What's Up Wednesday: Ready. Set. Write! Edition

I'm catching the What's Up Wednesday hot air balloon from the blogs of Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Go to Jaime's blog to add your link.

Here's how it works:

WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY
It's similar in some respects to the Currently... post, but it's been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You're invited to join us if you're looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what's been going on with you.
 
WHAT I'M READING
I just finished THE LUCY VARIATIONS by Sara Zarr. From Goodreads:

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?
 
I have to admit that I did not love this book. The book is well-written and has an interesting premise, but I did not find myself connecting with the characters, especially Lucy. I did not care for the third person POV - I felt like I was being held at arm's length from any emotion. You know, my favorite types of books are the ones that smash my heart into a million pieces, make me feel like I'll never be whole again, and then stitch me back up with a delicate thread of hope and renewal. In theory, this book should have done that, and I was a little disappointed when it did not.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Huzzah! I'm finally revising! The last couple of days I've spent my lunch break and a few hours after the kids are in bed with BEAUTIFUL BIRD, SING ON, a young adult novel with elements of magical realism. The first chapters are dreadful - this was a NaNo project and while I had a vague idea of where the story was headed, those first pages are all over the place. It's been a delight to delete! For a couple of reasons, I changed the setting from a small fictional town in south central Minnesota to the city of Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. Which means I will need to take a trip to my second home very soon - for research purposes, of course. 

On the Lakewalk - Duluth, Minnesota
I'm also excited to join the Ready. Set. Write! summer writing intensive hosted by Alison, Katy, Elodie, Jaime, and Erin. Set some goals, write some stuff, check in here on Wednesdays - and hang out with other awesome writers who are doing the same thing! Find all the details on Alison's blog. And then join in the fun - what have you got to lose?


 
WHAT ELSE I'M DOING
I just completed edits for my first official Stubby Pencil client - what a great feeling! I'm looking ahead to a relaxing weekend at home, which will include: Friday Night Fire, beer brewing festivities in the driveway, a sleepover for Toad, and a lot of cleaning! And writing, of course.
 
I'm also gearing up to host my book club on Monday night, when we'll discuss DIVERGENT and enjoy refreshments inspired by the book. So if you've got any brilliant faction-inspired ideas for appetizers or desserts, please leave a comment!

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
The idea for BEAUTIFUL BIRD settled into my heart when we purchased a piano, sight unseen, from a friend of a friend who was moving to Maryland. A nugget of an idea came to mind those first days as I wondered about the people who had owned the piano before us. The piano's history - real and imagined - continues to inspire me as I revise.


What's up with you this week? If you could go anywhere for a quick weekend getaway this summer, where would you go?

Comments

  1. If I could go anywhere for a quick getaway this summer, I'd LOVE to go to Ireland. I was supposed to go last summer but ended up not being able to do the trip. Good luck revising, Sara! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if I were going to have a summer getaway to Ireland, it wouldn't be quick. It would be super long and super slow to enjoy everything. I'd love to go there, too! I hope you're able to get there soon.

      Delete
  2. We went on a quick weekend getaway last weekend, but we didn't go anywhere fancy. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, Dollywood sounds kinda fun! You don't always need fancy... and I'll bet the people watching was fantastic!

      Delete
  3. Gotta love those research trips ;)

    I'm not sure where I'd go on a weekend getaway - I'll have to daydream about that today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, especially when research involves Fitger's Brewhouse and a Witchtree ESB, my All-Time Favorite Beer. :)

      I hope you dream of someplace wonderful!

      Delete
  4. A trip for research sounds like a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't it, though? Plans are underway!

      Delete
  5. Good luck with the revisions. That lakeside locale looks awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - it's my favorite place in the world, and I'm so lucky that it's so close to home. I didn't appreciate it enough when I lived there.

      Delete
  6. Sorry to hear you didn't love The Lucy Variations--Sara Zarr is one of my very, very favorites. I'm interested to read it and see how I feel about it!

    And way to go, finding time to work for your client AND on your own revisions on top of everything else you do! I hope you have a great time this weekend--that all sounds delightful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :)

      You know, I've only read one other Sara Zarr - SWEETHEARTS - and I remember feeling sort of so-so about that one, too. Loved the idea of it, but didn't totally love the book. I have another one in a stack somewhere that I'll have to pull out.

      And you know, I love to see how different people react differently to books. I look forward to seeing your review!

      Delete
  7. You know, I was wondering about THE LUCY VARIATIONS. I haven't read anything by Sara Zarr, but I think maybe I'll start with something else of hers. How awesome that your book club is reading DIVERGENT! Hmm...I might have to introduce my book club ladies to that one too. Maybe if I promise to bring along some Dauntless chocolate cake they'll all be on board. ;-)

    Duluth, Minnesota! I've totally been there tons of times. Such beautiful country in through there, but then I'm a bit biased because I'm a Lake Superior gal (born and bred in Sault Ste. Marie.) :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're totally having chocolate cake. I thought about serving hamburgers, too, but that's too much work. So I'm going to serve a variety of salsas - one for each faction - and a few other things that I'm still finalizing. I'm sure I'll have photos next week!

      Please come to Duluth again someday! Do you get back to Sault Ste. Marie much?

      Delete
    2. I moved away from the Soo when I was 20 and actually haven't been back since. I know, crazy right? I'd love for my husband to see it someday, so hopefully we'll make it back that way. Whenever my family came out to the western provinces we always drove through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota rather than going through Canada. Such gorgeous country in through there. :-)

      Delete
  8. Ready. Set. Write! sounds like exactly what I need this summer. Now I just have to pick what to write. A quick trip to Chicago would be just the thing I could use to celebrate finishing up the WIP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent idea! Have you ever taken the Amtrak to Chicago?

