E-reader or Book? What’s Your Preference?

Faran Fagen

Faran: I just love to sit in a comfortable chair and flip through the pages of a book. I love the smell of a book, the feel of the pages on my fingers, and the authentic look of the cover. Nothing’s better than rain patting the roof, a comfy chair, a cup of coffee in one hand, and a good book in the other. Not having to worry about charging the thing or other technical glitches is also a plus.

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: My current favorite method is audiobooks. I download them from Broward County Library on Overdrive and listen in the car. I was in Dania for a workshop yesterday. It took me an hour to get home, but I didn’t mind. I had a great book! I also will read from an e reader on occasion, but normally, if I’m reading, it’s an actual book.

Melody Maysonet

Melody: I started reading ebooks when I ran out of space on my bookshelves. Now I’m hooked. I usually read while I’m eating or drinking coffee, and with an ebook, you can just prop up the device (in my case, i use the Kindle app on my iPad) to easily turn the pages. I also read in bed at night–which means I can turn off all the lights and still see my book. That’s not to say I don’t love the feel and smell and look of paper books. I do! And I’ll still buy my favorite books in hard copy so I can display them on my shelf.

Joanne Butcher

Joanne: I am definitely a book person. I don’t even own an e-reader. I love the texture of the cover in my hands, the smell of the pages, and the available reference should I want to revisit the book for a discussion. I keep most of my books in case I want to reread them, reference a writing technique, or share them with others. Some of my books have been passed down from my parents and grandparents who loved to read. I hope to pass along those favorites to my children and grandchildren.

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan: You’d think there’d finally be an easy question for our Themed Thursdays, but as always, it’s never that simple. There are times when I prefer reading via electronic device, but to me, there’s nothing better than holding a new book and flipping through the pages. It’s a thrill to open a book and get that feeling that an electronic device just can’t match.

Wrap it Up Wednesday for the Tuesday Writers

The Tuesdays met at Jonathan’s house shortly after the rain stopped in West Broward. Parker, Jonathan’s dog, trekked down the stairs to greet us all and spent an extra amount of time checking out Faran who is back after a hiatus at summer camp.

Faran read the climax of a Y/A baseball novel he’s been working on. The pacing and tension were amazing. We were on the edges of our chairs feeling a whole range of emotion for the main character, his best friend, his girlfriend and the entire baseball team.

Cathy has a new character that just showed up in her novel. He’s wreaking havoc all over the place. The Tuesdays love the chaos he’s creating.

Melody’s chapter had her main character grappling with issues about a boy she likes. It related concepts regarding money and morals. Melody reflected the morality beautifully with a slimy smile on a character’s face.

I read a scene that I added to the climax of my work in progress. The Tuesdays liked the addition, but suggested relocating it.  We discussed moving it forward and adding to an existing scene to maximize the ramping up of tension for the grand finale.

 

Jonathan is cranking out another hilarious middle grade novel. Even though he has a short deadline with his publisher, he manages to continue to ace the funny stuff. The Tuesdays were excited to find a small fix for Jonathan’s WIP. We know it was only because he’d had a busy week hosting his launch party.

Stacie didn’t join us this week. She’s spending quality time with her daughter before college starts. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone next Tuesday.

Strongest writer warriors: Patience, time

By Faran Fagen
Most Tuesday Tips, we bombard you with craft and publishing advice.
Thought I’d change it up this week and offer some famous words on patience.
In every facet of writing and publishing, our tribe has to rely on patience. Patience to find just the right word, or pacing in our work in progress. Patience to connect with the right agent or publisher.
In this spirit, I combed the internet for some well-known quotes on patience. Hope you find these helpful. You may even recognize some of them (there’s some Emerson, Ben Franklin, Tolstoy, even one from Winnie the Pooh). Have fun trying to think of the author of any of these words:

