Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 11 Update}

 Hey, y’all! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages.

Unfortunately, the only work I did on my book was to think about the work I needed to do on my book.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

To rest. I still need to polish things up for WriteOnCon, and I will. I will! I can do it! (I need a little self-affirmation, here, after this week!)

But that isn’t my goal.

My goal is to be a good mom and give the little man the extra love and comfort he needs right now. And then to take care of me whenever I can so I can keep on keeping on. I’ll explain in a few …

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I didn’t write anything that would go in my novel, but I did participate in one  of Kidlit Summer School’s thirty minute dares (#30mdare). I had to make my main character be mean to her best friend. That uncovered a bit of a dynamic that really made their friendship interesting to me, so I will use it to develop both of their characters more.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Sleep issues. Our son is going through some developmental changes that have affected his sleeping. One, two, even three hour chunks at a time he’s been awake in the middle of the night. Sometimes happy, but wide, wide awake. Other times screaming and unable to calm himself down. So we’ve been burning the midnight (or the 2am) oil to help him settle and learn to self-soothe a bit. As a result, during the day after, I don’t have much brain power.

I’m dissapointed I didn’t meet my goal for this week, especially with WriteOnCon coming up, but I don’t regret taking care of myself and trying to sleep when he took his naps instead of writing. It was the best choice for my sanity.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

There are some pretty awesome friendships  between the characters.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 10 Update}

 Hiya! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

Yup! :)

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

Nope. :( Well, not officially. The plot of my story is pretty much always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t write anything down, as I had intended.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

I’m switching things up this week. This summer has been a fantastic time to work on writing and connect with other writers. From Ready. Set. WRITE! for companionship and accountability, to the Nerdy Chicks Write summer school for education in character development, and next up will be the return of WriteOnCon for a huge boost of inspiration and lots of peer feedback, which I am soooo excited about! Once September comes, I’m going to be in serious writer group withdrawal. (By the way, HOW GENEROUS is the writing community at large?! Wow.)

But, in order to be ready for WriteOnCon, I need to work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages. So that is my focus this time around.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I don’t know if I’ll end up keeping this exchange, or even this character, but I was playing around with a scene where my teenage main character is in a research lab and is getting hit on by an older lab assistant. Here is how that went down:

“You smell good,” Eyebrows said.

“I smell like formaldehyde,” she countered. “And lawsuits.”

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Mom life. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but this week just drained me. I need a nap.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I really believe in it.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 9 Update}

Hey, there! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Let’s do this again: Mon-Thurs … write, write, WRITE!

Done and DONE! I even broke 500 words one night, which, while not huge in and of itself, was huge for me. Also … BONUS … I wrote on Friday, too.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Why change a good thing? Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

First draft standard disclaimer, here. But I did like this exchange between my main character and the boy who keeps crashing her solitude.

For a moment—just a moment—his eyes held hers, and she caught a glimpse of warmth, a flash of vulnerability, or, perhaps, just a trick to pull her in.

She wasn’t sure which. But it worked.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

It’s been a busy week, so whenever I do get a chance to sit down, I have to be pretty intentional about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You know, as opposed mindlessly binge watching Face Off reruns. Which I also did.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

That annoying boy who keeps showing up every time my main character finally gets a little peace and quiet on her own? He’s a parkour enthusiast. So, you know, watching American Ninja Warrior with my husband actually counts as research. And so does this:

Expert(s) Needed

I am in the middle of my sci-fi WIP and am getting to a point where the story can’t move forward without the actual SCIENCE being mentioned. I’m not looking to be one-hundred percent realistic (this IS the future, after all. Things could change by then), but I’d at least like it to be believable. I know it is a long shot, but I will need to ask some questions soon about what details to add for added oomph, and I was hoping that someone out there is into (or knows someone who is into) microbiology, or genetics, or neuroscience, or botany, or virolgy. Or any combination of the above. I’d love to pick a brain or two. It won’t hurt. Promise.

So this is little ol’ me, asking amazing you if you would be my expert?

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 8 Update}

Come on in! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Write Monday through Thursday night, without fail. Without excuse.

And that is all.

I did it! I think I finally hit on a goal that works for me and this stage of my life.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Let’s do this again: Mon-Thurs … write, write, WRITE!

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Character revelations, thanks to summer school! By the way, it’s not too late, if you want to join in with a late registration. Hop on over to Nerdy Chicks Write to read some fantastic blog posts by guest lecturers. Our coursework focuses on getting to know our characters better, and I have to say my homework has already made a huge impact on my WIP. I’m grateful to Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Kami Kinard for bringing summer school to life. (And equally glad I was on Twitter the day I read about it and hopped on over to participate!)

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

It was my first time being a solo parent for nearly a week. My husband had to go on a business trip, so I was on 24/7 duty, no exceptions, with the kiddo. While it wasn’t completely different from my norm, since I’m a stay-at-home-mom anyway, I realized just how much I relied on Daniel during the evenings. He’s a great dad!

