Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

Last week, we asked if you’d like to set goals in our WUW posts. The overwhelming response was YES, so from now on, we’ll include a writing-related goal under the "What I'm Writing" heading in hopes of keeping one another accountable. Your goal doesn’t have to focus on word count. It can be whatever you like, as long as it’s relevant to the writing process. Please try to keep your goals reasonably brief. Thanks and good luck!

What I’m Reading:

I'm still crawling through City of Heavenly Fire. Whenever I sit down to read lately, (which isn't very often, unfortunately) I fall asleep. This isn't the book's fault.

What I’m Writing:

Seeing as I was either busy or sick for most of the week, not much. I did some brainstorming and half-hearted mulling, but creativity is being a jerk lately. My head is crammed full of other non-writing things these days, so my story isn’t simmering in there the way it usually does. That’s problematic for me. I need simmering.

My writing goal this week: I want to finish the scene I’ve been working on, which will include some rewriting, and try to get back into the flow of this story again.

What Works For Me:

Like I said above, I need time to simmer, mull, steep like a teabag in water. I’m not a fast writer.  I don’t do well with word sprints or NaNoWriMo. That’s partly by choice (I enjoy taking my time when choosing my words) and partly because that’s the only way I can operate. If I haven’t had time to think about my story during the day—you know, daydream a little, consider what I’ll be working on later, ruminate on some ideas, get in the right mood—then I find it really hard to jump into writing at night when I sit down to work. It’s all about getting in the zone and letting the story come to life, which is usually a gradual process for me.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

David's Salted Caramel tea & a Nordic mug from Jaime. Yum!
Remember last week when I pulled a dozen boxes of books from our shelves to donate? Yeah, it’s now 35 boxes. I found another stack of boxes in the basement that I thought we'd gotten rid of already. And we still have full shelves. We should not be allowed anywhere near used book sales, Indigo, Costco, or Amazon ever, ever again. Naturally, we went book shopping this weekend anyway. I also put together my Christmas list, which, so far, includes only books. I never learn. Someone chain me to a wall in a room far away from any means to buy anything with pages.

Other than that, the house renos continued, I baked banana-cranberry muffins, planned our Christmas baking, binge watched Gilmore Girls, Skyped with my sister, homeschooled the heck out of my kid, opened my early birthday gift from Jaime, and wailed over the amount of snow that dumped on us. Overall, a fairly normal week.

So what's up with you?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

Still reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare.


What I’m Writing:

Well, I got 1200 words out this week, and while those words weren’t spectacular or full of inspiration, it’s something. Unfortunately, I’m trying to dive back into writing in the middle of a tough scene—one that was already giving me issues before I took a break. I finally had a brainwave for how to make it more exciting though, so the action is about to pick up, and I'm looking forward to that. I also did a fair amount of research, most of which won’t actually appear in the scene, but is crucial for informing how I write it.

What Works for Me:

I know this is something writers differ on, especially since we all have unique thought processes, but writing chronologically works for me. Here’s why…

a) It helps me keep the plot straight in my mind. If I jump around from scene to scene, I know my plot threads will get all snarled up. Hey, I’m easily confused.

b) I feel like the story unfolds organically, with one scene naturally leading into another. Even though I’m a staunch planner, a scene can turn out differently than I expect, and that can affect everything that comes after it. When I used to write out of order, I often found my scenes to be more like individual vignettes that didn’t necessarily hinge together the way I wanted them to.

c) If I write all the juicy scenes first, I lose my motivation to write the rest, which ends up feeling like filler. When writing chronologically, if I encounter a scene I’m not interested in, I stop and brainstorm ideas that will make it more exciting to work on. You know what they say: If a scene is boring to write, it’ll be boring to read. By not allowing myself to skip over those scenes, I force myself to up the interest level. My reward is moving on with the story.

It wasn’t until I started writing chronologically that I actually finished a novel. I’d made many attempts before, and they all ended in failure and frustration. When I decided to try a sci-fi novel, the idea was challenging enough that I thought writing chronologically would help keep me organized. Turns out that’s how I work best.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

It’s been one of those mostly boring but very productive weeks around here. After our trip, I’m good with that. We’ve thrown ourselves back into house renovations and getting rid of stuff we don’t need, want, or wish we’d never owned in the first place. The Great Book Purge of 2014 also continues. I think I’ve weeded around a dozen boxes of books by now. Our shelves are still full, so I suspect they’re multiplying like Gremlins when we aren’t looking.

