Excerpt: Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter by Mary Twomey + Guest Post: Tips for the Novice Writer

Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter

  • By Mary Twomey
  • Editions: ebook
  • Published: November 15th 2012
  • Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
  • Best friends Jack and Yani do everything together. After Yani’s thirtieth birthday party, however, she decides to leave town on a spontaneous vacation to visit all the sites of the young adult fiction novels she loves, hoping that when she returns, she’ll have buried the secret flame she has for Jack.

    Forced by his friends to go on a road trip to track down Yani, Jack learns a lot about his best friend by reading the novels she’s been obsessed with. From vampire hunting in Forks to searching for wizards in Florida, Jack confronts his greatest fears –that he just might love Harry Potter…and perhaps, Yani.
    ~ Goodreads

    Chapter One

    “What do you think of this?” Yani asked Jack as she keyed the last sentence into her beat-up laptop.
    He glanced over as she corrected her posture, still amazed that she could concentrate amidst the constant state of disarray her apartment was in. “Is it finished?” he questioned warily. He’d just dug through her mountain of books and found his groove in the couch that he’d been perfecting for three years. He was not about to give up his favorite spot for anything.
    “Like, finished finished?” he clarified. Her huffed response told him that she was rereading her blog for any other errors. He heard the unsteady clacking as she second-guessed a word she’d typed. Jack grinned, shaking his head. “Doesn’t sound like it.”
    “Oh, just get over here. Candysnob.blogspot.com belongs to you, too.”
    “Yeah, but it’s your turn to write on it. Plus, your idea means you do half the blogging,” he reminded her.
    “The candy bars were your idea,” she responded, her argument always ready.
    “My idea to try a new candy bar and rate them was a great one. Yours was to turn it into a blog, i.e., a chore. Still loving your contribution?” He raised an eyebrow, daring her to admit defeat.
    “Please stop using ‘i.e.’ in sentences. You know it makes me feel inferior.” She turned to glare at her friend when he responded by chuckling. “Your idea, if you call it that, has made us zero dollars. Mine has made us twenty-seven dollars this month alone. More than enough to pay for your nougat addiction.” Yani shook her head. “Nougat,” she mumbled under her breath, as if the word itself tasted bad in her mouth. “Here’s what I got. I’m pushing submit, so if you’ve got an opinion, now’s your chance.”
    “Opinion?” Jack questioned in a falsely innocent tone. He rested his head back and closed his eyes to claim the couch as his territory. “Read it to me. I don’t feel like getting up.”
    “Fine. ‘To all my fellow candy enthusiasts, chocolate lovers and aspiring non-food critics, this blog is dedicated to you. This month Jack and I are revisiting the Zero bar. The Zero bar boasts of white fudge coating over a nutty nougat. The wrapper is pleasing to the eye. The name is ominous, if not humble. However, the taste is nothing if not unremarkable. In our quest to find the perfect unsung hero of candy bars, the Zero bar falls far short of the desired perfection…'”
    “You said ‘perfect’ already. You can’t say ‘perfect’ and ‘perfection’. It’s re-redundant.” He shifted on the cushion, and one of Yani’s books he’d tried to fend off slid toward him and poked his knee with the corner of the hard spine. He frowned and moved it to the top of the teetering pile on the floor by his feet. “How many stacks of books do you need? The couch, the floor, the counter, the table…”
    “Fine,” Yani said as she tossed her black hair over her shoulder, ignoring his criticism about the placement of her precious books. “The Zero bar falls far short of the desired… pleasure factor.”
    “Nice. Although, that sounds mildly erotic.”
    “Alright, then you come up with something.”
    Jack sighed as the second book crept its way toward him menacingly. He stood and reluctantly meandered to Yani, giving up his claim on the one available couch cushion. “Just hit ‘synonyms’. There. Flawlessness. ‘The Zero bar falls far short of the desired flawlessness’, which it did. You should just put ‘terrible’. Why is that not an accurate description?”
    “It had a good aftertaste. That’s got to count for something. How about this? ‘Upon opening the package, the bar smacked of high fructose corn syrup and stale nougat.'”
    “Vicious,” he smirked, shaking his head. “Do you need me for this, Peaches? I’ve got a date tonight, and so do you.”
    She tried not to smile and give away how much she secretly liked the nickname. “You mean do I need someone standing over my shoulder correcting my grammar? No, not since the sixth grade. You’re the one who insisted on reading everything before it’s submitted.”
    “I think we both agreed on that after the infamous ‘their’ and ‘there’ debacle,” he reminded her.
    “Are you ever gonna let me live that down?” she whined. “I was tired! It was after Frank and Kelly got home from the hospital with Hannah. I’m allowed a mistake every now and then.”
    “Not when you’re co-blogging with an English major. You have a degree, too! You should be ashamed, making a third grade mistake like that in front of the e-world. What would Mrs. Hasenoffer say?”
    “She was my fifth grade teacher, so, ha!” Yani retorted, backspacing uncertainly.
    “I gotta run. I’m stealing an apple.”
    Yani called over her shoulder distractedly. “Well, just take one, not the whole…”
    Jack escaped just before she finished her sentence, carrying the bag of red produce. He walked the four feet across the hall to his door and turned the knob, shutting himself in his apartment with the contraband.

