Wednesday, 5 June 2013

What's Up Wednesday

Hey folks! It’s that time again…

What I’m Reading:

While I was sick this past week, I used my recovery time to catch up on reading. I polished off DARK TRIUMPH by Robin LaFevers after a few weeks of poking away at it. I loved it (no surprise there) although GRAVE MERCY is still my favourite out of the two. GRAVE MERCY is told from Ismae’s point of view, and DARK TRIUMPH is narrated by Sybella. What struck me about these two books is that while the author’s style is consistent between the two, Ismae and Sybella have very distinct voices. Now THAT'S good writing!

I’m currently reading ARCLIGHT by Josin L. McQuein which is on my Debut Author Challenge list. Only have a bit left to go, and then it's on to the next book.

What I’m Writing:

Because of the nasty cold, I only wrote about 1000 words on my WIP this past week. That took care of a chunk of the rewrite on my story intro, so I was pleased to get over at least one little bump in the process.

I also rewrote my synopsis for the manuscript I’m about to start querying after deciding my old synopsis was too vague. It took several versions, a lot of hair pulling, and yelling at my laptop, but I think it’s about as good as it's going to get now. Squishing a whole book into two pages is darn near impossible. Does anyone else feel like your synopsis sounds ridiculous, because there isn’t room to explain the reasons why anything happens?

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Anticipating Ready. Set. Write! While I haven’t written much lately, I’m gearing up for our summer writing incentive. The thought of setting goals and biting away bits of my WIP a week at a time is making me feel like this whole thing is doable. And so is the fact that a group of us will be cheering each other on. Wanna know more about our writing challenge? Go here.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:



Yesterday, my son and I went to our local children’s festival, and while he was on the upper end of the age spectrum, he still had a great time. We watched a one woman show called “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman,” which was absolutely phenomenal. Leslie McCurdy brought history alive by acting out Harriet's life at various ages. From the moment she entered the room singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” I had chills. My son just finished reading a biography about Harriet Tubman, so the timing of this was perfect. We talked to Leslie after her performance, and she said that some of her ancestors were part of the Underground Railroad. What an amazing way to carry on her family’s legacy!

The other show we saw was Step Afrika! If you’re not familiar “stepping” is a style of dance created by African American college students in the early 1900s. Basically, the performers use their bodies as percussion instruments, and boy, do they ever know how to get the crowd going! My ears were ringing, because the kids were cheering so loudly. This group was high energy, funny, and so talented! It would be pretty much impossible to watch them without clapping along.

Most of the other pics in the collage are self-explanatory (no, that’s not our Gene Simmons impersonation)  other than the building in the bottom corner. That’s the Delta Bessborough hotel, and it’s the lovely backdrop for the festival. It’s one of several chateau-style hotels built by the Canadian National Railway and is a historical landmark.  How perfect to stage a children’s festival near a building that looks like a castle!


Well, that’s what’s up with me this week? What’s going on with you lately? If you’d like to join our blog hop, you can sign up at Jaime Morrow’s site.

55 comments:

  1. I love it when people really capture a moment in history that allows children to properly understand and appreciate it. Sound like an awesome festival!

    My synopsis and I did not get on for quite a while. It felt SO clunky and awful. I don't know how many versions I went through until I was happy... and even during querying I've tweaked it ^^;

    Hope you're all rested up and better now ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think passing history on to kids is so important, and doing it in a creative way that engages their imaginations is even better. As for my synopsis, I imagine I'll probably tweak now and again during the query process too. I'm mostly recovered now although I still sound like a frog. :)

      Delete
  2. That festival sounds amazing, what a great day, lovely photos too!

    I hate synopsis and really need to practise writing them!

    I must read Grave Mercy I've heard only good things about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos. We had a lot of fun! If you like historical with a dash of paranormal, then you should definitely read GRAVE MERCY. :)

      Delete
  3. Sickness is sometimes a great thing, isn't it? Look at all the reading you got done! Although, you probably still had to be mom, huh? To write a synopsis is similar to writing thank you notes after you've graduated from high school. You know you have to do it. And you want them to sound authentic (or your mom does), but by the end you just want it to be over! Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the mom duties are 24/7, but it's my favourite job and my son does a pretty good job of taking care of me too. I've got him trained! That's a good comparison for a synopsis, especially seeing as I never know what to say in cards either. For the time being, I'm semi-happy with my synopsis, but tomorrow I'll probably want to pitch it again. :D

