Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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!

What I’m Reading:

I’m about three quarters of the way through Blue Lily, Lily Blue. While I’m savouring Maggie Stiefvater’s prose and characters as much as always, I'm finding the plot of this one a bit thin and meandering. Still enjoying it though.

I’ve also decided to join #RubyRedReread, although I’m actually reading Ruby Red for the first time. The series has been on my shelf for ages now, so this is the perfect reason to finally get to it. I’m hoping that will force me to take a few more reading breaks. So far I’ve only read just over two chapters, but I’m hooked.

What I’m Writing:

You know how timing always seems to be the worst? Well, right after finding out we’re moving 4000 km away, I was faced with writing what’s probably the most important scene in my whole trilogy. It was crazy hard and horribly sad (went through half a box of Kleenex while writing it) and I’m not sure how I feel about the result, but I got through the first draft of it anyway. Whew. I also wrote one more very short scene and started the next one. It feels like I’ve been working on this book forever now, and wrapping up the last third is going to be brutal because my brain is being pulled like Silly Putty in a thousand different directions. From here on in, every scene feels like good stuff and I really, really wish I could give it my undivided attention. No such luck though.

My writing goal: Rather than committing to a weekly goal, I’m just aiming to finish the first draft of Enlighten by the time we move, which will probably be later in the spring.

What Works For Me:

While sorting through never-ending boxes of junk in our basement, I came across a few crappy, old manuscripts from before I knew the first thing about writing a novel. Rereading them was both embarrassing and entertaining. They were loaded with clichés, purple prose, heavy-handed messages, and just bad, bad, bad to the point where I was cringing and laughing and snorting on our rec room floor. There were a few promising nuggets buried in the mess but not enough to ever attempt finishing them, so I saved bits and pieces and the rest went in the recycling. It was encouraging to see how far I’ve come as a writer and just how much I’ve improved over the last few years, especially after dedicating myself to this like a job instead of dabbling.

What Else Is New:

On top of the usual homeschooling activities, I’ve been sorting through every last thing we own to decide what makes the cut to get dragged across the country with us when we move. That means a LOT of whittling down.  It’s amazing how much stuff one family can accumulate over the years, a good chunk of it purely sentimental and not overly useful anymore. We aren’t materialistic, but sometimes it feels like getting rid of memories. Has to be done though.

Friday evening, the husband and I treated ourselves to a break from renos and other moving prep and went on an early Valentine’s Day date. Nothing fancy, but it was relaxing. We tried out a new Irish pub and went to see The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch was predictably amazing in the lead role, and I enjoyed the WWII code breaking aspect, but the injustice done to Alan Turing left me sad and frustrated--which was, of course, the point. I highly recommend the movie.

Well, that was my hectic week. How was yours?

38 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about Blue Lily, Lily Blue. That's how I felt about the second book - very pretty, but not a lot of story to go around.

    Re-reading your old work is always enlightening and embarrassing, but we all have to start somewhere.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Yeah, I would've loved it if she'd dug into the whole Glendower aspect a lot more. Ah well. As for rereading old work, it really puts things in perspective in a positive way. Hope your week is great too! :)

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  2. Well done on drafting that scene! Life always likes to interrupt us when we're trying to do something important and it can be frustrating to say the least, so kudos to you for managing to draft the scene at all. :) Good luck with the rest of your draft, it certainly sounds like you've strapped yourself into a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

    Haha, I cringe so much whenever I happen across some of my old writing, but I must admit it is pretty cool to see how far you've come. :) Glad to hear you and your husband enjoyed your date - it sounds like the two of you definitely deserved a break!

    Best of luck with the move and have a great week!

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    1. Thanks! It was bizarre to finally write it after building up to it for nearly three years. I'm glad I'm a planner with tons of notes because that definitely helps me push through the writing when life gets in the way. And yes, this series has been an emotional roller coaster for sure. Bittersweet stories with lots of ups and downs are my favourite kind. :)

      There was definitely lots of cringing when I was rereading my old WIPs. As horrible as some of that old writing is, it kind of lays the foundation for the good stuff though, so it's necessary in the long run--and weirdly entertaining lol.

      Have a great week as well!

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  3. I looooove Benedict.

