Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BACK IN THE SOAP BIZ

I'm back in the soap business, writing for SoapHub and SoapShows.

I'm doing commentary for one, and spoilers for the other.

So if you've been missing my those-who-forget-history-are-doomed-to-repeat it take on our beloved genre, please check both out and let me know what you think!

Monday, December 12, 2016

HOW TO GET INTO GIFTED NYC SCHOOLS

Applying your child to a gifted NYC school for 2017?

Hear everything you need to know (that the NYC Department of Education doesn't want you to know - and won't tell you) in the podcasts below! And make sure you sign up for the NYC School Secrets mailing list to receive all the latest NYC schools news as soon as it happens, including G&T prep, Kindergarten Connect & more!

The Difference Between Citywide & District G&T



Test Prep Tips From Testing Mom & Bright Kids Inc.



Test Prep Tips From FasTracKids



How To Transfer to a G&T From General Ed



How to Transfer to a G&T From Private School



The Difference Between Public and Private Gifted Schools



For more exclusive information to raise your odds of getting in, visit www.NYCSchoolSecrets.com.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

HOW DO I GET INTO NYC KINDERGARTEN?

Kindergarten Connect 2017 is officially open!

Experts offer tips for surviving NYC's kindergarten application season
By Amanda Mikelberg

Parents of 4-year-olds have more on their holiday-patterned plates than wrestling for the Hatchimals in the toy isles: It is now kindergarten application season in New York City.

The Department of Education’s online application system, Kindergarten Connect, is open from Wednesday through Jan. 13, with placements released in March. And while Requests for Testing (RFT) for the city's gifted and talented programs were due on Nov. 14, insiders say the window is still open for special requests for a test date in January.

“It’s unspeakably important to know all of your options,” Alina Adams, author of "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten," and a private coach for families in the process, told Metro.

She stressed that the law does not at all guarantee placement in a local school.

Much like the daunting high school application process, rankings of 12 choices must be submitted for each of the 70,000 kindergarten-age kids. Ignoring this process is taking a major risk of convenience and quality.

Applicants must research the DOE's kindergarten directory. Public kindergartens are not created equal — there are small schools and big ones, gifted and talented schools, magnet schools with attractive features, dual language programs, as well as traditional or progressive teaching approaches.

“Many parents don’t know that they may not be able to get into their zoned school, or that they are welcome and have a right to apply to unzoned schools.”


Read the entire article, here.

Or, if you'd prefer to hear everything you need to know about zoned, unzoned, district, magnet and dual language public schools - how to apply and how to get in, listen to the below podcast from 2015.



For a step by step guide that you can refer to over and over again as you go through the process, check out:



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK

Pose a Question

Alina Adams, author of The Figure Skating Mystery Series, says “the best tip I have for writing strong book descriptions is to pose a question the reader desperately wants answered – but can’t unless they read the book.”

Adams set up her question with this intriguing book description:

At the World Figure Skating Championship, the Ladies’ Gold medal goes to Russia’s dour Xenia Trubin over America’s perky Erin Simpson thanks to the vote of one judge, who then promptly turns up dead.

Who killed Silvana Potenza? A skater? A coach? A fan? An official? A parent?


Emphasize Enhanced Content

Adams’s mystery series also includes professionally made videos of The Ice Theatre of NY as part of the story. “In my book description, I make sure to highlight this unique feature, and – this part is critical – explain exactly what that feature is and how it works. Enhanced ebooks are still so new, customers don’t expect them, and don’t exactly understand what they are. It is my job to make that clear – and enticing – in the book description.”

More tips (from writers who are not me) at: Writing Effective Book Descriptions to Sell More Books.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

END OF THE (SOAP) LINE

For my last Entertainment Weekly Community post, I did a round up of the Top 10 Soap Opera final episodes - with clips!

Check it out here and join the conversation about your favorites - and which ones you think I unfairly left out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SOAP TREK


The original Lieutenant Uhura herself, actress Nichelle Nichols, will appear on the 11,000th episode of The Young & the Restless, September 1, 2016.

But turnabout (intruder; bonus points if you get the ultra-geeky reference) is fair play. Go to EW Community for a list of our top 5 favorite original Star Trek guest-starts who went on to play meaningful roles on soaps - plus classic video clips!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SOAP OPERAS & THE OLYMPICS


The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat….

No, that’s not the Olympic motto (they’re all about their Faster, Higher, Stronger…). But it is the tagline that ABC’s Wild World of Sports came up with for turning athletic competition into, well, a soap opera.

Faster, higher, stronger is awesome, but it’s the personal stories that keep viewers in front of the tube, cheering for athletes who don’t have a shot at a medal… as long as the story is a good one. Quick, name the folks who actually beat Eddie the Eagle in skiing, or the Jamaican bobsledding team. There. See?

But turnabout is fair play. If the Olympics are now just a multi-week soap-opera (that, ironically, is preempting an actual soap-opera, Days of Our Lives) with periodic bursts of running, swimming and tumbling to break up the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales, why shouldn’t Olympians get the chance to periodically pop up amidst the tear-jerking but ultimately uplifting tales on soaps?

Check out our Top 5 favorite appearances at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

SOAP OPERA JUSTICE


On The Young & the Restless, Victor is out of prison. Well, that was a stressful ten minutes. OK, fine, it was a couple of weeks… months, tops. Definitely not the decade-long sentence he was originally saddled with.

We all know that, in the real world, justice is rarely blind – or fair. Some people get the book thrown at them, while others escape with a slap on the wrist for the same crime. In the real world, your race, gender, religion, and socio-economic class play a big part in how Lady Justice feels like treating you. This would be true on soaps, too, if there were enough racial and/or religious diversity to accumulate multiple data points. As for social-class, when even the so-called “poor people” can jet off to Europe at a moment’s notice, one starts to suspect “I do not think (that word) means what you think it means.”

Still, different people do get treated differently when it comes to crime and time-served. Check out the most grievous examples from the four soap-operas still left on the air at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SOAP OPERA BAD BOYS REFORMED BY LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN

“I thought I could change him,” whimpered pretty much every woman on daytime over the past few weeks, be it General Hospital’s Sabrina about her low-level mobster baby-daddy or Alexis over her high-level mobster one-night stand/baby-daddy turned husband. It also applied to The Young & the Restless’s Meredith who, as a prison doctor, should have known that maybe inmates are sometimes not the most straight-and-narrow of citizens, and The Bold & the Beautiful’s Katie, who’d seen Bill cheat on a multitude of women, but was shocked — shocked! - when he did it to her.

