Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Summer is very quickly winding down, and that means the end of Ready. Set. WRITE! Next Wednesday is the finish line for our writing challenge, and we want to cap things off with another giveaway. Seeing as you’ve all been hard at work for the last couple months, my co-hosts and I are offering critiques to five RSW participants. None of us are pros at this, but if you’d like a fresh pair of eyes on the first ten pages of your story, then feel free to enter the contest with the rafflecopter during What’s Up Wednesday next week. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in our writing incentive this summer. We hope you’ve found it as helpful and productive as we have, and we encourage all of you to keep plugging away at writing and supporting one another through the process.

What I’m Reading:

I’m still working my way very gradually through Siege and Storm.  I keep hearing people say they love Sturmhond, and I’m eager to find out why. So far he seems like an interesting addition to the cast of characters.

What I’m Writing:

The goal I set last week was to write 2000 words, which I did, thanks to an out of town football game that kept my boys busy on Saturday and gave me some much needed writing time. My word count for the week was just over 4100. That's a good chunk right there, but I have to confess it was a bit of a slog. The middle section of my story has hit a plateau in terms of what’s happening, and it’s feeling a little muddled to me. Must fix that.

My goal this week is to outline the next string of scenes. In my original outline, I treated this all as one big scene, but it’s become clear to me that it needs to be broken down and also that I really need to think through the logistics of it. I’ll also aim to get 1000 words written.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Feedback from betas. Since I don’t know if I’ll ever be published, each time someone reads my manuscript it makes the work feel just a bit more worthwhile. It’s also supremely cool that Elodie read my book on the beach in Italy this past week. How awesome is that? I didn’t go away on vacation this summer, but at least my book did!

Snow Patrol has also been inspiring me lately. Not a big surprise since they’re my all-time favourite band. The songs Make This Go On Forever, Open Your Eyes, and New York all perfectly fit the tone of a particular scene I just wrote.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

This week mostly involved a massive purge of our house. And when I say massive, I mean we got rid of a huge chunk of what we own. The problem with basements and closets is that they tend to fill up over the years. I’m also horribly sentimental about things, especially anything that belongs to my son. Considering he’s now taller than me, it was high time to part with more of the baby/little kid stuff that was hanging around. So picture me sniffling—all right, even bawling my head off at one point—while sorting things into the garbage, recycling, or donation pile. Who am I kidding? That “pile” filled our entire living room and then some.  While it’s hard to part with certain belongings, we’re big on simplifying things around here, and so diminishing the clutter was also very freeing in a sense.

Now I need to apply the same principles to my writing: simplify, reduce the clutter, get rid of parts I’m hanging onto for purely sentimental reasons!!!

Not the most exciting week, but a very productive one. Care to share what’s going on with you lately? If you’d like to take part in What’s Up Wednesday, you can sign up on the linky at Jaime Morrow’s site.


51 comments:

  1. I really LOVED your book! And I totally got lost in it while on the beach :)

    4k is an awesome word count. Very inspiring! And de-cluttering is something we need to do at our place too :-)

    Hope you have a fabulous week, Erin!

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    1. That makes me SO happy, especially seeing as you took time while on vacation to read it! (which I appreciate so much!) As for de-cluttering, it feels like a never-ending job! Hope you have a fabulous week too! :)

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  2. I think you would call it an analogy, that's a cool one between clothes and writing. Thanks!

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  3. Love the analogy of cleaning out closets to simplifying the manuscript. And 4100 words is AWESOME!!! Also, I know all about the murky middle and it is a slog sometimes (okay most of the time). I just try to trudge through it. I hope you have a wonderful writing week!

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    1. Way too often I find myself clinging to wording that just needs to go, so I guess I was thinking about that while I was cleaning. Writing is always in the back of my mind, even when I'm neck deep in other tasks. I'm sure you know what I mean! Hopefully I'm through the worst of the murky middle part now, because some scenes I've been waiting eons to write are next in line. Yay! Hope you have a great writing week too!

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  4. That's so cool that Elodie read your MS on a beach in Italy!

    Do you want to come over and help me declutter my life? When I write, everything else seems to get neglected. :P

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    1. Isn't it awesome? I love the thought of someone enjoying my story that far away and in such a beautiful, relaxing place!

