March 5, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop to connect with other folks on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you would like 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 use:

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
I finally got around to picking up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, something I've been meaning to do for a year now. I read it over the weekend, which surprised me. This was not my first Gillian Flynn novel*, so I was prepared for a certain level of grittiness and vulgarity** that you just don't find in YA books. I have to say, I found it tough to put down! That said, the ending made me crazy. (Though, not the level of bat shiz crazy of the book's central characters, thankfully.) To scrub my brain a bit, I picked up A. G. Howard's Splintered, a book that's almost certain to be fantastical and a bit less gritty. I'm partway in and really enjoying it!

WHAT I'M WRITING
Well, I spent a bit of time revising my WiP yesterday and was a bit disheartened at everything that will have to go. Because of the major changes I'm making to my WiP, I'm discovering that entire scenes no longer fit with my overall plan. It's not that I loved these scenes and find it hard to part with them, it's more the realization that I'm going to have to write new scenes to take their place. Basically, I'm at that point where it all seems a bit overwhelming. What I need is a better plan and an actual plot diagram.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Hmm... {*crickets chirping*}

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

I hosted Book Club for the first time this past Friday, and it was a lot of fun. We had a good turnout, and I think this was the longest we've ever actually talked about the book we read. It usually just ends up being a big hangout session with lots of yummy food. I'm not used to having many people over or hosting things like this, so I was happy and relieved that it was such a success.

I finally put up some pictures in my living room after staring at a big blank wall for months now. I love the look of picture ledges crammed with photos in different frames, and the way this allows you to swap out pictures easier than if they're hanging on the wall, so I got to work on it. I decided to use photos from a couple of the trips we've been on--Scotland/England and NYC--unifying them by making them B+W. I'm satisfied with how it all turned out, but I would like to add more to fill it in a bit better.



Clockwise from top: Photo ledges; Hubby in a restaurant on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh; St.
Paul's Cathedral peeking through an alley in London; and me at the New York Public Library.


Well, that's my mostly uneventful week for ya. I'm still trying to get into some kind of routine with writing and exercise, but so far I'm really struggling to make this actually happen. I sincerely hope I find more success on that front in the coming week. 



SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU, FRIENDS?


* I didn't love Sharp Objects. The writing was fantastic, but on the whole it was not really my type of book. C'est la vie, right?

** I can be, let's just say, a bit salty at times, but there were some serious "Do you kiss your grandma with that mouth?" words. Like super ultra cringeworthy. Eek.


52 comments:

  1. Gone Girl is on my TBR list. I may pick it up next :)

    Oooh, I love the black and white look. Very artsy!

    Just remember - its changes for the better :D

    Have a great week, Jaime ^_^

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    1. GONE GIRL was definitely good, though there was some really twisted stuff in it. And a lot of vulgar sexual language and whatnot. I needed to read something a little lighter after that one! While I'm prepared to make all these changes, it is a little exhausting considering I've already revised the heck out of this thing, queried it, and got an R&R for it about a year ago. It feels neverending! Hope you have a great week, too, Cole! :-)

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  2. I want to pick up both of those books. I totally understand the having to sort your WIP out, it's hard going. Hang in there. And i love your pictures. That's such a cool idea.

    Have a great week.

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    1. These books are so completely different, that's for sure. I've sorted out this WiP so many times now, it's kind of exhausting. I've been working on it for 3 years now, and have already queried and revised it before too. Maybe this will be the final major revision. Fingers crossed!

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  3. I'm glad you're reading SPLINTERED, and I hope you like it as much as I did. UNHINGED is sitting here waiting to be read, but I'm not sure if I'll get to it next or not. We'll see. I'm looking forward to it though.

    I love how your picture ledges turned out! I'm even worse than you are for putting pictures up. I've had one of those picture frame kits stashed away for years now and still haven't gotten around to doing anything with it. I wanted to do a b&w collage in our room and after seeing your ledges I'm thinking that might be the way to go. Putting so many holes in the walls makes me cringe after the insane number I've times I've painted, which might partly account for my procrastination. That's a great shot of Todd btw!