You can’t really blame the ladies. Soap operas are chock full of tales of very evil, kind of evil, and vaguely evil men reformed by the love of a good woman. If it happened once, it can happen again, right? Check out our top three favorite examples of when it worked … and when it didn’t at Entertainment Weekly!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SOAP SISTER V. SOAP SISTER!

Remember when The Bold & the Beautiful’s Bill had that awesome idea where he and Brooke would have an affair so that Bill could be a better husband to Brooke’s sister, Katie?

Well, that didn’t work out so well. Now Katie knows, and though Bill tried to pin the blame on Katie’s recent fling with alcoholism, she preferred to hold him and her sister responsible.

B&B’s Katie and Brooke aren’t the first pair of sisters to fight over the same man. (Though is it truly fighting if neither is particularly sure they want him anymore?) Heck, Bill isn’t even the first man Brooke and Katie have in common. There was Ridge. There was Nick. (To be somewhat fair, B&B is a half-hour show with a smaller-than-average cast.)

A sister versus sister love triangle is a soap-opera staple. Read some of our favorites, past and present, at Entertainment Weekly!

WHEN NY SCHOOLS GENTRIFY

I am quoted in an article about NY schools and gentrification:

Alina Adams, the author of Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, works with many parents of color who are trying to get their children into New York City-area elementary schools; she also helps parents adjust to the schools once they’re there. According to Adams, many parents of color express concern that they won’t be listened to at the school. “[Reluctance to speak up] gets magnified when it’s someone of a different race than you or different ethnicity or different economic background,” she said. “Maybe you don’t speak English so well and you feel intimidated by that. How do I challenge this person on this issue when I know that she’s a lawyer and I [just] have a high-school diploma?”

The data bears out some of Adams’s points about disadvantaged parents’ lack of involvement. Lower educational levels are a factor in their limited engagement, as is having a lower socioeconomic status and being an underrepresented minority, a 2013 study on Parental Readiness Empowerment Programs shows. Meanwhile, a 2014 paper that analyzed black parents at an urban middle school found that perceptions of racism and hostile parent-teacher interactions were significant barriers to their engagement at school.

Read more at The Atlantichttp://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/07/how-marginalized-families-are-pushed-out-of-ptas/491036/

And to hear more from NYC parents about all aspects of NYC schools, listen to Secrets of NYC Schools podcast.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: DOES VICTORIA ROWELL HAVE A CASE AGAINST Y&R?


Updated 6/28/16: The lawsuit is back on!

Updated 11/12/15: A judge has dismissed Victoria Rowell's retaliation suit against The Young & the Restless, CBS and Sony.

Here is what I wrote for Entertainment Weekly when she first filed....

Originally published 2/25/15

On February 11, 2015, actress Victoria Rowell announced that she was suing her former employer, The Young & the Restless, and its parent company, Sony. Rowell contends that the show won’t rehire her to play the role of Drucilla, a part that Rowell vacated in 2007, due to Rowell’s outspoken activism regarding Y&R’s dearth of African-American actors, writers and directors. The suit also alleges that Rowell faced racial discrimination during her 14 years of starring on the soap, and that she was never offered the opportunity to either write or direct the program. Rowell is seeking back pay, and a return to playing Dru.

CBS and Sony have denied all charges, insisted that the lawsuit has no merit, and that Rowell is attempting to “rewrite history.”

Does the actress have a case?

It would seem that the easiest charge to dispute would be Rowell’s claim that racial discrimination kept her from getting the chance to write or direct her show.

True, some actors, like Days of Our Lives Alison Sweeney have directed. Pamela Long went from an actor on Texas to its Headwriter, before assuming the same position at Guiding Light and One Life to Live, among others. And Ellen Wheeler and Christopher Goutman were able to transition from actors to directors to Executive Producers of GL and As the World Turns, respectively. But that’s literally only a handful of people among the tens of thousands of actors who’ve passed through the daytime drama world. It can hardly be considered a common opportunity offered to all, save Rowell.

When I interviewed her for my book, “Soap Opera 451: A TimeCapsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments,” Rowell asserted, “You don’t stay in a storyline if you’re not selling a story, and if you’re not selling the story, you don’t stay employed.  At the end of the day, this is about keeping a show on the air, and a show that’s selling soap.  You’re selling products.  I understood the business dynamics.”

This is presumably why Rowell’s lawsuit also charges that, by refusing her entreaties to reprise Dru, CBS and Sony are undermining their own financial interests for purely personal reasons. Rowell believes that she is a fan favorite whose return will help raise Y&R’s ratings.

Rowell, however, is not the first actor in daytime history to be fired (or, in her case, not be rehired) despite vocal fan support and to the show’s apparent detriment.

To get the inside story on examples from DOOL, GH, ATWT and more, go to: http://community.ew.com/2015/02/24/victoria-rowell-lawsuit-the-young-and-the-restless/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THE KINDS OF DECISIONS MADE ONLY ON SOAPS....

My good friend, the novelist Kyra Davis, once explained, “You know it’s a soap opera if whatever choice a normal person would make, they make the opposite.”

Nothing illustrates her observation better than the goings-on on all four of the remaining network daytime dramas last week.

Find out what they were at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/21/only-on-a-soap-decisions/


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SOAP OPERA GEEKS!



Will (soap-opera) geeks ever inherit the Earth (while staying geeks)? Find out at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/14/soap-opera-geeks/

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

LAST WEEK ON THE SOAPS: NOTHING HAPPENED


Exactly a year ago, I wrote a post wondering WhateverHappened to Classic Summer Love Stories? I name-checked the classics like General Hospital’s Luke and Laura on the run from the mob and, later, stopping an evil maniac set on freezing the world (and saving us all from global warning, but nobody realized it at the time). There was Days of Our Lives Bo and Hope and Kayla and Patch (that’s Steve, to you new viewers) and Kim and Shane and Roman and Marlena and location shoots and prisms buried in ice and Phil Collins music (yes, I realize I’ve compressed several summers and stories into one, but doesn’t it all seem like just one glorious season?). We had All My Children’s Erica facing down a bear and breaking her lover out of jail, and One Life to Live’s Vicky going to Heaven and traveling through time to rescue her husband from the Old West. Guiding Light featured young love via the same rich girl/rich boy/poor girl from a big, salt of the earth, fatherless household triangle writer Douglas Marland would later recreate on As the World Turns, while Santa Barbara contrasted the angst of Cruz and Eden against Mason and Julia’s banter, and Another World threw an Electra complex into its triangle for some very different results.

