Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Light writing days


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.
When Reason Breaks

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?  
What else I've been up to
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. 

16 comments:

  1. When Reasons Break sounds really intriguing with the poetry aspect. Wonder how that all came about. I kind of stink at writing poetry, but I have used it during rough periods of my life as inspiration.

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    1. I'm the same way - I stink at writing poetry but boy when you are going through a rough time, poetry is such cathartic expression

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  2. Oooh an MG fantasy set in Alaska. I am so intrigued! I really enjoyed WHEN REASON BREAKS…I read it over the summer and thought it'd be an interesting conversation starter. Good luck this week!

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    1. Alaska is inherently intriguing, somehow... thanks for visiting!

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  3. An Alaskan setting sounds like fun! Enjoy.

    Good luck tweaking your querying project. Hope it works out for the best.

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  4. When Reason Breaks sounds like a book I ought to give a try. I really like the idea of designating some ideas as light reading days. I'm exactly the same way about losing momentum if I go too long without writing. Good luck with the reverse outlining! I hope it pays off for you.

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    1. I've discovered reverse outlining is kind of fun! Thanks for visiting.

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  5. I love this concept of light writing days. Such a great idea! I get this notion in my head that I need to sit down and write and write until the words dry up, but sometimes it's more feasible to just write for a bit, then pick it up another day. I think I might borrow this. Have a great week, Margo! :D

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    1. Thank you! I confess I WISH I had more of those write and write and write days, but somedays I just gotta be happy with a few paragraphs :)

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  6. Your light writing days concept is brilliant! I should really try that sometime, especially since I'm always worried about breaking my momentum. Good luck revising your story intro. Openings are tough, so I feel your pain on that. Have a super week! :)

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  7. Sounds like you've been doing a lot. And Yay for personalized rejections. Hope it leads to an offer of representation soon.

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    1. I thought personalized rejections would be "yay!" but they are still hard!

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  8. I looooove Rainbow Rowell. I haven't read Landline yet. I haven't skied since college. After two hip replacements I should be ready for the black diamond runs.

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