Winter Writer Recharge 2015

WriterRecharge 2015

It’s February, which means it’s time for Writer Recharge! I REALLY needs this, this year — like bad!

Once again hosted by Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren, Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers.

This year, the hosts have come up with a few categories you might want to consider when making your goals. You can choose a goal (or goals) for one or some or all:

  • WRITE/REVISE – Choose writing goals for the month.
  • READ/REREAD – Read a book that’s been on your TBR forever or reread something that had a great impact on you.
  • STRETCH – Do something outside your comfort zone, from reading a genre you typically avoid to trying a new food or rock climbing when you’re afraid of heights – that kind of thing.
  • SELF – Do something good for your mind or your body.
  • CONNECT – Find a way to make a difference in someone’s life. Make a connection, via social media or in person. Initiate twitter writing parties, have a real-life write-in with writers in your town, or offer to critique or beta read someone’s work.
  • FUN – Make a goal to do something super fun and exciting that you can look forward to

How Writer Recharge works:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s post.
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on our Monday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • Friday, February 27: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win a fabulous prize package at the end of the month.

My Goals for Writer Recharge:

Write/Revise:

  • Write at least 500 words everyday on my WiP.
  • Finish the revision outline for my screenplay and begin work on it.
  • Finish the first draft of the TV pilot I am working on

Read: 

  • Read two non-fiction books
  • Read two YA or Adult fiction books

Self:

Work out three times a week. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy but it needs to happen. My plan is Tuesday and Thursday to go to my gym, and then choose one other day to do something physical that makes me sweat at least a little.

Connect:

  • I am participating in a pay it forward initiative (from Facebook). I want to send out my gifts for one of the people that signed up for mine!
  • Participate in some Twitter writing parties!

Fun:

I have been trying to start Supernatural viewing parties with my sister-in-laws. Not the current season, but starting from episode one. I am a Supernatural newbie, and I think this needs to change. So. I want to set aside one day a week to spend time watching it with my sisters. This is about more than the show — it’s about spending time with two of my favorite people ever!

What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Back!

Castle Button (Final)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 Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

I just finished an ARC of The Winner’s Crime (the sequel to one of my 2014 faves The Winner’s Curse) by Marie Rutkoski. Oh man. This book. It took some turns I was not expecting, and they were all executed beautifully. I am deeply worried right now about Kestrel and Arin. That’s all I will say.

I started on Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, and already I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I think Amy is fantastic — so funny and smart and snarky. I am gleaning wisdom from her. She has the wisdom. I’m also reading a book called Severed by Frances Larson. It’s about severed heads throughout history. Because why not?

What I’m Writing

I am working up a revision outline for my screenplay. I finished the first draft Christmas Eve. Sent it to two of my CPs after the New Year. I got fantastic feedback last week and am thrilled to move forward with this revision.

I am also drafting a new project. Though, this has had to take a back seat to other things with more urgency. It’s not a YA project, it’s not high fantasy though there is of course a speculative element, and it’s a lot of fun.

My YA fantasy manuscript Of Blood and Promises is doing well in the query trenches. So, my nerves are totally wrecked. Yep.

My goal: 1000 words on the MS. Finish the revision outline for the screenplay.

What Works For Me

Taking time away from the computer to explore. Reading (and watching) nonfiction that is riveting, inventive, educational and vibrant. Paying attention to the small moments. Too often we brush over those, and those are where our humanity is fortified.

What Else I’m Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a What’s Up Wednesday. There was no real reason beyond my own need to recede for a bit, and my own time constraints. I am so happy to be back with you guys! The past week I have been spending time with some baby goats. For years I have guessed that baby goats have magical healing powers related to cuteness, and last week I confirmed my suspicions were not unfounded. goatandsam Also. I injured myself rather dramatically about a week and a half ago. Read about it here. My face is finally starting to look normal, though I’m still dealing with soreness and bouts of embarrassment and shame. Klutz 4eva!

So…how are you fairing this week?

Ready. Set. Write! Update #7

RSWStripe2

Ready. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

Last Weeks Goals:

1. Finish the book I am reading right now and start another one.

Done!

