Week in Review – 2013/05/20 – 2013/05/26

WRITING:

Fell behind on my workshops. Boo. Caught up on worldbuilding and discovered new realms of awesomeness for my fairytale series. Yay! Haven’t received feedback on the assignments even though I had a day left in the class. Boo. But I learned a lot in character and setting development from working through the exercises. Yay!

READING:

THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug.

I’ll have more insight or maybe even a full report on tomorrow’s #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site. I had higher hopes for the Grimm Sisters and I’ll tell you why I’m enjoying the story but only sorta. I’m digging MAGYK more. The setting is easy to fall into and I like the pacing. More on these tomorrow. I’m pleased that I met my reading goals for the month. I’m already at five but I’m hoping to add a couple more before the end of the month. 🙂

BLOGGING:

Hello, fellow bloggers. How art thou? I like keeping in touch and reading what other folks are up to in their neck of the cyberwoods.

For those in the States, enjoy the long weekend. I see many words in my future–written by me and others.

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#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/05/22

WRITING:

More worldbuilding and prep for the fairytale series. I believe this will be the subject of my writing updates for at least the next handful of months. I’m also excited now that I’ve allowed myself to read fairytale inspired tomes. I even watched Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters the other night. I like the feel and the setting, clothing, and even glimpses of steampunkiness are a good feel for what I’m after in my fairytale universe. I think keeping it a nondescript year and do a mishmash of tech that seems to fit with the ‘times’ is a good way to go on this one.

MAY READING CHALLENGE:

THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham ended abruptly, but I gather that it continues in the second book of the series. I’ll get to it after I’ve explored more middle grade marvels. I did like the story though I’m still trying to connect with the voice. THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann brought me to an interesting world that I almost believe to be real. 🙂 However, I’m not sure I liked the way two of the main characters literally bumped into each other in the latter third of the book. I stuck with the story because individually, I was drawn to the characters. I’d like to think that collectively there’s more potential. I’m almost finished this book but wanted to start on the next two already.

Next round of books:  THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and SEPTIMUS HEAP with MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug. I literally just loaded them onto their respective apps. Good thing, too, so I can switch back and forth from Kindle to Kobo without having to bookmark and exit out of an opened book. I’ll have more insight or maybe even a full report on Monday’s #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site.

Once #middlegrademay is finished, I’m going to immerse myself in all the fairytale inspired novels out there that I’ve held back on while I wrote the first instalment of the series. I will also treat myself to a Once Upon a Time marathon because my PVR is mad that I’ve neglected my favorite shows. Keeping in the genre will help maintain the writing spirit as this writing journey continues.

BLOGGING:

Speaking of writing… the blog goes well and I’m excited to share my progress and ideas with my fellow writing community. I’m on the hunt for new challenges in the coming months, but I’ll eventually get to fixing up the blog both in content and aesthetics. More on that in the coming weeks.

Hope everyone’s May hasn’t flown by too quickly. 🙂

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#middlegrademay Check-In Week 3

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THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann and THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham.

Let’s start with Bachmann’s offering first. I must say that he got me with the title. I enjoyed how seamless the worldbuilding weaved into historical England. Written in third person, multiple POVs, I felt the pacing was good an my interest was maintained in each scene. I would like to read more from this author. It was an education as much as an enjoyable read. I learned a lot about worldbuilding and can apply similar techniques to the fairytale universe I’m creating for my YA series.

On to Grisham. I’ve read several of his legal thrillers over the years and enjoyed them along with their movie counterparts. I’m not sure if it’s because I was so used to this style of writing that I found myself in a disconnect with the narrative POV. Although the main character is Theodore Boone, there are other POVs but the work sometimes feels as though it’s written in third person omniscient. There were smatterings of infodumps here and there, mostly to explain legal jargon. However, I didn’t find a connection to the main character and the story didn’t read as a middle grade book, not in the strictest sense.

Allow me to compare this book to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. It’s probably an unfair comparison as Lee’s book is one of my favorite books of all time, but there are similarities in that we have a child main character and the main plot is about a court case. I know there aren’t stern rules in writing but I’ve read that in middle grade books, the adult characters should fade into the background. This is not the case for either Grisham or Lee’s books. However, I find myself drawn to Scout over Theodore. Theodore almost sounds like an adult. I’m sure there are quirky youngsters out there, but I’m not sure if it translated well on the page. I still love Grisham, but I’d consider this an adult legal thriller that included children as main characters rather than the other way around. The main think I did not find in THEODORE BOONE that I found in THE PECULIAR and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was a middle grade voice. The story itself was fine, but I would have liked to be drawn to the characters more. Sadly, I wasn’t.

This week, I dive into the world of SISTERS GRIMM with THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and SEPTIMUS HEAP with MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug. Should be fun!

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/05/15

The month is half gone. Before I know it, I’ll be hearing Christmas carols on the radio. These past couple of weeks, I tried something different. I’ve been offline more than on and, despite missing the online writing community (and, admittedly, falling behind in my workshops), it’s been a refreshing experience.

I’ve missed the analog world. Even though not everything was a leisurely pursuit, the simple fact of kickin’ it old school gave my brain and digits a much needed rest after such an intense write-a-palooza. The timing is nice, too, because July’s Camp NaNo is creeping up fast. I’d like to spend the next two weeks in continuous planning, worldbuildling, & drafting mode for my fairytale series but at a much less intense pace as April.

For the month of June, I’d like to get organized and truly prepare for Camp. Previous instalments had my prep going from a few days to just under a week. While I’ve won every NaNo I’ve joined, I think I can achieve so much more with some solid organization–with room to play, of course. And by play, I mean wiggle room, not actual play, though, fun is to be had but this tangent has fallen off another tangent…

Anyhoo, onto the Reading Challenge. THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham and THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann. Two very different books and with characters from very different realities. Since, my writing has fallen in the realm of fantastical, as of late, I find myself immediately drawn to the peculiarities of THE PECULIAR. Add to that, a Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family that we had playing in the background of our hotel while in Seattle this weekend. I’m really digging the genre and hope I can sink my teeth into something special with my upcoming fairytale series. THEODORE BOONE, however, is slightly different. I’m having a bit of trouble connecting with the narrative voice. I’m still chugging through it as the plot is interesting but I hope I find some emotional pull to the characters soon. Of course, more on these books in Monday’s post for the #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site.

Until Sunday, fellow #ROW80 friends, Happy Hump Day and see you on the weekend!

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#middlegrademay Check-In Week 2

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I loved THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen, the first in the Ascendance Trilogy. I would dive right into Book 2, THE RUNAWAY KING, but I need to spread the love to the other neglected members of my TBR pile, so this week, I’ll mix it up with some THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham and THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann.

Some brief thoughts on THE FALSE PRINCE (a more detailed review to follow on Goodreads when I get a bigger pocket of time). I posted this for the #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site:

I finished Jennifer A. Nielsen’s THE FALSE PRINCE this weekend and really enjoyed it. I connected with the protag, Sage, right away and only put down the book when I was forced to by other obligations. If I had an absolutely free day, I’m sure I would have finished it in one sitting. Nielsen’s worldbuilding wasn’t forced. It was as though I knew of the places mentioned. A good adventure of intrigue and adventure.

It’s always good to immerse yourself in a good yarn. Who doesn’t love to be taken away to another world from time to time, eh?