May 15, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

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. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

What I'm Reading
While I was reading Seraphina last week, Katy Upperman was reading (and raving about) Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I recently read Jellicoe Road and really enjoyed it, so Marchetta + fantasy + a Katy fave felt like exactly the kind of book I wanted to read next. So far I have not been disappointed.

...And I'm still slogging through Wuthering Heights. The good news: I only have ten more chapters to go. Done in ten days!



What I'm Writing

I'm about 2/3 of the way through this round of revisions. It's kind of nuts how making one big (or even kind of small) change unravels a bunch of other things in the story. I find myself having to flip back through and make all sorts of tweaks I hadn't anticipated just because of one alteration that I thought would be simple enough. It's really kind of crazy-making sometimes.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I'm inspired by the progress that I've made thus far on my rewrite. Does that sound weird? Self-centred? Hope not. When you look back and see where you came from and where you are now, that's great incentive to keep going, to push even harder toward the goal of finishing. I feel like the end is not so far off anymore, and that's a wonderful thing.

What Else I've Been Up To

Beta reading
This week I had the privilege of beta reading a YA contemporary for a friend, and aside from being completely and utterly enjoyable, it was a lesson in how to write well. The characters, the prose, the dialogue, the romance...it was all fantastic!

Remembrance
This past weekend my husband and I drove to a nearby lake town for the Veterans Voices of Canada exhibit. The pipe and drum band I joined was asked to play (I'm not playing publicly with them yet), so I wanted to check it out. Plus, we're both big supporters of the troops and vets. We got to speak with World War II, Korea, and Afghanistan vets and hear some of their stories which were fascinating, inspiring, and sometimes horrifying. One vet in particular, Master Corporal Paul Franklin, is a double amputee who lost his legs in a roadside bombing incident in Afghanistan. I'm fairly certain I have never met someone as upbeat and positive as this man. Truly an inspiration. We also got to meet a WWII vet who recently received all new medals when a group of Alberta junior high kids petitioned to have them replaced. (They'd been thrown out accidentally some time back.) Some of the kids and Mr. Pennington were in attendance, and hearing their story was so heartwarming.

{For Band of Brothers fans: Hubby and I managed to acquire photos of some of the Easy Company fellas, one of which had the actual Bill Guarnere's autograph on it. (Through the silent auction at the exhibit.) Very, very cool!}


It was a good week all around, made even better by the gorgeous weather we've been having. ☼



So, what have you been up to lately?

44 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I would've loved to have gone to the Veteran's Voices of Canada exhibit. That's such a touching story about the kids who petitioned to have Mr. Pennington's medals replaced. I'll have to show that article to Liam.

    You should definitely be inspired by the progress you've made on your rewrite! You're making great time on it! :)

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    1. Veterans Voices of Canada is a fairly new thing, so it's still working out some of the kinks, but it was well worth attending. Mr. Pennington's and Master Corporal Franklin's stories were so touching. One WWII bombardier in particular spent some time talking to Todd and me about the planes and stories from the war. It was so great to hear it directly from a vet. (Also, how hot is the pilot in that photo above? And how weird is it that he's in his 90s now?)

      I feel like this rewrite is making me cross-eyed. I keep thinking of things that are lacking or need more tweaking and it's just adding MORE words to this beast of a story. Can't wait until I can get some feedback on it so I'll know if I've addressed the issues Awesome Agent had with it.

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  2. I love beta reading :) It's so cool to get to read those amazing stories before they're out in the wild, and such a honour to be trusted with the things that people have poured so much time, energy, and love into. I want to do it a lot more!

    And the annoyance you're feeling at those unraveling edits--you're not alone! It's possible the most frustrating thing about revising.

    I think it's awesome that you're feeling inspired by your progress :) Writing is hard work, and we writers are hard on ourselves, but you're giving yourself the credit you deserve! Go you!