    Tips for the Novice Writer
    by Mary E. Twomey


  • Don’t shoot down your first idea. It may not be a perfect score, but if you start out your brainstorming process with judgment, you might as well not bother.
  • You are trying! Good for you! You aren’t letting the fact that you’re attempting something new stop you from going for the gold. I’m proud of you.
  • I keep a copy of a particularly inspiring speech around. In case I get discouraged or lose my way in the story, I pray, and if I need a little kick, I read the manifesto. Guess what, writers read.
  • Read. Read a lot. Writers read. Fiction, nonfiction, genres you love, ones you’ve yet to fall for. Sample every color of the rainbow twice.
  • Monogamy is for people, not writing. It’s perfectly acceptable to work on more than one project. Don’t abandon your first project completely, but it’s not cheating if you feel like jumping back and forth between two stories. It actually can help with writer’s block.
  • Get an accountability partner. Doesn’t have to be a fellow writer, but it sure helps if it is. Set a word count goal and email your friend to let them know if you made it. The cheers will help you through the rough patches.
  • You must write daily. Take the weekends off if you like, but during the week, you put pen to paper every day. It doesn’t all have to be Shakespeare, but ole’ Father William wasn’t written in a night. Don’t feel like eating your vegetables? Not an option. You are a writer now, and writer’s write.
  • Talk to a few other writers. Get their process. Take what you like, put the rest on the back burner.
  • Process:

  • Storms are gorgeous, but messy. This is the nature of brainstorming. Rule nothing out. Don’t worry about ruts just yet and write it all down. The only wrong answers are blank spaces.
  • Got your main idea? Great. Map it out. Chapter one – what happens? Chapter two, and so on. Remember learning how to make a proper outline in grade school? Well, your teacher was right, you will use it after high school. Here’s your big chance. It doesn’t have to be perfectly detailed, but the skeleton should be there. It’ll help you if you get writer’s block.
  • Who are your characters? Interview them. Eye color, hair color, favorite song, parentage, dreams, funky moles,… Everything you know about your spouse, you should know about your characters. If you don’t, your readers will smell it on you and send the angry villagers with their book-burning torches.
  • Start your book in the second chapter. After your perfect outline, it’s often difficult to write that initial, winning sentence. Take some of the pressure off. Write chapter two first. Eventually chapter one will come to you and pretty much write itself.
    Be a finisher. Yep, it’s hard. But finish what you set out to do. Pick a realistic timeframe and stick to it. Eat all your broccoli, mow the lawn, finish your book.
  • Edit, edit, edit. I’ve yet to meet a person who craps gold. Your first draft is just that, a draft. One of many. There are different types of editing: a style edit and a grammar edit. Style is the flow of the story. Grammar is your basic spell check, sentence structure and whatnot. I cannot stress how important both are. Get yourself a style editor and a grammar editor. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Marketing:

  • Blog tours. Love ’em, embrace them, kiss them on the mouth and tell them your dirty, flirty secrets.
  • Tell everyone. Humbly, gracefully, but yeah, get out the bullhorn and let your biggest fans – your friends and family – be your cheerleaders. A proud mama will spread word of an aced spelling test faster than a cold can make its way through a preschool. Imagine how she’ll be when she can brag to others about your book!
  • Keep your chin up. As fun as it is, writing is not your ultimate definer. Are you a writer? Sure. You’re also a student, a teacher, a parent, a child, a neighbor, a member of society and if you’re lucky, a friend. Whether you sell a million copies or just the two your mom buys, you are still you. Money, success and career validation cannot and should not define you. The love you have for others, and those that will go to the mat for you will still be there when the thrill of the literary ride is over. You are more than words on a page.
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    2 thoughts on “Excerpt: Jack and Yani Love Harry Potter by Mary Twomey + Guest Post: Tips for the Novice Writer

    1. Adriana Garcia

      Yani is so awesome! I want to visit all my YA book settings.
      I’m not a writer but liked the tips especially when you talked about the proud mama. I could see my mom doing that.


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