Let’s all take a moment to recall the 1970s, 80s (and some of the 1990s).

Now it’s summer of 2016. Time for fun and travel and romance, right? Right? Find out what's happening on the last four soaps left standing and how it measures up to the glory days at: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/07/nothing-happened/

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

SOAP STARS ON HOLLYWOOD'S WALK OF FAME (You'll be shocked who is - and who isn't!)

On May 19, 2016, Deidre Hall, who has played Marlena on Days of Our Lives on and off for almost 40 years now, received her star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Of course, Hall isn’t the only soap-opera actor honored along that glittering stretch of street. There, the daytime denizens can be divided into three major categories.

Find out what they are at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/05/31/which-soap-opera-stars-are-on-hollywoods-walk-of-fame/

Friday, May 27, 2016

FANS PICK THEIR FAVORITE MOMENTS FROM 'GENERAL HOSPITAL'S' NURSES' BALL


It’s time, once again, for the Nurse’s Ball on General Hospital! First held in 1994 as an on-screen fundraiser for the titular institution’s Pediatric AIDS Unit and Outreach Programs, the Nurse’s Ball has served as an annual (through 2001 and then again starting in 2013) showcase for doctors, nurses, administrators, their friends and family, as well as occasional mobsters, to unveil heretofore hidden musical and dramatic gifts on par with… trained actors.

Though one outlier on Twitter confessed to disliking the Nurse’s Ball, the majority of those surveyed responded enthusiastically when asked to name their favorite moments from previous years’  festivities.

Watch the top 5 vote getters at Entertainment Weekly and have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TOP 10 SOAP OPERA STAND ALONE EPISODES


Last week on Days of Our Lives, viewers found out that the presumed dead Aiden was – like so many previous residents of Salem – actually alive. But instead of getting the story of where he’s been (spoiler: held prisoner, talking to a dead bird that somehow managed not to decompose over a period of months) via dialogue, or through watching Aiden in his pen all this time, viewers were treated to a stand-alone episode that began with Aiden’s kidnapping on his wedding day, and went all the way through his escape back to Salem. They also got to watch actor Daniel Cosgrove grow facial hair.

Stand-alone episodes are obviously a departure for daytime, where a typical show will feature multiple storylines happening in near-real time (though if characters are flying from the United States to Europe, that might happen during a commercial break). DOOL wasn’t the first show to break format in such a manner. Check out some previous classic episodes at Entertainment Weekly, here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

ALICIA COPPOLA TALKS 'ANOTHER WORLD' (AND ME)

Michael Fairman (an old friend since our days of working on Pure Soap together) has a wonderful interview with Alicia Coppola (ex-Lorna; AW) about her new role as Dr. Meredith Gates on The Young & the Restless. Read the whole thing, here.

This is the part where I come up in conversation:

Lorna’s rape story was so powerful.  How was going through that experience as an actress?

ALICIA:  It was very draining, and also controversial. Alina Adams, an Entertainment Weekly Contributor, a wonderful writer, wrote a compelling article on Rape in Soaps. She highlights the message that soaps, intentionally or otherwise send, that women being raped instantly makes them better people; the notion that rape tames and subdues “difficult” women to make them likeable and softer.  All of this I completely disagreed with.  In her piece, she writes of Lorna’s rape.  I wrote to Alina and said (I am paraphrasing, of course…) “First of all, Lorna was always a bitch.  She was raw, and she was damaged.  She didn’t all of sudden become Mary, mother of Christ, because she was raped.  That’s nonsense.  She was a force to be reckoned with.  She was a badass, before the rape and after the rape.  So you can’t say rape tamed her, because that is what you are implying.”  Alina, as an amazing journalist, was so open to this dialogue and we did an interview addressing this.  Speaking from experience, I can promise you rape tames no woman, no one…quite the opposite in fact.  This was a very important storyline to me.

To read the entirety of what Alicia had to say on the subject, go to this Entertainment Weekly Community post.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

FREE 'GETTING INTO NYC KINDERGARTEN' ADVICE RIGHT IN YOUR OWN HOME!

You've heard of Tupperware parties (is that still a thing)?

Well, here's a variation on that theme: My Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshops in public venues have been filling up so quickly, I've decided to expand into private homes, to make it more convenient for even more people to attend and get the full scoop on how the process works and when they should start preparing for it (spoiler: It's a lot earlier than most parents realize).

Here's how it will work: Round up a minimum of 10 people and I will come to your home at a mutually agreed upon time and date to do a free, hour long Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshop.

And to thank you for hosting, I will throw in a complimentary, 30 minutes personal consult about your particular situation right afterwards!

Interested? Contact me at: AlinaAdams@gmail.com for further details.

In the meantime, you can find a listing of my upcoming public workshops, as well as podcasts covering a variety of Getting Into NYC Kindergarten topics at: www.AlinaAdams.com.

EVERYTHING WRONG WITH 'BOLD & BEAUTIFUL' STORY - NOW IN ONE CONVENIENT LOCATION!


The Bold & The Beautiful had a classic, soapy story brewing. Ridge married Caroline, only to learn that she was pregnant with his son, Thomas’, child, the result of a drunken hook-up when Ridge and Caroline were briefly on a break. (It was all Ridge’s fault, he dumped Caroline because he couldn’t give her the children she wanted. Then he got over it.) Caroline and Ridge assume the baby is Thomas’, because Ridge had a vasectomy (and those certainly never, ever go wrongon daytime). Ridge bullied Caroline into keeping the truth from Thomas and raising her baby boy as theirs, and Caroline went along because she truly loves her husband. And because Ridge bullied her.

But secrets never stay secrets on soaps for long, and viewers knew that little Douglas’ paternity was bound to come out sooner or later.

But did it have to be in such a clumsy and plot-driven manner?

How clumsy and plot-driven was it? Let me count the ways at Entertainment Weekly....

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: TOP 5 MOST MEMORABLE SOAP OPERA PROMS


When the Days of Our Lives teen set began preparing for prom in April, I was afraid that we were in for a Passions-like long celebration (parties on Passions which were supposed to last one night on-screen were known to stretch out for literally months of episodes). I feared it would go on through June, which is when most real-life high-schools hold their proms.

Turns out all that worrying was for nothing. Prom Night in Salem barely lasted a week. Ciara went with Theo, despite an earlier fight with Mark. Mark rigged the King and Queen of the Prom voting so that Ciara and Theo were named the winners then, when they went up to get their crowns, playing an embarrassing slide show about the two (guess the prom-supply store was all out of the traditional pig’s blood).

