Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

I am so thrilled to join What's Up Wednesday for the first time! WUW is a weekly blog hop developed by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers connect with each other. If you'd like to join, too, please drop by Jaime's blog to add your post to the list!

What I'm Reading...

Buy it here

I finished Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a few days ago. It was amazing. It was so crazy good that I had to wait before starting something new, because I just wanted to think about how she pulled it off.

In this market, surely people said No One could sell a vampire book right now. And Holly Black just laughed and said, "Watch me. I'll write the best vampire book you've ever read."

Her characters are believable and flawed. They remind you of people you know. And ultimately this isn't a book about vampires; it's about how people react when they're hurt, and the double-edged swords of revenge and mercy.

After a two day grace period, I started Jonathan Maberry's Fire & Ash, the conclusion to the Rot & Ruin Series. I'm enjoying it so far, and I can't wait to see how he pulls it all together.

What I'm Writing...

The WIP went to beta readers this week. I'm excited and nervous for so many reasons. I can't wait to hear the feedback, and I hope that they agree that it's time to send it out into the world. I know that next step is full of highs and lows, but I'm positive that this book is THE ONE. I also can't wait to get all my research in a row and start drafting my next novel. The drafting is my favorite part, so that might be the most exiting horizon in my immediate future.

What Inspires Me Right Now...

Every morning when I take my kids to school, I pass this abandoned neighborhood. It was slated to start before the recession hit, but no homes were ever built there. This little snapshot reminds me everyday of the next WIP, and I'm loving the thought of building my characters' world. I also felt super creepy stopping to take pictures, but I'm afraid that things might turn around, and they may actually start cleaning things up soon.

What Else I've Been Up To...

Well, my old blogging buddies may have noticed a few changes here on the website. I officially made the switch from my Blogger title Unavoidable Awkwardness to my own domain. ( I've also been working on my church's website. I'm learning more about the techie side of things little by little, and I'm hoping I'll be able to put this knowledge to good use here and elsewhere on the Interwebs.

Thanks so much for putting this together, Jaime and Erin! I can't wait to catch up with everyone!

Music for today: Here Comes Your Man by the Pixies

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Falling Flat

I recently read a popular book by an award winning author. It was terrible.

I'm choosing not to name the book, because I realize that my opinion is just that. But that experience, the one of having high expectations for a book and having them fall utterly and completely flat, has affected me as both a reader and a writer.

As a reader and book consumer, I feel gipped. The money and time I spent on this book could've gone to an awesome debut book, but this one grabbed my attention because of the hype. Sometimes a great concept just isn't enough. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, the relationships all felt forced and fake, and every problem was solved easily and unbelievably.

As a writer, I wondered if an author reaches a status of success in which editors hold back the red pens. If this had been the author's debut novel, would it have been published at all? Or are my feelings just a matter of subjective taste, like so much of the industry seems to be? Goodreads ratings range from mostly four stars to a hand full with one star; the latter nearly all agreed with my assessment. But I've also found books that I loved with those outlier one star ratings, too.

As I move forward to the next stage with my work-in-progress, I'm trying to take that to heart. This industry is subjective because of widely varying tastes. If I find a few people who love this one, and are willing to take it on, great! And if not, I'll just write better next time with the lessons I've learned.

Music for today: Out of the Black by Royal Blood