Wednesday, 7 May 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:

This has been a crazy busy week, so I’m still reading the first Veronica Mars novel, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. So far I’m enjoying it, but it doesn’t beat the show. Just to let any other “marshmallows” who might be interested in reading this know, the book takes place right after the movie, so make sure you see the movie first before picking this up.



What I’m Writing:

I revised nine scenes this week, and I’m coming up to the halfway mark on round two of revisions.  I’m sure there will be many more rounds after this one, but for now I’m reminded of just how much I love these characters, the themes in their tale, and the world they live in.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

The power of true stories. (see below)

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

I’ve mentioned on a couple occasions that my son is learning about World War II this year. Well, this past Thursday, we had the opportunity to hear Robbie Waisman, a Holocaust survivor, share his story.  Mr. Waisman was fourteen, the same age as my son, when he was liberated from Buchenwald. I won’t recount everything he said here, but let me tell you that hearing him speak was incredibly moving. My son read a lot of books about WWII this year, both fiction and non-fiction, but none of them could compare to listening to Mr. Waisman talk about his experience in person. It had a profound impact on both of us. Mr. Waisman opened by saying that he wasn’t telling the kids his story to make them sad but to empower them, and I think he did just that. It’s stories like his that need to be passed on to future generations.

We also attended a 90th birthday party for my husband’s grandma on Sunday, went for coffee with the in-laws, did some Mother’s Day shopping, and lots of other stuff that made the week fly by but isn’t thrilling enough to mention.  Honestly, spring hits here and it’s like the clock speeds up all of a sudden. There’s way too much to cram into our good weather window!

Also, stay tuned tomorrow for the cover reveal of More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs, Pitch Wars mentor extraordinaire! If you're interested in NA contemporary, you won't want to miss this!

So how was your week? Lovely, I hope!



33 comments:

  1. Wow. What a life changing experience for both you and your son to be able to hear Mr. Waisman speak. I would love to do a deep dive into WWII history. The American Civil War history I've been exploring has really changed a lot of the way that I think.

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    1. It really was life changing. It's one thing to read about the Holocaust in a textbook, but to make a connection with history through someone who actually experienced it is priceless. I can see why delving into Civil War history would change you too. Both are such traumatic yet inspiring eras.

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  2. Thanks for sharing about Mr. Waisman. I was just thinking the other day about how much time has passed since WWII, and how in generations to come, we won't be able to hear first hand accounts anymore. I'm glad that you and your son had this experience.

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    1. The man who introduced Mr. Waisman challenged the kids to not just listen to his story but to be advocates. Like you said, soon there won't be any first hand accounts to hear, so it's important that people pass these stories on. It was wonderful to see how engaged the kids were and how much this event impacted them. I know it was a huge deal for my son.

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  3. Oh how I miss that show! I rewatched it last year when they announced the kickstarter campaign and then just before the movie. Then saw the movie in theater because I had to! The book was good, but your right, doesn’t hold a candle to the show. Ugh, revisions. Love to hate them! Good luck. That sounds like a really inspiring story. I couldn’t even imagine the things they saw. Glad you got to experience that. Have a great week!

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    1. I wish I had watched the show when it was originally on, but on the other hand, I'm glad I didn't have to wait between watching it and the movie. I think I'm a bit past halfway in the book. I do like that they're actually continuing the characters' stories in the book rather than keeping it entirely self contained, so that's cool.

      I couldn't even imagine what people saw during WWII either. Reading about it or seeing pictures in books could never fully communicate what it was like. Listening to someone speak about his personal experience was by far the most valuable way to learn about what happened.

      Have a great week yourself!

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  4. I bet it was moving hearing him speak about his experiences, and I can see why it would be empowering too. It's great that you got to hear it first hand.

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    1. It was a very powerful event and I'm so thankful we got to attend. :)

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  5. There was a fairly young Shoah survivor (born 1934) who came to speak at my campus last Sunday, for Yom HaShoah. He was so funny, warm, and friendly, and very nice when I spoke to him after the lecture. Like he said, there are fewer and fewer survivors, and one day there won't be any left. People who hear their testimonies have become witnesses in their own right, and have the obligation to pass the story on. I told him I write a lot of books set during the Shoah, and how I've heard the complaint that there are "too many" such books. He agreed with me that every story is different, and that the story needs told many times.

    People who deny the Shoah make me sick. At least Flat Earthers and creationists aren't hurting anyone with their beliefs, so long as they keep them out of schools.

