Wednesday, 17 September 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. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

If you missed last week’s post, please note that one of our WUW headings has changed. You can find further details on that here.

What I’m Reading:

I finished Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo and thought it was a satisfying end to a solid series. I’ve noticed some outraged and heartbroken reviews about this third book, but I have to say that I completely agree with the way the author chose to end her trilogy.

Now, I’m reading Phobic by Cortney Pearson and really enjoying it. Considering it’s more or less fall now, and I get Halloweenish this time of year, Phobic, in all its creepiness, is exactly what I’m in the mood for. A cup of Stormy Night tea from David’s and a book about a “haunted” house (yeah, it’s kind of alive and temperamental) makes for a perfectly spooky autumn evening!

What I’m Writing:

This past week, I wrote around 5000 words. I also drafted a scene that’s crucial to the overall plot of my series. It was tough to write because it was on the technical side, but it also needed to be suspenseful and emotional too. You know those scenes that need a bit of EVERYTHING in them? The kind where you feel like you’re juggling way too many elements at once? Yeah, this scene was like that. It was frustrating and draining to write, and I’m not entirely sure what I think of how it unfolded, but for now I got through it. Whew. 

What Works for Me:

Every once in a while I like to have a cleanup day. Creative clutter can eventually stop being creative and start to become a distraction. My work areas, writing tote box, and notebooks build up with stuff that snowballs and gets overwhelming: Cue writer’s block and frustration.

Sometimes it’s necessary to tackle all those Post-Its stuck everywhere, the notes that have piled up and need to be transferred to Scrivener, the fringe of tabs along the top of my notebooks that flag plot holes to deal with, the jumble of writing tools, the annoying crumbs on my keyboard, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It’s funny how dealing with the clutter can uncork my brain, get the creative juices flowing again, and make me ready to move ahead in a story.

Usually, I end up decluttering when I’m not feeling motivated to put words on the page or I’m stuck on a plot issue and still want to do something productive and story related. Then the next time I actually write, it’s a fresh start.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

It’s been busy lately, so I haven’t been up to anything out of the ordinary. My husband was away for work last week, and being the thoughtful guy that he is, he brought back a bunch of lovely notebooks for me to scribble story ideas in. They’re so pretty I almost don’t want to write in them (almost). My son and I watched Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet the other night seeing as we’re reading the play for school. Even after eighteen years it’s still a cool interpretation, and my son loved it. Major bonus in the homeschool department. There was also much pumpkin-y messing around in our kitchen. The hubby brewed his annual batch of pumpkin beer, which will hopefully be ready for Halloween, and I whipped up some pumpkin cookies to kick off fall. Oh yes, and we started watching The Mindy Project. Loving it so far.

So what’s up with you these days? 


40 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful notebooks. WOW! So pretty <3 Congrats on the 5k, too. You're right, sometimes everything comes together in one scene and getting through it takes time and care.

    I need to engage in a major tidy up too. Now to work up the energy ;)

    Have a great week!

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    1. Aren't they pretty? The pages are the same colour as the covers too, which is cool. And thank you--that 5k was hard won this week, since I've been pretty exhausted. Of course I would hit one of those vital scenes right when it's one of my busiest times of year!

      I think I need to schedule a clean up day soon, actually. Time to free the mind and the work space! Hope your week is great as well! :)

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  2. I loved the ending to RUIN AND RISING! It seemed a really fitting end to the series, though it was sad. *sniffles*

    Yep, those scenes are tricky! But it's all the more satisfying when you finally get it right. :)

    LOVE the notebooks!

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    1. Yes, it was definitely sad in parts. And a bit shocking too! I agree that those tricky scenes are all the more satisfying to get right. If every scene was easy, I suppose writing would get boring pretty quick! As for my notebooks, I haven't decided what to write in them yet. It'll have to be something good! :)

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  3. I want to start reading the Grisha trilogy. I just need to finish all the other trilogies I own, lol. I read a post on tumblr about some one being angry with a same-sex relationship in Ruin and Rising. They straight up went into the author's ask and told them how they felt. That's just rude. And the fact that they hide behind the anonymous ask means they knew what they were going to say would offend the author and other fans of the books by doing it in such a public way. It just angers me.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Oh my goodness, there are SO many series ending this year too! I have a whole stack of final books to get through! I read Leigh Bardugo's response to that anonymous criticism of the same-sex relationship in her book and thought she handled it well. The whole thing just made me want to roll my eyes. If people don't like something they need to just move on and read something else. Ugh. Hope you enjoy the Grisha trilogy when you get around to reading it!