      Delete
  4. Wow, I can't believe how much L looks like Trev in those pics, Erin! Gah! He's getting so big and T-rev-ish. {The one with his hands in his pockets in particular.} Glad to hear you had so much fun. Those shows sound really good! It's RD's centennial this year, so I'm hoping there will be lots of things to do and see this summer. I wish we had a Bez here. We have pretty well no tall or overly old buildings beside the odd church. Ah well. At least they're trying to make RD hipper and nicer. :D

    P.S. You already know how I feel about my hunk of crud synopsis. :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's turned into Trevor's not so mini Mini-Me. I'm always amazed at how alike they are too, and the similarities are getting more pronounced as the days go by. He's at that really noodly stage right now too lol. We haven't gone to the festival for the last few years, because the performances seemed geared towards the younger set, but this year they had some great acts. It's kind of funny, because The Spirit of Harriet Tubman was mostly full of seniors. Not sure why, but I guess they felt young at heart! I love walking down around the Bez. I wish all of Saskatoon looked like that. We should have a synopsis shredding ceremony. There will be high tea, and you can do a drum roll, and we'll make speeches before feeding our synopses to the paper shredder. :)

      Delete
  5. Step Afrika is awesome! I used to take dance, though not step, and was always impressed by the step dancers (even more than the ballerinas ;)). Lots of reading = yay! Sorry you were sick and had a horrible cold. That sucks, but at least- lots of reading. Synopsis suuuuuuck, too. ugh. Why do agents and people require them? *eye roll*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they great? They have an amazing sense of rhythm! I looked like a total goof when they tried to get the audience to clap and dance along lol. I agree that colds and synopsis writing suck. My synopsis is done (at least for now). The cold is lingering, but on it's way out. :)

      Delete
  6. The festival looks like so much fun! I've seen a few one-person shows like the one you mentioned, and I'm always impressed by what can be done.
    And synopses are ridiculous. Although I'd love to see one for a giant book like one of George R.R. Martin's or something. Can you imagine...??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No kidding, right? That would be one huge synopsis! Mine is just painful for me to read, because I so want to be able to explain the reasons behind everything I included. Ah well. I'm sure agents understand there's more to a story than the compressed version since they read these things all the time.

      Delete
  7. What great pictures! I hope that you feel better soon. I'll have to check out Dark Triumph. It sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked the pictures! I'm mostly better but still sounding a little croaky. Have you read GRAVE MERCY yet? If you haven't then you'll definitely want to start there before DARK TRIUMPH. A word of warning: they do contain some mature content. Brittany in the 1500s was pretty brutal.

      Delete
  8. Synopses are evil. I get why people want them... but boy are they no fun to write. :0) I always go to Susan Dennard's post on writing a synopsis. It has saved me time and time again. Glad you're feeling better, and those photos are divine-- looks like a fun day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, they aren't any fun at all. I've read conflicting opinions on how to write synopses too, which certainly didn't help. I'll have to check out Susan Dennard's post. Thanks for pointing me in her direction!

      Delete
  9. Ugh, writing a synopsis sounds like pretty much the worst. I was so bad at summarizing things when I was little that my mother used to make me practice boiling down stories I knew to five sentences...then three sentences...then one sentence...and all that happened is that I got really good at composing long and complex sentences at a very young age. Sigh. But glad you're feeling better and that you had such a fun day at the festival!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! That's probably what I would've done too. I'm sooooo wordy, which you can probably tell by the length of my posts. My grade 12 English teacher once assigned an essay to the class, and he said, "Your essays should be 1000 words long, but if you're Erin, aim for 750, and you'll probably hit 1000." I'm embarrassed to admit that my essay ended up being 3000 words long, but hey, I loved the book and writing essays! (I'm such a nerd)

      Delete
  10. I have yet to read any of Robin LaFevers books - but GRAVE MERCY has been on my TBR for awhile now! Interesting comment about both books being written in two different POV's and that both are very distinct! So true, that IS great writing!

    And hooray for the 1k word chunk you chewed off last week on your WiP - and even more so, while not feeling well! And I'm just like you...synopsis are a big boo in my book. Queries I can handle - but two pages? Yeah, you've got me.

    Also looking forward to Ready. Set. Write! too! I'm hoping to be done with my first round soon and be able to hand it off to my CP's - once it's back, I'll definitely have something write, er, re-write!

    Love the picture collage - especially the one of you and your son! That is priceless, E. priceless. And what a wonderful experience that children's festival turned out to be!