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    1. What you've said here is exactly what the speaker who introduced Mr. Waisman told the kids. He said it wasn't enough for them to sit and listen but that they needed to be advocates. I was glad he challenged them that way, because they needed to know this was more than just a history lesson. I agree that the story needs to be told many times and in different ways. Considering the magnitude of what happened, enough books could never be written on the topic. I don't even understand how anyone could deny that the Holocaust happened. The mere idea of that is unfathomable to me. We also watched some news footage at the event, and it was mentioned how Eisenhower insisted they record the inside of the camps for proof of what took place there. I find it interesting that he seemed to know some people would deny the truth of the events. That's really sad.

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  6. Wow... Sounds like listening to Robbie Waisman speak was an incredible experience. When I was in middle school, we had a holocaust survivor come and speak at an assembly, and I still remember how moving that day was. Best of luck with your continued revision, Erin. Sounds like you're making great progress!

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    1. It really was incredible. I hope my son remembers the experience the way you did. And thanks, I feel like the revisions are on a roll! :)

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  7. It's always nice to be reminded of why you love a certain set of characters or a certain story - good luck with the rest of your revisions! :)

    I'm always amazed by the stories of Holocaust survivors. It sounds like listening to Mr Waisman's story was a real privilege.

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. Thanks you! I have a long way to go, but the story is polishing up nicely, I think.

      Hearing Mr. Waisman speak was definitely a privilege. We were very lucky to have that opportunity. Hope you have a lovely week as well!

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  8. congrats on getting halfway through round 2! I'm almost done with round one and then it's off to two! I can't imagine hearing from a Holocaust survivor, that truly is inspiring and the courage it takes to share your experience as well, I can't imagine.

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    1. Thanks, Prerna! Each round feels like a huge accomplishment, especially when the story is that much improved every time.

      I agree that it takes a lot of courage for Holocaust survivors to tell their stories. Mr. Waisman said he didn't talk about it for 30 years after it happened. I'm so glad he decided to pass on his experiences to younger generations though. So, so important.

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  9. Fellow Marshmallow here. :) I have to agree there's something about that novel that doesn't pack quite the punch as the show did. There's something about the delivery on the screen that sucks you in. Or it could be that there's not enough Logan! Haha! Either way, I really enjoyed the book. Will you be watching the spin-off on CW Seed featuring Ryan Hansen (aka. Dick)?

    Ah revisions. I'm going through round 1, and at first I found it pretty overwhelming. Though after listening to some motivational words last weekend, I'm ready to get at it again. Congrats to you on almost making it through round 2. :)

    I'm going to echo some of the other sentiments said...how amazing to be able to hear the account of a Holocaust survivor. I imagine it was quite surreal and very moving.

    Have a great week!

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    1. I think there was such a vibrant, talented bunch of actors on the show that it's hard to beat that. I'd have to agree that there's not enough Logan. Maybe in future books? I'm liking it so far anyway and wish I had more time to sit down and read it all at once. I had no idea there was a spin-off show coming up! And Dick is on it? That's just bizarre! Thanks for the heads up on that!

      I found my round one overwhelming too. I had to rewrite bigger chunks than I anticipated and smooth over a lot in the plot. That was the really tough stuff though, so round two has been much easier. Still a lot of work, but more manageable and enjoyable. Glad to hear you're feeling motivated about your revisions too!

      And yes, listening to Mr. Waisman speak was a very valuable experience, one I won't forget. I feel lucky to have had that opportunity.

      Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  10. Listening to a holocaust survivor speak sounds incredible. I've had an interest in both World War I and II ever since studying it in school so I can imagine how amazing it would be to hear him soeak. I'm glad your son enjoyed it.

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    1. We were so fortunate to get the chance to hear him speak. Seeing my son so invested in what Mr. Waisman had to say was wonderful. It's a topic I really wanted him to understand and see the importance of. If you ever get the opportunity to hear a survivor speak, I definitely encourage you to go.

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  11. That talk would be amazing! I'm a big WWII history buff. My grandfather (a Canadian) fought on Juno Beach on D-day. My grandmother was a nurse and she met him there in France. I would love to write their story some day! I tour every war history museum I can get close to and saw an amazingly heartbreaking holocaust exhibit at the London Museum. What a wonderful thing that your son is getting that first hand experience with a survivor!

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    1. Oh wow, that's amazing that your grandfather fought on Juno Beach! My son read ON JUNO BEACH by Hugh Brewster earlier this year, and it was a super resource on Canada's role in WWII. Unfortunately, it's out of print and I actually had to order a used copy from the States. Kind of sad, because kids here should be learning about Canada's part in the war. I can see why you'd be a big WWII buff considering your family's history. I really hope you get around to writing your grandparents' story someday because that would make a great book! We were so lucky to hear Mr. Waisman speak. I'm sure it'll stand out as one of the most important learning experiences my son has ever had.

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  12. Hooray for revisions! Those are always tedious, but necessary. I've never seen Veronica Mars. Was the novel basically a novelization of the episode or an individual story set in the world? Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Tedious is definitely the word I'd use. I enjoy the revision stage though, especially now that I've worked up some momentum. The tedium is worth seeing the story all polished up!

