Thursday, March 6, 2014
This is the first writing conference I attended back in 2012 (Spring Fling is every other year). Having now been to RWA nationals, Spring Fling is like a smaller version of the big she-bang, and just as worthwhile.
The conference is held at the Chicago Marriott Northwest in the northern Chicago suburbs.
Kristan Higgins > one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She's hilarious!
Agent and Editor appointments
Including Laura Bradford, who owns the agency my agent works for. She's wonderful!
Critiques and read-alouds
Each of the keynotes will teach a workshop, plus Sarah Wendell of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, and more taught by agents, editors, and authors. See the list here.
Silent auction featuring awesome gift baskets
I just may be putting together a themed gift basket from my RWA chapter. It just may involve these guys:
Yes, there will be a Sueprnatural-themed gift basket. I have already heard squees of delight!
I'm looking forward to meeting new writer friends! I hope to see you there.
For more info, check the website, or the Facebook Group, or twitter feed.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
What I'm Reading
Dead After Ever by Charlaine Harris, the final Sookie Stackhouse book (which the TV show True Blood is based on). The reviews are nasty, people are unhappy with how the series ends. I've avoided spoilers but I have the feeling I will not be rage-mad. I could see where this series was heading for awhile. The last few books have been inconsistent, and feature a lot of characters just dropping in to say hi for no real reason, which is bizarre. The beginning of the series was so fast-paced that the filler in the later books is really noticeable.
The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin, which is a romance set in Tang Dynasty China. It's really good, even if you aren't typically into romance. With the courtesan culture it reminds me a lot of Memoirs of a Geisha, though this is obviously set in China and not Japan.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth, listening to the audio book version. The reader for Tris is one of my favorites (I've apparently listened to enough audio books to recognize the readers.)
What I'm Writing
I'd hoped to be finished with my current revisions but ... nope. I have several more weeks of work to do. I'm planning to write a synopsis of my changes to send to my agent, but I still have to assemble more of my patchwork re-org before that's ready. The manuscript is in a state of controlled chaos at the moment.
I just signed up for the YA Buccaneers' Spring Writing Bootcamp to continue on with writing goals. Check it out here!
What Influences Me Right Now
I finished Leila Sales' This Song Will Save Your Life in one day (strangely enough, I read her other book Past Perfect in one day also). Some of the internal reflection in the book inspired me to shape a few scenes in my WIP differently. You hear so much hate on backstory, but when you read a book where it's done well, that's inspiring. The trick seems to be to delay backstory details until further in (50 pages is a rule I've seen but I've seen authors violate this and I'm OK with it), and to add them in slowly and with purpose. I don't mind flashbacks but for me they need to happen after I'm already established with the current story.
What Else I've Been Up To
Beyond writing and work, I've been back to the gym more consistently (thanks to other Writer Recharge writers who added exercise into their monthly goal!).
All the TV shows came back this week after the Olympics ended. The Hubz and I watched our favorites (Supernatural, Justified, Community, Parks and Rec). We also watched season 3 of Game of Thrones on DVD. *sigh* I have a love/hate with that show. It requires another post.
And finally, Hannibal is back. Hannibal is an amazing show, I'm so glad a friend suggested we catch up with the first season. I can't recommend it for everyone because it's DARK. I pitched it to a friend as Dexter if produced like an indie film, minus any comic relief. So yeah, it's intense. But really, really good.
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
Well, if I do, it's forced. I'm antsy. I'm working as hard and as fast as I can given my full time job, keeping a marginally clean household, getting minimal exercise, and oh yeah, paying attention to the other person I've committed my life to (Hi, honey!)
I want to be further along in my revisions. This is a second full revision, and probably the 4th? draft of my current novel. I've worked in feedback from a few readers, and this is my second go-round with my agent. I'm not complaining about the work itself, itt's just this particular revision requires restructuring the whole story, moving parts around, expanding sections that were underdeveloped, shortening what I did focus on. This all takes time.
I want a book published. This is what drives me. I'm so close I can smell it! But it takes time. Even with a book deal, it will be another year and a half before the book is out.
Over and over, I hear publishing is a long game. Debut authors often struggle. Until you have 2, 3 or more books out, it's going to be a waiting game.
No wonder patience is a virtue.
How do you deal with impatience? Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!
Please visit the other IWSG blogs either tagged on twitter or from the link provided.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Now that February's Writer Recharge is finished, I'm off to another writing accountability blog challenge hosted by the YA Buccanneers (don't you love the name?). Click here to sign up.
