She does it again! I just finished Sara Zarr’s third novel; Once Was Lost. I loved the first two I read; Sweethearts and Story of a Girl, but this one might be her best. Zarr does a masterful job of combining an interesting and page-turning plot with authentic teenage voices, real and complex adult characters. This latest book exemplifies what I wrote about in an earlier post about layers of conflict. There is a mystery which is central to the story, but also family conflict, love interests and quarrels between friends.
On her website I read that Story of a Girl was her fifth novel written but first published. It gives me hope.
Yesterday for Mother’s Day I asked my husband for some writing time. I’ve certainly had blocks of time before this when I could have sat down at the computer, but I’ve just been too dang tired.
By asking him specifically for a couple hours I knew I was committing to really getting back to my w.i.p. In fact he looked at me sternly as I walked toward my desk and said, “No email!”
And I did it! I reread and revised the chapters I was working on before E was born and even started on a new chapter. And guess what? Writing is still the same frustrating, exciting, revelatory, hair-tearing process it was before I had a baby. And I’m glad I’m back.
I really like this post on Kidlit.com about the difference between an interesting situation and an interesting story. This quote in particular stuck with me:
“Keep this in mind when you’re thinking about your book. In today’s market, where editors like to see layers upon layers of conflict, having just a situation in your story, not a plot, isn’t enough. It’s a very important distinction.”
Layers and layers and layers and layers of conflict….screams revision to me!
Check out the whole post here.
A new baby poses certain challenges to one’s writing time…and pretty much everything else I thought I knew about my life.
However, somehow, blissfully, I have managed to read a few books in the last month. If I can’t be writing, I always look at reading as an extension of writing. It’s like the research portion.
I read Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. Both are YA. I loved Marcelo; thought it was totally original YA with great characters though I didn’t totally dig the ending. The book went from realistic fiction to a bit of a mystery and I personally didn’t need to mystery part of it.
Anderson is one of my favorite YA writers for realistic fiction although her historical fiction book Fever has always been my least favorite of her books. Chains, which is a historical novel of slavery, unfortunately also fell into this category for me. The voice just isn’t as strong as in her realistic fiction and the plot plods along; and then this happened, and then this happened, and then something else happened. I also found the book to be very dark, but I suppose this could reflect the events of the time as much as anything else.
So reading is the new writing at least for now. Uh oh, I think I hear the baby…