2. Revise three chapters.

Done! 

3. Write 8 screenplay pages.

Fail. I didn’t have time this week, and I was focused on my revision. This week I hope to make time for the screenplay. I did think about scenes I need to write, and figure out a big change I want to make in the pages I’ve already got. 

4. Do something fun on Friday with my son, just us.

We went on a date to Panera (Sam LOVES the mac’n’cheese and cookies!) and the movies. 

A favorite line from my story or one word or phrase that sums up what I wrote or revised:

(This is from a flashback)

It was a full moon night. It was a mischief night.

I woke to a hand over my mouth.

“Come on,” his voice was a whisper. He moved his hand and tucked a lock of curly hair behind his ear. He refused to braid his hair like the other boys did when they turned thirteen cycles, instead it grew long and curly, and he trimmed it with a knife.

Uncle Talin hated it. I loved it.

“I’m sleeping. And I don’t know if I want to go wherever you’re going.” I whispered, pinching my eyes closed.

“The waterfall,” he paused, waiting for me to look at him. I opened my eyes, but didn’t turn over yet. “The Kumu’s say if you jump from the top on a full moon you see the face of the one you’re meant to marry.”

Biggest Challenge:

Time and the desire to soak up the summer with my son. He starts Kindergarten in three weeks, which is insane and as excited as I am for this new phase, I am also sad.

Something I love about my WiP:

This revision is coming slowly, but much more cohesive. I am beginning to really see how to write a trilogy, to learn what to give the reader, what to hold onto, what to hint at. This WiP really is the first in a trilogy.

This Weeks Goals:

1. Revise three chapters

2. Rewrite the scenes in my screenplay and add three more.

3. Read 100 pages on a manuscript I’m beta reading.

 

Ready. Set. Write! Update #6

RSWCoffee

Ready. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

I missed last week because I had just arrived in NYC and forgot! But I set some goals on my What’s Up Wednesday post.

Last Weeks Goals:

1. Enjoy this moment.

~ This was a serious goal for me. I am not good at in the moment living. I managed it well I think. 

2. Think about writing.

~ So much. I did some revising too. Went to a cafe, had a bagel, and actually wrote a whole new chapter. Also, saw writing friends which aided in the inspiration. 

3. Be in love with my characters. Be in love with this city. Be in love with my husband.

~ Yes to all of the above. But very glad to be home with my kid. 

A favorite line from my story or one word or phrase that sums up what I wrote or revised:

He brushed his thumb across my knuckles. “It is everything to both of you,” he paused, moving his hand up my arm to squeeze my shoulder. “It shouldn’t be.”

Biggest Challenge:

Myself. In my own way and stubborn.

Something I love about my WiP:

That the book I want to write is in there, that I know what that book is, and that I can see how to shape it.

This Weeks Goals:

1. Finish the book I am reading right now and start another one.

2. Revise three chapters.

3. Write 8 screenplay pages.

4. Do something fun on Friday with my son, just us.

 

Ready. Set. Write! Update #4

RSWCoffee

Ready. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

Last Weeks Goals:

1. Screenplay – 15 pages

~ Done! I am 43 pages into this SCREENPLAY and it is right where I want it to be plot wise. So exciting. Also, remembering how hard writing screenplays are. You have to come at the story in a very different way than writing a novel. 

2. Beta Reading – ONE MS

~Ugh. I read about 50 pages on an MS and 20 pages on another. Do not take this as me not enjoying the reading, I AM!! It is just slow going right now. 

A favorite line from my story or one word or phrase that sums up what I wrote or revised:

Simon and Alexa emerge. Alexa has her iPad out and is
filming Simon.

ALEXA
B-role.

SIMON
Did you grab the waters?

He faces her as he shuts the door.

ALEXA
(Turns camera to self)
Backpack.

Turns camera to Simon.

SIMON
Granola bars and other sustenance?

ALEXA
(Camera to self)
Loaded up like a hobbit on her way
to Mordor.

Biggest Challenge:

Not having a lot of down time to read. Exhaustion.

