On occasion, a book comes along where one of us hasn't had the chance to finish it. I'm so not trying to let this book be mine.
With our YA Book Club Meeting in two days, I'm still working on finishing the book. Usually, I'm done with at least one week to go, but this month has just been crazy that the days got away from me. I didn't even start the book until mid last week. Now I do think I will be able to finish it, but this is just close.
So far I'm not sure I have much of an opinion of it. It's not a deep thought kind of book and therefore I'm just reading through it without really thinking about it. The fact that I'm rushing to get it done before the meeting doesn't help either. I do like the relationship between the girls and the back and forth banter they have. As far into the book as I am, I was kind of hoping for a better romantic interest story than what's happening right now. I can't help it, I like the sappy.
The club meets Friday for one of our after work dinner/drinks club. As always, I'll keep you informed of what the group thinks.
I love coming to these writing conferences. I always walk away from every session with brand new ideas for my book, ideas I want to implement immediately. But as someone whose job it is to get up in front of people and present training materials in an informal and entertaining way, I always find myself wondering if these speakers have ever gone to any presentation class.
Presentation classes are designed to teach you how to not only deliver a great presentation, but how to put together a great presentation using whatever visual tools you decide to use and in most cases PowerPoint.
Over the course of the weekend, I have seen PowerPoint Presentations that were designed perfectly, with only a few text on the slide, slides with just an image or text combined with an image. However, I have also seen PowerPoint Presentations full of text, that it was hard to concentrate on the speaker. I kept wanting to read the slide and therefore found myself tuning the speaker out, which is the last thing as a speaker you want to happen. I have also seen attendees get so hung up on wanting to write down everything on the slide that it interrupted the speakers flow as well as distract them from the fact that the speaker handed out the same text in paper form.
As a speaker, you're the reason people come to the presentation. They come to hear you speak and present. A PowerPoint is designed to support you and enhance you're topic. It should never be used as a crutch.
I love these sessions, but my training background can't help but notice these pet peeves of mine.
Today, I experienced my first professional critique and I am glad I did it. I went in there knowing my writing was still raw but dying to know whether my concept was interesting. I am passionate about this book and the story I want to tell and I'm sure if I had heard that it didn't work, I would have probably still kept going. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about that.
While she did pick up on the writing (I knew she would), she did say that the concept was interesting. She said that it was good for the YA market and that she understood my decision to write it from the point of view of the boy. It's tough, but it can work.
This was what I needed to hear. After all this time, I just needed to know that I was on the right track. Even when you're passionate about something, there can still be doubts. Now I know, they're not necessary. I am justified in my passion. Yay me!
This year at the NESCBWI conference, they are introducing On-The-Spot critiques and I signed up for a slot. As I waited in the long line with my list of top five editors/agents, I tried desperately not to run away. Was I ready for this? We can submit up to 5 pages and I chose the first 5 pages of the novel I am working on. They say that if you can't hook an editor in five pages, then you won't hook the reader. I figured here was my chance. I know the pages are still a bit raw, but I wanted to see if maybe I was on the right track. Is this story the one I should be working on?
When I paid my $40 and walked away from the registration table, getting my first choice, I was shaking. I'm still not sure I'm ready for it, but I had to oversome my fear and just do it. In the end, I know it's one person's opinion and I will continue to write despite what is said. It's a big and scary step and I have taken it.
Critique is tomorrow at 4pm. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow morning I head off to Springfield, MA for my second visit to the New England SCBWI Conference. I'm quite excited. Last year, I felt like I was among friends. Other writer's who understood my struggles and frustrations. By the time I left, I was so motivated, I went to Staples and bought supplies I needed, supplies I have since used. I can't wait to see what this years conference brings.
For one thing, it brings on the spot critiquing by editors and agents. For $40, I can give 5 pages to a professional to read and give me feedback on. It's both exciting and scary. I have been rejected before, but never face to face. I have gone through workshops (which I love and miss), but these are people who do this on a regular basis and professionally. These are the people who can truly decide whether I have what it takes to become a published author. It's quite scary to think that I've spent decade of my life do something I really wasn't good at. Granted it's one persons opinion and I know that I will always continue to write even for myself and no one else, but still.
I'll let you know if I do it. I will also continue to blog from deep inside the conference. It is why I got the tablet, right?
My best purchase to date: a tablet with a sliding keyboard. This past weekend, I jumped into the next wave of technology evelution by purchasing my very own tablet. I got the Asus Slider, a tablet that came with a sliding keybaord, perfect for the writer on the go.
When the new year started, I knew I wanted to get a tablet. 4 days a week, I commute 3 hours a day to and from work. For a writer who has a day job to make a living, I have to use every spare minute I can to my writing life. That includes blogging, writing, maintaining my website and more. I do some writing on the train, but I just knew getting a tablet would help me to do more. And so far, it's working. True, as a new toy to play with (boys aren't the only ones who love their toys), it's fresh and something I want to use everyday. But, I WILL remember to keep going with it even after the novelty of it wears off.
I definiately can't wait to see where this tablet leads me. Are you ready to take this journey with me?
Last Wednesday the Book Club met to not only review The Clearing by Heather Davis, but to also watch and review The Hunger Games Movie. Something we were all looking forward to seeing. So here are the details for you.
First, we had one girl call in sick. But thankfully, she reviewed the book on her Goodreads account which you can view here. In the end, she had an okay feeling about it. The rest of us quickly reviewed the book as we sat in the theater watching the commercials (does anyone else miss the quizzes?). Generally, we liked it finding ourselves enthralled enough to move from page to page. We wondered about the ending and the fog rolling in on the farm again. Does this mean Amy was now doomed to repeat Henry's mistake?
We did feel that Amy's back story of why she needed to relocate was powerful enough without having to bring Matt in at the end. And that it was just a bit overkill. I did have a problem believing the sudden relationship of Amy and Henry. After everything that happened with her and Matt and her insistence she was done with boys, I felt the whole Henry thing was just too sudden. It might have been better if it remained in a friendship manner instead of a romantic nature. I think the two of them providing the comfort of a friend that they both needed would have been more believable.
Then the lights dimmed and the previews began. The movie was upon us as we sat there silently taking it all in. When the light came back on and we processed our thoughts from the time it took us to leave the theater, I kept feeling like something about the movie was off. I soon realized I was the only one who felt that way. It happens from time to time when one of us is felling the total opposite from the others and this time it was me. The other girls liked the movie and I found myself disappointed. I'm still working on that full review and will post it on this site this weekend.
Our next book on deck: A & L Do Summer by Jan Blazanin. I'll keep you posted.
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