Wednesday, 8 January 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m ready to jump back into blogging now that it’s a new year. I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays!

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writer’s 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’m almost done These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. In fact, I think I only have about thirty pages left, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.  So far, the story is just as impressive as the gorgeous cover. I love the prose, the plot, the characters—everything about it. I’m so glad this one was under the tree for me this Christmas.


What I’m Writing:

I’ve been hard at work on my revisions for Pitch Wars, but those are winding down. I’ve managed to trim my ms to 100k, which is nothing short of a miracle, let me tell you. I also rewrote my opening chapters (mostly the first one). That involved a lot of rearranging, adding on a new scene, fleshing out a scene, chopping a few bits, inserting a few minor characters, and introducing one main character sooner. That last one was a challenge but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also made a major name change to a particular group in my story, which felt weird at first, but now I love it and feel that it’s much more fitting than what they were called before. It sounds like a lot of work—and it has been—but the overall effect is an improved version of what was there before. At least I hope it is!

What Inspires Me Right Now:

The fact that it’s a brand new year with lots of potential. I’m also inspired by the number of sci-fi movies and TV shows that are coming out in 2014. I feel giddy just thinking about it. As a writer and reader of sci-fi, I hope that spills over into books.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

It was a relaxing holiday for us this year, mostly filled with movies, reading, writing, and hockey. My mouth healed up nicely after my dental surgery, which was a huge relief, although I still had to eat squishy foods. Fortunately once my stitches were out, I was able to indulge in the Gingerbread Ale and Eggnog Stout my hubby brewed specially for the season. Definitely worth waiting for. I also got around to doing some Christmas baking: gingerbread, cranberry maple cornbread cake, sticky toffee pudding, and I taught my son to make white chocolate cranberry cookies.

On New Year’s Day, we kicked off 2014 at a Saskatoon Blades hockey game with my in-laws. Our team won, so hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come this year. We also tried to stay warm, seeing as the temperatures dipped down to -34 degrees Celsius (-29F) but felt like -47 with the wind chill factor. Brr! No, I’m not joking about that. Wish I was! Such is life on the Canadian prairies.

This past weekend, we finally went to see Ender’s Game and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought they did a great job adapting it to the big screen. Asa Butterfield was wonderful as Ender, and the soundtrack was gorgeous (Yay! Writing music!) Just for kicks, here are some of the movies we watched over the holidays:  The Wolverine (loved the Japanese setting), Iron Man 3 (Tony Stark is such a weirdo. Hilarious.), Pacific Rim (had low expectations and ended up loving it), Paranoia (nothing spectacular but entertaining none the less), Despicable Me 2 (So funny. I want a minion.), Monsters University (Cute, but liked the first one way better), After Earth (Heard it was a stinker, but was pleasantly surprised, which probably has something to do with the fact that it was a good family movie.)

So what’s up with you at the beginning of this shiny new year?


56 comments:

  1. I completely forgot to ask for any books for Christmas this year ^^; Thankfully I did receive a few giftcards that can go towards some instead :P

    Sounds like the edit's coming along nicely. Hope you get some good news from Pitch Wars :D

    Oh that is SO cold. It's times like this I'm so glad we don't get that kind of weather here in the UK :)

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. There are two things I put on my Christmas list every single year: books and fuzzy socks. I got both, so I was quite happy about that! Hope you have fun spending those gift cards! I think picking out books yourself is just as fun as getting them as gifts.

      This winter has been particularly cold so far. When I first moved to the prairies I was horrified by the weather, and while I'm used to it now, I still dread it every year. I'm very, very jealous of your UK weather! Hope you have a wonderful week too! :)

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  2. So glad you're mouth healed enough for you to indulge in some holiday treats and homebrew. (Some would argue that homebrew actually falls under the category of "treats" :)

    And congrats on reworking your MS like that! Those type of changes can be so daunting, so GO YOU!!! And I hope the Pitch War gods smile favorably on you, because you totally deserve it.

    Love your movie list over the Holidays. There is nothing finer than being able to cuddle up on the couch and watch fun flicks! Which hopefully you can do without freezing to death. Those temperatures sound absolutely brutal.

    Hope you have a great week. Stay warm! :)

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    1. I was relieved too, though I could have stuck to an all gingerbread diet pretty easily. The home brews were definitely a treat after waiting so long to try them. Now that I'm healed up I can indulge a wee bit more though. :)

      Revisions have been crazy for my ms. It's amazing how changing the littlest detail can result in an avalanche of inconsistencies that need to be fixed! I just shipped it off to my Pitch Wars mentor, so we'll see what she thinks. She's been super helpful throughout the process.

