Wednesday, 23 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:

Still poking away at Dreams of Gods & Monsters.  I’m about three quarters of the way through.

What I’m Writing:

Round two of revisions got underway this week, and I checked nine scenes off the list. I’m now fiddling with the prose and TRYING to trim out words. I have a long way to go, but I love this stage of the process where I can tweak and shape and polish and really make the story come alive.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

I’ve been listening to Ingrid Michaelson’s fantastic new album, Lights Out. It’s typical Ingrid, with her usual mix of delightfully quirky and beautifully heartfelt songs, and yet it’s fresh and different for her too. I’m having a tough time narrowing down a favourite song off this album, but I love Open Hands, Over You, and Afterlife to name a few.


So why does she inspire me? Two big reasons. First of all, her music is a perfect metaphor for what “voice” means in writing. When you listen to an artist like Ingrid Michaelson, her style sounds unique, distinctly her. She can come out with another album and while it’s brand-new material, it’s still easy to recognize as her work. There’s a consistency to it, yet it brings something previously unexplored to her listeners. That’s what I should strive for as a writer trying to define my voice. Does it sound distinctly me? Is there a thread of consistency that runs through all my work and brands it as my own?

The other reason Lights Out inspires me is because it’s rejuvenating my love for a WIP I shunted to the backburner a couple years ago. I had a few of Ingrid’s songs on my playlist for that one, a contemporary YA romance that sort of morphed into an NA story instead. It isn’t the right time to pull that WIP out now, but it’s still percolating in the back of my mind and I’m reminded that I shouldn’t give up on it.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Finley and Flowers
Seeing as it was Easter weekend, we had a lot of relaxing family time around here: enjoying turkey dinner, watching Eureka, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies, listening to Lights Out, discovering the awesome show Suits, making delicious pica de gallo, watching The Dark Knight Rises, the boys running and me walking, the boys watching hockey while I revised my WIP, enjoying the mini carnations my hubby gave me just because, hiding from the gross weather. We got dumped on AGAIN with snow, but it fittingly disappeared on time for a nice, sunny Earth Day.

Also, it suddenly occurred to my husband and me that this was a milestone weekend for us. Twenty years ago, we started dating at Easter. We were only teenagers, and we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart. Is it any wonder everything I write has an element of romance in it?

So how was your week?


32 comments:

  1. Beautiful flowers and cat :) Oh wow twenty years is a long time. Congrats. Have a great week.

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    1. Thank you! And yep, twenty years is a long time, but it went by in a flash. :)

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  2. Wow, twenty years is amazing. Congratulations to you both.

    That is a nice song. I know what you mean about developing voice and you're right about it being noticeable in music. There's always a melody that always makes me recognise my favourite composers. The more you write, the more you develop it.

    Have a brilliant week!

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    1. Thanks, Cole! Twenty years flies by when you date/marry your best friend.

      I'm happy you liked Open Hands. I think it's quickly becoming my favourite song on the album. I've heard so many definitions of writing "voice" before, but I'd never heard anyone compare it to music. It just seems like a clear, easy way to define it. :)

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  3. Aww, happy 20 years of dating to you and your husband! We just had our "dating" anniversary too, but we're at the 14 year mark. :-) Best of luck with your revision. You are at the spot I love... All of that perfecting and layering and the playing with words. The best! Are you liking DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS? I still haven't started (the size!), but I'm hearing positive things. Have a great week, Erin!

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    1. Thanks, Katy! We don't usually keep track of our dating anniversary, so it kind of hit us out of the blue that we'd been together for two whole decades. I feel old but very happy! Congrats on your dating anniversary too!

      While I enjoy drafting, that blank page can be so daunting. Revisions are tough, but more rewarding in many ways because the story finally feels the way it's supposed to. I'm kind of cringing while I type this, but I'm finding DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS very long. The prose is lovely, but there's a lot of description and reflection. I hope you like it though. :)

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  4. What a lovely milestone. :) Hope you have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, and I hope you have a great week as well! :)

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  5. Congratulations on 20 years! That's awesome! I can't wait until I can finally get to DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. I love that series.

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    1. Thank you! It took us a bit by surprise to realize two whole decades had passed, seeing as we don't generally keep track of our dating anniversary. I hope you enjoy DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. :)

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  6. Congrats on 20 years! :) I'm finally starting on Dreams of Gods and Monsters, and liking it so far!

