Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (12) and Ready Set Write Update (7)




What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading:
This past week I read
 
 
Slacker Alison neglected to post about it Monday for YA Book Club (sorry!) so she will share a teensy bit of her thoughts on it now...
I love a good mystery and this did not disappoint. Actually it had me guessing the whole way through. Just when I thought I solved the mystery, another believable twist was thrown in and I had to go back to the ol' drawing board. The only thing I struggled with initially were the characters and trying to keep everyone straight, but otherwise, I really enjoyed them, the plot, and the story overall.
I also finished beta reading an incredible sci-fi manuscript and am currently devouring a contemporary one. Guys. I am immersed in a blogosphere of amazing and talented writers and I am so happy I get to read all these awesome stories before they hit the shelves (because they WILL hit the shelves—well, I really hope they do!)
How about YOU? What are you reading this week?

What I'm Writing:



My goals for the past week included… 

1) REREAD BLOB!!! 

2) Finish scenes I started for Act I.

3) Write at least 2000 words in Act II. 

4) Be nicer to myself. I am making progress. 

I did reread the blob (which is not as blobby as I was afraid it would be). I worked on said scenes for Act I (still not finished—Alison has issues with first draft wordiness). I was semi-nice to myself. However, I did not work on Act II.

I also realized I work MUCH BETTER with weekly wc goals so I am going back to that. This week—I want to write 5000 words.

How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!

PS—I loved the comments I received about my "blob" and especially enjoyed the suggestion that everyone should have B-Movie names for their WiPs. Or some kind of name, right?!

My last story was a Beauty and the Beast retelling so I simply called my crappy first (and second, third, fourth,…) drafts the BEASTLY CHICK MAGNET (the story's name is CHICK MAGNET) so I'm trying to come up with something clever for the new story (although I do really like the blob). I'll get back to you on that. What about you? Do you have clever and WiP-related names for your "crappy" first drafts?

What Inspires Me Right Now:
1) YOU. I've been going through a bad case of meh, and your comments on my post last week made me feel so loved and so much better. I just wanted to say a huge heartfelt THANK YOU.
2) During an evening beach walk last week, we stumbled upon these


A nice reminder that the most beautiful creations don't just happen. These obviously took a lot of time, patience, and heart.  Good to keep in mind as I write this first draft.
3) My playlist. I've been listening (and adding) to it constantly and I'm in a perpetual state of excitement about my new story. My playlist's really long, but here's a sampling of the daily musical inspiration…

You're the One that I Want (Grease)
Everybody Wants You (Billy Squier)
Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke)
I Feel Pretty (West Side Story)
Still Into You (Paramore)
Dude (Looks Like a Lady) (Aerosmith)
Born to Hand Jive (Grease)

um…and a lot more. *facepalm*
Do you have musical inspiration? What's on your WiP playlist?

What Else I've Been Up To:
The family and I went to the beach last Wednesday and arrived home Sunday afternoon. It was GLORIOUS. Unless you count my ancient Crackberry with an extremely weak data plan, I had NO internet access (which—I hate to say it—was sort of awesome) and it was kind of nice to be able to just focus most of my time on what matters most—my family. We went to the beach several times, watched a different movie just about every night, and had an awesomely amazing time. I really wish I could go back right now. Sometimes it's nice to just get away and not do much of anything (yet still do a lot of important things—if that makes sense) And so, I'm okay with not completely meeting goals for this week.
What's been going on in your world?  And what's up on YOUR Wednesday?!

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (11), RSW Update (6), and Giveway Winner!

First up! *drum roll*

The winner of our Ready. Set. WRITE! midway giveaway is
RAVEN MOORE!
*throws confetti*

Congratulations, Raven! We'll be in touch shortly about your prize!

And now for

 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up Jaime's blog and sign up on the linky. J
 
What I'm Reading:

I read FORGET YOU (Jennifer Echols) and THE FIFTH WAVE (Rick Yancey)
Incredibly disappointed by the first, totally WOWed by the second. Also, I really hope there's a Sixth Wave. Or a sequel. Or SOMETHING.

