Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.


Monday, December 12, 2011

MENTORS & IDOLS

THE HUNGER GAMES


Tis the season for shopping, decorating, kids getting home early, parties, and shows. And during all this hustle and bustle, I joined a new book club. The instigator behind our group wanted to read something easy and relaxing. She chose THE HUNGER GAMES. I laughed out loud and said, "If kids killing kids sounds like an easy, relaxing book for the holidays, I'm in." The whole table chuckled. 


The next week flew by without me buying the book. There's so much to do in these last few weeks before Christmas and I hadn't even started to shop yet. No time to read this book. But I found myself having coffee with a friend at a local book shop known as The Depot, and popped in to see if they had it. They did.


I started to read while my friend took a needed trip to the bathroom. And when she came back I was engrossed and angry that she was back so quickly. It has been 3 days since I purchased the book. I finished it just now. So here I am at my computer already blogging about it. 


I am not only happy with this book, but thrilled that I can learn from it. That's how I gauge books now, ever since I knew writing would be my career. I never just read a book. I tear into it, taking it a part bit by bit like a gourmet submarine sandwich. 


I want to know what's inside, what makes it tick, what makes it stand out from the thousands of books I pass by in every book store. So as I read, I highlight, underline and write in the empty spaces my thoughts, good or bad. Then I go back to them when I am stuck on my manuscripts and try to use the authors unique talent to help shove me forward.


Here's how I dissected THE HUNGER GAMES:

  • Book: Do I care from the first sentence?
I wasn't particularly interested in the first sentence, but the last one of the first paragraph made me wonder what a reaping was. I read on. 


  • Character: Do I like the MC? Is she like me in anyway?
Well quickly I found that the MC protects her little sister at night. That seems sweet. Then two paragraphs later I find the MC tried to drown a cat. That seems evil. I like her now. She's a mix of me, of anyone really. 
  • Voice: How does the author speak? Does the character shine and not the author's cute or interesting way of reporting the story?
This character is complex. She is interesting. She tells her story, but uses the author, not the other way around. It rolls out of the character as if it was always told, but just needed someone to write it down. There is nothing forced here.
  • Universal lines: Do I find myself shaking my head in agreement?
I've been so scared that I crack a joke. I know you have too - it's universal. And if you haven't then I'm sure you've seen someone try out a laugh during a meeting. It's not really funny, but everyone laughs to relieve some pressure.
  • How fast am I reading this?
If I finish a book in under a week, it's top on my list. It took me 3 days for this one. I devoured it like chocolate cake during my time of the month. I couldn't stop myself. I needed more.
  • Wise-Owl lines: What makes me realize something about the world around me that I never got before?
There is an amazing line about the abuse of children in this town. I've seen children like this, especially in the small town I came from. I never realized the curled shoulders meant so much more until I read this line in this book. 
  • Character building lines: What makes me like this MC more and more?
There are many great character building lines in this book. It's like a ping-pong match, just as you get to feel the MC is a softy, she's all hard again and the opposite is true too. The author sprinkles the book with more and more details of this character, building her as solidly as a brick wall. 
  • Funny moments: How does the author weave breaks for smiles throughout such a tough drama filled book?
You wouldn't think it from my book club comment, but even through the kids killing kids part of this book, the author manages to make you smile, laugh even. There are ridiculous moments at the Capitol and funny moments between characters, even sarcastic moments that made my lips turn upward. 


This book is a favorite now of mine. I will use it like a school text book, learning, rereading, and pushing myself forward from it. I encourage all newbie writers as well as published authors to read this book. I promise you'll learn something about writing, about character development, and about yourself. 

Thank you Suzanne Collins, for this amazing read!
Angie Azur 



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