      I had never watched Veronica Mars until the movie came out. When I heard all the hype, I binge watched seasons 1-3 and then saw the movie. The book is it's own story that continues on after the movie. Some time you should treat yourself and watch the show! It's well worth it!

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  13. That sounds like an incredible experience for your son. Have you ever seen the documentary Paper Clips about the middle school students who were studying WWII and decided to collect a paper clip for every victim of the Holocaust? When several survivors came to speak to the kids, it was obvious how much the reality of the horrors hit home.

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    1. It was probably one of the most important learning experiences he'll ever have. I've never seen Paper Clips, but it sounds amazing! What an incredible way to express how many people were victims of the Holocaust. It's hard to communicate the idea of "millions" to kids, and that really simplifies it. The man who introduced Mr. Waisman told the kids that it was the equivalent of one person dying every thirty seconds for twelve years. My son is a numbers guy, so that stuck with him in a big way.

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  14. I'm in the revision boat with you! Or at least I should be. Right now I'm obviously hanging out on cool blogs and listening to awesome music.

    My kiddo is 9, and he's always been into history. We haven't gotten to WWII quite yet. He's still hung up on natural disasters. Lots of research on Pompeii and Mt. Saint Helens, and tsunamis, after the one hit Fukashima. We live on a lake, and it took quite a lot of convincing to get him to accept that a tsunami was not going to happen in our neighborhood.

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    1. The revision boat is full lately! A lot of other WUW people seem to be at the same stage too. There should be a WUW party in the revision boat. :D

      Isn't it strange how kids are obsessed with things they find interesting but totally scary at the same time? My son was big into weather at that age, which included hurricanes and tornadoes of course. Okay that's cute and hilarious that you had to explain tsunamis don't happen on lakes. Poor guy!

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  15. I bet that was amazing to hear from a Holocaust survivor. Hearing someone's story is so different than reading about it. I remember when I was in high school I went on a band trip to Washington D.C. We went to the Holocaust Museum. When you go (at least it was like this many years ago) you received a little booklet about a person that lived during that time. On every floor you turned the page in the booklet and read a little about that person. When you were done with the tour you got to the last page and found out rather the person lived or died. I still have mine. Well, one of my friends ended up getting a relative of hers. It was incredibly sad but so fascinating at the same time.

    Good luck with your revisions! Have a great weekend!

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    1. I feel very fortunate that we were able to hear Mr. Waisman speak. I think the experience will be one that sticks with my son for the rest of his life. I know it'll stick with me. It's interesting that you mention the booklets at the Holocaust museum because they did something similar at this event. They gave us Ziploc bags with memorial cards in them, and the kids were supposed to look up the people on the cards on the internet and read about them. Then they'd find out who survived and who didn't. My son went through the whole stack, and it was a very effective lesson. That's amazing that your friend ended up getting one of her relatives. Wow. What are the chances of that?

      Thanks for wishing me luck and I hope your week is great as well!

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  16. Mr. Waisman's speech sounds very moving and powerful. And what a tremendous experience that you and your son could both hear his story together. I have always been fascinated with that time period.(Even started a book set in bombed out, post WWII city. Maybe one day I'll finish it.)

    And wow, on revising 9 scenes! Go you! Revisions are my least favorite part, but you seem to have it down to a science. I wish I could pick your brain on how to fix my Franken-monster MS. *grin*

    Also, 90 is such an achievement. Happy Birthday to your grandma-in-law (is that a thing...or is she just your grandma now too?) Anyway, it's wonderful.

    Hope you have an amazing week!

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    1. It was such a phenomenal opportunity and one we won't forget. I'm so grateful that Mr. Waisman is brave enough to share his story. I hope you get to finish your book one day, because I think it's important that stories from that era keep being told.

      This round of revisions has gone smoother than the first round. Now I'm not dealing with rewriting scenes and fixing big plot issues, so that helps. In some ways I find revisions less intimidating than drafting because at least now I have something on the page to work with--no writer's block, yay! If you ever need another set of eyes on your Franken-monster ms, just give me a shout! I'm no pro (not by a loooooong shot) but I don't mind offering another opinion or cheering you on!

      And 90 is a big achievement, isn't it? I just call her Grandma (or Great Grandma to my son) now. It was a lovely party and family came from all over, so that was nice.

      Hope your week is equally as amazing! :)

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  17. I definitely felt empowered when I read THE SEAMSTRESS, which is a Holocaust memoir. The author was such a survivor and it was so inspiring to me. (I did not, however, feel empowered by NIGHT by Eli Wiesel. That's one depressing book.) That's so cool your son got to hear a Holocaust survivor speak! There aren't many left these days, sadly.

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