May 22, 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

I FINALLY finished Wuthering Heights, and I have to say it ranks in the top five books I'm glad to be done with. It is my opinion that there is nothing even remotely romantic about this book. Unless you consider bat shiz obsession romantic. I don't. So not my favourite Brontë sister offering. (Charlotte gets my vote.) Anyway, I think I'll return to Dickens' Great Expectations and finally finish that one (almost a year after I started).


Feet...ewww.
I'm also reading The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott and it's all right so far. There's an abundance of 'said' tags and I have an overwhelming urge to shake the best friend, Brianna, but all that aside I'm finding it enjoyable. And the love interest is sweet so...

WHAT I'M WRITING

Speaking of overwhelming urges to shake someone/thing... If I'm being 100% honest, the deeper I get into this rewrite, the worse I feel about how it's going. I just keep adding more and more words (that I don't have room for) and still haven't addressed everything I want to. Not going to lie, it's beyond frustrating. Last week at this time was a high point. This week? Definitely a valley. :/



WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
My wonderful writer friends on Twitter. I mentioned my frustration with my rewrite and in under five minutes I had three people respond with encouragement and support. It's stuff like this that keeps me from going crazy or giving up altogether.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Besides being a Debbie Downer? Lots of fun stuff:

The 30-Day Squat Challenge! (I'm using 'fun' lightly here.) Special thanks goes out from my saddlebags to Katy Upperman for bringing this torturous delightful challenge to my attention. All jokes aside, it has actually gotten a lot easier, and I think I can see/feel a difference already. I'm at the 135 squats in one day benchmark, which I never thought I'd be able to do.


• I'm beta-reading another really great YA story. This one is absolutely hilarious and there have been many laugh out loud moments. Bonus points to this writer for a Menudo* reference that nearly made me spew coffee all over my computer.


• Trying to freshen up my home office with a new look. Turns out finding curtains in the pattern/colour scheme I want is next to impossible. I know what I'm looking for, but I'm starting to think it doesn't exist. Since I spend an awful lot of time in this room, I'd like it to be the kind of place that feels inviting and where creativity can thrive (as opposed to going to die).



So, what have you been up to lately?



* A Puerto Rican boy band that was first formed in the 1970s. A young Ricky Martin was a member at one point. My exposure to this band was through an episode of the 1980s sit-com Silver Spoons. And yes, I know I'm totally dating myself.

56 comments:

  1. First of all, that Menudo picture is hysterical! Ricky Martin is sporting one excellent mullet there. As soon as you mentioned Menudo, Silver Spoons popped into my head too. Speaking of guys named Ricky, Rick Schroeder was my first TV crush, which I'm sure you probably knew. Ah, the 80s. Someone should erase that era from the history books.

    I'm so glad your opinion of Wuthering Heights ended up being the same as mine. I think Heathcliff should win the award for most ridiculously overrated book boyfriend ever.

    I'm sorry to hear your rewrite is overwhelming you, and I hope things start to fall into place soon. It's a huge undertaking, and you've made great progress so far. I'm sure when you're done the final result will be amazing!

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    1. Did you see the Silver Spoons Menudo YouTube link I included? Holy blast from the past! So, so cheesy. I don't think erasing the 80s from the history books would erase it from our minds. And besides, it's great to laugh at. :P

      I agree with you about Heathcliff. There's nothing sexy about the way he treated everyone, including Cathy. Also, am I the only one who noticed how often characters were cruel to animals in this book? Well that explains things--everyone is a sociopath. :/

      The rewrite is definitely a huge source of stress right now. I feel like I'm on a timeline, so these kinds of roadblocks are tough to deal with. I honestly don't know how I'm going to make this work, but I still keep plugging away at it.

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  2. I'm about to attempt an office spruce up too! Must be something in the (allegedly) spring air!

    Hang in there with that rewrite! The highs and lows and highs again are all part of the process :)

    I quite liked Great Expectations, but my favourite Dickens novel is Hard Times :)

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    1. It's definitely because of spring that I want to spruce up my office. It seemed so dark and dull which isn't inspiring at all.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I think that's one of the only things keeping me sane right now, the encouragement from writing friends. :-)

      And Great Expectations is infinitely more interesting and readable than Wuthering Heights so already things are looking up!