In retaliation, Ciara spray-painted Mark’s car. Except that said car actually belonged to Mark’s dad, a judge, and Ciara, along with the friends who helped her, were all arrested.

An eventful prom-night, but not really up there with the daytime classics. (Heck, it’s not even up there with 2000 when Phillip – yes, the one who’s now hooking up with Claire’s mom, Belle, took the school’s official Ghoul Girl, Chloe, to the Last Blast Dance. Chloe arrived dressed to the nines and looking fabulous, but that still didn’t stop her from almost getting soaked by the traditional pig’s blood bucket. Luckily, Shawn – yes, Claire’s dad – pulled her out of the way in time. Both Shawn and Belle were also at the dance. Don’t ask how it was only 16 years ago and they were childless teens, but now their daughter, Claire, is 17. It’s the magic of SORAS!) 

So which soap-opera proms really do stand the test of time? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD SEES 'GETTING INTO NYC KINDERGARTEN'

When I tell people who aren't from New York City (or whose kids are too young yet) about what getting into NYC Kindergarten is like, they think I'm exaggerating, or just plain old making it up.

That's why I say that I'm selling my book, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, as a how-to in NYC... and as farce everywhere else.

The process is now so ridiculous, overwhelming and expensive (yes, even if you just want to go to your local public school), that Thomson Reuters' Asia division produced a television segment on it for the overseas market... which I helped them with and appeared in.

Check it out below!



And if you're not adequately terrified by that, you might want to pick up a copy of Getting Into NYC Kindergarten for a detailed account of what you've got ahead of you...



To learn about my upcoming FREE Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshops, go to www.AlinaAdams.com for dates and times, and to RSVP (space is limited).


Thursday, April 14, 2016

ALICIA COPPOLA'S FAVORITE SOAP-OPERA MEMORY

Yesterday saw actress Alicia Coppola (Lorna; Another World) return to daytime as Dr. Meredith Gates on The Young & the Restless.

When I spoke to Linda Dano (Felicia; Another World) for my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, about her favorite scene, Dano cited Felicia's intervention storyline and praised, "I also worked with a wonderful cast who supported each other in any way they could.  Especially on Another World, we were a tightly knit group.  My co-stars in this storyline were the best at their craft.  Stephen Schnetzer, Alicia Coppola, John Aprea, Victoria Wyndham should all take equal credit for making this story work as well as it did."

With turnabout being fair play, I asked Coppola the same question. Check out our interview below!

Alina Adams: What moment/scene/story do you think exemplifies soap-operas at the very top of their game? Why would you say it shows soaps at their best?

Alicia Coppola: I think there are a plethora of scenes to choose from every one of the soaps. For me, playing Lorna Devon on Another World, there are two very memorable scenes. The first was when Lorna sat at Lucas’s (John Aprea) deathbed and the second was when we find out Lorna had been raped.

Both scenes, both storylines, actually, pull from two of life’s most difficult, demanding and devastating life moments. In these moments, I think the writers, directors and actors of Another World told very truthful, sincere stories with dignity and integrity. That is Soap Opera work at its very finest.

AA: What was it like shooting those scenes? How did you prepare? How much was carefully planned out and how much spontaneously rose up in the moment?
        
AC: This is an interesting question. Prior to shooting the Lucas dying scenes, I was very scared because my own father had passed away two months before I got the job as Lorna. I sat with my father as he lay dying in life and then had to go to work and do the same thing. I don’t think the producers and writers knew what I had just been thru, so it really was a strong case of Art imitating Life. I remember Janet Iacabuzio, one of the writers who wrote the scenes, wrote me a letter telling me she had no idea that I had lost my father and that she was there to support me and love me through these very difficult days of work. I still have that letter and whenever I find myself having a blue day, I reread it. It has become an inspirational touchstone for me.

Those scenes, holding John’s hands, staring into a face that coincidentally resembled that of my dad’s, and feeling those feelings of loss and abandonment all over again, was at once cathartic and emotionally psychological torture. I recall John trying not to cry during the scenes and me trying not to vomit. John was enormously kind, supportive and loving and took care of me in those scenes the way my own father did right before he died. In his silence, in his stillness was a strength that I was able to pull from. Those scenes are some of my favorite work.

To read Coppola's memories of Lorna's rape storyline, click here

And for other soap-opera memories from daytime's top actors, writers and producers, get a free preview of Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime's Greatest Moments at this link.       

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SOAP OPERA CHARACTERS WHO GOT AWAY WITH RAPE


Last week on The Bold & the Beautiful, Wyatt finally found out that his mother, Quinn, had been holding the amnesiac Liam more or less prisoner, telling him that they were married and making plans to run away together. (Allegedly, it was in the interest of giving Wyatt a clear shot at Liam’s girlfriend, Steffy, but, as time went on, Quinn found herself falling for the dumb lug who didn’t realize Quinn was off her cuckoo for Cocoa Puff rocker.)

Despite his mother’s best efforts to convince him otherwise, Wyatt locked Quinn in the closet and sped Liam back to Steffy (whom Wyatt had married in the interim, because the love of one’s life apparently doesn’t come along as rarely as they used to anymore).

As of earlier this week, Quinn still thought she could wriggle her way out of what, to most people, would look like some serious jail-time. Is this yet another example of her utter and complete break with reality? Or has Quinn simply watched enough soap-operas to know the lay of the land.

Soap-opera characters – if pretty and popular enough – can pretty much wriggle their way out of anything. Murder. Kidnapping. Rape.

Because even though Scott Clifton, who plays Liam deniesthat his character was, in fact raped - what else would you call knowingly having sex with a brain-damaged individual incapable of giving consent?

But that’s still okay. Soap-opera male rapists have been getting away with – and even rewarded for – their crimes going on 50 years now. Why shouldn’t women share in the equal opportunity redemption?

If/when Quinn’s case ever goes to trial (even in the court of public opinion) she’ll always have these precedents to invoke...

Read them all at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

NYC HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENT WRITERS WANTED

Last April, I released Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, the book that explains all your NYC school options - and how to get them. (For a list of my upcoming Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshops, click here.)

This year, I am preparing the companion book, Getting Into NYC High School. (Spoiler: NYC High-School admissions makes Kindergarten admissions feel like puppies and kittens in a basket.)

The high-school book will be a little different in that, in addition to general information about how to apply to NYC specialized high-schools, selective high-schools, screened/unscreeneed high-schools, charter high-schools, private high-schools, religious high-schools, etc... I will be including first-person accounts from the kids about their experience.

