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Showing posts from November, 2012

Friday Reads: Matched

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

By: Ally Condie

What's it about?  Teenage girl discovers her society's perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be.  And boys.

Why did I pick it? Another library pick--I'd heard a lot of chatter about it and it seemed quite popular.

Who will like it?If you like your dystopian with a heavy dose of romance and a light hand on the science, this one's for you.  More about teenage coming of age and emotional growth than the more action-oriented dystopians.

Judging a book by its cover: Can you for this book?Great symbolism of feeling entrapped by society, with the green dress that figured prominently in the plotline.

Celebrating the Small Things with Something Like Champagne

Last week I was maneuvering a grocery cart crammed full with a baby and a week's worth of food plus the ingredients for my contribution to Thanksgiving when I turned the corner in the wine section (between the boxed wine and the "imports" which were mysteriously all from Australia and all named after an animal and a body part) and saw the mini Champagne bottles.

I bought one.

To celebrate.

I had just finished a draft of my WIP and emailed it off to my agent.

Big deal?  In the long run, not really--we're probably far from done with this project, and the big finish of publication is still a long way away and, of course, not even assured for this particular book in any case.

But I believe in celebrating the small things.  If we waited until we reached the finish line, we'd be in for a long wait.  Or perhaps we'd never celebrate--after all, what is the finish line for a writer?  Publication is a milestone, but there's always the next book.  Reaching a certai…

Magpies, Back Pockets, and the Shiny

I have a theory that most writers are magpies.  We can be working diligently on The Idea that we're super-excited about, typing away, maybe even editing and then--Shiny!  Shiny New Idea!

And like a distractable magpie, we either flit off after it or have a very hard time resisting the pull of the Shiny.

We talk a lot about how to keep focused on the project at hand, which is important, but--the Shiny is important, too.

The Shiny is our creativity, and our drive, and, in the end, it's the heart and soul of our books.  Because without the Shiny Idea, there is no story, no intriguing character, no exciting setting or innovative concept.

Yet we can't run off after all the Shiny Ideas, unless we never want to finish anything.  It's true that, after lots of work and wear and dare we say, love, an idea gets a little worn.  It's easy to find more interest in something Shiny than in something you've been drudging away on for weeks, months, years.

This is why we all nee…

Friday Reads: The Night Circus

Genre: Magical Realism, Historical-style

By: Erin Morgenstern

What's it about?  Why, magic, of course.  And a magical circus spun like sweet, delicate, precarious sugar candy out of a competition between two young magicians, groomed for the challenge by old rivals.  

Why did I pick it? I kept hearing and reading about this book, and it was too strange and beautiful of a concept not to give it a go.  Plus I ran across it in the shelves of the library on my last pre-baby visit.

Who will like it?  If you don't demand that things make sense--because while this book is beautifully written and imagined, it creates a world where magic simply happens.  And if that sounds lovely, this book is for you.  Language, imagery, and almost aching pretty-ness take priority; the plot is relatively simple.  Also, a warning--if you want to believe in magic, you will want to dive inside this book and live in it.  And if you like caramel apples, you will want to dive inside this book and live in it.

Judg…

Indispensable Tools for Writers

Every writer has a few tools that make writing easier or, sometimes, possible altogether.  Aside from the obvious "paper and pen" or "laptop" tools, my indispensable tools are as follows:

1) Purple pen.  I love editing with a purple pen.  I'll use light blue and pink when necessary, but for some reason it's always been purple.  I'm picky on the ink flow, though.  My current one is a little stingy.

2) French press.  Something about the ritual of coffee making gives me the break I need from the page more than the actual act of drinking coffee.  Not that the caffeine doesn't help, too.  (Hint: Add a sprinkle of good cinnamon or a drop of vanilla extract to the beans pre-brew.)

3) Giant Blue Notebook.  Everyone needs someplace to jot down ideas and make a big inky mess, right?

4) List pad.  I tend to remember that I need to buy eggs or mail the mortgage payment right before digging into writing the Scene of the Day.  There are two choices unless I want …