What's Up Wednesday is for anyone interested in keeping in touch with other writers, a meme hosted by writing sisters Erin Funk and Jaime Morrow
What I'm reading
While waiting (impatiently) for Seraphina's sequel, ShadowScale, to be out in early March, I'm currently reading When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez which features Emily Dickinson’s poetry as a guide to two girls struggling with depression and anger. I love the characters and this is a great way to soak up poetry, which I normally don't read much of.
I just finished reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell and deeply enjoyed it. Also recently finished Rain Reign by Anne M. Martin and was surprisingly swept away by this story in the voice of a 5th grader with high functioning autism.
What I'm writing
I've been layering in more setting details and characterization touches to my MG fantasy set in Alaska. Setting inspiration has been coming from a surprising source: PBS' "Nature" series with its breathtaking videography.
I'm also having to return to the opening chapters of my YA science fiction that I've been querying. I've gotten a couple personalized rejections with similar suggestions. With several agents pointing out the same things, I've got to make some changes. They say I have too much going on and not enough characterization in the first 50 pages, so right now I'm doing a reverse outline of everything going on in the first fifty to see where I can simplify things, and then add back in more characterization. To help with characterization, I'm revisiting these thoughtful questions from Writing 21st century fiction, by Donald Maass.
- What terrifies you?
- What outrages you?
- What grieves you?
- What heals you?
- What did your father teach you that still holds true?
- What did you learn in college that’s dead wrong?
- What about your faith is painful to admit?
I went downhill skiing for the first time in 11 years! I worried I'd be falling down left and right, but muscle memory must have kicked in, because I was zooming down the slopes right away. I'd forgotten how beautiful the slopes are. I'm not going to wait another 11 years to do this again. It was my 13 year old daughter's first time skiing and she picked it up really fast, though the next day she couldn't believe how sore she was!
What works for me
What gets me through Nanowrimo every November is the rule, "don't skip more than a day." I've noticed I can skip one day with my writing, even two, but if I skip three days in row, I lose my momentum and stall out. What's been working for me lately is to designate some days as "light writing days" - just a half hour of writing, but it's enough so I don't lose my momentum.