Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What's Up Wednesday


In case you’re new to 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’m about two thirds of the way through Unhinged. It was another slow reading week for me, but I’m sneaking in a few pages here and there.

What I’m Writing:

This week I revised a few key scenes. I’m right in the heart of the good stuff, and I’ve been taking my time rewriting the end of one chapter in particular. These are the scenes that make me love revising, the ones I get stuck in for all the best reasons. I have a feeling I’ll need to hack some of the next couple scenes down, which is painful to even think about. For the time being, I’m letting myself get lost in them though.

I also finally got around to naming some new characters. When you have a large cast, it can be hard to find a wide variety of names, especially when you’re looking for just the right ones. It’s a huge relief to me that, as small as some of these characters are, they’re finally more than blanks in my manuscript.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Over at YA Buccaneers, Ghenet (aka Curly McGee) recently did a post about book mapping. I took one look at it and realized this is EXACTLY what I need to do to get my WIP in shape. I’d had something like this in mind but wasn’t really sure how to go about it. In her post, Ghenet goes through the basics of book mapping and suggests Cheryl Klein’s book, Second Sight, as a further resource. Once I’m done this first round of revisions, I’m going to sit down and map this sucker out, which should give me some much needed guidance for round two. If you aren’t familiar with book mapping, I suggest you take a look: here. Thanks again to Ghenet for sharing what she learned at her book mapping workshop!

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Same old same old, only with more chocolate and lemon tarts. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of my Roswell Challenge, but I made sure I did extra time on the treadmill to make up for the dessert and craft brews consumed this weekend. I haven’t been limiting my exercise to a single episode of Roswell either. Lately, I’ve been tossing in some M83 and Ellie Goulding for kicks. There’s something rather fitting about listening to Ellie sing “Burn” while I’m trying to burn off calories. Take that calories!

I also received a couple treats from the hubby this week. Recently, he bought me some wild cherry black tea from McQuarries, our favourite tea shop. I immediately fell in love with it, and it’s become my writing tea. I managed to slurp it all down in record time, so he was thoughtful enough to surprise me with a new supply the other day. Must keep the brain fuelled! And then, on Monday, a Veronica Mars BOOK arrived in the mail for me! I had no idea there even was a book, but my husband happened to find out about it and ordered me a copy. In case you live under a rock like me, it’s called The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Seeing as it takes place ten years after the TV series (like the movie) I need to finish watching the show before I read it. I can’t wait, but at the same time I’ll be devastated when I’m done. We’re part way through season 3 now. Sniff.


So what’s up with you this week?

46 comments:

  1. Hehe - glad I'm not the only one with blanks in my manuscripts where names should be! I just filled one in the other day and am already changing it. :) Sounds like you've had a great week! Hope next week is more of the same!

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    1. I figured I had to move on and write the story because trying to find the right names was taking waaay to long. Seriously, I've spent hours on baby name websites. You know that my cast of characters is on the large side, so with book two it's been so tough to find unique names that don't sound too similar. It's a relief to have that mostly out of the way! Hope you have a great week too!

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  2. Good luck revising! I don't know how you and Alison do it - leave blank spaces for names. I can't start unless I have a voce, a character name/description and a little bit of idea. Bravo to you though :) I love Ellie Goulding - so glad she is inspiring you, Erin. I've been a fan way before she got popular and saw her live in 2010/2011…it's pretty funny because now people are like OMG YOU SAW HER LIVE? I guess she just got so big.

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    1. Normally leaving names blank drives me crazy too, but seeing as these were all minor characters (that I had a sufficient picture of in my head), I was able to get past it and move on with the story. My WIP is a sci-fi sequel with a large cast of characters, so it's been super tough finding unique names (although not too weird). I'm so glad to have filled in most of the blanks now!

      That's very cool that you got to see Ellie Goulding live! I have a few of her songs on both my writing and exercise playlists. I'd have to say "Burn" is my favourite. :)

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  3. It's always nice to put a name to a face, especially when those faces belong to fictional characters. :)

    That book mapping link looks super useful, thanks for sharing!

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. Yes, it is! Finding unique names seems to be getting tougher and tougher. Hope you find the book mapping post as helpful as I did and that you have a lovely week as well!

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  4. I love Veronica Mars! I can't wait to see the movie. I want to try book mapping too. I sort of did it with the WIP I'm revising but Ghenet's post showed a more in in-depth way of doing it and I have another WIP to revise soon .

