September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. But before you go, be sure to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. ***Also, please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use a WUW button. We really appreciate it!*** Those of you who are new, here are the headings we're using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


WHAT I'M READING
Just finished...
THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May
This was a great mix of historical fiction, steampunk, and fantasy with enough swoon to keep romance fans happy. I love a good fae LI and a plucky heroine, so Kiaran and Aileana didn't disappoint. The Edinburgh setting was the icing on the cake.

THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
I'm gobbling up all the YA fantasy I can get my hands on these days, and this first book in a new trilogy was exactly what I was looking for. It felt sort of similar to other fantasies I've read, but it was compelling and hard to put down nonetheless.

Just started...
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
I've had this one sitting on my shelf for ages, and I've heard a lot of buzz about it, so I figured it's time I actually read it. I'm plotting a story set during war times and with Remembrance Day (November 11th) approaching, it certainly feels fitting.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I've been brainstorming and doing some research for the story I'd like to write. I've narrowed down (and jotted down) some plot ideas and an exact location for where I want to set my story. Because there's a huge historical component, it's hard not to feel daunted by the sheer amount of research and fact-checking this will require, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited about the challenge. I've always loved history, particularly the WWI and WWII years, so I definitely feel I'm up to the task.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Talking it out.
Whether I've got heaps of awesome ideas OR all the ideas I've got amount to a steaming pile, the best course of action I've discovered is to talk it out. There's nothing quite like a sounding board to help you separate the poop from the possibilities. For me, this is most often my sister, Erin. Through our many epic Skype sessions, I've been able to come at my WiPs with new ideas or renewed excitement over what I've written. I highly recommend finding an Erin if you don't already have one.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


I've been canning again. The crabapple jelly I made last week didn't set as much as I would have liked, so I opened every jar, thickened it up a bit, then processed it all over again. I followed that up with some blackberry jam made from blackberries I picked up at our farmer's market. It turned out really tasty! Of course, to make this process a little less tedious, I listened to a HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS audiobook while I worked. (Narrated by Stephen Fry, who is fantastic!)

This past Sunday was the Terry Fox Run, an annual cancer fundraiser in memory of the run's namesake. It was a gorgeous autumn day (photo on right), which was a huge relief considering we'd had snow and otherwise crummy weather all week. I did a walk/run combo for 5K then ended up offering to volunteer for next year's event. Hopefully, we can figure out a way to get more people out in support of this truly worthwhile cause, if for no other reason than to keep Terry's dream alive.

“Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.” 
- Terry Fox -
(July 28, 1958 - June 28, 1981)

Other than that, I've been frantically trying to finish up my French course before the October 31st deadline. Wish me luck!

Well, that's pretty much it for me.
So, what's new with all of you?


P. S. I managed to snag a full-day sub shift for today, so I won't be around on the blogs until tonight or tomorrow.

40 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about The Winner's Curse, but it was definitely compelling - and that ending! I can't wait to hear what you think of Code Name Verity. It's a slow-burn kind of book, but man does it get you right in the feels by the end. It is one of my all-time favorite books, one of the few to almost make me cry.

    Talking it out helps so much! I'm still warming myself up to this more since I like to keep my cards close, but sometimes, you just need to get other people's suggestions!

    Glad the weather was nice for your run, and yum homemade jam! If only I had such skills! We're going through a heatwave right now in SoCal (it's been over 100F the past few days!), so it's weird to hear about everyone else talking about fall!

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    1. I probably should have added that sometimes reading something familiar like THE WINNER'S CURSE is actually quite nice. I don't always need something new and fresh in a genre to enjoy it, you know? TWC did familiar fantasy really, really well. Does that make sense? That ending was pretty great too. Can't wait to read Book 2! I'm not very far into CODE NAME VERITY, but I like it already. The writing style is really unique!

      I only really talk out my stories with my sister and my husband. I'm much too embarrassed to talk it out with anybody else. Most of the people in my life don't get YA, don't read YA, and probably wouldn't care to hear about my YA WiPs. But that's okay, because Erin and the hubs work just fine as soundboards. :-) Have a great week, Alice!

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  2. I had such a different feeling to The Falconer than you did. I like my steampunk way harder than that book offered. And your cover of Code Name Verity is soooo different to mine! I have it in my TBR pile, too. I'm glad the weather took a turn for the better for your run. Phew, no more snow just yet, Canada!

    Enjoy the research :)

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    1. I think the fact that THE FALCONER was kind of steampunk lite was what I liked about it. There were so many things going on in it, that a stronger steampunk element wouldn't have appealed to me. To each his/her own, I guess. This cover of CODE NAME VERITY is the Canadian cover and it's similar to the American version. Have you seen the PB version with the two bikes on it? I kind of love it.

      I have to agree about the "no more snow just yet" thing! Have a great week, Cole!