      The weather is supposed to warm up here soon--well, to a normal winter temperature for Saskatchewan at least. Still can't wait for spring though! Have a great week yourself!

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  3. I watched Despicable Me 2, also! My mom made some crochet minions for the kids of the family for Christmas and they were adorable.

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    1. Wasn't it hilarious? I liked it just as much as the first one, maybe even more since there was that whole wacky romance plot. Crocheted minions? That's an awesome idea! I bet the kids loved those!

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  4. I'm so happy you're back to blogging, Erin! Way to go on your Pitch Wars revisions. Trimming can be so hard, but (at least in my case) losing words almost always makes the story better. I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying THESE BROKEN STARS. It just arrived at my house yesterday, and I think it'll be my next read. Love the gorgeous cover! It sounds like you and your family had a wonderful holiday. Happy New Year, and have a fantastic week!

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    1. I'm glad to be back after a much needed break! Getting my story under 100k took sacrificing some parts I liked, so that was tough. Weeding a word here and there just wasn't enough this time, unfortunately. Ah well. I hope the story is better for it in the long run. In any case, maybe shortening it will convince agents to consider it.

      I'm totally dying today, because I'm too busy to finish those last thirty pages of THESE BROKEN STARS. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and that your new year is getting off to a great start, Katy! :)

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  5. Oh wow, that is cold! Keeping warm and watching movies sounds like the perfect way to spend the holidays! Have a great week! :)

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    1. Yeah, it's a wee bit on the chilly side. Keep warm was definitely the priority this Christmas! Hope you have a great week too!

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  6. I can't wait to read These Broken Stars! My library doesn't have it. I may have to complain.

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    1. That's too bad your library doesn't have it. Maybe you could put in a special request? In any case, I hope you get to read it some time, because I'm really enjoying it!

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  7. Glad you healed in time for Christmas treats--the homebrews in particular sound great! Happy New Year :)

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    1. The home brews were amazing, and I was so relieved my mouth healed up enough to try them for Christmas. Drinking gingerbread and eggnog beer after the holidays just wouldn't be as fun. Happy New Year to you too!

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  8. Congratulations on your radical revisions and rewrites! I've had to do that with really old drafts, and it's tough but fun and rewarding. I had to change a few of the names in my first Russian historical, after finally realising it wasn't accurate for non-royalty to go by Western names, and now it just feels natural to see authentically Russian and Estonian names instead of the decidedly inaccurate names my 13-year-old self had given them and kept all those years due to cognitive dissonance.

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    1. Intros are so tricky to write. I think the toughest part about rewriting is that the smallest change can unravel so many other parts of the story if you're not careful. I've shipped it off to my Pitch Wars mentor, so hopefully she likes what I've done with it. As for names, it's difficult to change something that's so engraved in your mind. Throughout this latest revision I really grew to love the change though, thank goodness!

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  9. Yay, you're back!
    Good job on your manuscript. I'm glad you like it better now.
    I watched most movies you and like them all - except for Ender's Game. Didn't watch that one yet. I'll wait for the blu-ray of that one ...

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    1. Thanks, it's been a lot of work but definitely worth it! I hope you enjoy Ender's Game as much as we did when you see it. We'll be getting that one on bluray when it comes out for sure. :)

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  10. I've heard so many good things about These Broken Stars, I'm really going to have to read it. It sounds like you had a great holiday, all that talk of baking has made me hungry :)

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    1. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and I'm glad it's part of a trilogy because I definitely want to read more! I hope you like it as much as me! I did have a great holiday, and it's probably good that all the Christmas baking is done now! Time for something healthier lol! :)

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  11. It sounds like you've been productive lately. Oral surgery and tons of revising. Are you a superhero?

    Happy New Year.

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    1. I got a lot done over the holidays and had some time to relax too, which was nice. Ha! I only wish I was a superhero! Fortunately, the oral surgery wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be, so that was a definite plus. We'll see how phase two of the process goes next month though. Happy New Year to you too!

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  12. Seeing as how you're almost done THESE BROKEN STARS, I can go back to Goodreads and add a rating now. ;-) I didn't want to sway your opinion of it in any way. Doesn't matter, because I'm giving it five stars. It really got me thinking about the kinds of projects I *want* to be working on. I really enjoyed OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, too.

    This was a good holiday season for Todd and me as well. We played lots of games, got caught up on the shows on the PVR, watched movies, drank lots of cider... Kind of sucks that he's back to work now, but that's how it goes. I'm so glad you liked Ender's Game as much as I did. And the soundtrack too. Speaking of, I think I might put it on right now!