    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks! The time has flown by! I read a little more of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS since I posted this, so I should be done in the next day or two. Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  7. Twenty years, how lovely! :) Congrats!

    Good luck with the rest of your revisions, it sounds like you're making good progress so far. :) Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you! The years have gone by very fast! Revisions are going well, and I'm enjoying them now that I finally feel like I've worked up some momentum. Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  8. Happy 20 years! My husband and I started dating as teens, too, so I have a special place in my heart for teen romance :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I honestly think that's why I gravitate toward reading and writing YA/NA books. It just goes to show that teen relationships are legitimate, no matter what the scoffers say about YA. :)

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  9. Happy 20 years!!!!!! :) Good luck with the rest of your revisions, too, Erin. And Happy belated Easter! So glad you got to spend some family time. :) I also love Ingrid Michaelson. Have you listened to Regina Spektor? I also think she has a unique voice and lovely sound (I'm biased bc I saw her live once and that turned me onto her music) :) Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! They've been happy years for sure! The revisions are going well, now that I've built up some momentum. Yay, I'm glad you're an Ingrid fan too! I've only heard one of Regina Spektor's songs, but I really should give more of her music a listen to! Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  10. I love what you said here,"We were only teenagers, and we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart." I have been with my husband 10 years, we were babies when we got together. I love the idea of being together longer than you've been apart.

    Good luck with the revision, it sounds like you're in a really fun stage!

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    1. It's an amazing thing to realize someone is that much a part of you and that more than half your life has been hand in hand with theirs. It goes way beyond romance, doesn't it? Ten years is a big milestone too! I saw the pictures you posted of your wedding recently, and the two of you were adorable! My only wish is that the years would go by a bit slower.

      I'm enjoying my revisions now that I've gotten on a roll with them. This stage is definitely fun because the story starts to reach its full potential. :)

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  11. Not much to report for me this week, Erin, which is why I haven't done a WUW post (but my latest A-to-Z flash fiction story is up if you want to take a look!). Sounds like you've had an inspired week, especially with music and old WIPs. I agree with you about how an artist or band's sound is much like an author's voice. This is especially true when you look at songwriters. Some songwriters have a very distinct style that, even if someone else is singing the song, if you're familiar enough with that songwriter's style, you recognize who wrote it. If you know enough Bee Gees music, you can spot a song written by them a mile away, even if they aren't singing it. ABBA (or, rather, Benny and Bjorn, the principal writers for the group) are like that too (the musical "Chess" has a distinctly ABBA feel to it, I think).

    Enough of my rambling. You have yourself a wonderful week, Erin! :D

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    1. I read your flash fiction and thought it was very clever!

      That's another interesting way to look at the music comparison. Like you said, sometimes it's easy to pick out who wrote the original version of a cover song. I always admire artists whose music is so unique that no one else on the market sounds close to them. Some of my favourite groups/singers are like that, and likewise, some of my favourite authors. Hope you have a wonderful week too! :)

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  12. Aww, happy twenty years! That's so sweet.

    I LOVE Ingrid Michaelson. I've been listening to her latest album on repeat. I saw her perform live a couple of years ago - she's so great! I especially love her lyrics.

    Revising is my favorite stage. Have fun and good luck with it!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet! We don't usually keep track of our dating anniversary, so the whole twenty year thing came as a bit of a surprise. A good one though!

      I'm SO glad you mentioned on Twitter that her new album was coming out, otherwise I might not have realized it for quite some time. I'm jealous that you got to see her perform live. I would love that! And I agree that her lyrics are great. She's just all around talented!

      I flip flop on what my favourite stage is, but I think it's probably revising. Drafting can be so daunting, but it's easier when you already have something to work with. :)

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  13. You're so much further along in GODS & MONSTERS than I am. I think I'm almost to the 200 page mark, but I don't know. I'm really hoping it grabs me soon, but knowing that you're 3/4 in and only so-so on it doesn't bode well for my enjoyment level either.

    I've always liked carnations, especially red ones. They just look so ruffly and happy. That's pretty cool that you and Trev have been together so long. Todd and I have been together 13 years next month, which seems pretty crazy to me, now that I think about it. (Random side note: Monsters Inc. came out that long ago too. Isn't that nuts?!) Happy to hear that you guys like Suits too. Man, I'm hooking you up with shows all over the place, aren't I? ;-) I got Mom hooked on Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, and now Gilmore Girls too lol. I feel like a pusher.