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  3. I loved The Falconer, glad you did too! Hope you enjoy CODE NAME VERITY -- it's slow to start but it gets *so* good.

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    1. While I really enjoyed THE FALCONER, I would have loved more Edinburgh in it. Such a great city, particularly the Old Town. (That said, Inverness and the surrounding area is still my favourite part of Scotland.) I'm not very far into CODE NAME VERITY, but I'm already enjoying it. It's so uniquely written. :-)

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  4. Yes, I'm a poop filter. It's kind of like panning for gold lol. In all honesty, I'm not sure you've ever had a truly poopy idea. Speaking of, I'm looking forward to hearing what you've come up with so far for this new story. I can't wait until it really starts to take shape!

    We weren't able to make it to the Terry Fox Run this year, which sucks. Trevor is just getting over ANOTHER cold and was feeling crummy, plus I've been exhausted this week after starting up school again and forcing myself to write late at night. I hate it when we miss it. I'm glad you got to go and that you had a nice day for it. Best fundraiser event ever!

    If we lived closer, I would totally scam some jam off you. Both kinds sound scrumptious! Hope your sub shift goes well today!

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    1. Poop filter...bet you never really thought of yourself that way, huh? ;-) As for never having a truly poopy idea, I think plotting a story that was basically OUTLANDER for YA probably would fall into the poopy category lol. (Only because I probably would have gotten sued.) Though, my current WiP idea might have some similar elements... We really should have a Skype chat again soon.

      I was happy the weather was so good for the Terry Fox Run here. It just went around the lake that was right by our other place here in Lacombe. (Right by the junior high.) That way people could go around as many or as few times as they wanted. I was actually kind of disappointed at how low of a turnout there was. The only advertising they did was on the radio station. Most people won't even remember it's going on unless they see signs posted. I'm going to propose that for next year. Heck, I'll even provide the signs.

      The jam turned out really yummy. The crabapple jelly isn't set as much as I'd like, but it works just fine (and also tastes yummy). Have a great week! :D

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  5. Haha, 'Talking It Out' twinnies! :D I'm such a sucker for a chin-wag, I could blab on about my WIP all day to some poor stranger - instead, I just present my problems to my boyfriend and he seems to magically fix them in his brilliant head o_O

    Ooh, Stephen Fry is so lovely! I have his audiobooks of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and it kills roadtripping time like nothing else :) Sounds like a fantastic week for you, Jaime - I hope the next one is just as grand :)

    -- Caitie

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    1. Talking it out is the best way to go. :D That said, there are only two people--my sister and my husband--who are privvy to the details of whatever I'm working on. Most people I encounter get that whole eyes glazed over thing as soon as I even mention the slightest thing about my writing lol. Ah well. Awesome that your boyfriend is so helpful!

      I listened to the Jim Dale narration of the HP books and MUCH prefer Stephen Fry's narration. He has such a way with the voices and nails Hagrid's voice. (It sounds like the movie version of Hagrid.) Have a wonderful week, Caitie! :D

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  6. Talking it out works great for me too. I didn't thin about that. Back in Indiana I took walks with my mother and she would just let me talk about the books I'm working on and stuff. Even now she's just sits on the phone and listens while I just talk about writing. It helps.
    I like this new section. It might help me with balancing writing with work.
    Thanks for sharing. :D

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    1. That's great that your mom is such a great sounding board. It really does help to have someone offer advice and even just listen. I find it brings some order to the swirl of thoughts in my head. Erin and I are really hoping that this new section will help spread some great tips around. Hope it helps you too! Have a great week, Leslie Ann! :-)

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  7. I loved The Falconer, too, Jaime! I feel like that book is a hidden gem. Though don't get me started on that cliffhanger ending….*shakes fist* ;) It's also helpful for me to talk it out, especially when brainstorming. Have a great week!

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    1. It was a really good book! I only wish there had been a teensy bit more of a Scottish flair to it. That's tricky to do without going overboard with the accent, though. (I read a YA book that came off as totally corny with its overuse of Scottish dialect.) I can't wait for Book 2 now. And no kidding with the cliffhanger ending! Hope you have a great week!

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  8. Yay to Erin's! I try it with my daughter, and when she doesn't roll her eyes about Mom talking about her books again, it is really helpful. Usually, she doesn't have to say much. Just talking about things makes them clear as day.
    The jam looks so yummy! And I love the idea of doing it with an audio book. I'll have to try that next year :)

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    1. I agree: just talking about things does make them clearer. Even if they have no advice or feedback. I suppose that means we could just sit around by ourselves and talk out loud, though that might make us seem crazy, right? ;-)

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  9. Researching before writing is a great idea. I did the opposite and holy cow did it slow down the process! Glad you can talk it out with Erin, I do this with my husband, sister, anyone who's around really. Congrats on doing the 5k, and for a great cause too!