    We definitely need to schedule a Skype session this week. We'll talk... :-)

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    1. Yeah, as long as those last thirty pages don't end up letting me down (which I'm fairly certain they won't) I'll be giving it five stars too. I'm relieved to hear you liked OF BEAST AND BEAUTY. I might have to dive into it next. Love the cover on that one too.

      We didn't end up playing many games--just a couple rounds of cribbage, but we need to remedy that in the new year, especially since we have a ton of them kicking around here and Liam loves games. Wish you guys could've had a longer break together.

      I really need to buy the soundtrack for Ender's Game asap. It's been so busy lately that I keep forgetting. I can't wait until the bluray comes out so we can watch the movie again. It's a keeper.

      Yes, Skype session very soon. We need to kick off this writing year properly! :)

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  13. I've heard awesome things about These Broken Stars, and I can't wait to read it. Good luck on your Pitch Wars ms--it sounds like it's going really well :)

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    1. For me, it definitely lived up to the hype! Hope you enjoy it too! Thanks for wishing me luck on my Pitch Wars ms. It's been a lot of work, but my mentor has been very helpful, and I'm happy with the results. :)

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  14. These Broken Stars! Ah, I'm dying to read that! I'm glad to know my family isn't the only one that watches a crazy ton of movies during the Holidays :) Awesome job on getting your manuscript ready for pitchwars, that's so freaking exciting!

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    1. THESE BROKEN STARS seems to be the hit book of this winter, and it definitely deserves the attention it's getting, in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it too! Seeing as it's been so cold here, and we weren't travelling this Christmas, it was nice to kick back and veg with some new movies. I don't feel so bad about being glued to the TV now that I know your family does the same lol. I got lots done on my Pitch Wars ms, so I figure I deserved a few movies :D

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  15. Hey, Erin, I'm new to WUW, (today is my first post) and I am so excited to jump in and take part. You've got some interesting things going on, girl. I hope your enjoying PitchWars. Is it rude to ask who your mentor is? I'm a mentor and its been a great experience. Cheers.

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    1. Nice to meet you! I'm so glad you decided to join us for WUW Wednesday. We've got a pretty great crowd here!

      It's not rude at all to ask who my mentor is. I'm thrilled to say I'm working with Liz Briggs. She's been super helpful and encouraging. It's nice to hear the mentors are enjoying the experience too. Good luck to your team in the agent rounds!

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  16. Yikes! See--this is why I'm not complaining too loudly about the "cold" weather here. I can't even imagine -29F! Sounds like you've had a fun start to the year, Erin. Here's hoping the rest of it is just as fun and productive! :)

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    1. It's pretty hard to imagine until you experience it. When I moved to the prairies from out east, I was horrified. Being from Ontario originally, I'd never had to face these kinds of temperatures before. When it gets like this everything literally feels like it's going to shatter from the cold!

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  17. Major good luck vibes your way for Pitch Wars! I hope all that hard work pays off :) Also, Pacific Rim was one of my favourite films last year, I think people really overlook it! I loved it :)

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    1. Thanks for those good luck vibes! The way I see it, even if I don't get any requests in the alternate showcase, it's been worth it just for the help my mentor has given me. Wasn't Pacific Rim great? I heard all sorts of grumbling about it, so I didn't expect to like it. My husband and I were both a little confused by that because it was fun and sad and exciting. The concept was just totally cool too! Glad you enjoyed it as well!

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  18. I caught up on movies too over the holidays. I watched Pacific Rim with low expectations and they were pretty much met. It wasn't bad but...
    I loved Ender's Game. Even though I haven't read the book, I thought Asa Butterfield did a great job!
    We had that same cold weather over here in Alberta. Ick.

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    1. Wasn't Ender's Game awesome? Loved the scenes in the battle room. I read the book years ago, but just finished reading it again to my son, so it was fresh in my mind when we saw the movie.

      Hey, stop sending us all your cold Alberta weather! Kidding :P

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  19. I really have to read These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. It sounds like such a great book and everyone I know who has read it loves it.

    It's exciting that you're almost done with your Pitch Wars edits! I know what a struggle it can be to cut words down. 100k is a nice sized book.

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    1. I'd heard so much about it and was really happy to find it under the tree this year at Christmas. I thought it lived up to the hype for sure! Hope you enjoy it too!

      Isn't cutting words the worst? I think that's probably my least favourite part of the writing process. I'll be glad to finish my Pitch Wars revisions and then take a little breather!