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  4. I definitely know what kind of scenes you're talking about! I'm working on one of them in my current WIP, and they're so hard. They need a bit of everything, and it's tough piling all of that into one scene.

    My What's up Wednesday post.

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    1. Those are the scenes that really stretch you as a writer, I think. And exhaust you lol. :)

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  5. Wow what gorgeous notebooks! And WOW on writing 5000 words. Go ERIN!!!!!! And yay fall! Pumpkin is my favourite flavour so I am excited for it to be back. What kind of pumpkin cookies do you make? :) I enjoyed RUIN AND RISING but it wasn't my favourite of the trilogy- for me that was SEIGE AND STORM.
    Have a great rest of the week!

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    1. Aren't they pretty? My hubby knows me well. I was surprised when I tallied up my word count this week because it was slow going. 5k suits me just fine! My pumpkin cookies were sort of a cake texture with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. It was a new recipe and I'll definitely be making it again, especially since this batch is half gone already! I'm glad you enjoyed RUIN AND RISING too. I'm not sure which of the Grisha books is my favourite. I think they all had different things I liked, so it's hard to choose. Have a great week yourself! :)

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  6. Mmmm...those pumpkin things sound good. If he can make pumpkin beer, I bet my hubs can do pumpkin wine (more his hobby.) I'll have to see what he says.
    Way to go with the writing! 5000k is amazing! And I love those notebooks. So pretty.

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    1. Pumpkin wine would be amazing! I'm not even sure if there is such a thing. Might have to look into it! I love the notebooks too. They were a perfect gift for me. :)

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  7. Wow! Awesome word count!!! Congrats.
    Those journals are SO cute! I wouldn't want to write in them either.
    My cousin started homeschooling her children and I love to hear all the stuff they're doing.
    I haven't read LB's series but I have them all. Waiting until it's cooler out. I'm a season reader. And def ready for some spooky stories.

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    1. Thanks! I was surprised because I felt like I was writing in fits and starts this week. As for the journals, I have to decide what I'm using them for. They're too pretty to waste on my usual scribbling. That's very cool that your cousin is homeschooling her kids too! I hope it's going as well for them as it is for us. I totally get what you mean about being a season reader. The Grisha trilogy definitely seems more suited to winter, but I was too impatient to wait for snow. Heck, that could be any day where I live though lol. :)

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  8. I can see why you wouldn't want to write in them! And mmm, I bet your house smelled delicious. I haven't made anything pumpkin yet, but the urge is definitely taking hold!

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    1. The pages inside are the same colour as the covers, which makes it seem even worse to write on them. I suppose it's not much use to just admire them though lol. And yes, it smelled pretty amazing here this weekend. We stocked up on pumpkin so I need to get baking some more! :)

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  9. I love those beautiful notebooks! I've got some notebooks for future Parts of my handwritten magnum opus which I'm hesitant to write in as well.

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    1. My husband has a good eye for things I'll like. I'm always hesitant to write in new notebooks (at least the pretty ones) because I always worry I'll change my mind about what I want to use them for. At least I have lots of these to choose from!

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  10. Holy hell -- Baz's version of R&J is 18 years old?! I watched Moulin Rouge! the other day (one of my favorites) and I love his style of storytelling. Congrats on all the writing progress you made this week. Sounds like you're moving right along, which is extra impressive, considering you're teaching your kiddo too. Hope you have a great week, Erin!

