The New Red-Haired Best Friend

I’m very excited to share with you all a new piece I wrote for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2010 bulletin – a new companion piece to Red Hair Is Not as Uncommon as You Think I’ve moved it to the top of my blog again because lately a lot of people have come over here looking for it, so I’m trying to make it easy for them. Sorry to those of you who got it way back in November in your RSS and are getting it again. I’m not trying to be obnoxious!

I hope you enjoy it! Would love to hear your comments and other things you think should be added to the list.


NewRedHair2Copyright notice: This article is copyrighted Joelle Anthony 2010. If you like this and you want to share, I am thrilled. However, I would prefer that you link to this post or my website as opposed to cutting and pasting it to your blog. If you feel like you really want to cut and paste it, I respectfully request that you take the ENTIRE article and not just the list. Previously, when people have posted just the list, it has been misunderstood as a list of things I’m telling people to never do whereas if you read the whole article you see that that’s not what I’m saying at all. Thanks!

This article was written by Joelle

0 thoughts on “The New Red-Haired Best Friend”

  1. Polly looked at herself in the mirror. She didn’t have the flashing blonde curls of her popular little sister. She didn’t have the jewel-like green eyes of her geeky friend Tom, who always managed to hang around her but she found useful in science class because he did most of the work in an attempt to impress her. She certainly didn’t have the reserved manner of her favourite literary character, Elizabeth Bennet, who was the rebellious heroine of the Jane Austen novel she carried everywhere. No, the face in front of her was more like that of a tomboy. She certainly couldn’t cook or sew, and had no inclination to dress as Miss Bennet would. She fixed her uniform, she was a scholarship student at a posh school but because her family’s economic predicament (two words she learned from the SAT list) were in disarray she was the only one in her class who did not have a mobile phone. She went down to see her mother, looking cute in an apron and certainly more feminine than Polly, standing by the breakfast table. Her mother was good at food, and music. She had a cassette tape of the best of the 80s playing on a dusty old machine. Her sister rolled her eyes every time it was played, but Polly loved it. There was Bananarama and Madonna. Polly and her mother got on really well, except for one thing – her mother was no good at paying the bills and the 15-year-old had to make sure the lights stayed on.

    Sadly, Polly has more than one friend in this case. But otherwise I think this covers everything …

  2. Indeed, a finely tracked list, Joelle. Thank you for sharing.

    I am sick of reading number 3 (Clumsy characters . . .) and wish they become a tiny-miny minority in YA community soon!


  3. Oh no!!! I’m guilty of the top 3!! But I can’t help it because I am the epitome of #3 and #1! And as for #2, green eyes are simply delicious! (But then again, ANY color besides boring old brown like my own are simply delicious) Either way, this list was great. I love reading about cliches or tropes and seeing if I’m guilty of any. Now I’m off to start the heterochromia trend! Kate Bosworth, anyone? 😉

  4. Hi! I received my copy of the SCBWI book this morning (being in the UK there is a delay in receiving post) and read it over breakfast and I loved this article. It’s clever, tongue in cheek, but also so pertinent.

    As both an aspiring writer and reviewer for various sites including my own, I have to admit that these overused things really struck a note. I too am tired of clumsy girls, bemused by missing parents and a variety of others you’ve mentioned.

    It really has become easy storytelling to an extent for some writers and we need to realise that the readers have noticed these too and are as tired of them as we all are.

  5. i wrote up my own list of pet peeves a year ago and was recently going over it thinking i needed to update it a bit. instead i’ve written a blog post (to go up wednesday 1/12) that links back here and includes a link back to my list of last march.

    yours is a great list by the way, no question. but i suspect we read differently because some of the things you noted i’ve not seen. anyway, great job.

  6. Yay! I got my SCBWI newsletter today, and there your article was, ready for me to clip and save! By the way, I’m guilty of a red-haired ex-best friend in my new book. Is that okay? 🙂

  7. Yay! I got my SCBWI newsletter today, and there your article was, ready for me to clip and save!

    By the way, I’m guilty of a red-haired ex-best friend in my new book. Is that okay? 🙂

  8. I’m guilty of number four — mostly because having a cell phone clears up so many plot points so quickly.

  9. I’m only guilty of number 6! Yessss! I was worried I would just check off each number becoming increasingly worried that I should just quit my life and become a zookeeper or something. 🙂

  10. I LOVE this. I especially giggled about 14. Oooh, the temptation to have a character who only listens to early U2, Simply Red and The Housemartins. First huge smile I had all day, especially as day has been dominated by aftermath of work phone getting tossed in toilet.

  11. Hahahaha, my life is guilty of number four, but I’m happy to say my story is clean of all of these!

    I’m so glad you made a new list; your last one was so awesome! This one, as you already know, is excellent as well!

  12. This is EXCELLENT. I plan to refer lots of people to it!

    One listserv I used to be on asked people to come up with alternatives to “He raised his eyebrows” since it’s so overused. My favorite: “He lowered all of his face below the eyebrows.”

  13. dear joelle

    i think your book “Restoring Harmony” was a greate book and i would also like to know if you would like to visit my school in Rockport TX. i would also like you to know that i am only 12 years old,so don’t critisize my wanting you to come and see my school.

    THANK YOU [:

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