Welcome!  OK, first some friendly, authorish rules:  ♦♦ I cannot reveal 39 Clues or Seven Wonders spoilers, no matter how beautifully you ask.  Also, I’m not able to read/evaluate stories or excerpts from novels, as I am maxed out from tour and new writing projects. ♦♦ All answers given below.  Oh, and if you do NOT want your message recorded here, just let me know.  OK, now that that’s out of the way, please click the “Add Guestbook Entry” link, just below

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Sorry I write you so much

I just started writing a story and basically I didn't plan really. Just the beggining stuff. Would you say that's wrong? Also making up your climax is hard so should I think of it well I'm writing or should I just go with the flow and see what comes?

Thanks again Peter
Thursday, September 09, 2010 at 12:45:31 AM
Peter replied
Hi, Jenna! To give your story its proper attention, I'd need much more time than I could carve out, as I'm overloaded with deadlines and family commitments -- sorry about that! I think your best bet when you get stuck like this is to go back and make an outline. You may find that by doing this you'll be able to plow ahead and find your solution, or you may decide you want to rewrite the beginning. Writing without an outline is certainly possible, but it can be much, much harder!
I just finished the tenth 39 clues book. How is it the last? :(. Did you like it? I saw you reading it on the web cast. It was good but the whole time I wanted the whole Ian- Amy thing to happen, didn't you? Someone needs to make a epilogue, a long one. What was your favorite part?
Thursday, September 02, 2010 at 11:30:36 PM
Peter replied
I loved it! My favorite part was the end -- I enjoyed the whole book, but everything that happened from the moment they entered the gauntlet had me riveted. I was moved by the way all the characters grew -- and there was a line from Eisenhower Holt, of all people, that kind of choked me up! I thought Margaret did a phenomenal job tying together all the strands of the previous books and creating an adventure was gripping and full of surprises. And what a perfect ending!
To Pearl-
Like Patrick said, He didn't change the characters really at all. And anyways in the 39 clues series your going to love some, like some, and not like some. I didn't really like a few, but I kept reading. When you put all of them together, you'll be like, Whoa, that's the best series ever! To me the third book was my favorite, but you might like different ones. Maybe you should try reading three again slower, and really soaking it all in. But mostly, KEEP READING THE SERIES!!! YOU WILL BE SORRY!
Friday, August 27, 2010 at 08:16:12 PM
hello, I'm Steven and I literally just finished reading wtf and with the epilogue I would like to know if this novel was fact based or a true story or none of them.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 05:55:32 AM
Peter replied
Hi, Steven! Thanks for writing. The correct answer is (c) none of the above. wtf is fiction, through and through!
I have been reading the 39 clues. When I got to book three, I felt that you changed the entire tone of the characters. You had Dan stealing ashtrays and acting extremly obnoxious. Nellie all of a sudden had tattoos and was more of a punk than initially portrayed. I was baffled by the new characteristics you put in that were definitely not there in the first two books.

After I got through your book (not an easy task) all the characters in the following books went back to the initial state they were presented in during the first book (and book two). Nellie was still a cool babysitter, but talked in an educated manner. Dan was back to a nice 11 year old kid that collected neat things not ashtrays or whatever he could get his grubby paws on.

Now I am at book seven and you wrote that one, too. I am disappointed because you have the characters back to how you perceive them not how the overall story perceives them.

My questions to you (if you wouldn't mind answering them) are... First, why did you feel like you had to change the characters so much? Second, Did you read the first two books prior to writing book three? Third, Did you read books 4, 5, and 6 prior to writing book 7? I have just started book seven today and can't believe what a complete opposite direction the characters personalities have taken...again.

Please help me understand.
Monday, August 23, 2010 at 05:28:09 PM
Peter replied
First of all, thanks so much for writing! I think it's a brave and wonderful thing for a reader to have the courage to speak up as you did, with critical reservations (refreshing, actually!). One of the beautiful things about fiction is that every person brings a different sensibility to the book he or she has read. Two different people will often have wildly opposite opinions about the same book. And there will be opinions galore when it comes to a multi-author series! I see that your observations are mostly about style, and I'd offer that my style actually doesn't change the characters at all, merely sees them through my own writer's eye, my sense of humor, pacing, etc. Many readers have found Books 3 and 7 to be their favorite, precisely because of the style. But not everybody, of course! Each of us 7 authors has our fans and detractors. To answer your questions: Our working process has been very rigorous indeed -- we all read each other's books several times, took extensive notes, and had long discussions with the editorial staff. And then we each went to work when our time came, giving the books our unique stamps, making sure to stay within the guidelines of the characters, and each book went through several drafts via the editors. One of the things we prize is the difference in flavors between the writers, and a lot of readers have responded well to that aspect, too. If the books were all uniform in style, despite the different authors, as a reader I'd be pretty disappointed. While I understand the longing for a more uniform style, that would be a different kind of series. In Book 3, I loved connecting with Nellie's punk side, and Dan's mischievous nature (in fact, Nellie has indeed had tattoos, a nose ring, and a love of punk music from the beginning of the series). I was eager to ratchet up the tension and add conflict via Alastair and the Kabras. As for Book 7, I encourage you to stick with it, I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Keep in mind, the beginning of that book follows an extremely tragic event at the end of Book 6. Thus the beginning of Book 7 is quite intense, dealing with the aftermath and the feelings. There are quite a few plot twists to come, and a lot will be discovered about Amy and Dan's past! Hope this helps. Again, thank you for contacting me, and I hope you continue to enjoy the series.
Hey, it's me again! 😀

