Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday Makeover!

In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

Last week I mentioned that Jaime and I had a little makeover in store for WUW. You’ve probably already noticed the pretty new autumn buttons Jaime designed. Feel free to snag those if you like! We’ve also decided to change one of the headings just to freshen things up a bit. We’re scrapping What Inspires Me Right Now, and we’ll be including the new heading What Works for Me instead. This new section is for sharing different aspects of our writing habits and processes with one another, whether they’re ways to stay organized, inspired, or make your writing time fun. Something that works for you might work for someone else too, and you never know what tips might come in handy!

Here’s a list of ideas for what to post about under this heading:

details about your writing process: how you stay organized, what writing program you use and why, how you go about revising, etc.
 your writing habits: when or where you write, specifics of your routine, what you do to get in the mood for writing, what your writing space looks like, etc.
how you reward yourself
writing tips, helpful quotes, or links to articles
music on your playlist
how you balance writing with family, work, and other activities
what motivates or inspires you lately (see how that old heading still fits in?)
how you keep yourself disciplined and focused
how you brainstorm or organize new story ideas
how you deal with writer’s block, plot issues, etc.
tips for writing a query, synopsis, pitch line, or self-publishing
writing snacks or other fun essentials


You get the idea. There are tons of fun and useful things we can share in this new section! Basically What Works for Me is broader while putting the focus more on writing. Don’t feel like you have to stick to this list either—these are just some suggestions to get everyone started—but please remember to keep what you share writing-centred. Hopefully we’ll pick up some helpful tips from one another!

Now on to my post... 

What I’m Reading:

I’m about halfway through Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Anyone else notice how many good trilogies are ending this year?

I’m also reading Romeo and Juliet with my son, which is how we’re kicking off language arts for homeschooling this year. We’re using the Oxford Next Shakespeare Project, an awesome (and very inexpensive) online resource from Oxford University Press. Seriously, if you’re a teacher, a parent with a kid reading Shakespeare for school, or you want to dig into The Bard’s works yourself, I highly recommend it. Also check out shmoop.com for hilarious, teen friendly, thorough breakdowns of all aspects of Shakespeare’s plays.

What I’m Writing:

After a busy summer of writing non-stop and finishing Act 1 of Enlighten, I took a bit of a break. Instead of churning out words, I reread what I’ve written so far and boosted my inspiration by creating mood boards for my trilogy, which I’ve wanted to get around to for ages. I also did some research to prep for diving into my next big scene. I have now written part of said scene, and a particular snippet of dialogue from it might be one of my favourite bits ever.

What Works for Me:

Colour coding! Since I’m writing a trilogy, ideas for three books have been popping into my head for the last two years, and I always jot those down in a notebook right away (actually it’s a whole series of notebooks now). To keep that mishmash of ideas organized, I mark each with a different coloured dot in the margin: green for Envision, red for Engrave, and purple for Enlighten. Then, when I transfer a whole schwack of notes to Scrivener or go looking for something I scribbled down, it’s easy to sort out which notes are for which book. After that, I put an X through the coloured dot to indicate that idea has been transferred. If I hadn’t started this colour coding system back when I first began writing this trilogy I would’ve been overwhelmed and a lot of ideas would’ve been lost in the shuffle. I also tend to colour code when I draw plot arc diagrams and for any number of other tasks. It works really well if you’re visual like I am.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

The hubby and I have been watching Outlander, which is pretty much spoiling me for all
other TV shows. I wasn’t so sure about the casting at first, but I’m now convinced. And addicted.

I finally tackled sorting through our library to get rid of books that won’t get read again (or will never even get cracked open). I hate doing it, but it’s high time to whittle down our shelves. We donate our used books to our local symphony for their yearly book sale, so they go toward a good cause at least. 

And, as usual, I’ve been working my butt off on curriculum. I like to be organized about our school year (Okay, I admit it. We’re keeners) so that’s been a ton of work lately. It’s well worth it though, and I’m excited about the topics and resources we’ll be covering.

So what’s up with you?

36 comments:

  1. I love to hate Romeo and Juliet. Theatre majors are weird like that. I hope you and your son enjoy reading and learning more about Shakespeare's tragedy. (However, it's a structurally a comedy until you get to the end. He pulled the wool over the audiences' head.) Sorry, my nerd is showing

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    1. It's kind of funny that it's gone down in literary history as the most romantic story ever because really there's a lot about it that isn't romantic at all--just funny and pervy and ironic lol. We're enjoying picking it apart, so I guess we're taking the nerdy approach too. :D

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  2. I had such good teachers in my later teens for Shakespeare that I came to really enjoy his plays. A Winter's Tale has to be my absolute favourite.

    Colour coding sounds like the best idea :D Good luck with the rest of the writing.

    I will be sure to include the new section next week! Autumn hasn't quite arrived here in the UK yet, so those badges will have to wait a few more weeks...

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    1. I've never read A Winter's Tale, but after really digging into Rome and Juliet (for the second time in my life) I'd definitely like to read some more Shakespeare. There wasn't anything especially dynamic about the way my teachers taught it, so I'm really enjoying the resources my son and I are using.

