Wednesday, 25 September 2013

What's Up Wednesday


Welcome back to What’s Up Wednesday! If you aren’t familiar with WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part.

What I’m Reading:

I just finished Descendant by Lesley Livingston, which is the second book in the Starling series. If you’re not familiar, it revolves around mythology, particularly Norse and feels sort of like a YA Percy Jackson.

Now, I have my nose stuck in Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. Seeing as I’ve heard awesome things about it, and since I gave Throne of Glass a five star rating, I’m pretty excited about this one. Especially the bits about Chaol. Do I really need to explain why?

I’m also continuing to read Ender’s Game to my son, and gradually working my way through The Odyssey by Homer.

What I’m Writing:

Sigh. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m trying to balance some last revisions on my ms with drafting the sequel. After getting beta feedback, there were some things I wanted to fix, change, trim, etc. before tossing my ms back out there for agents, but I’m also totally absorbed in drafting right now. As a result, both tasks are going a little slower than I’d like.  Of course, there’s not much point in writing a sequel if the first story doesn’t go anywhere, which is why I need to hurry up and get back into querying it. Somehow that hasn’t slowed the flow of creative juices though, and book two won’t leave me alone. But when it boils down to it, I’m writing it for me. I spent a good chunk of time this past week fleshing out a particular plot line that was feeling a little thin, and now that I’ve redone my outline for that section of the story, it feels like everything is falling into place (at least I'm crossing my fingers that it is).

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the Oblivion soundtrack has been a constant source of inspiration lately. It’s composed by Joseph Trapanese (who worked with Daft Punk on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack) and M83 (a French electronic band) and is this incredible hybrid score that combines a traditional symphony with a more modern sound. I never used to be able to listen to music when I wrote, but gradually I’ve come to depend on it to get me in the “writing zone.” This soundtrack brings on the urge to write whenever I hear it, because the tone of it perfectly captures the bittersweet quality I often aim for in my stories.

Here’s a gorgeous piece from Oblivion entitled “I'm Sending You Away.” Enjoy!



                                                        


What Else I’ve Been Up To:

This past Sunday, I attended The Word on the Street book and magazine festival, where I was fortunate enough to hear Robert J. Sawyer, an award-winning science fiction author, speak . He had some very insightful things to say that could easily be applied to other genres as well. If you’d like to read more about that, you can find my post here. I’ve included my favourite tips from Mr. Sawyer in that post.

So what’s up with you lately?




35 comments:

  1. It doesn't hurt to plot out #2 and write a little. Sometimes agents want to see what you have in mind if they're interested in #1. In any case, you'd be ready.
    How exciting it must have been to hear Robert Sawyer. I'm going to have to go back and read your post on that.

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    1. That's a really good point.Thanks, now I don't feel like I'm jumping the gun quite so much lol. Hearing Robert Sawyer speak was a great experience. I could have listened to him talk for much longer, but unfortunately his session was only an hour long. He packed some really good advice into a very short time though!

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  2. I think plotting the sequel can be a good thing; sometimes it helps you realize stuff about characters and Book 1's plot. Gotta go where the creative juices take you :)

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    1. That's very true. I've actually changed the odd thing in book one while drafting book two because I've spotted a couple teeny plot inconsistencies, or I've realized that I wanted to add in a few details. Why is it that those creative juices always seem to flow at the most inconvenient times? :)

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, though like I told you, it wasn't without its disturbing moments. Still, it was a five star read for me. I still have to read my copy of DESCENDENT, but there are others in line before it, so I don't know when that will happen. I'm happy to hear that you're finding ways to strengthen aspects of Book 2. That's always a good feeling. I've been thinking a little bit more about Watch of Night and ways that I can strengthen the conflict (which, as you know, is my main issue with this story). I think I may have some ideas. We'll see though. I still have yet to sit down and listen to the Oblivion soundtrack in its entirety. I think because I haven't been at my computer much, I haven't really been listening to music. We're overdue for a Google Hangout sometime. Must remedy that! :-)

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    1. Seeing as the internet was down last night and my writing session got thrown off, I read a nice chunk of CROWN OF MIDNIGHT instead. I'm almost halfway through and so far I love it, though that's not a surprise.

      Book two has felt like a constant juggling act, but I'm enjoying the challenge (even when I gripe about it). It's so tricky to strengthen plot lines that are supposed to be suspenseful without giving too much away. I tried to have some good reveals in book one, so hopefully I can manage that with the sequel as well. And even if the reveals aren't incredibly shocking, I still want those plot threads to be thorough and believable, you know? I'm excited that you have some ideas for Watch of Night. Feel free to toss those my way sometime! We need to plan a little Google Hangout writers retreat sometimes soon, perhaps combined with Pumpkinpalooza.

