Monthly Archives: June 2013

How Often Should You Frequent Writing Groups

Standard

You may do your initial writing alone, but unless you’re planning on not sharing your work with anyone else, it’ll take a small army to finish writing your book.  We’ve talked about the importance of beta readers and critique partners before, but today’s post is going to focus more on the writing group and how often you should  meet to get the most out of the group experience.

I’ve belonged to my writing group for two years now (roughly) and we’ve always met on a monthly basis. Which was fine but I often found I’d have forgotten some of the parts of the stories the others were reading because it had been a month since I had heard them. Not to mention people would often read chapters out of order, which would make it hard to follow the continuity of the story.

Recently the group decided to try and meet more often, on a weekly basis.  It has made a huge difference. Not only was it easier to follow the stories of my peers, it helped motivate most of us to write more during the week knowing we would have to share. It also gave me a better idea of others’ writing styles and their possible quirks as I’m hearing more of their writing.

I understand it’s just not possible for some people to make a group on a weekly basis. Meeting once a month will still have its benefits. If it’s possible for you to meet on a more regular basis I think you’d find it really helps push you to write as well as better dissect the writing of your peers, which is going to help everyone to become a better writer.

Do you belong to a writing group? How often do you meet?

Advertisements

Book Review: Falling Hard

Standard

Title: Falling Hard (Roller Girls)falling hard

Author: Megan Sparks

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Rating:  4.20 stars

My Rating: 3 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school’s queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.

Reaction:

A fun light read that’s suitable for a younger crowd (perfect for your Middle Grade aged readers who are reading on a YA level).  There’s no swearing, no risque situations and a very present parent figure (uncommon in a lot of YA stuff).

It’s definitely a coming of age kind of story where Annie is learning to fit in with a new school, new friends and a new culture.  Readers get a taste of the kind of culture shock a British teen might get if they come to live in the states.  There’s fun  Brit slang and references (even a Doctor Who mention!).

I love the introduction to roller derby.  There’s definitely a resurgence of the sport here and I think it’s a good one to introduce to girls, especially when there’s an uptick in girls wanting to show they’re not dainty flowers and can play as hard as the boys do.  Lots of lingo is thrown out in the story but it’s well explained and readers will get a decent idea of how the sport is played.

The only downside to the story, for me,  is that it seemed to end a bit abruptly.  We don’t find out what happens with the two possible love interests or the annoying catty cheerleader chick.  I’m guessing this is the first in a series so those things will be addressed in following books.

All in all, a cute, quick read about fitting in and being yourself.

Plotting Your Story Arc

Standard

Many of the writers I know and regularly talk to are pantsers, refusing to plot or outline their stories, opting to let it come as they go. It’s typically my go-to plan as well, although I admit to doing some very basic outline plotting lately, more to get down ideas that come to me while I’m working on other projects.

Regardless, I think both pantsers and plotters need to take the time to plot out your basic story arc. It could be as simple as: This is my character in the beginning. This is what’s going to happen to them. This is how it’s resolved. This is how it all ends.

Obviously you’d be better off making it a bit more detailed, but even basic will be helpful so you know what you’re working towards.   It could help keep the dreaded writer’s block at bay if you at least know the direction the story is headed.

There are a lot of diagrams out there that can help you to plot things as well. If you Google you can find them for specific kinds of stories as well, but I did some for you to save time.

Do you use a diagram to plot? Do you have one you’d recommend to others?

This is the typical Disney story arc.

This is the typical Disney story arc.

Basic line graph by page number to give you an idea of what should happen when.

Basic romance story arc

Typical Hero Arc

Typical Hero Arc

Staircase diagram.

Staircase diagram.

Basic story arc

Basic story arc

Book Review – True

Standard

I’ve decided I ought to get back to reviewing more, especially since I’ve found Net Galley and picked up a bunch of ARCs from BEA. While I typically review still on Goodreads and Amazon, I’ve gotten away from it here on the blog a bit. I think it’s time to bring it back and share with you folks. I always *ALWAYS* love to hear what others are reading and I love to share my recommendations too.  If you’re new to the blog and haven’t seen my ‘reviews’ before, know that they are more reactions than reviews. I like to let readers discover what happens in the story on their own (boo spoilers!) so I try to be careful with the information I give.

Title: True

Author: Erin McCarthy

Genre: New Adult

Source: Net Galley

Goodreads rating: 3.69 stars

My Rating: 3 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost.

Reaction:

I’m always a sucker for a good romance, but admittedly, it seems as if I’ve read this story before.

I felt like Rory, the main character, was a bit of a contradiction. She was this super smart girl who was very logical and mature in many aspects of her life (studying, checking on partying friends, trying to help out Tyler’s family, etc.) but her inner dialog makes her comes off as a naive,self-loathing, somewhat immature teen. As the book progresses she does loose some of that and I grew to like her better.

The story was fairly predictable but there were occasional surprises thrown in that kept me reading. I enjoyed the family dynamic of the brothers although I’m left wondering what was going on with the youngest and school, something touched upon but never really explained/explored.

Even though the story wasn’t a new one, it hooked me enough to have me finishing the book in one sitting. It got me invested enough that I’d pick up the sequel about the roommate as well.

All in all, a quick, easy read perfect for a day at the beach or lounging around the pool.