Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What's Up Wednesday


Hi again, and welcome to another installment of What's Up Wednesday. This is what's been happening in my corner of the world lately...


What I’m Reading:

I just finished Enchanted by Alethea Kontis which is a magical conglomeration of all different fairy tales. I enjoyed how the story is built around Sunday, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and her sisters who are also named after days of the week. My favourite character was Grumble/Rumbold, otherwise known as the Frog Prince. Rather than being the typical dashing prince of most fairy tales, he always seems sort of rumpled and worn, and I found this endearing. I wish certain aspects of the story had been explained a bit more, but all in all it was a sweet, pleasant read.

Last night, I started That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard. I haven’t gotten very far yet, but I can at least say the main character’s predicament has hooked me in.

What I’m writing:

Last week, I mentioned I was working on a brutal chapter rewrite. I finally finished it, and I’m more than pleased with the result. In fact, I think it kicks the original chapter’s butt.

Now I’m going through my entire manuscript and tweaking the voice. When I was researching agents, two things kept coming up over and over: BEAUTIFUL PROSE and VOICE. Obviously, I know that’s what agents want, but the repetition of this on their wish lists scared me into taking yet another look at my story. I had a few different ideas of how I could draw out my main character’s voice and make her personality stronger, so I’m currently working on that. As for the beautiful prose, I can only cross my fingers and hope that some agent out there will like my writing style. I promise I will eventually start querying this thing. Just about there.

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now:

As nerdy as this sounds, I’ve been using pictures of futuristic cities to inspire my two chapter rewrites and latest (hopefully final) round of revisions. My story takes place in the near future, approximately thirty years from now, and it’s light sci-fi, so there’s nothing too outrageously futuristic in it setting-wise, but I’m finding this helpful in creating the urban, high-tech atmosphere. Obviously I don’t borrow from what’s in the pictures (that’s someone else’s work), but much like music, the right picture can really set the mood for writing. There are some incredibly talented artists that share their work on the internet, and you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words.

The other thing that’s inspiring me this week is the weather. I guess that’s more motivational than inspiring. The snow is FINALLY gone here!!! Even though I mostly write at night, I always feel like I have more energy during the warmer months. That might have something to do with the fact that it’s not dark at four o’clock in the freaking afternoon anymore. It’s also less cumbersome when I’m not buried in a bulky sweater and blankets to stay cosy while I write.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

This past Saturday, we went to a book sale and two different book stores. If you think that’s kind
of excessive, you’d be right. Over the last month, we’ve accumulated a whole stack of books to add to our library. Yes, that stack I’m standing behind in the picture. I thought it might be fun to see how tall it was in comparison to me. When I’m standing straight up, it’s just slightly taller than I am. I’m five foot two, which isn’t very tall for a person, but it’s definitely tall for a pile of books. In case you’re planning on trying this feat yourself, I’ll warn you it’s a two person job. I had to enlist my husband’s help to balance the tower while I built it. I think someone needs to stage an intervention.

Besides new books, I’ve been enjoying cherry cola tea. I can sense a few of you wrinkling your noses in disgust, but trust me, it’s awesome. Unfortunately, David’s Tea cancelled this flavour, which stinks because I love it. Why, David’s, why?! Our local store was out, so my husband ordered us some from the last bit of their supply, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. This tea would’ve been the perfect complement to one of my writing projects (that’s currently on hold), so I’m disappointed that it’ll all be gone soon. In the meantime, I’m savouring every drop.

Oh, and we've been barbecuing, because there's no longer a snowbank burying our barbecue in the backyard. Yay! And yes, that's a very, very recent development. Barbecuing = easy meals, which = more time for writing. 

So what have you been up to for the last week? Feel free to comment or to join the blog hop by signing up on my sister Jaime’s blog, here.

43 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of books! :D And a pretty amazing picture!
    Good luck with your revisions and yay for summer arriving your way...I love the barbecue season and sitting outside with a book :-)

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    1. Thanks, Elodie! It was very tricky holding that book tower up. I need to do some yard work now so that I actually feel like reading outside. :)

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  2. Wow, that's a lot of books! Oooh, I see Gone and Hunger! Loooooove that series.

    I love looking at futuristic cities! So inspiring ^_^ Have fun!

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    1. Yeah, we went a little crazy with the book shopping. Fortunately, we don't do that every month! I've been wanting to read GONE and HUNGER for a really long time now, so I'm excited to finally own copies. I have one of the futuristic city pictures set as my desktop right now, and every time I see it I feel like writing. :)

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  3. All those in the last month? Colour me envious!