My question this time is:
If, while you're writing, you feel like the story is getting a little...unexiting...for that chapter (you previously told me to make chapters a mini story with climaxes, etc.), is it justifiable to put in something extremely strange?

Such as, let's say people are wandering around, and Guy1 gets his arm chopped off. Then he disappears. So, Girl1, who was previously holding his arm, screams and drops it. Guy2 runs up, picks up the arm, builds a fire, cooks it, and eats it. 'you need to do anything to survive.'

Do you think it's a little over-the-limit, or is it just right, or what? (I guess it sorta helps develop the character a little.....)
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:09:46 PM
Peter replied
Well, I can't really say whether the scenario you mentioned works or not, since I don't know the story. It might. Just keep a few things in mind -- every story has its own internal logic, even horror stories and loopy anarchic comedies. All your incidents have to work within the logic of your story. You need to have a reason to put the event in. Don't forget, every incident becomes a part of the plot. You'll need to follow through, show the consequences, etc. If you put a big event in your story only because you're bored, and you don't follow through, the reader will scratch his or her head and wonder "What's that doing there?" So yes, do be free and imaginative, and yes, do develop your characters -- but be sure to work out your plot carefully, and adjust it with each new event you add!
Yes I have. Just trying to get some extra input 😉
Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 01:07:44 AM
Peter replied
Oops. Sorry -- yes, I see you did mention that you'd sent in the questions. I think the Holts were just too headstrong and not subtle enough, burning too many bridges, etc. And as for the Book 9 question, honestly, I'm scratching my head over that one myself. I'll have to look into it.
Awwwww, that stinks. Stupid contracts! Can you see if they can answer them on the chat?

Thanks again,
Sunday, August 08, 2010 at 07:21:38 PM
Peter replied
Great idea. Have you submitted these questions for the chat? You can do that here!
Hi (again)!

I sent in some questions for the video chat thingy (whatever you want to call it) for the 39 clues, but it probably won't be answered. If you could answer them that would be awesome!

1.I know there's a whole thing about how the Holts became the "black sheep" of the Tomas, and I'm sadly confused about the thing. Can you sumerise it please?

2. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOK 9 YET DON'T READ THIS! Ok so In the 9th book we meet you know who (I'm gonna talk like this so people don't spoil the series for themselves ;))and they're in the you know whats. And say their branch is nice. BUT, in the code on the bottom of some pages (are you with me? lol)it says "they aren't telling the truth". So am I supposed to get this?!? Are they good or bad!

Sorry if that made no sense to you! I tried.

Thank you so much!!!

Jenna (again)
Saturday, August 07, 2010 at 02:00:50 PM
Peter replied
Hi, Jenna! Yes, I know exactly what you mean, but actually both things tread into some territory I can't go into until August 31, when Book 10 is published — so sorry!
Thanks that really helps! Hope to contact you soon!

Daniel 🙂
Wednesday, August 04, 2010 at 08:38:51 PM
Peter replied
You're welcome, Daniel!
Yeah thanks! You are a great inspiration! Another question...
I like to write. If i am writing a story/book thingy how should i create the characters before i start writing and how should i pick a memorable name? Hope you can help (you being an amazing author and all)!

Your Biggest Fan,
Daniel 🙂
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 11:51:08 PM
Peter replied
Hmm. Well, without knowing what kind of story you're trying to write, how old you are, etc., the best I can tell you is to ask yourself what do the characters want out of the situation? A good story comes out of conflict, and the conflict boils down to the fact that one character wants something badly and the other character wants something different, and just as badly. Choose characters of the right personality, age, etc. that bring these conflicts to life. Make the stakes (whatever it is they want) very high -- extreme inportance. And then give them personalities with characteristics that ring true to you -- maybe little bits of your own personality and the personalities of people you know. Some writers like to think of the characters first, then let the story grow from there. Others like to nail down the plot first and worry about the characters later. Still others like to think of a cool title first! Pick one of these methods, or some of them. You may want to nail down some memorable characters, and then set them loose on the page and see what happens. Or you may want to map out the story with a brief outline, think of a setting, know what the conflict is, and just start writing. Sometimes your characters will come to life AFTER you start. You can always go back and change a character based on things that occur to you later on. As far as memorable names go, those are very personal things. If you can't think of something good right away, give your characters "dummy" names (Girl 1, xyz, Boy 2, etc.) and then when a good name pops into your head later on, do a global replace. That happens to me quite a bit, a perfect name will come to me in, say, chapter 3, and I'll go back and make the substitution! Hope this helps.
Dear Mr. Peter Lerangis,
I apologize for spelling your last name wrong. lol 🙂 I was jotting it down fast and wasn't thinking!

