January 15, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop with other folks on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you want to join us, we encourage you to visit a few other WUW blogs each week, get to know some other writers, and spread some writerly love! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we're using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING
WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


Welcome, and thank you for joining us!



WHAT I'M READING
Over the past week I've been working my way through Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns  trilogy. I'm on the final instalment, The Bitter Kingdom, now. I really wish I hadn't waited so long to finish this series, but at least I can plough through them all at once now, right? There's a lot to love about these books, but I can definitely say that they're everything I really wanted Bitterblue * (Kristin Cashore) to be. (The whole 'young queen trying to figure out how to rule a fractured kingdom' thing is similar.)

WHAT I'M WRITING
So I started brainstorming a new idea or two, but I'm not really sure what to do with either of them yet. For now they remain in brainstorm mode. And in a weird turn of events, I sat down the other day and started reading through the first chapters of my YA sci-fi (the one in a perpetual state of revision), making the odd change here and there. I was surprised just how much it doesn't completely suck. It still needs some major overhauling (conflict-related issues, removing anything and everything that even has a whiff of dystopian, bumping up the timeline to near future...), but I think there might be something there. Still. I think? Whatever.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
- Brainstorming sessions with my sister, Erin. 
- The fact that my WIP isn't broken beyond repair.
- My husband. He's a pretty fantastic guy, you know.
- Rae Carson's writing. It makes me want to write high fantasy.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I've been doing a lot of reading, trying to bring some semblance of order to my life (aka a routine), easing myself back into writing, hanging out with my hubby while he's home (we made a quick day/road trip to go up to IKEA and DAVIDsTEA an hour north in Edmonton), babysitting, making new friends... Not the most exciting week, but it was more fun than usual.



SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?



* Don't get me wrong, I love Kristin Cashore's Graceling  and Fire. I just wasn't in love with Bitterblue.


55 comments:

  1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns has been on my TBR list since forever. I really should get around to reading it. Good luck with your brainstorming and endless revising. I hope you have a wonderful week.

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    1. It's such a great series all around. Most likely one of my favourite fantasy series, really. Have a great week, Kate!

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  2. I'm so happy you loved the rest of Rae Carson's trilogy, but then I didn't have any doubt you would. The world/character building is just stellar. I got her novella as a stocking stuffer, so I need to sit down and read that sometime soon. I'm excited there's just a wee bit more of her world to read about.

    I'm jealous that you got to go to IKEA. Lately, I've felt like trashing our house and redoing it in a way more modern style. I know, I know, we just renovated not that long ago and we're still not done, but my taste has changed in that short time. Again.

    When I surface from this latest batch of revisions, we'll have to have another writing session via Skype. I'm hoping to cap off my WIP in the next little while, and I'll need to figure out what the heck to do with the beast. Fun fun fun. In the meantime, it's exciting that you've got two new ideas and you're rediscovering your sci-fi story. I think it's worth some polishing myself, but I'm biased because I want to find out what happens to those characters. :D

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    1. Well, I haven't yet finished THE BITTER KINGDOM. I'm only about 100 pages in, but I'm pretty sure I'll love it. Reading all of this fantasy is making me want to write fantasy. I really should sit down and brainstorm an idea or two. I hope she writes more fantasy, because I'd snatch it up in a heartbeat!

      Todd and I just spontaneously decided to drive up to Edmonton at about 2pm the other day. I guess that's the nice thing about living only about an hour away (we're closer now than we were in RD). We also had a gift card to use at DAVIDs (can't use them online), so that was fun, too. I got a couple cool things at IKEA and I could have easily spent thousands of dollars there, but I was responsible. ;-)

      We can definitely plan a Skype writing date for sometime soon. Maybe by then I'll have a bit more of an idea what I plan on tackling. I was kind of gung-ho about WoN...and then I saw this in the Goodreads newsletter: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15839976-red-rising Noooooo. Some of the similarities are a bit troubling. :-/ Maybe I really should look at working on something new. I think it was Rebekah who posted a link to a post by Sarah J. Maas with this gem in it: "If you don’t enjoy what you are writing, you are not writing the right story." Hmmm...most likely the problem. We'll have to see, I guess.

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  3. Do you know I have never ever ever set foot in an IKEA. I feel like I've missed out on some kind of cultural experience...