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    1. Many were bought at fundraiser book sale with phenomenal prices. Otherwise the pile would be MUCH smaller. :)

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  4. Wow! That's a lot of books. My TBR list is big, but not that tall. Hope you enjoy them. It's great weather here too finally. And it's inspiring me too. I'm walking a lot and it's giving me more energy.

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    1. Fortunately, that pile belongs to my husband and son too, otherwise I'd never get through it. I really need to get into a walking routine too. Our summer weather is so short lived that I should take advantage while I can!

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  5. I love that picture, I'm sure my TBR pile would be bigger than me and I'm 5'9! It's an addiction :)

    The weather has been so great, we had our first BBQ of the season too.

    Good Luck with your tweaking!

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    1. I felt a little crazy taking that picture, but it was fun. Book shopping is definitely an addiction. :)

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  6. That is a scary amount of books.
    I'm a visual person, so images help me write as well.

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    1. It was scary trying to balance it too!

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  7. Maybe I'm just too picky, but I've yet to go to a library sale/book sale here where there are that many books I want to buy. Maybe your sales are better stocked with better books. Probably. :)

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    1. This is an exceptionally good book sale. Lots of selection and really low prices. It's put on by our local symphony, and we've been going for probably the last ten years. I think because it's been a yearly tradition for so long a lot of local people donate to it. I look forward to it every year. :)

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  8. Oh wow, what a great picture! I am envious of your barbecue friendly weather as ours has taken a turn for the worst again :( Oh and I also completely agree with your thoughts on images.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the picture! I really need to use pictures more often for inspiration, because these have really been helpful. Hope your weather gets nice again!

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  9. That book tower picture is awesome!

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    1. Thanks! I had fun building it. :)

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  10. I can say with certainty that your chapter rewrite is superior to the original. I really enjoyed it! It's probably a good thing I don't have the opportunity to go to book sales like that--I'm already drowning in books. ;-) I find that looking at images related to content in my WIPs is really inspiring, too. I have whole files of them on my computer.

    The weather has been gorgeous here and I love how long the day feels with more daylight hours. Makes me want to make the most of it and get stuff done.

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    1. I was very relieved that you liked the new chapter. Even though I hadn't originally planned on rewriting it, I'm glad I did. As for the book sale, you've seen how my house is bursting at the seams with books. So yeah, it's both good and bad. I'm not sure why I hadn't been using pictures for inspiration as much with this story, because I did with my other WIP. Keep sending your good weather east to us! :)

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  11. Oh my goodness... That book tower is aMaZiNg! Such a cool photo!

    Looking forward to your thoughts on THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS. I'm intrigued by the cover and the concept, but I haven't heard a lot of opinions about the story itself yet. Hopefully it'll be one of your DAC posts. :-)

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    1. Thanks! I had fun building the tower, even if I felt a little crazy doing it. So far I've only read a few chapters of THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS, but if I enjoy it I'll be sure to post a review. :)

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  12. Firstly, you seem like a skilled writer, just from your blog, though I understand those are two VERY different kinds of writing. Second, I have book pile envy.

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    1. Oh wow, thanks for the compliment! And yeah, writing blog posts and writing fiction are pretty different. I think blogging helps keep the words flowing, so that's a good thing. As for the book pile, it was a fun project, but not so fun to reshelve everything later. :)

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  13. Oh, WOW!!! I am super jealous of your book pile! And nothing nerdy about the inspiration. The entire Grease soundtrack currently fuels mine.

    Nice to meet you!

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    1. That's so awesome you listen to the Grease soundtrack for inspiration! For one of my writing projects I listen to American Graffiti, also fun and from the same era. The book pile belongs to my husband and son too, so my section of it is less impressive than the picture suggests--thankfully, or I'd never have time to write anything again! :)

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  14. Two things: 1.) I want a book stack THAT tall and 2.) Even though you have 3" on me, I wish I were as tiny as you, so I could stand behind said book stack and have it so you could barely see me, too! :)

    And no need for an intervention! You could have way worse habits, that's for sure. I definitely wouldn't be the friend you'd want to take along to get you to stop buying, instead I'd insist we'd need a much bigger car. Much. Bigger.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about CIRCUS - I rather enjoyed that one. And awesome job on your chapter re-write, too, Erin! Doesn't it feel so good when it all starts to come together? And I do the same thing with different photos for inspiration - that's what I'm loving about Scrivener right now, is that I can add all the different pictures I have and keep them with my story (vs. having them in a separate doc). Keep at it, I can't wait to here where this one goes for you!