      We've been listening to the Oblivion soundtrack almost nonstop lately, which is great for getting me geared up for writing long before I actually sit down to work. :)

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  4. Ack I really need to finish Throne of Glass! I just started college again and it's sitting up on my shelf waiting for me to have a free minute. I love it so far. :) Speaking of dark books, it's probably a good thing you're reading Ender's Game with your son. That book was disturbing. It was fantastic, but really dark.

    I love Oblivion! A visually very beautiful movie, as well as having a lovely soundtrack. Thanks for posting. :)

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    1. Oh boy, that must be so tough to have it sitting there and not be able to read it! It's good that you're being disciplined about school though. I hope you get some extra time to fit some fun reading in!

      And yes, Ender's Game is definitely one I wanted to read with my son rather than letting him tackle it on his own. There are a lot of issues in it that require some guidance. That's always been my policy with books where he's concerned, not only because of mature content, but reading with him is such a great opportunity to open up good discussion. Plus, we just like reading together. :)

      I agree that Oblivion was a visually beautiful movie. I love movies with incredible atmosphere and that one drew me into the setting right from the start. Have an awesome week!

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    2. It's nice to be able to bond over reading together. :)

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  5. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT! I think I've been clear, and slightly redundant, on how much I love this book (series) so I won't go into it again. But...yeah...Chaol.

    I get what you mean about writing a sequel with first book still in limbo. It is for you, and I thinks it's a good thing to do, I've done a bit on my sequel, but do get your first book ready and out there. I have hope for you that both will be picked up!

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    1. Chaol is awesome! I'm not normally even a shipper but seriously, there is no contest between him and Mr. Stuck-Up So-Called Prince Charming Annoyingpants. Sigh. I sense a fangirl obsession coming on and I haven't even finished the first book...

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    2. Go Team Chaol! And feel free to rave about the series here, because I promise I won't get tired of hearing it!

      I know you feel the same way about jumping into drafting a sequel, and I find that very reassuring. I've made some good progress in my latest (and hopefully last for a while) round of revisions. It's mostly trimming and tweaking some word choices to make the voice more consistent at this point, so nothing too heavy. Hopefully, I'll be ready to start querying again in the next week or so! :)

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  6. Definitely agree that there aren't enough hours in the day! I've done the working on the sequel whilst editing the first book thing before, and it made both books better in the end. Hope it works for you! :)

    Crown of Midnight is awesome, even better than Throne of Glass! I need to check out Ender's Game at some point.

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    1. Glad to hear you found working ahead was a good choice in the end! I think it'll be best for my trilogy (and my creative motivation) too. I've been hearing amazing things about CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, and you aren't the first person I've come across that said they enjoyed it even better than THRONE OF GLASS. That makes me so excited to finish reading it! Definitely check out Ender's Game. It's not for everyone (it's a bit dark and violent for a book with characters that are kids) but it has influenced a lot of other books and is well worth the read!

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  7. Oooh, inspiring music! Thanks for sharing. I need to check out that whole OST when I have the time.

    Throne of Glass is the next book I shall be reading. I really hope I enjoy it as much as everyone else ^_^

    I tried so hard not to write a sequel I wound up with the worst writer's block I've ever had. In the end I cranked out a draft during NaNo and felt sooooo much better for it. You gotta go with the muse.

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    1. I thought you might enjoy the music! I know you like the Tron soundtrack and I think Joseph Trapanese and M83 really outdid themselves with this one. It has an incredible main theme, which repeats a lot throughout the soundtrack, and I love that!

      I hope you enjoy THRONE OF GLASS too! This series is shaping up to be one of my favourites, I think!

      You know, I think if I held off from writing the sequel I wouldn't be capable of working on a different project either. These characters and this story are too much a part of me right now to ignore them in favour of something else. I agree. Go with the muse!

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  8. I agree, that when you're pitching a series, some agents want to know the gist of book two. Can't hurt to have that ace up your sleeve.

    But I know how it is when multiple projects are vying for your attention. I have two right now that won't play nice with each other. I've decided to give them both a time out.

    And I haven't read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, but if the first one is as good as you say, I'm going to have to add them to my TBR pile. :)

    Hope you have a wonderful week!

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    1. Well, they'll get the gist of book three from me too, because I've had the end planned for ages now lol. I'm glad a few of you brought that point up. It's easy to fixate on that first ms in a series and feel guilty for not devoting every ounce of effort to it, but planning ahead is so important too. I hope your two projects start behaving themselves. One WIP is overwhelming enough without dividing time between multiple stories, but what do you do when you have so many awesome ideas to work on?

      I definitely recommend CROWN OF MIDNIGHT if you're a fan of fantasy! Hope you have a wonderful week too! :)

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  9. I love what you said about "writing for me." I think those are the stories that are greatest, the ones we are passionate about and can't set aside. I hope your return to querying goes well, and that your new project goes smoothly. Also, Word on the Street sounds amazing. I love listening to authors talk about their processes and experiences. Hope you have a great week, Erin!

