WUW: I’m back … again!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw fallWHAT I’M READING

I am in the middle of the delightful and delightfully creepy The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I think Neil Gaiman for kids is my favorite Neil Gaiman. This is my book club’s October pick and it’s just perfect for Halloween! It’s also a fast read, and my edition has pictures, so triple fun.

WHAT I’M WRITING

Wow, it’s been almost 3 months since my last WUW post. Things got a little rough starting in July, to the tune of depression. Seemingly endless depression that was getting worse and worse. (If I’m ever quiet for a long time without announcing radio silence beforehand, you can assume depression is the reason.) It’s not that I’m afraid of opening up when I’m depressed, it’s just that everything suddenly seems much bigger than it is, including blogging. I’d log on and stare at my blog and decide it was too much effort. So … yeah. Yay depression!

Anyhow, part of my depression was a dark night of my writerly soul. So, last you heard, I was getting into my revisions on ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT. Then I had the realization that my book was nowhere where I thought it was. I mean, I already knew I wasn’t writing to the level I aspire, but I thought I was closer than I was and the epiphany was a painful one. Very painful. Especially given the fact that I was already depressed. So I had some big chat sessions with two friends and some family members, and decided that it was time to put ItN aside.

Have you ever decided to drawer a manuscript? It’s painful. So very, very painful. And this isn’t even for good. I still whole-heartedly believe in this story and its potential, but I need space. So, I’m putting it aside for several months and have started working on THROUGH CLOUDED EYES again.

And what a fantastic idea that was!! I’ve rediscovered my joy, and avoided the mistakes I was making with ItN, and the difference is noticeable. My writing group has commented multiple times that this first draft of TCE is stronger than any draft of ItN. It seems I’ve learned something after all–which was so good to hear. It’s good to know that I actually was progressing, not backtracking like I originally thought. So, I’m 25% of the way through TCE and I’ve realized some changes that need to be made to the story and one of the relationships (that impact the whole book in a big way). I’m fixing all of that in the First Act, and then I’ll continue onward. I joined the YA Buccaneers Fall Writing Bootcamp with the overall goal of finishing this first draft by the end of November. My goal for October is 30k new words. Yikes! But I also realized, during the dark night of my soul, that writing is the only thing I have control over in my life right now. Well, one of the only things. So I need to act like it.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

In my last post, I shared how I changed my phone’s lock screen to an image I thought could be the cover for ItN. As soon as I set ItN aside and switched to TCE, I changed the image to one for my new WIP. And then I poked around my phone settings, putting in the title of the book so it almost looks like a book cover. Egads, I love it!

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Oh look, I get terrible reception in my bedroom.

It’s so creepy and dark, and y’all, she’s totally looking through clouded eyes. How did this serendipity even happen? I swear the title came before the image. I love seeing it whenever I unlock my phone. It’s motivating and inspiring.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Other than slowly coming out of my depression, just being a mama to a busy nearly two-year-old. I’ve also gotten fairly active on Twitter. Come chat with me! I’m back to writing every day, which is great. I did my first cyclocross race a couple of weeks ago and hope to race again next weekend. Cyclocross is basically a hybrid between road and mountain biking and it’s a freaking blast. I got to ride through mud!

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How about you, lovelies? How’s your life?

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WUW: July is hot

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

Actually, nothing. *gasp!* I finished Shadow and Bone on July 4th, and I haven’t started anything since then. And it just now hit me. WEIRD. We’re reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies for book club and this is one I really want to own so I plan on buying it. And, naturally, didn’t find the time to get to the book store last week because my sister came to play! And we were very, very lazy. So lazy, in fact, that I did no writing, but she and I had lots of brainstorming sessions which was very helpful.  We have more house guests coming tomorrow for the night, then more on Friday for a few days. So, I probably won’t get a ton of reading done in that time either. Goodness! But after that, my life will calm down and the reading and writing time will be mine! YESSSS.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m (finally) officially into this round of revisions. With my last draft, I moved my scenes around and then went through chapter-by-chapter, but this time I think it will work better to move them as I go. I edited Chapter Two yesterday (over 1500 new words! woot!) and today will be spent moving scenes around … which I’m not looking forward to because that might be the hardest part of revisions for me. It’s worth it, but sooooo much work. So, wish me luck!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

So, I was feeling really discouraged. Wanting to work on THROUGH CLOUDED EYES (aka the book of my heart) and wondering if all this work will be worth it in the end. And then I had this random idea.