    Don't you love it when your own writing gives you a pleasant surprise? Hope the rest of the revisions prove equally affirming ^_^

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    1. I remember when IKEA was super, super cheap. Like the kind of place you would shop to outfit your dorm room. The $500 office chairs they now sell are evidence that those days are over. I do like buying bookshelves and decor there, though. (Their Billy bookcase line is the absolute best and I know how to fill them lol.)

      I've had so many ups and downs with this story that it's nice to have the occasional moment when I don't hate it. We'll have to see if anything comes of it. :-)

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  4. I've heard good things about that book. I'll have to add it to my to read list. Good luck with your brainstorming!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. It's a really fantastic series all around. Probably one of my favourites now. :-)

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  5. I haven't read Rae Carson yet, but apparently I should? I'm excited about the new ideas you're brainstorming, and envious of the fact that you have a YA-loving sister to brainstorm with. Lucky! Best of luck with them, and with the totally-does-not-suck revision you've got going. Looking forward to hearing whether you've made any progress with it next week. (Oh, the pressure of WUW! :-))

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    1. You really should. There is a fair amount of swoon, particularly in the second book (I'm not done the third, so I will have to weigh in) and I know how much you like the swoon. (As do I.) I'm enjoying brainstorming, though I wish some kind of really good idea would emerge from it. Still, I feel like I'm on the right track at least. Hopefully by this time next week I'll have made some decent progress on the brainstorming and/or revising. We'll see! :-)

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  6. Exciting is overrated, Jaime--a quiet week where I get to spend time with the family, read, and make progress on writing projects is a great week for me. I don't have to be traveling the world, or jet skiing in Hawai'i. :)

    I've had that "wow, my writing doesn't completely suck" moment a few times--with this project, in fact--and it's good. We need those reminders to ourselves from time to time.

    Have a wonderful week! :)

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    1. You're so right, Colin. Exciting is definitely overrated. More than anything I crave routine (which is kind of the opposite of exciting).

      Despite the revelation that my story doesn't completely suck, I'm still not convinced that this is where I should be putting my writing time. I still kind of feel like a new project might be the answer to this several month's long stint of not wanting to write. We'll have to see, I guess. I'm hoping some kind of awesome idea grabs hold of me soon!

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  7. I can't decide which is more exciting to me, that you are brainstorming/tentatively writing again, or that you are reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. I love Rae Carson's writing. I can completely understand how it would make you want to pursue high fantasy (I write high fantasy, and I love it more than anything.) If you ever want to brainstorm some fantasy, I'd be thrilled to participate. The fact that you already have an awesome brainstorm partner in your sis is pretty fabulous too!

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    1. Both are pretty exciting. :-) I'm leaning more toward the brainstorming thing today, so we'll see if an awesome idea emerges from the brainstorming. Hope so! Recently, I thought about all of the series I absolutely love/can't put down, and most of them were high fantasy. I'd love to attempt it, but frankly it kind of scares the pants off me. I might have to give it a try and not put too much pressure on myself or anything. If I ever decide to tackle it, I'd definitely take you up on your offer to help brainstorm! (Thanks, by the way. :D)

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    2. I have a lot of theories about writing high fantasy, how it is different than writing other genres, how it can be easier in some ways, harder in others, and so on...I am not an expert, but from where I'm sitting, writing anything, period is hard. The core of all good stories are the characters. Maggie S. said on her tumblr, and I'm paraphrasing because I couldn't find it to directly quote, "It's not the plot that is hard, it's the creating whole people that's hard." World building in fantasy isn't as hard as you think, you just have to nurture it. And, from what I've learned in writing fantasy, you have to listen to the character to understand the world. This is true of any genre.

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    3. No idea why that showed up as my wordpress username, instead of my blog. Oh well.

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  8. It's the best when you read through an old MS and find a lot of potential. Yay!

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    1. It really is, especially when far too often I experience the opposite lol. ;-)

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  9. I've never read Rae Carson, I'll have to put her on my TBR. I tried the first of Kristin Cashore's books long ago and wasn't blown away and then I heard a lot of negative about the sequel so I just never bothered to pick it back up. I might give it another shot sometime.
    Don't give up on your MS- if you think there's something there, then there definitely is. :)

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    1. I actually preferred FIRE over GRACELING, though I did like the latter a lot. BITTERBLUE not so much. But Rae Carson's books are just great all around. I highly recommend them! I haven't decided what to do about my MS. It seems that every time I feel good about it, something makes me doubt again. Such is the life of a writer, right? Ah well.