“A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves a thousand moments of regret.”
“The trees that grow slower bear the greatest fruit.”
“Don’t lose hope, just lose your ego with work and patience.”
“Good things come to those who wait, Better things come to those who try.”
“The hardest tests in life is the patience to wait for the right moment.”
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
“Patience and silence are two powerful energies. Patience makes you mentally strong, silence makes you emotionally strong.”
“Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.”
“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”
“Inner peace can be seen as the ultimate benefit of practicing patience.”
“Patience and self-restraint strengthen you. Impatience and self-indulgence weaken you.
Patience is learned through waiting.”
“Be positive, patient and persistent.”
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
Patience, grasshopper,” said Maia. “Good things come to those who wait.”
“I always thought that was ‘Good things come to those who do the wave,'” said Simon. “No wonder I’ve been so confused all my life.”
“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.”
“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
“Patience is a conquering virtue.”
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
“Patience Is Not the Ability to Wait: Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.”
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
“Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.”
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
“There’s no advantage to hurrying through life.”
“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.”

Pagan Jones

Today we welcome author Nina Berry and the BONUS of our first RAFFLE! www.tuesdaywriters.com

CC: Since you work by day in TV, what’s your writing schedule like?

NB: I write a lot on the weekends, on my lunch hour, and at home at night. I don’t go into a calendar and block off time – although I probably should, but in my mind, I set aside specific hours or time to write. But I goof off online during that writing time more than I should. To help with distraction, writing sprints are useful. I set a timer or look at the clock and say to myself “thirty minutes of writing and nothing but writing starting now.” And then I work like crazy for that time, knowing I’ll get a break at the end of it. Life is a constant battle against my well-developed ability to procrastinate.

CC: We’re a critique group, so we’d love to know about your experience with them. What can you tell us?

NB: Very smart of you to find a group of people you trust to show your work to! I have a critique partner who is essential to my writing. Her name is Elisa Nader and you should check out her fabulous YA thriller ESCAPE FROM EDEN. I also often brainstorm or exchange reads with powerhouse YA and TV writer Jen Klein, who has several books out now. The most recent is a delightful romance called SUMMER UNSCRIPTED. They are both strong in areas where I am weak, and they call me on my crap. They are also supportive and will tell me what’s working – and that is as essential as telling me what doesn’t work. In my experience, YA writers in general are good at supporting each other. The community is close knit and full of smart, kind people.

I don’t know about you, but I go through a recognizable process when I get a really critical note. My first reaction is huge resistance and resentment. That’s my ego, bristling. Then as the note sinks in, I start to mull it over and see some value in it. That’s my desire to be a better writer wrestling with my ego. Finally, I get excited about how the note’s going to make my writing better and I incorporate it in my own way. At that point, I’m filled with gratitude toward the note-giver, completely opposite from where I started. The more this happens, the shorter the time of resistance and resentment lasts. But it’s still there! The ego is mighty, and you have to get past it to get better. Critique partners and groups are a great way to do that.

CC: Pagan Jones is historical fiction and Otherkin begins a paranormal trilogy. How does it work for you switching genres like that?

NB: It is super fun! The key is, if you’re going to write in a genre, read a lot in that genre. Get to know it. I’ve always been a big reader. I love everything from Jane Austen to George R. R. Martin, so all that reading makes it possible for me to write different genres.

But just as you’d expect, historical fiction requires more research than paranormal. Fortunately, I love research! Don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of research for Otherkin – everything from the biology of tigers to how particle accelerators work. But paranormal fiction requires you to change the real world, so you have more leeway with facts. You still need that world to be consistent, of course. But because the Pagan Jones books are historical, I spent more time on research. I read a lot of books on Berlin and the Cold War for The Notorious Pagan Jones, and books on Nazi hunting and Buenos Aires for City of Spies. I scoured old maps and photos of the locations, researched the real people involved, and on and on. Fortunately, I love history and I find that sort of thing fun. With historical fiction, it’s important to me to be respectful of real people’s real experiences. For example, Pagan helps hunt down a Nazi war criminal in her second book, so I was very conscious the whole time I wrote that book how important it was to try to get it right, while at the same time being true to Pagan’s character and entertaining the reader. The historical Hollywood parts of those books came more easily because I work in Hollywood by day and have a Masters degree in film and TV. I’ve loved movies and movie history since I was a kid. If you have a passion, it’s great to be able to incorporate it into your books that way.

CC: Of all your books, which one is your favorite?

