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A weekly podcast forwriters -- published, wannabe, or anywhere in between. Get the time, energy, & courage you need to pursue your passion & write every day.

Thank you for listening, and happy writing! -- Sarah

Jun 6, 2015

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YOU GUYS it has been a while. But I am back, and the foam on my delicious cappuccino is as fluffy and delightful as the suds in an angel's bathtub. (Is that weird? Maybe that's weird. But it's TRUE.) Anyway, I'm glad you're here.
Where do you write?
It surprises me sometimes -- where I am able and where I am unable to write. Can you write anywhere? Or do you have certain objects, snacks, or environmental enhancements (whatever that means) that you need to be able to write?

The conditions can never really be perfect, I've found. BUT. If they could be perfect...
Sarah's perfect writing environment:

Large flat wooden desk for handwriting, brainstorming, and doodling.
Plenty of paper, pens, and pencils to alleviate scarcity anxiety.
Plants. Plants everywhere.
Comfortable upright chair (too comfortable or slouchy and I will fall asleep).
A window.
Perfect silence -- or, if that's not realistic, lyric-less music to drown out sound.
A soft rain or snow.

My own personal office incorporates these elements as much as possible, and adds in:

Pale yellow walls for creative energy.
Inspirational imagery and interesting knicknacks.
Computer for typing.
Books for research, inspiration, and periodic breaks.
Two cats who don't always get along.
Impressive and/or shocking supply of M&Ms.

My point is that we curate these spaces -- we take them very seriously. Many famous writers, such as Jane Austen and Roald Dahl, do (or did, during their lifetimes).

And yet I've done some great writing in the most unexpected places.
Does the environment shape the work or does the writer shape the environment?
What about your writing environment inspires you? Or what about your writing has inspired the environment? Do we change as we write? Does writing change us? I have so many questions, you guys.

But the question I'm most interested in is: What is your perfect writing environment? And is that where you do your best writing?
The book of the week.

I wandered back into YA fantasy territory with this week's book of the week: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.

It's about a teenage girl with a keen talent for killing in a world where the Graced (those with superpowers) and the un-Graced (those without) must coexist.

There are some similarities here with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (including heroines Katniss and Katsa, a bond with a younger girl, themes of survival and rebellion against a corrupt government, and more) -- and in fact both books were published in the same year.

But this book is strong enough to not feel like a derivative from its popular companion with a great love story (better than The Hunger Games'), compelling narrative, and unique fantasy world.

My only complaint about the book was that, once the romantic tension was resolved (about 3/4 of the way through), there wasn't a whole lot left to keep me interested.

Now, this isn't because the plot wasn't interesting -- but because Cashore is really good at writing interesting characters, and I was disappointed when there was no witty banter and romantic tension left. Katsa and Po are lively and smart and their relationship is a joy to read about.

I even loved that the hero's name is the somewhat dumpy-sounding "Po" -- it flies in the face of the contemporarily sexy and dominantly alpha-sounding Edward and Jace and Christian.

And -- for a final bonus -- THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. REJOICE!!!

So if you're in to YA fantasy, or a die-hard fan of The Hunger Games, it's worth giving Graceling a try.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads. Hooray!
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