Road Trip Wednesday

RTW: Fantasy Bookstore

by sarahenni on January 16, 2013

Welcome to Road Trip Wednesday day, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out the original post for links to other Road Trippers’ answers!

This week’s topic is: If you owned a bookstore, what would it look like and what would it sell?

Oooh I’ve thought about this a lot. I think I’d like to sell new and used books (like my favorite bookstore Orcas Books in Olympia, WA) and sell a little bit of everything—fiction, non-fiction, mystery, YA, children’s, sci-fi, reference, etc. But no cookbooks. Not my jam.

AND! It would be part used/new bookstore and other half coffee/wine bar! With one television, only turned on for UW/Seattle sports games and Yule Log videos.

Here’s what it’d look like!

bookstore

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Holiday Road Trip Part Deux

by sarahenni on December 25, 2012

For everyone celebrating today, Merry Christmas! Loving the Holiday Road Trips this week–check out the original YA Highway post to see other people’s responses to one of the many prompts for today.

Best Sequel: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The story of Tris, Four and their exploding world in Divergent was a pretty tough act to follow. But Insurgent goes full-bore into the complicated repercussions in an unflinching way. I came out with more questions than answers and, really, that’s what the second book in a trilogy is for!
Best Debut: Born Wickedby Jessica Spotswood
The alternate-universe historical setting got my imagination whirring, the brisk plot had me flipping pages, and the smart, charming love interest had me swooning. SO excited to see where the series goes!
Books Not Normally In My Wheelhouse That I Still Enjoyed: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I only read a handful of adult books every year, and rarely are they psychological thrillers. But I had to check out the crazy hit of the summer and it was worth all the wild hype. Gillian Flynn’s style is sparse, relentless, compulsively readable, and I’m pretty psyched to hear that she’ll be publishing a YA soon also!
Best Book Cover: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers / Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell / The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
CoversIt was really hard to choose this one! There was actually a ton of books with fantastic covers this year, but these three stood out. Though they’re so very different, they are all gorgeous and the all achieve exactly what book covers are meant to: they convey the feel of the books. Not easy to do!

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Holiday Road Trip: Best Books of the Year

by sarahenni on December 24, 2012

I’m so excited for the Holiday Road Trips this week–check out the original YA Highway post to see other people’s responses to one of the many prompts for today.

I’m going to answer: Best Book of 2012!

This answer is totally predictable, and yet…!

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I love books that make me laugh, and books that make me cry. Books that do both, and include incredible characters and makes me think about them for days, weeks, and months afterward… Those are the best. This year TFiOS was definitely the outstanding example of that kind of book.

Honorable Mention:

Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue

Speaking of books that made me think—Bitterblue hit me more like a thought experiment than a novel. How does a city/nation recover from a ruler that has manipulated their history, and the very idea they have of themselves? Cashore handled the question beautifully, and brought back some incredible characters that I’ll always love reading about. For fans of fantasy or any thoughtful story, I recommend.

Honorable Non-YA Mention:

Gabrielle Hamilton, Blood, Bones & Butter

Sometimes a favorite book is one that finds you at just the right time. This book came about at a time when I was hungry for a non-fiction story. I really wanted to immerse myself in someone’s real life, and Gabrielle Hamilton writes about her unconventional life with clarity and occasionally painful truth. It was engaging and challenging and has stuck with me like few memoirs have.

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RTW: On A Reading Mission

by sarahenni on December 12, 2012

Welcome to Road Trip Wednesday day, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out the original post for links to other Road Trippers’ answers!

This week’s topic is: About how many books do you read in a year? Do you want to read more? Or, less?

A peek at part of my TBR pile

Ahh. The last couple of years I’ve set a very lofty goal for reading. In both 2011 and 2012 I hoped to read 100 books. Even with being generous in allowing re-reads to count (once per year), I still fell crazy short of that target, hitting about 50 in 2011 and it looks like I’ll be right around that for this year as well.

