What’s Up Wednesday: Two Year Anniversary Edition

whatsupyoWHAT I’M READING

Seraphina by Rachel Watson. It’s awesome and the writing is wonderful. Aaaand the other night I had a fun dream that Rachel Hartman was on the same plane as me. Sadly, I woke up before I could meet her. Bummer.

WHAT I’M WRITING

Would you believe I’m still making my way through my edits? See, I rearranged a bunch of scenes and shipped it off to my writing group … who thought the order needed a bit more tweaking. THIS TIME I THINK I’VE GOT IT! And I’m charging full steam ahead. So, we’ll see if that bites me in the butt later.

So, you might want to ask: Kris, why are you editing the first 2/3s of the book when the last 1/3 hasn’t even been written yet? Shouldn’t you just always go full steam ahead in the first draft?

That’s a very good question. I’m glad you asked. As I’ve mentioned before, I was plugging along quite nicely when I hit the third act and got stuck. Beyond stuck. So I sent it to my brother who gave me lots of helpful critiques. As I went through these, I began to have a question in my mind about the essential premise of the book. I debated it for a long time, asked several people who are very familiar with the story and all had differing opinions, and fully decided we were all too close (me especially) and I needed a completely fresh opinion. Once I got that, the changes needed were huge. Aaaand I also realized I had written some scenes with one possibility in mind, and others with the other one. So, things were a bit goofy, obviously. And, as I’ve been going through these edits all sorts of new developments have been, well, developing and the tension is being amplified by, like, a million! See, I now realize part of my problem with getting stuck was I had killed the tension and there wasn’t enough to sustain the final act. (I’m a notorious tension killer. Good thing I have critique partners to yell at me when I do it!) The ending will be much different than it would’ve been. (Also, still not entirely sure how it’s going to all play out and I love that.) So, now this is all getting fixed and I can feel the third act finally within my grasp!*

Huzzah!**

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

There’s been a rash of Love Lists lately, and I need to update mine for FR. So, here we go!

  • Lia and Jin
  • Their interactions and dialogue–so much fun to write
  • Gavin, the brother
  • Jor, the neighbor
  • Astrid, the best friend
  • The Antangonist (who shall not be named)
  • Fire!
  • The UN
  • Karaoke
  • New York City, specifically:
  • NYU
  • Columbia
  • Upper East Side
  • Coney Island
  • Summer time
  • THE kiss
  • Cute, post WWII neighborhood in New Jersey
  • Fire!
  • Unexpected connections
  • Unexpected genetic traits
  • Fortune telling gypsy
  • Rocky coves in the Pacific Northwest
  • Shattered windows
  • Kicking butt and taking names
  • The League of Nations
  • Rooftop pool
  • Red herrings and political intrigue
  • Old photographs
  • Pez dispensers
  • And more fire!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

First off, I just celebrated my blog’s two year anniversary! And by celebrate I mean I got an email from WordPress and said, “Oh, cool.” Yay!

Well, last week I went on a four-day camping trip dressed in pioneer-ish garb with a bunch of teenagers. I know it sounds weird, and it kinda is, but it was so much fun. I’ll be honest, being responsible for 9 teenagers 24/7 (with the Mister’s help, of course) was hard at times, but it reminded me why I write YA. I think teenagers are fun and great, and I want to give them awesome books to read.

Also! My CP, Kate Scott, interviewed me on her blog on Monday. You should check it out because, duh, it’s me! ~_^

*You know, as soon as I finish editing what I’ve got.

**You’re probably Huzzah!-ing that the long explanation is over.

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14 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday: Two Year Anniversary Edition

  1. cc says:

    Enjoyed the interview. Tornadoes are terrifying. Writing is hard. Great writing is really hard. Keep at it! In every day, in every way, you are getting better! ;)

  2. kate scott says:

    Being interviewed by me was clearly the highlight of your week! :P

    Also I LOVE your love list. I think your plan to revise the first 2 acts before diving into the third makes a lot of sense. Even if it feels like a lot of work now, it will lead to less work later, because you wont have to completely rewrite the ending after you figure out where the beginning is going. The joys of pantsing a thriller.

    • Kris Atkins says:

      It was fun to be interviewed! I love telling that story. :)

      I think that writing and rewriting the first 2/3rds of the book is how Laini Taylor does it. She says it can take a few rewrites (sometimes completely new ones) until she gets it right and then writes the ending. Now, I promise I didn’t do it this way because I want to be like her (even though I do), but I’m not bummed that it’s working out in a similar manner. :D

  3. Jaime Morrow says:

    I read your interview and really enjoyed it! And I love your love list, especially all of the NYC stuff. :-) I know what you mean about needing a fresh opinion on a story you’re working on. I’m currently working on an R&R and I feel like I’m way too close to it, and I worry my CPs might not catch all of the issues I’m sure it has. I guess the only way to find out is to send it off to them. That’s great that you’re finding new ways to amp up the tension and just general changes. I could use that too! Have a great week, Kris! Oh, and Happy Blogoversary! :-)

  4. Alison Miller says:

    I read your interview! That was great! And I really like Kate’s idea for that. :)

    Also, I LOVE the love list. Particularly: The Antangonist (who shall not be named) and Pez Dispensers. Also, most curious as to why fire is so important!

    Good luck with your writing this week. Sometimes it is necessary to rein that story in before moving forward. I have had to do that on two different WiPs. Nothing wrong with that!

    • Kris Atkins says:

      It’s worked so well for me that I’m really glad I’ve had to do it. The beginning and middle are much tighter, so less work (hopefully) when editing the full rough draft. I can thank my wondrous writing group for being all mean and honest and right. :D

  5. Stephanie Scott says:

    RE: this: “So, you might want to ask: Kris, why are you editing the first 2/3s of the book when the last 1/3 hasn’t even been written yet? Shouldn’t you just always go full steam ahead in the first draft?”

    This is me, every single book.

    I wish I could say I’ve learned my lesson but I never, ever do. So maybe writing will just be that way for us, and we can move on with our happy lives?

    • Kris Atkins says:

      As I said in a reply to an earlier comment, I think this is the way Laini Taylor works. And seeing how she’s brilliant and my writing idol, it’s not a bad way to go. There’s no one right way to write, right? So are you a pantser or a plotter? (I’m a blend–I know my biggest plot points but pants between those, and then I have a general idea of how it’s going to end (like happy/sad/getting the boy/winning the day/etc.) but not really how it will work. I like that I have some structure but also room for in-the-moment inspiration.

  6. Melissa Hurst says:

    I have Seraphina in my TBR pile! Sounds like I should bump it closer to the top. ;)

    Everyone’s editing process is different. A lot of people say get the words down first, then edit, but I believe if you know you’re on the wrong path, then you should fix things first. I just got the words down for my last book and ended up rewriting over half of it because I realized I needed to change a few plot points. Good luck with finishing your WiP!

    • Kris Atkins says:

      Yes, please do read Seraphina. I’m a pretty picky reader (I blame my mom and literary training) so I don’t make recommendations lightly and can be a bit harsh with books I read. There’s a reason I don’t review books on my blog. ;)

      I’m a little nervous for NaNo, but if I end up doing this again, I’ll just count ALL words written, not just the ones I keep. I got to 40k before I got stuck, so I should be okay. *fingers crossed!*

      Good luck on your WIP too! Thanks for stopping by!

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