NB: No fair! I love them all! Hmm. Okay. Trying not to give you too glib an answer. Each book is a different kind of favorite. Otherkin was the first time I ever talked to an editor who really understood what I was going for. That’s a magical feeling. Othermoon was the first time I killed off a character, and yes, I cried. Othersphere was the first time I had to end a series and say goodbye to characters, so it was fun to wrap it up and difficult to walk away.

Of the many characters I’ve created (and I love them all, even the villains) Pagan Jones is my favorite. I can see her starring in her own Netflix series, you know? She’s larger than life, and so complex I could easily write many more stories for her. But the publisher has no plans to do that as of now, so I’ve had to move on, and that’s been really hard. But you never know! I’d bring Pagan back in a heartbeat, given the chance.

The more I write, the better my writing gets, so my next one should be the best yet.

CC: What are you working on…that you can tell us about?

NB: I cannot say much, alas. But it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done, and it scares me. In the best way. It’s pushing me to grow. I keep telling myself that’s a good thing as I fret and sweat over the words.

CC: What is your favorite part about being an author?

So much of it is awesome! I love the idea phase, when I’m putting the characters and story together in my head. It’s a great excuse to daydream. I love it when I write a passage that really works. But my absolute favorite is when a reader tells me that my story meant something to them. That’s the best thing ever.

So here’s another favorite thing – FREE BOOKS!www.tuesdaywriters.com

Enter to win one of several books!

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berrywww.tuesdaywriters.com

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosenwww.tuesdaywriters.com

A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies Launch Party Recap!

Hello Tuesdays!

I have to tell you, I am wired right now. I had my book launch tonight and it was beyond anything, that I’ve thought about.

First off, it was surreal, to walk in and see my name and face on a poster. Right beneath that, was a stack of my books. I couldn’t believe the thrill of actually seeing my book out on display. Nothing prepares you for that. It’s a better feeling, than I’d ever thought it would be. For all those years, when I picked up books at the store, I’d always pictured what it would be like to pick up my own. I’d thought about it, but actually doing it, was sooooo much better.

It’s amazing to see, in physical form, the product of all the hard work that you’ve put in.

After that, my friends and family started pouring in.

Seeing, so many people you know, come and support you, is such a heartwarming feeling.

There were writing friends, non-writing friends, and members of my family. For all of them, it was helping out and supporting a friend. But, for me seeing them all there, meant so much more. There were tons of kids roaming around, and also quite a few people who had just come in, after reading about the event, That, to me, was the coolest. People you know, might feel obligated, but just seeing people who came by, because they were interested in your book, was overwhelming. That made me incredibly happy.

Overall, I was relaxed, had fun, and everything felt like a party atmosphere.

So, thank you, once again, to all who came out to help me celebrate. It really meant so much to me, and I can honestly say, this was a night that I’ll never forget.

Themed Thursday: What We’re Reading Now

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: I’m working through the 2017-2018 Florida Teens Read list. I just started The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. From the title, I expected a fantasy novel, and there is a fantasy aspect to it. However it’s really about growing up in the Bible Belt and coming to terms with his parents’ sins and whether or not that will define his life.

Joanne Butcher

Joanne: I’m reading Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. Two strangers meet and form a band. One of them has a magical guitar. Their struggles with the rise and fall of the band reflect Native American life. I’m reading it to learn more about the writing technique of magical realism.

Melody Maysonet

Melody: My sister recommened The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, and I’m absolutely loving it! (Thanks, Eva!) This book is smart, funny, sweet, heart-breaking, and optimistic all at the same. This is a must-read for anyone who loves books and literature (the main character is a bookstore owner) and for anyone who enjoys stories about redemption. If you liked A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, or The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, you’ll love this book.

Faran Fagen

Faran: At this moment, I’m actually reading a tiny book called You Know You’re a Writer When… by Adair Lara. It’s full of little snippets any writer would appreciate, like seeing the keyboard through tears, and viewing our friends as characters in our latest novel. My favorite quip so far: “Your heartbeat quickens whenever you enter a bookstore.”

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan: I thought for sure this would be an easy one, but the problem is, I read several books at once. But, since we have to pick only one, I’m going to go with Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood. It’s part of Nathan Hale’s, Hazardous Tales series, which covers different historical periods in comic form. This particular one, is about World War I, which was a fascinating time, for all that the results that the outcome led to.