The biggest challenge was also my biggest advantage, however, since I took those nights on my own and turned them into writing opportunities.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I get pretend what it would be like to be really, really rich.

 

 

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 7 Update}

Howdy! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

In a word? Abysmally.

In a GIF?

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Write Monday through Thursday night, without fail. Without excuse.

And that is all.

3.  A favorite line (well … two paragraphs … ahem) from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

 She slid down to the ground and fingered the dirt. Funny, how it was only deep enough to hold the roots of the small trees and vegetation surrounding the school. All the appearances of normal life, without any of the reality.

She was starting to feel like her whole world was like that.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

A messy house. Other weeks I let it slide and wrote during naptime. This week, I just couldn’t let it slide any more.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

I’m finally getting a feel for the plot! I did not do a lot of writing, but I did a lot of thinking this week (and that counts, in my book!) and with the last two scenes I’ve written, it is falling into place at last.

 

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 6 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

  • Write for at least 3 days this week. Nailed it. Didn’t write a ton, but I did meet this goal.
  • Develop the major plot points through the middle section. Kinda-sorta did? Not enough to let myself cross it off, though.
  • Focus on the antagonist Things are getting clearer. But I’m not there, yet.
  • Cut and paste Rip Current It is started. I’m enjoying the tactile element, but let me tell you: I’ve learned my lesson. New scenes get new pages from now on for The Echelon Project (which I’m also writing out of order.) That way I can print and just re-organize. Phew.
2.  My goal(s) for this week

I’m keepin’ it simple this week, folks.

  • Write for 3 days
  • Tackle those plot points!
  • Keep cutting and pasting Rip Current
  • Make a new Mindscapes 8tracks mix for writing/editing inspiration

(My new CD stash, ready to be loaded onto my computer and 8tracks!)

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Hidden fears.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Distractions.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

The fun I can have with inventing technologies!

 

The Writer Blog Hop

I’ve been tagged by the talented Kristin to share my writing process in the Writer Blog Hop that has been making the rounds in the writing community, (read her response here), and I’m tagging two other writers I know at the end of the post. I hope you will enjoy reading my answers, and theirs, as well.

What am I working on/writing?

I am working through a first draft of a young adult science fiction novel and edits on a young adult contemporary novel. Over at Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve cheekily described the science fiction novel as “your basic girl meets boy meets evil corporation story.” The contemporary novel, on the other hand, is about a girl who is grieving the death of her father and her social life and is determined to do whatever it takes to get her old normal back. Even if it means drowning in untruths and hurting the people who love her most in the process.

How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I tend to write about smart girls and the equally nerdy guys who fall for them. I’m a sucker for a great geek romance. Places you will find my characters: libraries, research labs, art classes, and comfy couches at home on which to relax while watching Star Wars (or Star Trek/Stargate/Firefly/Dr. Who, Etc. I don’t discriminate against fandoms).

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do, partly to satisfy the “what if” itch I get at random times, and partly to make sense of life. One reason I began my contemporary project is because my main character deals with the death of a parent, something she and I share in common. Grief is a catalyst, and its changes are sudden and irrevocable. How she navigates those changes drives the plot of her story forward. In the same way, how I responded to the loss of my mother is something that altered me. I needed to write about how it felt to lose a parent so I could understand my own grief, and so that story was born.

What I write is also influenced by what I most enjoy reading. I am not ashamed to say I read to escape the toughness of life. I want to see another person triumph over challenges both familiar and fantastically unfamiliar. Perhaps it is to feel, deep down, that I could triumph over my own challenges, too. So, just like I read to escape, I also write stories to get away from it all. For instance, the setting in my science fiction project is somewhere I would visit in a heartbeat. Imagine the most exciting, modern city you know. Add futuristic technology and transportation. Now, place it all in the middle of the ocean and throw in some glitterati to inhabit it for good measure. Escapist, much? Yes.

More, please.

Now, if you asked me why I write what I do while we were both in an elevator or in line at the grocery store, I wouldn’t say all that. (Plus, I’m a writer, not an orator. I need a keyboard or a pad of paper to be even the least bit eloquent.) What I would tell you, instead, is probably this: I write what I do because I can’t NOT write what I do. I tried being more literary in my style and that flopped–it just wasn’t me. I tried to write for older audiences and nothing seemed to flesh out into full-length novels. I even tried quitting writing. And failed. I can’t escape the urge.

I would also tell you I write contemporary and speculative fiction for teenagers and children because that’s what I enjoy reading. I’m a whole teenager away in years from being a teenager at this point–fifteen years, to be precise–but I still gravitate toward the teen section in bookstores because the stories resonate with my inner fourteen year-old. They are stories of social awkwardness, first loves, identity crises, and unbound possibility.