Currently I'm reading this amazing sci-fi manuscript by an equally amazing blogger friend (I'm blaming IT on my lack of productivity the past two days) and will start THE WESTING GAME (Ellen Raskin) for YA Book Club next.
How about YOU? What are you reading this week?
What I'm Writing:
 
My goals for the past week included…

1) Reread the blob my first draft while resisting the urge to revise it (or throw it out completely) before moving past the midpoint.  

2) Incorporate two items I know need to be a bigger part of the story. 

3) Try to write at least 3000 words. 

I wrote 3000 words. I began incorporating said two items. I printed out the blob, but that's as far as I got. L  I'm not very happy with my progress. So, this week, I plan to 

1) REREAD BLOB!!!

2) Finish scenes I started for Act I.

3) Write at least 2000 words in Act II.
 
4) Be nicer to myself. I am making progress.

And . . . and I did add a little nuance to one of my MCs that I'm pretty stoked about. I won't say what exactly, but I will tell you that it has something to do with musical greats like Gershwin, Bernstein, and Sondheim. And Bob Fosse.  And jazz hands. And OMG—FOSSE

*ahem*
 
And I did mentally write two scenes that I'm REALLY excited about. They're definitely later in the script, but I did jot notes about them, potential dialogue,… again—can't give away too much, but I'll give you three things: Damn Yankees, hitting it out of the park, and kissing.

PS—yes—DAMN YANKEES!!! How could I even consider writing a musical/baseball WiP and not include something from Damn Yankees?! Whatever Lola wants, right?!

Okay, just writing all this, I'm getting a wee bit excited about the WiP again. And feeling better about my progress. J

How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!

What Inspires Me Right Now:
My son's unwavering glass-half-full optimism. He's nine and is probably the most creative, easy-going, agreeable, and optimistic person I know. We built a pillow fort while my husband was off doing coaching stuff and when I couldn't manage to get the sheet roof to stay, he says, "It's okay, Mom. I wanted it this way."
Me: So we can see the stars? (looks at very plain ceiling)
Aidan: Exactly!
If it's STILL raining on the third day we're visiting his cousins (who he only sees once a year) and he STILL can't go in the pool, he says, "Well, we just get more time to play Minecraft!" Or if we're out of cookies (after I stupidly promised them), he's the kid that says, "Well, we did just get new popsicles!"
He's also the kid who had his appendix out at eight years old and barely cried. I've always heard second children can be, um…challenging. Aidan is far from it. I am truly, truly blessed. 
 
LOVE THIS KID!!!
What Else I've Been Up To:

Ever have one of those weeks where there's a lot of pretty good stuff going on, but you're just not feeling um . . . pretty good? I celebrated my eighteenth wedding anniversary Monday. I received a couple requests from the Xmas in July contest. I've spent oodles of fun time with my kids. A lot of great things going on, right? But, I don't know. I've just been feeling kind of meh.
So, I'm trying to adopt my son's glass-half-full philosophy.
No, my husband wasn’t here to celebrate our anniversary (four out of every seven anniversaries compete with the coaching clinic…and lose), but I had an awesome dinner and camp out in the pillow fort with my kids. And the hubs and I are celebrating at a beer tasting next week to make up for it (yes—beer tasting—that's how we roll J)
And no, I didn't read through the blob, but I did officially pass 50K words (albeit crappy words) on the WiP. And I added musical theatre "references" that add dimension to my main character. And I envisioned a kissing scene. That's pretty awesome.

Still feeling a little meh about my WiP productivity. About things in general. But I'm looking to my eternal optimist for eternal inspiration.
What's up on YOUR Wednesday?  

 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and RSW Update!)

If you've been participating in Ready. Set. WRITE!, have you entered the RSW mid-way giveaway? You could win a writerly care package filled with a craft book, tea, a mug, a journal and other awesomely wonderful goodies! Click here for details!

And now for
 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J

What I'm Reading: This week I FINALLY read this

 
Not too many books feel unputdownable to me, but I got a little upset that I couldn't read this one in just one day. The setting makes me want to drop everything and travel across Europe, like, yesterday. Allyson's discovery journey is poignant, relatable, and simultaneously heart-warming and heart-wrenching. My heart was in my throat for two-thirds of the book—haven't felt like that since I read NEW MOON. And the Shakespeare comparisons and references? *dies* If this book wasn't already so swoonworthy, that would've sealed the deal. I love me some Will Shakespeare.
 
And the book left me hoping for two things: a) an ounce, just an ounce of Gayle Forman's talent and b) that JUST ONE YEAR would hit the shelves RIGHT NOW.
Currently I'm reading THE FIFTH WAVE (Rick Yancey) and FORGET YOU (Jennifer Echols). I'll hopefully report on those next week. J

How about YOU? What are you reading this week?

What I'm Writing:
 
Last week I set the bar super high and planned to get to my midpoint. Well, I wrote just over 6000 words and um . . .  I think I wrote my midpoint. But before you throw confetti, I will just say that the scene feels like the midpoint, is kind of what I wanted to happen at my midpoint, but it just doesn't feel impactful enough for my midpoint. Which—I know, I know—first draft.

Anyway, I know that I'm missing a few crucial plot items before this midpoint. Also, my draft feels like an unshapely blob. And I'm singing a few my story sucks blues. For those and so many other reasons, my goals this week include…

1) Reread the blob my first draft while resisting the urge to revise it (or throw it out completely) before moving past the midpoint. Yeah. Good luck on that one, right?

2) Incorporate two items I know need to be a bigger part of the story.

3) Try to write at least 3000 words—a little on the low side for me, but I think #1 will take up quite a bit of time this week.

How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!

What Inspires Me Right Now:
My WiP love list. I posted it Monday (if you want to check it out!) and I highly recommend writing one of your own. The list reminds me of everything I love, love, love about my story and has been (and I'm sure will continue) getting me through the murky middle and the my story sucks blues.

If you write a love list and post about it, let me know! They're so fun and I'll definitely check yours out!

What Else I've Been Up To:
Last night I hosted book club for six fabulous ladies and guess what we'll be reading this month?


I LOVE this book! Did I mention my book club gals are fabulous? We just have the best time talking about books and um . . . other things. J
Also, Tracey Neithercott and I made it into the Xmas in July contest! The thirty entries go up on Thursday and Friday for agent perusal, and I'm really excited to read about all these stories I've only been title-teased with!

And in family news, the fourteen year old came home from YMCA camp last Saturday only to turn around and go to soccer camp this week. Come Friday, I think she'll sleep for three days.  Anyway, I just love going out in the evenings to watch her and her teammates play. And they play for my husband, so bonus. J Plus, the upside of not seeing my daughter and husband so much—my son and I get a little more Lego time. He's also trying to teach me how to play Minecraft. Mommy's not very good at that. Yet.
What's up on YOUR Wednesday?  And don't forget—if you've been participating in RSW, be sure to enter the giveaway and spread the word!

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Story's Love List

Katy Upperman and I are sharing our WiP love lists today! What's that, you ask?

When Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss) begins a new project, she generates a “What I Love about This Story” list—sometimes short, sometimes long –and she uses this “love-list as a touchstone to remind myself during the hard times why my story is worthwhile.” Also, by taking note of the things she loves, she has a guide during the revision process to build those things up.

Amazing idea, right?! I wrote a love list for my last story (you can check it out here) and I've generated  one for my new story as well. I'm just shy of the midpoint, so I'm certain I'll add a few things, scratch off a few others, but here’s what I currently love, love, love about my WiP:

Grease
 
baseball

sunshitty yellow 

Yoda
 
cast lists 

perfection 

swirlies 

twins

dugout sexcapades 

softball pants 

rekindling lost love 

musical theatre 

"Dude Looks Like a Lady" 
      (and other wicked Aerosmith songs)

cheesy Star Wars one-liners 

           vengeful makeovers
            longing

freak accidents

almost kisses 
 
Spanish vocab lists that scream eso es lo que ha dicho
 
scandal 

flamboyant BFFs 

asthma 

unrequited adoration 

Skoal
 
mistaken identity

boorish brothers 

supercilious sisters 

leather jackets 

sibling rivalry 

karma fairies 

swearsies 

stepping up to the plate 

ratting hair 

tight ends with, um . . . tight ends

Guns N Roses, Billy Squier, Van Halen
     (and everything rock and roll)

 Pixar inspiration

 sibling driving lessons

band tees

redemption
 
 sibling love
 
 
Do you have a love list for your WiP? If you post it, share your link in the comments. I'll definitely check it out!
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and Ready Set WRITE! update #4) with GIVEAWAY!

