Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's Up Wednesday


 
 
Warning: This post may be a little negative and somewhat possibly very depressing. Read at your own risk.

What I'm Reading: I just finished this
 
 
And um…I don’t think you want me to review this one. On a writing scale—it gets 4 out of 5 stars. It has just about everything a best-selling, incredible story should—amazing premise, exceptional writing, plot twists I never saw coming… But I don't know if I just read it on the worst weekend ever or if I am truly a cultural swine (everyone else LOVED it) or if it didn't do the one thing for me that I need stories to do—give me a likeability factor. From fifty pages in, I didn't really care for either main character (and not much more for the people around them) and so I really didn't care much about what happened to them.
Anyway—if anything, reading GONE GIRL has validated what I already know
a) why I write YA (more on this in a future post)

b) that reading and writing appreciation is VERY subjective
c) that in order to enjoy a story, this girl needs to like the main characters—no matter how unlikeable they can be.
Also, this is ONE person's opinion. Many other people (including everyone in my book club) LOVE the story. So, happy reading!
Currently I'm beta reading a friend's manuscript which I've been very excited about reading and just started reading and OMG—it's hilarious already and so full of awesome and I'm only on page 10.
*breaks to read more*

correction—page 100.
After that, I've got three amazing books on the literal bedside table: GRASPING AT ETERNITY, JUST ONE DAY, and WONDER. My summer reading list is looking sunny!

What I'm Writing:

Between the Writer's Voice and some rather sucky stuff that happened last week, I've managed to do virtually nothing with my SNI this week. I finally got my synopsis to a place where I don't want to burn my entire manuscript just so I don't have to deal with it, but I'm still not a big fan of it. But, it works. And it's done.

But I do need to be writing. A LOT. Since I'm officially in querying mode, I will need the distraction of something fresh and new. More on that Monday. J 

What Else I've Been Up To:
On a positive note, I received several requests for my manuscript through the Writer's Voice Blogfest.  Which, on Thursday, was awesome and fabulous and all kinds of exciting, but (and sadly there is a but) on Friday I was rather numb to most of it. I thought about not sharing today—didn't want to leave you all depressed and yucky, but well, this is what's up on my Wednesday. Last Thursday night, one of my dear, sweet seniors was caught in a rip current and drowned.  His name was Shak. He quarterbacked our football team to a state championship win in December. He was named Local Player of the Year. Our local newspaper described him as a good guy and a good football player, but for those that knew him, he was an amazing person and an exceptional football player with a beautiful disposition, a compassionate soul, and a huge heart. I was very fortunate to teach him for two years and take stats for his games on Friday nights. Often, he would stop by my room, yell in "Hey, Mrs. Miller!" on his way to his next class. He did that just the other day, and his big smile and happy face are cemented in my mind.
 a compassionate soul, and a HUGE heart.  I was very fortunate to teach him for two years and to take stats for him on Friday nights.  And often he would stop by room, yell in "Hey, Mrs. Miller!" on his way to class. He did that the day he passed away. His big smile and happy face are cemented in my mind.
Shak was a friend to everyone. He had such a bright future ahead of him. I'm still having a very difficult time wrapping my head around WHY.
I'm heartbroken. My students, my colleagues - heck - the entire community, we're beyond devastated. I can't even imagine the pain his family is going through right now.

Pray and think good thoughts for our Stallion family.  

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Okay, so CLEARLY we all need something light and funny after that.



I can't wait for that movie!

Sorry to leave you all depressified. Have a wonderful week, folks! And tune back in Monday. You'll want to. Trust me!

42 comments:

  1. Sounds like something is looking up for you. Congrats!

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  2. Hugs Alison! This is truly tragic and I am thinking of you and your community!

    I know it's a total topic switch, but I am crossing my fingers those requests turn into much more <3 For many reasons, I'm sure people will fall in love with your story!

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    1. Thank you, Elodie! I am crossing my fingers too. :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana! Things are better. Not great, but better. My students are really inspiring.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear this, Alison. You, Shak's family, and your community are in my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca! It's been tough, but time heals the wounds, I guess.

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  5. So sorry to hear about your student. My mom works in a classroom and she's always saying "my kids," so I know how close that bond can be. Sending out hugs and support.

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    1. Thank you. His sister dropped by to see me yesterday. I taught her for two years too. That was tough. But my kids are talking about the good times and starting to smile again - it helps.

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  6. Oh, Allison, I'm so sorry. That's awful. I can't imagine losing one of my students. That's heartbreaking. I don't even know what else to say. But I'll be thinking of you and your school community.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. It's been tough, but I'm sure time will heal this wound.

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  7. :( So sorry to hear about your student. But from what you've said, it sounds like Shak was an amazing guy who, I'm guessing, touched a lot of people's lives and left a lot of great memories. Hopefully they can bring a little comfort to everybody missing him right now.

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    1. Yes - he did all those things. Words aren't just enough to describe his impact. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts!

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  8. What an awful, awful thing to happen. I'm so sorry to hear this, Alison. I'll definitely be thinking about you and your community/school today.

    I am happy to hear that you received such a great response to your story in the Writer's Voice contest. I thought your entry was fantastic, so it's not surprising.

    As for GONE GIRL, I read SHARP OBJECTS and had a nearly identical reaction to it that you had with this one. The writing was spectacular, but I couldn't get past just how gritty and ugh the story and characters were. Like you, it just reinforced how much I love YA and just how subjective reading really is.

    Sending you hugs all the way from Alberta.

