October 8, 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 are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

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


WHAT I'M READING
I finished SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE by Jennifer Robson and for the most part, I really liked this WWI romance. The MC was a touch too naïve at times to be believable, but this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. Some reviewers complained that it was far heavier on the romance than the historical elements, but I didn't feel that the latter suffered in any way because of this. It was plain that the author did extensive research, and she was able to weave this in seamlessly. 

Continuing in the same vein, I'm currently reading Jessica Brockmole's LETTERS FROM SKYE, an epistolary novel set during WWI and WWII. Normally, I shy away from epistolary novels (not usually my thing), but this one is holding my attention.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still working on research, though not nearly as much as I should be. Earlier this week, I sat down and started working on character sketches. It never fails to amaze me how previously unplanned traits and plot details emerge simply by trying to get to know your characters better on paper. This time I spent time getting to know Averie, my new WiP's MC. I've noticed I have a tendency to fall into the same character type in all of my WiPs--snarcastic--so I'm trying my darnedest to steer clear of that this time around. I kind of wonder if writing in third versus first person would help combat this problem???

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I like to come up with a playlist of tunes to listen to while I'm working on a given story. This is usually a mix of songs with relevant lyrics and songs that simply make me feel a particular way (sad, swoony, fired up, whatever). Because the story I'm working on right now is split between modern day and 1917, I anticipate a fairly eclectic music mix. In my web wanderings I actually found a virtual gramophone with a handful of songs from WWI, which is kind of neat. I also stumbled across a haunting ballad/video composed by a fellow Albertan, Lizzy Hoyt, appropriately named "Vimy Ridge" (where my WiP is set in both the past and present). Here are a couple stanzas from it:

"Early in the morning, the cold snow falling down, Easter of 1917.
My love climbed out from the tunnels underground
and stepped to no-man's land in between.

His last night was spent in the ground of the French land;
with thousands of men he did wait. He laid down his head
upon the barrel of his gun, a dark and cruel symbol of his fate.

Oh, my love can’t touch you now or calm the fear that’s
building deep within. Oh, the terror you must have felt,
waiting below the hill at Vimy Ridge..."

(from "Vimy Ridge" by Lizzy Hoyt)


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
This and that...


• We went grocery shopping, saw the big bins of pumpkins, and couldn't resist buying one. I also picked up some wee ones.
• Our Alberta "Support Our Troops" license plate arrived in the mail. Can't wait to get it registered and put it on our vehicle.
• Todd and I went to see GONE GIRL and it was every bit as bananas as the book. We both enjoyed this trip to Crazy Town.
• My parents came for dinner and I made a pumpkin pie with a hint of maple and a nutty streusel topping. So very tasty!
• I've been buying yarn, dreaming of all kinds of knitting projects. The site ravelry.com has so many awesome free patterns.

Well, that's it for me, folks.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


30 comments:

  1. I totally feel you on the snarcastic front, Jaime - my current WIP is in third person, and I've found that to be a major help. It's weird, isn't it, how being inside someone's head can make such a difference in tone!

    And how insane(ly good) was GONE GIRL!? I wasn't expecting it to be so, er, confronting. Mostly the nudity front, I'll be honest. Let's just say I'm glad I didn't take my mum as originally planned...

    That pumpkin pie looks delicious! What a perfect choice for fall! Have a wonderful week :)

    -- Caitie

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    1. I read a book recently that was in third person (COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN, I think) and found it really refreshing. There are so many first person books out there now, and generally I prefer writing first person, but I think that might be how I keep flipping into snarcastic mode with my MCs. I really have to agree that being in someone's head has such an impact on tone.

      I enjoyed GONE GIRL, but I certainly would have felt uncomfortable had my mom been sitting beside me lol. O_o

      Have a great week, Caitie! :D

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  2. I liked the stanzas you skated. I have to check out those books you mentioned.

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  3. Playlists totally help me too! And I'm researching as well (probably not as much as I should be too…don't let anybody hear that). But now I'm buckling down to get knee-deep in it.

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    1. I have a bunch of books out of the library, so I need to get cracking on the research before they need to be returned. Time to buckle down, like you say! :-)

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  4. Ohhh your WIP spans modern day and 1917? That sounds really intriguing. I bet your playlist is going to kick ass. If you put it on spotify, please share a link!

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    1. I'm really hoping it works out. It'll be challenging to make both time periods stand out and feel authentic. Can't wait to get writing it though! :-)

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  5. Love your pumpkins, and that pie looks aMaZiNg! I'm excited to hear that you're planning to write your WiP in 3rd person. I've only done one story in 3rd, but I loved the challenge of it. Best of luck finishing up your research so you can get to writing. I'm so intrigued by what you've shared so far! Have a great week, lady!

