What’s up Wednesday: The Final Countdown

RobotWUWThank you Jaime and Erin for hosting What’s up Wednesday these last two years! I have met some of my favorite writing people through it. You guys are amazing!

Here’s the last, What’s up with me…

What I’m Reading

I just finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell, and it was everything fantastic and awesome that I expect from one of her books, but it also punched me in the gut with emotion. Georgie McCool is a character I identify with in a way that makes me almost embarrassed, and maybe when I was reading I started sobbing like an idiot while my son tried to get my attention and my husband made me a cup of tea. Good times.

What I’m Writing

I started a new story. The voice came to me in the shower and then before I knew it I was writing words. For now, I’m just following her. I don’t really know yet where, but after a few months of false starts on other projects, and feeling like I’m in limbo, it’s nice just to write and not feel bound by anything.

What Works for Me

Like I said above, not feeling bound by an arbitrary goal or a word count requirement. Not looking at the long road ahead littered with drafting and revisions. It’s like walking down stairs carrying a laundry basket. I can’t see the stairs below me, but I can feel them. I can’t get focused on the final step or I’ll lose traction where I’m at. It’s an exercise in living in the moment, writing in the moment, focusing on the day I’m in, the word count I’m at, and that’s it.

What Else is New

Last week was Spring Break for my son. We did a lot of playing, and reading, and going to parks. The weather wasn’t the best the last half of the week, so I took him to the movies and cuddled with him over popcorn.

I also got him a little Spring Break gift at Target. He insisted on having his picture made.

samtarget

I’ve been focusing some (a lot) of my energy on my YouTube channel Books, Booze & Bitches with fun results! Yesterday I did a video about the San Diego Comic Con Hotel Lottery and the resulting CRASH of the website. (Check out the Crazy 4 Comic Con Post about the situation as well, if you’re interested.)

EXTRA: I discussed my experience with another crash when I submitted my application to the HBO Writing Fellowship.

We post new videos every Wednesday, with the exception of this week when we are posting more because Hotelpocalypse 2015. Today we are talking Insurgent Movie!

And finally *sniffle*….What’s up with you?

Insurgent Review

I don’t particularly like to review books. I feel like it will never matter what you think about a book because ultimately reading — like all manners in which we experience art — is deeply subjective. In other words, we like what we like and that is hard to change. That being true, I am going to review Insurgent because I want to talk about it and maybe you want to read about it.

Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off, quite literally. There is very little second book summarizing, making us responsible to remember what the hell happened at the end of the first book. I don’t mind this, but I think some people do. Most of the plot of Insurgent hinges on the conflict between the Erudite and Dauntless traitors and everyone else. This makes for a sightly disturbing war like environment where teenagers and adults are murdering each other. It also sets us up for the surprising possibility that this world we are in is not entirely what it seems. This is good, but reminds me a little of LOST. When you read it (and if you watched LOST) you may understand what I mean.

Insurgent is better than Divergent in a lot of ways, but it still left me wanting. I like Veronica Roth’s style, it’s clean and clear, and she has a real talent for writing fight scenes with great finesse. Tris, the narrator and main character, is a departure from most female voices. I like her, but I think she would be very difficult to be around. The real draw for me (and many other young women I know) is Tobias. He is an incredibly strong character, perfectly outlined and detailed, and totally sexy. I would read it again just to visualize him.

A conversation with my sister-in-law about Tobias or Four. It went on for a bit. I will spare you.

One of the tests with any piece of fiction is whether you can do anything else well while reading it. Insurgent is the kind of book you’ll set down, thinking you are ready to do something else, and then pick up again ten minutes later. The pacing is fast, the voice consistent, the story deeply compelling. There are problems, and Veronica Roth is the first to admit that, but there are so many truly clever things too that you really do overlook the shortcomings.

I recommend it, especially since writing about it is making me want to read it again. Get it if you don’t already have it. Swoon along with me, and be thankful for characters like Tobias and young writers like Veronica Roth.

Insurgent Book Signing

Last week was a fun time for those of us who have discovered (and it’s a pretty big group) the YA series Divergent . The second novel in the the trilogy, Insurgent was released on Tuesday, May 1. I was excited about the release, and my reasons are three-fold. One: I follow Veronica Roth’s blog (check it here) and think of her as a huge inspiration. There will be more on number one later, and I will probably say too much. Two: Insurgent features Tobias — or Four, as he is known through most of the first book — and I want to eat him up. Three: There was a book signing/reading in Tribeca. I was going.

Tuesday morning, Samuel and I took the train to Barnes and Noble. We could have walked, but it was one of those days that the sky was spitting rain at us as if it had a bad taste in it’s mouth. That is fairly annoying weather for walking with a two-year-old. Sam got an Iron Man toy, sock puppet kit, and a new book. I picked up Insurgent. The signing was that evening and I wanted t be prepared.

I started reading it on the train as I rode into Manhattan. It wasn’t a long ride, so I didn’t get far. When I arrived — at one of the nicest Barnes and Noble’s I’ve ever been to (Tribeca is the most expensive neighborhood in NYC. The B & N was glossy, shiny, perfection) — I made my way to the children’s/YA section where the reading was. I was not admitted. The man at the entrance informed me my book should have been bought here, and he wasn’t sure I would be allowed to come in. You can imagine…that was not going to fly. He called his supervisor over, and I smiled, explaining very genteelly that I had bought my book in Brooklyn. He chuckled and waved me inside. The man at the entrance wouldn’t look me in the eyes.

I sat a couple rows back. I went to the signing as much— ehh, who am I kidding, I was geeking out about the signature — to observe the event for my own education as a hopeful author, as to meet her. There was one particular girl there that I honed in on. She was this incredibly awkward, ugly duckling who came with her very proud and excited father. This girl confirmed why being a YA writer is so utterly rewarding. THAT girl is who we write for, (or that girl inside each of us) because that girl needs a heroine to find strength in, or beauty in, or to recognize her potential alongside. I tried not to stare at her too much, and found gratitude in knowing I am writing someone she will find all those things in.

Overall, the reading, and Q & A was a blast to be a part of. Veronica Roth was as doll — a little self-deprecating, and admittedly trying to overcome her anxiety of crowds and public speaking — and someone I think we would all love to have coffee with. She was also a very kind and mature twenty-three-year-old who probably feels like this is a lot to handle for anyone, let alone someone her age. For me, Veronica Roth was a major kick in the pants about a year ago when I read Divergent. When I saw how old she was, I felt like throwing-up a little. I also felt like I needed to get my not twenty-three-year-old ass in gear. In a lot of ways, she is why I have pushed so hard to finish my novel. Not out of competitiveness or jealousy, but out of the realization that it is very possible to succeed at creating something meaningful that young. And that I had something meaningful in me to create.

I left the signing with a wonderful sense of hope, and also a book signed by the author. Then I got a stomach bug and I was able to lay in bed for a day and a half reading. This was a huge blessing, once I was done wishing I were dead. Next post, my Insurgent book review. For now, some pics from the signing.