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  3. I am so sorry you're at that frustrating point with your revision - trust me - I KNOW that feeling of trying to answer questions and adding countless words that shouldn't be there. But it gets better. And you can do it!!!

    Also, I totally got your Menudo and Silver Spoons reference. I LOVE that show! Also, I now want to read this WIP your beta reading!

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    1. This rewrite would be going so much better if word count wasn't an issue. I suppose I could just ignore the word count, get everything written, and then deal with cutting. That might be the only way to approach this beast of a rewrite.

      Haha! I'm glad that Menudo reference wasn't completely wasted. I knew my sister would get it, but I figured everyone else would just think I'm nuts. Gotta love 80s TV and 80s music! So, so silly! :P

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    2. {Also, I should have mentioned that it's Copil's WIP I'm beta-reading. So, so funny! No surprise there, right?}

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  4. Way to go with Heights. Sorry it wasn't rewarding. Dickens, as I may have stated before, is one of my faves. I hope Pip has more to offer than anything wuthering!

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    1. I like Dickens' stuff SO much more than WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I knew it wouldn't be my thing, but I figured I needed to prove that by actually reading it. It's just so hard to get into a story that you don't like any of the characters, you know? Dickens, however, never had any shortage of likeable characters. Plus, he's just so witty. :-)

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  5. I´ve never read Wuthering Heights and after reading your thoughts on it, I´m not sure I want to give it a go :P

    When it comes to your rewrite, any ways you can hide the word count so that it doesn´t disturb you? :D

    And then...we can also help you cut words! Totally cheering you on Jaime!

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    1. If you're going to read books by a Brontë, I say choose Charlotte over Emily. I'm a big fan of JANE EYRE and VILLETTE.

      As for the rewrite, I think the main problem is that I've tried to keep way too much of the original story while trying to work in new material. I think that's where I went wrong. Sure I've deleted some stuff, but I think I needed to be more brutal with it. The trouble with this kind of story is that so much is woven together that as soon as you change something, the whole thing wants to unravel. Such a headache! Ah well. I may have to take a couple of days and spend some time with ANNIE instead. :-)

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  6. I didn't hate WUTHERING HEIGHTS at all. In fact, the turbulent "romance" is one of the things I like about it, since I'm not really into Romance (and I don't mean that in the same way as "I'm not really into horror but am strangely drawn to Stephen King novels" :D). It was so very different from the traditional, predictable romance novel, that it scored well with me. But to each his/her own. I will say, though, I would take JANE EYRE over WUTHERING HEIGHTS any day, so we agree on something. :)

    Sorry the re-write is hitting a valley. I have confidence it'll come together at some point. I think if I was in your position, the greatest frustration for me would be how long it's taking to get it right (especially after revisions and beta readings). But I would tell myself to hang in there, and that anything worthwhile takes time and effort. So in case that's you--hang in there, Jaime! :)

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    1. I can honestly say that the number one thing I didn't like about WUTHERING HEIGHTS is that there was no one character that I actually liked. It's hard to read a book that you can't find even one person to root for. Yes, they were all flawed and that's usually a good thing, but I wanted some redeeming qualities and found none. Okay, I'll grant that the budding romance between two characters at the end was a tiny bit heart-warming, but by then it just felt like too little too late. Nope, I'm a Charlotte gal all the way when it comes to the Brontës.

      This rewrite is the result of an R+R, so it's even more important that I get it right. I think that's where a good deal of the stress is coming from. Plus, I tried to keep too much of the original MS instead of being as brutal with it as I should have been. Headaches ensued... I'm making a chart of certain plot points and I think that may help, so maybe by next week I'll be out of the valley again. :-)

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  7. Menudo!!! My older bro and I were fascinated by the turnover of this band back in the day.

    Try not to let your rewrites get you down - any day now you'll find that line or that passage that will make you go "YES!" and then everything else will start clicking. The ups and downs of writing can be mega frustrating!

    Ouch, that 30 day squat challenge sounds challenging!

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    1. I only just found out that Menudo is one of those bands that actually turned over and had different members. I really only know about them through Silver Spoons. Man, 80s music could be so cheesy!