      Let's Ready. Set. Write! together at Caribou! Yay!

      Delete
  9. Like Jaime, I've been through Duluth lots of times, including on my honeymoon. I have many fond memories of driving through the northern states over the years.

    Beer brewing in the driveway sounds like fun! My husband usually does his brewing in the basement, but maybe I should suggest this, so he can enjoy the good weather while he's at it

    I loved hearing the inspiration behind your story. What a beautiful piano! I can see why an antique like that would prompt your imagination. And speaking of such things, I'm glad you're on board for our summer writing challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We honeymooned in Duluth, also! Just love that place so much - I went to college there and couldn't wait to get back to the "big city" - someday I'd like to live there again.

      My husband used to brew in the kitchen and then my house smelled for days. So I bought him the turkey fryer and it's been great! He really enjoys being outside - and it usually draws a crowd.

      The piano really is wonderful - too bad I don't know how to play!

      Delete
  10. That's some really great inspiration! My man has made me promise we'll get a baby grand one day. He's been playing for years and is super good but we can't afford a piano at the moment! The Lucy Variations sounds like a great book - seems like your life is all about pianos right now! Duluth looks incredibly picturesque - what a great place to call home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duluth is really a wonderful place, with so much natural beauty, a thriving arts community, lots of brewpubs, etc. Love it so much!

      Someday I might have to take piano lessons - my son just finished up his first year and my daughter will start in the fall.

      Delete
  11. Yayyyyyyy for revising BB!!!! You know you've got a CP waiting to get her muggy paws on that one, when it's ready! And I absolutely love the piano behind the inspiration. Love.

    Congrats on getting your edits done for your first Stubby Pencil client!!! Woot!!! Cheers to the many clients rolling in, too!

    Hmmmmmm, DIVERGENT refreshments? Yeah, I may have to ponder that one and get back to you - that sounds like so much fun! What time should I be there? :)

    And quick weekend getaway? I'd definitely hop a sea plane and fly up to the San Juan Islands for the weekend. One of my favorite places to visit in my lovely state - and oh what a magical place to get TONS of writing done!

    Happy Wednesday, Sara - so excited for all that's to come!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We crack the first beer at 7 and usually get started with the discussion around 8. That's CST. :)

      Thanks for all your encouragement - but don't get too excited - it took me months to finish revisions on WFTS. I'm hopeful that I can complete BBSO by the end of Ready. Set. Write!, though!

      Delete
  12. Oh wow, what a lovely piano! One of these days I'll have to learn how to play that too ^_^

    It is great to delete stuff and replace it with even better writing. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've always been a fan of the delete button. :)

      Delete
  13. oooh, the life of a piano-- very cool concept. Can't wait to see what you do with it. And hooray for revising! I am also looking forward to Ready, Set, Write!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll see you at Ready. Set. Write! Good luck!

      Delete
  14. I don't have any ideas (but I bet you could find some on Pintrest!), but your call for snack ideas reminds me of the book club my friend hosted when we discussed Hunger Games - snacks inspired ala District 12 and the Capitol! So fun!

    And so glad you'll be joining us for Ready. Set. WRITE! I really was disappointed in myself when I couldn't participate in the awesome writing retreat you hosted a little while back so I'm hoping I'll be able to make up for it in this one! :)

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always do themed food items when I host. So far I've hosted with The Other Boleyn Girl (which was tricky. I don't do roast mutton); The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (WWII fare); Angela's Ashes (lots of Irish drink). This one is going to be so fun!

      All the writing retreat info is still up - now on a separate page - so you can always go back and do some exercises if the mood strikes you! :)

      Delete
  15. That piano is beautiful!

    Good luck with your revisions. I'm super excited for Ready. Set. WRITE! too. :)

    I'm sorry to hear you didn't love THE LUCY VARIATIONS! I'm a big fan of Sara Zarr so I'm excited to read it and see what I think. I'll let you know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really looking forward to hearing what others think about LUCY. That's what I love so much about the writing and reading community - everyone experiences a book a little differently. I have intense love for a lot of books that other people couldn't finish or would never pick up in the first place. That's what makes the world go round!

      Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  16. Hmm, where WOULDN'T I head for a weekend getaway? Paris would be nice :) I could do some shopping, eat some pastries, wander the beautiful streets--and it's only two hours away on the train!

    Bummer that you didn't enjoy THE LUCY VARIATIONS. I really enjoyed the one Sara Zarr I've read, and piano is a great love of mine, so I'm going to give it a try. Love how we can all react so differently to stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Paris for a quick weekend jaunt! You must! :)

      I've only read one other Sara Zarr as well, SWEETHEARTS, but I have another one lying around here somewhere... will give it a try!

      Delete
  17. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog and introducing yourself! We like so many of the same things, and yes, I think you're right. We could TOTALLY be friends! I heart new friends. I'm going to do the Ready. Set. Write! too. I'm pretty excited.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lovely setting! And I can totally see how that piano can inspire some pretty awesome stories.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi! Sorry for coming here so late!
    Are you joining the Ready. Set. Write! ? I am too! Fun!
    What a beautiful piano!
    I'm not sure where I would go ... I've been living in Connecticut for a year, so I haven't explored the area much - I would probably do that ;)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts