Friday Five: The Ellen Hopkins Edition


Last night I got to hear Ellen Hopkins speak.
I haven’t read any of her books, mostly because I never felt in the right emotional space to do so.
CRANK is some heavy duty bleeeep, people.

Well, after listening to the smart and funny Ellen in person,
I decided if she’s brave enough to write them, I can summon the courage to read them.

1)  Ellen started writing CRANK in prose but got 50 pages in and realized it wasn’t working.  After
hearing Sonya Sones speak, Ellen decided to try writing it in verse.

2)  She put huge amounts of thought into the format and where each word ended up on the page
because she was (is) especially mindful of the YA reader’s needs.

3)  In answer to a question, Ellen said that yes, it feels as if her brain is half story and half format.

4)  When she writes, each page has to be right before she moves on which means that when she reaches
the end, it’s done.

5)  She cautioned us to always be honest in our writing and so if writing a romance, to show the flaws.
Don’t set up readers for a lifetime of looking for a kind of perfect love that doesn’t exist.  Her example
was that she’s been married 25 years and considers her husband Mr. Mostly Right (because there are
those days…)


6 thoughts on “Friday Five: The Ellen Hopkins Edition

  1. Oh, I so agree with #5 — of course, even though I read voraciously as a teen, I could see from my own parents’ marriage that perfect love was only a fantasy 😉 Still, the more realistic (while still being positive), the better!


    • I think those “airbrushed” love stories really do set up some people for heartache, and her point was that we really, really don’t want to do that to young adults.


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