      I think you're right about that one thing that makes the rewrite click into place. I know that once I sort out a couple of things it will start to look up, but man, is it ever rough being on this side of that breakthrough. You are so right about these ups and downs being frustrating. The ups not so much, though. ;-)

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  8. I loved WUTHERING HEIGHTS as a teen, especially the batshit romance--I should reread now and see if my opinion has changed.

    I can sympathize with the revision--the one I'm working on right now feels Sisyphean. I think I'm getting close, and then I add more pages. Neverending!

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    1. I think the thing that bothered me the most about WUTHERING HEIGHTS was the shortage of characters I felt I could root for. I honestly didn't like any of them. The budding romance at the end of the book redeemed it a tiny bit for me, but it still felt like too little too late. Ah well. Too each his/her own, right? :-)

      Yes! Sisyphean is the perfect way to describe this process. I'm hoping that I'll have a breakthrough and then it will be smooth sailing from there. In related news: I'm sort of delusional. O_o

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  9. I really liked Wuthering Heights, but it took me a long time to get through it. I'm sorry your rewrite is so rough right now--just keep going! Once I finally get moved in and back to writing, I'm afraid I'll be in the same spot you're in right now; it's sort of where I was before this house stuff came up. I definitely understand and will keep cheering on Twitter!

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    1. I just didn't like any of the characters in WUTHERING HEIGHTS, so that was probably the most challenging thing about reading it. I like to be able to root for someone at least. Ah well. I finished it, so that's something.

      We'll have to commiserate when you get back into your story again. These stressful revision journeys are so much better with companions. :-)

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  10. I loved Wuthering Heights. It is one of my favorites. I don't see it as a romance either, more like an exploration of human hearts.

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    1. I wanted to like it, but in the end it just wasn't for me. I find it difficult to like books where I don't feel like I can root for any of the characters. Toward the end, I did enjoy Catherine and Hareton's story, but it wasn't enough to redeem the book for me. Ah well. :-)

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  11. You did better than me with Wuthering Heights. Never finished the book but I've seen adaptations so I know what it was about. Totally not romance and it always bugs me when people call it that. It's the same when people say Romeo and Juliet is a great love story. It's so not. Their actions are a warning, not a love message.

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    1. You are so right about both stories. Cathy and Heathcliff's obsession with each other was anything but romantic, and the fallout from it was just mind-boggling. None of the characters was worth rooting for, which was the number one thing I disliked about it. Like you, I'd seen movie versions of the book, so I was prepared to dislike it based on plot alone. For a time I thought I might be wrong, but nope. Still disliked it.

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  12. Aw, HUGS! I'm so sorry that your revisions are giving you a headache! Writing can be so tough sometimes, but I know you will rock this draft! :)

    Confession: I haven't read Wuthering Heights either. I also haven't read any Jane Austen novel, and I wonder if I should give up my woman card... Haha.

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    1. I'm writing a scene right now that I think should be in my story. I'm not sure where it will fit, but at least it's writing, right? I'm also trying to ignore that awful word count thing and just reminding myself that I can worry about deleting later. (Yes, I'm in denial.)

      Giving up your woman card? Too funny! I've only read two Austen novels (though I know all of her stories), so I'm not much further ahead in that respect. :-)

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  13. DO NOT DELETE YOUR REVISION. Surely the experience will get better. Maybe step away for a few days? And I totally stand by my offer of email brainstorming/idea bounding/venting. You can do it, Jaime!

    So, I kind of love THE UNWRITTEN RULE. Something about the palpable sense of longing I got while reading really drew me in. And I appreciated the ending. It struck me as very realistic. I'll be interested to hear what you think when you're done reading.

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    1. Thankfully, I'm smart enough to walk away from the computer before doing anything drastic, but it's still making me crazy. I've decided to just write and try not to get stressed out about word count...for now. I can always make friends with my delete key later, right?