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    1. I love beta reading, though it does make me feel a bit inadequate sometimes. More than anything, it helps me see ways to perfect my own craft, so that's good. You're right about it being a honour to be trusted in that way, though. :-)

      I'm hoping that the changes I'm making to my WIP will be exactly what the story needed and that it will still be a cohesive unit in the end. I have this weird fear that the patches (changes) will be glaringly obvious when I'm done. O.O

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  3. I think it's awesome to be inspired by yourself! Go Team Jaime!

    It can be so frustrating when other elements of the plot unravel because of one other detail, but just think of how awesome your book will be when you're done!

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    1. In some ways, I can see how starting from scratch (or close to it) would be easier than really deep edits. Following all of the fissures made by the changes you're making can sometimes tie your brain in knots. I just keep thinking of all the things that still need addressing and it's making me cross-eyed. O_o BUT, I have hope that it will all work out in the end, will be totally worth it. :-)

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  4. YAY great post! I LOVED Jellicoe Road, and I've got Finnikin of the Rock so you'll have to tell me if I should bump it up my list!

    That exhibit sounds amazing, I'd love to check that out!

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    1. I'll let you know how FINNIKIN is when I finish it. I've read some great fantasy in the last year, and I fully expect that this will go on that list as well. JELLICOE ROAD was really good, so I have faith in Marchetta to wow me again. :-)

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  5. Slogging is a good term for the process of reading classics...and then, when you get to that glorious end, you realize the fruit of your labor. Keep it up!

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    1. Some classics are more enjoyable (less of a slog) than others, but this one just feels a bit tedious. Especially considering I'm reading it at the same time as more contemporary works. Can't wait to return to some Dickens or something else that has characters I like in it! :-)

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    2. I read Bleak House a few months ago, and I'm planning another Dickens book for the summer. It takes a commitment, doesn't it?

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  6. I've just discovered this meme from the lovely Rebecca Barrow and thought I'd give it a try. I hope, someday, to get through Jellicoe Road (I've tried 3 times now, with no success) but I feel determined to read it and love it. The Veteran Voices of Canada sounds fascinating. Best of luck with your revisions : )

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    1. I'm so happy you decided to join in! It's always nice to meet more writer folk. :-) As for JELLICOE ROAD, I'd been hearing for so long about how confusing the first 100 pages were, so when I finally sat down with it I was prepared and I didn't find it too bad. I don't know, something about it just really appealed to me, but it's not for everyone. That being said, FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is a totally different kind of book and it's not confusing at all. I'm enjoying it so far. :-)

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  7. Oh, wow, that veterans' event sounds really amazing. We had a Vietnam war vet in last week to talk to our students and he was really interesting.

    And yay for reading Finnikin! After the book festival this weekend is over, I think a re-read of Finnikin and Froi is in order just before I read my shiny new acquisition, Quintana of Charyn (hey, I *had* to buy it--I was supporting my homeyown's indie bookstore when we visited!)

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    1. Veterans Voices was wonderful, a tiny bit disorganized, but so worth attending. It was especially great talking to the WWII vets and hearing their stories. They won't be with us all that much longer.

      I'm enjoying FINNIKIN so far, but I'd really like to just sit down with it and read in big blocks of time. It's always tough picking up and putting down a fantasy what with all of the names, bits of world-building, complex plots and the like that don't lend well to casual reading. Plus, I just miss my reading time. Between you and Katy raving about these books, I feel certain I'm going to love them. :-)

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  8. I love beta reading! And it's not self-centered at all to be inspired by yourself.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Beta-reading is pretty great. To know that you're getting a sneak peek at something that could one day be on shelves is all kinds of awesome. I've been fortunate to read a couple of wonderful contemps over the past few months, and I hope everyone gets to read them soon. :-)

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  9. Congrats on all of your revision progress so far! You're doing great!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet! It's actually coming along quicker than I anticipated, so that's good. How are you revisions going? :-)

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  10. Melina Marchetta is amazing, one of my favourite writers of all time, you should definitely read Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son too!

    Congratulations on nearing the end of your rewrite, it's fantastic when the end is in sight - good luck!

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    1. I had a copy of The Piper's Son in my hand just the other day. I'll have to make sure I check both of those out. Finnikin is really good so far, so I expect I'll be working my way through the rest of that series.