 

Stacie: Right now I’m reading Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor. It’s a collection of short stories and I’m loving it. Laini Taylor’s book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of my favorites so I thought I’d give this collection a try.

I’m not sorry I did. It’s gorgeous, other-worldly. Wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you use a Checklist for Revision?

I’m in the process of revising my work in progress. I love revision because it gives me a chance to catch weak areas and deepen what I’ve written. I’ve always been a checklist person as well. I find them efficient and time saving. Here’s a revision checklist I’ve created for myself from the classes I’ve taken and how-to books I’ve read.                                         

Opening:

  • Does the story start with momentum or too much backstory?
  • Mood of Chapter 1 where I want it?
  • Strong first line and first page?
  • Is the main character likeable?
  • Is the hero in a situation that shows the conflict or what needs to change?

Plot and Structure                                                         

  • Do the main plot points fall at about ¼, ½, and ¾ of the way through the book?
  • Does the plot escalate?
  • Can I raise the stakes?
  • Does each scene have an arch?
  • Is the chronology correct?
  • Is there any point where a reader might feel like putting the book down?
  • Is there a symbolic death in the middle so the hero can rebuild?

Language

  • Watch for clichés in sayings or action that is too typical.
  • Check for dead verbs. (I use ‘moved’ way too much)
  • Look for boring, non-specific nouns that can jazz things up with better description.
  • Watch for accidental alliteration or places to use alliteration to intensify a situation
  • Check the exposition. Does it enhance mood or tone?
  • Does the dialogue have conflict with very little stage direction?

Characters                                                                    

  • Do the most significant characters each have an arch?
  • Can the reader feel the character’s emotion?
  • Is my main character’s dilemma too strong for him to quit?
  • Is there a strong reason the characters have to stick together?
  • Does the villain have the ability to kill my hero or crush his career, his health, his family?
  • Does my hero’s voice have substance? Does it fit the age, gender? Does it draw in a reader?

Theme

  • Is the theme evident?
  • How have I brought out theme? Recurring patterns, viewpoints, messages?
  • Does the theme come out organically? Does it feel lectured?

Endings

  • Does each scene end in the right place? Could it stop a paragraph or two sooner?
  • Can I split a scene to create a cliff hanger?
  • Can I make the ending of a scene stronger with more worry, a big decision, a strong statement?
  • Is the climax a do or die situation?
  • Does the resolution wrap up all loose ends and feel satisfying to the reader?

First drafts are a blur of ideas arriving on the page as fast as you can get them there. Revision is a calculated process with lots of checking and re-checking all the components that make up your novel. Slowdown in revision and enjoy the world-changing power and privilege of writing.

Interview with Leah Henderson, Debut Author of One Shadow on the Wall

Hello Tuesdays!

Today, I’m pleased to be joined by my fellow 2017 Debut member, Leah Henderson, whose debut, One Shadow On The Wall, came out June 6th from Simon & Schuster/Atheneum

JR: Hi, Leah and thanks for joining us today.

LH: Hey! I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.

JR: Before we begin, can you tell us a little bit about One Shadow On The Wall and the impetus behind writing it?  

LH: One Shadow On The Wall is the story of a newly orphaned boy choosing between what is right and what is easy in order to keep a promise he made to his father. It is laced with magical realism and set in contemporary Senegal, a place near and dear to my heart.

The impetus for writing it came a few years ago during a trip to Senegal. I happened to see a young boy sitting on a beach wall and asked myself what his day might be like and tried to collect my thoughts in a short story. When my grad school professor read it she remarked, “You know this is the start of a novel, right?” Although I wasn’t quite sold on the idea at first, after many, many drafts, and a couple more after that, I found Mor—my main character—and his story.

JR: I saw on your website, www.leahhendersonbooks.com, that you like taking in different traditions of people when you travel around the world. What are some of the more interesting traditions you’ve observed?

