Wednesday, 10 December 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!

A couple notes: Firstly, if you’d like to use some of the festive new buttons Jaime whipped up for winter, you can find them under my WUW tab.

And secondly, there will be no WUW on Dec 24th & 31st. Since many of us will be busy on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, we figure it’s a good time for a break. We can all catch up in the New Year!

What I’m Reading:

I’m halfway through Winterspell, and I have to admit it’s not really what I expected. It’s inspired by The Nutcracker, so I assumed it would be somewhat Christmas-y—dark, yes, but still with the “magic of the season.” Not so much. It’s not that I want it to be Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies for 300+ pages (heck no), but I'm finding the story kind of flat and, to be honest, even a bit off-putting at times (sexual predators = not very festive). We’ll see how the rest goes.

What I’m Writing:

The goal I set last week (finish the scene I was on, outline and start writing the next one) went by the wayside, seeing as I completely switched gears. I ended up hacking apart a whole section of scenes, scrambling everything around, patching it back together, adding in a couple of new scenes, and outlining one of those.  Why, you ask? Well, getting the plot to unfold logically is easier said than done. It’s one thing to know all the details of what has to happen but to reveal everything in the right order and get those twists right can be mind numbingly difficult. Anyway, despite not meeting my goal, it was still a reasonably productive week.

My writing goal this week: Um, barring any more insane urges to tear everything apart again, I’m aiming to finish the scene I’m on. It’s big with lots of action, so it’ll be a challenge.

What Works For Me:

As you can see above, what works for me is periodically reassessing how my story is unfolding. Usually this happens when I hit that dreaded plateau in the middle. There’s almost always a string of scenes where the excitement dwindles and it drives me to start ripping things apart. Even though I go into drafting with a hefty outline and enough notes to wallpaper my entire house, I still find it necessary and refreshing to rethink and rearrange. That’s an important part of the evolution of my WIPs and motivating myself to get through that second half.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Let’s see. I put up the Christmas tree, Skyped with my sister and mom, had a fun appetizer and movie night with my son (we watched Stardust), indulged in some excellent holiday craft brew with the hubby, and had a total meltdown when I realized I accidentally tossed a whole stack of my good recipes in the recycling bin by mistake—including many Christmas ones. A few weeks ago I was ripping new recipes out of magazines and sorting through my old ones (which are terribly disorganized and mostly shoved in folders) and somehow the favourite we-make-these-a-lot-and-can’t-live-without-them pile ended up getting pitched. Basically I went into panic mode. Much time was spent combing the internet, and fortunately I was able to find most of them (or suitable replacements) again. Crisis averted. Seriously, how did people cope before the internet?

So how was your week?



36 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about making sure the reveals are all at the right time. It's a tricky thing to get right. Good luck getting the scene finished :D

    Love the Christmas tree ^_^ Have a great week!

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    1. It seems like it should be straightforward, especially with an outline, but it never is. And it's so hard to tell if you're giving away too much too early. Bah! It makes my head spin! After I posted, I got a nice chunk of my scene done (shockingly) so I'm well on my way! I think writing beside the pretty Christmas tree helped. Have a great week yourself! :)

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  2. Oh my gosh! Dumping all your recipes sounds exactly like something I would do. But I don't know how I would recreate any of it. I'm glad it worked out alright for you, but that sounds like a rough day. Good luck finishing the scene you are working on! I hope that you've got everything where you want it now. Have a fantastic week!

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    1. I was amazed at how many I was able to replace online, even ones that came from the back of boxes or from magazines. It seems that many companies/magazines have collections of their recipes on their websites now. Thanks goodness! As for the scene I'm working on, it's going much more smoothly now, and I "think" that should carry over into the ones coming next. Crossing my fingers for that anyway! Hope you have a fantastic week as well! :)

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  3. I have the same problem with getting the plot in the right logical order - it's hard to do even with an outline! I referred to Book 3 as "jigsaw draft" for this reason, because I rearranged 90% of the middle section at least three times. I usually re-outline halfway through because the story rarely turns out exactly as I planned it. Good luck with it! :)

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    1. It's a nightmare sometimes, isn't it? I'm always afraid I'm going to give away plot twists too early or tip my hand so that readers guess what's coming. I love that: jigsaw draft! That's my current WIP too, big time. And that's just it--things rarely turn out as planned. You can plan all you want but creativity likes to throw you for a loop! :)

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  4. I'm a notorious hoarder and have problems throwing things away, though sometimes something important ends up in the trash or recycle bin by mistake. There was at least one time I had to rifle through a bag of trash to find a check that landed there accidentally.

