Taking a Step Back

Standard

keep-calm-and-take-a-step-back-1

Happy Halloween! I went to my party last week (my husband and I were Peeta and Katniss!) so it’s not a dress up day for me. My master plan is to hide in my bedroom with the lights all turned off and watch movies all night. I haven’t had trick or treaters the past two years in my apartment complex anyway, so I don’t feel bad at all about avoiding them.

So, I have eluded to my lack of productivity when it comes to editing my current WIP – Recovery. Well, the other day sitting at Starbucks with my friend, after writing the third introductory chapter, and then not having my notebook to reference for all of the information I spit out at the start of the book, I got a bit overwhelmed. I am just not feeling super confident in my story right now, and I think I need to take a break from it. I like the second half of it still, but I need to readjust so many things in the first half, and I don’t really know how to go about it all right now, or what I want to get out of this in general – I have it set up to lead into a second book, but I’m a bit fonder of the idea for the sequel than the first book.

Basically, I’m just all over the place with my feelings for this story right now. It’s my first WIP, and I don’t want to trash it (though that may be what needs to be done in the end) but I also can’t think of any solutions for the problems it has right now. I think I am going to move it to the back burner and start working on my idea for a stand alone novel Dearest EvangelineDo you usually take a break from your WIP right after you finish it before editing?

Don’t forget, the 4th is the last day to enter the giveaway for a 1TB external hard drive!

 

The Marbury Lens

Standard

7995207

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.

But it’s not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.

Based on the reviews I have read most people either love this or hate it, not many rest in the middle – except me. I still haven’t decided how I feel about it yet, but I can say I have never read anything like it before. It was much darker than I had expected (rape and molestation all in the first 50 pages, it got real – fast). I’m not sure how YA this actually is, besides the fact that the main character is 16. And there is some major PTSD going on. And what is it with male authors/protagonists not giving very good physical descriptions? All I know about Jack is that he is a cross country runner, so I have a general idea of his build – and that his hair falls in his eyes sometimes. No hair color, no eye color, no distinguishing marks beyond the injuries he incurs, until almost the very end of the book.

I have decided that I believe that the alternate reality – Marbury – that Jack and Connor are sucked into is real though. And that’s about all I have decided. I plan to read the second book, mainly because of the discovery made at the end of the first book, but I am going to take some time before hand. I just can’t quite figure out how I feel about it all. I don’t necessarily like Jack – he comes off a bit crazy; I’m not a fan of Connor – he’s such a boy; the only person I genuinely like is Griffin. And I don’t get how Marbury and the “real world” are connected. Maybe this was Smith’s goal, to leave the reader awash in confusion, to be resolved in the sequel. We’ll see I guess!

Don’t forget, the 4th is the last day to enter the giveaway for a 1TB external hard drive!

I Love Organizing!

Standard

organize

But instead of a classroom, it’s my home office. And I’m using super cute notebooks and brightly colored pens to makes notes and track ideas of my two other future WIPs.

And it’s awesome. I spent one whole day (well, morning) making nice profiles for my characters from Recovery in their updated states and with their Myers-Briggs personalities. Then transferred the notes form my one notebook to the ones I have now specified specifically for those story ideas. I’m one of those people, who before they can sit down and get a lot of work done (like a paper for school) I first have to spend a couple hours making my workspace mess free. I get too easily distracted otherwise.

Having a designated journal for each of my book ideas I think is really going to help me keep them separate from each other in my head – or mottled notebook – and let me move between them more easily. And I’m thinking I am going to start to move forward with one of those new ideas soon. . .

Don’t forget, the 4th is the last day to enter the giveaway for a 1TB external hard drive!

Not a Drop to Drink

Standard

13112869

Goodreads Summary:

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

I was surprised by this book. Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on reading it, but it was $1.99 on B&N for my Nook, and a lot of the people I follow on Goodreads had read it and enjoyed it, so I went for it. And I am really glad I did! It was a fresh take on the teenage girl survival story. It’s not really a dystopian, but I also wouldn’t call it a post-apocalyptic either – it’s really, truly, a survival story. I loved how naive Lynn was about everything – a state her mom seemed to keep her in on purpose – and how she bravely admitted her cluelessness on things like sex, technology, and the general state of the world.

I also really appreciated, that though there was a romance element between Lynn and Eli, the central relationship is that of Lynn and Lucy. Lucy, the girl Lynn finds herself somewhat reluctantly taking care of, brings the sensitive side of Lynn to the surface. Lucy is the Jimminy Cricket to Lynn’s Pinocchio, teaching her the little things that make a person good or bad. With her mom, Lynn was simply surviving, but with Lucy, and the people Lucy brings into Lynn’s life, she learns to truly live.

I thought the book did well as a stand alone story, so I am kind of hesitant to move forward to the sequel, especially since a lot of time has gone by since the first one, and I have a feeling there is a change of voice. But, there was also some foreshadowing in the first book, and I am confident enough in McGinnis’ writing to think that it will be good – and maybe have the same stand-alone feel of the first one.