Since that’s been exhausting and it's freaking cold outside, we haven’t done much else other than crash. We watched Catching Fire (prep for Mockingjay) and The Fault in Our Stars (ugly cried just as hard this time), and the hubby and I have fallen down the Gilmore Girls vortex again now that it’s on Netflix. According to him, it’s just as good the second time. I wholeheartedly agree on that. Some of the quirkiest, cleverest writing ever to grace TV.

A question for all of you: Jaime and I are thinking of adding a WUW heading for setting weekly writing goals. We’ve decided we could both use the accountability. Does that sound like something you’d all be interested in? Let us know in the comments!



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Since it’s gimongous though, I couldn’t bring it on vacation with me. Seriously, I would’ve needed an extra suitcase for that sucker. Instead I opted to read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout on my ereader. Much smaller and lighter for airplane reading. My son and I also finished Romeo and Juliet for school.

What I’m Writing:

At the moment? Zippo. As I mentioned in a previous post, October was a stressful month and that resulted in putting writing aside for a while. I can’t even tell you how hard that was to do. Of course, when the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation, so while I haven’t been writing, I’ve been recharging my inspirational batteries. Plus, while we were off on our adventure, a new story idea was percolating in my mind—one that branches off of my current WIP. I guess technically I did write a little then because I scribbled out some snippets of dialogue in my handy dandy notebook at the hotel. Jaime and I also had a monster Skype session when I got back in which there was much discussion of our WIPs. Super helpful as always.

What Works For Me:

Most times the Butt in Chair philosophy is good. I’ve worked hard to establish a routine where I write almost every single day, BUT sometimes I need to stop myself from writing. When the inspiration isn’t there, when the creative well has run dry, when I’m burnt out or distracted, I need to remember not to force the story. I need to remind myself that I could be doing more damage than good to my WIP and step away from the laptop. That’s frustrating when I want to get words on the page, but I know ultimately the story will be better for it. Discretion over duty will result in quality words and not just crappy words that were written for the sake of writing.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

As I mentioned, my boys and I took off on a spur of the moment vacation at the start of November. We went to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, two of Canada’s beautiful maritime provinces. I’d been there when I was a kid and wanted to go back again ever since. Tourist season is over there by this time of year, so some of the landmarks we visited we had entirely to ourselves. In a word: peaceful. Here are some photos of our whirlwind trip. There are a lot, so don’t feel obligated to look at them all, but if you’re interested feel free to browse.

These are the St. Martins sea caves on the coast of the Bay of Fundy. We were the only ones there and these pictures couldn't possibly capture how gorgeous the caves are. We wrote our names in the sand for fun, and the tide will have washed them away by now. What a refreshing and memorable afternoon!
Here we're at the Hopewell Rocks, also on the Bay of Fundy. These are called flowerpot rocks because of the trees growing on top. At low tide, the eroded bottoms of the rocks are exposed and you can walk on the beach around them. Unfortunately neither of the low tides the day we visited were during daylight hours, so we hiked on the trails above the cliffs instead. It was rainy and quiet, except for the sound of the water. Amazing.
This is at Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. As a quirky redheaded writer, I've always felt that Anne Shirley and I are Kindred Spirits. I first visited Green Gables when I was eleven years old, but this time I got a kiss while hiking on "Lovers Lane." FYI, my husband has read further in the Anne series than I have. We also wandered through the Haunted Woods and visited L.M. Montgomery's grave.
I've never been to a Canadian city with as much character as Saint John, New Brunswick. The historic architecture, especially in Uptown Saint John, is incredible. This is the Saint John City Market. The centre of the building is a farmer's market, while little restaurants line the outside. We went for tea and scones at the Infusion tea room there. Delicious and quaint. We also spent some time walking along the harbour.
More photos of Uptown Saint John, including dinner at the fabulous Saint John Ale House. We basically did a pub crawl across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Great food and craft beer!
And last, but certainly not least, this is the main branch library in Saint John. It's so cool I could've sat there and stared at it all day. Seriously, look at those huge, awesome books beside the doors! Couldn't resist sharing some pics of it!


Well, that was our trip. I have loads more pictures, but I've overdone it as it is. It's hard to adequately convey how beautiful New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are: the history and architecture, the ocean, the abundance of trees, the lighthouses and covered bridges, the friendly people who made us feel so welcome there. I wish we had more time to enjoy it!

So what's up with you lately?