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    1. I had my recipes sorted into different piles, and I'm pretty sure what happened is I grabbed the wrong pile for the recycling. I guess that's the result when I try to be organized!

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  5. WINTERSPELL is on my list. I loved Claire's middle grade (also very very very very dark!) so I am curious how she tackles YA. Sorry to hear it's kind of slow/flat though :( And yes plot…in the right order….shudder… :) I also love that you watched Stardust with your son. Did you know it is a dark dark dark novel by Neil Gaiman? I love them both equally but I always think I like the book better because it is just SO FREAKING DARK! (I have a thing for dark stories I guess??) Sounds like your week has been productive with movies and Skypeing and putting up the tree! Have a great week and good luck writing that action scene!

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    1. I definitely like dark stories--my WIP is actually pretty dark--but a couple aspects of this one crossed from dark to disturbing in a non-enjoyable way for me. A little forced too, I guess? Just my opinion, but I've heard really good things about Claire Legrand's MG novel and I'd for sure try reading something else of hers. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it though!

      You know, I have the book of STARDUST but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I've read CORALINE and NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman, so I really need to give it a go already, especially since the rule in our house is book first and movie second. Oops!

      Hope you have a great week too, Rachel! :)

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  6. I won an WINTERSPELL ARC! It was such a delicious story.

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  7. Glad you found similar recipes online...I would have been a wreck too!
    Good luck with your writing goal this week and I'm sure you're going to rock that action scene :)))

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    1. It was a huge relief to replace the ones I tossed. I was in serious panic mode for a while there! And thanks! The action scene is coming along nicely now, so I'm optimistic about meeting my goal! :)

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  8. Your Christmas tree looks so pretty! I love the cover of WINTERSPELL, but, uh, perhaps I'll wait until after Christmas to give it a read. Sounds like a downer, which I don't mind, but am not necessarily seeking for the holidays. Best of luck finishing that scene you're working on, Erin. I'm rooting for you!

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    1. Thanks, Katy! I tend to grumble about putting the tree up, but I'm always glad after I do lol. Isn't the cover of WINTERSPELL gorgeous? That's what made me pick it up at the bookstore (of course). Normally I love dark, bittersweet kinds of stories--especially since that's what I write these days--but this one just seems "off" to me. I'm not big on the world-building or plot (too much is missing), and a few things have crossed from dark to disturbing and kind of contrived to me. Ah well. Just my opinion, and if you read it after the holidays, I hope maybe you like it more than I have. I do like the love interest though, so that's a good thing.

      And thanks! The scene is coming along much better now! :)

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  9. You should have used the blue and white WUW button today because it matches your tree! :D (I actually kind of thought of that when I was making it.) It's nice once it's finally up, but the getting there is always such a royal pain in the bum, especially if you have to string lights, which I do. Bleh. I'm so happy you were able to replace most of your recipes. With any luck you'll stumble across the other ones at some point. Hope so, anyway.

    Sounds like you made some WiP progress even if the thing is still causing you headaches. Really hoping everything ties itself up all nice for you as you finish up the trilogy. PLUS, I need to read that bad boy, so chop chop! ;-) I think the periodic WiP reassessment is always a good idea. The "just write until you're done" method absolutely, positively does not work for me, and I know you're in the same camp. My stories evolve so much as I'm writing them that the original outline I came up with is seldom relevant partway in. Good luck with this super awesome and challenging scene you're working on! :D :D

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    1. I almost did use the blue and white button for that reason, but I used it last week and we only have one more WUW before Christmas, so I didn't. I wanted to make sure I used all three of the new ones. Ah well. I have to admit, it was quite the workout putting the tree up. I was actually sore the next day, if you can believe it! As for the recipes, I was shocked how many were easy to find--even the ones from the back of boxes and magazines.

      Drafting pretty much went out the window last week, but it's off to a good start this time around. I usually have to rearrange everything at this point in a WIP (like you say, outlines change a lot throughout the process), but doing that this time of year is a pain. I'm hoping it should be somewhat smooth sailing from here on in, but saying that will probably jinx it! :)

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  10. I'm FINALLY to the point in my WIP that I'm not constantly re-arranging things - I feel your pain. But I'm in the final stretch now, so it was for sure worth it... GOOD LUCK!

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    1. I think once you hit on the right combination everything just kind of falls into place. I'm crossing my fingers that I've got it all sorted out now. Glad to hear you've figured out the order of your plot and that you're coming up to the finish line! :)

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  11. Sounds like you did a lot this week with your WIP. I always feel overwhelmed when I need to move things around- I'm always afraid it'll never flow quite right afterwards. Good luck with your goal this week!
    I have to constantly remind myself that I can find recipes online. I just never think to, for some reason! ;)

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    1. I did pretty much everything but draft lol! Since the story wasn't flowing the way I wanted it to, there was a good chance that mixing things around (again) wouldn't make things worse. It was pretty exhausting though! I feel like my head has to be in fifty places at once whenever I rearrange things.