    Don't feel too disheartened about your WIP. I think everything will fall into place once you sort out what to keep and what should happen when. It's a great premise with solid characters. I'm rewriting a fair number of scenes in my WIP, so I hear ya on how tough that is. We need to have a writing retreat and just dig in and get a nice chunk of work done. We shall have to discuss on Skype soon. :)

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    1. SPLINTERED is definitely interesting, especially now that she's finally in Wonderland. Can't wait to read more of it. I really needed to pick up something less twisted/gritty after GONE GIRL.

      The picture ledges make a *huge* difference in the living room. I love the idea of being able to swap out pictures whenever without having to take them off the wall. They're just propped, so it's so much easier. I want to add more pictures to the ledges too. I opted for the ledges so I wouldn't be putting nearly so many holes in the wall. Though, these are screwed in, so the holes are a bit bigger lol. I totally loved that pic of Todd. It was just some quick photo that I took over dinner in Edinburgh. Now that it's in B+W it looks all artsy lol.

      Ugh...my WiP. I'm excited about the possibilities, but exhausted by the amount of work required to get it there. Job one is getting a plot outline hammered out before really going much further. Not looking forward to that. I think a Skype writing retreat would be perfect. We'll have to plan that out soon!

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  4. My book club is reading Sharp Objects this month. And we read Gone Girl last summer (which glad to see you loved it - most everyone in my BC did too. I did not). Anyway, I'm hoping I have an opposite feel for Sharp Objects. Everyone raves about Gillian Flynn so I want to give her another try. :) And so glad you're revising! Even if it does seem like there's so much to do. You can do it! Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. The thing I've discovered about Gillian Flynn's books is that almost none of her characters are the slightest bit likeable. When I think about how long it takes to write and revise a book, I can't even imagine spending that much time with completely unlikeable characters. Thankfully, I'm not in that boat with my revision lol. Hope you have a great week, Alison!

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  5. So, Gillian Flynn is kind of like the YA style-equivalent of Stephen King? :)

    I'm sure I've said somewhere before (I'm quite verbose on the blogs, so it's likely I've already said everything interesting I might ever say, and I'm now reduced to repeating myself) that one of the things that makes me most nervous about revisions is re-writes. I spent so long getting the novel to where it is, the thought of having to go back and re-write huge chunks of it sends a shiver down my lazy, procrastinating spine. Probably the Beta feedback I dread the most is: "This really doesn't work. Consider re-writing, or a different scene between x and y, or a whole new sub-plot." I *want* that kind of feedback... but I don't look forward to it.

    Have a great writing and exercising week, Jaime! :)

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    1. Gillian Flynn is definitely an adult author, not YA. I would *so* not recommend her books to the YA demographic. Eek. There's a lot of very adult content in them.

      The re-write is definitely daunting. I hope for your sake that you don't have to go there. This is the WiP that I previously queried and got an R&R for about a year ago. I've kind of revised/rewritten it already since then, but I've changed a lot of where I want it to go, requiring furthering rewriting. It honestly feels neverending and a bit exhausting. BUT, I'm excited about where this story is going now, so that feels worth it somehow. That's good at least.

      Have a great week, Colin! :-)

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  6. I find crickets chirping very inspiring. I think you can work with that. :) I'm teasing of course, but don't get discouraged. You can totally do this thing! Gen up a pretty plot outline, break it into little pieces. I'm over here cheering for you!

    LOVE your photo wall! Gorgeous black and whites.

    And your book club sounds amazing! I would love to get to talk with actual, live people about books. (And the tasty food sounds pretty good too) ;)

    Hope you have an amazing week!

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    1. Haha! Real crickets chirping means warm, summery weather, so I think I would that inspiring too. Creating a good plot outline is job one right now. I've been trying to operate without one and it has become a major problem. Once that's hammered out, the rest shouldn't be too ridiculously difficult.

      It's amazing how much more artsy photos look when turned into B+W. And it really unifies them too.

      Book club is pretty fun. I especially like that it stretches me a bit. I don't normally read adult books, especially adult literary (which is what we normally end up reading), so it's kind of expanding my horizons. The tasty food and good conversation has to be the best part, though. Have a wonderful week, Kris!

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  7. I've been wanting to read Gone Girl for a while. My wife read it recently and liked it. I just need more time!

    Love the b&w photos!

