Tag: forward motion

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

cover-pachinko
Image belongs to Grand Central Publishing.

Min Jin Lee is the award-winning author of Free Food for Millionaires. Her newest novel is Pachinko.

Sunja is the daughter of a desperately poor Korean family in the early 1900s. To her mother’s shame, she ends up pregnant and unmarried:  Sunja didn’t know the father was already married, and walked away from him when she found out. A young minister offers to marry her, and they move to Japan before the baby is born.

Pachinko follows the life of the family as they live as Koreans in Japan. Ostracized and despised, the family struggles to find hope and success amidst prejudice and poverty. Forever despised because of their ethnicity, Sunja’s family retains their pride despite the obstacles they face.

Pachinko is not an easy book to read. The tales of the war and the havoc it wreaked in Japan are horrible, but so are the atrocities faced by Koreans living in Japan during the time, some of who were actually born in Japan but are still identified as Korean and discriminated against. The writing is a vivid description of the poverty-filled life faced by Sunja and her family, but also a moving description of love and strength beyond imagining. I highly recommend this.

(Galley provided by Grand Central Publishing.)

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Re-thinking this whole writing thing

…okay, not really re-thinking. Let’s just say I’m going to try something new (or, actually, old). Confused yet? Let me explain. Have you heard of Holly Lisle? If you haven’t, well, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Holly is a rarity: a mid-list author who actually makes a living with her writing. She’s smart, she’s a great writer, she knows what she’s doing, and, more importantly, she’s really big on paying it forward (she did start Forward Motion, after all). She spends a lot of her time helping her fellow writers out. To that end, she has created lots of helpful things, from the smaller workshops like How to Create a Language, How to Create a Character, How to Write Page-Turning Scenes…and she has also created huge, incredibly detailed classes Like How To Revise Your Novel and How To Think Sideways.

I was in the original HTTS class, as well as the original HTRYN class, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much difference these two classes made in my writing. The way Holly thinks, the way she breaks things down using plain language, worksheets, examples…well, it got me thinking in ways I’d never thought before (which was the point, right?). Since I don’t have much done on The Fall–in reality, I have only a handful of pages written, basically no pre-work, and haven’t touched it in weeks–I’ve decided that I’m going to take it through HTTS. I know the end result will be much closer to the story I have in my head, much more true to the vision I can see for the story. It will just be better. Yeah, it’ll be a lot of work and it will take me a while, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

I’m a huge fan of Holly’s writing in general, and I know her courses can really get results–if you’re willing to do the work. I am. I haven’t been published, but I’ve gotten some partial manuscript requests because of her courses, and I want to give everything I can to The Fall. I’ve also decided to become one of Holly’s affiliates. I do believe whole-heartedly in her methods, her teaching, and her results, and if you have any interest in checking it out for yourself, go here. If you aren’t a writer, but you’d like to read a great book, you can check those out as well.