See this image?

firehead

[via]

I shared it once in a blog post, and a friend who is familiar with the story said it would make a great cover for my book.

She’s right, of course. So, in a random moment, I made that image the wallpaper for my phone’s lock screen.

And that was an awesome decision. Because every time I turn on my phone screen (which is dozens of times a day, sadly) I see it and get excited and inspired and very motivated.

I highly recommend it.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Well, we went to Breckenridge, CO, for the 4th and It. Was. Awesome. I didn’t want to come back, but I kinda did because the next day my sister came to visit! She stayed with us for a full week and there was much eating and hanging out and swimming and napping. I also got a cold, which was a bummer. And, as I said above, we have a series of house guests in the next week and I’m tired just thinking about it. But I’m determined to revise five chapters this week (despite spending two days on one chapter). I will prevail!

How about you, dear friends? How is your writing going? Reading anything fabulous? Do tell.

 

WUW: Just snow … in May

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m 130ish pages into Dreams of Gods and Monsters and it is divine. I know a lot of people have commented on the slow pace of this book, but so far it doesn’t bother me. That’s actually pretty common–others feel like a book is sluggish, when it doesn’t bother me much. The reason is this: PLOT is the not very high on my list of WHY I READ. CHARACTER, WRITING, and EMOTIONS/INTROSPECTION (which, I know, are totally a part of character) are, though. So when one or both of those are on point, I forgive a lot. And not even consciously, like I’m making excuses for them. I just get so wrapped up in those that I don’t notice pacing issues until I finished the book (and even then I’m like, meh whatever). I think it’s also due to my mom only allowing me to read the classics for much of my childhood, and then my MFA/literary training. So I’m pretty biased. But this is why I enjoyed Mockingjay and Ignite Me much more than others. (Although the Adam thing still irks me to no end.)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I read through the latest draft of FR and yep, my beta readers were right. Definitely pacing issues. So, my next step is to write a one-line summary of each scene onto one notecard each, then start moving things around to see what will work. I have a basic idea of what things should go where, but I need to know where each scene will go. I considered doing this on Scrivener, but I think handling the cards will aid in the process. Plus, it’ll be easier to move them. Sometimes the electronic version doesn’t beat the physical one, you know?

Also, pleasant surprise: I still love this book. I was worried I’d be somewhat resentful towards it, since I’m putting the book of my heart on hold to do this draft, but I quickly fell back in love as I read it. So yay!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

Bought some flowers today for my front stoop and they are so beautiful and vibrant I couldn’t help but smile and feel inspired. Also, my book. Reading it made me excited to make it better. Aaaand I’ve been doing research on literary agents, which is exciting and inspiring. One step closer!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

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So, it snowed on Sunday and Monday. SNOWED. IN MAY. And not just a skiff–serious accumulation. Mother’s Day was actually lovely because after church we had absolutely nowhere to be so we donned our jammies, napped, ate on the couch, watched TV, and generally vegged. It was wonderful. And I don’t mind snow in May that much, because it’s better that unseasonably hot weather. (I’d rather have just perfect weather, but given the choice … ) And, as I knew would be the case, it was all gone by yesterday afternoon. That’s Denver for you.

I’ve got something up my sleeve that I hope to show y’all next week. I’m very excited and very nervous about it. Eeeep!

How’s your week, lovelies?

WUW: I’m baaaack!

