0

I Just Read . . . The 100 by Kass Morgan

What a great premise! I love the idea that humanity would return to earth, actually become the alien to our descendants by our own devices. Brilliant!

Kirkus Review Says:

THE 100 Cover ArtOne hundred teen convicts may be the only hope of the human race.

Three hundred years after the Cataclysm made Earth uninhabitable, the remnant of humanity lives in an aging space station. Strict population-control laws help conserve the dwindling resources, and adults convicted of crimes are summarily executed. Criminal teens held in Confinement are given a retrial at 18, and some go free. Fearing the colony has few years left, the Chancellor decides to send 100 of these teens to Earth with monitoring bracelets to see if the planet’s surface is survivable. The story concentrates on four of them. Wells commits a crime in order to accompany his girlfriend; Bellamy breaks into the dropship to go with his sister; in hopes of reuniting with her boyfriend, Glass escapes the dropship to return to her privileged mother. And Clarke, the object of Wells’ affection, struggles with demons and hormones. Will they survive? Morgan’s debut, which has already been optioned for a CW series, has a promising premise as long as readers don’t apply too many brain cells. (Why convicts? Why not give them communication devices? Isn’t there birth control in the future?) However, it slowly devolves into a thrill-free teen romance. Lengthy flashbacks flatten the action in nearly every chapter. The characters do little to distinguish themselves from their run-of-the-mill dystopian brethren. Steer teens in search of science fiction to Beth Revis, Robison Wells and Veronica Roth.

Perhaps the television incarnation will have some life. (Dystopian adventure. 15 & up)

My thoughts . . .

The premise carries this novel. It has so many possibilities. I am going to read the second one.

This is supposed to be set in the future, but even in our own age, there is a great deal of current technology lacking in this book which added to the unrealistic feel. I did enjoy it but often found myself thinking, “But if they had a phone or watch-communicator this would never have happened.”

I also thought it felt unrealistic for every single main character to be in some kind of romantic slump. None of them had healthy relationships. Maybe that’s the point? I don’t think every person in the world has an ongoing relationship or wants one. This one felt overloaded with the swoon.

It’s easy to be the critic. I enjoyed this book and think Miss Morgan must’ve had a really fun time writing it. It’s worth the read.

From Kass Morgan’s Alloy Entertainment Bio:

Kass-Morgan_300pxKass Morgan has an unhealthy obsession with books that first manifested in third grade when she brought a copy of Mallory and the Dream Horse to her own birthday party. When she was ten, she moved from Brooklyn to Santa Monica, where kids thought she was strange for wearing so much black. Then she went back to the east coast for college, where kids thought she was strange for wearing so much pink.

Kass studied English and History at Brown University, reading gothic novels in the library where Edgar Allan Poe conducted secret love affairs, auditioning unsuccessfully for a number of plays, and learning important truths about walking on ice in high heels.

After college, Kass crossed the pond to pursue a Master’s degree in 19th century literature at Oxford, which was like attending Hogwarts, but with more costume parties. She returned to the states with a deep appreciation for clotted cream, a suitcase full of cocktail dresses, and a thesis on George Eliot that she has since misplaced.  

Kass settled in New York to work in publishing. When she’s not editing novels for young bookworms to sneak into their own birthday parties, you can find her jostling for table space at Brooklyn coffee shops, asking strangers if she can pet their dogs, and e-mailing her middle school crush to thank him for introducing her to science fiction, which turns out to be very fun to write.  The 100 is her first book for teens. Kass is currently working the sequel, which she’ll finish as soon as she can find a coffee shop that allows laptops on the weekend.

Follow @kassmorganbooks to connect with the author on Twitter.

0

REVIMO 2016 with Meg Miller

I completed my first ReviMo (revision month) today!

The amazing and lovely Meg Miller hosts the one week challenge each year. Every day of the challenge has tips, tricks, and methods for revising your picture book from different authors. This year, Meg hosted these Super Awesome Guest Bloggers.

For all the amazing advice, see Meg’s blog and be sure to sign up next time! It really is worth the time.

0

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

This is my new goal for 2015–not to beat myself up for not writing more. Perhaps it sounds lazy, but I have to let it go.

At the November Kansas SCBWI conference I met an amazing woman, an agent of Red Fox Literary named Karen Grencik–one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I had the pleasure of eating breakfast with her at our hotel, and she gave me advice that rivaled that of my nurse while giving birth to my first child who said, “This too shall pass.” And everything does, whether we like it or not.

What a blessing this sweet lady was in my life!

Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary

Concerning writing, Karen said–and I’m paraphrasing–“You’re doing your very best every day, so don’t beat yourself up over it.” And she was/is right. I am doing my very best every day. I go to bed exhausted, wake up tired, never take naps, rarely take free time even for lunch, and I still have days where it’s impossible to find time to write more than a couple sentences.

This is where the Margaret Atwood quote comes in. For every word after every word after every word I write, I will feel success. I should feel success. For one sentence, if that is the best sentence I can write.

So here’s to a year of words, one after another. Let’s keep them coming!

1

The Home Stretch & #WriteMotivation

Every ball these days is a curve ball. You’d think I would learn to prepare for it, but somehow, it always takes me by surprise.

Because of a wonderful offer by an amazing agent intern, my goals almost struck out. But I will report what I have done and then you can all judge me accordingly.

 

MARCH GOALS:

1) Write 20,000 words on RFA

Wrote 5000+

2) Blog 4 times

This will be my third post, so not all-together bad.

3) Read 4 books, one on the writing craft

Still slogging through Book 1 of A Game of Thrones,  by George R. R. Martin and On Writing, by Stephen King.

4) Do not think negatively about the queries I sent in February

I haven’t had time to think about them at all.

