Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

What’s Up Wednesday + YAB Bootcamp Update


What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk that allows us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up.


OBASAN by Joy Kogawa. It’s a novel based on the author’s own experiences of being a Canadian citizen sent to a Japanese internment camp during WWII.

I read a snippet during a community college class 15 years ago and cut up the hand-out to paste onto my binder (along with The Cure lyrics, etc). Of course, I didn’t bother to include the book name and I’ve vaguely wondered about it over the years. I finally decided to look it up and BAM, thank you, power of the Internet.


I didn’t have much of an update to pass along Monday for YAB Bootcamp, so here it is now:

JULES. Filler words. Ugh.

I’ve spent days deleting and rewording. How is it possible for one manuscript to have the word “like” in it so many freaking times? It’s unreal. It was in my MS more times than my main character’s boyfriend’s name.

Here are a few stats. Cringe with me, people:

I cut 204 instances of LIKE

170 of JUST

51 of OKAY (my characters are “okay” a lot)


BASEBALL!!! Orioles opening day was Monday!!! They won! Did I mention baseball??? I know plenty of people who think it’s the most boring sport ever – lots of standing around, scratching, spitting – but there is so much strategy and it really brings out my inner nerd.


Since JULES is pretty much done, except for a few last minute tweaks and some agent research, I’m entering her into a contest!

^That is a strange sentence, like JULES is my child and she’s going to be in a beauty pageant. Tiaras and sparkles for everyone!


Writer’s Digest is having a Dear Lucky Agent contest for YA and it’s open until April 9. Click here for more details and wish me luck 🙂


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

36 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday + YAB Bootcamp Update

  1. Good luck with the contest!

  2. Good luck with the Writer’s Digest contest!

    I also use “just” a lot and also I apparently start sentences with “So” or “Well” when characters speak. When I first learned that “was” is passive writing I did a search and find and tried to rework all of them. A criique partner mentioned a lot of the sentences seemed clunky or stilted. Sometimes “was” works and bending over backward to rearrange ruins the flow. But “just” can pretty much die 🙂

    (and yet I still use it sometimes!)

  3. Speaking of baseball, I just watched 42 and thought it was a great movie! I did a project on Jackie Robinson when I was younger so I loved seeing it all come to life on the screen. My son just came up to me yesterday and asked if he could play baseball. I have no idea where that came from (we’re covered in snow right now) but hey, why not?

  4. Good luck with the contest!

    Ah, filler words…I never noticed how much I used certain words until I did a “search” on Word and highlighted them. Wow.

    Have a great week!

  5. Filler words. Yeah, we all do it. Thank God we all do it, and we know it’s just going to happen, and we can edit.

    I hope the contest goes well! Very exciting time you’re at right now, Jennifer. Super excited for you.

  6. You’re not alone in your “just” and “like” over usage. I do it all the time. I switched out some “justs” for “simply” and “likes” for “as though”. It works sometimes, but not always. Sometimes just deleting is the answer lol.

    I’ve read (and taught) “What I Remember of the Evacuation” by Joy Kagawa, but for whatever reason haven’t read OBASAN yet. I really should. My parents actually got to visit a place in British Columbia that was formerly an internment camp. Not a part of our history that I’m particularly proud of, to be honest. But I guess there’s a lot to see there. I’ll have to make a point of checking it out sometime. Hope you’re having a great week, Jennifer!

    • I’ll have to check out “What I Remember.”

      I managed to switch a few LIKES for “as though,” but so many of the LIKES were my characters saying it for no reason at all. Darn teens!

  7. I subscribe to WD, so why didn’t I know about this contest? Probably because I don’t pay attention… *sigh* Thanks, Jennifer. Perhaps I should consider entering…? The critiques from Team Awesome have been, well, awesome… but another pair of eyes couldn’t hurt. Especially agent eyes. 🙂 In fact, that would be like you know just totally like you know just just totally like you know just… 😉 (I did one of those word picture things on a previous ms, where you paste your ms into the site and it spits back a word picture where the most used words are biggest. “Really,” “Just,” and “Well” were a lot bigger than they ought to have been…!)

  8. Good luck with the contest!

    I’m the worst filler-word-offender. Doing a find-all for “just” in my manuscript is one of the last things I need to do, and I’ve been avoiding it.

  9. Good luck! I am so guilty of using “just.” And “so.” I also have an affinity for eye rolling and smirking. *in my manuscripts, not in real life 😉

  10. OBASAN sounds incredibly interesting. That’s one I’ll have to keep an eye out for. Enjoy your baseball season… I’ll be counting the days until football picks up again. 🙂

  11. Your beauty pageant comment totally cracked me up. I guess the books we write are kind of like our kids in a way. Good luck in the contest!

    I’ve never heard of OBASAN, but I remember reading a book about the Japanese internment camps back in high school–can’t recall the title though. My parents actually visited one in Western Canada and said it was an interesting experience. Such a sad time in history for so many reasons. I hear you on deleting those overused words. I have a whole list going, and it’s loooong. Have a great week!

  12. Thanks for the Dear Lucky Agents contest info. I forgot that was going on 🙂
    And filler words are the worst. I’m so bad at that during the first draft stage. That’s what I love about revising.

  13. I wish you all the luck! I’m toying with entering. Not sure yet. And I am the JUST queen! I probably have at least 200. Have a great week!

  14. “Tiaras and sparkles for everyone” just about made me snort coffee out my nose…so thanks for that. 🙂

    Ugh, filler words!!! My filler word is “sand”. I have about 250 instances of the word “sand”. Remind me to never, ever set a book in the desert again because there are very few other words for sand.

    And “Cure lyrics”- that was me too. I still have a couple of battered Cure T-shirts somewhere.(Perhaps in the Closet of Doom) I still dance around to Love Cats occasionally.

    Good luck with the contest! If you and JULES don’t win that tiara, I’m going to Tammy Faye Bakker cry for you both. 😉 *crosses fingers and toes*

    Hope you have an amazing week!

    • I’m trying to think of synonyms for sand and I’m coming up empty 🙂

      Love Cats! I haven’t listened to that song in awhile, gotta fix that. My cat is meowing along, that’s pretty entertaining.

  15. Good luck with the contest! I hope you win.

  16. OMG I use “just” so much, the thought of how much cutting I’m going to have to do once I finish this rewrite makes me want to cry. At least I think I’ve finally got my “that” addiction under control?

    I don’t follow baseball – I’m a Mariners fan, so can you really blame me? – but I do enjoy going to games and watching it if it happens to be on TV.

    Good luck with the contest! 😀

  17. Oooh, good luck in the contest! I totally use “like” and “just” wayyyy too much, too. I did one of those word clouds for a first draft a while back and the word LIKE towered over everything, haha…

  18. Good luck to JULES!
    When I take out all the “really” and “just” in my books, the word count plummets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s