      I know what you mean about neglecting everything else when in writing mode. That's probably a big reason why we haven't decluttered sooner. Now hopefully we can keep things neat for a decent amount of time!

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  5. Productivity is exciting. Be proud of what you accomplished. Good luck with your goals this week. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, productivity is exciting, especially when you have to work even harder to get the words out! :)

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  6. I love Snow Patrol, too--they're on many of my writing playlists.
    I like the clutter/revision analogy; I need to work on both this week!
    (and it's so cool that your book went on vacation with Elodie!)

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    1. A fellow Snow Patrol fan! Nice! Seeing them in concert last year was amazing and definitely an experience I hope to repeat one day. When Elodie tweeted about reading my book on the beach in Italy, I just about flipped. Now that's beta reading in style! Good luck with both your decluttering and revising!

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  7. Siege and Storm is awesome! Sounds like you're making progress! :)

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    1. I'm really enjoying it so far and wish I could sit down and read it all at once. As for my progress, I'm at about the halfway mark in my first draft, so that's kind of exciting!

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  8. I love cleaning out clutter :)

    And, wow, you had an awesome writing week!

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    1. There's something therapeutic about clearing out junk you no longer need. And thanks, I thought it was a pretty good week too! :)

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  9. Congratulations on making your word count! Good luck with your outlining, too.

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    1. Thank you! Since posting, I've given my next few scenes a lot of thought, and now I have a pretty good idea what needs to happen. We'll see how the writing part goes, I guess!

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  10. I love the idea of my book being read on a beach in Italy! :) that is very cool! I did one of those basement purges a couple years ago, and am seriously dismayed to see my basement storage room has just about filled up again. How does that HAPPEN? Does the stuff just breed in there???

    Seige and Storm has quite the ending! Stormhund has a bit of a surprise about him, too. Thinking about that book again makes me sigh to think how long I will have to the wait for the next book.

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    1. Isn't that awesome? I just found the idea of someone enjoying my story in such a gorgeous place totally inspiring! And pretty thoughtful that she devoted time to beta reading while on vacation.

      You know, we got rid of a ton of stuff and I still feel like there should be more to weed out. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until we need to declutter again too.

      I'm about halfway through SIEGE AND STORM, so I know at least one surprise about Sturmhond. Now I can't wait to read the ending, although I really don't want to wait for the next book either!

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  11. Ah, the middle pages. I am also slogging through the middle pages.

    Your household cleaning reminds me that we are due for a garage sweep--we built lofted storage in our garage and it's where any weird thing we don't know what to do with ends up. It was supposed to be a spring project, lol.

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    1. Yeah, my middle pages could use some definite trimming and tightening up. I'll have my work cut out for me during revisions.

      I think it must be some psychological thing that when there's empty space in the house/garage we need to fill it. Our "spring projects" usually end up happening three springs after we originally intended to do them lol.

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  12. Especially after the feedback I received from WOC, I can't wait to get my work into the hands of betas. It's not that the feedback was all glowing and telling me what an awesome writer I am (though there were some kind words), but the fact that it's feedback--someone other than me giving an objective opinion on the work. So refreshing, and grounding.

    All the best with the writing this week, Erin--especially that middle part. I hope it all comes together for you. :)

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    1. I think at a certain point it's impossible to have a clear perspective on your own story anymore, so knowing how it's coming across to readers is so valuable. I've had some very constructive comments from my betas so far, and I'm really thankful for their opinions. Glad to hear you got some good feedback at WOC!

      I think the middle part of my story will benefit from a lot of tightening during the revision stage, so while it feels muddled now it's definitely something that can be pushed off for later, thank goodness!

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  13. Wow 4100 words is great! I can't believe Ready Set Write is winding down. It's been awesome, and I really hope my writing buddies keep at it as far as Tweet-ins go. Is that a thing? Tweet-ins? We should make it one. Good luck this week!

    Also--I can't imagine what it's like to purge when you have a child. We purged before we moved, and even just 4 years of marriage was a tough purge for me!

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    1. Oh yeah, and Sturmhond = my new fav.