    Happy Wednesday, Erin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I figured if Trevor could run a whole marathon while sick, then I'd better at least write something! I agree that writing a query is better than writing a synopsis. At least a little creativity is required with a query. My synopsis sounds like a whole lot of nonsense, because there isn't room to explain any of the major plot points. I'm hoping agents have a super power for reading between the lines though!

      Yay! I'm excited you're doing Ready. Set. Write! with us! We're going to have a great group of people involved, and I can't wait to start setting some goals!

      Glad you liked the collage! I'm not sure how many people got the Gene Simmons joke, but I couldn't resist. :)

      Delete
  11. Glad you're feeling better and yay for reading while recovering! I have yet to read GRAVE MERCY. Must get on that! Also, I feel exactly as you do about the synopsis. That's why I just accepted the version I have and hope it's okay.

    And so excited about Ready. Set. WRITE!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I think I just have to accept mine as well. I mean, a synopsis is never going to sound great when you consider how many details have to be left out. It feels like a really dorky Reader's Digest version of my manuscript lol.

      I can't wait for Ready. Set. Write! to start up! Real writing is going to feel great after poking away at this darn synopsis!

      Delete
  12. Aww, love the photos from the Children's Festival! Looks like you guys had a blast. :-) Glad you're feeling better and getting back to writing (and query prepping!). I'm really looking forward to Ready. Set. Write! This summer. I think we're all going to be crazy-productive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did have a blast! The weather was gorgeous, and the performances were great! I'm aiming to send out my first queries before we kick off Ready. Set. Write! Not sure if I'll be able to, but I'm sure going to try. I can't wait to start in on our writing challenge either! I should put that on a Post-it: Be crazy-productive!

      Delete
  13. Sounds like such an exciting week (despite the cold) since you got to see those two high-energy shows. Step Arika! sounds very cool. Hope you feel better soon : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it's been both exciting and busy. Good thing my cold was on its way out! Step Afrika! was well worth seeing! If you ever get the chance to attend one of their performances, you definitely should!

      Delete
  14. Is there any way to follow your account through e-mail..I don't use google that often! Do you have a twitter account?
    Looks like you had a great time..I had a cold recently too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I have to set up my blog so that people can follow it via email. I've been meaning to do that, so I'm glad you reminded me. I'll have to ask my sister how, since I'm technologically inept (ironic seeing as I write sci-fi). I just signed up for a Twitter account, but still have to figure out how to use it (I know, I'm so behind the times). I hope your cold is better now too!

      Delete
  15. You do a good Gene Simmons though! Looks like a lot of fun.
    You should join us sometime for the IWSG. It's the most amazing group of writers you will ever meet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad somebody got the Gene Simmons joke! Weird fact: Gene's wife grew up in Saskatoon where I live. My husband and son were at a hockey game he attended last year. I should definitely join you guys for the IWSG. I've been meaning to check it out, but things are always so darn busy. I follow some of the writers involved, and if they're any indication, then the group is as amazing as you say! Thanks for the invite!

      Delete
  16. Synopsis are evil! EVIL!
    Can't wait for the summer intensive!
    Looks like you guys had a great time! Awesome pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someday, I'm totally going to have a synopsis shredding ceremony. You're right, they're evil! I'm looking forward to the summer writing challenge too! I have to start thinking about my goals. Glad you liked the pictures! :)

      Delete
  17. I'm glad you're feeling a little better.

    And that festival looks like it was a lot of fun. I love history. Besides English, history was my favorite subject growing up and though I didn't think it was boring, it would've been nice if there had been festivals to go to that engaged the class in history so you're not just sitting around, listening to someone talk about it. There also aren't that many festivals around here during any time of year, so it's cool that you're able to go to some where you live at.

    I have never written a synopsis, but I do know that once I get to that stage I'm going to have loads of problems because I'm really bad at summarizing things. I'm the kind of person who wants to throw in all the details when I talk about something I read, so I can only imagine what it's going to be like when I have to summarize something I wrote.

    Good luck with the rest of your rewrite! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. English and history were my favourite subjects too. You're so right about engaging students. I think presenting history in a creative way brings it alive so people can relate to it better. And it barely feels like learning when you're entertained by it!

      I'm horrible at summarizing things too. Everything in my story feels important to me, so I had lots of trouble deciding what details to leave out. Then, the major plot points I did mention seemed to make no sense, because they weren't backed up with explanations. So frustrating! Oh well, I imagine agents know it's the abridged version and expect better from the actual manuscript.

      Good luck with your writing these week too!