I want to hear about how they chose the schools they applied to, how they ranked them, and what the process - test, interview, portfolio, audition - was like. (Something like this, but in their own, original voice.)

Are you a teen with writing ambitions who'd like to get a publishing credit before graduating high-school? Are you the parent of a teen who you think might have writing ambitions, would like a publishing credit and/or something cool to put on their college resume?

Please contact me at: AlinaAdams@gmail.com for more information.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

WHAT'S AS COMMON AS A COLD - AND TAKES AS LONG TO RECOVER FROM? SOAP OPERA PARALYSIS!


Last week on Days of Our Lives, after a tumble down the stairs (the leading cause of soap-opera miscarriages), Maggie woke up in the hospital to utter the time-honored phrase, “I can’t feel my legs!” (Tumbling down the stairs is the second leading cause of soap-opera paralysis.)

Naturally, Maggie was devastated by this turn of events. But you’d think the woman who was first introduced as a crippled farm-girl who was eventually cured of her condition by love (well, okay, surgery was also involved… but it was mostly love) would be the first to realize that, on soaps, paralysis is rarely permanent.

Click here for some of daytime’s most famous medical cases… and how they turned out

Monday, April 04, 2016

DAYTIME EMMYS 2016: I'VE SEEN YOUR FACE BEFORE (HAT-TIP: LES MIZ)


The 2016 Daytime Emmy nominations were announced last Thursday and, for the soaps, it was old home week, as category after category was dominated by past winners and nominees, with only a smattering of first-time fresh faces, primarily in the Younger Actor and Actress division.

Even in the newbie categories of Outstanding Digital Daytime Drama Series, Outstanding Actress in a Digital Drama Series, and Outstanding Actor in a Digital Drama Series, beloved soap-opera vets rule. 

Read all about it at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/03/29/daytime-emmy-2016-nominees/

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

TIPS FOR A PROFITABLE BOOK SELLING EVENT

I am quoted in Publisher's Weekly about how to hold a successful Author event:

“The key to a successful event is lining up partner organizations that have as much to gain from a good turnout as you do,” says Alina Adams, author of the book Getting into NYC Kindergarten, published last April. She hosts workshops on navigating New York’s school application system at local businesses that are interested in getting her target market—parents of children ages newborn to four years old—through their doors. “Hosting my workshop allows them to advertise themselves in a new way, while I get access to a customer base I might not have otherwise,” she says.

Read the entire article at: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/69770-the-indie-authors-guide-to-organizing-author-events.html

Monday, March 28, 2016

THE FIDDLER ON THE ROOF... AND ME


The latest revival of Fiddler on the Roof, currently playing at the Broadway Theatre, opens with Danny Burnstein in modern dress, standing beneath a train station sign announcing “Anatevka” in Russian. He takes out a book and reads the opening lines of the show out loud as if from a diary, before taking off the 21st Century clothes and assuming the role of Tevye the Milkman. At the very end, as the villagers are heading out after having been evicted, Burnstein returns wearing his present day outfit, picks up the handles of the cart Tevye was previously dragging, and moves on with the rest of them.

Passover is next month. One of the edicts to celebrate by reading the familiar story of the Jewish exodus is for every participant to feel “as if you personally had come out of Egypt.” That’s what this new opening and closing made me think of.

Luckily, it’s a snap for me to put myself in Tevye and Co’s shoes. Find out why (and even see a picture) at: https://www.tdf.org/stages/article/1410/what-becomes-of-the-family-in-fiddler

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SOAP OPERA CLIFF-HANGERS WHERE CHARACTERS HANG OFF CLIFFS


Monday, March 21 marked the 36th anniversary of the greatest soap-opera cliffhanger the world had ever seen: Dallas’ Who Shot JR? It raised the bar for television cliffhangers, both primetime and daytime and though multiple attempts have been made since – including the TNT reboot having him shot and, this time, killed, and their ironic first season tag which literally featured the character of Cliff… in a (plane) hanger – no show has proven able to duplicate the international hysteria the original triggered.

Not that daytime hasn’t given it the old college try, repeatedly. Often by sending someone flailing off an actual cliff. Just last week, as they went into their March Madness hiatus, The Bold & the Beautiful had Quinn give Deacon the old heave-ho in order to keep him quiet about Quinn’s keeping an amnesiac Liam away from his loved ones (especially the ex-fiancĂ©e who was about to marry Liam’s brother – Quinn’s son).

Will viewers ever see Deacon again now that he’s falling many hundreds of feet into the Pacific Ocean? We calculate the odds based on previous cliffhanging cliff-topplers from shows including GH, DAYS, Y&R, GL, OLTL, AMC and more at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/03/22/soap-opera-cliffhangers/

Thursday, March 17, 2016

TOP 5 SOAP OPERA SUPPERVILLAINS


Soap-opera villains come in two flavors. There are your Young & Restless Victors and General Hospital Sonnys, who bellow and stomp their feet and attack innocent glassware in fits of rage when things (i.e. business, women, children) don’t go exactly their way. But they, along with the women who fake pregnancies and drug men into thinking they had sex despite being unconscious, are still, more or less, within the realm of reality and actions that actual human beings might, under some very particular circumstances, engage in. Even Days of Our Live’s newest daddy for John (yes, there have been quite a few of them) is still teetering on the precipice. At the moment, kidnapping babies, holding leading men prisoner and wanting to drain all of his son’s blood for a transfusion still falls under acceptable crazy status.

Then there are the supervillains. Bad guys – and gals – who aren’t constrained by space, time, gravity, science, or weather. They’re the ones who, in theory, could take down a soap town’s Big Bad on Campus – not just Victor and Sonny, but DAYS’ own Victor, even the Bold & the Beautiful’s face-morphing Sheila – without breaking a sweat… or a nail. The fact that they don’t has to mean they either don’t see these merely mortal villains as a threat. Or just don’t believe getting rid of them would be sporting. And/or worth their time.

So who are these comic-book worthy foes, and what has lifted them into the pantheon above run-of-the-mill schemers and thugs? We count down our Top 5 Favorites at Entertainment Weekly, here: http://community.ew.com/2016/03/15/soap-opera-supervillains/

Friday, March 11, 2016

IMAGES OF JEWS ON TV: OF KINGS AND PROPHETS


While I’ve written before about how Jewish women get theshort end of the stick on TV, it’s not like Jewish men do much better. Woody Allen set the standard, and the nebbish, hyper-intellectual loser with girls clichĂ© still sticks (let’s not talk about how the majority of Jewish male characters on TV are married to or involved with non-Jewish women – that’s a whole other post topic for another time).