My problem is I read in starts and spurts, and much of the time I’m drafting (which has been… all year) it’s sometimes difficult to make time to read, or to find something to read that won’t interfere with my output. This year I stated my goal to read all the Printz-nominated books and, well. That just didn’t come close to happening. I find it very hard to pick up and book and get into it when there’s pressure to read it. (Apparently I am very much a reading diva.)

Still, 50 books in a year is fairly good, and I’d say my hope would be to keep that consistent—maybe make the goal 52 books, or one book a week.

What about you? Do you set reading goals for the year? Have you kept track of the number of books you’ve read?

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RTW: A Time To Write, A Time To Revise

by sarahenni on December 5, 2012

Welcome to Road Trip Wednesday day, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out the original post for links to other Road Trippers’ answers!

This week’s topic is: How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?

Funny that this should be this week’s topic; I recently sent my manuscript off to beta readers, and I started asking myself this very question. How do I revise? I felt the need to have a system, so I read some wise words from Veronica Roth, and this week’s post by Kristin Cashore, with interest. Eventually, though, revisions boiled down to something quite simple. In flipping through the scenes and individual notes my readers left me, I realized I hadn’t read my book in a while. That sounds dumb, because I’m rereading scenes constantly. But not in order, and rarely more than one or two at a time. My book was, in my mind, a bunch of jagged pieces. I had to find the way to fit them together.

So I printed my book out and read it all the way through. It was painful (so painful), but I forced myself through the flimsy, poorly-written sections knowing I’d subjected my beta readers to it, so I had to be brave. (Eeep!) Then I went back and started a new outline, from scratch, based on my notes and my beta notes. It’s the fourth major overhaul to this WiP’s outline, and somehow I doubt it’ll be the last. So what I’m doing now is tossing the scenes I don’t need (15,000 words, phew!), rewriting the entire beginning (blerg), and revising every single sentence.

It’s time-consuming and can be mentally exhausting (creating a revision goal requires a lot of concentration and extended careful thought), but I can say with only the slightest eye twitch that revisions are definitely my favorite part of writing. Every sentence I tweak, all the words I toss aside, and the plot changes and twists that come about in this stage improve the book exponentially.

What about you?? Any tips or tricks for making revisions work (please)??

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Happy Halloween!

by sarahenni on October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween everyone! Lots of festivities here on the East Coast were interrupted by Hurricane Sandy, which is a bummer. (Picture above is my cat sitting at my work station during the storm. Creepy!) But there are lots of fun activities happening on-line right now, including the YA Highway pumpkin carving contest and today’s Road Trip Wednesday, which asks:

What’s your favorite scary book or movie?

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Well I know I never shut up about this book, but I have to say The Passage by Justin Cronin comes to mind. It isn’t a horror book, or something maybe more traditionally creepy,  but it gave me nightmares for sure. Futuristic, leaping zombie-vampires and a dwindling population desperate to keep the lights on? That was plenty horrifying to me.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwatz

I don’t remember much about this book, but I have the vague impression it was being read aloud in a sleepover scenario, and that I really, really didn’t enjoy it. I think easily the scariest parts of the book are the illustrations by Stephen Gammell. They’re so sparse and haunting. I got the shivers just doing a Google image search for this blog post!

 

As for movies, I’m most frightened by supernatural or psychological types of horror. The Blair Witch Project was scary, but The Ring kept me awake for a week—and terrified of closets for much longer than that. And at some point I dated someone who thought I could handle watching the original Japanese version of The Grudge… *shudders*

What about you?? What have you read or watched that scared the pants off you? And what will you be doing for Halloween today?

 

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RTW: My WiP Love List

by sarahenni on August 22, 2012

It’s Road Trip Wednesday day, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out their post for links to other Road Trippers’ answers!

This week’s topic is: Inspired byStephanie Perkins’ post on Natalie Whipple’s blog, what is your novel’s “Love List”?