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw robotWHAT I’M READING

I’m actually writing this on Tuesday afternoon, and as of this moment nothing. But! By Wednesday, I hope to have my copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters back in my grubby little paws. See, when it arrived, I was woefully behind on book club and beta reading, so I lent it out to a friend. And then to another. But now I’m all caught up, and they’ve all read it, and it’s coming back home tonight or tomorrow morning. Yay! I’m sure I won’t get any sleep on Wednesday night. :)

That reminds me, I need to remind the Mister that I’d like a book light for Mother’s Day…

WHAT I’M WRITING

Well, my break from FR (now ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT, but I’ll still refer to it as FR because … I want to) officially ended yesterday. Technically, it was supposed to end on May 1st, but I just wasn’t ready to part with THROUGH CLOUDED EYES yet. I still really wasn’t yesterday (I’m in the middle of a scene!) but I’m staying disciplined and focused. TCE is turning into the book of my heart, y’all. I love that story so much, and I’m bummed I didn’t get as far in it as I’d hoped. (More on that below.) But I want to query by the end of the year, and I have a really good chance of getting FR into query-able shape by then.

So! I have all my feedback in from my readers, and I discovered two important things: 1) I still have structure and pacing issues to work out. (I wish I’d read K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel three months sooner!!) 2) While I loved the positive things my readers had to say, the happiness they gave me in no way compares to the sheer euphoria I feel when I finish a book.

And isn’t that wonderful?

I was so so so happy when I realized that. I write not for praise, but for the love of it. I’d wondered whether that was the case, and I’m so happy it is. Because it means I’m doing it for the right reason. So yay!

Monday I used Weiland’s advice to identify the key events and plot points in my novel, which showed me that some of them were happening way too late. Tuesday I wrote my query (that was so hard!!). Wednesday, I’ll start my read-through, and hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be tackling this bad boy. Laying out the structure of my novel makes it seem like it will be easy to fix, but I know it won’t. Time for scene juggling! But it gives me a very clear road map, and that is priceless.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

I officially switched from TCE’s playlist to FR’s on Monday, which was kind of jarring (SO different in tone) but also fun. I forgot what an awesome playlist this is. Also, my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I’d announced to the Mister a few weeks ago that I was ready to give up caffeine (they make a decaf variety, bless their sweet little hearts), but Turbo is on week two of waking up at 5 am, so I need that caffeine!

WHAT I’M UP TO

Okay, y’all. Babysitting a 16 month old when you have an 18 month old is like having twins. And it very nearly drove me insane. The little girl I watched (she and her family have moved to Texas now) was sweet as can be, and nowhere near as destructive as Turbo. But chasing after two toddlers was … kinda crazy. And very exhausting. Not to mention the fact that the first two weeks they didn’t nap at the same time, which not only nipped nap time writing in the bud, but it also made for one frazzled and exhausted Kris. By the time I got Turbo in bed, I’d have enough energy to clean the kitchen and straighten the toys, and sometimes not even that. There were many early bedtimes for me, and not much writing done. Which also added to my mounting insanity. I need to write. Really and truly need it. (Which is so, so wonderful.)

So mothers of twins, I salute you.

Also, during the last week of watching Little Girl, my MIL flew into town and we sodded our yard. Ourselves. It was a completely nuts weekend. The patio is poured, the dog run is in, the yard is leveled, and the sod is … installed? (Does one install grass?) And the result … is beautiful:

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For reference, here’s what it’s looked like for the past 5 years:

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The two week Stay-Off window ends Saturday and I can’t wait to get my feet on that lush organic carpet. There’s obviously stuff left to do in the backyard (resetting and moving the flagstone patio, landscape rock around the sheds, finishing touches on fence of dog run, install French doors onto concrete patio, and put roof over concrete patio (that one not until the fall), but this is a HUGE step forward.

How’s your week going? Have you read Dreams of Gods and Monsters yet? (Probably. I’m sure I’m the last one.)