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    1. The whole "writing for me" philosophy is something I struggle with a lot, but without it I don't think I'd ever make it through the highs and lows of the process, and I'd never be able to love one of my stories long enough to see it through to the end. I agree that the stories we write for ourselves are the best ones, because that passion can't help but find its way onto the page. I hope you have a great week as well!

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  10. I already have a sequel written and I'm still revising my first book. I just couldn't wait... I have two more in the series begging for attention but I'm trying to hold them in until I at least have the first one revised!
    The music piece is gorgeous!

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    1. Nice! I'm glad you mentioned that you're having a hard time holding in the next couple books, because I'm pretty sure the moment I'm done book two I'll start on book three lol. I like how writers reward themselves for doing revisions with more drafting. :)

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  11. Oh my goodness, I LOVE that soundtrack. It works so well with my current WIP and I especially love "Waking Up." Glad you linked to your post on the festival. I missed that post of yours but I'm definitely bookmarking it. What great advice!

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    1. Isn't it amazing? I had such a hard time picking only one song to post from it, because I love them all. I find it's great for writing action, romance, whatever, because it's just so dramatic. We play it pretty much all the time at my house these days, whether I'm writing or not lol.

      I'm glad you found my post on the festival helpful! :)

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  12. It's definitely a struggle balancing the writing time! I'm almost done with revisions and trying to work on a new story too. And thanks for pointing me toward the Oblivion soundtrack. Nice!

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    1. It feels like a constant juggling act, doesn't it? I find it so hard to switch from revision mode to drafting mode, but I guess it's something that any writer needs to practice and get used to. Good luck finishing up your revisions and working on your new story! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the song from Oblivion! It's my favourite soundtrack now, so I had to share it. :)

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  13. I'm on hold at the library for Crown at Midnight. I can't wait to read it. Good luck with your writing. Have a great weekend!

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    1. I hope everyone in line ahead of you reads fast then, so you can get your hands on as soon as possible! :)

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  14. I did the same thing - started a sequel while I was querying the first one. Then, I heard you shouldn't do that and all the reasons made sense, BUT - you captured it so effectively with this: "But when it boils down to it, I’m writing it for me." I actually write all my stories for me now because I also learned at a writing conference that "you must write the book that you would want to read." And I know this probably sounds conceited, but I definitely like reading my stories. If no one else likes them, at least I do. Or at least that helps me get through all the rejection! That and a bottle of wine. :)

    Good luck with the writing! It is hard to find balance, isn't it. Also, I LOVE that you and your son are reading ENDER'S GAME together. My son and I are reading Origami Yoda. Love bonding over books!

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    1. I guess what it boils down to is that there aren't any rules for inspiration. And seeing as inspiration isn't always easy to come by, if you're lucky enough to be hit with it, then you need to take advantage while you can! It doesn't sound conceited at all to say you enjoy reading your own stories. I'm the same way. And if you're amused and interested by what you wrote, then there's a good chance other people will be too!

      ORIGAMI YODA looks like a fun book! I love bonding with my son over books too. He bonds over sports with his dad, but reading is our special thing. :)

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  15. I love M83's music! It's so funny that you mention the Oblivion soundtrack - I just listened to it for the first time this week and I think it's great. Have you seen the movie Warm Bodies yet? It's based on a book (which I haven't read), but there's a scene where they play M83's Midnight City. That was the first time I heard them, and I fell in love with the song. Right after the movie ended, I was like, "We have to find that song." :) Here's the clip if you want to check it out (the song starts at 0:47): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhD_PcLlEeg. (The movie is pretty good too!)

    Sounds like your writing is being tricksy, but that things are coming together. I hope so! I'll be sending happy writing thoughts your way. :)

    Have a great week, Erin!

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    1. Oh that's why that song sounded familiar! After watching Oblivion, I listened to a bunch of M83's music (which I really liked--their videos are so cool!) and I was sure I'd heard Midnight City before. I didn't realize it was on Warm Bodies until you mentioned it though. I absolutely loved Warm Bodies! I haven't read the book yet, but I've heard it's great as well.

      My writing is being very tricksy these days. It's moving slowly but surely though. I appreciate the happy thoughts! :)

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    2. Yay! I'm glad you've heard it before. I love the album Midnight City is on - it's fantastic writing music.

      I picked up the book (WARM BODIES) at the library, but couldn't get into it. It's VERY similar to the movie ... (I wish I had read it before seeing the movie!) Still, I might give it another try. Romeo & Juliet-esque zombie books? Pretty much the best thing ever. :) I think that song is also played in the last episode of The Mindy Project's first season. I *think*. Should I be embarrassed that I know this? ;)

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  16. It's been years since I've listened to soundtracks but I used to love them. Most especially Legend's soundtrack. I can't write with music that has lyrics so I bet soundtracks would be perfect for me. I'm going to spend the weekend listening to soundtracks that could fit my contemporary YA.

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    1. I've really grown to depend on them when I write, especially when I need to shut out other distractions. Have fun sampling soundtracks this weekend! I hope you find some that suit your writing needs!

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