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    1. It's definitely worth the read if you're not bothered by the content. I really enjoyed it!
      There's just something about B+W that makes pictures really shine. I'm kind of in love with my picture wall right now. :-)

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  8. I love those frames on the shelf! I just put up a big collage frame on my wall and even though it's big, it looks forlorn and sort of lonely up there so I'm trying to figure out how to make it a little more interesting. No clue.
    Good luck with your WIP. I felt overwhelmed with mine too because I had (have) a lot of cutting and adding to do. Finally I got index cards and jotted down every chapter on a card and laid it all out and then I paced for about two hours trying to figure out connections that needed to be made and what had to go and what I had to add. I figured it out enough to get going on the actual writing/cutting. Good luck!

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    1. Is there a piece of furniture that you could place under it. At one point (for Book Club) I had a chair sitting just under the picture ledges and it actually looked really nice that way. Just a thought. :-)
      I think the most exhausting thing with this WiP is that I've revised it a number of times already. I've also queried it and got a R&R that I pretty much squandered. Honestly, it has changed so much since then. But I know where I want it to go now, so that's exciting. Once I have a good plot outline hammered out, it should be much smoother sailing from then on. I might have to try your index card method. Have a great week, Melanie!

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  9. Jaime, I really believe you will get through this revision. I believe in revision and that it's possible to rewrite a manuscript and come out on the other side with such a sense of accomplishment and rightness that you don't know how you had it the other way before. It is a lot of work, but I think you can do it. It might even help you to not put too much pressure on getting the structure right, and just write scenes that get you back into the groove and love of this particular story/narrator. I don't know, but whenever I get to retrained I tend to start to feel overwhelmed.

    Love the picture arrangement!

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    1. I think what is most exhausting about this WiP is that I've already revised it a number of times. I queried it just over a year ago and even received a R&R for it (that I've totally squandered). It really kind of feels neverending. BUT, I now have a good idea what I want this story to be and it's really different that other versions, so this is a good thing. Like I've said to some of the other commenters, once I have a good plot outline figured out, it should be a lot less frustrating from that point on. That's the hope, anyway!

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  10. Good luck with your revisions! You can do it :)

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  11. First, I love your photo ledges. The black-and-white combo looks fantastic. Now I want to do something like that at my house! Second, I'm so glad you enjoyed GONE GIRL. That ending... Even more than a year later, I don't know if I love it or hate it. Also, SHARP OBJECTS is my favorite of GF's novels. Maybe because it pushed the envelope SO FAR? But you're right about it being super vulgar. I had to put it down several times while reading because I was so disturbed. And third, I am confident that you will rock this revision, Jaime. It might take you a long time, but you will manage it, and you will be proud of if. Does it make you feel better to know that the book I've most recently had on sub went through major revisions for almost four years before I was truly happy with it? Or, maybe that'll make you feel worse. ;-) The point is, all of the hard work will be worth it if you're truly passionate about this project. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks, Katy! There's just something about turning photos B+W that makes them look so much nicer. :-) I was really getting tired of staring at that blank wall, so it has made a *huge* difference. I honestly couldn't believe that ending! I flipped the pages back and forth a few times thinking, "What on earth?!" Still not sure what I think about it, either. It occurs to me that of the two Gillian Flynn novels I've read, none of her characters are really likeable. Can you imagine spending that much time with characters like that during ALL the drafting and revisions? Eek. So I've been at this revision forever. This is the WiP that I previously queried and received a R&R for. It has changed so much since then, so I guess it is a bit of a different story. I know where I want this thing to go, so once I really figure out a good plot outline, it should be much smoother sailing. I sure hope so, anyway! Have a great week, Katy!

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  12. Love the picture ledges! I finally hung up some collage frames a few months ago and they make me so happy. Well, the hubby hung them up, which is a good thing b/c they would have been crooked and in danger of falling down if I'd done it :)

    I still haven't gotten around to reading GONE GIRL.

    Don't be discouraged about all the revising work that needs to be done - you can do it! And it's totally going to be worth it.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I got really tired of looking at a blank wall. So boring. This makes a really big difference in the room, so it's making me happy. It was surprisingly easy to do, considering I actually used a level and a stud finder this time around. That's right. I've got made picture ledge hanging skillz. ;-)

      GONE GIRL was really good, but some of the content really pushed the envelope for this used-to-reading-YA gal.