Something I love about my WiP:

Sometimes you have an idea for a story and you start writing it and it just doesn’t work like you expected it to. This Screenplay is working better than I anticipated. So. Excited.

This weeks goals: 

1. Write 15 Screenplay pages.

2. Read 100 more beta pages.

3. Continue having an Epic Summer with Sam. (This is one goal I have had no problem achieving so far!)

 

My Ready. Set. Write! Goals

RSWCoffeeReady. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

Today is all about setting goals for yourself. Here are mine:

1. Finish a draft of my screenplay. I’d like to have it off to some readers for feedback by the middle of July.

2. Finish a draft for a TV pilot and send off to readers.

3. Begin work on the sequels to both YA manuscripts, as well as further polishing and revisions on the first books, as needed. I would like to have a few chapters written and the books plotted (although, my plotting is pretty loose when drafting) by the end of the summer.

5. Read at least one book a week. I’ve been so busy lately, and so tired at night, that reading has been shoved to the back burner. No more!

4. Have an epic summer with my son.

This weeks goals:

1. Finish the few revision points left on my manuscript Of Blood and Promises.

2. Write Five Screenplay pages.

Ready. Set. Write! helped me stay accountable last summer, and I am so thrilled to do it again this year!

What are your goals for summer? 

 

 

 

On Writing a Novel: Drafting until it’s Drafted

write1

Drafting — or as I described it in my post on planning and research — the horrible, rough, manic, shit-storm that makes beautiful novels possible.

Just as planning and research is accomplished in different forms depending on the specific writer’s process, drafting happens for each writer in a way only they can truly understand. It is a little bit magic, a lot determination, fueled by adrenaline and insanity and caffeine. While there are different processes and methods, there are some constants that most every writer adheres to, and those are what I will focus on in this post.

Write Tip #1: You can start at the beginning. You can start at the end. You can write the inciting incident because it is the seed idea and therefor all you can actually see. But one thing is certain…YOU MUST WRITE SOMETHING.

There is a safety in research and planning, an insulation around your idea and it’s fragile bones that makes opening a blank Word document and actually writing feel a little bit like throwing your precious into the middle of a tornado. It will be tossed around some — this is a reality you must accept. Your fear is not a reason to stay in the safe zone.

I have written some horrifically bad sentences in my first drafts. Bad enough that I cannot even believe I am showing one to you. Nevertheless, here is a line from the first draft of my novel Redhunt:

I step onto a landing that opens into the kitchen and it’s dark, lit only by the morning light through the window.

With revision that sentence was cut. The scene around it was also cut and forgotten until today. It served its purpose — its only purpose really — to facilitate the forward motion of drafting.

Write Tip #2: Keep writing forward. You can do some minor revision as you go along, reread the pages you ended with during your last writing session to jumpstart, but the key to finishing is to not look back for long.

You will realize there are problems in your manuscript as you are writing it. Every single writer, whether a first timer or seasoned pro, has inconsistencies in their first drafts. The purpose of a first draft is to get the story out of your head and onto the page (or screen). A common mistake in drafting is going back to read through what you’ve written. Thus begins the eternal edit loop that will kill your momentum and silence the creative voice inside your head.

Instead, reserve any major revisions until the end of the manuscript. This is what you should especially do if you have attempted to write a novel before but never completed the task. A writer who has a few manuscripts under their belt might be able to seamlessly jump from past pages to current, revising and drafting at the same time, but that takes a level of skill most of us won’t achieve for a very long time.

Write Tip #3: Find rewards for hitting word count goals, or scene goals, or plot point goals. Further, make sure to set a goal when drafting and find a way to keep yourself accountable.

If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I frequently update my feed with progress reports, failures, reward system announcements, and any other thing I can think to Tweet that will mark my progress.

I have used caramels and alcohol, an episode of a TV show that I am really into (Doctor Who, Veronica Mars, Game of Thrones episode largely featuring Jon Snow, etc.), pages in a novel I am currently reading and dying to get back to, as a reward for meeting my drafting goals.