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    1. I love having pumpkins in the house. The little white ones are my favourite right now. :-) I'm not sure if I'll be writing this WiP in third person. I might give it a try, but then again this type of story might actually need first person. I'm just worried that I'm going to write yet another snarcastic MC. Bleh. I read a story recently that was written in third person and it was so refreshing. I'm eager to get writing this story, but there is so much research to get done first. And planning. It feels neverending lol. Have a great week, Katy! :-)

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  6. I've never tried a story in 3rd but I've found that with all four of my MS's, the characters have been so different that their voices automatically were very different from each other.
    I'm adding Somewhere in France to my TBR. I definitely want to check it out.

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    1. The more I think about it, this story might actually be better suited to first person. We'll have to see how it goes once I start writing it. At least it's reasonably easy to switch from one to the other if I'm dissatisfied. :-)

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  7. That's so true, I really am amazed by the plot points that arise as you try to get to know your characters. And listening to music while writing is always a good idea in my opinion too :) It really helps to get me in the right mood and focused. The mix you're working on for your new story sounds very interesting. I don't think I've listened to something form the 1917 time period, but I'll have to check that out. Good luck with your WIP!

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    1. There are a few different character-related things I'd like to do before writing this story (ie. personality tests, character worksheets, etc.). Those are always helpful and kind of fun. I find that I can start listening to music if I've been writing for a little bit first. I kind of wait until I get in the zone and then it's okay to turn on some music. Otherwise, it distracts me a bit. I'm not sure what will be on this playlist, but I expect it will be pretty eclectic. Have a great week! :-)

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  8. I saw some pumpkins when I was shopping yesterday, and I got quite excited! I haven't bought any yet, though.

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    1. I love having them around the house. I'll probably carve the big one just before Halloween. :-)

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  9. Hi Jaime!! I'm so glad you brought up character sketches. I've put one together on paper, but tend to sketch the character out through the story. Did you use a template or have any advice on how to put together one?

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    1. Hi, Valerie! :-) I've just been jotting down bullet points so far, but I plan on using something a little more structured. I've found character worksheets online in the past and somebody posted a link to a personality test in their WUW post today. I gave that a whirl and it actually gave me more story ideas, so that's cool. The worksheets I found online asked really random, but kind of fun questions that got you thinking about your characters. I'll have to see if I can track them down again!

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  10. Your pumpkin pie looks heavenly! I want to taste it so bad. I have a thing for pie :) So excited about pumpkins and fall!

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  11. That pumpkin pie looks absolutely delicious, now that I´m much closer, I´m sure it would survive the trip, no? :-) And did I mention how that new idea sounds amazing? I love the stanzas you shared and if they`re inspiring for your book, that´s great!

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    1. The pumpkin pie turned out really tasty, if I do say so myself. :-) I like regular old pumpkin pie, but this added a fun twist. As for the new WiP idea, I'm pretty excited about this story. I still have a lot of plot details to figure out, but for now I'm just enjoying immersing myself in WWI research and daydreaming about our visit to the coast of France. I really need to go back for more 'research'! :-)

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  12. I am dying to see Gone Girl! Glad to hear they did the book justice!

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    1. It was pretty good. My husband knew very little about the book, so it was kind of interesting watching his reaction to every crazy twist as it came along. And then to hear his thoughts after the movie. Hope you get to see it soon!

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  13. Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? It's also epistolary, set in WW2. I absolutely adored everything about it. You're right, epistolary is easy to get wrong, but this one is stellar.

    Mmm... pumpkin pie!

    I'm curious about your use of music; do you listen to music while you write the actual story, or while you're developing it ahead of writing (if you do that), in the discovery phase?

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    1. I haven't read that one yet, but it has been on my TBR list for a while now. There's something about it that just seems appealing. I'll have to remember to pick that one up sometime. This one I'm reading has been very enjoyable so far, so maybe my opinion will change on the whole epistolary novel thing.

      When I'm writing, I get into the zone first before I turn on music. Otherwise, I find it distracting. I like to use it through all parts of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising...). :-)

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  14. Jaime I also make music for each of my books! Sometimes it's a character mix that I listen to get into the head of my MC, other times a mood mix for listening to while I'm writing.

    I highly recommend the same book Wendy mentioned above, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

    Please add me to your ravelry friends! I'm atlanticsong

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    1. It never occurred to me to make a music mix to get into the head of an MC, but that's a great idea. I'll have to borrow it! :-) As for the book you ladies mentioned, I have had that one on my TBR list for a while. I'll have to finally get to it, since I'm in the mood for anything for just about anything WWI- or WWII-related. :-) Heading over to ravelry right now...

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  15. The music is very interesting. I have to say I find myself repeat character types as well and sadly it's independent from point of view in my case. Good luck sorting yours out.

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  16. I soooo need to read GONE GIRL. I must be the only person on the planet who hasn't read it yet. And, therefore, I don't want to see the movie yet! Ah well - something to look forward to. I am intrigued by the idea of creating a playlist for my WIP but somehow I never get around to it (that, and a pinterest board). Have a great week, Jaime!

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