LH: That’s a tough one. I travel a lot. Wanderlust skips through every inch of my body—always! I have seen a number of things over the years that have definitely left an impression from the art of tea service in Senegal or Mali, having henna decorated on my hands and feet during a weeklong Indian wedding in Bangalore, but really my fondest memories are of each places cultural notes that are all their own. The differences between the souks of Muscat, Oman and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia compared to the shops in Dubrovnik, Croatia, or those in Beijing, Istanbul, or Capetown. There are so many differences and similarities around the world that are always so fascinating to witness.

 

JR: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey getting to this point?

LH: I’ve always loved writing, and after spending almost a year writing a novel on a speaker in an Italian nightclub, I decided to go back to school for a MFA in Writing. But I didn’t truly put writing blinders on and focus until after I graduated.

I started One Shadow on the Wall during graduate school, but really dragged my feet about finishing it. I truly didn’t believe I was the one to tell this story. I was worried I’d get everything wrong about a culture I knew so little about. And it wasn’t until my father reminded me that I had the opportunity to help kids like Mor see themselves on the page that my focus intensified.

So with the help of my amazingly supportive mentor I finished One Shadow On The Wall about a year later. Then I submitted it to a very small number of agents. I heard some really encouraging things about the story and my writing, but unfortunately no offers. I knew this quiet story set in a little known part of Africa would have an uphill journey to publication, so I decided to put it in a drawer for awhile and started writing something new. But about seven months after those rejections, I crossed paths with one of the first agents who’d read it and they wanted to take a second look. After that, things happened pretty quickly. I signed on with that agent at the end of 2014, went out on submission the last day of February 2015, and the manuscript sold by the beginning of March 2015.

 

JR: What’s your writing process like?

LH:  It varies for each project I write. But generally an idea sits in my head, twirling around for a while before I actually start to put anything down on paper. Sometimes I will write a brief outline, and other times I will dive right in because certain scenes are so vivid in my mind.

I kind of let the story dictate how things will go. But at some point I definitely stop and assess where I am in the process and either start outlining for the first time, or add to an outline I already created, sometimes even shifting around scenes.

JR: What was your favorite childhood book and who’s your favorite author?

LH: Agh…this question… As a writer and avid reader I have soooooo many favorites! They depend on what I need at the moment. But I will say the childhood book that has left the deepest impression is Corduroy. It was the first book where I got to see an image of myself and my mom having a simple adventure and I loved it.

 

JR: What’s your favorite movie?

LH: Many of my favorite things depend on my mood. So any questions about “favorites” are tough for me. I like and love so many things for what they are and for how they make me feel. I’ve never been one to put a limit on my “happy” or shy away from things that evoke strong emotions in me.  

But one movie I can play again and again and not get bored of no matter how many times I see it is: Beauty and the Beast though Slumdog Millionaire, Love Actually, The Piano, and Notting Hill are up there as well. But right now my whole soul is waiting for the Black Panther. I know that movie will give me life!

 

JR: Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

LH: To be honest, I’m not really sure anymore. I am always surprised by what people find surprising. I’ve never run off and joined the circus or anything, but I once packed up my brother’s Batmobile and headed off for a cross-country trip in my red rain boots (didn’t make it out of the cul-de-sac though . . . Momdukes convinced me there was an adventure waiting for me at the playground).

 

 

JR: Do you do a lot of research when you write?

LH: Absolutely, especially for One Shadow on the Wall. Even though I’ve traveled to Senegal a number of times, her culture is not my own, so I definitely needed to research EVEYTHING. But I have also done a far amount of research on some of my other stories as well. I have a very curious soul, so I love to research. Though sometimes it can quickly turn into a procrastination technique. But I generally do quite a bit of exploring before I ever start writing anything. And in some cases a lot more after I get a completed first draft down, because that’s when I truly know what I need.

JR: Here at the Tuesdays, a big part of our success and the purpose of this site, has been being involved in a critique group. Are you involved in one and if so, how has it helped you?

LH: Critique groups are amazing! Or at least having one or two solid critique partners can do a world of good. And I’m fortunate enough to have both. Critique groups have helped me brainstorm when I’m stuck, and have called me on things that I’ve tried to slip in unnoticed (even though I already knew they weren’t going to fly). They are also a great source of encouragement and kinship if you are fortunate to find the right one.  

 

JR: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received and is there any advice you can give to writers looking to break in?