That’s why I was intrigued to hear that ABC was launching a weekly series, Of Kings & Prophets, based on the Biblical story of King Saul, that uppity shepherd, David, the prophet Samuel, presumed heir apparent Jonathan, conflicted princess Michal and assorted other supporting players (no word yet if Batsheba will be making an appearance down the line).

It’s going to be pretty hard to drop stereotypical New York Jews with their whiny, nasal drawls, proudly un-athletic physiques and fondnesses for Shiksa goddesses into, as the onscreen Chyron explains, “Gibeah, the capital of Israel.” Especially when the producers promise to go “as far as we can” with the sex and violence. An ABC executive called it “muscular.” The network ran a “may not be appropriate for all audiences” disclaimer prior to airing the pilot.

Were we finally going to get some atypical Jewish male representation on TV? And would it be worth watching?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

SOAP OPERA STORIES THAT WIN DAYTIME EMMYS


Last week on The Bold & the Beautiful, after denying that she was spiraling out of control emotionally and developing a drinking problem, to boot, Katie smashed the glass tumbler holding her alcohol. Then, to demonstrate how desperately low she’d sunk, a tearful Katie picked up the broken tumbler and sipped from it anyway.

(One does have to wonder why, as there were plenty of other, intact glasses on the bar, and a half-full bottle, next to it. Why didn’t she just pour herself another drink and go to town without fear of ingesting shards destined to shred her intestines Probably because it would have been less cinematic.)

Heather Tom, who plays Katie, is the only actress in history to ever win Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Younger Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actress, and Outstanding Lead Actress. Odds are, there’s another Emmy (at least a nomination) in her future for this Katie Is An Alcoholic storyline.

The Daytime Emmys love alcoholic storylines. (Not as much as they like twin stories, or rape stories but alcohol is right up there.)

Find out which actors have won in the past for playing drunk and hear from Another World's Linda Dano (Felicia) on how her Emmy-winning intervention came together, here: http://community.ew.com/2016/03/08/daytime-emmys-love-alcoholics/

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

MAKING EVEN MORE MONEY OFF YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK

Thanks to Cary Press for quoting my tip on how to make even more money off your self-published book than you expected:

Alina Adams: Last April, I self-published a book, “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten,” to help parents navigate this Draconian process. I thought that would be that, but because so many people wanted to talk about their particular situation after reading the book, I began offering private consultations. Now I make more money doing consults than I do selling the book!

I also conduct workshops, record podcasts on the subject, and am developing "Accepted! Secrets of NYC School Admissions" as a television show.

From one self-published book to media empire!

Monday, February 29, 2016

FREE "GETTING INTO NYC KINDERGARTEN" WORKSHOP, PODCASTS & MOVIE DISCOUNT!

Dear NYC Parents -

I know it's hard to believe, because you haven't even finished filling out your child's Pre-Kindergarten application, and 2016 school placements have yet to be announced in their entirety, but the application season for Kindergarten 2017 (yes, 2017!) has already begun!

Don't get left behind! (Every year, the NYC Department of Education is flabbergasted about why more minority and low-income children don't sign up to take the test for gifted public schools and Hunter College Elementary. Maybe it's because they don't know how early you have to apply!)

The podcast below will tell you everything you should be doing starting now and heading all the way up to September 2017:



But wait, there's more!

Want to hear all the scoop in person? (I'll stop teaching parents how to work the system when all NYC schools are equally good.)

Come to a FREE "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" workshop!

The first one of 2016 will be on Tuesday, March 15 at 6 PM on Lexington and 32nd St. Space is limited and pre-registration is required via Nory.co.

As an added bonus to help make this stressful year (more like 18 months) go a little smoother, check out the movie, "Kindergarten Shuffle."

Filmmaker Douglas Morse not only got his son into a highly competitive, citywide public school gifted program (the odds are, unfortunately, against you), he made an entire movie about it!

Listen to him talking "Kindergarten Shuffle" below:



And to get a 50% discount on purchasing the film (as well as two testing guides and an admissions guide) use the code "KINDERGARTEN" at http://www.grandfatherfilms.com/.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

THE OLD & THE PREGNANT


Last week on The Young & the Restless, due to some convoluted blood-test switching, Ashley, played by Eileen Davidson, was pronounced pregnant. Everyone was shocked. But not for the reason you’d think. Ashley’s family was shocked by the news because they didn’t know she was seeing anyone romantically. And not because, having been first spotted in Genoa City in 1982 as a newly minted college graduate, Ashley is presumably 56 (okay, let’s assume she was a great student – 55, 54 tops) years old! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, age is nothing but a number and you’re as young as you feel and as restless as you look (and no one is saying Davidson doesn’t look fantastic), but that doesn’t apply to the ovaries of women over 50! (To underline the point, it is, in fact, Ashley’s grown daughter, Abby, who’s pregnant, not Ashley.)


 Of course, in soap-land, even if she were, in fact, pregnant for real, Ashley still wouldn’t rate in the Top 5 Late in Life Pregnancies. Find out what those are at Entertainment Weekly, here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

WHY 'FULLER HOUSE' CAN'T BE A 'FULL HOUSE' COPY


It’s tough to say who’s having a harder time letting go of their 80s/90s television obsessions, the network executives who keep remaking/updating/sequeling classic shows, or the fans who can’t get enough of them.

Star Trek is on its umpteenth reboot, with yet another one announced for a new voyage on CBS. Boy Meets World begat Girl Meets World for the Disney Channel, The X-Files is still searching for the truth somewhere out there on FOX (where they last left it), and 21st Century versions of Twin Peaks, MacGyver, Gilmore Girls, 24, and even Tales From the Crypt are in the production pipeline.

In the meantime, there’s Fuller House, a sequel to the TGIF hit, Full House, which ran on ABC from 1987 to 1995. That show featured three men – dad, uncle and best friend – moving in together to raise three, catch-phrase spouting little girls (four, if you count that the baby was twins; both of whom can now buy and sell every other cast-member). The Netflix series, premiering on February 26, 2016, is a Bizarro mirror world, where three women – mom, aunt and best friend – move in together to raise three little boys (catch-phrases pending). There’s also a teen-age girl. Presumably to prove this isn’t a carbon copy but a re-imagining.