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    1. I'm looking forward to watching the VMars movie too, although I'll be sad when my husband and I finish watching all the shows. Ghenet's post was definitely more in-depth than what I had in mind too, and it looks like a really organized way to look at a lot of story data at once. I'm so eager to try it out once I get through this round of revisions. :)

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  5. Yay hubby, what a nice surprise! And that tea sounds yum.

    Have a great week of revising and getting lost in scenes :)

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    1. It was an even better surprise seeing as I didn't know the book even existed! I'm drinking a cup of my wild cherry tea right now to get me geared up for writing. It's SO good! And thanks, I'm writing with Jaime tomorrow, so I'm hoping to get lots done!

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  6. It's so interesting to see how naming works for other writers. I usually come up with a name right away--but for some reason, I really gravitate toward names that start with A, and it gets confusing to have similar-sounding characters. So I end up changing names later on. No idea why I like the sound of "A" names so much!
    That tea sounds delicious. Have a great week!

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    1. I find my process for naming varies depending on the character. It's always convenient when they pop into my head with a name already attached. Sometimes when I pick a name it helps form the character, and other times the personality of the character determines what name I choose. I guess I don't have a set in stone way of going about it, but when I finally hit on the right name, it usually just clicks. I agree that it gets confusing if too many names in a story sound similar. That was part of my strugglem because this WIP has a large cast and is a sequel. I know what you mean about gravitating towards names that begin with a certain letter. I'm the same way!

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  7. I've done some similar stuff to book mapping, though I hadn't used that term. I should pick up that book she referenced because I've seen it mentioned a number of times. I'm willing to try any method once that relates to plotting!

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    1. This first round of revisions let me know that I needed to try something like this, so Ghenet's post was timely for me. I was trying to visualize how to go about it but was at a bit of a loss. This whole book mapping idea seems like a really efficient way to look at a lot of story data at one time. I need to pick up SECOND SIGHT as well, and yes, anything that helps with plotting is worth trying! I'm a planner so I thrive on this stuff.

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  8. I haven't tried that book mapping but I'm going to check it out for sure. It's probably a lot more organized than me laying index cards all over the floor and then pacing! ;) I also have a big thing about naming characters. They have to be just right or I get annoyed.
    One of these days I'm going to get around to watching Veronica Mars.

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    1. I know right? I've done the index card thing before too, only on my dining room table. Not quite as efficient! Even the index cards on Scrivener only help so much. Sometimes you need to see your whole book at once, which is obviously really hard to do. Hope the book mapping method works well for you!

      I get annoyed if a character's name isn't right too. That's why it's taken so long to name some of mine. Fortunately these were all minor characters so I was able to plow ahead with the story and wait to fill in their names until I was sure what I wanted to call them.

      As for Veronica Mars, it's one of my favourite shows ever now, so I highly recommend it. :)

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  9. That book mapping post is really helpful! I did something similar when revising a book that needed a lot of work, setting out all the scenes in a spreadsheet. But it's a good idea to focus on the action/change in each scene. Now, I try to do that before I start (when outlining) to avoid having to rewrite entire scenes later.

    Have a great week!

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    1. I'm glad you found it useful too. I liked the action/change aspect of it as well. I just read an article about that over at Fiction University (which is incredible if you've never checked it out), so I like the idea of being able to track that in my story. I work it into my outline too, but seeing as the creative process sometimes takes over, it's nice to see if I strayed too much from the original plan. With this WIP I think I might have...a few times. Oops. :D

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  10. I'm so happy you liked the book mapping post! Thanks for spreading the word. :) I hope it helps you with your revision! I love the feeling of getting lost in your manuscript.

    Now that the Veronica Mars movie is out, I really want to finish watching the series!

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    1. Honestly, Ghenet, your post was a real life saver! I wanted to do something like this but really didn't know the best way to go about it. I love how book mapping lets you look at a lot of story data in a really efficient way. Sometimes it's so hard to wrap your head around an entire novel, you know? I'm super excited to try this method out once I'm done my first round of revisions, which should be soon! Thanks again!

      I think we're about a third of the way through the final season, which makes me so sad. I can't wait to see the movie too though. :)

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  11. I'm so happy you guys are loving Veronica Mars. I decided to plow through a bunch of them while I was knitting the other day, and I'm partway into Season 2 now. Not sure what I'll watch next. I'm going to make use of Ghenet's book mapping info at some point in my revision process. I can see how it would be VERY useful. It sounds like you've been way more diligent with your treadmill time than I have been. I'm going to have to get my butt in gear and do some serious treadmill time. That tea from McQuarries sounds good. I'm pretty much guzzling the Pom Tango tea I ordered from Davids. It's my absolute favourite tea they sell and I was all bummed because I thought they'd discontinued it. Turns out it was just seasonal, thank goodness! I'll have to stock up like crazy on it before the season is done.