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  10. I have The Girl of Fire and Thorns checked out from the library right now! I can't wait to read it.
    Yay for your book having a lot of good in it! I hope that you have a great writing week :)

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    1. Blogger just ate my response. :(
      The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a really good book, and Book 2 was even better! Lots of swoon, and I do like the swoon. And lots of action, too. I hope you like it!
      It's always nice to experience those moments of loving your story, because all too often they're swept away by the doubts. I'm still not sure what to do with it, but at least I'm writing/revising again! :-)

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  11. I think we all need those times of brainstorming, especially when there's a lot else going on. I haven't read any of the books you mentioned, but I'm sure they are somewhere on my TBR-list :)

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    1. I feel like brainstorming is always a good thing, mainly because it lets your creativity run wild. Despite having a moment with my WIP, I still think a new idea is maybe where I should be putting my focus. I just wish I could decide. If you like fantasy, you really should give the books I mentioned a try!

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  12. I love high fantasy! Though I don't read much because they are usually so great and the writing so beautiful, it gets me down a little because I think I'll never be able to reach that level of awesomeness lol But seriously, I have a high fantasy idea plotted from beginning to end and beyond - I love it so much - but I can't sit down to write it. I'll probably mess it up and what I'll find on paper won't be that beautiful idea I have in my mind ...

    Yay for your manuscript not sucking! lol

    Have a great week!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean, Juliana, because I feel much the same way. I think it would be awesome to plan a fantasy MS, but I'd be so afraid of doing only a mediocre job. Or worse, a crummy job. I guess I'll never know until I try!

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  13. I love brainstorming! I feel like that's such a fun part of the writing process - just letting all the bits and pieces come together in your mind before actually writing. :) I also love when you re-read something you wrote and are surprised that it's not horrible. Ha. :) Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. It really is fun, and I need to feel like writing can be fun right now. I'm leaning very heavily toward brainstorming and not so much revising the other story. Now I just need an idea that I can't stop thinking about. ;-)

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  14. I finally went to IKEA for the first time a year or so ago? Anyway, my friends and I spent the afternoon there and were completely obnoxious as we sat on all of the furniture and then finally ate lunch.

    Brainstorming is the fun part! Hopefully you'll have something you can start writing soon :D

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    1. You really do need to sit on all the furniture at IKEA. ;-) I mostly just love their bookshelves and odds and ends to decorate with. And who can resist a super cheap lunch?

      I need to feel like writing can be fun again, so brainstorming is a great way to rediscover that. I sure hope I come up with a great idea soon!

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  15. brainstorming is fun, and frustrating. But at least you have ideas, that's a very good thing :) I love that both you and your sister are writers and can work out stuff together. Good luck with getting back in the routine, it can be tough, but I think it's worth it to get some kind of order back in your life.

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    1. It really is both fun and frustrating. You're right about that. I'm hoping some sort of must-write idea emerges from all of this, because that's what it's going to take to get me actively writing again I think. It really is great to have a sister who writes as well. Bouncing ideas off of each other has been irreplaceable for both of us. :-)

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  16. Yay for inspiration! Sounds like you've had some good motivation there. Things always seem worse when you're not even looking at it. It's nice to go back to a project and feel a bit more optimistic about it. :)

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    1. I definitely feel more optimistic about it, but even so, I think a new project might be the best idea for me right now. I sure hope a good story idea emerges from all of the brainstorming. I want to feel super excited about a story again. :-)

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  17. Good luck with your revisions and settling on a new idea for the next book. It's so fun to go through a book you wrote a long time ago and discover the characters and storylines all over again, and make it even better after all the time away.

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    1. This WIP isn't all that old, but I haven't touched it since back in June. Still, that feels like a long time to be away. I really can't decide if I want to revise this one some more or move on to an entirely new project. I'm leaning toward the latter, but we'll see.

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  18. Glad to hear that you feel better about your revision! Good luck with it. There's a David's Tea near my job which I'm pretty excited about since I've never been to one. I need to stop in!