    You're making serious progress on your WiP. Wish I could say the same. O_o I really need to get back on that. Let me know if you're up for writing tomorrow. Talk to you soon! :-)

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    1. I read more after this posted, so I'm pretty close to the end. I enjoyed what I read last night, but I wish more happened throughout the book and that it was half the length. I feel like the impact of the story was lost in all the reams of reflection.

      I like carnations too, especially since they last so much longer than most other flowers. It's kind of funny that Trev came home with flowers for me when we didn't even realize until later in the weekend that it was our 20 year dating anniversary. So if you and Todd got together the same year as Monsters Inc. should we start calling you Mike and Sully?

      So far we love Suits! The premise, writing, and acting are all great. I'm glad you mentioned it, because after watching Veronica Mars a lot of our other shows seem kind of boring. Three new shows for Mom? That should keep her busy for a while! I can see her enjoying all of those.

      This week my progress was good, and hopefully that continues now that I've hit my stride. Wish I could write tomorrow, but seeing as the symphony book sale is starting and I've procrastinated on some other major stuff I need to get done I probably can't. Darn. Maybe sometime soon though. :)

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  14. Yum, pico de gallo! And my brother-in-law raves about Suits. I'll have to give it a try sometime.
    20 years! That's awesome. I had my 13th anniversary this past weekend- I can't believe we've been married that long.

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    1. It's one of our favourite snacks, and it's reasonably healthy (well except for the tortilla chips you put it on) which is a bonus. So far we're loving Suits. The acting and writing are both top notch. I hope it keeps going like this. And thanks, we thought 20 years was pretty awesome too! Congrats on your 13th anniversary! Also wonderful! It goes by way too quickly, doesn't it?

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  15. AWWWW! I love that this marks 20 years for you and the hubs. In a few weeks, my husband and I will celebrate that milestone too. Crazy. Also, FINLEY IS SO CUTE!!! And yes - I love revising and tweaking and making stories come alive. Glad you've had such a great week!

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    1. It kind of took us by surprise actually, because we don't usually keep track of our dating anniversary. I can't believe how quickly the years have gone by! I'm sure you know what I mean. Congrats to you and your husband for being together that long too!

      Finley is very cute but also very naughty lol! She's seventeen years old and still gets into everything and even climbs on top of the kitchen cupboards. She's still in the kitten stage sometimes. :)

      Revising is tough, but not nearly so much as drafting, I think. This is where the hard work starts to feel like it's paying off!

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  16. I love what you said about Ingrid's music and voice! Voice is such a difficult concept to describe, and yet that encapsulates it perfectly. Why had I not thought about it like that before? Perfect.

    And congrats on 20 years together! To be with someone longer than you've been apart, it gives you kind of a new perspective on your life. (A life shared like that) It's wonderful and it's sweet. No wonder it seeps into your writing like that. ;)

    And I love the picture of Finley. Look at those eyes!! Gorgeous eyes.

    And last but not least, I wanted to give you a huge thank you for your comments on my blog yesterday. I was having one of *those* days. (Ugh.) One of those days where you get discouraged and nothing seems to be going right. And your comment Made My Day! Made me want to show my Frankenmoster of a novel who's boss. *grin* So thank you!!!!

    Hope you have a beautiful week and that the snow gods take a hiatus. (because enough snow already) :)


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    1. You know, I've heard so many explanations for "voice" before but never a comparison to music. While I was listening to Ingrid, it suddenly seemed the most simple and obvious way to describe it. I suppose all art forms must have voice of some kind, now that I think about it. Glad you liked the analogy!

      And thanks for the congratulations! Those twenty years have flown by so fast. It really does go way beyond romance and even commitment, once that other person is just so much a part of you. I count myself lucky to have married my best friend, and that definitely informs my writing. As for Finley, she's a very cute but naughty cat. Don't let the eyes fool you! She looks innocent but she's always plotting something. I'm glad that at seventeen she's still as mischievous as a kitten!

      I'm so glad you feel encouraged about your story, because that excerpt you posted really did grab me right off the bat. Your prose is amazing and the premise is so imaginative! Sorry to hear you were having a rotten day, and I hope that's the last one for a good, long while.

      Fortunately the snow gods have taken a hike and the rain gods have now moved in. I love the rain, so that's fine by me. :)

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