      I did more work on my rewrite today and it's definitely coming along well. Can't wait to be done, though! :-)

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  11. Keep up the great work on your revisions! I'm glad you enjoyed Jellicoe Road. I've been meaning to give it a read!

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    1. Thanks, Samantha! My desk is a mess of post-it notes to remind me of things I still need to address in my WIP. I swear it's neverending. I could probably revise this thing until I'm 80. :P

      JELLICOE ROAD is good, but a lot of people found it tough to get into for the first 100 pages. I was fine probably because I was warned ahead of time, so I paid extra close attention to every detail. That helped a lot because I didn't end up confused and I had a really good idea what was going on right from the start.

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  12. So I started to read JELLICOE ROAD a couple of years ago...and I just couldn't do it. The first 100 pages were tough to get through and I tried, I really did. I've heard so many people rave about this one, so I know I really need to give it another go. Of course, I'm also hearing wonderful things about FINNIKIN from others, so I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!

    And congrats on making it so far through your revisions, Jaime!!! Isn't it crazy what one "minor" tweak can do to a story? I totally hear you on that, but I'm very excited for you to be cranking through it with a fury - I can't wait to hear all about it when you're done! And there is absolutely NOTHING self-centered about being inspired on how far you've come!!! I know some days I look back and think how awesome it is that I'm accomplishing so much...and then there are the days I think, "what the hell am I doing trying to write???" - so yes, be inspired by your great progress when it hits you, because it is something to be proud of!

    And very cool on the exhibit you and your hubby went to. It helps to gain perspective like that in order to remember who you are. When do you think you'll start playing publicly with your pipe and drum band? I think that is so awesome...and I can't wait to hear all about it!

    Thanks for another great WUW!!!

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    1. It's totally crazy what one minor tweak can do. It's kind of like a fissure in a glacier and the avalanche that can come from that. O.O Okay, maybe not that bad, but it's still a challenge. (As I'm sure you know. ;-))I have so many notes to myself to remember to address 101 things before this revision is done. I makes me want to go all QWERTY face. But I know it will be worth it in the end.

      I think we'll be starting to join the band publicly sometime this summer. They march while they play too in parades, so I'll have to learn how to actually walk and play. Yikes! That could be...interesting. :P

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  13. I love that you're inspired by your own progress! Not weird at all. I think that's how we gain momentum!

    So cool that you were able to go to the Veterans' Voices event. I treasured hearing stories (and seeing photos) from my grandfather's time in the Pacific in WWII. Some of my favorite memories with him were listening to him talk about it - and even when his recent memory was going because of Alzheimers, he loved talking about the past.

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    1. You're so right about gaining momentum that way. If we didn't see any progress it would be easy to give up. This thing is definitely getting better from all of the elbow grease. :-)

      Your grandfather was in the Pacific? Wow. That was a really harsh theatre of war from what I understand. I mean, they're all horrific, but that one was especially bad. I think stories like his are so important to remember and to pass on to our kids. I know it matters to me.

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  14. You are SO BUSY!!!! And I love this post idea, Jaime. You're such a neat person. You've got so many good things going for you and I can't wait to see how it all evolves!!!!!

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    1. My day definitely feels more full but I kind of like it that way. :-) I've been making good use of a day-timer and that has helped immensely. (Plus, I'm a big enough dork that crossing items off as I do them is a HUGE motivator. :P)

      And thanks for the kind words, Morgan. You never fail to make me smile. :D

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  15. I looove Melina Marchetta's books! Katy's review of JELLICOE ROAD hooked me, and I had to read it. I am so, so glad I did. She is such a phenomenal writer. I've since read the Lumatere books, and I just love the series. You can't go wrong with FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK - it's fantastic!

    Kudos on the rewrite! Chasing down the waterfall of changes can be so exhausting, and I love that your positive progress with the rewrite is inspiring you. Talk about positive! :)

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    1. I honestly don't know what took me so long to read JELLICOE ROAD. I think maybe it had something to do with those infamous tough first 100 pages. (Though, I didn't find them confusing.) I'm so glad I finally read it. FINNIKIN is good so far. In fact, I think I'll spend my evening devouring it. :-)

      This rewrite has been challenging, but it's also been really good too. This thing is already so much better!