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    1. It's actually kind of funny, but since I wrote this post, I stumbled across a book that has some big similarities with the WIP I'm revising. I'm right back to doubt central with it now. So silly, right? Ah well. I think a new project is definitely in order. You should really try out DAVIDsTEA sometime. Jess Silverstein took us to our first ever DAVIDs in New York, which is funny because it's a Canadian company. Now we're totally hooked. :-)

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  19. I still need to finish the Girl of Fire & Thorns trilogy - I have the second book on my Kindle! Reading high fantasy always makes me want to write something epic.

    Sometimes we need distance from our writing to make us love a project again. I always underestimate my first drafts and assume they completely suck, but it's rarely as bad as we think! :)

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    1. It totally makes me want to write something epic, too! I can honestly say that CROWN OF EMBERS is even better than Book 1, so that's a definite plus. I'm not very far into THE BITTER KINGDOM, but I fully expect that I'll love it.

      You're right about needing distance from a project sometimes. I think we get too close and can only see it's glaring flaws, which is never good.

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  20. Have now ordered The Girl of Fire and Thorns. I almost bought it at the bookstore a few weeks ago but after your rec I've decided I need to read it sooner rather than later. I hope you have a good week!

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    1. Awesome! I hope you love it. :-) I'm normally nervous recommending books to people, but this is a series I have zero qualms doing so with. Book 2 is even better than Book 1, which is fantastic. I'm only just partway into Book 3, but I expect I'll love it. Have a wonderful week, Susan!

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  21. I've had GRACELING sitting on my bookshelf for at least two years and I'm FINALLY getting around to reading it. :)

    And isn't it exciting when you look at a project you think is beyond repair and realize it isn't? I always have that little moment of, "Huh...maybe I do sort of know what I'm doing!" Glad your WIP is fixible! :)

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    1. Oh, I hope you like GRACELING. It's one of my favourites!

      It's always nice to look at something you thought was only meh or even not good and realize that it isn't as bad as you thought it was, maybe even good. :-)

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  22. I was actually just thinking about WoN today, actually, and how I wish there was a sequel. I don't think that other book looks too similar! If you're into it, keep going. If you aren't, find something you love. (Easier said than done, clearly--I've been trying to do one or the other for months.) I was also thinking about OA since I'm starting to teach Persuasion--I didn't get to read as much of that WiP but there are definitely a few scenes stuck in my head that came back really clearly as I started re-reading Persuasion. But hopefully we'll both figure out what we want to work on soon!

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    1. Thanks, Jess! You always make me feel like I might actually be able to do this writing thing. :-) Though, I'm kind of wondering if you would recognize WoN now with some of the changes I've made. I just hope I haven't wrecked it. I really don't know what I should be working on, but when I figure it out, I'll let you know for sure!

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  23. I'm glad you looked at your WIP! That's the best feeling in the world when you realize, "Oh yeah, I CAN write." I hope it's a great week!

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    1. I'm actually kind of glad I did too. It's tough to put in so much time on something and then walk away from it, even for a while. I really do hope it's worth saving, because I'm not ready to give up on it just yet. :-)

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  24. I haven't done a whole lot writing myself. Brainstorming can be fun though, huh? I'm glad your WIP isn't "broken" beyond repair! I always feel like mine is after finishing a new draft or revising a few times.

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    1. Brainstorming is probably one of the best parts of the writing process. It's so easy for me to get sucked into it rather than doing the hard stuff like revising, especially when it's something that just isn't cooperating. I really hope I can make sense of this neverending revision once and for all. And if not, then I hope I come up with a great new idea that I can be totally excited about. :-)

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  25. Oh, I love when I read something that I've written and it doesn't completely suck. It feels good. Ha. Good luck with your brainstorming. Have a great weekend!

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    1. It really does feel great. I mean, there are obviously things that need fixing, but some of it feels doable, so that's a good start. That said, I still want to brainstorm fun new ideas!

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  26. It's always a great feeling to look back at a WIP and realize that it's better than you thought, even if it needs some work. Have fun brainstorming your other ideas! I always enjoy that process. :)

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    1. It's a great feeling. A relief, really. You put so much time and effort into something and you really don't want to have to walk away from it because it's broken beyond repair. I'm hoping this one is worth the additional time spent revising it. We'll see, I guess. If not, I just want to get sucked into a new idea that I can get excited about.

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  27. Hiya

    This sounds like a great idea. Is there anyway I can still link up?

    Angel

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