Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:

I finished Mind Games yesterday and I have to say it was unexpected, but in a good way. I loved the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White so I had no idea what was waiting for me with her newest novel, but I she did a great job changing up her voice. I could differentiate between the Annie's and Fia's voice, but there were times when they sounded a bit similar, but I think writing two POVs is incredibly difficult (I have done so myself) and she did well. The only other complaint I have is the scenery, I had a hard time picturing the school the girls attended and a few other settings. Even the action, fast pace, and relationships kept me engaged and I was able to ignore those nit-picky issues. 

What I'm Writing:

I am 87 pages through typing up my hard copy revisions. I'm much slower the second time around than the first, because while I am typing everything up, I'm also rereading the pages and finding other issues I hadn't noticed before. It's a long, sometimes tedious, process, but it has to be done in order for the story to function and keep the readers engaged. For my Ready. Set. Write goal for the week, I'm hoping to get through another 75 pages of revisions. I think I can do it, but it might be difficult because the husband is going out of town and I have family visiting. Good luck to me. 

What Inspires Me Write Now:

I gotta say right now it's the weather. It's been raining a lot here and I love it. I grew up in northern Virginia and rainstorms are a staple in those parts, and REALLY miss them. The crazy, random five minute thunderstorms with heavy showers were the best. I'm a wee bit homesick since all my good friends still live back east, as well as my mom's side of the family, and I'm dying to fly out for a visit. 

What Else I've Been Up To:

We've been busy tearing out carpet at our house. We having new stuff installed, but not for a couple of WEEKS. Not sure how I'm going to live with all our stuff randomly set up in the hallway, laundry room, garage and other storage places, but I think once the new carpet is is, it'll all be worth it. For now all of my kids are crammed into one room while we try to organize the disorganization as much as possible. I should also mention that more than half our house is carpeted, so...yeah. The waiting is going to be a blast! (No hint of sarcasm there AT ALL ;)

What have you guys been up to?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Patience Is A Virtue

And it is for a reason. In the writing biz, patience is a must have otherwise survival is limited. When I first started writing I had never heard of betas, alphas, cps, I didn't even know terms like WIP or MS. A total newbie, and completely unknowledgeable in all things publishing, I jumped the gun with querying (which I also hadn't heard of before). It totally backfired. Not only was my manuscript not ready to be seen by others and in need of intensive revising, but my query, in a word, sucked. It's been years since that took place and I've learned from my mistakes, but that doesn't mean I'm any less anxious to get the ball rolling after I finish a draft of a new MS. In fact, it hasn't erased that need, I was not miraculously given the gift of patience, but rather I learned that writing is a never ending process, editing is a necessary means to an end, we need each other in order to make our work shine (I could go on and on about how awesome the writing community is but we all already know that, but really, you guys rock). I'm fighting the urge to just send my manuscript off once I'm done with this round of edits, see, the patience thing is not my strong suit. But I'm containing myself, learning to be patient, learning to make my work stronger, better, working harder to reach my goal. What about you guys, do you ever find yourself struggling with the never ending writing process?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
I don't know if you guys were aware of this, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are having a huge sale on their YA novels to promote readership. I got some really great titles for a fraction of the cost. Right now I'm reading the Emily Chambers trilogy by C.J. Archer. I finished The Medium yesterday and 
dove right into Possession last night. They are delightful, well written stories with a ghostly romance and creepy demons. Definitely check it out.

What I'm Writing:
I've been hard at work in order to reach my Ready. Set. Write! Goal. I'm 193 pages through my hard copy revisions. Only 86 more to go. I know for some this is super fast, and even for me it is a bit breezier than usual, but that's partly because I'm one of those writers who tends to revise as I'm working on my first draft (gasp). I know, I know, according to many other writer's advice, you're supposed to hold back until the very first draft is done. But I just can't! Especially on those days when I have a hard time getting into a new scene, I'll go back and revise what I already have to work up the creative juices. And you know what? It works for me. And when it comes to writing you have to figure out what it is that gets you writing and do it. I really don't care what it is as long as you're moving forward and progressing in your work. Isn't that all that matters? My goal is to pretty much be completely done with revisions my next Wednesday (hard copy) and start typing them up. (Fingers crossed.)

