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I had high hopes for Malinda Lo's Adaptation. Ash and Huntress were very good with the potential to be great, and I was hoping Lo would be one of those writers who really learns to write by the third book. I did read Adaptation in one quick sitting, but I was disappointed in it, and more so the more I think about it.

Summary )

The basic structural problem with the book is the same as the problem with Ash and Huntress: the story Lo seems to be setting up and the story she tells at the end are not the same story. Spoilers/Review )

I will probably read the sequel when it's published because this was such a fast read, and because the aliens, at least, won't be an unwelcome surprise. I might even like it better because I won't go into it with such high hopes.

I do have a copy of the book, so if anyone wants to read it for themselves, let me know and I will send it to you.
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Any and all spoilers are below the cut. I make no promises about what may or may not be in the comments.

I have a thing about reading series in progress (this is why it was so hilarious that I spent fully one-fifth of my Barnes & Noble gift card on the next books in four different series), so I'd been waiting to try out Twilight until the series was complete. I didn't want to actually buy the thing, even with a gift card, and the library's waiting list is apparently insanely long, so I took myself off to Barnes & Noble today to read it. The irony of the situation is that I spent just as much or more on lunch, a cookie, and hot chocolate as I would have on buying the actual book.

Here's the short, non-spoilery version of what I think: Twilight would have been greatly improved by an editor who was unafraid to (a) chop and (b) force Stephenie Meyer to tighten it up. I have to admit to skipping whole sections. I also will not be reading the other books, but instead reading the plot summaries on Wikipedia or somewhere similar.

Now it's time for spoilery talk. )
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You may remember the high school football RPS AU I was working on. I finally typed the whole thing up. I was iffy about whether it could become an original novel, but then I read a published original novel that had one of the same problems my fic has, so I think I might try to make it an original novel. I need your help to rename the characters (first and last names).

Characters Who Need New Names
Protagonist: He grew up on a Texas ranch. He's a musician, sings, plays guitar, writes his own songs. In high school, he's the wide receiver, and fucked up and angry. After high school, he goes to college and then moves to LA to work some kind of day job (um, I don't know what yet) while he works on his music. He has to have a name where his initials work as a nickname.

Love Interest: The summer before senior year, his family moves to town from the Northeast somewhere. His dad is the new something at the somewhere (again, details I haven't figured out yet). He always gets what he wants. He's the quarterback. After high school, he goes to business school, and then he has a software company during the dot-com era. His name has to work with the nickname Big [name].

The Cover: She's a Junior cheerleader, and after the Protagonist's girlfriend leaves him for the Love Interest, the Protagonist dates her for a while. They even go to prom together. (Of course, the hickeys the Protagonist ends up with aren't from her.) As an adult, she turns out to be a lesbian, with a very nice partner.

The Best Friend: He and the Protagonist grew up together. He's the one who tells the Protagonist to get his shit together and work with the Love Interest because that's what's going to get them to State. As an adult, he goes to LA with the Protagonist to be an actor. His name has to have a good diminutive as a nickname.

The Bandmate: He cofounds a band with the Protagonist. He also writes his own songs and adjusts the Protagonist's arrangements.

The Geeks: In high school, they head up the chess club. As adults, they're sex-crazed computer programmers who work for the Love Interest. Alliterative names would be great.

The New Friend: She attends the Love Interest's company's Christmas party with as an employee's date. The employee's kind of a jerk, but she's gorgeous with a sharp sense of humor, and she and the Protagonist become friends.

Characters Who Get to Keep Their Names
Adam: I didn't have a specific Adam in mind when I named him (well, actually, I had two different Adams in mind, and he sort of became a combination of them and an original character), so he can keep his name. He's also a football player. Parties are often at his house. At reunion time he holds a big football party. He plays guitar.

Suzy: The head cheerleader. She used to go out with the Protagonist, until the Love Interest came around. Then she goes out with him.

Lisa: The Cover's partner. I made her up, although I think I probably sponged her a bit from the fanon version of Lisa from Sports Night.

Coach W: The Coach. He doesn't have much of a role, so he gets a simple name.

Other Things I Don't Know
I haven't figured out what the Love Interest's father does. It has to be the head of whatever the main industry of the town is.

I don't have much going on outside of the relationship, which is probably okay for the genre. On the other hand, I might need other teachers, kids, cheerleaders, football players, coworkers, and band members. The Protagonist and the Love Interest may also need names for their parents, sisters (they each have one), and sisters' kids.

I have a song that became more of a plot point than I originally intended or expected. I'm still trying to figure out if I need to write the actual song (I hope not; this is not my forte).

The Love Interest's software company needs a name, and possibly an idea of what it does.

Linguistic issue: Would a guy from Texas who's lived in LA for five or six years have picked up the SoCal way of referring to freeways as The [number]?

How long does it take to get from Hollywood to Tijuana to somewhere farther south where they can rent a beach house?
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Work
We need to start making clips from DVDs that we can easily insert to PowerPoint, which means .avi is the preferred file format. We have no knowledge about such things. Do any of you know of good software for this, or of a person I should ask about software?

Peace of Mind
I keep seeing New Friend A (previously known as New Coworker A1) as a particular style of line drawing. I really want to find an example so I can show her what the heck I'm talking about, but I can't think of anything done in that style, so I'm having no luck finding anything. The style I'm thinking of is black and white, little or no shading, lots of angles. As always, suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Fic (1)
One of the most telling regionalisms in California is how people refer to freeways. If you hear a Californian say "5" or "I-5," they're from Northern California. If you hear one say "The 5," they're from Southern California. In the fic I'm writing, the character is from Texas but has been living in the LA area for, say, six years or so. (This story would be a lot better if I made myself a real timeline.) How do they refer to freeways in Texas, and would a guy living in LA for six years retain that style or adopt the LA way?

Fic (2)
I have, more than once, wanted to know something and found my googling skills inadequate: cell phone adoption in the US by geographical location and socioeconomic status over the last 15-20 years.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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