Here are some basics:
WHAT IS THE SPRING WRITING BOOTCAMP?
WHEN IS IT?
- Will you be participating in our Spring Writing Bootcamp?
- If yes, what will you be working on: drafting, revisions, or both? Feel free to share a little about your project, too. :)
- If you're joining us, would you like to join an accountability team?
My goals for Spring Bootcamp, which covers March, April, and May:
- Complete revision of AMELIA (YA contemporary), including a synopsis to send to my agent. (These are agent revisions I am working on.)
- Complete 2nd draft of SUNSET SUMMER (YA contemporary written during NaNoWriMo 2013).
- Write synopsis and send synopsis to agent for review.
- Send SUNSET SUMMER to readers.
- Potentially work on an outline and character development for a new project.
For February I reached most of my specific goals BUT I did not finish my revision as I had hoped. (It might have been ambitious to think I would, but oh well.)
Here are my original goals:
Read and score all of my Golden Heart judging entries (I need to do this!).
Get through draft 2 of Nano novel SUNSET SUMMER. Write an ending.
- Organize notes for draft 3 for a targeted approach at changes (draft 2 is not very organized!).
Submit next chapter of SUNSET SUMMER for critique group; work in changes.
Potentially work in updates to AMELIA (which Agent currently has).
I did not get my goals accomplished for SUNSET SUMMER (Nano novel 2013) because my agent provided notes on my other project (working title: AMELIA).
Next set of goals:
- Cut first chapter (!); make sure Ch. 2 works as opener. Edit opening two chapters based on notes from my Opening Scenes course.
- Work in the other proposed changes; expanding some scenes, cutting others.
- Re-organize the pacing of the novel.
- Reduce overall word count by 6-7k words; first step is to review structure of novel and cut or reduce length of scenes toward end of book. Closer edit:, reduce filler info, reduce secondary character subplot that take away from MC's subplot.
Thank you to Sara Biren for organizing, and to the other blog hosts: Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, Liz Parker, and Elodie Nowodazkij
Friday, February 28, 2014
In today's video, beloved puppets Glove and Boots (not quite Muppets but close in cuteness and humor) break down some grammar basics:
Happy Friday everyone! What's your grammar pet peeve?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This is the first book I've read by the author, and I'm happy to say I will read more of her books. If you're a fan of Sara Zarr or Jessi Kirby, or Sarah Dessen, this book is along those lines. The Goodreads description kind of oversells this as a romance--even the cover does. Family dynamics are the primary driver of the story with the romance more as a subplot. This was a welcome surprise to me, and not a hindrance at all.
I loved that Jude's family has Venezuelan roots, and how that culture bleeds into their family dynamic. Jude is the youngest of four girls, and she has eight years separating her from the youngest sister. Her protective, lively sisters have all left the house, but their influence runs deep. When Jude was a young girl, her sisters made her join a pact to swear off the Vargas brothers due to heartbreak. When Jude's Papi decides to fix up his vintage motorbike, they don't have much cash, so an apprentice at a local shop offers to help him out for cheap. You guessed it--it's the youngest Vargas boy.
While Jude keeps Emilio Vargas' identity a secret from her family, she mainly busy covering for her Papi when he forgets how to do simple tasks, or when he loses his temper at the drugstore. Emilio sees what's happening and Jude confides in him that her father has early onset Alzheimers. The story focuses heavily on Jude's relationship with her father, and the effect of his illness on her mother and sisters. It's handled beautifully by the author, and never feels too heavy. Emilio doesn't understand why Jude pushes him away, but her first allegiance is to her sisters, especially the one whose engagement with Emilio's older brother had been broken off years earlier.
All the tension and conflict work together for a wonderfully thoughtful story. This one is a little less swoon and a little more introspection, but in the best way possible. Also, bonus stars for cultural diversity.
I listened to the audiobook version of The Book of Broken Hearts which I would recommend.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Your hosts and cheerleaders: Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, Liz Parker, Elodie Nowodazkij, and Sara BirenHere's my progress from the past week:
- Still working through my AMELIA (YA Contemporary) Part 2 changes--I'm getting there but I need to expand some scenes or add one more. I need to print out this section or pull it into Word (from Scrivener) in a different font and read it through to see where I'm missing something.
- Goals: Add a little bit of backstory w/in 2 different scenes.
- Read through middle section to see what is missing, develop new scene or expand exisiting.
- I.D. which chapters in part 3 can be reduced or eliminated.
- Lastly, I need to finish reading and judging my remaining 3 Golden Heart entries
Hope everyone else was successful this week!