    I have a couple really, really old manuscripts on my computer—like from high school old—and sometimes I like to pull them up just to see what I wrote. None of them are savable, but like you said it's encouraging to see how far I've come! Good luck with the rest of your writing and the move!

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    1. Yeah, he's pretty darn talented and, ya know, easy on the eyes. ;)

      At first I almost tossed the whole stack of old WIPs, but I ended up saving some segments so I could look back at them again someday. Guess I'm not the only one who finds that useful! And thanks, I need lots of luck to get through both right now lol!

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  4. Oh man! Moving throws everything off. We moved twice this last summer, and whew! I'm still recovering. (Well, with that, the pregnancy and a book release...) At any rate, I'm wishing you sanity through your move. Don't kill yourself, eh?

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    1. Yes, it sure does! I'm trying to squeeze in as much writing as possible though, even if it's tough, because I want to finish before we settle into our new home. I can see my mindset totally shifting gears, so best to get it done now! And thanks, I'll try not to overdo it! :)

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  5. Good luck with the moving, Erin. Congrats on drafting the scene!!

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  6. Some of my oldest drafts are cringeworthy too, but I've been with these characters for so long, I know how to fix things. I'm really proud of how I've turned some awful books, or beginnings of books, from dross to gold. Although I'm really glad I started over from scratch and memory with one, since there was no way I could've salvaged a halfway decent story from the hot mess which was miraculously resurrected some months after finishing Version 2.0 of the first draft.

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    1. Some of these ideas weren't really worth working on anymore, and my tastes and writing style have changed, so they were better off in the recycling bin. Glad it worked for you to salvage some old manuscripts though. :)

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  7. Good luck with your first draft. you can do it! :D Thank for sharing.

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    1. Thanks! i'll certainly give it my best shot! :)

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  8. It sounds like finishing this story will be difficult, but definitely worth it! I hope you get it finished by the move, =)

    I really want to see The Imitation Game. It looks like a great film.

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    1. I've been working on it for three years, so it's been a really long haul! It's going to be very satisfying but sad to finish. I made some steady progress the last few days, so I'm hopeful about finishing before moving.

      And yes, definitely see THE IMITATION GAME if you like historical films. It's not a fast paced movie, but definitely powerful and interesting! :)

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  9. I really need to pick up my copy of BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE and get reading it before I end up getting spoiled. I've been on Tumblr a lot lately, and it is just rife with book spoilers. Same goes for a handful of others. Sorry to hear that it's meandering and whatnot. Though, the prose probably makes up for at least some of that, I expect? Hope so.

    As for your What Works For Me section, I can sort of relate on a much shorter timeline, if that makes sense. When I look back to early versions of WoN and ANNIE, I'm surprised at how far I've come in a handful of years. Like most other things, you really do improve the more you practice it/do it.

    Can't wait to see THE IMITATION GAME when it's available to rent. It looks really good. Todd and I will probably watch THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING this week. I've been waiting on that one forever! Hope you have a great week and that all of this sifting through junk is done sometime in the near future. It does seem neverending though. :-/

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    1. To be honest, there's not much to be spoiled on so far. I'm surprised at how little has actually happened. Of course, I'm still enjoying it because the characters are good and the prose is awesome, as usual. I'll be interested to know what you think of it.

      Seriously, these stories were bad with a capital B. It's a good thing I actually applied myself to learning about writing before tackling my current WIPs lol.

      I'm sure you guys will enjoy THE IMITATION GAME as much as we did. I'd like to see THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING too. It's out now? Hmm, might have to check it soon then because I'e been wanting to see it too.

      As for sifting through the junk, we're planning some major overhaul this weekend. Hopefully we'll have more room to finish up renos and pack then!

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  10. Great job making it through that scene! Tying up a series is incredibly difficult. I've been working on mine while preparing for my book release, so I totally sympathise with the brain-pulled-in-different-directions feeling!

    I still have copies of my first manuscripts/short stories. They're pretty dreadful, but I haven't been able to bring myself to throw them out yet! I do like salvaging the good bits from old stories, though.

    Have a great week! :)

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    1. Thanks! And agreed on tying up a series. It's crazy how many plot threads there are to weave together! I'm finding it hard to do in a reasonable number of words too. Yikes.