LH: Just remember that: “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper.” –Anne Lamott

And I would offer this: Believe in yourself, and if you can’t completely do that yet, surround yourself with others who believe in you wholeheartedly, even when you falter, and from who’s example you can learn from.

 

JR: What are you working on next?

LH: My heart-place is middle grade, so I am working on another middle grade that is very different from One Shadow on the Wall, but it combines similar elements—family, friendship, and finding your possibilities and stars.

 

 

JR: Before we go, I always like to ask, who’s your favorite member of The Tuesdays? And I really hope you choose me, though, You see, everyone picks Faran, and I would really appreciate it, if for once, someone chose me. 

LH: There goes that word “favorite” again. This time I’m not pickin’ favorites! I’m all about people that make others smile and I’m sure each of you have a talent for bringing out a smile in someone else so I’m staying out of this one (call me a coward if you want to). 

JR: Sigh . . . okay. Anyway, thanks again for joining us, and the best of luck with One Shadow on the Wall!

A Very Busy Writer!

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are well.

Well, right now, I have to tell you, I am swamped! Absolutely swamped. But, when you’re a writer and you’re swamped, that means you’re working, and that’s a good thing. Right now, I’m working on a sequel to Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, as well as, another project, and also trying to prepare a book launch.

But, I’m going to brush all talk of that other work aside for a few minutes, and talk about next week. You see, next week, is that book launch for Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies. So, for anyone who happens to be in South Florida, it’ll be on Thursday, August 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Plantation, Barnes & Noble, to be precise! I can’t even begin to tell you, that’s going to be very exciting for me, since it’s the culmination of a very long journey. When you work hard for years, it’s gratifying to see results. That’s finally happening, for me. When I first saw the book cover with my name on it, it was such an indescribable feeling. Just happiness and awe. Although, that particular book didn’t take years, the whole process itself, did. It’s about reaching a goal. Learning your craft, getting to a point, where you’re good enough to have someone interested in your work, and then, finally publishing it. It really is rewarding.

So, I know, for some, it’s becoming interminable listening to me talk about this, but for me, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling, and I plan on enjoying and savoring every moment.

Hopefully, I’ll get to see as many of you as possible next week, because sharing it with friends, is the majority of the fun.

Until next time . . .

Jonathan

Themed Thursday: What’s your favorite John Hughes film?

Faran: I’ve probably seen The Breakfast Club the most times, but I have to give it to a John Hughes movie you may not know, Some Kind of Wonderful. I just love the purity of this movie. And it’s got one of the best ending lines of all time. Eric Stoltz gives his girlfriend expensive diamond earrings and says, “You look good wearing my future.” Gets me every time.

Cathy: This took awhile. How to choose between The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Sixteen Candles? Ultimately, I have to choose the one I find most clever–Ferris Bueller. The way he breaks the third wall and talks right to us–loved that. I think all of the films were Illinois based, but lots of Chicago landmarks are shown, which warms this midwestern girl’s heart.

JoanneFerris Beuller’s Day Off is my favorite John Hughes movie. It’s a quirky comedy about a teenager skipping school that was like a joyride for all teens and twenty-somethings in the 1980s. My favorite scene was when the principle, Mr. Rooney, thinks he’s talking to Ferris on the telephone. He’s fed up with Ferris’s antics and says, “You can smooch my big white butt.” The secretary comes in frantic and says Ferris is on the other line.

Melody: My favorite John Hughes film has to be Planes, Trains and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John Candy. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen where I laugh out loud every time I see it. It’s also a bit of a tear jerker, thanks to John Candy’s incredible performance.

Jonathan: John Hughes has written a lot of movies that I like, but I think we’re supposed to keep this to the movies that he directed. So, if that’s the case, it’s a tough one. I like most of them, but I’m going to go with Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I watch it every holiday season. It has the perfect mix of laugh-out-loud humor and sentimentality, which gets me every time I watch it. Can’t wait to see it again this year!

Stacie: It’s impossible to pick just one John Hughes movie as my favorite. So many wonderful movies. But if I have to pick just one, I’m going to say Sixteen Candles. It was sweet, funny, and very real. I loved everything about it, including Jake with the red Porsche.