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    1. I know, it's insane, right? Leonardo DiCaprio looked like a baby he was so young. I couldn't stop laughing about it the entire time we were watching. Baz Luhrmann's style is perfect for Shakespeare. It's so expressive that it makes otherwise tough material much easier to understand. I haven't seen Moulin Rouge in ages, but I really enjoyed it too. Might have to watch it again sometime. I was pretty happy about my word count this week because I've been stalling out a bit lately. It added up to more than I thought it would. Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  11. Nice notebooks! I've been meaning to stop by the store and pick up a few for myself. I love the idea of a clean up day. I've noticed I'm much more productive when my house or work area isn't trashed. Congrats on getting 5k done and working through that scene! I agree that Ruin and Rising was a great end to the series, I really can't picture it ending any other way.

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    1. I tend to use black notebooks these days because they fit the darker atmosphere of my story, so these multi-coloured ones were a special treat! As for tidying up, I'm one of those people that sits there and stews about the mess until it's gone, which makes it especially bad if the mess is in my work area or if I've got Post-Its stuck on every surface lol. I'm glad you liked the ending of Ruin and Rising too. I noticed you mentioned that recently on your blog, and my thoughts on people's obsession over the Darkling are very similar to yours (I remember you talking about that quite some time ago), so I figured you would like how things panned out too. Leigh Bardugo did herself proud! :)

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  12. I read Ruin & Rising just a bit ago and I wasn't disappointed by how she wrapped it up. The only thing I felt it lacked was Nikolai and the Darkling- the two most compelling characters in my view. She could have used more of them, but otherwise, I liked the end.

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    1. I felt the same about the amount of page time those two characters got. I liked how everything turned out, and I thought it was a solid wrap up, but I would've liked a bit more of those two. Especially Nikolai. Seeing as I've been less and less satisfied lately with the final books in trilogies, I thought Leigh Bardugo did a great job completing this one though and I'll definitely read whatever she puts out next!

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  13. I have cleanup days, too. And sometimes just basic cleaning helps b/c my brain gets distracted when I have a sink full of dirty dishes or a pile of dirty laundry.

    Pretty notebooks. I used to journal constantly when I was a teen and that first entry in a shiny new blank book was always so hard to write because the book was so pretty. Of course I always got over it :)

    Have a great week!

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    1. It's so hard to be creative when your mind keeps wandering to the mundane cleaning tasks that need to be done. Ugh. I have Post-Its stuck all over everything within a few feet of me right now, so I really should schedule a cleanup time soon.

      I always worry that after I start writing in a pretty notebook I'll change my mind and wish I'd used it for something different. I'll have to come up with a really good idea for using these ones! Have a great week yourself! :)

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  14. Since organizing your writing area works for you, having some shiny new writing notebooks sounds like a great way to get your creative juices going. Not that you need it, 5k is awesome. Have a great week!

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    1. Yes, exactly! Now I just need to figure out what I want to use them for. It has to be something good because they're too pretty to waste. And thanks! When I tallied up my weekly word count I was surprised because it was slow going. Hope you have a great week as well! :)

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  15. 5000 words, wow! That's so impressive. I understand the need to have a cleanup day every once and a while. I should do that more often. My desk looks like a cluttered mess right now.

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    1. Thanks! It was slow going this week, so I was surprised when I added up my word count. I think I'm due for a cleanup day really soon, actually. My Post-Its are out of control and they're losing all meaning lol. :)

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  16. Congrats on your weekly word count. And I love those notebooks; I saw them in a shop the other day and forced myself to walk away, because I already have half a hundred shiny lovely notebooks. It doesn't matter than none of them match. Or have coloured pages that match the covers. MOVE ALONG. I placated myself with pens instead.

    Pumpkin ale is one more reason to be excited about fall! Tell me, does your hubs' beer taste of pumpkin, or of the spices most commonly used with pumpkin (cinnamon, cloves, allspice)?

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    1. Thanks! Writing was in fits and starts this week, so I was happy to come out of it with a good word count. Great self-control on the notebooks! They're very addictive to buy, so I'm glad my husband bought them for me as a gift instead. I can blame him. :D

      My husband commented below on your pumpkin beer question (he meant to reply but it didn't work for some reason). His beer has actual pumpkin in it, as well as cinnamon and cloves (my favourite). We're sticklers for actual pumpkin. It's great stuff!