      I've been at this revision for over two years now. I've already queried it and even received a R&R about a year ago. It all feels a little neverending lol. The story has changed so much that this feels like a different story in some respects, which is why I haven't completely scrapped the thing. I just really need a good plot outline and it should be easier from then on. :-)

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  13. I know how you feel about having to write new scenes. I had to do that recently and I was feeling down for a couple of days because of that. But now my wip is better - so focus on that. All the hard work will pay off!

    Love that picture ledge! I still have plenty of blank walls at my house ... I might do something like that in one of them :)

    Have a great week!

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    1. What is most exhausting is how long I've actually been at this revision (over two years). What I need is a really good plot outline and plan of attack and it should get much, much easier from that point on. I hope so, anyway.

      I got the picture ledges from IKEA and they were not expensive at all. They're nice and deep, too, so you can overlap photo frames if you want. All the pictures I've seen of these ledges have tons of photos crammed on them. Love it! Plus, it makes it so much easier to swap out photos whenever you want. I know with a kid in the house, that would be easy to do! They're always growing and changing and there are a lot of photo opportunities.

      Have a wonderful week, Juliana!

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  14. Your writing section is totally me right now; I have to either move scenes forward and reshape them or create new ones and axe later ones (all for pacing and structure). It's difficult. My revisions are taking forever.

    I love your picture wall! I need to jazz up my photo frames, that's a good idea. (Yup, I just said "jazz up.")

    Gone Girl was a good book but I immediately gravitated toward a comfort read afterward.

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    1. This revision has been going on for over two years now in some form or another lol. They're definitely taking forever. This time around I'm actually excited about the possibilities even if I am exhausted by all the work it's going to require. I really need a good plot outline and plan of attack.

      I love the picture ledge look and they're pretty cheap at IKEA. They have them in black or white. I like that they're deep so you can overlap frames too. Definitely "jazzes up" our living room. ;-)

      You're so right about needing a comfort read after GONE GIRL. Hope you have a great week, Stephanie!

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  15. Save those scenes! You can use them in another wip. I've never read anything by gillian Flynn but I am dying to read splintered. Hope you find some inspiration this week :)

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    1. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to use these scenes again. (Plus, they're not very good at all lol.) I never completely delete scenes, though. You never know if you might want to put them somewhere else in the story, right? I've read two books by Gillian Flynn and they were both gritty, featuring mostly unlikeable characters. You definitely need something more comforting to read after something like that! SPLINTERED is really good so far, so it's the perfect read after GONE GIRL. Have a great week, Prerna!

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  16. I always keep wanting to pick Splintered up. Every time I see that cover. It's so beautiful and green!

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    1. Oh, I know. It has one of the most eye-catching covers of any YA book I've seen. As does the sequel. The story inside is pretty colourful and unique too, so that's awesome. :-)

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  17. The picture frames look fantastic. Good luck with your WIP!

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    1. Thanks! They make a huge difference in the room, so I'm kind of in love with them. :-)

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  18. I am right with you on deleting scenes and things that have to go in the rewrite. It's killing me to see all those pretty words nixed. Sigh. I know it's what is needed, but it still hurts, huh?

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    1. I actually don't mind deleting some of this stuff because it's not very good lol. And the story has changed so much since I wrote them. The thought of replacing them, though, is definitely daunting. O.o Good luck with your revisions, Jennie!

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  19. Oh man, I've got to delete some scenes because I'm moving my WiP from dual POV to single POV and it stiiiinks. Good luck with your plot diagram and the rewrites. I love your picture ledges. Pretty!

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    1. Oh, wow! That sounds really involved. I can't imagine collapsing dual POV into single. I hope you get that all figured out! I'm a plotter, but I don't really use a plot diagram, so it's going to be tough sitting down and forcing myself to do it. It needs to happen, though. Ah well.

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  20. Ugghh I know that WiP situation all too well... It's what you have to do to make it good, though! (At least, for people like me it is.) It makes me happy that you hosted a book club--I get this feeling that you would be a lovely hostess. :) Can't wait to hear what you think about Splintered! It's been on my TBR for a while.

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    1. It will definitely make this story so much better if I ditch those scenes. It's kind of tiring spending so much time fiddling with this story, but I know it's so necessary. And thank you! I hope I was a lovely hostess lol. :-) Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, so that's a good thing. SPLINTERED is really good so far and I only expect it to get better and better!