Daniel 🙂
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 04:14:30 PM
Peter replied
Hi, Daniel! No problem with the misspelling, it happens a lot — but it was really nice of you to send an apology! There will be ten books in The 39 Clues series, not 39. For more information, feel free to check out the description on the series website. Hope this helps!
Dear Mr. Peter Larangis,

I have started reading the 39 clues series and i have a quick question for you. I couldn't get a hold or Mr. Riordan or Mr. Korman so i decided to try you. If there are infact 39 different clues how many books will there be. I have heard rumors that there will be 39 or that there will only be ten. Please get back to me and i look forward to hearing from you.

Daniel 🙂
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 04:11:36 PM
Hi again!

This question's more about your acting career if that's okay. I'm an actor and I want to get a agent so I can audition for bigger stuff like film,T.V.,etc. My mom says I need to try a open call audition but they're aren't any for kids in the Chicago area, or even IL! Do you know how I could find one? And did you have a agent? Sorry if you don't want to answer these kinds of questions on here. Thank you!
Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 04:31:25 PM
Peter replied
Hi, Jenna! The last time I was actively pursuing an acting career was so many years ago, I'm sure any of my recommendations would be outdated. I live in New York, too, and the procedures are very different from city to city. If I were you, I'd do some Google research into local agencies that represent kids -- and good luck!
Dave Opatow
Hi Peter

Come back to the Freeport Memorial Library - all is forgiven

Dave opatow
Freeport Memorial Library
Friday, July 16, 2010 at 08:36:48 PM
Peter replied

Ha! Hilarious! Thanks, Dave, this message truly makes my day. What a relief; it was hard to carry that guilt around my whole life. I will be sure to return, head held high.

(For those of you reading this who are scratching your heads, he is referring to this blog post, also reprinted on my blog page here!)

Being a full-time author, do you find it difficult to meet book deadlines?
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 08:58:25 PM
Peter replied
It depends on how much lead time, how much traveling I have to do, family commitments, etc. Plus, I tend to be a perfectionist & agonize over things, so I guess the short answer is yes!
Ok...So, let's say that I have my main character. I want another character's story/feelings to become known; if I stick with first person, how would I convey to the readers that I'm switching characters?
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 08:56:39 PM
Peter replied
Use a chapter format, introduce a new chapter when you change POV, and label each chapter with the character's name.
Ok, thanks!

Before you became a full time writer, what other jobs did you have?

Do you think it's Ok to skip from first person to third person PoV when changing chapters, or should I stick with one PoV?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 02:29:02 PM
Peter replied

I was a musical theater actor and singer before I switched to writing full-time, but you can get further details on this page of my bio section.

It's possible to switch between first person and third, but I only recommended it if you really think it through carefully -- and if you're consistent about it. For example, some writers will write a book in third person but convey one character's POV in a first-person inner monologue. In that case, you will want to do something to differentiate and isolate that -- for example, using italics and/or creating a separate chapter or clearly marked section. Then you will need to periodically return to this device, because you will be, in effect, setting up a story within a story that the reader will want to follow. (Horror writers, by the way, tend to do this sort of thing a lot.) But if you do decide to go this convention, I'd recommend doing it with only one character or it will be too confusing. So basically, unless you are really, really, rigorous about it and are confident that you know what you're doing, I'd stick with either third or first person throughout.

Would you recommend using first or third person PoV? Which is easier?

Also, would you recommend using past or present tense when writing?
Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 07:29:42 PM
Peter replied
All of these have my blessing; they're all essential tools in a writer's kit. First person is good for some stories, but it limits you to one point of view and prevents you from describing things that the character doesn't know. Also you wouldn't use it if you want to preserve the mystery of whether a character will live or die (if you're writing in first-person present tense, for example, the character is by definition alive). Present tense gives a sense of immediacy but isn't right for everything. Try them out and see what feels right for the story.

I've been non-stop reading since kindergarten. I think by I had finished my 5 grade year, I had almost cleared out the fiction section of the library. Unfortunately, it never occured to me that I could write!

Occasionally though, my mom would buy books without anything on the pages, and my family and I would all sit down and make silly stories!
Thursday, July 08, 2010 at 05:45:14 PM
Peter replied
Fantastic. The best kind of upbringing!