Saturday, 31 March 2012

Book Review - The Hunger Games Trilogy

I am going to try and  be very, very careful not to spoil anything for anyone but if you haven't read the books and don't want to know anything about them before you read them then DON'T READ THIS!!! As I said though, I am going to try and not give too much away!

The Hunger Games seemed to be everywhere. Fellow ROW80ers reading it, comments on Facebook and Twitter constantly mentioned it so when I was searching for things I wanted for my birthday I put the trilogy on the list. Once I started the first book I ended up reading all three in just over a week.

I haven't read many Young Adult books but I loved this trilogy. Set in the post-apocalyptic world of 'Panem' the books involve 12 districts ruled by one all-powerful 'Capitol' and follow the story of Katniss Everdeen who gets caught up in the famous Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games are a punishment for a previous rebellion when the 13th district of Panem was destroyed and the Games are the Capitol's way of reminding the citizens that they have complete control over them. Each year the Capitol insists one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 are to take part in the Games, literally to fight to the death as only one person can survive. When her younger sister is picked out of the lottery Katniss volunteers in her place and from there her story unfolds. It is written in first person and you find yourself very quickly rooting for Katniss even though at times she drove me mad with the things she said to those closest to her.

Suzanne Collins mentions in the back of one of the books that the idea came to her when she was flicking between television channels, one showing a reality TV show and the other a real life war zone. As someone who watches reality television it was actually scarily easy to imagine how this could come about. On the one hand the book is the tale of a young girl as she finds her place in the world and on the other it deals with poverty, starvation, oppression and war. It dealt with difficult issues we face today and I guess as it was aimed at Young Adults they were dealt with in a simpler way whereas a book aimed at adults may have discussed them more fully. I actually think though that the simplicity was part of the charm. It meant I thought more about my views on things such as politics and racism and about how where you happen to be born to a large extent determines the opportunities available to you.

The books aren't all about big world issues, there is a fair amount of teen angst as well. Katniss gets caught in a love triangle with her best friend Gale and her fellow 'Tribute' Peeta and the entire way through the books I wasn't sure how it was going to play out and how I actually wanted it to turn out. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the end but I am not sure I would have been with the alternative either!

This trilogy are thought provoking and fast paced and I truly struggled to put them down. I devoured them and now can't wait to see the first film in the next few days. However knowing me I will come out saying 'It's not as good as the book!'

Sunday, 18 March 2012

ROW80 Check-in 18th March 2012

The end of this week has seen words everyday apart from today. I have limited time so decided a check-in should come first so I stay accountable. My word counts were....

Thursday - 315 words
Friday - 326 words
Saturday - 270 words

So each day I met my 250 word test mile. I am closing in on a big argument in my book and I have to say it makes uncomfortable writing at times. That is good though right? If I feel horrible when writing it then it stands more chance of getting a reaction from the reader doesn't it? I am managing to remember to write in the first person which is progress!

I have been reading too and have nearly finished book number 22 of the year. I 'accidently' purchased 3 books yesterday in a charity shop so have a big decision about which is going to be book 23!

This week is set to be a busy one. Parents evenings and other work commitments mean I may be not be around alot but I will try and get some words in where I can. There are only four days left of this round and it is likely I won't be able to write on each of them but atleast I am still here! The round has been a roller coaster but I have enjoyed it and learnt so much.

I hope everyone's weeks went well and the next four days are happy and productive!!!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

ROW80 Check-in 14th March 2012

Firstly a big thank you for everyone's helpful and lovely comments. It is so nice in this great ROW80 group that no-one judges and everyone welcomes you back with open arms. I really appreciate it. :)

Now I actually have some progress to report!

After posting on Sunday I read through the last five chapters I wrote of my book and decided as Gene suggested (thanks Gene!) that on Monday I would re-read the last chapter and just write not plan. I managed 157 words before work on Monday and was at a friend's overnight so didn't manage any more words that day.

Yesterday I managed to jump in for a tiny bit of the sprint on #ROW80 on twitter and wrote 253 words and then a further 107 to make up for words not written on Monday. So by end of Tuesday I had 517 words. Today I have written 346 words so so far this week I have written 863 words. Progress my friends, progress. I haven't been able to join in with many sprints due to the time change in some parts of the world as I am not often in at 6pm but in a few weeks when my clocks change I should be able to join in more.