WUW: Time for a little break

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw treeWHAT I’M READING

I finished up Throne of Glass last night and I ended up really, really enjoying it. Okay, to be fair, around the halfway mark I said to my husband, “I don’t know if I hate this book or love it.” There were definitely things that drove me kinda crazy, but I couldn’t put it down. And I’m glad I stuck with it. I have to say, this is the first ever love triangle that has me completely torn between the two guys, even though I saw it coming from page 10. Chaol and Dorian are both terrific characters while still distinct individuals. Also, Celaena’s character arc was nicely done. So, yes, I will continue through the series. Not right now though, because I have a manuscript to critique, and another one coming soon, and I have to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for book club (soooo excited for this one) AND I got a shipment notice for my signed copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters yesterday! Ahhh! SOOOOO excited! Laini Taylor is my spirit animal, y’all. Her and The Naked and Famous. :)

WHAT I’M WRITING

I submitted the first 5k of the Book of Eire to my writing group last week. I was quite nervous, since I was going to find out if I’m the only one who loves this story, but they did too! Yay! The muse hasn’t been my friend this week, but I’ve kept up with my 100 words a day challenge and even managed 500 words yesterday. Also, I have a title! Doo doo doo doo! THROUGH CLOUDED EYESI love it and it feels so perfect because this story is all about fate, death, and mental illness. Sounds happy, right? Hah! It’s also about love though, so there you go. :)

Also, I’m set on a new title for FR also: ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT. Feels good to have that settled.

WHAT INSPIRES ME

As I said, the muse has been noticeably absent this week, but I’m finding inspiration in pushing through despite that. I used to balk at the idea of writing every day–it wasn’t for me, I wasn’t the type of person who could keep that up, etc. etc. etc.–but it really makes all the difference. I wasn’t able to write on Sunday and I noticed a difference on Monday. Even taking one day off sets me back a bit! So, even when the writing isn’t glamorous, and each word is another tooth pulled, I continue on. And it’s worth it every. single. time.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

I’ve taken on babysitting for a friend’s daughter for the next 2 weeks. She’s just a few months younger than Lincoln, but she’s not a consistent afternoon napper which means my writing time is taking a huge blow. (Yesterday their naps only overlapped by 10 minutes :/) I’m still dedicated to writing every day, but it means writing at night some days, and it means some other things are going to slide for the next couple of weeks. And one of those things is blogging. So I’m going to peace out for a bit, but I’ll be back!

I hope y’all have a fabulous week, next, and the week after! (But I should be back to blogging then.) How’s this week going so far?

WUW: 100 words a day keeps the writer’s block away

What’s Up Wednesday is an easy and fun weekly blog hop that’s hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw treeWHAT I’M READING

I’m still in the middle of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass because I had to put it aside to read my book club selection for Thursday night, which is The Rent Collector by Camron Wright. It’s set in Cambodia, but not during the Khmer Rouge regime, so it’s been very interesting and eye opening. I’m just about halfway through, and I’m enjoying it so far. Need to hurry if I’m going to finish it in time!

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m about 2k words into my new WIP and I’ve finally clicked with the story. During my outlining, I knew what my opening scene was going to be, so I wrote that quickly. But I was so rusty from my few weeks off of writing that it took a while to get into a groove. Also, I had a hard time nailing down the voice, but I think I’ve found it. Interesting thing: I planned on writing this in 3rd person past, but when I sat down to start writing, I wrote the first scene in 1st person past without even realizing. I find that kind of an awkward POV and tense combo, so I tried to change it, but it didn’t feel right. So I’m sticking with the 1st person past and I’m loving it. Which just proves–stories know how they’re supposed to be written! :) Have you ever had an experience like that?

