Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

What’s Up Wednesday


Snowman Button (final)

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.


A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness (concept by Siobhan Dowd). This book absolutely gutted me. Everything about it – the reality, the fantasy, the illustrations by Jim Kay…not just standard “feels” in this book. I’m talking FEELS.

THE SONG INSIDE, which is a short story by Melissa Sarno. I had the privilege of reading a chapter of one of her WIPs a few years ago and I’ve never forgotten it because she has such a lyrical way with words. Her story was no exception – gorgeous writing.

I tore through NO PLACE TO FALL by Jaye Robin Brown. I didn’t always understand the MC’s motivations, but the characters felt SO REAL to me – I’ve known all of them in one form or another over the years. And the setting? It was like a less populated version of my own Appalachian Trail bordering hometown. Fun fact: My town isn’t listed by name on the back cover map but it’s there if you squint hard enough :). I’m looking forward to reading whatever J-Ro writes next.


My old WIP, EMMA, which I’m making new. I’m not sure how to assign myself a goal because drafting for me involves much fretting and staring at the screen, completely lost. For now I’m just trying to arrange the scenes into some semblance of order.


Hmm…hard to answer that question this week considering I’ll be doing a lot of staring and fretting soon.

P.S. If I don’t post for a few weeks it’s because I’m trapped in drafting hell.


I had a “teen angst marathon” to catch up on some book-to-movie adaptations I’ve missed the past few years:

How I Live Now – the romance didn’t feel as organic as it did in the book, but the “war” parts were well done.  Great tension and gorgeous settings, even in the devastation. The scene in the field right after the kids swim for the first time gave me chills.

Tiger Eyes – I enjoyed the movie, although it didn’t have quite the emotional impact as the book. And the same subplot that puzzled me in the book (Jane’s drinking) baffled me in the movie as well. Mostly because it felt unconnected to everything else.  Kudos on the decision to modernize the time period so things didn’t feel dated.

Fat Kid Rules the World – this is rare for me, but I actually liked the movie better than the book. I found it easier to sympathize with the characters and understand their emotions on screen. Billy Campbell as the dad was perfection.

I also watched a Japanese film titled “Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” which I loved (it’s also based on a book, but I haven’t read it). It was light on science and had what might be a giant, gaping plot hole, but I don’t really care (hah). The bulk of it took place in my beloved 1970s, the love story was sweet and the ending a big ol’ punch of emotion.

Now it’s back to the Drafting Cave. It’s so sad and lonely there 😦 Good thing I like my characters.


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.

24 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. A MONSTER CALLS is absolutely devastating. So good. Best of luck with the drafting!

  2. Teen Angst marathon…lol. Yep. I’ve done that somewhat recently myself. I’m finding it hard to set goals for myself as well. Sometimes “do something with my WiP” feels about all I can manage goal-wise. Hope the drafting goes well and that you’re not in your cave for too long. We miss you on the outside! Have a great week, Jennifer! 😀

  3. I hope you have some more luck writing this week. Keep going, and I’m sure the manuscript will flow along soon!

    I also read The Monster Calls some time ago, and it gutted me too. Such a powerful book.

    My What’s Up Wednesday post.

  4. A Monster Calls wrecked me. I read it in one sitting. My copy will be forever tear-stained.

    Best of luck with the writing this week 🙂

  5. No matter how much I plan and outline, I still always fret and stare at the screen, so you’re in good company in drafting hell lol!

    I watched HOW I LIVE NOW recently too and agree with your thoughts on it. It had been a while since I read the book, but some of the movie visuals definitely made an impact. Hang in there with the drafting! 🙂

  6. A MONSTER CALLS was so devastatingly beautiful. I was basically a puddle after reading it. Patrick Ness made me cry in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, too. He’s really good at drawing out emotions.

  7. I just got NO PLACE TO FALL from the library and this is making me very excited to read it! Also, I hope you don’t go to drafting hell. You can do it! SO curious about this EMMA. 🙂

  8. I’m so behind on movie-watching. I’ve been afraid to see How I Live Now because of how much I love that book. I hope the drafting doesn’t cause too much fretting and worrying. Extreme WIP makeovers are super-stressful!

  9. It is good you like your characters. I’ve abandoned manuscripts in which I don’t.

    I’ll look up those books.

  10. Ha! I’m a week late commenting on this, but better late than never, right? I thought TIGER EYES and HOW I LIVE NOW were both so well done. The movie adaptation of HOW I LIVE NOW actually made me like the book more. Best of luck with Emma… I hope she cooperates for you. 🙂

  11. Ugh, I hope you’re still alive after being stuck in drafting hell. I’m getting to the end of the stuff I’ve already written in my WIP, so I’ll be right there with you soon 😦

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