      And yes, feel free to hold off on the new buttons! Fall is hitting us here (although it looks more like winter already where Jaime is) so we were feeling the need to spread some autumn cheer! :)

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  3. Thank you for the website recommendation as I'm about to start a Shakespearean play for my Lit class.

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    1. Hope you find it as useful as we have! :)

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  4. Colour coding trilogy notes is such a good idea...I'm actually a little in awe of how great a concept that is!

    Ah, yes, the weeding. As a librarian and an owner of far more books (and movies) that can possibly fit into our shelves (one day I will have a dedicated library, right??) we actually weed quite a bit. It's so difficult, though. Who wants to get rid of books? Even the ones you know you'll never bother to read? (Especially if they have a nice cover...)

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    1. Glad you like the idea! I used to colour code my essay notes in high school and that practice kind of carried over into my writing now. And it gives me an excuse to use fun pens lol.

      Getting rid of the books with nice covers is the worst! There's something horrible about parting with books even if you know you'll never read them. I can imagine it would be even harder for you to do that, since you're a librarian. I just tell myself I'm making room for stories I will read and that helps! :)

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  5. The pens are pretty! And the color coding is a good idea - so easy.

    I've been weeding out this week too, and it's terrible, especially since my collection isn't really that big. But there are some books I know I'll never touch again. . .no one else in our family either. It helps to know it's for a good cause. Mine are going to our library's bi-annual book sale, so I hope they find a good home.

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    1. Aren't they fun? I love adding a little colour to the process and it keeps me organized.

      It definitely helps if there's a good cause to donate books too, otherwise I'd find it even harder to part with them. And like you say, hopefully they'll find a good home with someone who will appreciate them more. Good luck weeding out your library! :)

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  6. Love the WUW changes, and I'm so looking forward to incorporating them into next week's post. I'm envious that you're watching OUTLANDER. I've been so tempted, but I *really* want to read the book(s) first. Still... the episodes are calling to me. :-) Have a wonderful week, Erin!

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    1. Glad you like the changes! I thought you might, considering you always have links to awesome articles in your posts and this would be a great section to slot those in. I highly recommend the books, so if you can squeeze in the first one (they're long but so easy to get sucked into!) definitely do before watching the show. If you buckle and tune in first, that's okay too though. Have a wonderful week too! :)

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  7. LOVE the new buttons! And the new topic.

    I just donated a pile of books to my library for their book sale and, like always, there will be that moment when I go to the sale, grab one of the books, and think, "Ooh, I want that!" I'm usually successful at not buying back my own books. Not always :)

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    1. Thanks! We thought it was high time to freshen up Wednesdays!

      Ha! I've picked up books that I've donated too. The worst is when you buy multiples of the same book though. I've done that a few times. :)

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  8. I'm so glad you did those mood boards for your stories and passed the link on to me so I can make my own! I'll have to make a point of doing that, especially with the new story idea. Yours look really cool, too! Can't wait to read this new scene you mentioned in your post. :-) I like your way of keeping yourself organized with your trilogy. I would probably do something similar myself. I need to get back to being more organized when I tackle a WiP.

    I'm so with you on Outlander. For me, the biggest question mark casting-wise was Catriona Balfe as Clair, but I think she's perfect in the role now. It's so grey, damp, and chilly these days that I could sit and watch that show all day and almost feel like I'm in Highlands lol. Actually, I've been thinking about reading the book again too. Speaking of books, I might have to do a cull again myself. I have SUCH a hard time getting rid of books, as you well know. I've been borrowing books from the library a lot more lately because realistically, I probably won't end up rereading a lot of my books which makes owning a number of them kind of pointless. Still, they're awfully pretty on my shelves. ;-)

    Hope you're having a great Wednesday! We'll have to Skype again soon and work out some kind of goal-setting plans between the two of us. :D

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    1. I might have to redo the ones for Envision and Engrave some time because I managed to squeeze in way more pictures for the Enlighten mood board and it's the most inspiring. I love having it as my desktop and have been spending plenty of time admiring it while I mull over writing. As for the colour coding, I started doing that in high school with my essay notes and it kind of carried over. Pretty pens and rainbow-y paper clips are fun!

      Caitriona Balfe is really nailing Claire's character now that the show is on a roll. I'm in serious withdrawal every time an episode ends. I hate culling our books too, but I figure we'll have no trouble filling those spaces on our shelves with ones we'll actually enjoy more. Still, parting with the ones with pretty covers sucks. I also need to realize that Liam has developed his own tastes and saving certain books for him isn't necessarily a great idea anymore.

      And yes, we need to set goals and work up some momentum. I love this time of year, but you know how it wreaks havoc on my energy level and ability to put together coherent thoughts. Darn short days. :)

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  9. First...OMG OUTLANDER! Yes. I talk a lot about it in my post as well. There is too much good on this show.