      Delete
  18. Hi there! Looks like a very fun festival! I'm excited for the summer writing challenge, too - deadlines are a great motivator.

    It was nice to "meet" you earlier tonight, even though my sound didn't work! :)

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a very fun festival! Stellar performances this year. I'm so glad you're joining our summer writing challenge! We've had a great response, and I think that will help the motivation a lot. It was nice to meet you too this evening. I should've been the one with the sound problems, seeing as I'm still coughing a bit and croaking like a frog after my nasty cold. :)

      Delete
  19. Ugh I've had a cold too, you poor thing - are you feeling better?

    The summer festival looks very exciting! Sounds like your son had a great time too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on the mend although I'm still coughing, and my voice sounds like a frog. I hope you feel better soon too! The festival was lots of fun! My son loved the performances as much as I did, which made it a very successful field trip!

      Delete
  20. Those pictures are awesome :D It really looks like you and your son had a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had fun putting the collage together. And yes, we both had a great time! It was an all around wonderful day! :)

      Delete
  21. I loved GRAVE MERCY - I didn't know the sequel was out! Can't wait to read it. I always thought Sybella had more of a story in her than was revealed in Book 1. Hope you are feeling better! The picture of you and your son is adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GRAVE MERCY is one of my favourite YA books ever. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I found out book 2 wouldn't be from Ismae's POV (mostly because I wanted more Duval on the pages!) but Sybella's story really drew me in. I hope you enjoy it too! I'm definitely on the mend now although still coughing a bit. Glad you liked the goofy photo of us. :)

      Delete
  22. You and your sister are so outgoing! You're always doing amazing things. And SO SORRY you've been sick! Bleh. So hard to work and focus. But I love the pictures! Seriously so fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have less access to great events where I'm from, so we have to take advantage when we can! My cold is on its way out although this darn cough wants to hang on. I'm still keeping busy, so that's good! Glad you liked the pictures! We had a blast!

      Delete
  23. That festival sounds really fun!! I hope you're feeling better now.

    I'm really excited for Ready. Set. WRITE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was loads of fun! I'm starting to feel much better now, but wish I could shake this darn cough. Hopefully, I'll be all back to normal for Ready. Set. Write! next week! I'm so happy you're excited about it too!

      Delete
  24. Am I the only one disappointed that the picture is NOT your Gene Simmons' Impersonation? Because, it's really pretty good. :)

    And I'm with you, a synopsis is a way for those in the publishing industry to test your tolerance for torture.

    It was so fun to "meet" you! And I'm glad you're on the mend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, only a couple people got the Gene Simmons joke. I couldn't resist! Ugh, I think you're right that synopses are a way to test our tolerance for torture. Agents probably figure if you can survive a synopsis, you can get through anything! It was fun to meet you too! Looking forward to summer and our new project! :)

      Delete
  25. 1000 words is still better than I've done on my rewrites in the last few days. Need a good chunk of time to get stuck into it, hopefully without getting sick ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to get my momentum going again! Hope you can too!

      Delete
  26. I need to read Grave Mercy. It's in my TBR pile, but I may have to bump it up to the top and read it between my contemporary binges.

    I know this might sound weird, but I don't hate synopses anymore. My last WIP had multiple "books" in it and I went on a synopsis writing binge. After 6 synopses in less than a week, they're not -as- painful.

    Between you and Jaime, I'm totally having Canada cravings this week. The festival sounded wonderful and your pics are so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, definitely bump GRAVE MERCY up the TBR list! While it takes place in the 1500s, it isn't one of those dry historical reads. It has lots of action, plot, and rates pretty darn high on the swoon meter!

      I can see how the first time writing a synopsis would be the worst. Like you, I went through several versions, and while I'm not sure in my case that practice makes perfect, it probably won't be as scary the next time I have to go about it.

      Yay for Canada cravings! The guys in Step Afrika! were totally making poutine jokes, which really got the crowd laughing. Glad you enjoyed my picture collage! :)

      Delete
  27. I was so afraid I wasn't going to like DARK TRIUMPH because of the lack of Gavriel, but I actually ended up liking it more than GRAVE MERCY because of the quicker pace. I can't believe we have to wait until next year for the last one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I was worried about too! I loved Beast, but Gavriel is still my favourite. I found there was a lot more action in DARK TRIUMPH although GRAVE MERCY was bigger on political intrigue. I hope that Annith's story will be equally as compelling!

      Delete
  28. Whoa, I have no idea what that account is, but that was me :)

    ReplyDelete