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  20. Happy New Year. I'm glad you had a good Christmas and are blogging again :)
    It sounds like you've been working hard! I find cutting words so hard, I hate seeing my word count go down. Good luck in pitch wars. I need to read up on whst it actual is, as lots of people keep mentioning it.
    I'm so happy to hear These Broken Stars is fantastic. I've been following Amie's blog for a long time and I can't wait to read it. It's out here at the end of the month.
    Have a good week.

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    1. Happy New Year to you too! I'm glad to be at it again!

      Cutting words is probably the part of the writing process I hate the most. I always feel like I'm parting with something special. I had to sacrifice a few segments that I really liked, but there's a better chance agents will consider my ms if it's under 100k, so I think it was necessary. You should definitely read up on Pitch Wars. Maybe you'll want to enter someday!

      I can't believe you have to wait until the end of the month to get THESE BROKEN STARS. When you get to read it, I hope you love it as much as I have!

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  21. OMG I loveddd These Broken Stars! It was such a fantastic read! Good luck in Pitch Wars! I'm rooting for all the requests for you. :)

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    1. I still have to finish up the ending, but so far I've been hanging on every word. I almost wish I'd waited to read it, because the sequel is so far away. Thanks for wishing me luck with Pitch Wars! Whatever happens in the alternate showcase, it's been worth it just for the awesome help of my mentor!

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  22. Ooh, congrats on the revisions! I'm still thinking about your MS so I'm glad you're feeling good about it. We're just coming out of a blizzard here--lots of wind and snow but not quite as cold as you. Still cold enough to close school, though!

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    1. Thanks! The main reason for the revisions was to introduce my mc better before the inciting incident, so hopefully I've accomplished that now. You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that you're still thinking about my ms. Once Pitch Wars is done (maybe even sooner) it's back to working on book 2. I think I needed a little break to find some clarity before writing the ending, so all of this Pitch Wars stuff landed at a good time.

      We haven't had any blizzards this year, thank goodness, but the snow has been steady. Can't wait for spring!

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  23. I can't wait to read These Broken Stars it's in my TBR pile. I've heard so many good things. Congrats on the revisions. Have a great weekend!

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    1. I just finished it this evening and loved it from start to finish. Hope you enjoy it too! :)

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  24. I'm glad to hear you had a nice holiday! I'm also glad you're returning to blogging. :)

    I want to read THESE BROKEN STARS sometime soon. I keep hearing good things!

    Best of luck finishing up your revision. Pitch Wars is great - I hope you get lots of requests!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet! I'm glad to be back, and I hope you enjoyed the holidays as well! I'm kind of sad that I'm finished THESE BROKEN STARS already, because it's such a long wait until the next book comes out. I hope you love it as much as I did! I'm not sure what will happen in the alternate showcase for Pitch Wars, but even if I don't get any requests, it's been well worth it to have my mentor's advice on my ms. I'm so happy I entered now!

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  25. So exciting you're doing Pitchwars! That's awesome, Erin. And LOVE the pic. You and your sister both are model gorgeous. I love this weekly hop you do. Hope your holidays were wonderful.

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    1. Hey, Morgan! Thanks so much for your kind words! Glad you liked the picture. I have to confess I'm actually wearing my pajamas in it lol. I realized later that I match the cover of THESE BROKEN STARS, so that's kind of funny. Hope you enjoyed your holidays as well! :)

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  26. Have you seen Oblivion yet? We watched that on New Year's Eve and really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed Ender's Game and thought the casting was spot on.
    Oooo, you did a LOT on your revisions! I'm just starting into mine and have a lot of those heavy-lifting-type changes to be done ... and I've already done a lot so far! It's so hard and so intimidating, but after you feel so great. So congrats!

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    1. Yes! I love Oblivion! So glad you enjoyed it too! I actually write to the soundtrack all the time.

      You're right about revisions being intimidating. Every time I sit down to rip apart or rewrite a scene, I feel that way, but somehow it always manages to come together. Good luck on your revisions as well! :)

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  27. You're in pitch wars?! BIG CONGRATS!! and good luck! glad to have found your blog! new follower, hi!

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    1. Thanks so much, and I'm glad you found your way here! :)

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  28. Good luck in Pitch Wars!

    Those freezing temperatures are/were crazy. We Chicago folk like to think we're tough from our winters, but the polar vortex stuff had us inside crying. And then celebrating when it hit 40F later in the week.

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    1. Thanks! I'm still busy working on revisions, but I'll be ready to cheer my team on next week!

      And yes, that whole temperature drop was insane. I hope winter gets the cold out of its system soon so we can all enjoy a nice early spring. Wishful thinking, I know. :)

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