Before I get too into my WUW post, the ladies of RSW would like to celebrate a month of writing by hosting a mid-way giveaway! *throws confetti* And we're giving away a writerly care package filled with a craft book, tea, a mug, a journal and other awesomely wonderful goodies! If you've been participating in RSW, enter on the rafflecopter post below by Tuesday July 23 at 11:59 PM. We'll announce the winner on our WUW posts Wednesday July 24!

*The giveaway is open internationally and is only open to those who have participated in Ready. Set. WRITE!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now for

 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading: This week I read THE AMERICAN HEIRESS (Daisy Goodwin), this month's book club read. It's an adult historical fiction and the first 150 some pages were slow, but once it picked up, it was a pretty enjoyable and fast read.
While I was reading the book club book, I also read this

 

Earlier this year, I heard so much buzz about its awesomeness so when I saw it at the used book store, I had to snatch it up. It did not disappoint. More on that below. J
How about YOU? What are you reading this week?

What I'm Writing:
This week I wanted to plot out the rest of the fun and games section to the midpoint and  stick with my 5K goal. I filled several pages of my journal with notes on the rest of the section, wrote half those scenes, and finished out with a little over 6K for the week. And on Thursday, while I was waiting two and a half hours for fireworks to start, I wrote out my WiP Love List,  a list that reminds me of all the things I love and want to make sure I focus on in my story. I wrote one for my last story that you can check out here.  Anyway, I may share mine next week.  

Last week, I shared an excerpt and I want to thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words! I love my characters. So happy to see others enjoy them too! I'm not going to share a full-blown excerpt, but I will share my favorite line I wrote this past week:
 
Karma comes in a most awesome shade of purple, don't you think?

My characters are all about some karma.

This week I'm going to set the bar super high and I want to get to my midpoint by next Wednesday. I'm close enough I can see it, but I'm not sure how many words it will take to get there. We'll see!

How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!

What Inspires Me Right Now: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The woman practically preaches crappy first drafts and character. And whenever I'm feeling like crap that I'm writing tons of crap that may or may not be worth keeping, I'm going to reread certain sections of her book. I highlighted the heck out of it so I obviously don't want to share everything (okay, I totally do), but here are a few things that stood out

On SHORT ASSIGNMENTS: writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

On SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS: just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means…
The first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.
On PERFECTIONISM: …is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft…Perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking the inventiveness and playfulness and life force…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.
On CHARACTER: Get to know your characters as well as you can, let there be something at stake, and then let the chips fall where they may.
On PLOT: Plot grows out of character…Character should not, conversely, serve as pawns for some plot you've dreamed up…Don't worry about plot. Worry about character.
On WRITING: The act of writing turns out to be its own reward
Having written a pound of said crap lately and being that person that sets smallish goals every time I sit down to my laptop, I felt very…validated. This book could not have come into my life at a more important time. If you're a pantser, or a plotting pantser like myself—heck, if you're a writer—you need to read this book.
What Else I've Been Up To:
um… A LOT
Last Wednesday, the husband and I took the kids to see this 



this was my tweet after 

Then Thursday we road-tripped it to Charleston where we saw fireworks, toured Fort Sumter, spent way too much money at the outlets. We ate a lot of awesome food (we ate at a Diner's, Drive-ins, and Dives joint!) and just had a really good time.

From there we journeyed back to the mountains in NC and dropped my daughter off for a week at camp. She went last year, had an amazing time, and hopefully is having a blast. But I miss her. TONS.
And now we're dog-sitting two incredibly adorable and awesome dogs who will hopefully become part of the Miller family in a month. They're part Australian Shepherd, part Boxer. They each have different color eyes—one blue, one brown. I call them my Gracelings. J
Oh, and today's my blogoversary. J So hard to believe my little blog is three years old!

What's up on YOUR Wednesday?  And don't forget—if you've been participating in RSW, be sure to enter the giveaway and spread the word! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and Ready. Set. WRITE! update #3!)