      For the longest time, I kept my old stories, no matter how awful they were, but I finally decided it was time to part with them. They were taking up a lot of room! I saved a few bits and pieces as reminders of what I once worked on though. Hope you have a great week as well!

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  11. I wondered why we hadn't heard from you in a while! Moving stress! I hope this is a great thing for your family and brings you many new friends and adventures.

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    1. Yeah, I've been ducking in and out of WUW lately because it's been so busy. And thanks, we're hoping it's a great thing too! Although these days, when we're surrounded in renos and boxes to pack, we're kind of wondering what on earth we were thinking lol!

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  12. I felt the same about BL,LB- it just didn't have the same hold on me as the others and I felt it could've been whittled down a bit.
    I'd like to see THE IMITATION GAME too, it sounds great! I love WWII stories.
    Good luck with whittling down your stuff. It's hard for me to get rid of stuff that my kids made or did in school, etc. I love to dejunk, but this kind of stuff is especially hard to get rid of.

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    1. I've heard other people say that too, so I guess weren't not alone. I agree about whittling it down. While I enjoy the prose, there are parts where it feels like absolutely nothing is happening. I'm hoping the final book closes things off with a bang though.

      And yes, getting rid of kid stuff is SO tough to do! I've been in tears a few times while trying to part with certain things lol.

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  13. Good luck with the move, Erin! Where are you guys headed to? :) Taking a break sounds like fun :) Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Elodie! We're headed to New Brunswick, which is in the Canadian Maritimes. Can't wait to trade prairie fields for forests and ocean! Hope you have a wonderful week as well! :)

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  14. I love finding old manuscripts! Most of mine are filled with meandering conversations and the characters pretty much just hang out. That's it. I think I was aiming for the whole art-imitating-life thing b/c I hung out a lot in high school :)

    Good luck sorting and writing this week!

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    1. That's hilarious! Looking back at my old manuscripts I can see how much I've changed as a person too and not just a writer. And thanks! The sorting feels never-ending, even if we are actually making progress! :)

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  15. Good luck with the move and finishing the draft.

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  16. I love re-reading old manuscripts. I like to think I've come along way. Good luck with finishing your draft and with your move!

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    1. It was fun reading these, but it also felt good to part with them lol. It just goes to show that practice really does bring about improvement, right? The draft and the moving prep are both progressing slowly but surely, so thanks!

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  17. It's nice to see how much you've progressed! I hope your draft goes well and moving isn't too hectic. I haven't started Blue Lily, Lily Blue yet but I've heard a few people echo your sentiments. I'm committed enough at this point to still give it a go, however. :) Hope you have a great week!

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    1. Yes, it sure is! And thank you, the draft and moving prep are both progressing--neither as fast as I'd like, but they're coming along. I'm really hoping the last book in the Raven Boys series goes out with a bang. BL,LB might have been on the slow side, but I'm invested too. Have a great week yourself! :)

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  18. I loooove the Raven Cycle, so I'm glad you're enjoying BLLB. I maybe read it too fast and now I feel like I have to wait forever for the last book, haha. I also want to read Ruby Red! I keep seeing so many good things about it.

    And wow, I clearly missed the post about your move because that is a big move! I guess the good thing *is* that it forces you to clean house as it were. I'm currently trying to sort through my (way too many) things, and it's daunting! I get way too sentimental about things, but I think I just need to let it go.

    Good luck with finishing your draft and cleaning/sorting!!

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    1. I have a tendency to read Maggie Stiefvater's books really slowly because I can't help but savour the prose and enjoy the characters lol. Even so, it's going to be a long wait until the end of the series. I read a nice big chunk of RUBY RED yesterday and I'm loving it so far. Really quirky, fun voice that's almost reminiscent of JK Rowling. I wasn't expecting that!

      We only just found out a couple weeks ago that we're moving, so it's been a bit of a whirlwind. We've got a few months yet, but I know that time is going to fly by fast. Getting rid of all the junk feels great for the most part, but yeah, it's tough to part with some of those sentimental things. I'm getting better at it though!

      Good luck with sorting through all your stuff as well! :)

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