Speaking of McGinnis, I really enjoyed her writing, it was easy to follow and though there wasn’t much action, there was so much going on in the protagonist’s mind that I was never board. The central action of the story was Lynn’s emotional transformation, and it was done beautifully. Though the language was written in jargon – which I usually don’t really like, it worked. You picked up on the characters go-to phrases, the multiple contractions in a word rolled off the tongue and didn’t bog you down in unusual wording. Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and McGinnis’ style.

Don’t forget, the 4th is the last day to enter the giveaway for a 1TB external hard drive!

Coming This Week: Oct. 27

Standard

MjAxMi1mYWUyZGVhNmY4ODYxNmNi

Lets just say that this Monday is not a good indication of the productivity of this coming week. Last week I had to go into work early everyday to make up some hours so I only worked on my WIP over the weekend. Hopefully, as opposed to this morning, I will get my lazy butt out of bed at 6 when my alarm goes off and get some work put into it in the mornings for the rest of the week. And a friend of mine wants to have a writing date Friday, those always turn into us talking though so I won’t stay too hopeful for that.

Anyway! This week here are the books you can look forward to seeing discussed:Not a Drop to Drink and The Marbury Lens. One is a survival story that I liked a lot more than I expected to, the other is a dark fantasy with a male protagonist – that I am still trying to figure out how I feel about.

As to writing, as my intro has indicated, nothing too much has been getting done lately. I have done some good organization things though, and am thinking about taking a break from this current work to focus on something else for a little and let it all marinate. I’ll touch on all this later in the week!

Don’t forget, the 4th is the last day to enter the giveaway for a 1TB external hard drive!

 

I’ve Finally Settled my Voice

Standard

798982_s

I know, it’s been a long road to come to this, and I feel like I have tried a little bit of everything, but I am confident that this is my final decision! 3rd person present! And Rick Riodan was my inspiration, and the fact that I just found myself writing that way naturally.

I recently finished the Heroes of Olympus series, and Riodan uses multiple POV’s, but they are all 3rd person present, which I felt still provided that sense of individuality and closeness that I am looking for, while still being detached from the characters direct bias. Also, as I dig into the editing process, I’m finding myself basically rewriting everything – at least so far, I’m hoping the farther along I get the less I will have to completely rewrite things. While I was adding a segment, I just naturally wrote in 3rd person present. I wasn’t doing it consciously, I was making notes on a section I thought of at work, and when I got home and went to transfer it into the document I realized what tense I wrote in, and I thought “Hey! I like this, this seems to work well!” and I went with it.

So basically, I’m feeling good about this choice, and as I continue to get deeper into my story, my characters, and my vision of this WIP I get even more confident in this choice. Also, it’s fun to see how much my writing has already improved (at least, I think it has) after this first draft. Man, writing is fun!

Also, make sure you enter my giveaway!

Unbroken

Standard

Unbroken1

 

Goodreads Summary:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

I loved this book, it was beautifully written, extremely well researched, and provided just enough historical context to create a vivid picture of Zamperini and his comrades environment. This book delves into many aspects of WWII history that I feel are overlooked in U. S. History, we don’t really think of the Pacific theatre when we think about WWII. We think of the Holocaust, Hitler, and Europe. This, for many, introduces a whole new interpretation of WWII.

Personally, I know a bit about the Pacific theatre, I have learned more since I have lived and worked in HI, but my interests have always taken my back to the European theatre. After reading this, and discussing it with a few people, I have come to the conclusion that we don’t talk about the Pacific, and our interactions with Japan, because it’s culture is so extremely different from America. As a historian, the Holocaust interests me because I want to know how humans can resort to such discrimination and unfeelingness. As I read about the Japanese culture during WWII, I could easily see the similarities between it and the Nazi’s, but there was one fundamental difference that I personally cannot grasp (not that I can grasp that of the Nazi’s either, but it’s a little easier to see how people can get there). Unlike the Nazi’s who were determined to rid the world of several select groups of peoples, Japan saw anyone who wasn’t Japanese as inferior. This lead to exterminations of mass numbers of Koreans, Chinese, and Allied POW’s. Hillenbrand did a spectacular job illustrating this, while still refraining from pointing an accusatory finger at all of Japan and the Japanese today.

The story of Zamperini is truly incredible. But I appreciated how Hillenbrand also highlighted the plight of his comrades, many who underwent the same or worse treatment, and many whose stories have been overshadowed by Zamperini’s fame as an Olympian. This book brought so many things to the forefront of what soldiers go through; the trials of life in war, the incredible resilience of the human mind and body, and the repercussions of such treatment. I thought the chapter where she talks about the aftermath of the POW’s lives with physiological issues, PTSD (which no one really knew about back then), and how soldiers tried to cope (often copious amounts of drinking) was really enlightening.

Overall, it was a great read. I learned a lot about the Japanese view of the war, and general life in the early 20th century. I am really looking foreword to seeing how the movie turns out, comes out Christmas day!

Also, make sure you enter my giveaway!