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J

What I'm Reading: This week I read

All very poignant and powerful. All stories about loss, betrayal, romance, growing up and discovering oneself, hope, and most importantly—kisses. Of the steamy and awesome variety. Everything I love, love, love about YA.
I just started The American Heiress (Daisy Goodwin), this month's book club read. It's an adult book. Historical fiction. Not something I'd typically pick up. But it does star a very sassy eighteen-year-old and I'm enjoying it so far.
How about YOU? What are you reading this week?
What I'm Writing:
Despite two days of road trips and vacations with family, I still really wanted to keep with my goal of five thousand words. I didn’t write anything until Saturday, but then thankfully I kicked it into gear and wrote six thousand words this week. I can't tell you how much Ready. Set. Write! and the Twitter parties are helping! I feel accountable and I don't want to disappoint you or myself!
A couple weeks ago I shared a few excerpts from my new story and um . . . I'm going to share again. If you want a little insight into my two stars, you can check those excerpts out here and here. Also, as you read, neurotic and anxious Alison would like you to please keep in mind that
a) this is a ROUGH first draft 
b) my boy Axle is a little on the uncouth side. As his sister might say, there might be some unpleasant words 
c) this is a ROUGH first draft
Okay, here goes. Enjoy!
“Grace Adams? Grace. Adams? Really, Axl? I was outside the auditorium for twenty minutes waiting for you. Can you not keep your . . . your thing in your pants for five minutes?”
            I laugh out loud, and Alexandra huffs and makes a dramatic show of turning her entire body to the passenger window. Whatever, drama queen. “I can’t help it if I can’t keep my dick in my pants. I’m horny. I have needs. And I can’t help it that your inability to say dick, penis, schlong, (she gasps on each word) or anything remotely related to sexual genitalia makes me laugh. Or that your vagina’s (loud, dramatic gasp) frozen over because you’re saving yourself for a guy who will never look at you.”
 “I am ignoring you. I am in too good a mood, correction—I was in too good a mood—and I am not going to let you and your sexual exploits and your hurtful words spoil it.” She straightens, flips that damn ponytail, and taps her fingers on the console, clearly waiting for me to ask why she’s in a good mood. I won’t.
            “Just so you know—I had callbacks this afternoon and I was incredible, thank you very much. Fonda even pulled me aside after everyone left and asked me if I was up for a challenge this year. That he’s going to need me to step outside of my usual box. That he’ll be giving me an opportunity to grow as an actress.” I don’t need to glance at her out of the corner of my eye to know that her face is beaming, that she’s dancing her entire upper body while she tells me her stupid story. “So, I know. I just know I’m getting the lead. I mean, why else would he say all that to me, pull me aside when everyone else is gone, swear me to secrecy.” She pulls down the passenger side mirror, primps her ponytail, and sings, “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee—”
            “Lousy with virginity,” I mutter. “Yep. You’re certainly perfect for the part.”
 Did I mention this is a ROUGH first draft?

This week I want to plot out the rest of the fun and games section to the midpoint. There are several scenes that need to be in there and I'd like to figure out their placement before I write them. And I want to stick with my 5K goal as well. *crosses fingers*
How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!
 What Inspires Me Right Now: Exercise. Music. YOU. My family. The inordinate amounts of rain have intruded on my beloved sun time so guess what I've been doing more of these past few weeks? Yep. Writing. So, we'll add that to the inspiration list too.
What Else I've Been Up To:
the time suck also known as #MSWL Anyone else spend an two five hours on that?
The YA Buccaneers! Have you checked it out?! Erin, Bridgid, Erin, Jaime, Ghenet, Sara, and several others have formed the awesomeness that is this new group blog and it sounds fun and informative and their pirate pics are crazy awesome. I'm excited to see what the future brings  for this blog and this group of amazing ladies. Also, I'm excited for the word sprints. #justsayin
Hanging out with family. BIG family reunion in PA last weekend which was tons of fun and just really nice to catch up with relatives I only see once a year every few years. I love living in NC, but sometimes I wish I wasn't so far away. I was also able to spend the afternoon with my sister-n-law and her family and surprise my mother-n-law with a visit from the grandkids on the way home! It was an exhausting week, but an amazing time.
What's up on YOUR Wednesday?