When a teaser was released this past December, featuring literally a generic shot of the Gold Gate Bridge, cable cars, the front door to a house, an empty kitchen, an empty living room with a checkered couch in the center, a dog and some disembodied voices, it quickly became the streaming services’ most-watched original series trailer ever

Full House made its debut at the tail end of the Reagan era. It actually came out two months prior to the mega-movie hit, Three Men and a Baby, meaning neither was so much a blatant copy as one of those uninspired Hollywood coincidences that periodically cause several properties to simultaneously tackle volcanoes that bury cities, asteroids that threaten Earth, and teen-agers switching bodies with adults.

The main gag in both the feature film and the sitcom was Men Can’t Take Care of Babies! Now laugh!

Each spot-lighted diapers falling off adorable (and suspiciously clean) baby butts, food being spewed and/or flung with Hall of Fame precision into surprised faces, and hapless dads/surrogate dads utterly overwhelmed by basic tasks that have kept the human race from dying out lo these many millennia.

The Fuller House trailer offered the same front door, and the same kitchen and living room – now filled with familiar faces and the observation, “Damn, we all still look good!” They also checked the box on generic 90s catch-phrases – “All that and a bag of chips,” “Talk to the hand,” Oh, snap,” “You go, girl,” and “Stop, Hammer Time” are rattled off in quick succession, as if they’re afraid of forgetting one – as well as show-specific ones, including, “Have mercy,” “How rude!” and “You got it, dude!” There are multiple group hugs featuring both children and adults. Also, fear not, a baby does giggle adorably while throwing food smack into the face of his aunt (who happens to be wearing white).

The big question about whether or not Fuller House will be able to capture the magic and fan affection of the original comes down to this: When men are shown being incompetent in taking care of children, it’s adorable. They get a studio audience “awww” just for trying. (Same as male teachers do). After all, they’re men. Men don’t have to take care of (their own) kids. And they certainly aren’t obliged to take an interest in other people’s offspring. The fact that they’re willing to pitch in like this just shows how enlightened, noble and generous they are. Results aren’t the point. Participation trophies for everyone!

Read about why this might be a problem for Fuller House, here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

HISTORY OF SOAP OPERA LESBIAN CHARACTERS

Last week on General Hospital, Kristina tried to come to terms with her sexuality in light of her attempts to seduce a better grade out of her college professor – or was it something more than that? (As Sonny’s daughter, shouldn’t she have tried hanging her on a meat-hook first?)

Like many of the social issues they’ve introduced over the years – interracial relationships, people transitioning genders, rape - soap-operas have a spotty record with introducing lesbian characters. (In the genre’s defense, when you’re producing 5 day a week, 52 weeks a year of content, some of it is bound to be clunkers. The real miracle is how many actually aren’t.)

In 1977, two shows attempted vaguely similar storylines. On The Young & the Restless, a lonely Kay began developing what appeared to be romantic feelings towards her roommate, Joanne, showering the formerly overweight and insecure woman with gifts and affection. Kay’s son, Brock (who never quite figured out where to draw the line when it came to his mother’s relationships), told Joanne about Kay’s presumed attraction, and Joanne promptly cut herself off from Kay.

Similarly, on Days of Our Lives, Sharon confessed that she was in love with her friend, Julie. Actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, who still plays Julie to this day, recalls that her reaction was something akin to freaking out and running out of the room. That was pretty much the end of Sharon.

It wasn’t until 1983 that daytime introduced its first openly gay woman in a recurring role. Donna Pescow (of Angie and Saturday Night Fever fame – though before she played the mother in Out of this World) appeared as Dr. Lynn Carson, a child psychiatrist working with Devon’s daughter, Bonnie. Devon, who’d had several awful relationships with men, developed a crush on her little girl’s doctor. But when she told Lynn that she was in love with her, Lynn informed Devon that no, she was not, she was just confused. That was also soon the end of Lynn.

By the year 2000, however, AMC was ready to commit to a long-term storyline dealing with the one and only Erica Kane’s daughter, Bianca, coming out.

To read what actress Eden Riegel, who played Bianca, had to say about it, as well as Guiding Light writer Jill Lorrie Hurst talk about the Olivia/Natalia pairing, go to:  http://community.ew.com/2016/02/16/soap-opera-lesbian-characters/


Thursday, February 11, 2016

HOW SOAPS HANDLE MALE RAPE


Earlier this week on The Bold & the Beautiful, Quinn and Liam kissed. That’s not usually a particularly big deal. It’s a soap. People kiss (and more) all the time. It’s kind of what folks watch for. What made this kiss abnormally squicky (that’s a technical term, go with it), was that Liam has amnesia. He doesn’t remember that he hates Quinn for a variety of reasons. Little things like trying to kill him with a sword.

Right now, Liam thinks that his name is Adam. And that he’s married to Quinn. Who’s name is Eve. She told him this, and is hiding Liam at her house. So that her son, Wyatt (who is also Liam’s half-brother), can have a clear shot at Liam’s ex-wife, Steffy, who thinks that Liam just abandoned her without a second thought.

See how the kissing becomes a bit problematic at this point?

Meanwhile, last week on Days of Our Lives, Steve slept with Ava. Again, not a particularly big deal on soaps. Except that Ava who, after having strung along Steve’s teen-age son, Joe, romantically, forced Steve to have sex with her in exchange for Ava revealing where she’d kidnapped and hidden away Steve’s true love, ex-wife, Kayla. Now, Ava is threatening to tell Kayla “what Steve did,” if he doesn’t do whatever Ava says.

There is a word for what Ava did, and for what it sure does look like Quinn is about to do. It’s not a nice word. In fact, when I wrote a post about soap-opera’s treatment of women who are raped, it prompted ex-Another World star Alicia Coppola to rebut my interpretation of events.

Actor Scott Clifton, who plays Liam on B&B, also disputes interpreting what Quinn is doing as rape, claiming on Twitter that it is, at most, fraud. Some fans agree with him, some don’t.

Chime in with your opinion on my latest Entertainment Weekly post at: http://community.ew.com/2016/02/09/soap-opera-male-rape/

Monday, February 08, 2016

SKATING CHAMP PHOTOS & FREE SKATING BOOK

I wrote about where fans could watch FREE figure-skating for my NY Frugal Family column at Examiner.com.

For those who weren't able to get out to Bryant Park's Winter Carnival this weekend, here are photos of 2016 U.S. Men's Champion Adam Rippon and past U.S. Pairs Champions John Coughlin and Caydee Denney to make up for it!


And here's something to look forward to!