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    2. I've wanted to join in more with the "Tweet-ins," but they always seem to be at the point in the evening when I'm doing other things, since I tend to write really late. I'm so glad there's been a core group on there all summer cheering each other on though, and that you've found that helpful!

      Yeah, getting rid of things when you have a kid is tough. Not only because there's more stuff, but because there are memories attached to all of it. I tried to hang onto just my favourite things. Have to keep some sentimental stuff, right?

      So Sturnhond is a new fav, huh? I'm intrigued! So far I'm enjoying him!

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  14. I love that your story took a vacation without you. :-) I think Elodie gives fantastic feedback, so lucky book (and lucky you!). The big purge you wrote about inspires me. Every time I look around my house, I see a zillion things we could live without. Sorting it all out to sell/donate feels like a daunting task, though, which is why I've been putting it off. But knowing that you're managing makes me think maybe I can too.

    Best of luck with your outlining and writing this week, Erin!

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    1. When I saw Elodie's tweet that she was reading my ms on vacation, I was pretty excited. Very cool, not to mention thoughtful that she took the time to enjoy it then! And I agree that my book and I are very lucky!

      It's definitely a tough job to get rid of all the clutter, but so worthwhile. I have a tendency to rationalize how I might need certain things in the future and then they end up sitting around collecting dust, so I tried to be really ruthless this time. If you decide to tackle your clutter, I hope you find it as therapeutic as I did--despite the crying over the baby stuff, of course. :)

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  15. I love it that your book went on vacation! There's something about that that make me smile in a big way.

    And congratulations on getting rid of so much clutter. We have a closet we refer to as the Doomsday Closet (because survival is not guaranteed if you open it) and unfortunately it seems to be breeding baby doomsday closets. Time for our own purge.

    Your word counts always inspire me. Decluttering and over 4K. Whew!

    Hope you have a great week and good luck teasing out that outline. :)

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    1. It made me smile too! I love the idea of someone relaxing in such a beautiful place while enjoying my story.

      The Doomsday Closet? That's hilarious! I think we might have a few of those around here too. I'm convinced that for every word I wrote this week, we also got rid of an item we no longer needed! Since posting this, I've given my next few scenes some thought, and i think I might be on my way to a solid outline, so thanks for wishing me luck!

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  16. I can't believe it's the last week of Ready, Set, Write its been so great checking in each week!

    Decluttering is my September task, it's SO hard though. I keep everything, it's tough to let things go. Especially kid things.

    Congratulations on your 4100 words and good luck this week.

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    1. I know, right? This summer has flown by! I'm glad you've enjoyed the accountability aspect of RSW. I found it helpful too.

      The kid stuff is definitely the hardest to part with when cleaning out the house. I compromised by keeping my favourite things from when my son was little. I couldn't possibly part with it all! Good luck with the decluttering in September and with your writing tasks as well!

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  17. I love that you were both inspired by the purging your home, and also emotional about letting go. I have bins of stuff from my sons first year or two that I saved. Initially it was because we thought we'd have another baby right away, then it was because I couldn't bare to part with it, and now it's a little bit of laziness and a lot of me watching my son leave toddlerhood behind.

    It sounds like a very busy writing and life week! Well done. Take heart that the middle will find it's shape eventually, and this muddled period will be a distant memory.

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    1. You hit all the reasons on the head. Our son is an only child too, and I think that makes it all the more difficult to let go of things. And then as the years pass, the job just gets bigger and harder to face. I'm trying to teach him to get rid of things that aren't needed and to not cling to possessions, so I figure that means I need to lead by example, right?

      I think what the middle portion of my story needs most is some serious tightening up, so at least that's something I can tackle during revisions. I'm finally coming up to some scenes I've been waiting ages to write, so I'm hoping that spark of inspiration will flare up again soon! Thanks for the encouragement on that!

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  18. I need to declutter and buy more book shelves. Congrats on making your writing goals this week. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Book shelves are the most important piece of furniture after all, right? Hope your decluttering goes well too!

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  19. I understand having trouble letting things go. I'm the same way. I've been working at getting better at it. I love the simplicity of having less.
    Did your book come back with any pictures or postcards?

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    1. It's toughest to let go of the kid stuff, but when my son is willing to get rid of things then I guess I have to be too, right? I love the simplicity of having less too. Less stuff means less to worry about.

