Keep reading to find out about Catherine Stine’s book “Dorianna”. As part of this blog tour, this blog stop contains a Guest Post from Catherine Stine, as well as a description of the book. A short teaser has also been provided, so do make sure you read the whole post 😉
Genre: YA paranormal/horror
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Date of Publication: October 24, 2014
Word Count: 91K
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.
Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop
Dorianna is a dark twist for the Internet generation on A Picture of Dorian Gray.
When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.
Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and warns her the pledge has downsides.
Dorianna thinks he’s joking. She has no idea of how dire the consequences might be.
Short Teaser from “Dorianna”
Ander’s gray-blue eyes glaze over. His animal need wafts over in a hot rush that takes my breath away. “Do you know how much I thought about you today?” he whispers.
“No.” I’m trembling. “How much?”
“I thought about you when I was in Lit, and wondered where you could possibly be. I thought about you when I waited for you by our lockers after school. I thought about how I split on you at the Yellow Party, and how that wasn’t cool. How I took you out to Coney on a whim, but you charmed me. You’re the first person who’s been able to make me forget about . . . other girls. I’m into people seeing us more together, you know?” He strokes my cheek. Each fingertip sends a delighted chill of desire through me.
Charmed him? Is that part of Wilson’s magic? My rational side scoffs at the idea. No matter what, or how this happened, Ander knows what to say to open me up in a way I’ve never dared before. His grin says, Take a chance, and you won’t regret it.
About the Author:
Catherine Stine’s novels span the range from science fiction to paranormal to contemporary. Her futuristic thriller, Fireseed One won finalist spots in YA and Sci-Fi in the 2013 USA News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader Approved notable seal. Its companion novel, Ruby’s Fire was a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her paranormal YA, Dorianna launches with Evernight Teen in October. She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare. Her new adult Art of Love series includes Model Position and Private Internship. She loves all things spooky, exotic and edgy, including travel to unusual locations. She also loves hearing from readers.
Evoke, Don’t Bludgeon, Or Show Don’t Tell
By Catherine Stine
In my own writing and in the literature I teach, from Collin’s fabulous Hunger Games to Kafka’s story The Hunger Artist, I’m always harping on the importance of “showing not telling.” When I was a newbie, if I heard that slogan once, I heard it a zillion times. Does it mean you always have to put the characters in dialog or in action, or that you can’t have exposition? No, and that’s where it gets complicated. So, let me start simply, by showing not telling.
Here are the opening lines from Collin’s Hunger Games:
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must’ve had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the Reaping.
It’s internal monologue, which is a form of exposition, yet it tells a lot without bludgeoning the reader by being too direct. We infer that they’re poor and cold by the rough canvas mattress cover, and because they have only one bed that they all sleep in for warmth. We know that her little sister, Prim is about to be involved in a horrid event. And we know it’s called The Reaping.
To show not tell is to infer and evoke these aspects rather than say them directly. A less seasoned writer might’ve written: We are horribly poor and have no heat so we all sleep in one bed. My sister’s name got put in the kitty and might be picked today for a very deadly game.
Here’s an example from Kafka’s story about an extreme performance artist who fasts. He’s a mistrustful character, who stays holed up in his cage 24/7 and doesn’t relate to his audience. There’s no dialog until the end, when he’s at the point of death. And then there’s a long stretch of it, including, these lines spoken to the overseer: “I have to fast, I can’t help it,” said the hunger artist… “And why can’t you help it?” “Because,” said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and speaking with his lips pursed, as if for a kiss, right into the overseer’s ear so that nothing would be missed, “because I couldn’t find the food I liked…”
What can we infer from this passage? A lot! First of all, this is the only dialog in the entire story, and there’s a big chunk of it. Take note when a story changes in style. Also, note that the hunger artist motivates this interaction. We infer that he’s now desperate for human communication. Kafka has a gorgeous action line in here—the hunger artist, struggling up though he’s terribly weak, and pursing his lips as if for a kiss that grazes the overseer’s ear. This is Kafka’s way of evoking intimacy through an action and through a metaphor—the kiss.
A less savvy writer might’ve written: The hunger artist was about to die, and felt desperate for someone to talk to. He whispered stuff in the overseer’s ear.
Finally, here’s a passage from my YA horror, Dorianna where I try to create a huge sense of difference from before and after Dorianna’s making a dangerous vow with a Prince of Darkness:
I’m dizzy. I need fresh air, now. But I want this promise more than anything. Ever. “What’s the price?” I rasp.
Wilson’s stare burns into me. “Can’t say, exactly.” He takes a long breath. “But there always is.” His words are ice and fire. Flutters of snowflakes pattering silently under my skin, that melt into scorching sparks.
I follow an irrepressible urge to stand up, and look down on Wilson with his narrow, feral face and piercings. I need Ander to look at me with that passion, over and over. I need those hater girls put in their place. I need a friend, and for people to want to be with me all of the time, to never, ever be bored—only to love me.
It’s worth any price.
A powerful force in me breaks loose, a flu bug races rampant up my spine. Like when I got hooked into rooting for the Pacers one season—the burn of wanting them to smash their opponents. I had their plastic ball hanging from my window, and concentrated on its hypnotic pendulum as I fell asleep. Team fever.
“Would you . . . give your soul?” Wilson’s whisper invades my gut, my brain.
Ander’s aching gaze from our time at the beach shimmers in front of me. Enticing. I can almost feel his kiss. Like water. Drink it in. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this, this . . . “I’d give anything for power, easy youth and beauty.” My voice comes from all around me, spreading, gluey on my skin. “Yes, I’d even give my . . . soul.”
The air spirals into a funnel, draining all oxygen from the room with a hiss. So-, so-, soul. In an instant, new air swoops in, air suffused with rich, delicious minerals. I gulp it in, openmouthed, so very thirsty.
“To be seen and accepted,” I murmur.
Wilson goes head to head with me. “Forget about just being accepted—how about having a following of millions, going viral?”
“Really?” I’m whirling. “Go viral.” Wilson’s promises are golden brands, annointing me, conferring an otherworldly legitimacy I’ve never, ever felt. How does he manage to do this?
Ander returns with the brownies. I luxuriate in the sexy new glint he’s giving me. Who needs sweets when he’s looking at me like that? Is this vow a real thing? Is it already working?
“Something feels different in here,” he mumbles. “It’s colder.” He puts the plate of brownies down and smiles at me. Light flickers red, then gold on Ander’s handsome face as he caresses and infuses me with his body heat.
An unfamiliar power in me swells with precarious danger and weight as I study Ander and Wilson. Abruptly, I’m flung out of my body, inexplicably looking down at them as pitiful peons who will someday worship at my feet.
As two of the very, very many.
Dialog is one of the best ways to show not tell. We learn that Dorianna is in terror of Wilson, yet she’s desperate enough for love and friendship to get past that in order to make a crazy vow. By varying the room temperature, we sense something big just took place. Without me coming out and saying that Dorianna’s now cursed, we know she feels a sudden rush of supremacy through her last internal line because she sees the two guys in totally different ways than before.
Do you have any favorite show don’t tell tips? Which ones do you rely on?