5) Participate in Pitch Madness: Clue Edition (I’m scared to do this, but the agents are amazing!)

Yes. Rejected.

I also revised the first third of my TPR MS to improve my submission chances based on the amazing critique by Agent Intern Anon. of my first 5 chapters. I am working as hard and fast as I can to get it even more perfect.

Thanks so much for all of your #WriteMotivation support! Maybe someday we can have a conference and cater a bakery to make us cookies that look like books and words. And I want the waiters to dress up like dinosaurs.

writemotivation3

6

Endurance & #WriteMotivation

This has to be quick because I am so swamped getting things done!

MARCH GOALS:

1) Write 20,000 words on RFA

At 2,000 when an amazing thing happened with an agent intern. I am now doing a quick polish revision on TPR and all else is on hold.

2) Blog 4 times

This is #2

3) Read 4 books, one on the writing craft

Still reading The Game of Thrones and On Writing (details later)

4) Do not think negatively about the queries I sent in February

So far, so good.

5) Participate in Pitch Madness: Clue Edition (I’m scared to do this, but the agents are amazing!)

I submitted today! So excited to see what happens.

6

Taking the Time to Do It Write; March Goals

Success takes time. I see so many of these viral videos or songs that are a One-Hit-Wonder. I don’t want to be a One-Hit-Wonder.

One Hit 1 I don’t even want two hits. I want to be a writer forever!

Tom Hanks was in a movie about One-Hit-Wonders. A great flick if anyone wants to see it. In the end, their lives went back to normal.

one hit 4

I don’t want to go back! I want normal to be writing–all the time. I want to get published. I want to keep getting published. And I will work as hard as I have to.

And the one thing I’ve learned is that doing something right means taking the time to perfect your skills. I don’t know how close I am to my goal. But I will keep going until I’m close enough that some agent can’t bear the thought of rejecting me. Editors will wonder where I’ve been all my life. And I will tell them: I’ve been learning, working, honing the words.

And that day, it will all be worth it.

Until then–here are the ways I am getting there, one month at a time.

MARCH GOALS:

1) Write 20,000 words on RFA

2) Blog 4 times

3) Read 4 books, one on the writing craft

4) Do not think negatively about the queries I sent in February

5) Participate in Pitch Madness: Clue Edition (I’m scared to do this, but the agents are amazing!)

Good Luck #WriteMotivation buddies and anyone else out there who wants to be writer.

5

#WriteMotivation February Tally

Monday blogging was too much to ask, so I am wrapping up the month today instead. Overall, making goals and adding things to my calendar in small pieces is working well. Breaking up the overwhelming things makes them appear less intimidating. So here it is.

1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Read Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole and blogged about it.

Read The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck and blogged about it.

Still half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott.

About 3/4 through Game of Thrones, Book 1, by George R. R. Martin. (This counts as at least one.)

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

Week 2: DONE

I haven’t done this again. I get discouraged by people on #WriteMotivation who don’t reciprocate, and that got me a bit down. Sorry to those of you who actually have supported me. Your comments help more than you realize.

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

DONE!

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Got two rejections within about 15 minutes of querying. Not sure how to take that. But not depressed.

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

Week 2: Chapter 26 of 32. Woot!

DONE!

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

Week 2: No change.

NOPE!

But, hey, I did a lot this month. So I made myself molasses cookies. (My favorite.) Wish you were here to share them with me.

 

molasses cookies

0

Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole

My rbain brain is so cluttered with amazing information, I don’t know where to begin.

This book covers many areas of the writing craft, from the mind of your audience to theme to emotion to many words I’ve never heard. This book made me feel a bit illiterate in some ways–mostly French ways–and I had to use the dictionary. Every chapter in this book gives ideas and questions and direction about how to go about forming the structure for a knock-your-socks-off novel. (Cliches are also included in Kole’s discussion.)

I could not recommend this book highly enough. It makes you reevaluate characters, themes, plots, and teaches you about Interiority, Objectives, how to incorporate subplots for the most impact, and many other elements of writing the perfect (or as close as us mere humans will ever get) novel.

mary kole

0

The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck

A friend of mine recommended this book–a book I never would’ve chosen on my own. Christmas stories inevitably make me cry, which is something I refuse to inflict on myself. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and it’s short enough that the few hours it took were worth it.

book cover the christmas sweater

Jacketflap:

Based on a deeply personal true story, Glenn Beck’s bittersweet tale of boyhood memories, wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of the giving season has touched the hearts of readers everywhere.

If you could change your life by reversing your biggest regrets, sorrows, and mistakes . . . would you?

When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. He knew money had been tight since his father died, but Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to afford that dream bike.

What he got from her instead was a sweater. “A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater” that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.

Scarred deeply by the fateful events that transpired that day, Eddie begins a dark and painful journey toward manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family—and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell—to help Eddie find his life’s path and finally understand the significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted with love.

glenn beck

Glenn Beck narrates the book and also includes a prologue where he explains the experiences in his own life that led to the writing of this book. It was a nice touch.

Things I didn’t like:

~The idea that so much character development could happen within the course of a twelve-year-old’s dream.

~Obvious political statements felt unnatural.

~I felt like the end was a cheat. I don’t like it that everything ended up unrealistically happy, but it is a Christmas story so . . .

Things I liked:

~The characters were real, vivid, flawed, and lovable.

~It made me laugh out loud more than once.

~It made me think about my own childhood and the things I went through, experiences, and what I’ve learned.

4

#WriteMotivation Check

I am posting this just to keep myself in check.

#WriteMotivation

1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

Week 2: Still half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole. Read The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

Week 2: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

Week 2: I have a list of agents and their requirements on a spreadsheet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

Week 2: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

Week 2: Chapter 26 of 32. Woot!

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

Week 2: No change.

writemotivation2