    I read your section on planning your trilogy by color coding, and I am thinking I will start working on something very similar once I finish this revision. I want to make a Trilogy bible, and this also seems like a fabulous method to stay organized. Have an awesome week!

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    1. I've been waiting for them to make a TV show or movie of OUTLANDER for years now, so I'm thrilled that they've done such an excellent job! I'm in major withdrawal every time an episode ends. Glad you're enjoying it too!

      I'm also glad the colour coding tip was helpful. I tend to bury myself in notes, so having a way to keep those organized is a must. I really should put together a trilogy bible too instead of having all that pertinent information scattered everywhere. Hope you have a great week as well! :)

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  10. Just about everyone in my 8th grade English 9H class thought Romeo was a major dolt. Even the teacher agreed with us, saying if he'd kept looking closely at Juliet and noticing odd signs, he would've realised she wasn't really dead. I felt cheated I didn't get to study any Shakespeare plays in 9th or 11th grade, only 8th, 10th, and 12th.

    The WUW changes sound really groovy!

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    1. Yep, Romeo can definitely be a bit of a doofus. It's kind of funny that he's considered such a romantic figure. Shakespeare really was clever in how he wrote the play though because it's loaded with thought provoking questions about love and free will and other important themes. I suppose in the end, Romeo was a pretty typical teenager in a lot of ways, though my son might argue with that assessment lol.

      Glad you like the WUW changes! :)

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  11. My girls have confiscated all my pretty colored pens that another writer gave me! Now I want them back! Your mention of curriculum makes me ask - are you homeschooling too? So am I. Using pieces from five different curricula (I've always been a mix and matcher). Love this new What works for me question.

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    1. Ha! You need to keep your coloured pens under lock and key. :)

      We've been homeschooling for ten years now, and we love it. That's awesome that you're homeschooling too! I'm definitely eclectic when it comes to curriculum too. There are so many incredible resources out there that I could never limit us to a set curriculum. Have to keep it interesting, right?

      I'm also glad to hear you like our new What Works for Me section. We figured it was high time to spruce up our Wednesdays!

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  12. Ohhh Outlander. It's been so good! I'm disappointed after every episode ends. I never picked up the second book in the series but the show is making me want to.

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    1. Yes, it has! I'm happy you agree! It's like going into withdrawal after every episode is done, isn't it? I've read all but the latest in the series, and that one is on my Christmas list. Not sure when I'll ever have the time to read it because it's huge!

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  13. I love the new questions!

    I read the first Outlander book and really didn't see the appeal. I know lots of people love it, but I'm not really one of them, so I dought I'll every bother watching the show.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Glad you like the new header! We figured it was time for some changes.

      I guess historical fiction with a sprinkling of paranormal and a dollop of romance isn't for everyone lol. I'm a huge fan of the series, so I've been waiting for the show for quite some time now. I also love all things Scottish, so this is a treat for me.

      Hope you have a great week too!

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  14. I love the new ideas for WUW! :) Great tip with the colour coding, too! ^^

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    1. Glad to hear it! We thought Wednesdays could use a little sprucing up now that we've all been at this for a while now. And I'm happy you found the colour coding tip handy! It's a great way to stay organized, and it's hard to resist pretty pens lol. :)

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  15. I color coordinate during revision too :) But I've never written a trilogy all the way through. I've had ideas for them and the dark fantasy WIP I'm working on is (ideally) a trilogy, but we'll see if it sells first.
    I haven't watched Outlanders yet, but I've heard nothing but good things!

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    1. Nice! A kindred colour coder lol! I decided to write my trilogy all at once so I could make sure everything is consistent. That and the story was still inspiring me to write, so I just went with it. I guess if you ever do write a whole trilogy, you'll already know how to stay organized then!

      If you get around to watching Outlander, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been! Not sure if you're a fan of the books, but I think they're doing a stellar job of adapting the story to the screen. :)

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  16. Can't wait to read more "what works for me"!!! Great ideas!

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    1. Glad you're finding the new segment useful! :)

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  17. Love the new fall graphics, so pretty! I also now want some pumpkin bread... I wish I'd thought to record Outlander, looks like I'm missing a good show. Guess I'll have to wait 'til it comes out on DVD!

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    1. Jaime did a great job on the buttons, as usual! It's funny that you mentioned a craving for pumpkin bread because my son was just saying we should make some. I think a craving for pumpkin bread must kick in as soon as the weather turns to autumn lol.

      I'm a big fan of Diana Gabaldon's books, so I've been waiting for Outlander to come out as a movie or TV show for ages. I wasn't disappointed! :)

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  18. Well now, I wish I'd read your post before writing my post and posting my link. (Whoa, I could make a fence with all those posts.) I'll move to "what's working" next time.

    Your colour-coding idea is fantastic, and seems adaptable to those of us working with subplots rather than trilogies. Thanks!

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    1. Jaime and I figured everyone else would just start up with the new heading next week, so that's perfectly fine! Glad you liked the colour coding idea. I find colour coding helpful for a lot of different tasks, so I'm sure you could adapt it to suit your needs. Have a great week! :)

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