      My book was actually on her e-reader, so no vacation postcards, although Elodie did recently send me one from Germany. :)

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  20. I'm horrible about cleaning out my possessions and culling the fat. I want to save everything, even stuff of no consequence I'll probably never look at seriously again. If I take the introductory archives management class in the fall, I'm sure I'll learn how to determine what's really worth saving and what's just superfluous junk.

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    1. It's tough to get rid of items that have memories attached to them especially, but I always rationalize how I might need other things, and usually they end up stuffed in some closet gathering dust. I think any class that teaches organization is probably worth it. :)

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  21. STURMHOND <3 <3 I love him and he ties with the Darkling for me. Mal who??? ;-) Hope you enjoy the rest of S&S. I can't wait for the last book!

    I love Snow Patrol and so glad they're inspiring you. Those songs are great, though I haven't heard "New York" - must replicate that.

    I have a hard time cleaning out my stuff too. My parents are probably selling our home (my childhood home, I've never lived anywhere else) in the next year and I don't know how I am going to deal. That's my house! :) I do have to say that it is hard to give stuff away but I am sure you donated it to people who really do need those baby clothes, etc. You're doing something good too.

    And that is so cool that Elodie read your book ON THE BEACH. Hey, it got a tan, right? Heheh.

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    1. I'm about halfway through SIEGE AND STORM and I'm assuming there must be some awesome Sturmhond action coming up. Looking forward to that! I haven't even finished and already I'm eager for the last book too!

      You haven't heard New York yet? Oh dear, you have to remedy that! Gary Lighbody's voice makes me drool in that song. Hearing him sing it in concert last year was phenomenal! I'm so glad you're a fan too! You have great taste!

      Wow, that would be difficult to say goodbye to a house you grew up in. I moved a lot as a child, so the house I live in now is the one I've been in the longest. We've toyed with the idea of moving, but it would be so hard to leave the place where my son has lived since he was a toddler. It makes me weepy just thinking about it! What you said about donating things is so true. I kept reminding myself that other people have a greater need for certain things than we do, and that helps a lot.

      My book didn't get a tan, but it might have gotten a few freckles. ;)

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  22. Go you! I really need to do a purge like that on my own house. How do our lives end up becoming about STUFF? And yet, it's so hard to get rid of it.

    Good luck with your 1k this week!

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    1. Oh I know, right? I don't consider myself to be a materialistic person at all, and yet my house is still overflowing! Thanks for wishing me luck!

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  23. I really think you're going to like Sturmhond. Trust me on this one. ;-) Sounds like you've made some awesome headway with your WIP even if you aren't 100% thrilled with it. We'll work through any difficulties when we chat today. And it's very cool that Elodie was reading ENVISION in Italy. :-)

    I need to take a page out of your book and do another giant house purge. Actually, we just need to move again and that should take care of a lot of it. Always does. :-)

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    1. Well, I like him so far, but I'll give you a better response offline when I'm done the book, so I don't give away any spoilers here. And seeing as I'm typing this after our chat, thanks for letting me yak about my WIP. It always helps a lot, even if it's just to boost my confidence about the whole thing. :)

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  24. They always say "kill your darlings". Obviously, you don't really want to kill your family members, but there is definitely a overlap between cleaning out the garage and cutting the excess in your writing. So congrats on both meeting your writing goals and sorting through your real life clutter.

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    1. I think both cleaning out old belongings and trimming a story require you to think objectively, so in that way they're pretty similar. Neither is easy, but both are necessary!

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  25. Congrats on meeting (and exceeding?) your writing goal this week, Erin! That's awesome. :)

    We're doing lots of clean up at my house too, both inside and out. 'Tis the season? :) If I never have to weed again, that would be AWESOME. Sadly, the desert seems to be a happy place for weeds ... the pokey kind, of course. ;)

    Have a great week! And good luck with the household purging. :)

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    1. Thanks, Bridgid! I think we tend to do more cleaning in preparation for fall/winter than actual spring cleaning. We're tackling the inside of the house this year, and hopefully next summer we'll do a major overhaul on our yard. That sounds so horrible, like we never clean anything or something lol! Good luck with your cleaning and weeding too!

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