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    1. I usually do the bulk of my research up front, but I always end up doing more research along the way. Even for stories that you would think wouldn't require any research. I figure it's best to go into a story as prepared as possible, thought that doesn't always happen lol. Have a great week, Prerna!

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  10. I've had CNV sitting around since it came out in hard cover! I need to get on it, huh?
    Mmmm....my mom made home made strawberry jam. Those flavors sounds good!
    Hope your day of subbing goes well!

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    1. Yeah, mine is a hard cover version that I got for Christmas from my sister a couple of years ago. Eek! I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to it. I'm not very far in, but I'm already enjoying it. This blackberry jam has a teensy bit of spice in it (cinnamon and allspice) and that gives it a nice pie-ish flavour. Love it! Have a great week, Mandie!

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  11. I need to read THE WINNER'S CURSE -- I've yet to hear a negative about it. Plus, gorgeous cover! Congrats on completing the Terry Fox Run, and what a fantastic cause. Also, I'm with you on talking things out. My poor husband, and my unsuspecting CPs who've given me their phone numbers and get random texts with off-the-wall questions at any and all hours. :-) So helpful, though!

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    1. I don't think I've heard anything negative about THE WINNER'S CURSE either. It's really good! I love the cover too. The girl's hand is actually wrapped around the R in CURSE. Very cool. So, I mostly walked the Terry Fox Run, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I did a little bit of running too. It's definitely been a while. As for talking things out, I'm sure your CPs love it when you send them texts asking for questions. I know I like it when my sister feels free to contact me with questions and whatnot. :-) And she returns the favour for me too. Definitely helpful. :-)

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  12. I am gearing up to write a YA historical fiction as well! Good luck with your research!

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    1. This story is going to be historical with some present day stuff as well, but I really want to make sure I get that historical stuff right. It's super interesting stuff though, so I can't wait to dive in!

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  13. Good luck :)

    Blackberries remind me of being a kid - I used to love going on walks and picking them.

    Have fun brainstorming and researching!

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    1. Thanks! :-)
      I've never picked blackberries before. I just went to the Farmer's Market and 'picked' them there lol. It would be kind of nice to get them right from the source, though. Have a great week, Jennifer!

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  14. I've made jam that didn't set right, but I've never re-opened every jar to fix it. You never cease to amaze me.

    Have a great week!

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    1. It actually was surprisingly easy-ish to open all the jars and fix them. Maybe that's because the initial process took forever. By comparison this was much, much easier lol. Have a great week, Kate!

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  15. All of that research and the need to be factually accurate scares me about writing historical. But you're no doubt up for the task! And I agree--sometimes the only way around plot problems is for me to talk it out to my sister. Usually she has comments like, "Yeah, but why wouldn't they just..." and I'm like, BECAUSE I NEED THEM TO FOR THE STORY! ;)

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    1. Trust me, I'm kind of terrified about taking on historical for the reason you mention. There's so much responsibility there. I so don't want to screw it up, you know? This is going to be a historical/contemporary combo, so maybe it won't be too crazy involved. We'll see. That's too funny about your sis poking holes in your plot lol. It's tricky creating conflict that you can't solve with one simple action or conversation. I guess that's what our sisters are there for, right? ;-)

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  16. I really enjoyed both THE FALCONER and THE WINNER'S CURSE. Glad to hear you're feeling inspired, and good luck with all the research! :)

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    1. It has been a great reading week, that's for sure. Actually, a great reading month all around. Now I just need to use that as inspiration to write something good myself! Have a great week, Emma! :-)

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  17. I'm craving blackberry jam on toast, now. Bonne chance with the French! You can do it.

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    1. Merci! It's actually coming along pretty well. It's not a difficult course (I have years of French already), but trying to get it done in time is definitely challenging. Hopefully I can do it. :-)

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  18. Your new project sounds very interesting! I'm in the research/brainstorming stage too. It's a fun scene, imo, but sometimes it feels like researching never finishes.

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    1. It's going to be a contemporary/historical combo, so I'm hoping it turns out all right. :-) Mostly I just want to make sure I get the history right, you know? I feel like it's a huge responsibility, especially when it deals with a world war. I'd hate to not do it justice. I know what you mean about how it feels like the researching never ends. I feel like I fall down rabbit holes and just keep on going most days.

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  19. I'm going to have to check out The Falconer-sounds intriguing! Good luck with your research!

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    1. I hope you like THE FALCONER. I think it was a great mix of different elements. :-)

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  20. The canned goods look yummy. Good luck with the historical. I'm just finishing up with mine. The research really is fun.

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    1. Thanks! It turned out so much better than I was expecting, so that's good. I'm nervous about taking on a historical, but excited at the same time. I have to find the right balance with research. It's way too easy to fall down rabbit holes and keep on going. It really is fun!

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