    Looking forward to our writing session tomorrow! :-)

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    1. I think it's probably in my top five shows of all time now. Every episode is the whole package deal--great writing, awesome character development, suspenseful plot. I think Veronica needs to solve the mystery of how the heck her show ever got cancelled, because that I'll never understand.

      I'm partway through revising Act 3 of my WIP (the first round anyway), so I'll tackle the whole book mapping thing once I'm done that. I'm really looking forward to it, because I think it'll clear up some major issues for me, especially in terms of what to cut.

      That's cool that the Pom Tango tea wasn't actually cancelled. I haven't tried it yet. Trev got me the wild cherry tea in hopes that it would be a good replacement for David's cherry cola tea. It tastes more like real cherries, and it's super good.

      Talk to you tomorrow! :)

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  12. I have a few characters, in my hiatused and planned soft sci-fi/futuristic books, who need renamed as well. There's nothing wrong with a name like Terri, for example, but a protagonist needs a name that's more than just "there." The protagonist of the sci-fi book I got furthest into before putting it on a long hiatus was originally named Casey, but now she's named Arcadia. It's just more distinctive.

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    1. My WIP is near future sci-fi, so I've tried to use a mix of traditional names (often with the spelling tweaked) and other more unique names. I agree that a protagonist needs a distinctive name. Arcadia sounds very cool!

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  13. The whittling or cutting of beloved scenes is the hard, but vital part of revision, that makes it like pulling teeth at times. Hop things continue to go well! I am also going to check out that book mapping post by Ghenet. Sounds interesting and helpful!

    So, you know I'm totally into Veronica Mars right now too. #marshmallow

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    1. Yes, it's definitely necessary to a more polished ms with good pacing. I always find it difficult at first, but as my revisions progress I get more ruthless. I'll just tuck away the scenes I cut for my own enjoyment. I hope you find the book mapping method helpful. It seems like a really efficient way to see your whole story laid out. I'm looking forward to what useful info it reveals about my ms.

      Hmm, the hubby and I were saying we might have to snack on some Mars bars when we finally watch the VMars movie, but we might need to have some marshmallows too because that would also be fitting. :)

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  14. I struggle naming characters, I tend to spend a lot of time on baby names websites searching for exactly the right name. It's always worth it in the end, though. Good luck with your revisions!

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    1. Me too! I've been hanging out on baby name websites for hours lately. I've used so many good names for this WIP I'm dreading trying to find more names for whatever I write next! Thanks for wishing me luck!

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  15. Everyone's in an Ellie kick this spring!
    I have some on my jogging playlist too!

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    1. Yeah, she's pretty popular these days. I listen to a few of her songs when I write sometimes too. :)

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  16. I love tea (and coffee) when I write, my favorite is orchid vanilla by Tea Forte but I'll have to try the one you mentioned :) Naming characters is a huge point for me, and something that can be really hard to get right! I renamed several major characters and still type the wrong one every once in a while, but it is so important to have the right names. I can't stand reading books with boring or names that just don't fit.

    Just tried my first What's Up Wednesday this week and liked it :)
    Have a good week and good luck with revisions!

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    1. Orchid vanilla sounds so good! I'm weird about tea. I usually match the flavour to my mood or what I'm writing lol. I'm also particular about what mugs I drink from while I'm working. It's one of those quirky writer things, I guess.

      I agree that names are important. There are definitely some names that get overused in books and that drives me crazy. A character's name says so much about them. It's a way to communicate personality without a lot of detail. Fortunately, I was only naming minor characters with this WIP because it's a sequel, so I was able to plow ahead with the writing even without having all the names picked out.

      Glad you decided to join us for WUW! :)

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  17. I finished read The Thousand Dollar Tan Line on Sunday. It was a great read with all the fun and snark you expect from Veronica Mars. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

    I can't wait to check out book mapping. I've recently discovered the joys of the "beat sheet." It really helped me zero in on my story and find the pacing. This is my first time with revisions, so while I'm sure I'll love it, I know there will also be some major dislike in there, too.

    Good luck with your revisions!