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  17. Both! It has a fair amount of pumpkin as well as cinnamon and cloves :) . This is my second year making it and made some changes that may give it even more pumpkin flavour.

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    1. Can't wait to try your latest batch! :)

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  18. Love those notebooks! Thanks for sharing your writing methods. Being a panster when it comes to writing but OCD in every other aspect of my life, I enjoy reading different methods planners use :)

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    1. They're pretty, aren't they? My hubby has good taste! Man, I don't think I could ever pants a novel. My brain has the capacity for it lol. I'm always so worried about forgetting ideas as they come to me that I have to write them down asap and that eventually morphs into an outline. I enjoy reading about other people's methods too! That's partly why we decided to incorporate the new "What Works for Me" heading. Thanks for joining us! :)

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  19. Congrats Erin on writing through the problem scene! I find that once yo've banged out the first draft of something, everything else will fall into place, no matter how much or little editing is needed. Your word count was amazing! I'm in a editing phase for now so my word count is decreasing.

    Um, LUCKY! Your DH sure brought home some lovely notebooks. I recently had a decluttering day of my own. It's therapeutic and helps me stay organized inside my mind as well as outside.

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    1. Thank you! And I totally agree. I usually find revising much easier than drafting, so at least now I have something down on the page to work with. Writing felt slow this week, so I was a bit surprised that I had a good word count. A little here and there really adds up though!

      As for the notebooks, they're pretty enough that I'm reluctant to actually write anything in them lol. I need to take my own advice and have a decluttering day very soon. I'm drowning in Post-Its and random lists these days. :)

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  20. My copy of PHOBIC arrived in the mail yesterday, which was nice after a particularly draining day. I'll have to make sure I read it in the days leading up to Halloween. I wanted to read it before Cortney's book blitz, but that's not going to happen, I don't think. I might have to comb my shelves looking for more spooky reads before Halloween! As for RUIN AND RISING, I'm pretty sure I can guess what has everyone up in arms about the ending. I'll have to get to that one soon.

    Hope the pumpkin beer turns out yummy. I've only ever tried pumpkin beer once and it was terrible. Eek. I don't even remember what brand it was, but it had this kind of soapy/spicy combo that was not at pumpkin-y or pleasing. You'll have to let us know how it turns out!

    Love the notebooks Trev brought back for you. They're so bright and cheery! I've had to curb my notebook addiction because I have far too many of them. The worst part is that a lot of them are empty. For shame! There should be story ideas busting out of them. ;-) As for the decluttering, I'm so with you on that. Perhaps that's part of why I haven't been accomplishing much on the writing front--my work space is a disaster zone. That problem should be fixed today, though, with Max coming and all of the tidying up I'll be doing beforehand. I hear you on the myriad post-it notes too. Ughhhhhh. We'll have to schedule a Skype session again sometime soon. I'd like to run some ideas past you and you can bounce some off of me too if you'd like. :-)

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    1. I finished PHOBIC shortly after this post went up and really enjoyed it. Thankfully it was creepy but not too scary for me, seeing as I'm a major fraidy cat. Not to mention I was reading it in the middle of the night. It's a perfect Halloween season read. Hope I didn't spoil anything in RUIN AND RISING for you. I tried to be discreet, but you can practically read my mind and feel the same about that series as I do, so not to difficult for you to guess, I suppose. All I'll say is that some people utterly lack common sense.

      Trev tried to improve on his pumpkin beer recipe from last year. It was awesome then, so I'm sure it will be again. I think he was striving for more pumpkin flavour. I'm pretty sure you'd like his brew better than the yucky pumpkin stuff you had.

      The pages in the notebooks are the some colour as the covers, so they're almost too pretty to write in. I need to decide what to use them for. It has to be something nice because my usual notebooks are so messy. I'm due for a decluttering session again. It hasn't been all that long since the last one, but I'm a creative slob lately lol. Post-Its are both handy and the bane of my existence. I could wallpaper our entire house with them. And yes, a Skype session is definitely in order soon. We should set some goals or work out a schedule or something to keep us motivated and moving forward. :)

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