(Why I Really, Really, Really Like You pad for sale by KnockKnock here!)

I’m so excited about this topic, because now is the perfect time for me to remember what it is about this book I love enough to get started on (dun dun dunnnn) revisions! Here are a few things about my WiP that keep me coming back:

Ken Burns and his effect

A girl wearing big glasses

Segway Polo

Untied Doc Martens that look like they’re eating someone’s legs

This picture of Eddie Vedder stagediving

Blue-green light filtered through an atrium

Modern shipwrecks

This image of a female drummer

Creepy yard gnomes

Keep Santa Cruz Weird

The way streetlights look at night after rain

Those are just a few of the things on my list… I’ll have to add this as a Scrivener file to check back on when motivation runs low!

What about you? What’s on your love list?

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RTW: The Sounds of Summer

by sarahenni on August 8, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out their post for links to other Road Trippers’ answers!

This week’s topic is:
What has been your soundtrack for the summer?

I have a couple different ones to share: the playlists that I’ve listened to while writing, and the ones I’ve just been listening to for fun. Each of these songs come from a complete album that I’ve listened to, seemingly on endless loop, while drafting my WiP 1. (I love listening to full albums while writing—it helps the music become more like background.)

And these are the tunes I’ve been listening to for fun 2. A lot of the new music I find is thanks to KEXP, a Seattle-based independent music station that you can stream on any computer or mobile phone. It has the absolute best new music, and it’s saved my sanity at the day job many a time!

What about you?? Do you listen to different music when you write? What new artists or songs are you getting really into? I love new music—share please!

  1. If you don’t have Spotify, you can listen to the music here.
  2. If you don’t have Spotify you should be able to listen to it here.

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Bridget > Bridget

by sarahenni on July 11, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out their post for links to other Highwayers’ answers!

This week’s topic is:

What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?

For me, the 2001 film version of Bridget Jones Diary is what comes to mind immediately as a film I would recommend before the book. I will confess to having seen the movie first (and isn’t it typical to enjoy the first version of anything you read/see/hear?), but made a point to read the book last summer because I’d heard such great things about it. And it was many things: hilarious, silly, extra- super- crazy-British, totally worth reading. But I thought the movie got rid of some things that were extraneous to the story (the strange “missing friend who may or may not have hurt themselves” episode), and added incidents that raised the stakes for Bridget’s ultimate romantic quandary.

I promise you that it had almost everything only something to do with the choice of Colin Firth as a heart-meltingly perfect Darcy. It did enhance the entire Bridget Jones universe for me to realize that Colin Firth the actor was mentioned in the book for his romance with Pride and Prejudice costar Jennifer Ehle.

And now I want to watch the movie again! It’s such a perfect sick-day, quick pick-me-up flick.

So what about you?? Any movies come to mind that you enjoyed more than their book form?

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RTW: I Love You but I’ve Chosen Erudite

by sarahenni on May 23, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs. Check out their post for links to other Highwayers’ answers!

This week’s topic is:

What Faction from Veronica Roth’s Divergent & Insurgent would you be?

Art by C-resta. Click for link

Can’t stop, won’t stop! As a devoted member of Ravenclaw, I knew from the first description of Erudite that they were my peeps. So, even though it turns out Erudite is headed up by [SPOILER!] some ethically twisted psychos, I’m holding out for redemption.

Erudite’s chosen path as a faction reminds me of the Patton Oswalt joke: “We’re science: we’re all about coulda, not shoulda.” When left alone with the pure possibility of what information can mean, people can be dangerous. That’s why factions like Erudite only work well in concert with others, those who can provide a more practical perspective.

But I’m hopeful that in the third and final Divergent book, Erudite will get their chance to use all those beautiful brains for good!

What about you? What faction would you be? Do you think Erudite is going to get the chance to redeem us unrepentant brainiacs??

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