The biggest problem I am finding is I keep forgetting to write in first person. As I have mentioned the first 50,000 words of my WIP are in third person and then I decided it would work better in first so from that point on wrote in first. All I can think is that I was out of practise so I am not surprised that on Monday I wrote in third, yesterday I wrote in third and today I started in first and ended in third. Editing is going to be hideous impossible ugly awful hilarious! I have been writing with good old fashioned pen and paper so I will try and deal with the tense issue when I type the words up. Need a big sign above my desk saying 'REMEMBER TO WRITE IN FIRST PERSON!'

On Sunday I made some notes for my Hunger Games review and I am going to try and not spoil anything for anyone...hope I can be that clever! I have been reading bits and pieces and am in the middle of a Tess Gerritsen novel which I am enjoying.

So I am getting there, slowly but surely. Fingers crossed I can keep up my simple goals. Hope everyone is having a great week and see you Sunday :)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

ROW80 Check-in 11th March 2012

Well since my check in I have not put pen to paper. Or finger to key. I had unexpected nights out on Thursday and Friday and then Saturday turned out busier than expected. Now I don't regret all my lovely social engagements but the old Em would have still found some time. Before work, late at night, she would have found some time. But I didn't. I feel like I have lost my writing mojo.

With only two weeks to go until the end of the round I don't want to waste them therefore I am going to streamline my goals.

1) Test mile - 250 words a day.
2) Read two books a week for 100+ reading challenge.
3) Review one book a month.

So I have dropped the 30 minutes of something writing related each day and my exercise goal. I am not overly thrilled but neither are happening so I am stripping back in the hope that when round 3 starts I will be back in the game. 250 words a day is achievable and 250 might be small but it is more than the big fat zeros of late.

I am going to review the Hunger Games trilogy as I have read all of them in March and loved them. I have leant the first one to my sister as when I read a great book I pass it on to her straight away so I decided to focus on the whole trilogy rather than the first book as I don't have it here for reference.

My plan today is to read the last few chapters of my WIP as I can't remember where I stopped and make some notes on the way the plot needs to go. I hope to be at sprints even if I read for some of them. Just realised I am staying at a friends tomorrow. Right, will set alarm and do 250 words before work. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.

Hope everyone else is going strong and making a big push to the finish.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

ROW80 Check-in 7th March 2012

Something happened after my last check-in on the 22nd February. I had written about how things in my personal life threw me off on the Monday of that week but I had got back on track on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I stopped. Since that Wednesday I haven't written a thing.

I literally felt overwhelmed by a number of things. My situation with my ex-boyfriend, coping with changes to that very fragile situation (on his end not mine), things at work, the future, you name it, I was thinking about it. I just felt exhausted and like everything wouldn'

So I stopped writing. Not because I didn't know what to write, no writer's block to wallow in, not because I didn't have 30 minutes most days I could write. Purely because something had to give for my brain to have some space and writing seemed the easiest thing to put to one side. I think I needed that time to get some things straight and make some decisions but I am frustrated that writing became the thing I shoved in a box and didn't give much thought.

Of course I wanted to jump back in when some lovely ROW80 friends tried to gently coax me out but I remained in the shadows watching the check-in and sprint tweets. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any check-ins as I didn't want to be reminded of everything I wasn't accomplishing.

Now two weeks isn't too long a break but it is two weeks of the round I won't get back. It is scary how quickly all the good habits we develop can fall to the wayside. I have around 60,000 words of a chick-lit novel which is no small thing and I hope to pick up where I left off tomorrow. I will check-in on each check-in day and I will make as many sprints as possible.

One thing that quite predictably hasn't slipped off my radar is reading. I am on book number 20 of the year and it is the final part of the Hunger Games trilogy. I have devoured the other two books in a matter of days and I should think one of them will be the book I review in March. Reading is a brilliant distraction and escape. Isn't it lovely to think that maybe one day, even if it years from now, someone might read something I have written as a way of escaping from something that brings them down? Lovely.

So here I am, hopefully back in the game. I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward t seeing how you have been doing.