      I'm enjoying THE UNWRITTEN RULE for the reasons you mention, though I don't think it will rank among my favourites. I have so many other contemps that I can't wait to get to! :-)

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  14. Sorry to hear your revision is challenging-- but so glad you're working through it. I'm convinced it's better to be the person who struggles than the person who thinks everything they write is perfect. IF you can keep at it, being critical is a good thing.
    I totally remember that Silver Spoons with Menudo. LOVED it. That show also takes the credit for being the first place I learned about dyslexia. The dyslexia episode was "A Very Special Silver Spoons" whereas the Menudo episode was all fun!
    I'll pick Jane Eyre over WH every time. And... the squat challenge. I'm oddly interested in/frightened by it. I will check it out. :0)

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    1. You are so right about struggling being better than not being able to see the flaws in your writing. It just means I'm going to work that much harder to make it right, as frustrating as that may be.

      And I'm right there with you re: JANE EYRE vs. WUTHERING HEIGHTS. The former kicks the latter's butt, in my opinion. ;-)

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  15. I'm sorry your revision has been so frustrating. I hope taking a short break from it helps. I wouldn't worry so much about getting it back to the agent quickly. I doubt there's a time limit on their end, and it's better to take your time and get it to where it needs to be! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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    1. I really do need to keep reminding myself that there isn't a time limit on this. Obviously, I want to get it back to her before she completely loses interest or before someone else writes something similar, but beyond that, it's not seriously urgent. I'm also trying to ignore word count for now, which is SO hard, but so necessary. (For the time being.) Thanks for the encouragement, Ghenet! :-)

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  16. Don't give up! I love that you said "the deeper I get into this rewrite, the worse I feel about how it's going" because that's how I always feel with rewriting/revising. But at the end, when you've finessed it as needed, you'll realize you needed to get though the crap to get to the good stuff. You can do it!!

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    1. I suppose it's kind of like that whole "it's always darkest before the dawn" thing, right? It's going to feel like it's an absolute mess before it starts to look like something resembling a cohesive story again. Still, I can't wait for that breakthrough that makes this feel like it's worth it, you know? :-)

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  17. You'll get through this re-write! Don't worry! Also, remember not to over think it. You can always come back to it later. ;)

    As for Wuthering Heights - I've never read it, but 2 of my friends have and they totally agree with you. They hated it, haha.

    That squat challenge sounds insane. My muscles are sore just thinking about it! So go you!

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    1. I think you may be right about the overthinking thing. Guilty as charged. I'm trying to ignore the oversized word count and just focus on writing what needs to be written. I'll worry about paring it down later.

      As for WUTHERING HEIGHTS, I'd definitely say skip it, though I felt like I needed to read it just so I'd know from experience how terrible it actually is. :P

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  18. Oh, poo, I missed What's Up Wednesday this week. But I'm happy to read yours. Best of luck with your rewrite. I'm revising right now and feeling these ups and downs too. I bet it's going better than you think. Just keep chugging : )

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    1. So glad I'm not alone in the ups and downs of revising. It sometimes feels that way, even though the rational side of me knows that's not the case. Good luck with your revision, too! :-)

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  19. If it makes you feel any better, I've heard of Menudo, even though it was waaaaay before my time. Have some faith in us youngins :)

    Wuthering Heights is much better if you don't view it as a romance novel, and instead as a psychological exploration. Also if you don't think about how it was an inspiration for Twilight.

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    1. That's hilarious that you've heard of Menudo too! They're not exactly super popular on the charts or anything. ;-)

      I think you may be right about not viewing WUTHERING HEIGHTS as a romance novel, but more like a study of the human psyche (and how it can be totally messed up). I kind of forgot about the WH/TWILIGHT connection. That explains a lot...

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  20. Wooo, Great Expectations! And congrats on getting through Wuthering Heights. I liked that one ok as an adult (but I'm with you on Charlotte for Best Bronte Sister) but when I was required to read it in school I couldn't get through more than two pages without falling asleep. Like, snoring and all.

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    1. I started reading GREAT EXPECTATIONS last summer with you and your students...and then fizzled out. This Chapter a Day challenge I've created for myself will make finishing it up that much more likely. I'm enjoying it (I mean, c'mon, it's Dickens!) especially after finishing WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (Dislike.) As much as I disliked the latter, at least I can officially say that I've read it and now know firsthand what I've always loathed about it. (I'd only seen the movie adaptations before.) ;-)

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  21. Waaah I STILL need to read Wuthering Heights. I was supposed to read it for English when I was 16 but used the sparknotes instead! But now I really want to read it! And don't stress about your rewrite, it'll all come together :)

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    1. Who knows? Maybe you'll enjoy WUTHERING HEIGHTS. It seems that most people either love it or hate it with nothing in between. It's definitely not a favourite of mine, but at least I can say I read it, right?