Write Tip #4: Set a deadline to finish. I am a goal oriented person, which you can probably tell by the above tip. But having a deadline is less about a goal, and more about prioritizing your writing over watching TV, shittin’ around on the internet, or, yes, even reading.

No one is going to finish your book for you. Writing is you and your characters, their story, and nothing else. It is a dark room of silence. It is screaming into the void of your imagination. You can have a gaggle of cheerleaders at your back, but if you don’t sit your ass in that chair and turn thoughts into words on a page you will never have a book. If you cannot complete a draft, you cannot revise.

In order to be an author you will have to meet deadlines. Start now. Maybe you don’t make it, but don’t plan on failing. Don’t let yourself off the hook. The misery of beating yourself up about a deadline is the joy of finishing on time.

Write Tip #5: Finish it. Make is messy and wild and break every rule in the book. You can fix it later. You’ll slash sentences and circle paragraphs, writing in red ink WTF?, when you do your read through. Don’t stop until you have typed THE END.

 

 

 

 

#Writer Recharge: Plug me in.

writer-recharge

From the lovely organizers:

January is in the books and you’ve had to deal with:
a) polar vortices
b) ice storms
c) mountains of snow
d) gray skies and general malaise
e) all of the above

We thought our writer friends might be in need of a little boost. A jump start, if you will.

A recharge.

We’d like to invite you to join us for Writer Recharge 2014, a month-long motivational challenge similar to last summer’s Ready. Set. Write! So many of us benefited from setting goals, connecting with other writers, and social media-based accountability. So, hey, let’s do it again! Whether you’re delighting next to the crackling fireplace of a Shiny New Idea with a warm cup of tea and a sleepy puppy at your feet or spinning out on the ice-covered roads of revisions in an attempt to avoid the snow-packed ditch, we want to write with you! What do you want to accomplish this month? Hit a daily word count? Revise a certain number of pages or chapters each week? Complete a draft by the end of the month? Let’s get this party started!

Writer Recharge 2014

Your hosts and cheerleaders: Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren

The timeline:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s blog.
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on myMonday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • February 28: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win one of five query or 3-chapter critiques.

My goals:

*I’ll be in Northern California for the week of February 9 – 15 participating in a YA Novel Workshop and Retreat with Nova Ren Suma. These two writer-centric events beautifully coincide.

  • Finish my YA Fantasy WiP. I’ve been steadily building this world and story since August 2013. I need to finish the draft.
  • Finish the TV pilot I began work on in January.
  • Stop starting new ideas until the other ones are finished.
  • Title the YA Fantasy WiP because I’m tired of calling it (awkwardly) Banyan Book.

Road Trip Wednesday: #171 Quarterly Check-up…I mean IN.

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This Weeks Topic: Quarterly check-ins! We’re already 1/4 of the way through the year–where are you on your reading and writing goals?

Ok, first of all — No way! I am bumfuzzled that we are already a quarter through the year. Holy time warp, Batman! The first couple months of this year have been largely consumed with the process of moving from the Big City back to the sprawling lands of Texas.

I have read four books this year, with a few pages of progress on a fifth.

bones

crewel
ravendeerskin

 

According to my Goodreads tracker, I’m 12% behind. If I intend to meet my goal of 70 books, I best get my sweet little behind in gear. However, I’m nonplussed. I’ll make up the time. Insert Tortoise and the Hare analogy here.

As far as writing goals are concerned. I have but one, and I think I’m doing pretty well with it. What is my goal you ask? (Go on, ask.) Get my MS to the point where it’s ready for submission. Now, here’s the thing. That’s not totally on me. When working with an agent, a big part of the process and the relationship is about trusting them to tell you when it is ready. Or at least, trust that you can come to the agreement about its readiness.

Part of my struggle is this: I am obsessive. Someday I plan of finding another outlet for this energy that doesn’t involve making other people nervous. I sent her an email Monday about a particular revision I was going to try. She probably just shrugged and let me do it because, well, see above. So, for my writing goal, I think I am on track. And at some point in the next few months, I hope to have confirmation.

So, I need to get back to work now. I should probably read? Happy Wednesday! To goals!

funny-gif-simon-cat-tree