Murder on Ice: A Figure Skating Mystery with skating videos by Ice Theatre of NY included as part of the story is FREE to borrow now on Amazon, and will be FREE to download for the last time this year the weekend of the World Championships!

Don't miss it!



Photo Credit: Andrew Kelly for Bryant Park

Thursday, January 28, 2016

GROUNDHOG DAY - SOAP OPERA STYLE!

Does it ever feel like some soaps tell the same stories over and over again?

For a Groundhog's Day post on Entertainment Weekly, I want to write about plots that get recycled (sometimes even with the same characters).

Which ones you like, and which you hope you'll never see again.

Please tell me in the Comments, or email me at: AlinaAdams@gmail.com

Looking forward to reading!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TOP 10 SOAP OPERA TINY TERRORS


Let’s cut General Hospital’s tiny terror Jake some slack. It’s not easy coming back from the dead. Especially when you “died” a cherubic preschooler and are now an angsty tween. Who was held prisoner for years by a psychotic (though well-dressed) villainess known for her tendency to brainwash. And the guy who rescued you, the one you thought was your dad, takes off with some vague excuse about “keeping the darkness at bay” and whatnot. Then you find out another guy, the one who once shared your name, prompting everyone to call you Little Jake (how demeaning!) is really your dad. Except he and your mom aren’t together anymore, and he’s inching closer to his ex, the mother of his other son. The one who’s still a cherubic preschooler.

Anyone would go a little batty after all that. So if Jake is the one making it look their family is being stalked in order to push his mom and dad back together, who would blame him? The kid definitively needs some therapy. (Though it’s questionable whether ex-serial-killer-turned-art-therapist Franco, the one who was once obsessed with Jake’s mob enforcer dad, is exactly the right person for the job.)

Alas, poor, traumatized Jake isn’t the only tiny terror currently living in Port Charles. There’s also Spencer who, save a kidnapping or two, up until his recent Phantom of the Opera style face-burning incident, had led a pretty charmed life. (So, okay, his mom died when he was an infant – and didn’t come back from the dead. But in the grand scheme of soap-opera kid tragedies, that one barely rates.) Nonetheless, in addition to his precocious vocabulary, Spencer also boasts a precocious rap sheet. At only 10 years old, he’s already tampered with a local election by stealing a ballot box, broke into his father’s safe to snag a family heirloom ring, and dropped sand-bags onto the stage where his (also 10 year old) “romantic rival” was performing a tango with the girl Spencer wanted for himself.

But lest your think Port Charles is exclusively popular by bad boys, meet Josslyn. Cancer that led to a kidney transplant as a tot is no excuse for such later acts as locking her babysitter in the attic, trying to smash a man’s brains in with a crowbar, general scheming with Spencer, and lots of standing around, looking very Bad Seed-ish. On the other hand, Joss seems to be one of the few people in town who realizes that her mother’s on-again/off-again husband, Sonny the mobster, is a horrible person. Takes one to know one?

Meanwhile, over on The Young & the Restless, there’s a budding tiny terror in the making as Max blames stepmother Abby for his mother’s recent death. As opposed to blaming his mother for driving and talking on her phone at the same time (let this be your PSA, kids!). Abby thinks she can smooth over the situation by getting Max a sneak preview of a new video-game. Abby is wrong.

Will Max eventually stop sulking, or will his whining escalate into GH kids’ territory? Let’s check out the trajectories of some previous soap-opera tiny terrors, in ascending order of sociopath, to see if they might offer a clue at Entertainment Weekly!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HOW NOT TO WRITE A ROMANCE NOVEL

Yup, I'm still at it.

July 2014, I started writing my next romance novel - live with reader feedback (after all, what's the point of telling me you hate something after the book is finished and it's too late for me to do anything about it?) and keeping a log of how it's going. Here are the latest updates:

UPDATE 10/19/15 
So last week I oh so triumphantly announced that I’d finished the first draft of this live written manuscript, and would be starting on the editing today. But then, over the weekend, I thought of an extra scene I needed to make the last ones pay off. So it’s back to the drawing board…

UPDATE 10/30/15 
It took me a long time to learn to like editing. With my first book, “The Fictitious Marquis,” back in the dark ages of 1993, when editorial notes actually came scribbled in the sides of a printed out manuscript’s margins, the first time I got a revision letter, I actually left it on the kitchen counter and tip-toed around it for an entire week before I had the stomach to read it in detail. Revisions? What do you means, revisions? Isn’t the manuscript perfect? Isn’t that why you bought it?

Cut to (I also write for TV) twenty years and over a dozen books later and I’ve worked with editors who had suggestions for nearly every line, and also ones who would give vague feedback like, “This scene doesn’t work. Make it work.”

I haven’t gotten much better at dealing with those sorts of notes, but I have taught myself to enjoy editing my own work. I look at it as sifting through the garbage and finding the decent story that’s buried underneath.

Usually, writers are advised to let their work sit and “air out” for a bit before diving in for a 2nd go. But as you can see by the dates, I started this manuscript over a year ago, writing live so aspiring writers could see what a real 1st draft looks like. I figure, by the time I got to the end, the beginning has aired out enough.

Writers are also advised never to show anything other than their very best work. That ship has obviously sailed.

Now that I’ve demonstrated what a real 1st draft looks like, I’m going to do an equally ill-advised thing and show what happens in a 2nd draft edit.

As a reader, I like a tight manuscript that gets right to the good stuff. No description, minimal introspection, just tell me what happens next! During the course of writing the 1st draft live, I found that plugging a sentence into Twitter and making it fit the 140 character limit is a great way to hunt down excess words and unneeded adjectives. I intend to edit my entire manuscript using that method.

As of today, this document runs 96,566 words. My goal is to get it down to around 80,000 without sacrificing story - well, actually making it better.

UPDATE 11/9/15
During today’s live editing pass, I cleaned up some typos, turned paragraph-long run-on sentences into two or three shorter sentences and, most important, got rid of at least a dozen “he said,” “she swore,” “he insisted,” etc.... Reading it over, I found I didn’t miss them. The dialogue conveyed the emotion (as it should). What do you think? How does it read?

UPDATE 11/30/15
The key to being a professional writer is writing even when you don’t feel like it. I am exhausted from the 4 day break (yes, I clearly don’t know what it means to vacation) and then the work I needed to turn in this morning to make up for the short week. I don’t really feel like writing or editing. But I’m going to do it anyway. (In my experience, afterwards there is no difference between work written with enthusiasm and work that forced to meet a deadline.)

Follow along as I edit live at: www.AlinaAdams.com/live