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  21. I've been a devout pantser my entire writing life, but am beginning to see the value of an outline. Having to constantly rewrite scenes to get them to fit into a coherent story can get annoying.

    I love the photo shelf. It's quite artistic looking. Have a great week!

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    1. I'm a total plotter, but I haven't sat down and properly plotted this story with all of the changes I'm making to it. So much is going to be different, so this has to happen soon. You're so right about how annoying it is to constantly rewrite scenes. Sometimes it feels like repeatedly darning a holey sock, and it really does make you wonder why you don't just knit a whole new sock lol. Hope you have a great week, too, Kate!

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  22. I couldn't get into Gone Girl. The characters uh, I just did not care about them. But I do want to see the movie, so go figure. Ha. Good luck with your revisions. Have a great weekend!

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    1. You know, I don't think any of Gillian Flynn's characters are likeable. At all. I found this one more interesting and a bit less disturbing than SHARP OBJECTS, though. I really don't think I could read too many of these kinds of books. I want to see the movie, too. What can I say? I really like Ben Affleck lol. Hope you have a great week!

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  23. Those ledges look great! Your photos kind of look like something I'd find on Pinerest and want to copy but be too lazy to actually do. Good luck with your revisions. I always have a point while revising where it all feels to overwhelming to handle, but it's always doable. You can do it!!

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    1. Ha! Thanks. :-) I actually looked at a number of pictures of picture ledges on Pinterest. This arrangement was heavily inspired by the ad for the IKEA ledges on their website (which is where these ledges are from). It was actually not all that difficult to do and makes a *huge* difference in this room. This revision feels like it has been going on forever. More than two years, actually. I think the number one thing I need to do is figure it all out with a plot diagram and then just go from there. No to just sit down and do it! :-)

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  24. Haha, the ending of Gone Girl is something else! I'm really excited for the movie though because I think David Fincher is the perfect director for it, and Gillian Flynn is re-writing the entire 3rd act! So I'm really curious to see how it'll end and what will happen in the movie. I agree that Flynn's books won't be to everyone's taste, especially since the characters are so despicable and her themes are so dark, but I'm fascinated by these sorts of dark things and especially these dark personalities that are somehow still kind of uncomfortably close at times to I think ourselves and/or people we know! I guess that's partly why she's great - good plotting and flawed characters who are over-the-top but also nuanced. (That said, I too was not a big fan of SHARP OBJECTS - mostly because I really hated the characters.)

    LOVE your picture ledge. I totally want to do that, but I always think about how that kind of set up would probably really suck in an earthquake (because we get those every so often down here). Love, love that pic of St. Paul's, by the way. :) Good luck on your revisions!

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  25. Gorgeous photos. I think the thing that I love most about these WUW posts is how much interesting stuff happens in a week and how fun it is to briefly read about it. Also, I could not handle GONE GIRL! It's rare for me to feel so strongly about a book, by I totally despise those characters and don't ever want to hear from them again :/ rant over.

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  26. Good luck with the outlining! I'm terrible at that. But this latest revision is absolutely requiring me to do more planning before I dive in and start ripping up the floorboards, so to speak. I guess we all learn eventually!

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  27. Radical rewrites, revisions, and restructurings are always worth it in the end, when they're really merited and the book becomes stronger as a result. It's much easier to do them if you've been away from the book for a long time and have more critical perspective.

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  28. The book I'm revising needs some serious rewriting. I feel your pain... We can do it though!!!
    I've wanted to read Gone Girl but I really don't like a lot of vulgarity so I'm not sure if it would be a good fit for me. I want to read a few more "grown-up" books though. I love YA but I feel the need to branch out a bit.
    Oh, and I love you black and white pictures! I have primarily blank walls... If you ever want to come to FL you could help me figure out what to do with them lol. I have no vision when it comes to walls. That and its military housing so there is only so much I can do to them.
    Have a great week!

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  29. I love your photo ledges! And the photos all look so great together in black-and-white in black frames. Hmmm.... there's this one wall in my living room that needs a re-do.....
    Best of luck in the nailing down of a good routine. It's so, so hard. Every time I think I've got a good thing going, several days in a row will throw all kinds of things at me that mess up the routine and then I can never get back into it. Aagh!
    Have a great week!

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