Friday, January 18, 2013

Back on Track

At long, long last, I think I'm back on track with Mier. Moments ago, I sent off the first six chapters for the critique I won (six months ago >.>) in an auction. I hope that whatever I get back will make the chapters (and the novel) that much stronger. In the mean time, I'm more engaged than ever in revision and new writing.

Happy times writing always seem to go hand in hand with happy times reading, and January has been no exception. Even though I found Origin lacking, I'm not sorry I read it. And the book that came next was completely delightful. Number two in the fifty book challenge...

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. (4 stars)

From the moment I started it, I was engaged in the characters' lives...thrilled and disgusted by their flaws, curious where their bad intentions would lead, giddy whenever I saw a glimpse of a Potter character, and impressed how rare those glimpses were. By the time I finished, I felt like I'd read all about Little Whinging. (In a good way.) Not a lot to complain about. A few things kept it from earning the coveted "5th start of amazingness" - mostly, the fact even as I read and enjoyed I knew I'd probably never feel like rereading it. I also felt strange about the perspective in a few places. Still, super enjoyable.

I've since moved on to Mistborn, figuring I should probably read something by Brandon Sanderson since I've taken so much of his writing advice to heart. So far, so good. He's definitely not competing with George Martin in my heart yet, but I like a lot of things about the story. We'll see how he wraps it up...

Anyway, lots to work on now! I'll check back when there's more to say.

Til next time,
-- Meg 

2013 Reads:
1. Origin by Jessica Khoury. (2 stars)
2. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (4 stars)
3. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (in progress)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Begins...

November and December are gone, and I can't say I miss them. The relative quiet of January is infinitely more attractive. My time as a student is finally over (...for now?), and I have some small amount of hope that things are calming down.

The day before "NaNoWriMo 2012" started, I thought I might try to get 10-20k, just for habit's sake. At that point, I had taken a last minute job and had just started teaching two freshman composition courses. That, coupled with the last full month of my Master's, a husband equally weighted with his classes, and a toddler for a cherry on top made even thinking of approaching NaNo seriously seem absurd. At 11 PM, I still thought I might try to take a stab at opening The Queendom of Que at midnight. At midnight, I typed nearly 2k of new material for my reboot of Verdi Mier. It was fantastic, exhilarating, and entirely out of the blue.

I reached 50k by the end of the month, for the fourth time. Two months later, as I look back on some of what I wrote for the first time since it fell out of my fingers in a hazy rush, I'm pleased to say I expect more of it to survive than any NaNo in the past. The writing needs plenty of work (of course), but the story is finally there. There's a logical flow. There's connection. It doesn't get too complex. I hope. If it does, I suppose my writing group and various beta readers will be there to let me know. 

So, I guess this is when I talk about my goals for the year.

1.  Full, polished, reviewed, edited, clean, shiny first book of The Accounts of Verdi Mier. I am so much closer than I've ever been before, even if I did have to go back to page one. This has to happen. There's really no other option.

2. 50 books. Last year this fell apart so quickly, I hardly remember when I stopped reading. It's never been something I've had to force myself to do. I love it. But, when things got busy, books for fun were one of the first things to go. Now that school is over, I'll try to make sure that doesn't happen.

That's it. I could flesh the list out with smaller personal goals, but this isn't really a diary. THESE are the things that I will publicly be striving to achieve, and likely asking for help (readers, book recommendations) along the there you go.

I've already finished one of the fifty books I plan to read. As I've done in the past, I'll try to update with my thoughts on each. For my first book of the year, I read Origin by Jessica Khoury. 

2013 Reads:
1. Origin by Jessica Khoury. (2 stars)
I came to this one from Twitter, preordering on the basis of buzz and a short excerpt. The concept really seemed unique and interesting, and I wanted to absolutely love it. I tried. I didn't. Pia, the protagonist, bothered me. I couldn't get entirely into her character, though I usually do align easily with protagonists, even when reviewers take issue. The worst part was, she was the only character with depth and intrigue. The rest were cardboard. The love interest was cliche, and a little irritating. Maybe I've finally outgrown this age story (to be fair, I'm NOT the book's primary audience anymore), but I always feel like a truly wonderful YA book will be wonderful for me, too. It's happened with several others. Either way, I wouldn't be opposed to reading more from the author one day. Her ideas are exciting. I just hope that as she goes, she improves on characterization.