What Inspires Me Right Now:
This quote: "Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you're in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you." -Deepak Chopra. One of my goals this year was to be more happy and to focus on the now instead of daydreaming about the future. So far I've been good, I appreciate what I have more and realize that if certain things come to pass, they won't necessarily make me happy, but they'll add to the happiness I already feel when it comes to my life.

What Else I've Been Up To:
This weekend was a blast. We had my husband's brother and his family come up for a visit and we got some sun time when we to a local lake and ate delicious food. I also now have a great memory involving Rhianna's Umbrella song and my husband and his brother doing the Just Dance 4 Kinect version. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

What have you been up to?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Projectile Vomiting

Sometimes when I'm writing and trying to get a point across I tend to go on and on and on, to the point where subtlety is no longer an option, thus taking away the opportunity for the reader to figure out what I'm talking about on their own. I think of this as projectile vomiting, which shoots all over the place, is in your face, and really turns people off (oh, and smells awful). As writers we have to be careful with our words, we need to give our readers credit, and let them figure out what's happening on their own. I've read books where certain things, like themes, or foreshadowing are so in your face I kind of just roll my eyes and skip to the part where said things come to pass. And I know I'm not the only writer, or reader who has done this. Give your readers room, choose your words wisely, and sparingly. Don't regurgitate the same sentence or idea with new words all over your WIP, your readers aren't stupid, they will catch on, either to the fact that you're trying to tell them something or to the fact that you don't trust them to get it on their own. I know, as a writer, it can be hard to step away from your work and let the reader take over, but we have to let the writing speak for itself without us pushing it in other's faces. With that said, I will now be heading off to do some revisions since I'm sure there is LOTS of projectile vomit in Restoring Casey. Keeping your thoughts and words concise enough for the readers to get what you mean is an art form, and we need to perfect our art form. (I could have used an image for this post, but I think the only thing I'd find is a girl with her head spinning around while spitting out pea soup, and I doubt that would bring in more readership.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading: 
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, DUH!

What else would  I be reading after my first author encounter on Saturday? I'm loving it so far. Dessen has written about the fictional town of Colby so often I'm starting to think it's real. Well, at least in my head it is. Seriously, I can perfectly picture the whole town after reading all of her books, and I really wish it was an actual place I could visit.

What I'm Writing:
I'm starting revisions on Restoring Casey (the hard, printed copy), which is one step closer to getting it beta read. My goal is to have the revisions done by mid-July. Pretty crazy stuff. Meanwhile, I'm fighting the urge to start on another project that has been nagging at me. I did an outline for it already, which is highly unusual for a pantser like me, but I had to do something to get it out of my head. But still it persists. I'm hoping to start it as soon as the revisions to Restoring Casey are done.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I signed up for Ready. Set. Write, if you want to know what that's all about CLICK HERE. I'm super excited to have so serious motivation while I dive head first into revisions. I'm hoping by the end of the summer I'll be pretty close the querying stage! Ah!

What Else I've Been Up To:
Cleaning. A lot. We have guests coming to stay with us this weekend and I'm in cleaning overdrive. I'm sort of neurotic about it when I know people will see my house. I focus on certain parts of the house on the different days, and if they get dirty in between, well, hair pulling might be involved. My husband knows this and tries his hardest not to be the reason the house gets all messy, which he tends to be more so than the kids at times!

So what have you been up to?

Monday, June 10, 2013

That Time I Met Sarah Dessen

Yes, THE Sarah Dessen, the QUEEN of contemporary herself. And let me tell you, it was awesome! Sarah Dessen has been one of my author heroes since high school when I first read Keeping The Moon. That book was the gateway book to my contemporary obsession, and I've read every book by her since. I've never been disappointed either. This Lullaby is probably my favorite of hers (Um, hello, it has DEXTER in it!), but I always love the insights her stories hold, each one unique and full of truth. She captures the emotions involved during the teen years in a way that feels true and relatable. The funny thing is, I didn't even know she was going to be in my home city until about 15 minutes before the signing. Can you believe it?
Please excuse my hair, the frizz is the curse of having thick, curly hair and since I didn't know Sarah Dessen was in town until last minute I didn't have any time to make myself any more presentable (SO EMBARRASSING BUT SO WORTH IT). (Notice the creepy/nervous look on my face?)