      A good chunk of the recipes I lost were from Kraft or Martha Stewart, so those were easy to replace. Even a lot of the others were available, so I was lucky! It's easy to fall down the vortex of new online recipes though! :)

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  12. I think it's an impressive skill to rearrange scenes as you go... I don't really do that much but probably should :)

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    1. I sure didn't feel like I had impressive skills while I was rearrange, but hey, thanks lol! I just leave myself lots of colour coded notes to remind myself why the heck I'm moving certain excerpts. That helps a ton! :)

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  13. Ahhh...oh no on the recipe thing! That's terrible. Yeah, what did we do before the internet? A kid bagging my groceries the other day didn't know that encyclopedias used to be books.o_O Wow, that made me feel old.

    And oooh, pretty Christmas tree. It sounds like you guys are already celebrating in style.

    Also, I am uber impressed that you tore apart your WiP and stitched back together. That takes skills woman, skills. When I move things around, I mess up a lot of details and spend forever fixing it.

    Hope you have an amazing week!

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    1. I went into panic mode for a while there! The worst part was spending time finding replacement recipes when I had plenty of other things I could be doing at this time of year. Fortunately, it wasn't too difficult and only took an evening. That's hilarious about the encyclopedias! Yeah, that makes me feel old too. Like the time my son couldn't remember what "records" were called: "What were those round things you used to listen to when you were little? You know, those things that played music?" Ha!

      And thanks! I'm a blue-silver-white kind of gal at Christmas. My favourite are the little glass birds, which are kind of hard to see in that pic.

      Tearing apart my WIP was no fun, especially since I've done it a couple times now, but I "think" it should help a lot. Drafting doesn't go well when it feels like I'm slamming up against a plot wall over and over. The trick for me is leaving myself colour coded notes so I remember why I moved things. Lots and lots of notes!

      Have an amazing week yourself! :)

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  14. Some scenes are so tough to write. Sometimes it helps to just jump to a different scene and work on that first. Good luck!

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    1. Yeah, and I had a whole string that were giving me a headache! I have to write chronologically (that's what works best for me) so as tempting as it is to jump ahead, I basically just bang my head on the keyboard until I get the answer lol. :)

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  15. I'm so glad you found similar recipes. I know I would be lost without mine.
    I wanted to read Winterspell but I read several reviews that had similar opinions to yours so decided to hold off on it. I'd love to find a book that has the perfect dose of Christmas magic.

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    1. I was so relieved! Who wants to lose all their favourite recipes at Christmas, right? What a pain!

      Yeah, I sneaked a peak at a couple of non-spoilery reviews and saw that I'm not alone in my opinion. I really, really wanted to love it, but just couldn't. If you're looking for a book with the perfect dose of Christmas magic, I'd recommend THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS by Brittney Ryan. It's so good! :)

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  16. I can understand. With my WIP I feel like I'm reworking the same thing over and over again I think it's because I don't know where to go with it and that's with an outline. I think it might be time to pull out the post-its. Good luck with your rearranging! Have a great week!

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    1. Yes, it's never-ending sometimes, isn't it? This is probably the third time I've rearranged this group of scenes, and I'm hoping now I've got it right. We'll see I guess! And a big thumbs up on the Post-its. One of the best inventions ever. Have a great week yourself!

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  17. I love Stardust! And appetizers. =) That's what we always do for Christmas, along w/soups. I prefer that kind of stuff to a big dinner anyway. Good for you on wading in and doing some overhauling on your manuscript. It is such a headache, but everything always comes out better in the end. And pretty tree!

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    1. It's such a fun movie, and now I need to get around to reading the book already! We've done appetizers for Christmas too, and I always enjoy it because you can nibble a little bit of everything instead of that turkey dinner overload. Words have been flowing reasonably well since the big overhaul, so I'm hoping I'm on the right track now! :)

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  18. The last days, my Kindle has become my new recipe book. Not sure what I should think of that yet...feels like I'm cheating. Hope your MS contemplating works out well. Things like that almost always work out better - even if it causes headaches at the time. Good luck this week!

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    1. I kind of wish all my recipes were on my tablet or ereader because then I could back them up. It would be a major project getting that done though! And then where do you scribble all your little tips and substitutions, right?

      The MS contemplating has paid off so far. I'm still tinkering a bit, but I think my scenes are flowing better now--enough to not worry about it again until revisions, I'm hoping. Saying that makes me think I'm jinxing it though lol! :)

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