Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

Today, in my continued Herculean efforts to keep my (writing) self honest, I am participating in Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk's bloghop: What's Up Wednesday?
Can't say 'Wednesday' without thinking of either Wednesday Addams or Odin All Father, but that's my own damn fault.

I will answer some questions about my writing and you will try to believe me. Then, you will visit some of the other lovely writers in this bloghop to see if you believe them. It's all about accountability!

At BEA this year I was lucky enough to get a shed load of books. and ARCs. One of which is AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld. I loved the Uglies series and I adored the LEVIATHAN trilogy (especially since I read it on audiobook with Alan Cumming doing the narration. It was STELLAR.) AFTERWORLDS is a mammoth book at 600+ pages and that makes sense because it's really two interconnected books at once. It's the story of Darcy Patel, a teenaged writer who manages to write an awesome book, get repped AND a publishing deal for serious kish kash. It's ALSO the story of Lizzy and Yama, the two protags from Darcy's book. So you're reading about Darcy's publishing life (hard not to be jealous and fascinated at the inner workings) and about the life of her 'creations'. Very Meta. And unputdownable.


I'm writing an MG Fantasy or Magic Realism - the jury on classification is still out. There's magic. There's Jersey Shore. Enough said, I think. I am trying to faithfully stick to tackling the problems I'm having with the MS (a first draft) but I'm at that wrestling stage of the crafting where you go in and fight the words (and the words fight back) until you're too tired and the coffee's gone. Then you get up the next day and do it again. 

Nature. It's corny I know, but being out in the world is a balm, especially around where I lie where the green stuff is everywhere and the sounds you hear at night are cricket and owl noises. and during the day, wild rabbits hop past the window. Even the rustle of wind in trees seems to be noise to smile at. I'm also watching a lot of Studo Ghibli movies with my kids and reading MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO to my eldest.


I've been a work from home mom for five years now and this fall I'll be the same. The difference is that my littlest is going to kindergarten and I'll have more time for myself. When I say myself I actually mean my APW (actual paying work) self and my writing self. I'm taking on one (possibly two) APW projects that are bigger, and more challenging that anything I've done in a long time. I hope I don't wipe out. But we'll see!

Please take the time to visit these guys who are also sharing WUW details today on, Oh, is it Wednesday all ready?
Link to your WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY post:
1. Erin Funk  6. Emma Adams  11. Colin D Smith  16. Rachael  
2. Miss Cole  7. Melanie Crouse  12. Valerie Cole  17. Kitty Murry  
3. Leslie Ann  8. Alex Villasante  13. Kaitlin Bartlett  18. Melanie Stanford  
4. Jessie Humphries  9. Majanka Verstraete  14. Steph Scott  19. Ania Pendancer  
5. Sarah Kettles  10. Jess Gofton  15. Tonja Drecker 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Writing Like it's Your Job - Day 2

this is an analog version of what I'm talking about
Hmmm. If writing *were* my job, I might have been fired yesterday.

Or put on probation.

Not because of the brazen visits to Pottermore or Buzzfeed. Not because the more-than-necessary tea breaks. (Also, my mom in law was in minor fender bender - she's totally fine but was FREAKED out, as she's never had a car accident in over 40 years of driving. I had to go help her out. That was my only legit excuse.)

I broke my own first draft rule. I let the Little Editor out of her cage. And she was red-pen mad.

Here's how it went down. It's been a while since I worked on my WIP, so I decided to read through the last chapter. Okay the last five chapters. Then something I was writing didn't square with something I wrote before (a timeline issue, no biggie) so I went further back. I ended up reading from the beginning (this draft is currently 42k so this took a while). That's when the Little Editor made her power play. I rewrote sentences. I cut things and put them back. I wrote an entire piece of dialogue to explain something that didn't need explaining. (I did cut that out, never fear.)

In essence, I tinkered.

Tinkering in the first draft is VERBOTEN. I am going get a t-shirt that says exactly that.

So, on today's agenda I aim to be more modest and more surgical in my drafting.
I will map out where this scene is going - an outline within the outline - so that I don't stray off the path.
I will NOT rewrite diddly. That's for laters.
I will not try to wizard duel ANYONE today.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Writing Like it's Your Job

I don't look like this.
This has been a bad summer for writing. After an intense spring of BEA, writing conferences, writing and critting, somewhere around July 1st, I hit a wall. It wasn't laziness. (I tell myself. Myself is only somewhat convinced.) It was the muchness of life. We went on vacation. My husband got a new job (yeah, Tim! Art Director at Quirk Books!) My mom came to visit from Uruguay. Uruguay did not win the World Cup but became famous for biting jokes. You can see how this would break my concentration, no?

In 22 days I will get to know, at long last, what it feels like to write like it's my job. I will have actual 'office hours' that are longer than two hurried hours on a bar stool at Starbucks watching the clock until my littlest's preschool is over. Because littlest is going to Kindergarten. 8:40 On the Bus. 3:40 Off the Bus.

I still have work to do that isn't writing. I have APW (actual paying work) and I have blog/critting/reading work. But I will suddenly have this huge chunk of glorious time.

I'm afraid of blowing it. I'm afraid that I'll wake up on October 1st having written very little but having perfectly polished fingernails and an alphabetized book shelf.

So this week (while both girls are at Girl Scout camp) and my mother is engaging in a long-distance romance with her boyfriend (they are currently on the outs, but it won't last) I am going to practice Writing Like it's My Job.

Here's how I'll do it:

1) I will dedicate a minimum of four hours (pee breaks allowed. shopping breaks not allowed) a day to writing, thinking and researching. NOTE: Researching does not happen on or Perez Hilton or
2) I will allow myself one hour first thing in the morning to reach out to long neglected writing pals and connect with them on their blogs, twitter etc. I will read and comment on blogs. I will do this ONLY FOR AN HOUR, lest it become a consuming vortex.
3) I will not berate myself for not doing more. Word count is not my game. Story through line - hat's my goal this week.
4) I will not compare myself to others or moan about why I have not reached the achievements they have. I have my own achievements. And if I want other ones, I have to move my blooming arse.
5) I will not let the overgrown grass or the honeysuckle vine choking the boxwood deter me from my appointed task.
6) I will report back on how many of these tenets I actually adhere too.

Off to Work!
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