Thursday, September 22, 2011

reading: The Demon King

THE DEMON KING by Cinda Williams Chima is a high fantasy YA novel that was such a fun read. Han is a reformed streetlord struggling to support his mother and sister, and Raisa is a strong-willed princess longing for freedom. Their paths cross amidst fantastic scenes of adventure and suspense. And of course lots of magic.

Although this first novel in a series of four (#3 was just released) is chock full of unforgettable characters whom I love, it's true strength lies in the plot-driven story. Or should I say plots-driven...there are so many interweaving plots. It's fun to see when and where they come together.

I am anxious to read the next, it's sitting on my bedstand now, taunting me. Thanks to my dad for mailing me this one! Highly recommended.
I had a chance to meet Cinda Chima on Tuesday along with Jenilyn and Kathryn. We had so much fun at the Provo Library gossiping about books, authors, and writing conference rumors.

Cinda was a wonderful speaker, sharing her experience in writing her many books for young adults and providing encouragement to aspiring writers.
Sweet lady, you can find out more about her books here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Organized Chaos

I consider my life organized chaos. If I don't write it down, I will not remember it. And between homeschool, real school, church responsibilities, writing, my husband's schedule (he has his own business, teaches Tae Kwon Do, is on search and rescue, etc.) and the plethora of kids activities--of which I must volunteer my time for as well, I am a pretty busy mom. And if I ever lost my ipad planner, I think I might literally die. Not kidding. So yes, it's chaotic, but I like to think I have it under control.

So when I have writing inspiration, it doesn't necessarily come at the most convenient of times. I have post-its and scraps of paper all over my house-by my bed, my computer, in my purse, (the toilet), everywhere. A book or character idea is scribbled here, a scene or neat quote written there. I have literally woken up at 3 in the morning and scribbled my dream (nightmare) on paper, and jumped out of the shower dripping water everywhere as I jotted a story idea down. I try to bring the random pieces of inspiration together in a writing "notebook", but of course I have several of those all over the place too.

When I sit down to do the actual writing, I feel like I'm literally throwing up words on the page (or word document). There is that fear that if I don't get it written down, I will forget it. The words come out far from perfect and I just go go go when the inspiration hits. So revisions for me involve a lot of cut cut cutting of the crappy, followed by adding the pretty words and details that make it flow much better. You know, chaos, but organized. It works for me, each step of the process its own beast, but unique and enjoyable still.

How do you write? Are you organized? Do you take your time and revise as you go, or just throw it out there? Where and when do you get writing inspiration? Do you have a pen and paper by the toilet?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

music to inspire

This is me back in 1996 with Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies.

I'm kind of a music snob.

I tend to like most books I read. It's the same with movies, it's hard for me to come out of a movie not having enjoyed myself.

But when it comes to music, I'm hard to please. I would consider myself a fan of alternative, probably adult alternative since I'm an old lady and all. But even within that realm I am picky. And it doesn't matter to me if something is popular or not, as long as it's good.

I am defensive of my music. As in the Killers are the greatest band ever, so no need to argue. Cause I'm right. And if it's not played on my favorite radio station, you know, the one run by the local high school, it probably sucks.

As a result, music is a big inspiration for my writing. One of the fads of late are for authors to post a 'soundtrack' to their novel. Seems kinda cheesy, but I totally get it. There are certain songs that have implanted a seed in me for a story, or that I hear in my head while I write.

I can't tell you how many story ideas I've gotten from Tori Amos' 90's music or Sarah Maclachlan 80's music. Yes, I was very much alive in the 80's. I am inspired as much by the lyrics as I am by the music itself. And though poetry seems to be a lost art (no one buys the stuff anymore), music is the poetry of today and influences just as much, in my opinion.

The playlist below includes a trifling of music that has inspired me, the first ten off the top of my head.

What kind of music do you like?
What inspires your writing?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

reading: Life As We Knew It

When the moon is knocked off kilter by a huge asteroid, tsunamis, flooding, earthquakes and volcanoes ensue, bringing life on Earth to a whole new realm of survival-mode. As a bit of a preparedness junkie myself, I thought it was interesting to see the effects of this natural disaster on the world.

It is hard to say LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer was an enjoyable read. Wonderful teen voice: yes. Diary format working well: yes. Characters to care about, page-turning plot, clean and wonderful writing: yes, yes, yes.

BUT, it is one of those books that when you put it down for the night (ready to continue the next day as soon as possible), you feel like you are living in the world of the book. So I bounced around from being cold, uneasy, hungry, paranoid, sad, nervous, weak, depressed, etc. for a few days. Engaging, eye-opening and entertaining to read--definitely. Enjoyable--not so much. But still recommended. (Just don't expect to laugh very much)

I'm wondering if anyone else has read the other two books in the series? Is it worth the read? I am interested but may need to space it out because of the reasons above.