unless you’re a Twilight vampire (and if you are, bite me—literally), who does? That’s why I posted a picture of me pulling my hair out, because I seem to do that more often than not.

My sister-in-law recently told me something that stuck with me – give 100% of yourself to whatever you’ve got scheduled at any given time, and not worry about the other items on the list. For example, when working, don’t think about the revisions sitting on your desktop. When with your family (and this one has become much more important to me), don’t think about the work you have to do later. This has actually helped me become a little more focused, and I’ve been able to accomplish more. It didn’t hurt that my son gave me an acrostic poem for Mother’s Day and my computer/writing was listed at least three times (and more than any other theme). So yeah…Momma needs a new attitude.

As for my blog post – it’s on www.vivibarnes.com, and I’m giving away something related to my upcoming debut novel, OLIVIA TWISTED. So come on over and dive in! And leave a comment below if you have any tips to share on how you balance everything OR suggestions for what I can talk about on my new blog. Because anything is better than um…um…

Have a great week!

PADDLE! Row your way through the marshes

11 May

In my quest for adventure in 2012, I tried kayaking for the first time and absolutely loved it. It was in a very calm bay off the Gulf of Mexico at North Captiva Island, and the water was so calm and clear that you could see all way to the bottom. The water was also very shallow at that time of year; in some areas rowing was like slicing warm butter with a sharp knife, but at one point, we had to dig down and push through the marshy grasses to make our way through. Sometimes I wanted to paddle back to the open water, but I kept going and was rewarded with a view of the bay that took my breath away.

The process of writing is very much like rowing. Sometimes it’s clear sailing and easy-peasy, other times it feels like you’re pushing a kayak through three inches of water and marsh. It’s easy to give up when you get to the marshy part. Been there, done that. For me, it’s revisions. I’d rather just barf up a lovely first draft and move along to the next story, just like I did on papers in high school (where my first draft was my last draft), but writing novels doesn’t quite work like that.sports

With Olivia Twisted, I revised the opening paragraph alone three times and the entire story…well, who knows how many times. It went from 55K words to 88K, and I have no idea how many it’ll end up with when I’m done. And there were many times I wanted to just give up so I could go back to doing what I love most – drafting – but I paddled on. And I got to where I hated it and thought I sucked as a writer and so on and so forth (by the way, in my opinion, when you feel like your manuscript sucks and you suck as a writer, that’s when you know you’re close).

Obviously, I’m glad those phases didn’t last long enough to make me quit, but the point is to keep going. Paddle through the marshy blahs and get to where it’s smooth sailing again. Because the view on the other side is definitely worth it!

DIG! Digging into edits

16 Mar

I’m editing. Really. I almost want to end the post here because that’s pretty much my life right now. Knee-deep in the edit dirt, since I’m talking DIG here.

When I received the edit letter and marked-up manuscript of OLIVIA TWISTED back from my editor, Stacy Abrams, I kind of freaked out for a moment. A long moment. I think my first thought was “Does she not love me/the book anymore?” It’s silly, because of course she does, but there seemed to be so many areas of opportunity. And everything I thought could be swept under the table, she caught. There were also many places where she felt I could develop certain plot lines or characters more.

Thus began the digging. As I explored each character, I realized that I had missed many opportunities to develop motivation, personality, and relationships. Some things worked, some fell flat. So I started moving around, asking my characters a lot of questions about their motivations (yes, they talk back) and adding several scenes. And reading back through it, it seems to work so much better–like it pops! So yeah, Stacy is pretty genius in my book (along with genius Nicole, her intern).digging man

Of course, as I write this, I’m still editing and staring at my deadline like a deer in the headlights (I’m from Texas originally so I know this look). That’s probably why this post is short—my brain is a little fried.

Eventually, the edits will be finished and I’ll send it back with the hopes that Stacy will like the changes. And from what everyone says, the first edits are the toughest. After that it’s like cake. Well, anytime you reference something like cake, I’m happy!

Anyone else in edit world these days? How’s it going?

Cover reveal: OLIVIA TWISTED

1 Mar

I am so excited to share the cover and official blurb for my book, OLIVIA TWISTED, which debuts November 5! Thank you to the entire team at Entangled for your support, and especially to Kelley York for the spectacular cover.

OliviaTwistedCover

Olivia

He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

Z

I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.

It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.

Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

Check it out:
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17343436-olivia-twisted
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1622660285

“Like” my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/vivibarnes.author

 

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A special announcement and a giveaway!

18 Sep

I can’t believe I’m posting this. Seriously, it sounds so cliché to say this but I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M POSTING THIS:

I am excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Entangled Teen!

As soon as I heard Entangled was interested in my story, OLIVIA TWISTED (a retelling of Oliver Twist about a foster child who finds friendship in a gang of hackers), I delved into the research. I contacted five (yep, five) of their authors, all of whom couldn’t say enough great things about the company. Entangled doesn’t get paid until their authors make money, so you can bet they put everything they can into each book. In fact, I classify this company as “extreme type A personality,” as I’ve never seen a group of professionals have such a go-get-‘em, dedicated attitude as they do for their authors.

And then I spoke with Stacy Cantor Abrams, the editor. Stacy came to Entangled after seven years at Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers. She was incredible and very enthusiastic about my story! I called my agent, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, and said let’s do it (cue Wild Thing music). Here’s the announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace:

They have an amazing group of authors (check them out at http://www.entangledteen.com/authors/). In fact, one of their YA authors, Rachel Harris, is celebrating the debut of her book this very day–My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century!

To my fellow chicks and critique partners and family and beta readers and agent and Twitter pals and work team members who have helped me reach this goal (and put up with my insanity), thank you!

And now, the giveaway: To celebrate my joining the Entangled team, I’m giving away an Entangled Young Adult (or any Entangled) book of your choice to one lucky winner! If you would like to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post.
  • Include the name of the Entangled book of your choice (you can find them at EntangledPublishing.com). You can say “any” if you prefer the fun wild card method.
  • Include your email address (or Twitter handle, if you prefer). Spell your email address out so spammers don’t attack you with laser beams.

Comment by midnight EST on Monday, Sept. 24. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

To be (happily) continued…

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