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    1. When I started building my book tower, I was sure I'd be able to at least peek over the top. Guess not! Thanks for calling me tiny. That made my day! With all that running you do I'm pretty sure you have me beat in the health department!

      I have to admit, we actually have a special collapsible cart that we bought specifically for this book sale. We've been going every year for the last ten years or so, and we like to be prepared for the huge pile of books we know we'll buy. :)

      So far I'm really liking the voice in THAT TIME I JOINED THE CIRCUS. I've been reading slower lately though, because I've been throwing myself into this latest round of revisions. And yes, it does feel good when it all starts to come together. I'm so glad you're liking Scrivener. I couldn't do without it. It's like a mini office for me! Thanks for the encouragement about my WIP and I hope yours continue to come along well too!

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  15. I LOVE that book stack--amazing!

    Voice is so tough--it always feels like one of those 'it's there or it's not' deals. I'd love to hear what you're doing to draw out the voices of your characters!

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    1. Thanks, I had fun building it(and buying the books for it, of course)!

      Ugh, yes! Voice is tough. I'm mostly happy with the voice in my manuscript, but I feel like there are still some places where my voice is coming through instead of my main character's. I recently added in a little more back story and a hobby/career aspiration for my mc that draws out her personality and ties in well with the plot. I also made a simple change in how she refers to one of her parents, and it was bizarre to see how much that boosted her voice. It's all kind of hard to explain in a concise way, but so far I'm happy with the result. Hopefully that makes sense! :)

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  16. A tower of books! How can that be anything but a very, very good thing? :)

    I added ENCHANTED to my must-read list. I love fairy tale-related stories. And I love using images to inspire me when I write - even if you're just using them as a starting point.

    And congrats on the tricky rewrite!! I bet that feels good. :) I kind of loathe rewriting. I tend to procrastinate when I know a section needs to be reworked ... so major kudos! I hope you celebrate!

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    1. The only tiny drawback to the book tower was putting them all away afterward. :)

      I hope you enjoy ENCHANTED! I found a couple things in the plot a bit confusing, but overall it was a sweet story. And I can totally relate about procrastinating on rewrites. This one left me stumped for a while, so even if I'd wanted to (which I didn't) I couldn't have jumped in right away. It definitely feels good to be done with that chapter!

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  17. That is a flipping awesome stack of books! I'm kind of jealous because I totally want to hit up a bunch of bookstores and BUY ALL THE THINGS. Alas, I have nowhere to put them!

    Good luck with your rewrite, but remember, don't OVER think it! ;)

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    1. Thanks! We're running out of room too. It's a good thing we don't go to book sales every month! And you're absolutely right about not over thinking revisions. It's too easy to start changing things that are just fine the way they are. I will definitely try not to do that!

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  18. I never heard of "Enchanted" before, but it sounds like exactly the kind of book I like - thanks for the tip! And like everyone else here, I'm super impressed with that stack of books, too! I used to dream of one day having a home library full of books, but after moving twice in two years I ended up making the switch to an ereader - my book boxes just got too heavy. :( Good luck with your revisions!

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    1. Our house might as well be a library, but so far we have plans to stay put. I can totally see why you'd opt to use an e-reader if you move occasionally. Much more convenient! Hope you enjoy ENCHANTED!

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  19. That's such a great idea to use pictures to inspire your writing. Fairy tales are great aren't they? George MacDonald said his favorite fairy tale was Undine - have you read it?

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    1. I do enjoy a good fairy tale! Although I've read several of George MacDonald's books, I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Undine.

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  20. Ummmm--that book tower is amazing. I've got at least four feet stacked up on my dresser waiting for me...but that's not factoring in my Kindle TBR. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

    And so glad you loved Enchanted!

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    1. I remember you mentioned wanting to build a fort out of all your books. After building this book tower, I say go for it! I felt like a little kid building with very big Legos. Right now, my dresser is stacked with books I've already read and need to find shelf space for, so I can relate to the messy dresser situation. I'm only just getting into using my ereader, so I've got a few books on there to read, but it's not overloaded...yet. As for Enchanted, I first heard of it when you reviewed it on your blog, so thanks for the recommend!

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  21. That is an awesome book tower LOL Made me smile..glad you enjoyed Enchanted that is one I want to read!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the book tower. I had fun building it! Hope you enjoy Enchanted as well! :)

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  22. What an awesome book tower! Congrats on getting through the revision on that brutal chapter. That's something to celebrate. (Or maybe you already did with an entire tower of books...) I also have been finding inspiration in futuristic photos. Thank goodness for Pinterest. :)

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