WHAT INSPIRES ME

I’ve talked about my 100 Words a Day challenge before, but towards the end of my revisions for FR my goal was a chapter a day. With drafting a new story after my few weeks off, I’m back to my 100 word minimum and I love it. Like I said, I was so rusty and it was hard to get back into it, but I made myself get 100 words each day (and so far this week that’s all I’ve gotten each day). Sure, it’s not much, but writing every day is writing every day, and it’s finally paying off. I’ve heard of people aiming for 500 words a day, but honestly that would be too daunting for me some days. There are days when I mentally have to talk myself into writing. I promise myself that if I just get 100 words and I can quit. And most of those days, I end up getting into the groove and churning out much more than that. If my goal were 500 words, I’d shy away from it on those days. And I love having to report to my MFA friends who are doing it too. They keep me motivated! I love those ladies!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

We started on the dog run this weekend, but didn’t get very far due to snow. But we got the post holes dug and the rocks delivered, and today the Mister bought a tiller so we can prep the soil for sod/seed on our own. We’re also looking into putting French doors onto our (future) patio off of our dining area. Oh man, in just a few months we’re going to have the best backyard ever! And until then, you’ll find me at the park most mornings. :)

Have a fabulous week y’all!

WUW: Spring is coming!

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop that’s easy and fun. All you do is answer the four main questions, then visit the other participants’ blogs to see what they’re up to this week. Join us! Jooooiiiin uussss!

wuw treeWHAT I’M READING

I’m about 100 pages into Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass and I’m really starting to enjoy it. Truth be told, it took me a while to get into it, but now I’m clicking along. I actually started it over a week ago, but took a break to read a friend’s manuscript. Ahhh, I love critiquing. After published author, my dream job is fiction editor. How fun it would be to critique manuscripts all day and get paid for it! :D

WHAT I’M WRITING

Because I was behind on getting my friend’s manuscript back to them, reading usurped writing time last week. But now I’m back and I’m ready to go. I outlined my three main characters for my book, came up with the Hook and Inciting Event, have a fairly good idea of what my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Plot Points are (and I suspect as I get into the first act, those will solidify), and also have a fairly good idea at what the Climax will be. Outlining my characters has been particularly helpful. Today, I should finally be able to start writing. Eeeee! I’ve been dreaming of this story for almost 3 years, so I’m excited to finally get to it!

WHAT INSPIRES ME

I saw The Naked and Famous and Imagine Dragons on Saturday night. Sooooo good. I love love love TNaF, and it was wonderful hearing them live. Their music really gets me in the feels, man. And while I liked Imagine Dragons, I wasn’t necessarily super excited to see them (I went for TNaF). But man they made a true fan out of me. Those guys are serious performers! While they were on, I kept getting all kinds of inspiration for the LI for my new book.

Also, I’ve found (courtesy of a fab member of my fab writing group) the best writing site: Helping Writers Become Authors. I’ve read at least a few articles every day, and have picked up Weiland’s book, Structuring Your Noveland have been making my way through it. It’s a fabulous book on plot and I highly recommend it. In the last section, when I talked about outlining my characters, I got the idea from this site, as well all that about the Hook, Inciting Event, etc. (That’s awesome because it’s a very boiled down version of the first part of the book. However! I still recommend the book! This chick knows her stuff.) Her series on outlining characters/character arcs is particularly genius:

“Too often, character and plot are viewed as separate entities—to the point that we often pit them against each other, trying to determine which is more important. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Plot and character are integral to one other. Remove either one from the equation, or even just try to approach them as if they were independent of one another, and you risk creating a story that may have awesome parts, but which will not be an awesome whole.”

Ding ding ding! Of course plot and character are integral to each other. So yes, this site (and that series in particular) is a top recommendation from me.

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

We’ve lived in our house for 5 years (in June) and the backyard is just plain embarrassing. It really belongs to the dogs. BUT! This year we take it back! And it’s starting this weekend. My MIL is coming in town, and we’re going to put up the dog run and cement our plans (patio, sod vs. seed, patio covering, what we’ll do ourselves vs. what we’ll hire a contractor for). I’m so excited! Turbo’s always dying to go out there but it’s a veritable mine field, thanks to the pups. So it’ll be nice to let him loose. And I’m going to have so many get-togethers to enjoy the patio. Heck, I’m sure I’ll read out there at least once a week. The cute new WUW picture has me even more stoked. So yay!

How’s your week going? Do tell!