To kinda-sorta paraphrase a teenager I overheard at a coffee shop recently, “Do you like YA? YA is my jam.” (Okay, so she was talking about something else entirely, but it works here, too.)

How does my writing process work?

I love this question, because it really made me think things through. Stories tend to be nebulous bits of emotions and concepts and characters and situations floating around in my subconscious until something clicks and I have to write it all down. I am most inspired by current news and historical reference, because they both bring scenarios to my attention that spark my interest and I have to know more. Why did that happen. How did they discover it? Where else would that be an issue? When will this occur next? What if that happened in a different setting? And sometimes, just what on earth?!? Then I get to work, answering my own questions.

Basically, this is how it all comes together:

  1. Idea flash! (Quick, write it down.)
  2. Mull it over. Ask a lot of “what ifs.”
  3. Fall in love with the characters.
  4. Fall in love with researching the setting.
  5. Revisit those characters. What do they want?
  6. Figure out how to keep it from them so they have to pursue it even harder and move the plot along. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we writers are such sadists when it comes to our darlings.)
  7. Pull my hair out over plot.
  8. A lot.
  9. Panic. I’m not a writer. How can I call myself a writer? I’m stuck. I’ll always be stuck.
  10. Oh, wait. I’ve got it!
  11. Butt in chair.
  12. Repeat steps 6-11 until I have something to send to beta readers and critique partners.
  13. Take their advice as needed, and then edit the heck out of that manuscript.
  14. Let go. (I’m still working on this one.)

There’s more, of course. I’m always learning how to improve my craft. Plot, in particular, is something I consistently study because it comes harder to me.

Off the page, the biggest change in my process in recent years is how intentional I have become about my writing. It chose me, all those years ago, when I first read about Jo and Anne and Emily and realized I, too, could write stories and share them with others. And now I choose it. I choose to consistently spend my precious free minutes writing and editing, when I could be sleeping or dusting or watching television. I choose to keep on going, even when I feel ridiculous, because if I don’t take my chosen career seriously, who will?

So, that’s my take on my writing process! Now I am tagging Jenni and Amy and am looking forward to reading their replies. Enjoy!

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 5 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

*** UPDATE: I made a last-minute decision to do Camp NaNoWriMo as part of my goal-reaching. Anyone want to join me in a private cabin? ***

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Word Count -  Back to 2,500 words again. AT LAST! I DID IT!

Excuse me while I celebrate a bit.

While it took me until noon today to finish, I made it. (And hey, since I wrote it before publishing this blog post, I’m counting it!)

Start an outline - It will be REALLY rough, but I need to start somewhere. YEP! 

And yes, it is VERY rough.

Raise the stakes DONE!

I wrote a couple more version of my practice query to get there, but I am excited about the ideas that it generated.

Print out my Rip Current draft - I think I’m ready to begin edits now.

Printed and ready to go for my new goal for it this week.

2.  My goal(s) for this week
  • Write for at least 3 days this week.
  • Develop the major plot points through the middle section.
  • Focus on the antagonist
  • Cut and paste Rip Current

(No really. I’m cutting actual paper with scissors. I wrote the first draft of this story out of order. Now I need to get it in chronological order so I can edit it.)

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Transitions.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Plot. Always plot.

Also, fireworks disturbing my dog and my baby over the weekend.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

One of my favorite scenes right now feels like a high school version of a Leverage episode!

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 4 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Word Count - 6, 090 to bring me up to speed. EPIC FAIL.

2,171. Despite my best efforts, 5,300 (or more!) words in a week is just more than I realistically can handle right now.

Draft a Query for my WiP - CHECK!

Read a few chapters in The Girls of Atomic CityCHECK!

Survive P90X3 - CHECK! 

Before anyone gets too impressed, I have to admit I’m taking it easy because I’m being gentle on my post-c-section abs and sometimes choosing to write over working out. But I did at least the majority of 3 out of 5 workouts with my husband. I’m happy with that! (And the whole he does the cooking thing is a sweet deal. Check out this breakfast he made for me … yum!)

2.  My goal(s) for this week

Word Count -  Back to 2,500 words again. Same as two weeks ago. It seems more doable.

Start an outline - It will be REALLY rough, but I need to start somewhere.

Raise the stakes - Per this tweet, my helpful husband suggests New York strip. Ahem.

Print out my Rip Current draft - I had set aside the first draft of this contemporary YA project when life got crazy (pregnancy and newborn); I think I’m ready to begin edits now. Fun fact: both of my current projects involve the ocean. I think I miss it.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Possibilities.

Most of which will probably be cut in revisions later, but I’m just hashing things out for now.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Still plot. *sigh*

5.  Something I love about my WiP

The exotic setting. My “Future” Pinterest inspiration board hints at it.

*** UPDATE: I made a last-minute decision to do Camp NaNoWriMo as part of my goal-reaching. Anyone want to join me in a private cabin? ***