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  16. First: totally jealous of the contemporary you got to read this week :) Second, exciting news on your re-write progress! If you need a beta, let me know! I've been wanting to pick up Jellicoe Road but haven't. I definitely will at some point.

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    1. That contemp was wonderfully swoonworthy and authentic. Loved it! :)

      The rewrite is definitely coming along well, but it does feel neverending at times. My desk is cluttered with post-it notes reminding me to address about 101+ different things. Yikes! My word count is getting out of hand again. O_o Good thing I kind of love my delete key. ;-)

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  17. I totally feel you on the revision craziness! It can be very tedious to follow one little tweak through the whole story just to make sure everything's cohesive and makes sense. Best of luck as you wind down with it... I have the highest of hopes for you!

    The Veterans Voices of Canada event sounds so inspiring. I'd like to start doing more in support of vets, especially now that my daughter is old enough to understand the basics of what a veteran is and why they should be honored.

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    1. I have nothing but the utmost respect for our troops and vets. What they do just amazes me. I also think it's so important to hear their stories and to pass them on to our kids.

      A cohesive story is definitely the goal. It does feel a little out of reach at times, but I think I'll get there. My story might be a big honking beast by then, but there is always the delete key, right? (I'm not even kidding when I say that this thing just keep growing and growing. Gah!) But I think it's definitely better with Awesome Agent's suggestions. :-)

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  18. Woo hoo on your rewrite progress. I'm about to dig into my own revisions. Eeep. I haven't looked at this novel in 4 or 5 months!!

    I am ALSO jealous of your reading Katy's contemporary. I really want to read her work. HEAR THAT, KATY????

    As for the Veterans Voices of Canada event - it sounds so great. I was just talking with my roommate - well we were having a discussion really that soon the World War II vets you spoke with won't be alive and that our parents will be and then us and we'll be the ones trying to explain the horrors of the Holocaust etc to our children. It makes me sad. I think that those stories make the most impact coming from the people who experienced it - it makes it much more real than a textbook or second or third hand story.

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    1. You are so right about the impact these veterans' stories have coming directly from them It's sad that the WWII vets in particular are starting to disappear. The Holocaust is something that we *never* want to forget and that our kids need to hear about. That's why these events are so important.

      Revisions are definitely taxing, but they can also be kind of fun. It's nice to revisit a story after awhile away from it. Fresh eyes are the best! Good luck with your revisions, Rachel. :-)

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  19. That's so awesome to hear about the revisions! I love being in that stage (and am so far from it right now it's not even funny). Also, the veteran's stories sound really really interesting.

    Thanks for hosting!

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    1. I can barely remember what it feels like to be just starting a new project. To be honest, I kind of miss it. I *do* like the revision process, but there's something so exciting about starting on something fresh. Hope yours is coming along well. :-)

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  20. Feeling inspired by your progress on revisions DEFINITELY doesn't sound weird. Revisions/rewrites are definitely where the magic happens and it's like a drug to see how much more awesome a MSS can get.

    And, wow to those kids for their petition. I say it again and again-- kids are awesome. The Veterans Voices of Canada event sounds amazing. I spent a lot of time with the US VFW and feel so much respect and awe for all who served.

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  21. Congrats on your inspiring rewrite progress! It doesn't sound weird to me at all--realizing that you're doing hard and good work is definitely a motivating thing.

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  22. I´m so happy to read your progress inspires you because it definitely inspires me! Can´t wait to read the outcome! Hope you´re having a great weekend, Jaime! <3

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  23. I hope that's not self-centered because I'm always inspired by my own manuscripts! Sounds like a great week of reading and revising! GO Jaime GO!!!

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  24. Shoot! I just realized that I deleted all of the links from the past couple of weeks. I'm still trying to figure out inlinkz. My mistake... :/

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