Sunday, April 7, 2013

SOC Sunday + Writing Update + A Review of 'The Spindlers' by Lauren Oliver

This Stream of Consciousness Sunday's theme is "Pass It On:" what have we passed down to our children and what our parents have passed down to us. Jana wrote about the fear of the dentist she passed down to her youngster. I have the dental anxiety from my own bad dental experience as a 20-year-old, but my anxiety in general is a gift of dubious value from my mom, and she got it from her mom.

I'm nervous a lot. Ask my husband - it drives him crazy. I'm always imagining worst-case scenarios, and it's hard to be happy when you're always anticipating something bad being around the corner. I haven't been happy very much lately - more like just muddling through. It may have something to do with the fact that the prescription I get for my terrible PMS (I would say full-blown PMDD) ran out a little while ago and I haven't refilled it yet. It does seem to make me a slightly happier person at all times of the month.

Right now, things that are hard to tolerate are REALLY hard to tolerate.

Which brings me to a writing update. The husband/co-writer and I are putting the finishing touches on the third book in the Pagan Spirits novel series. Back in July of 2012 (that's how long it's been since I worked on this book), we wrote a really nice romantic scene that takes place at a fairy-haunted graveyard in Scotland, where Zen and Ramesh have gone for their honeymoon.

Not the final draft of the artwork, but it gives you some idea.
We wrote it on our old laptop. Said laptop is now a dead brick. The vast majority of the novel was saved elsewhere, but that one little scene that made the honeymoon chapter so much more interesting and romantic is now just a memory.

I have to rewrite it - and I HATE having to rewrite a lost scene. I know it'll never be as good as the lost one. I have had more than my fair share of anxiety and frustration (mostly frustration!!) over that stupid missing scene. I am not looking forward to the rewrite at all. We attempted to work on it today, but our collaboration devolved into an argument. It's been set aside for a few days until we can work on it without all the high drama and heartbreak.

If you're not a writer, you might not have any idea how hard it is to get your thoughts to cooperate with the scene you intend to write, and how precious the draft is once it's been written. Writing something that reads smoothly and sounds professional is nowhere near is easy as it seems.

But, God willin' and the creek don't rise, we'll have St. James's Day (Pagan Spirits Book Three) back from the proofreader's soon and ready for a late spring debut. I may be just a little burnt out at the moment, especially with erotica and writing sex scenes. I have been doing it since 2006, after all. Maybe I should try writing a children's book for a change of pace.

Which brings us to part 3 of the blog post: a review of The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

The SpindlersThe Spindlers by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lauren Oliver is famous for her books for slightly older readers, particularly Delirium and Pandemonium. There are too many good YA series for me to keep up with these days, so I haven't read those, but I picked up The Spindlers because it was a stand-alone book available for free from Amazon Vine.

The back cover of my ARC compares it to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass and Coraline, but there's really only one scene near the end that really reminded me of Coraline. (For the record, I have only seen the movie of Coraline. I did not read the book.)

It's a fairly dark story, in some ways akin to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, if that couple were a brother and sister and the sister had to go to the Underworld (here simply called Below) to rescue the brother. Like Alice, Liza is a sensible, level-headed girl who finds herself on an adventure with talking animals, strange creatures and homicidal queen. Like Alice, she finds herself equal to the challenge - even when confronted, like Harry Potter, with a 3-headed dog.

Reading this, I had neither the sense that I was reading a wholly derivative retold Greek myth nor the sense that I was reading something wholly original - it falls somewhere in the middle. It touches on the issues of trust, friendship, honesty, the value of siblinghood and how children should treat their parents, but it's not overly didactic. I probably would have enjoyed this as a bedtime story when I was a middle-grade reader.

View all my reviews on GoodReads


Julie Jordan Scott said...

I forgot about the fact I passed anxiety down to my middle child. I try to avoid that one, lol.

I actually ran screaming from fireflies when I was a preschooler because I was convinced horrifying thunder was right around the corner. Hide me, Mommy, hide me!

A joy to visit thanks to SOCSunday today!

Sandra said...

I feel for you having to deal with the PMS thing. I have issues with that as well. Not on any meds, but probably should be at times. ;) haha! Good luck with your book!

Julie G. Hughes said...

Like Julie, I forgot about the anxiety thing. I inherited that worry gene, too - to the point where I worry when there isn't anything to worry about. lol

Don't know where my PMS issues came from, but even menopause didn't stop the mood swings. Hmmm. Maybe it's just my personality. {wink}

Have a great week, my dear.