I was checking my Twitter feed really fast when I saw she had tweeted something about being in MYcity and at a bookstore near mine for a signing. I had to do a double take. I thought, NO. FREAKING. WAY. Then proceeded to call my husband, who was dropping our oldest off at a friend's birthday party, to squeal and freak out and do general fan girlish things. He told me to calm down and that he would be home soon. Then he drove me to the signing, because being my husband, he has heard me proclaim my love for Sarah Dessen more than once. Anyway, I got there right at the start while she was discussing about her new book, The Moon and More. The crowd was a pretty good size, but I was able to get a good view. Even with my vertical challenges in the way (there were a few times I had to stand on my tippy-toes to see her talking, but that's the price you pay for not being more informed on author signings, especially authors as awesome as Sarah Dessen). I have to tell you, she is as sweet and down to earth in real life as she is on the internet. She felt real, kind of like that girl everyone wants to be best friends with. During the Q&A session she was asked about her 'fame' and she proceeded to say she usually tries to avoid being noticed, that when people ask her what she does for a living, she says 'I work from home', she's not in your face about the fact that she's a NYT best selling author numerous times over. Totally normal.

If I can in any way write a book that reaches just one kid the way Dessen's books did to me, then I will have accomplished the only goal I ever really had with the whole writing gig. Anyway, I will bore you no more with general delight, and star-struckness at the signing, but it really was a once in a lifetime experience and I hope I can meet my other writer heroes someday as well.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's Up Wednesday!

I'm excited to be joining in on this new bloghop started by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk.  Here are the details: What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up.

So if you wish to join in click on the links above!

What I'm Reading: Late last night I finished The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer Smith.
I have to say the writing was incredible, real, and I was fully absorbed in the story. There were a couple of things that irked me because I come from divorced parents myself, and have experienced much of what Hadley did, and some of her feelings really hit home for me, but other than that I think it was a great read. Next up is The Name of the Star By Maureen Johnson (I know, I'm a little late on this one). 

What I'm Writing: The first draft to Restoring Casey is pretty much done. It's exciting and also terrifying because now all the hard work comes into play. I have some serious editing to do in the next few weeks. I do have to say that I was surprised by what came out of writing this story. I'm head over heels in love with it and I love reading certain passages and thinking "I wrote that?" or "Where did that come from?". So yeah, looking forward to finishing it up. I do have to mention that I found a really old notebook I used to write in from about five years ago and...well. It was terrible. The writing was atrocious and embarrassing enough to make me want to burn it. However, I also realized that I've come a long way in my writing and have definitely gotten stronger. I can't wait to find another journal from today five years from now and think the same thing. As a writer, I always want to get better at what I do.

What Inspires Me Right Now: This quote: "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."-Flannery O'Connor.
Writing is like that a lot for me. I'll find myself writing a thought from the character, unaware that it is how I feel about something as well. I love discovering these new things about myself, and my characters through them. 

What Else I've Been Up To: Surviving summer break. It's only week one. Yikes. Although, it hasn't been all that bad. I'm sort of just panicking about all the things that might go wrong. I'm trying really hard to make sure my oldest works on his reading and math over the summer so he's not behind on anything by the time school starts, and also going over things with my other little guy who starts kindergarten in the fall. Then there are my girls, gotta make sure they're having fun and learning as well. All I have to say is I'm so glad I'm not a teacher, because my patience wears thin much too quickly. I admire anyone who goes into that profession, you are much braver than I. 

What have you been up to this week? Join in!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Right Way To Write

Personally, I don't think there is a wrong way to write. But I've heard or read in other places that you should treat writing just like any other job. Set a schedule from 9-5, or whatever works for you, and go at it. This may be feasible for some, but not at all for me. And not for other writers who have other full-time jobs either in or out of the home (yes, stay at home mom is a job). Honestly, I'm kind of glad writing isn't a full-time gig, because for me, treating it as a job might take some of that magic away. There are times when days will pass and I won't get more than a few minutes here and there to make that magic work,  and I sort of wish it was a job, but more the most part I love having freedom and flexibility in my writing schedule. And I wouldn't trade having my kids around driving me nuts for anything.

However, with all that said, I do look forward to the day when I have deadlines to meet because that means I accomplished one of my goals, but until then I'll enjoy the sweetness of setting my own schedule, or lack of one. What about you guys, is writing your full-time job, or do you just have a specific time you try to write, or are you like me and just fit it anywhere?