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    1. Thank you, Jaime! For all of this. :) Hugs back atcha

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  9. I wonder if it's a writer thing, but I've encountered a number of books over the past few years where technically, the writing was great--I couldn't fault the author for use of language, creativity, grammar, etc.--but the story just didn't work for me. And often it was something along the lines you experienced: I just didn't care about the characters. It wasn't compelling. A lesson for us there, I'm sure.

    Prayers and best wishes to you and all those who are grieving the loss of Shak.

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    1. It just goes back to the subjectivity of writing. Which, I think, is a good thing for us. :)

      And thank you!

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  10. Alison, I'm so, so sorry about Shak. I can't even imagine how difficult a time this must be for you. I'm thinking of you! <3

    And yes, I agree that you probably weren't in the best headspace for GONE GIRL. I hated both of the main characters too, but I did love the story for all its crazy twists and turns. I think you need to find yourself something light and fluffy to read next.

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    1. I agree! I'm beta reading a mutual friend's ms and it's VERY funny. Much needed at this time!

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  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. That's terrible. :( *HUGS*

    I'm glad you had some positive news, the requests from Writer's Voice. I'm crossing my fingers for you and wish you luck in querying.

    I totally understand your mixed feelings about GONE GIRL. I didn't love the characters either but the plot was so riveting, I still wanted to keep reading to the end.

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    1. Thank you! I was very pleased with the results of the Writer's Voice. And thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Hugs back at you!

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  12. There was definitely a full moon this weekend causing crazy, horrible stuff. A family I grew up with lost their 22 month old son to drowning Sunday. I can't imagine what they are going through, or you, your student's family, and community. What a tragedy. I'm so sorry. You have every right to be down in your posts and don't need to apologize. Grief is grief and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it.

    I haven't read Gone Girl yet, but I know the feeling. I read my niece's favorite book and hated it. Back a few years ago when the movie Enchanted came out, everyone I knew raved about how great it was and I disliked it so much I almost left the theater. So yes, everything is subjective. And I applaud your willingness to be honest about how you felt, rather than act as if you liked it.

    I found your blog through Jamie's links - I think I'll stick around! :)

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    1. So glad you found me! And thank you for saying all that you did. I try to be chipper and positive, but that's not always me. So, thank you. :)

      And how horrible for your friend. I can't even imagine losing my own child. SO sorry.

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. That's such a terrible thing.

    But that's awesome news on all the requests! GOOD LUCK! :D

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  14. So sorry to hear about your student. That's devastating.

    I'm excited about your requests, though, and you're right--the best thing you can do while waiting on news is write, write, write (something I'm really trying to do myself!)

    I gotta say...I loved Gone Girl!

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    1. Yes - the writing will definitely be a welcome distraction! And thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

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  15. That is so tragic and I am so sorry to hear about your student. Such a bright future ahead of him, but heaven has another angel now.

    I can definitely relate to your need to like the main character of a novel. If a character is too flawed, I often have problems liking the story overall.

    With how much I look for new and interesting author blogs to follow, I'm surprised I haven't found yours before! But I'll definitely stick around now that I'm here thanks to Jaime's list. :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found me too! And yes - heaven has one very amazing angel now. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts!

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  16. I’m sorry to hear about your student. Y’all are in my thoughts.

    I tried reading Gone Girl but I just couldn’t get into it.

    Good luck in query land!

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  17. What a horrible, horrible thing to happen. I'm so sorry that you've lost this amazing student, and I hope you and your school community will find some comfort during this difficult time.

    I haven't read GONE GIRL yet, but I totally agree with your criteria for liking a book. I find that if I feel invested in the characters, I'm willing to forgive a whole lot more flaws in the writing. I've also read a couple books recently that I just couldn't connect with even though everyone else raved about them.

    Congratulations on getting requests in the Writer's voice Blogfest and for finishing your synopsis! I took a look at mine last night and it needs a complete overhaul. Hope next week is better for you. :)

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    1. Well, I'm certain if I look at my synopsis again, I'll feel the same way...so I'm going with it. :)

      And thank you for all your kind words and thoughts!

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  18. No, Alison. So sad and I feel for your school community as well as his family. Ugh. Just awful.
    I hear what you're saying about Gone Girl. Riveting, but you're right. No likable characters.

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    1. Thank you, Kat. It's been a tough week, but hopefully time will heal the wounds.

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  19. I'm so sorry for your loss. That is a horrible thing to happen, and I can't imagine what the family is going through. I'll keep him and his family/the community in my prayers.

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    1. I can't either. Thank you for all your kind words and thoughts. :)

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  20. I'm so sorry to hear this. It's heartbreaking when a young person passes away, and it sounds like he was an amazing person. :(

    I've heard a few people say that Gone Girl wasn't their thing. I actually have a copy (haven't read it yet), but I let my aunt borrow it and she couldn't even finish it. Reading is so subjective!

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    1. I usually finish books I start, but I was so tempted to put this one down. I'm glad I didn't, but it was tough to get through.

      Thank you for your kind words and thoughts!

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  22. I'm with you on GONE GIRL. While I thought it was good - enough that I went and bought her 2 other books - I wasn't happy with the ending and felt kinda meh about the whole thing.

    And I'm so sorry to hear about Shak. It's never easy when anyone you know passes away, especially so tragically, but even more so when it's a senior, just about to embark on some of the best years of his life. I'm thinking about you, him, his family and your entire community from all the way over in Seattle and sending warm thoughts your way. I don't understand why things like this happen, especially to such bright souls - but please, no need to apologize for sharing your grief...it's times like this you should lean on others to help carry you - and as I've read through all of the comments, there are many of us here that are waiting with outstretched hands. Big hugs, Alison.

    And congrats on the requests from the Writer's Voice - kudos too, for finishing your synopsis...ugh, I don't even want to think about writing that sucker for my new WiP. :S

    xoxo

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