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    1. Nice to know! It's getting positive reviews on Goodreads, so I hope that'll convince them to make it into a series, assuming they haven't already planned on it.

      I need to investigate this whole beat sheet thing too. I've heard people mention it, but have never gotten around to trying it out. Revisions can be tough, but it's when the story really starts to take shape, so overall I enjoy them. I hope your revisions go well too!

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  18. You have a writing tea, too? I can't write without a hot pot right next to my computer.

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    1. My writing tea changes from time to time, but these days the wild cherry tea is inspiring me. Our tea cupboard is overflowing, and yet I still tend to fall back on my favourites when it comes to writing. :)

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  19. Yay for book mapping! I can't wait to try it! And I'm so impressed by your husband's thoughtfulness. It's awesome that he knows just the right gifts to surprise you with. Best of luck revising those big scenes, Erin, and have a wonderful week!

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    1. The last really helpful method I found like this was the plot dot test you suggested. I wanted to find something similar to help me figure out other aspects of my WIP, so Ghenet's post was perfectly timed for me. I'm eager to try it out too!

      My husband and I are best friends, so he's pretty good at picking out gifts. We've been together longer now than we've been apart, which helps a lot too. I noticed that he added the Veronica Mars book on Goodreads, so there might have been an ulterior motive to that present lol. Hope you have a wonderful week too!

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  20. Is there any YA fans who don't absolutely love Veronica Mars? I think it's really the embodiment of YA, like Jaime pointed out in her post. It's got everything a good YA book needs in it -- and the romance! I don't think I've ever wanted two characters together as badly as I wanted Veronica and Logan.

    I love the book mapping post, thanks for sharing it! I feel like I need it for my WIP. I have an outline (in my head) and the first draft written and what I need to do to fix it (in my head, again), but this is needed.

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    1. I don't know why it took me this long to get into VMars. I think probably because I knew it got cancelled. When they announced the movie, I got excited because it seemed like there would be more of a reason to watch the show now, seeing as I missed it when it originally aired. Pretty much it's the whole package deal for a show: awesome writing, character development, and plot. And yes on the romance too. I like Logan, but man the dude has issues. I know who the other love interest is in season 3, even though we haven't made it to that point in the season yet, so the verdict is out about what team I'm on. I'll have to update on that once I'm done the series. :)

      I'm glad you found Ghenet's book mapping post helpful! It was exactly what I needed too.

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  21. I'm excited to read the Veronica Mars book. The library has a copy and I'm next on the list. I'm still searching for names for a few of my characters. I want the names to match their personality if that's possible.

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    1. It's sitting on my coffee table right now and I want to gobble it up, but have to wait until I'm done the show. I'm so torn! That's awesome that you're next on the library list. I'm sure it'll be a popular book, so it's nice that you didn't have to wait too long. Good luck in your character name search!

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  22. Reading through my first draft, I came across many people with names like THAT GUY WITH THE HAIR and things like that. So I understand.

    Also, good on your husband for paying attention ;)

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    1. Ha ha! Nice! I either leave a blank or insert some indicator in brackets. I like your method and might have to try it next time around. And yep, my husband pays close attention. We're best friends and have similar taste in a lot of things so that helps. Also, he wants to read the Veronica Mars book when I'm done with it. :D

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  23. Wild Cherry Black Tea?! Um, yum. Why do your blog posts always make me thirsty. (Don't answer that) ;)

    I've been meaning to check out Ghenet's Book Map post (bad pirate over here), because it sounds like a fantastic tool. And congrats on all your great revising progress. I love it when you get stuck in the good parts of your book. And character names, don't even get me started. I've been stealing some of mine from film credits. (Only if you do this at the actual theater, don't keep whispering loudly "That's another great name!" to your significant other, or they won't want to take you to any more movies) *grin*

    Hope you have an amazing week!

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    1. Ha ha, my posts almost always surround beverages for some reason. I guess we're big on matching just the right beverage to the occasion around here. Hmm, wonder how a wild cherry porter would taste. Might have to get the hubby looking for a recipe. :D

      Ghenet's post on book mapping was perfectly timed for me. I was in desperate need of some guidance on what to do with this WIP. I think mapping it out will really help, especially in terms of knowing what to cut out.

      I've been looking for names in film credits too! How can you not when all those names roll by? Most of mine I end up picking from baby name sites though. Seriously, it was easier to name my actual kid than half my characters!

      Have an amazing week yourself, Kris!

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