      I'm choosing to just power through the stress of the rewrite and worry about the huge word count and so on later. :-)

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  22. I loved WUTHERING HEIGHTS as a teen. I wonder how I'd feel about it as an adult? I suspect I'd find it way less romantic!

    I'm sorry your revision's feeling overwhelming right now. Maybe you could focus on making the changes in this pass and then take a machete to the wordcount on another?

    Super-impressed with the squats! I don't think I could manage even 50!

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    1. As it turns out, I'm doing exactly what you suggest: I'm just powering through the rewrite and choosing not to worry about the word count at this point. Right now it's more important to get it all down. It's amazing how much better just letting that go makes me feel.

      The squats were brutal when I first started out. I had a hard time walking downstairs my leg muscles were so tight. But after a couple of days it got WAY easier. I should mention that I don't do all 135 at one time. I break it up into segments of 30 or so. :-)

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  23. I love Wuthering Heights. It's one of my favorite books, but I've always liked Jane Eyre better. I read it when I was eleven and I've reread it at least 100 times since. There's a special place in my heart for Heathcliff, but I'd take Mr. Rochester over him any day.

    Sorry your revisions aren't going smoothly. I hope everything falls into place soon.:)

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    1. I read JANE EYRE for the first time years ago and have read it a number of times since. This was my first (and last) time with WUTHERING HEIGHTS, but it's hard for me not to compare the two. I'm definitely a Mr. Rochester over Heathcliff gal.

      As for the revisions, I've decided to stop stressing (for the time being) about my word count and just get it all down. I can always trim it down later on. :-)

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  24. I'm with you on Wuthering Heights. May the classics gods strike me down, but I just didn't like it. I'm more of an Austenite, anyway, because at least she had a great sense of humour.

    You'll get through the rewrite. There have been times that I know I'll be deleting something later, but sometimes we need those extra words now to help us plot out where we're going. Have you tried some prompts or other "not in the book" exercises with your characters? Sometimes, that's enough to help understand where you need to go.

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    1. Both Austen and Dickens were so witty, and that makes their books SO much more readable and enjoyable than WUTHERING HEIGHTS could ever be. Plus, there's always more than one character you find yourself rooting for/liking. Not so with WH.

      As for the rewrite, I more or less know what needs to make its way in, it's just a matter of figuring out where it should go, what should stay and what needs to be cut, all the while making sure I'm addressing the agent's concerns for my R+R. Yikes! I think I'm getting there, but it's hard to tell. Thanks for the encouragement! :-)

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  25. I admire your persistence with those books--WOW! I would have jumped to the end and then threw it to the side!

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    1. Well, it was definitely tempting! I'm one of those people who has a hard time abandoning things I've started reading or watching. All in all, I'm glad I read it even if I didn't love it. :-)

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  26. Ha! Wuthering Heights sounds terrible. I will stay away.

    Rewrites are so tough sometimes, and such an emotional roller coaster. I think, like cleaning the house, it has to get way, way worse before it starts getting better. I'd be interested in hearing how you deal with everything that comes with revising! All the doubts, etc.

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    1. It was...not my favourite. ;-)

      You're so right about rewrites and the emotional roller coaster. I've decided to ignore the word count and just go with it. I can always delete later, right? I should do a post specifically on revising and what that means to me. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  27. Haha... I loved Wuthering Heights! I should probably re-read it before I flat-out disagree with you, though. It was a while ago.

    Keep pushing through with those rewrites. :) Sometimes it really does have to get worse before it gets better.

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    1. I've discovered that opinions on WUTHERING HEIGHTS are pretty evenly split between "loved it" and "hated it", with very few falling somewhere in between. I fall in the latter camp, obviously. ;-) I guess I'm still glad I read it even if I didn't like it. It feels like some kind of accomplishment, you know?

      And you're so right about the getting worse before it gets better thing. Kind of like "it's always darkest before the dawn", right? :-)

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  28. I know what you mean about Wuthering Heights! And I guess I'm in the same place with my re-write too. Too many words and still too many things that need explaining!

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